Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Great work Annabel!

Annabel I'm all admiration for your productivity at the moment. I'm so pleased to see the fabrics suited the piece you're working on. I do feel now that I have at least contributed something to this exhibition! Can't wait to see how the quilting and extra painting transforms this one too. I reckon when it comes to the next Life quilt then you should just go for it. Wherever it's displayed the organisers can put a little sign on the door along the lines of "Images in the exhibition contain nudity which may offend". That should get the punters through the door like nothing else!

The woodcuts of Utagawa Hiroshige

I was going to make a start on a large Life piece next, but although I have the necessary poses from one of the ladies who does life modelling for me, I'm not happy about the quilts that will make up the background yet.  I still need to think it through properly; for example I'm not sure how controversial I dare be!

However, all this did free up some time at the weekend for some more work towards the Orientation exhibition.

 I've been looking at the woodcuts of Utagawa Hiroshige and felt inspired to attempt a landscape, based on one of his pictures at the Ashmolean Museum at the University of Oxford.  I was very aware that I didn't want to make a slavish copy of course, but liked the apparent simplicity of his style. Mount Fuji seems to appear in just about everything, so it's in mine. Blossom trees feature heavily too so I have included a couple which I hope are in a similar style but also quite different.

I wondered if you'd like to follow progress so far?

Here's the plain white (unironed!!) cloth on my easel. I've put pencil marks where I think the water, hills, and Mt Fuji etc ought to be.

I then stuck bondawebbed fabric shapes onto the white cloth. Now this fabric is very special, as it's some that Laura dyed. When you look at a gorgeous piece of cloth, it takes courage to cut into it and use it. Part of me just wants to sit and stroke it, but I was brave. 
 I wanted to paint the sky rather than use cloth so that I could calm things down a little.  I used turqoise, white and black paint to get this effect.

And then I've added some figures and some trees to give a little perspective. There will be hogweed in the front (what else from me?) and possibly some Japanese anenomies too. The picture will be heavily stitched and painted as usual.

Obviously there's much to do, but it's a start.

The haiku which goes with this one will be by Yoshi Mikami Issa (1762-1826)

In my old home
which I forsook, the cherries
are in bloom

(slightly puzzled as this haiku doesn't follow the normal format, but I'll check it out at some point)

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

More confirmed dates!

I can't remember if I mentioned these dates for Orientation at The Bramble Patch before but Anne tells me the Easter exhibition runs for two weeks either side of the bank holiday so in 2013 it will run from Saturday 23rd March until Saturday 6th April

Sorry to post twice!

Dates for your diary

Hi everyone,

Just a quick post to let you have confirmed dates for Orientation at Minerva in 2013. There will be a preview on Sunday 7th July and the exhibition will open on Monday 8th and run through to September 7th. I know it's ages away but you know how these events creep up on you when you're least expecting them! Anybody even own a diary for 2013?

Monday, 28 November 2011

Something about myself....

I realise that I've not introduced myself at all really so I'll try and write something.

After working as a draughtswoman before having my family, pattern cutting and dressmaking became my big thing, then I spent time learning as much as I could about embroidery, then came patchwork, I found my passion and have spent many happy years indulging in making quilts.

Another passion is my computer, I love digital design and I'm sure this will appear in my work for Orientation, so too will my new love, making needle sculptured figures. I have been making them for about four years but still consider myself a novice with lots to learn.

Above is a photo of my latest figure.....

Let me introduce myself

Hello - I'm Linda. This is me in my studio surrounded by sketchbooks and stuff waiting to go into sketchbooks!

I'm sorry I've been a bit slow to post and I know it's about time I contributed to this blog! We all talk at length about our work but we're less than happy to talk about ourselves. I used to have a CV with lists of awards, qualifications and achievements on my website but reading it one day I thought who on earth does this woman think she is and promptly deleted it. It's enough to say I've been making quilts for a long time and have done OK with a few of them. I went to Art College back in 1969 and after a Foundation year I found myself taking a degree in Graphics for some unknown reason. I must have chosen it because I thought it sounded cool - I certainly had no idea what it was and when I did I realised it was a big mistake. I persevered for 18 months then quit. The next few years were without much direction - actually that's wrong, there was lots of direction just not all going the same way. I spent a year teaching English to young boys in Greece, hitchhiked fearlessly around Europe with my sister, travelled overland to Istanbul, (a scarily foreign place for a young girl in the early seventies!) and went to Australia for a few months tracking down an old school friend and various relatives I'd heard about but never met. Eventually I came home and got my first 'proper' job in a University library, got married, had two children and found the Quilters' Guild.  I've drawn and painted all my life and happily combine those things with quiltmaking. I'm not happy unless I'm making something so there's aways some project on the go. Working with Laura to produce videos for our subscription based TV, exhibiting my own work and online teaching keeps me pretty busy these days but I wouldn't have it any other way. I shall try to get into gear with some Orientation work for you to see as soon as the muse strikes!
Bye for now,

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Kimono programme

Hi Laura,
that is an amazing coincidence, I'm so glad you heard it, very informative. The subject is complex and mysterious, a lot to get my poor head around. £10,000 for a child's kimono is also rather for surprising, an adult's at £70,000 must be prohibitive, no wonder the art of wearing a kimono is disappearing.



