Course at Studio Preniac - May 2016

You may be interested in a course I am teaching near Cahor's France.  See the information below.

I taught there last year and it was great fun, a wonderful setting and studio, perfect hosts and great food and wine.  

Thanks for reading and more posts to follow........

It has been awhile

No excuses really..... just busy travelling and creating.  Aren't I lucky.  The trip of a lifetime happened earlier in the year, I could fill this whole blog with the inspired photos I took of ice, glaciers, icebergs, penguins and whales, not to mention unbelievable landscape not only of Antarctica but the Falklands, Argentina and Chile.  At least another hard drive worth of photos.

Stay tuned.  I hope to be more proactive with this site after a long absence.  Gallery pages have been undated with recent work, so have a look.

thanks for reading....  I also post information on www.sandrameech-art.blogspot.com

 

Colour in Buenos Aires - perhaps it inspired my newest landscape work??

Colour in Buenos Aires - perhaps it inspired my newest landscape work??

King Penguins at Bluff Cove in the Falklands

King Penguins at Bluff Cove in the Falklands

Ice near the Zodiac at Cierva Cove

Ice near the Zodiac at Cierva Cove

Colour and more Colour

Well.... I know I haven't been posting lately, but busy with colds, coughs etc, and also exploring some old art media friends.  Art materials that is....  especially Gouache. 

We joined the Bruton Art Society when we moved to Somerset - a very skilled group of painters and those interested in all aspects of fine art.  They run workshops and I decided to get back to my own fine art roots and take a wonderful two days with Annette Burkitt exploring abstraction and colour in the landscape with Gaugin and Kandinsky.  Our first challenge was an interpretation of one of Gaugin's paintings... the Talisman, done in gouache, a mediaum that I consistantly used years ago for illustration when I was working in advertising. What colour... for me wonderful to revisit.  This is not exactly like the original but was great fun.

The next thing was to do some of our own inspiration and I used photos taken locally as my starting point.  Again, looking at the colour, shape and vibrance of Gaugin's pallett.

A winding road near Ilminster in winter.

A winding road near Ilminster in winter.

Rolling hills just north of Somerton.

Rolling hills just north of Somerton.

I am so glad to get a brush in my hand again (apart from all the paper I paint for collage material in stitched textiles)  Really great to just paint for 'me'.  

I am taking some of this new exuberance into sketchbooks and small works that I hope to develop further.  All of this may never appear as a stitched textile, but it is giving me a great deal of fun and satisfaction.

Watch this space for more 'art'.

thanks for reading


Time Flies

It has been awhile since I last wrote... busy working on new pieces....not enough hours in the day.

This is called Reality and Rhetoric and is 2.6m wide and relates to the flooding on the Somerset Levels last year.

This is called Reality and Rhetoric and is 2.6m wide and relates to the flooding on the Somerset Levels last year.

This will be previewed at Quilt Art's 30 Anniversary exhibition called "Dialogues" which opens 29 March, until 2nd August at the Max Berk Museum, Heidelberg, then comes to the UK to the Quilt Museum in York 11th September - 31 October.

This is a detail and you can see the writing behind the slats of transferred fabric.  It covers the social and economic history of the Somerset Levels and includes the political involvement last year during the flooding.

This is a detail and you can see the writing behind the slats of transferred fabric.  It covers the social and economic history of the Somerset Levels and includes the political involvement last year during the flooding.

We will also be having a 2nd exhibition called Small Talk that will be at the Festival of Quilts from the 6th - 9th August, at the NEC Birmingham, then travels to the Silk Museum in Macclesfield from the 15th September - 30th October.  We have a new book that has been written by Dr. Susan Marks, and designed by Charlotte Yde) which will feature work from both exhibitions and be on sale at all the venues.  You can find more information on www.quiltart.eu

I will have more new work to share soon, - It is a busy exhibitng year for me.

Thanks for reading.

Spring is here

It is mid February already and this new year is already going by quickly.  I have been busy with new work and very excited about the different directions my art is taking me.  

On sunny days I need to take photos.  I love the colours of winter/spring in England and the brilliant light we have in Somerset, set off by the warm greys, orange/rusts and olive greens of the landscape.   The immaculately pruned hedgerows are amazing, and the low sun in the afternoon and empty fields with wonderful 'manmade' marks constantly inspire me.

