Sunday, 27 November 2011


No time for blogging lately I'm afraid, for I have been gadding around too much.

First I went to see the Lost in Lace exhibition at the Birmingham Museum and Art Galleries.  Oh, it was wonderful to see so many large pieces displayed in such a big airy space.  I recommend absolutely everyone to go and see it if you possibly can; I'm hoping to go again.

Cosmos Series by Naomi Kobayashi 2011
For many of the pieces the shadows seemed to me to be an integral part.

The Birmingham Museum and Art Galleries is a rather lovely place too; upstairs from Lost in Lace were pieces from the Staffordshire Hoard, beautifully detailed pieces of Anglo-Saxon gold work.  And a very nice restaurant too.

A couple of days after that I was fortunate to be able to attend a workshop and talk given by textile artist Matthew Harris.  The talk was a fascinating insight into his inspiration and way of working and it was lovely to see pieces of his work 'in the flesh' too.  Textile work really does lose something when you only see it in photographs. 

In the afternoon we worked with abstract drawings, folding and tearing them to create new designs.  I seemed to end up quite mappy again, at least in the piece on the left - some little scraps of collagraph prints have crept in there too.  It was a great way of working; all in all the day was very inspiring.

And last but not least I took my son down to London to see the Gerhard Richter exhibition at the Tate Modern.  Wow!  Another absolutely stunning exhibition, well worth a visit.  Son was so taken with it that I treated him to a large and expensive poster, and he is now redecorating his room to make it a suitable place to hang it!!!  How I wish I had thought of this before...

But I think I shall stay home for a while now...

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Seashore ACEOs

Since I enjoyed stitching onto my collagraph prints I was inspired to do a bit more hand stitching.

I found 5 Seashore ACEO backgrounds that I'd made ages ago and never stitched, and decided to finish them off.  I made quite a few of these a while back - I have a whole set of them over on my flickr if you'd like to browse, most of them have gone off to new homes now.  I checked and the last time I actually made any of these was in February 2009 so they are a bit of a rarity!

I've finished 3 already...

Seashore ACEOs

and I have another 2 lined up ready to go...

Seashore ACEOs - work in progress

That's it for the backgrounds already made.  I've found the stitching very relaxing so I hope it won't be another (nearly) 3 years before I have time to make more. But then there are so many things I want to do and so few hours in the day...

These ones will be appearing in my hypsela shop on Etsy over the next few days.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Red threads

Red thread on collagraphSometimes ideas take a long time to crystallize. I knew when I first starting making collagraph prints that I wanted to stitch into them, but the question was, how? I tried stitching into a couple but I wasn't particularly pleased with the results, so I left the idea for a while.

So I was leafing through my pile of test prints the other day mulling over a friend's suggestion that I should use them to make cards. They are really too big to use on a card as they are so I chose one and tore it into quarters.

And then... I thought, what these really need is a bit of red stitching. So out came the red thread, and then a collection of vintage shirt buttons, and this is what I ended up with.

I quite like them arranged together like this on a plain canvas.  I've realised that the reason the print fragments shouted 'red stitching' at me is that they really remind me of little map fragments and of course the red stitched lines are footpaths.  I'm not so sure about the why of the shirt buttons though, nice places to have lunch perhaps??

Anyway, after dithering for a while I decided to stick with my original idea and use the stitched fragments for cards.  I'll be listing them in my hypsela shop on Etsy starting later on today.

Red thread on collagraph cards

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Christmas Posting

I'm trying not to think about it but I really can't bury my head in the sand any more... Christmas is nearly here.  If you are thinking of buying from any of my shops for Christmas presents, please don't leave it too late.

Seascape Handwoven Tapestry Brooch Original Collagraph Print
Mixed Paper Journal Seashore Art Notebook

The last order dates for my customers outside the UK are:
  • Saturday 3rd December
    South & Central America, Caribbean, Africa, Middle East, Asia, Far East (including Japan), Australia and New Zealand
  • Tuesday 6th December
    Eastern Europe, USA and Canada
  • Saturday 10th December
    Western Europe
But do please be aware that even if you order by these dates your purchase is not guaranteed to reach you by Christmas (although it probably will, I don't want to sound too negative here!)  Parcels can be delayed for all sorts of reasons outside anyone's control, not least the weather.  So, the sooner you order the better!

