Saturday, February 28, 2009

Expensive beads

On Thursday I played hookey from work and went down to London to see Julie aka Floribunda. We went to Borough market which sells food but I was delighted when three steps into it Julie shrieked, "Textiles!" and pounced. OK. It was teatowels and aprons but if you look carefully Textiles are everywhere like this piece hanging over a fish stall.

From there to Tate Modern which frankly is full of trash but I did like this painting by Chris Ofili which as Julie pointed out has an Irish Chain background. Then to lunch at Gabriel's Wharf and on to Liberty home to overpriced handbags and scarfs (our sample choices £650 and £216 respectively) but also to Liberty Lawn fabric.Not actually my taste but Julie went home with some. I was happily surprised not to be charged over the odds for the one skein of stranded cotton I parted with money for.

Then through the Carnaby Street area where we came to the shop which inspired the title of this post. A sale was on. These beads had to be bought. Bags raged from £0.55 to £0.80 and the fish were 10p each. Score.

Dinner was at Tas with Julie(centre) and Kate North (right) and her mother Kathy who took the photos. Sadly as I had a three and a half hour journey from Tas I had to scuttle away before desert. A nice day though.

Although, the next day I could not find my glasses. I had them on on the train because I was stitching and I was sure I hadn't left them there. I rang lost luggage to make sure. No glasses. We hunted all over the house and the car. Three times. Nothing. And since I had broken my spare pair, fast action was required. So, to the optician, where I bought a complete pair, got a free frame if I bought a second set of lenses and the optician kindly said they would mend my old ones for free. Then I came home and decided to tidy up. Including putting the beads away and... yup, you guessed ....there in the paper bag of beads - one pair of reading spectacles. I must have put them in there when I was showing the beads to Dennis. Why?No idea! But those sale beads... ended up costing me £189! Ah well.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Inspiration and productivity

On Friday I went to work at Fleetwood Magistrates Court. Fleetwood is not a photogenic place but en route we ( i.e me and Dennis the chauffeur) spied a sign for a glass studios and returned for a peek. The factory was not that interesting but I loved these quirky sculptures along the drive.

From there we headed up to Cumbria and had time to call in at Fairfield Mill in Sedbergh which houses tiny 'studios' ( inverted commas because some artists appear to work there, although none were in residence when we were there, others just use them as showcases) and displays as well as old looms and weaving information. Technically no photography is allowed but I persuaded them to let me take views from the end of the rooms.

Had my brand new camera been bought for the strength of its zoom lens and had I had an obsession with other people's sketchbooks and had I had a certain disregard for the rules I might have taken some closer shots of those books on the floor. But only for my own memory.

Today I found a bit of time to work on my last C&G Patchwork final piece. I need to do a container and the plan is to make a slip case containing a wallet inspired by each place we intend to visit on our Round the World Trip in November. The wallets will contain our notes and bookings confirmations etc on the way out and then brochures tickets etc as souvenirs when we return. The Hong Kong one is just getting its final touches. This is the first completed one: No prizes for guessing which country. but I wonder if you can guess what the outer cover is made from? It doesn't photograph that well so that should make it harder for you!

I like the beaded edge for decoration. It also helps extend the size the missing quarter inch that I accidentally did not make so it is now the same size as the Hong Kong One

Thursday, February 19, 2009

New look

I have never coloured my hair but as you will have noticed I decided to play with the blog tonight. It was one of those activities which was really good fun until about half way through. Despite tutorials from Brenda which refer to one from Carol Clasper, I still failed to add my own photo as a banner. I stalled at the instructions to create a photo of a certain size. This I did but it squeegeed the quilt blocks all up and it looked less like a New York Beauty than a Brooklyn Ugly Betty. Ah well.

No time for more now or indeed the next few days as I have to pack ready for a trip to Fleetwood for court then straight up Cumbria for lunch at the newly discovered ( by my parents at least) Llama Karma Kafe ( spelling is theirs) and then quilting. The good news is that in March my parents finally finally get broadband so maybe in the future these blog breaks won't be needed . I fear than having persuaded them to get it it now won't work well !

PS Later... just realised this is my 500th post. I guess at least unwittingly I did something to mark it even if it was nothing spectacular!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

New Course, new blog

I can't remember what I have already told you on this topic so let me start from the beginning.... I think you know that I have been doing the City and Guilds Certificate in Patchwork and Quilting for the last two and a bit years. I was very unhappy with the quality of the provider but do feel that I have learned a lot from doing the course - because it has inspired me to go off and learn from books/ online courses etc.