Hi everyone! Wow Annabel, what a great first piece for the exhibition. I just love the quilting! I caught a programme on Radio 4 last week about Kimono. It's about how the Japanese are now favouring western dress and the risk that as the Kimono masters are so old, the tradition may be lost in the next 10 years or so. It's still available on the BBC iPlayer and there are some photos on the website too. Here's the link:
Bye for now, Laura x

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Thoughts and processes - piece 1 (Annabel)

Sometimes I mutter.  I mutter a lot about many things, but one of them is the distorted body images we see in advertising. We're bombarded with images that are unrealistic and demoralizing. Many celebs find it necessary to play around with their image distorting their features with surgery until they become hardly recognizable. I understand why. It's up to everyone to do as they wish of course but it gives a false impression of life and the ageing processes. Advertising companies play around with photos enlarging, smoothing, enhancing and altering, and I wish they wouldn't but all I can do in response is mutter.

This is a long way round to tell you about the first piece which I've nearly finished for the Orientation exhibition. Yes, I know it's early and I wasn't trying to be the school "swot", but I've a lot on this coming year, and have to cram it all in where I can!!


So, I've been playing around with distortion in my sketchbooks, making people all sorts of funny shapes.

The photo above shows a drawing made by making the head and shoulders normal sized and then increasing the body length by double from there onwards.  I haven't altered the width, so I've ended up with long thin people.

I guess this must be how they do fashion drawing? No wonder they need 6 foot tall, very thin people, to do the catwalk thing.

The inspiration for the people themselves and the kimonos (which seem very complex!) came from a theatre programme for the Doyle Carte. I think it must be 1930's, so my ladies have come out looking slightly art deco. 

I also decided to stretch some trees.

Apologies for the sideways photo!  I've painted the background fabric using a mixture of fabric paints including some interference powder to give a slight shimmer.  I wanted to keep the image fairly simple and uncluttered; my main focus being the ladies.

I then had enormous fun raiding the stash boxes for fabric scraps, and bonding them into place.  The whole piece was then very closely free machined. I love the feel of heavily machined quilted cloth. I also put lots of pattern onto the kimonos and into the background.

By extensively free machining the background with pattern, and then painting it afterwards, I could be as decorative as I liked, yet still keep the overall effect as simple. Does that make sense??!

I've decided to try and imbue the pieces with some kind of meaning, by working either from a haiku or making one up to go with the pieces. I can't say I quite understand the haiku thing, but it's an interesting exercise!

It's not quite finished as I have all the framing etc to do, which will be in dark brown cloth. I find that if I put things aside and come back to them at a much later date, it's easier for me to see if there's anything else that needs doing.

A Small Dragonfly
This Way, That Way, This Way, That,
And It Passes By

And that's the first piece done then!! I shall be doing some more of course, but will take it a bit easier from now on.   I'm going to be making another very large life piece next for another exhibition in the summer so may be quiet for a while, but I will try and blog as I go through the thought processes and making of the oriental pieces in future, rather than land you with a lump of stuff!!

Friday, 25 November 2011

Kites and Patchwork Blocks

This may or may not be related to our exhibition but it set me thinking....My local group had a speaker this week who is a scientist and loves maths and builds kites.
He became very interested in block patterns used by quilters for his kite designs, now he has extended this into block distortion using number sequences. The results are fabulous and I have a feeling I might be asking him for more information, maybe a new quilt will come out of this, who knows. I certainly wouldn't be attempting to stitch but painting would be an option. No pictures of his kites but here is a very old painted distorted quilt so this isn't new to me at all. What goes round comes is a couple of pics from the past.

Thursday, 24 November 2011


It is very exciting being part of such an energetic group but also quite worrying as I'm a bit of a last minute person so it seems quite unusual to see so much work already underway for an exhibition that is not happening for ten months! I know, I can hear you all saying - those ten months will pass by very quickly - and I know I will be the one working through the night to complete in time.
So my intentions are good and I have already started exploring some possibilities. My work is very much fabric led and I will usually start a new set of work by dyeing and printing fabrics. These then tend to inspire my designs. Last week I made an indigo vat and dyed some cotton organdie and linen.
I am exploring a method that is used to make Korean wrapping cloths known as pojagi. Pieces of fabric are joined together by hand using a run and fell seam and when a sheer fabric such as the cotton organdie is used the seams become a major part of the design as you can see in this small sample.
I think this has lots of possibilities so I will keep you posted!


Brief and to the point.

Love the entries so far, many thanks for setting it up Laura. Steph


OoooEck! I'm not good at introductions either but here goes.

Well, I'm 56 and trying not to be. I am married to Graham and have two beautiful wonderful daughters, that sadly don't live very near me. I was born in Somerset but I moved so many times as a child that I'm left with a permanent feeling of not having a place where I can park my heart. Warwickshire does for now.