For my UK customers, I will be closing my shops for a much needed Christmas break on Friday 16th December and my last posting date will be Saturday 17th December.  So make sure you get those orders in before I shut up shop!

flower loom kit Flower Hairband Plum Fizz
Flower Brooch in Wine Red Ribbon 3 Rosebud Pink Flowers

Wednesday, 2 November 2011


I have been madly busy this week trying to get on with the practical part of our first assignment of the term.  Between a team of us we have to produce an 8 place table setting.  That's 8 of everything.  I'm making plates.  8 of them.

I have been working my way through the casting process I want to use, finding out what works and what doesn't.  It's quite a long winded process; first make a clay form of the plate...

Platemaking - clay form

...then make a plaster mould of the clay form, carefully clean out all the little bits of clay left behind and wait several days for it to be dry enough to use.

Platemaking - plaster mould

Drill the base of the mould full of holes to let the air escape during casting, and place in the kiln. Cut 2 circles of glass and place in the mould in the kiln. Cook overnight, keeping fingers crossed. And if I'm very lucky the result will be a glass plate with no lumpy bubbles (glass is so hard to photograph)...

Glass plate

Glass plate

Glass plate

Repeat. With a bit of luck, and if it is not moved, a mould can be used 2 or 3 times before it really starts to crumble.

2 down, 6 to go!

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

First bundle

First bundles

My bundles are looking pretty good, a much darker colour than I expected to get. And while they didn't smell too good while they were simmering away (a bit cabbagey) they smell lovely now, the essence of autumn distilled. The dark colour may be due in part to the fact that I had used the pan for tea dyeing in the past and it is pretty well impregnated with tea.

I've managed to last a week before opening one... I chose the second from the left to unwrap - I just had to open one of them to see what had happened!

This one is a strip of old sheeting.  Here are the leaves that came out of it - no longer the lovely dark red they were!

First bundle unwrappedAnd this is the result, hanging up to dry after rinsing in cold water. I am absolutely thrilled with it!  There are lovely rich browns, quite a bit of yellow which doesn't show too well in the photograph, and even some pinky bits.  And some nice patterning where the thread was wrapped round it too.

It will be interesting to see how much of the colour stays when it dries and whether it fades quickly or not.

I'm leaving the others a bit longer... not sure quite how long before I can't resist opening them!

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

A new project

I know, I must be mad starting something new... but I am thinking ahead because I will need a project to show with my textiles group and I am trying not to be too last minute this year!  Our theme is 'Collections' and it seemed to me to be the perfect opportunity to try something I have been thinking about for a while.

I have been dying cloth for my embroidery with tea for a long time but I first became interested in dying cloth with other natural materials when I was making my vegetable paper.  I noticed that the brighter vegetables stained the pressing cloths, and some colour remained even after washing.  And sometimes when I re-used the washed cloths the vegetable colour in the cloth would affect the colour of the new vegetable paper, so the veg dyed the cloth which in turn dyed the veg...  A little while later I discovered India Flint and was completely awestruck by her work, if you don't know of her do go and check it out.

So I am going to do a series of experiments, bundling cloth with natural materials and other things that I collect (the shoreline turns up some interesting bits of rusty metal at times...).  Cooking it, leaving it, maybe even burying it, I'm not expecting spectacular results, I'm just interested to see what happens.  The bundles will be a personal record of my year.  And since the best thing I can do with my bundles is be patient and leave them alone I hope the project will fit in with the madness that is my life at the moment!

I've started with a few leaves picked up in my local park, wrapped in some well worn upcycled cotton sheeting, some butter muslin and a piece of my wedding dress silk (what do you mean it's not normal to cut up your wedding dress?!)

They simmered away for a couple of hours in some (rather murky) rainwater in an old aluminium pan which I'm sure must have come from my grandmother, if not even from her mother. And now I shall leave them for a while. I wonder how long I can manage before I can't resist opening at least one little bundle?

