Thursday, 12 September 2013

A patch of blue sky

I dusted off my sewing machine (and I mean dusted!) for the first time in a very long time today, to patch and piece together the beginnings of a corner of blue sky.

I dyed the fabric in my usual haphazard 'chuck it in and see what happens' way at the beginning of the week and it just so happened that the resulting colour of the fabric perfectly matched this morning's sky.

Now, shall I add clouds, or shall I not?

Tuesday, 3 September 2013


Did you see this?

I think I posted it on Facebook, maybe not here.  But this is what the bottom of our garden looked like a few weeks ago.  Very green, overgrown, and not much space for anything.  The poor old garden has been rather neglected while I was doing my degree (and, if I'm honest, for a while before that, I'm not much of a gardener at the best of times, and the summers have been so miserable for so long I rarely had any desire to go out there... )

Today we have this.

There is still more to do, the buddleia on the right needs to come out along with various other shrubs, and beyond that there is an apple tree that needs a serious haircut once we've picked the apples (a bumper crop again this year!).  Behind me is a pile of hedge trimmings that need to be carted to the tip, but believe me, it is less than a quarter the size of the pile that was there.

Maybe, just maybe, there will be space for a shed...

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

The other side

Last week we spent a few days over on the east coast in Scarborough.  The light and the general feeling of the coastline over there are markedly different from here in the west; sometimes it's a bit too bracing for someone like me who is used to the gentle west coast air, but last week the weather was lovely.

We spent one morning at Saltwick Bay just south of Whitby.  We were dodging the rain showers, but in between the showers the light, the moody skies and the colours of the land and sea were just beautiful.

Black Nab

Behind the nab is the mysterious wreck of the 'Admiral von Tromp'.

Looking a bit like the bones of an ancient creature laid out on the beach.

It is rusting rather beautifully.

We all spent quite a lot of time looking down at the ground; some of us were searching for fossils, but I was fascinated by the patterns that the tide had made with hundreds of little pieces of slate all carefully positioned on end.

I shall definitely be going back to visit again!

Saturday, 17 August 2013

TX Creative Textiles Exhibition

The annual TX Creative Textiles exhibition is now on at Castle Park Arts Centre in Frodsham, and, as usual, it is well worth a visit.  This year the group worked with a local group of published poets and each selected a poem or part of a poem as the starting point for their work; resulting in a wide variety of excellent work.

The exhibition is on until 15th September, so plenty of time to catch it yet.  If you are travelling a distance to visit, please bear in mind that the centre is mainly staffed by volunteers so call ahead to make sure all is well.  You can find opening hours and contact details on their website here.

Wednesday, 31 July 2013


I took this rather lovely thing out of the kiln on Monday.  It was quite cool to the touch and survived being cleaned up with no problem.  But the kiln shelf underneath must have been warmer than I thought and the sudden change in temperature shocked the glass; because as it has been sitting on the desk beside me, every so often I hear little 'tching' noises as it has gradually started to crack... you can see the biggest crack in the bottom left hand corner but there are others all up that side. Aah, the joys of working with glass!

So this piece is destined to be used in a 'what if' type experiment.

Whereas the piece below is from a different firing and is behaving itself; at least I managed to get one piece finished and framed up.  Better go and cut up some more glass!

Saturday, 20 July 2013

And the sea glass is on

The internet has been behaving today so no more crawling around on the floor (I am informed it was off at 2am but since I am generally asleep then I'll let it off...)

So I had a nice peaceful afternoon stitching the sea glass pieces on.  I do like to see the little rectangles all lined up like this; maybe I should do a collection of them on a canvas or in a frame some time, what do you think?

But this lot were destined to be cards.

I think some will be going out to a local shop, and I just need to find time to photograph the rest so I can list them in my etsy shop.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Slow Progress

They look a bit more interesting now, don't they?  I had hoped to spend a peaceful afternoon stitching on fragments of sea glass but instead I spent the time on the phone to our internet service provider, and crawling around on the floor connecting this and disconnecting that... it seems to have worked, I'm posting this after all, fingers crossed!

And the sea glass will still be waiting for me tomorrow.

Monday, 15 July 2013


I've had a little run on my seashore art cards during this last week or so.  And the lovely thing is, I actually have time to make some more!  The process is a bit longwinded but I do enjoy it.  So on my table today are...

They're all a bit samey at the moment but that will soon change.

I've also had time to stock up on a few of my silk and wire hearts, now available here; the red ones have been out of stock for ages, but no more!  Here they are, hanging up to dry.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Things I might have time for now...

Looking out
  1. Walking on the beach (instead of creating work about it)
  2. Catching up with all the people I've promised to have coffee with when it was all over
  3. Teaching my boys to cook something more adventurous than bacon sandwiches and omelettes (although they do make a mean bacon sandwich and omelette, and most excellent chocolate muffins)
  4. Reclaiming the garden from the wilderness it has become (more on that later...)
  5. Making myself a dress (I've had the fabric for ages)
  6. Walking to the local independent shops instead of making evening runs to the supermarket in the car
  7. Finishing off the myriad repair and re-decoration tasks which have been on hold for the last 4 years
  8. Housework (just a little bit, I'm not going to break the habit of a lifetime and go overboard on it!)
  9. Trying out all the creative ideas I've had to put on the back burner during the course of the degree
  10. Building a business!
I've had my post show slump - which seems to have been much shorter than I expected, maybe the good weather has helped - and I'm looking forward to the future!