5-IMG_0160.JPG
9-IMG_0081.JPG

A new toy

I have been having some fun lately with drawing and painting on my ipad in a program called Paper by Fifty Three and the new stylus with interesting results.  While it will never replace the immediate feeling of connection - pen/pencil/paintbrush through your hand to the paper or canvas, -  it is fun.  The nuance and subtlety is gone (I need more practise I think) but the results are very graphic and could be interesting.  

Creative Ideas

In my last post I mentioned the possibility of adding some creative explorations for consideration in future posts.  I am working on some ideas to share and have had some positive feedback about this.  Just to add that this would not be an online course, but be working suggestions that you might take on board to help with your own art and stitched textiles in the future. Presented in a PDF format that could be downloaded, there will be some short exercises that might enhance your own practise. These would address - inspiration, looking and seeing, design, composition, collage and fine art considerations.  Less about surface or stitch techniques but more about creativity and design fundamentals.  So  watch this space.....

Thanks for reading and I will be back soon.

There are many programs for ipads and tablets worth investigating.  Many are free with interesting results.

 

This piece was based on a still life from the regular art class that I attend.  

 

 

 

What Next

This will be an exciting year - Not only is Quilt Art www.quiltart.eu opening our 30th anniversary touring exhibition with two exhibitions - Dialogues (in March in Heidleberg) and Small Talk, (at the Festival of Quilts 2015),  but I will also be exhibiting Somerset Level work with South West Textile Group www.southwesttextilegroup.org. - an exhibition called 'Imprints" at the Museum of Somerset in Taunton in the fall. Through Our Hands, www.throughourhands.co.uk is another realitively new group which is making waves in the textile world with a wonderful e-magazine and online profile (also an exhibition gallery at Festival of Quilts this year).   

A very exciting time for Art Textiles in the UK, at the moment and I am so fortunate to be part of it all.  More about these groups and exhibitions wil follow.  

What I am sharing today is some starting points for 'The Sewing Machine Project" with Studio 21. You can see images of our past exhibition 'Chineses Whispers' and members work on  www.stuido21textilart.co.uk

We are a group of textile artists with very diverse styles who are graduates of the Diploma in Stitched Textiles from East Berkshire College, Windsor.  We are having an exhibition at South Hill Park, Bracknell later in the year and I hope to share some of my own work in progress in this blog.  

 We have been inspired by the sewing machine - the history of making and everything from bits and pieces to sewing machine parts and beyond. My colour inspired by Husqvarna green.  I always start with sketchbooks... for me a way of making marks, recording information and just getting 'into' the flow of a new subject.  I love wax resists on brusho painted paper as well as bold marks with the paint brush, and pen.  Something will come of this I think.  I already have done a sewing sample, so watch this space. Inspiration from monoprints will be next.

On another note.....

I might need some feedback here.... Would there be interest in some simple techniques and design sharing on this blog.  Definitely not an online course, but frequent exercises, mini challenges to try?  These would be based mostly on surface paper techniques, sketchbooks, line and mark making with perhaps some composition thrown in.  Please leave a comment if you think it might be a consideration  I know those of you reading this are probably very busy with your own work, but as I write this post (and I am hoping to do this on a regular basis) I could include a pdf or two. .....Just a thought.

Thanks for reading

Facebook challenge continued

I managed the next 3 days for the Facebook Artist's Challenge and it has been fun. I don't usually go into facebook on a daily basis but I certainly did see some fantastic work this week. Pieces by familiar textile artists I know, and others that I did not.  I am not great for sharing my personal life on social media but this exchange of creative work is fantastic.  There was one post that I am passing on to you - a video on Delia Salter's page, and it is worth a look.  

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=373297139473500

Now for the remaining images in the last few days - it was fun going through current and not so recent work (everything I posted was done in the last 18 months).  

These were some little stitch collages done for the Open Studio week last October.  All are local landscapes from Lyme Regis and the top right image from West Bay (of BBC Broadchurch fame)

These were some little stitch collages done for the Open Studio week last October.  All are local landscapes from Lyme Regis and the top right image from West Bay (of BBC Broadchurch fame)

A Seawhite accordian style sketchbook full of Somerset Flooded levels inspiration and marks.  Many of these pages have already been developed into new work.