I felt that there was a lot more I could learn and that I could have done the earlier design parts of the course much better having seen the work of students from other providers. However, it is almost finished - the final exhibition is in July and I just have my container and a few odds and sods of samples to tidy up.

I then embarked on a huge debate with my myself as to what to do next

(a) nothing - just continue to learn from books
(b) the diploma in Patchwork and Quilting with another provider - which is maybe the natural follow on
(c) the same level qualification but in embroidery.

In the end I opted for the latter on the basis that it would give me a well rounded practical skills base for textile art and would enable me to repeat the design work thereby enabling me to solidify the rather shaky base I felt we got from the first course.

I chose to do it my distance learning rather than attendance with the same provider ( no point in compounding mistakes!) despite the cost being far more ( the main factor in the need for a debate with myself.) Having had a recommendation from Linda Kemshall ( with whose organisation I will do the diploma in quilting when I finish this second certificate, cash permitting) and having seen examples of their students work at the Embroidery Show in Harrogate, I chose to do it with Stitch Business based in Durham and run by Julia Triston and Tracy A Franklin.

I went up to see them in Durham a couple of weeks ago in their studios at Fowlers Yard and spent all afternoon chatting to them about the course and the portfolio of work I was asked to take up. Mostly they will email images and instructions but there are also three distance learner days in Durham per year. Initially I was told that these were voluntary but it has quickly become apparent that actually they are going to be quite vital!

I think it is fair to say that they are still getting to grips with having learners by distance but were clearly very keen to get it right and to modify their systems as they saw room for improvements. They have an on site class which works on a term basis and so I have started in the middle of a year. The plan is for me just to launch in and then come full circle at the end of the course finishing up where I came in. This was a little confusing at first but any questions have been amply answered by a quick telephone response to my emails and also by material being sent by email so I am not anticipating that the problems I had getting sensible answers to simple questions last time around will be repeated!

Now, obviously I want to share my course with you all. I asked sometime ago when I started an embroidery sampler whether you wanted me to separate out embroidery onto another blog and got a unanimous - NO! However, I have decided to ignore you all. Well, no not really. I shall blog here about the stories from the course, some of the more interesting pieces etc as you wanted me to. However, I have also set up a separate blog.

Why? Two reasons really - last week before I started working on my first tasks I wanted to get a feel of things by looking at other people's samples. So I turned to Google and realised that it was difficult to find things because people added them to blogs interspersed with tales about the dog and the snow or whatever and the search engine didn't really pick them up. So, in the assumption that other students or interested people out there might want a dedicated source of inspiration I decided to have a place where I could showcase every small sample, sketchbook etc. At least that is the idea.

Also I need to send my tutors images of my work and it seemed easier to do that via blog than email attachments . Plus my fellow distance learners can see what I am up to without ploughing through the lifestories they may not be interested in

If you are only interested in hearing how I am getting along generally, my likes, dislikes, and one or two key images ( like the ones of early samples included above) you need do nothing - all that will be right here.

If however you would like to see all my samples and see exactly what the course entails, ( and probably detail of where to get the products I used, book reviews etc) but without the chitchat you get here then you can subscribe to the new blog.It has a natty title for the search engine titles mentioned below which is ( wait for it!) City and Guilds Embroidery

If you have a passing interest on some bits but not others stick with this blog alone and I shall give you links to specific topics I think you should check out in more detail as I go along.

Clear?! Well maybe you could just this once go and have a look and see what you think!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Each to his own

Although he acted as bag drop at Quiltfest Dennis did not look at what I was buying ,preferring to read and listen to music on his MP3 and drink coffee. (Who says men cannot multi-task?) When we got home the rugby was about to kick off. Then he wanted to watch the cup draw. So by the time I got to show off all my pretty things I was fit to burst.

He managed to look fairly engaged at the perle threads and the sketchbooks. He was actually quite fascinated with the bead sticks. But, when I cane to explain how the Jones Tones glue was particularly recommended by Linda Kemshall for foiling techniques, he got a look. You know - a look.



"You've got a look."

"Well, its glue. I was just wondering how you can get excited about glue."
Then today the postman arrived. He came bounding upstairs all excited with his new book. A heavy tome with no pretty pictures of distressed chiffon at all. I read the cover. The Landmark of Thucydides - A History of the Peloponesian Wars.

"What? " he says.

"Nothing." He diappears and comes back with another hefty volume.

"Look, it's the sequel to The Landmark - Herodotus. The Histories. Igot them from New York. I'm really into the Pelopenesian wars now. What?"



"Ok. Fair point."