And, I had some lovely roses for my birthday last week.

It would be a shame to let all those leaves go to waste... I'm not sure if the petals will do anything, but no harm in trying!

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

I'm still here!

Yes, I know, I haven't even managed a once-a-week post since term started, let alone once-or-twice...  I was hit by an unexpected bout of exhaustion last week, I don't think it had anything to do with the start of term, more likely I was fighting off a bug of some sort.  But the timing could have been better!

I am getting back into the swing of things now, and my timetable is a little easier/more flexible this year too.  Although of course the one evening when I am likely to be home late is the one evening when the boys have to eat early - but it's good for them to have to fend for themselves sometimes!

I don't have much to show you yet, have made some plaster moulds but they're not all that exciting!  I've been catching up on various jobs at home today including photographing some bits for listing in my hypsela shop.  There are a couple more of my collagraph prints

The View from Here II

The View from Here IV

and something new, a couple of ACEOs. I was aiming for an 'ancient seaside postcard' look...

ACEO Seaside Postcard 1

ACEO Seaside Postcard 2

They were a development from the design work I did for the collagraph prints - I liked the technique and thought I would experiment further with it.  Although I do love the ACEOs, I think they might work better a bit bigger.  Maybe some 'actual' postcard size ones, or greetings cards?

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Summer's End

Summer is definitely over here... I shall be going back to my degree course next week and won't that feel strange after such a long break.  Almost like starting all over again... without having to do fresher's week though, which is a definite advantage... Freshers week: the definition of how to make your mature students feel really really old and out of place!

So, I won't be blogging anywhere near as often.  I am aiming for once or twice a week, we shall see how I do!

For this last week before my life is turned upside down again I am having a last stab at decluttering... of course I haven't finished all of what I had aimed to do over the summer but I've made good inroads, so I won't beat myself up about it.  Plus I've made a useful addition to my uni fees fund by selling my Liberty fabric stash!  The bookcases are coming along but I am going to have to sand down the first one and repaint it having decided that non-drip gloss paint and books are never going to live happily together.  The paint is still sticky after all these weeks.

And as you can see, I am still dealing with apples... I have made apple cake, and stewed blackberry and apple for crumble and the freezer, and blackberry and apple jam, and chutney (with apples in), and today I am stewing plain apple for a change.  Phew!  I am determined not to let so many go to waste this year, usually they rot faster than I can use them.  My task has been made more difficult by the bumper crop though, and it has been difficult to give them away because everyone else has had a bumper crop too!

And for these last few days I shall be trying to spend less time on the computer and a bit more time enjoying the unexpectedly lovely weather.

And cooking apples.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Folksy Friday

Moody blues and greys found on Folksy... hover over the image for more information; click to go direct to the Folksy listing.

Maggie Jones enamels David Barber Pottery
Candyfloss Beledien

And... my last Sunday's Etsy treasury is on the UK Etsy front page today... thrilled! Thank you Etsy!

Thursday, 22 September 2011

My creative space - tiny weavings again

Since I cut them free from the frame, these tiny weavings have been waiting for me to do something with them.  So, finally, the blue one has been turned into a brooch with seaglass accents.  To me, it looks like a seascape with little seaglass 'islands'.  I'm going to find it hard to part with this one...

And the pinky-brown one is well on its way to becoming another brooch, with the addition of a couple of vintage buttons.

They will both be turning up in my shop soon.

See what other people have been doing in their creative spaces here.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

New stuff

I've been photographing new stuff for both my shops today!

I have some new flower colours - the first for a while.  I've made some in lime green - I love lime green, I don't know why I haven't done it before!  And also some of the bigger flowers in a pretty coral pinky-red, one of the colours for the season, apparently!  They look rather good together too!  I'll be listing them in my Etsy and Folksy ffflowers shops over the next couple of days.

New ffflowers - coral and lime

And I've listed the first of the prints that are left after the exhibition in my hypsela shop.  There will be a few more to come as well.

original collagraph print

And I will be listing some new brooches too - pictures of those will have to wait until tomorrow I think!

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

End of the Day

Its been another grey day here but the evening has been an improvement - here's hoping for better tomorrow!



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