A Seawhite accordian style sketchbook full of Somerset Flooded levels inspiration and marks.  Many of these pages have already been developed into new work.

And for Day 5 my latest Facebook contribution which is more of the Somerset inspiration - collograph prints that have been developed already with more to come. Thanks for reading and please comment if you would like.   my other ArtSpace blog     www.sandrameech-art.blogspot.com  will cover some similar information but the real focus for news will gradually come over to this site. Watch this space.

And for Day 5 my latest Facebook contribution which is more of the Somerset inspiration - collograph prints that have been developed already with more to come.

Thanks for reading and please comment if you would like.  

my other ArtSpace blog     www.sandrameech-art.blogspot.com  will cover some similar information but the real focus for news will gradually come over to this site.

Watch this space.

Hope this is all working

Loving this ability to tap into my own website and upload as I please.  I hope it is getting out there.  I was grateful to Liz at http://www.websitedesignforartists.com/ for all her help over the last 10 years and would highly recommend it to any textile artist who would like to have their own website in the future.  I personally think a web profile is essential these days and blogs are very good in a different way.  I am not so busy with social media (I spend enough time on the computer with photo editing and email) but try to visit facebook regularly.  

I have risen to the latest challenge for 3 pieces of Art for 5 days on Facebook and enjoy seeing so many wonderful creative pieces on board. I really did join Facebook in the early days for the textile friends, but it is so busy now with EVERYTHING that is 'out there' at the moment, there is a lot to take in !!  Anyway I am on day two of my art textile submission and here they are, if you are intereested.

Day 1 - You will have seen these images in the website Gallery but they are current so thought for the facebook challenge they could work well. 

Day 1 - You will have seen these images in the website Gallery but they are current so thought for the facebook challenge they could work well. 

This was Day 2 and some previous but current work on the theme of the 'last silence' - the drawings and marks began the journey, with a 3D sculpture and wall hung piece to follow.

Thanks for reading and if this blog is being seen.... I would really love to know.

 

Welcome to my new website

After many years with the same website, I have decided to make a change

This piece will be developed further for the South West Textile Group's Imprints exhibition at the Musuem of Somerset, Taunton.  It was from a collograph inspired by a local landscape - Glastonbury Tor and the layers of stone beneath which was part of an inaland sea..... thus the amonite. 

I really hope to be more pro-active with this blog and keep you fully up to date with inspirations, events and new work.  I will be in several exhibitions in 2015 and busy making new pieces now, so watch this space.  Soon the website will be on www.sandrameech.com but for now you can find me on  www.sandra-meech.squarespace.com 

It's been awhile

Life has been full and very busy this summer so apologies for not keeping up with the news.
I was happy to be invited to have a solo exhibition during July August and September at the Minerva Gallery in Llanidloes, Wales and it was super to see my Arctic and Beyond work all in one place.
The whole body of work began with my trip to Arctic Canada in 1998 to visit the Inuit seamstresses in Baker Lake.  Seeing this textile did take me back to a wonderful inspirational trip. It created and interest in ice, snow, and glaciers that I continue to constantly revive.

I was also very pleased to have a solo exhibition at Midsomer Quilting, a wonderful shop, and gallery space in Chilcompton in Somerset.  Worth a visit if you are in this part of the country.  It also gave me an opportunity to see again some favourite pieces from the past.... some from the 'Within 4 Walls' series, and work done based on endangered trees and forests.  It is always good to see the work done in the past to appreciate how one's work has evolved over the years.  These are two pieces I hadn't seen for several years and they brought back wonderful memories.  On the left a Scottish/Canadian piece and the right 'Remembering Cabot' from a visit to St. John's Nfld. to the Cabot Quilters group many years ago.

I can't forget the Festival of Quilts and I was busy there for several days, judging and helping on the Art Textiles Made in Britain stand.  Our show was called 'Identity' and was very well received (if I do say so myself)  I may have shared these photos, but here they are again.