He really is excited though:

Quiltfest show photos

I arrived bright eyed and bushy tailed at Quiltfest only to discover that I had left the memory card for the camera in the laptop slot. Fortunately the new camera allows a limited number of photos to be stored to the camera itself. This is comforting as presumably I am not the only idiot to do this if they had to provide for that eventuality!
Here are four favourites of mine. The first three are all by Sandra Grusd and entitled respectively Conflagration, Burnout and Regeneration. They seemed particularly appropriate given the recent Victorian fires although these were inspired by fires in South Africa. Her description said that the centres of all three quilts were pieced in black and white before going through numerous dying and discharging processes. The border was pieced separately and when assembled the quilt was screenprinted and fused applique was added.

his is by C June Barnes and is called Spine Tingling - She says that it is part of a series inspired by backbones and an illustration for techniques in her Book Stitching to Dye for Quilt Art. It is white cotton sateen stitched onto wool/viscose felt using buttons and package strapping in between the layers. The pieces was then washed energetically to cause the distortion then dyed. This quilt is not in the show but is the finished version of my City and Guilds Quilt. It came with me becauee Magie of African Fabric Shop had asked to see it finished. It got left with her and fanned out in the traders mall a few times for her customers to see what could be done with her fabric. I am pleased ( and immodest) enough to day that there was a fair bit of oohing and aahing going on. (Although some of it at least may have been a deliberate tactic by other shoppers to distract me from the basket pile so they could buy them all up!)She and her husband Robert Irwin asked for a photo for their website and it suddenly occurred to us that the best place to photo this might be the balcony in the entrance hall to the show.

Of course this rather hindered people getting in and out for a short period. Afterwards Dennis rather dryly asked, "Well, did you get to be the centre of attention enough today?"
Yes thank you!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Quiltfest goodies

I see that somehow it got to be thirteen days since I last blogged. Not sure how that happened. But I do notice that no one seems to have missed me! Anyway this morning I spent a happy three hours at Quiltfest in Llangollen. It is a tiny but perfectly formed show which is up for a month but has only one traders day. So of course that's the day to go, right? The deal was that Dennis drove and acted as bag drop in the cafe on that condition that we were home for the kick off of the Ireland rugby game. As it took an hour do the quilts in detail that left two hours for the nine traders. Any longer and I would have been in trouble! Here is my haul. I may in your opinion be in trouble anyway. In my defence, I am about to start another City and Guilds ( about which more in a later post) and so I am justfying much of this as education not indulgence.

Sticks of recycled beads from Magie at the African Fabric Shop, one boring but needed black thread, pieces of chiffon and silk tissue, Stef Francis braided silk hanks and Stef Francis superfine silks, a piece of dupions silk and one of silk scrim all from The Silk Route.

All kinds of bits to play with from Ario - various samples sizes of Tyvek, wireforms, mire meshes, embossingpen, glue for embossing powders, foils, softsculpt, fibertex, paintstix rubbing plates, filligree fluid, polyshrink...

Glass beads from Magie, Painstix and Pink Pig A3 / A4 sketchbooks from ario

Khadi papers, Stewart Gill and Luminere paints, wax resist, hemp threads, chiffon scarves from Ario,

yummy yummy perle threads from South African from Magie

...shweshewe and dutch wax fabrics from Magie (These are intended for a new quilt I intend to reseve to work on only when I go to class in Penrith and which shall be called Mr Mandela's Mandala.)

and a basket to keep them all in. These are new to Magie's stock and she had various sizes and designs in a pile on the floor by her stall. I arrived as the traders mall opened and saw them. I turned away just for long enough to hand a quilt to her husband which they had asked me to show them, turned back round and they were almost gone. There were several women with armfulls - four and five each! It was like Tulip Fever with baskets. Dennis was watching from the cafe balcony and said he had never seen anything like it!

More from the show and life in general in posts this week. Right now I have to go play with some paint in the garage whilst the temperature is still above zero.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Definition of a good husband

This is him. He says he can't smile, because his face is frozen, because, while I sit inside with a cup of tea reading our Chair quilt posts on the Twelve by Twelve blog which aired yesterday, he got up ( when, being retired he is allowed to stay warm in bed) and cleared the drive. Why? So that I could walk, with my fear of falling and breaking my teeth lessened, to his car so that he can drive me right to the door of the County Court from whence ( what a good word!) I am allowed to ring him and demand a pick up to get home.

I was going to do snow pictures for you but (a) its too cold out there and (b) Rayela did the best snow post ever here. Yes, I know in comparison I am whingeing about a light dusting.. but I don't like it!!!