I've been quilting for about 12 years and painting for about 4 years, and just recently the two have sort of melded together. I'm on some sort of happy journey but don't quite know where my destination is. It might be that I will continue to change and not have a "style"...ever!  I have no artistic background whatsoever and have come a little late to such things, so feel I need to cram lots in before I get too old to hold the scissors.

 Whilst I'm painting, I think I'll never sew again, and whilst I'm sewing, I think I'll never paint again. I need to do both in some form.  I have a room which is the back half of a double length garage, which has been converted for me to use as a studio. It has huge glass doors which open and let the summer in - when we have any of course, and am free to produce whatever the mood fancies. I also like to work on a large scale - I like the impact large quilts make in a gallery space.

It's important for me that what I produce is meaningful in some way, and I'd love for it to be called art. That would make me happy.  I have a sense of humour which sneaks into pieces as well, without being asked! I don't know how it does that; it's magic.

For the Orientation exhibition, I've found it hard as I don't own any artefacts and have been relying on images from books, National Trust houses, postcards etc.  I've found everything to be quite graphic or at least with clearly defined lines. This is both limiting and stretching. To get the oriental feel, I've needed to copy this style, but that also means working outside my comfort zone. I'm needing to think quite hard but have made a start and will do another posting in a couple of days so you can see where I'm up to!

Time to see if I can post an image here is an update of that blue pot - it's now got some blossom added to the branches. I have made this quite a pale, salmony pink and wonder if it should have been a brighter pink? .... not sure, so will leave for several weeks and see how it looks then. I want to bind this quilt with blue and white to match the pot, but have nothing quite right in my stash. So I have spent a happy few hours over painting another cloth, to get just what I want. Time consuming - yes - but hopefully worth it. It will then be mounted on to a board to make for easy hanging, and which will also give me a chance to balance out that green at the top - which looks a bit top heavy for me I think. I already have another pot on the boil too!

Following Laura's lead - and who better to follow - I will also give a quick introduction to myself, as I am probably the one person you have not already heard of! I studied for my C+G with Linda and Laura - completing it last October (2010). My tutor was Marie Roper and I had a wonderful time. I know Edwina and Ineke from the Contemporary Quilt Midland Group and I have known Steph for quite a while too, being an avid admirer of her work. Annabel and Catherine are new friends, who I am very much looking forward to getting to know better. I am very inspired by the natural world, colour and strong lines/form. Linda and I tend to like the same sort of things, but have made a pact not to worry about it. I love to piant and dye my own fabrics, but also really enjoy collaging with a variety of commercial fabrics. I like to mix up patterns and colour, and see what I can get away with. I am still very much developing as an artist and am delighted to be part of this group and this exhibition. I also talk a lot! - Hilary x

Signing in and catching up - having a busy time in Holland, teaching and trying to get some Oriental inspiration. Holland is east of the UK......
Will post some pictures soon

By way of introduction...

I thought that as this blog is my idea that I better kick start it into action! I thought it makes sense to start with the introductions so here's mine. I hate those formal 'tell us about yourself' sections that are often required for exhibition catalogues, I can never think of anything sensible to write, but I'll make this my best attempt.

Lots of you know that I work on a daily basis with my mother Linda who's also in the group. We enjoy planning and working on projects like our online courses and DMTV together, but usually that just means that we spend hours sat side by side in front of our respective computer screens! When it comes to our own creative time, it's usually a much more solitary affair. Linda heads out to her workroom and I slope off home to mine. We once joked that we ought to have an exhibition and call it 'Between Sunset and Dawn' as that's when most of our work happens!

I thought I'd show you a quilt that I suppose represents my recent work. It's called Sisters and as you can see it's a double portrait of me and my sister. At the time I was making this piece I was really interested in the idea of combining figurative elements with pattern. That's something that I still find fascinating and I'm sure that the Oriental theme of this new exhibition will mean that I can pursue this a little further.
I'm also interested in making work that reflects the local landscape. Here's one that's inspired by the view from my back garden.

I think that because I usually work from inspiration that's very close to home, I'm finding it quite a struggle to find a 'hook' for the theme Orientation. It's quite strange for me to be thinking about sources of inspiration that I don't know very well or have first hand experience of. I've been thinking less about objects and more about ideas that are associated with Far East cultures. It's got a long way to go, but the first stage will be to start a new sketchbook to explore some of these thoughts. I've got a shelf full of lovely empty books so no excuse not to crack on. It's exciting to sit here without the first clue of what the work I'll make for this exhibition is going to look like. It's going to be a journey full of discovery and adventure!

Oriental Beginnings

I think I'm here! This is one of my autumn photos that is part of my inspiration
Greetings from Canada!
Thanks for getting this up and going everyone.

better late than never ...Catherine

It works!

Hey Hilary, you made it!

Trial Run

OK - as almost certainly the most technically challenged of the group - I am checking I have followed Laura's excellent instructions properly. If you are reading this - then I have! - Hilary x