You can see Louise Baldwin, Pauline Brown and Jenny Rolfe at the desk.  A promising first venture for the group.  My work in black and white inspired by an arctic walk and the sound of cracking ice.

The Latest news...
Taking a holiday in France in September was a chance to relax before the Somerset Open Studios.
I took part (with a painter, printmaker friend Vera Sheaf) in my home gallery/studio space for two weeks.  It was my first venture and it was very interesting to meet non textile people.  All of the work on show was new, smaller framed pieces based on the flooding earlier this year on the Somerset Levels.  This is a theme that is developing into a larger body of work.  Many of the smaller piece were developed from collographs that were manipulated, painted and finally transferred onto cloth for machine stitching.

You can see more of the work from the Open Studio on www.asomertonstudio.blogspot.co.uk

The above pieces were also at the South West Textile Group exhibition of 'Pathways' at the Ilminster Art Centre for most of this month.
That brings me up to current work.... 
Watch this space.. 
More developements from the Somerset Level floods are being done now.

Thanks for reading and will try and organise my blog time better in the future.





The Levels

What a winter we have had so far!   You may have heard about the flooding in many parts of the UK. - Somerset, Gloucestershire, the Thames valley and Surrey.  Somerton, where I live is on high ground, so no problems, but we are not far from 'the Somerset levels' where there has been terrific flooding since Christmas.  Acres and acres of farmland are still underwater, some villages are cut off and it will take months (of reasonable spring weather ) for life to completely get back to normal. On the sunny days we have had, I have tried to capture the beauty of these flooded fields, while always remembering the damage that has been done.

Working in black and white and neutral tones, I have been doing a great deal of sketching and mark making in graphite, ink and pencil, trying to capture the feeling of the landscape.  I can see many of these  images being taken further onto cloth with stitch.  A whole new body of work, I think. 

Watch this space

Thanks for reading and will try and keep you posted more regularly in the future.

Season's Greetings

 So, why has it taken me so long to write another entry??  Well.... no excuse, except to say life has been busy and full of good things.
Seems to me the last time I wrote we were off to Yorkshire for a holiday.  It was great and it seems so long ago I won't bore you with all the wonderful photos of the Dales.  I did get my piece for the Studio 21 'Chinese Whispers' finished and we had a super exhibition in October.
Here are some of the photos from South Hill Park...  Watch this space - we are seeking more venues in the UK at the moment.  Our website for more information is   http://www.studio21textileart.co.uk/

  My 'Design Essentials' course is now happening! 

 It will be about understanding good design and composition for stitched textiles.

The classes will run from 1 March in 5 sessions (with homework) Although not a vocational course it will be a comprehensive guide to good composition for art quilts and stitched textiles.  We will be exploring the elements and principles of design. This will include ideas such as consolidating themes, working in series, the essentials of line, shape, form, colour, texture, abstraction through a series of collage exercises with some art practise, print and digital imagery.  For each session there will be a complete set of notes, demonstrations and exercises to follow and there will be some homework.
5 classes will run every 2 weeks on Saturdays
1st , 15th  and 29th March, and the 12th and 26th of April.  2014.  9.30am to 4pm 
at Midsomer Quilting, Norton Green Garden Centre, Chilcompton, Bath, BA3 4RR.   
Please contact me soon for fees if you are interested. Places are limited as booking has begun
sandrameech@gmail.com 
I do appreciate that it might be a distance for many, but Midsomer Quilting, where I am hiring the workshop, does have a list of accomodation nearby.     http://www.midsomerq.com

That is all for now, Christmas is coming and it is a busy time for everyone.  
Have a great holiday and I wish you and your family all the very best in 2014.

Thanks for reading......