Saturday, 6 July 2013

I've finished!

Finished my degree that is... apologies for the complete lack of blogging over the last few weeks but it had to go, along with cooking, laundry, in fact any housework at all, and even, at times, sleeping.

Am I glad I did it?  Yes.  Am I glad it's over?  YES!

So here are some pictures of my final collection of work.  They're not the most brilliant photographs, I seem to have created work that is camera shy, but I've done my best to capture it and please take my word that everything looks better in real life!

There are more pictures over on my new website.  And normal blogging service should be resumed here shortly...

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Drawing the horizon

I'm still plugging away, firing more and more glass strips.  I laid out all the ones I'd done so far this morning.

It's getting there, but not quite what I want yet.  I lined them all up a bit better and added the prints for the next sets of strips to the end and it began to look a bit more like it...

Laying the strips nice and straight rather than a bit haphazard made quite a difference; it's something I'm going to have to take into consideration when I'm fixing them all together.

(Apologies for the poor photographs, it's not easy to find the space to lay them all out, impossible to find somewhere with good lighting as well!)

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Today's post is brought to you by the letter R

In June I will be taking part in the de-junk, re-junk! exhibition of art made from... junk, of course! The exhibition brings together a variety of work from Merseyside based artists and this year it is at the Willliamson Art Gallery in Birkenhead.

The exhibitors are busy making new signs for the exhibition and I have been allocated the letter 'r'. I have to make 2 'r's, one 'subtle' one, and one 'bright' one; there is not much time left so this weekend I decided I really needed to get on with them.

This morning I took my first r out of the kiln...

It is made from strips cut from a stack of old picture frame glass and I'm really rather pleased with the way it has come out; it was worth all the cleaning!  Glass has to be scrupulously clean when it goes into the kiln and using old glass which has been knocking around in someone's loft or garage for a while does mean an awful lot of cleaning.  Now I just need to figure out how I am going to attach it to a backing board...

So that's my 'subtle' r; this afternoon I made a start on my 'bright' r using plastic carrier bag strips.

It's a bit further on now but it will certainly be keeping me occupied for the next few evenings!

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Something completely different...

Towards the end of April, as part of our course, the final year students will be creating a pop-up gallery/shop in Wrexham, and we are tasked with stocking it with lovely things at affordable prices.  Since the glass  pieces I have been working on are somewhat experimental I wasn't sure that they would be suitable (or finished!) so I have gone back to my first love, textiles, and combined it with my second love, printmaking.

I've used various scraps of trim and edgings, some vintage, some reclaimed and some just 'spare', to make a series of collagraph plates.  It's a great way to use pieces that are too small for much else, and even pieces that are falling apart; they can be 'repaired' when they are glued to the  plate.  All you need to remember when you're making the plates is that you can ignore the colour and just concentrate on the texture.

My idea was to create printed backgrounds from the trims onto which I could add 'real' pieces of trim.  I originally thought I would ink the plates in a brown colour to give that vintage feel, but I didn't really like the results, even the palest colour seemed to overpower the delicate pattern and texture.

So I decided to stick to blind embossing, which is a much quicker and cleaner process without the ink, better all round!  I've been having fun 'auditioning' buttons from my button tin and scraps of trim from my ribbon box and I have finally made some decisions and sewn a few on...  I'm struggling to decide which is my favourite.  What do you think?

The paper size for these prints is just under A5; I think the size works well with the scale of the elements.  I am wondering whether to do some A4 sized ones as well or whether the extra 'bits and pieces' needed to fill the space will make them look too cluttered.

When I'm embossing I nearly always have a few disasters where either the plate or the paper moves and the whole thing ends up crooked.  There's nothing really that can be done with those prints except tear them up, which is ideal for making cards.

I was so pleased with these cards that I made a couple more prints on scraps of paper just so I could make some extra for my Etsy shop; I'll be listing them just as soon as I get some decent photographs.

And if you're anywhere near Wrexham during the week 22nd to 26th April, do pop along to the People's Market to see what other lovely things we have on show.

Sunday, 31 March 2013

A beautiful day for a walk

After the snow, the weather has been cold and so bright it has given me a headache.  Today I remembered to take my sunglasses when we went out and felt much better.  The light was so bright and clear that all the colours seemed saturated; I haven't done anything to the colours of these photos.  Apologies if you're getting bored of pictures of the beach!

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Progress and Setbacks

Since I posted about finding a technique I wanted to explore, I had a bit of a setback.  I did a series of experiments and made various samples and, all of a sudden, it stopped working.  Cue a mild attack of panic and a series of unsuccessful experiments, followed by a quiet afternoon trying to remember what on earth, what tiny, seemingly insignificant thing, I had done differently before. Fortunately it dawned on me, I had an anxious day waiting for the test kiln firing to finish, but it worked... phew!

So I've been putting together some little glass-and-wire fences.  Or maybe trees.

The next issue to sort out was the wire; the first one I used broke when it was twisted tightly. The next one was a bit flimsy;  although I do want to channel broken down fences, not so much that I can't get the thing to stand up at all...

On to the next wire; this one is quite a bit thicker and I did think it might be too thick, but I'm pleased with the way it has turned out.  The pieces have a nice sturdy feel to them and I do like the black colour of the wire.  Although I might attack it with a little salt and vinegar and see what happens...

And so, on to the next challenge, to sort out the image printed on the glass.  Currently it's a bit too 'all over' for my liking.


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