Summer

Summer Update
I've been busy working in my new studio and quite excited with some new developments.  While sorting through old portfolios I came across some large paintings on paper that might find their way into some new work.  It is surprising that over the last 15 years, I have revisited my love of blues and whites with textures in many different series of work.  Most have been ice/Arctic inspired, but more recently I have been addressing global warming and sound.  The Meltdown work you can see in the New Work part of this blog.
Although working at this time more in black and white, with limited colour, I am sure these images might find their way into some new pieces.   Once I have a good jpg of any surface art, there are so many possibilities.
Lately, I have been exploring sound and silence with some pieces that are being developed for a new exhibition by Studio 21 called Chinese Whispers 14-27 October at South Hill Park near Bracknell, Berkshire.  http://www.studio21textileart.co.uk/  for details.
Some of the work is a collaboration with other members work, but primarily my work will follow sound 'marks' and inspiration from sound waves.  I begin by working in paper with line, paint and imagery to resolve the composition on a small scale, then look at creating surfaces that will be eventually machine stitched.  Here are some explorations so far.
Watch this space......
 Stay tuned also for news of a SALE of quilting materials, books, embroidery cottons and threads at my home in Somerton, Somerset on the 2nd November.  I have so much material accumulated over the years, it is the time to take stock (or eliminated some of it)...  More information to come.

We're off to the Yorkshire Dales soon for a week (probably in the rain) .... some walking, site seeing
(to Bradford for the Hockney and 'Cloth and Memory' exhibitions), some reading....and hopefully creative time for sketching and sewing.

Thanks for reading.............

High Summer
We have a lavender hedge now...it's been a hive of activity (excuse the pun)
Well it has been too long since I last wrote - still unpacking boxes and making my Studio a working space.  It will be fine but just so many things to find a home for.
We are still discovering wonderful places to visit in Somerset...  Porlock Weir, Dunster, and discovering new roads and footpaths in Exmoor.  I especially liked the isolation of Porlock Weir, the huge stretch of pebble beach....great textures and subtle colour (and a good pub).

 I really could show so many photos from the National Trust gardens we have been exploring in the last few months as well....  Barrington Court, Tintunhull, Montacute House to name a few.  But I won't. We all love to take pictures and I have just spent the last 2 days trying to sort the hundreds..or should I say thousands I have.  It is compulsive to just keep taking pictures.... I love it.!!!

Festival of Quilts was wonderful last week and I was pleased to be part of
Annabel Rainbow and Laura Kemshall's exhibition 'Through our Hands' with a great group of textile artists. The piece on the left is called 'Pathways' and it first was exhibited with Quilt Art a few years ago, but not seen much in the UK.  Still one of my favourite images of endangered forests.





I was also pleased to be selected for the Fine Art Quilt Masters at Festival.

The 'Last Silence' (above) is a very small piece of work which is a starting point for larger work in the future.  It is always a shame that the artist statement is not available (except if you have the program in your hand).  This piece was inspired by sound... or the lack of sound when I walked onto the frozen Baker Lake in Arctic Canada many years ago.  At the time I heard 'nothing' - no birds,planes overhead, ...nothing except for the occasional sound of cracking ice.  I was able to find the ice-crack sound waves and replicate them as a dimensional textile piece.  The other marks represent the tinitus that I hear now .... no complete silence for me ever again.  More work on this theme is being planned for the Studio 21 exhibition in October at South Hill Park, Bracknell.  I will be adding it to my latest news soon.

On the left is another new stitched textile inspired by winter flood images and marks from last winter on the levels in Somerset.
Coming to live in a different part of the country did inspire a lot of new photographs this winter and I loved the subtle colours of the trees.  It is called "LevelSlice' (far left with detail)  Marks on paper were made and combined with black and white images, then heat transferred onto cloth (it is 30cm x 1.2M) with the colour added with machine threads.

Well that's what has been keeping me busy lately.  I must try and post more frequently....
Off to the Yorkshire Dales soon..... more photos no doubt... and some sketching too.

Thanks for reading... until next time...


Alive and well and living in Somerton

It has been too long... apologies!!.  
Settling in nicely to life in Somerset and love our new home.  I still have boxes to unpack but have been managing to get really inspired by the landscape in this part of England.  So historic as well !!,  Very near to the ancient seat of Avalon... King Arthur and all, - Glastonbury and the 'tor', and Wells Cathedral - on the doorstep.  The Somerset levels are also very near.... a perfect blend of history, nature and the rural idyll of the west country.

Many of these wide landscapes and big skies have inspired some current work in black and white. The colours are so subtle in winter, yet the shapes of trees are  magnificent. Converting images to black and white is often the first thing I do with photos.  It is possible then to really see shapes and detail in black and white.  Too much colour for me sometimes gets in the way.
I am excited by a combination of mark-making and photo images, and this piece reminded me of the floods in many of the areas of Somerset and beyond this winter.  

Other Textile news....
After a little break from any work for the last couple of months, I am inspired and busy creating new pieces.  A recent exhibition called Chinese Whispers by Studio 21 at a stitch textile show in Birmingham at the NEC, gave me a chance to do a piece based on sound and ice.  Using some images and marks made to sound, I researched the sound waves of ice breaking and combined the shapes together to create this small piece called "The Last Silence".  I am excited about more pieces on this theme and the Studio 21 will be having a large exhibition in October at South Hill Park, Bracknell.  We are planning some workshops, and events during that time.  Watch this space for more news.

Finally, a wonderful view of the Murmuration of starlings a few weeks ago.  Just before dawn when they all flock to an area on the Somerset Levels to roost, you can see the moving patterns in the sky of thousands of birds.... the most wondeful sight.

Until next time.....                   Thanks for reading

The Final Countdown


West Dean 
For those of you who do not know this terrific residential venue for adult education courses, you must look at the new perspectus for 2012/2013 to see what wonderful creative classes are available.  I have just taught a 3 day class there and it is always a pleasure for me to enjoy the scenery and ambience of this stately home once again.  
The class was based on the new book Connecting Design to Stitch and we created a wonderful little book full of design and composition ideas on a personal theme.  Everyone brings something unique to a class with their own personal theme and interests and the results at the end of the course is always very individual and different.  It is great to see how work evolves from a photo design source as we looked at the elements and principles of design. http://www.westdean.org.uk/CollegeChannel/ShortCourses/RequestaBrochure.aspx  is the website - then look at the short course 2012/2013 pdf brochure for a wonderful selection of workshops.  I am teaching there again next spring.
         By working through line, shape, value, colour, pattern and texture in any one particular theme or focus – dozens of potential ideas can emerge.  Only a small number might be appropriate to the essence of the subject but by working through several compositions, it is possible to see a series of pieces begin to emerge.  It is always so exciting to see this evolve in sketchbook form – a little treasured compilation of different ways forward for new work. Here is a selection of work done in class – I am very excited about this class and will teaching it again soon.
wonderful work done by the ladies on the course

Surrounded by boxes.
Well the MOVE is happening very soon and we shall be in Somerton by the 2nd October (all being well).  Moving house in the UK is certainly a very frustrating process and somehow with all the technology today…email, downloadable files etc.  you would wonder why the whole procedure has to be so lengthy.  Until this ‘exchange’ of contracts happens you are in ‘limbo’.  Thankfully we had started to pack several weeks ago.  Very necessary with all of my art and textiles and 22 years of ‘life’ accumulated in Binfield, Berkshire.  I have given, donated, parted with as much as I can and there are still more and more boxes to fill.  It seems endless.  I definitely wouldn’t want to do this too often.
Views of Somerton and our new home. 
Somerton seems a lovely small town, south of Glastonbury and Street (Clark’s Outlet village) and the lovely countryside of Somerset.  Can’t wait.  There is a very active Studio and Arts week - SAW (the Somerset Arts Weeks) http://www.somersetartworks.org.uk/ which is on now until end of the month.   The Courthouse Gallery which is home of the Somerset Guild of Craftmen is located in the Market Square in Somerton – just 5 minutes away.  http://www.somersetguild.co.uk/courthouse.cfm
I will be quite close to the A303 and not far from the M5, so travelling won’t be too difficult.  Just further from London, which shouldn’t be too bad, as bus and train services are good. Once settled, I look forward to getting back to some new work.  Several pieces already started, have been put on hold. 

A possible new course for 2013 
My plan in the new year is to introduce an online 'Design Essentials' course (design and composition for stitched textiles) in 10-12 instalments - with homework involved.  There will be one or two 'face to face' visits and tutorials (when possible) during the program, but for the most part it will include online presentations with coursework as pdf files which will, with your own design and composition exercises create a wonderful resource for future stitched textile work.  The course will include some of the feature workshops and classes in my latest book, taken further with more possibilities.   I am very excited about the prospect… so,  watch this space.

I have a welcome reprieve from packing and travelling to Lancashire for a course I am teaching at Alston Hall for 3 days next week, then the MOVE.
Until then…. Thanks for reading.
Sandra

Where has the Summer gone?

A wonderful stretch of beach in Ontario..... can you believe how white the sand is?
My feet haven't touched the ground all summer - Tell a lie.... I did watch plenty of wonderful Olympic coverage in a seated position and.... wasn't it wonderful.  Team GB (and  I am entitled to cheer for Britain after 35 years living here), did fantastically well and worth all of the accolades and gold medals for all of their years of hard work.  They did us proud! Of course my next favourite team was Canada, and although we had a very British coverage did manage to catch some victories.

Despite the miserable cool and wet summer here in the England, it was a very busy time for me teaching and getting ready to move house....More about that later.
Apologies for not being more frequent with my posts, and I promise in the future to add more news on a more regular basis.  I also want to include more design, composition, sketch and stitch hints for art textiles. So, watch this space.....

I had planned to share some pics and memories from a wonderful week in Halifax at the beginning of the summer, so this is long overdue.  I was teaching for the Canadian Quilters Association in Halifax, and although this happened back in June,  it was wonderful for me to visit this part of Nova Scotia for the first time, and combine it with a trip to see family in Ontario.  Here are a few photos - the dockside and 'Murphy's' - a great place for Lobster ( and oh .... did I have lobster) with my good friend Maggie Vanderweit who was also teaching for CQA.  What fun....  a great textile teacher.... and experienced lobster gormet... so the class continued.
A few glimpses of Halifax and work from one of the CQA classes
The students in my two workshops did some wonderful work... one of the classes was creating bound sketchbooks with design and composition exercises.  The CQA continue to have these wonderful residential conferences across Canada, giving so many quilters and those interested in art textiles a great opportunity to meet, exhibit and share ideas with friends AND visit new parts of the country.  Have a look at their website and see what is happening in quilting in Canada   www.canadianquilter.com.

Urchfont 2012

URCHFONT Summerschool
In July I had the opportunity to teach a summerschool for Sian Martin's Distance Learning program at Urchfont.  I hadn't been to this wonderful country house adult education centre in Wiltshire for many years and it was wonderful to be back again.  The class was about Digital Imagery in Stitched textiles and we learned about using personal themed images as a starting point for not only future design, but how to include transferred sections into contemporary work. Sadly, as the home and gardens are being sold in September, 'Urchfont' as we have known it over the years (stitched textile classes in adult education by some of the best embroiderers in the country) will no longer exist, but the memories, inspiration and creativity that came from these walls will be remembered for years to come. More information about Sian Martin's Distance Stitch Online program can be found on http://www.distantstitch.co.uk/
Stay tuned.....  More blog entries to come very soon - Information about my new book 'Connecting Design to Stitch' and a house move from Berkshire to Somerset.

thanks for reading.  




Spring travels



Early this year was the proof  stages of the new book 'Connecting Design to Stitch' and when it finally got to the printer, I could concentrate on other teaching and textile commitments. So, apologies for not updating this site.
In March I visited Puglia, Italy at the Masseria for Twisted Thread teaching 'Design to Stitch' to a great group of ladies from the UK, Israel and Italy.  We visited Polignano a Mer, a wonderful seaside town, - and Alberobello a world heritage site full of historic and regional buildings. The 'Truilli' houses in the whole town were an amazing site. Do you see the blue skies?  The light was wonderful and I wish I could have brought some of that weather home with me to the UK.

It was great to take photos again and what a wealth of different colours and textures to choose from. The spring blossom was a bonus.
The students did some fantastic work and we made bound art/sketchbooks filled with photos, design and collage ideas on their own personal theme.
I will have wonderful memories of that week in Italy - Must get back again to Puglia - there was so much to see.
On the home front - we have decided to move house - Somerset or Wiltshire, so in my spare time  I've been sorting through 16 years of accumulated textile and teaching materials in preparation for putting our house on the market. What a job....
Stay tuned...... and thanks for reading.


More News 2012

Here it is mid January - no snow....and the daffodils are just peeking through.  It may not last for long as it is meant to get colder soon. So far this year I have been involved with two exhibitions
The first was the winter exhibition of the Society of Designer Craftsmen at the Mall galleries in London and it was a big success.  It is always nice to see a small collection of one's work in such a good gallery space.  My 'Meltdown' series based on global warming was the work that featured this year.  This is some of the smaller pieces.  For more on this series look at 'My work' on the blog.
The other exciting exhibition that is on at the moment is 'Voices' - Quilt Art (the international group) of which I am a member.  It opened at Bovey Tracey, Devon at the Devon Guild of Crafts gallery last week and will be there until the end of February.  A wonderful location and well worth the visit.
http://www.crafts.org.uk/     or visit our website at    http://www.quiltart.eu/
We have produced another little gem of a book to accompany the exhibition.
Latest news -  
Connecting Design to Stitch class
There are still places left for the textile retreat in Puglia, Italy, sponsored by Creative Exhibitions (Festival of Quilts and the Knitting and Stitching shows, UK) http://www.twistedthread.com/
It will be 5 wonderful days in a superb setting - a villa in southern Italy. 
We will explore representational and abstract design, first in mixed media collage, then with fabric and stitch. Digital imagery, sketches, writing, painted paper and other surfaces will be explored in addition to wire form for dimension.  Many of the exercises will be compiled in a hand bound sketchbook for future reference.




Landscape Imagery in a stitched book, in Burgundy, France - in mid 9-15 September  
http://www.thereallybigdreamcompany.com  Taking inspiration from the local countryside as well as one's own personal theme, students will be creating a sketchbook and several stitch pieces learning about design and composition and using imagery and mixed media collage.  Sounds like fun!!   It will be a perfect time of year for great food and wine as well as creativity and inspiration.


Visit the workshop section on this site, for additional class information - 
I will be in Halifax, N.S, Canada for the Canadian Quilters Association conference end of May, Cowslip workshops, Launceston, Cornwall in July, and at the Distant Stitch Summerschool at Urchfont Manor, Wiltshire also in July. http://www.urchfontmanor.co.uk 
And don't forget to visit me at the Festival of Quilts in August, where I am introducing my new book Connecting Design to Stitch.


An exciting year ahead......     Thanks for reading.



Happy New Year - Never too late!!

It has been some time since I wrote last - Too many things happening and it's all good. Where to begin.
        A September trip to Ontario visiting family with side trips to Cape Cod, Princton NJ and Maryland to see friends has kept my computer busy with hundreds of photos.  So many, I just bought a 2TB hard drive to keep up.  Many of the images I wanted to use for small stitch compositions.
Images from Cape Cod and a stitched textile inspired by our visit.     
 The biggest news is writing a new book ' Connecting Design to Stitch' (Batsford - August 2012) and it has been my main focus for the last 2-3 months.  It will address design and composition through the eyes of a stitched textile maker- not just for contemporary quilters but embroiderers or anyone who loves fibre with mixed media and stitch. Similar to Connecting Art to Stitch, it will be full of wonderful pieces of work from international art quilters and embroiderers, composition collage exercises and design workshops.  Hopefully, something for everyone.  I will be at the Festival of Quilts in August (the NEC in Birmingham) with a small stand to introduce the book, so if you are in the UK and planning to attend, please come and see me.  
      One of the main sources of inspiration this time has been images from the Jurassic coast in Dorset - that 135 km stretch of ancient coastline.  Cliffs, beaches, boats and the sea  from West Bay to Lyme Regis feature often, and of course the classic fossil shape - the 'spiral' as it relates to the 'golden mean' - perfect proportion in nature. The 'rule of thirds' a simple version  of this, helps us to practise good composition in both fine art and wall hung stitched textiles.
Here is a glimpse some of the new work that will appear. Inspiration throughout the book will come from photo images based on a theme, world textiles, architecture, the landscape, nature and many more subjects of interest. 
Work from dozens of well known fibre and fine artists will be showcased in addition to my own latest art quilts and textiles. And... a  design class devoted to creating a stitch bound book, - full of great collage and composition exercises to try.
Apologies again for taking so long to write .....  Life overtakes....  I continue to teach, make and exhibit has kept me quite busy.
Look for another blog very soon with the latest news for the New Year.
Thanks for reading....