Wednesday, 17 May 2017

To be in England in the Spring

Spring finally feels as though it has arrived and wildflowers are shooting up everywhere. Nothing quite says Spring in England than native bluebells in a shadowed wood.
I am delighted that one of my Laceweeds and a couple of other pieces sold and helped to raise funds for Canine Partners at the Oxmarket last month.
Art Textiles Made in Britain opened Concealed at the Minerva Gallery, Llanidloes, Wales
the exhibition continues until June 3  I am also taking part in the National Open Textile Exhibition, Funky Aardvark, Chester.(Rosie James from ATMIB is also exhibiting.)
A wide view pic of the exhibition feature below.
I have been able to get out and about more recently. The Wisteria in the garden has been glorious.
Even so, nothing speaks of Spring more in England the native Bluebells and a light reflecting pond seen at the Surrey Wildlife Trust Centre where I held a short workshop on Saturday.

You can see some more images and examples of work in progress by the participants on the course on this link on Youtube
My Summer School at West Dean College is full as are many of my other summer courses. You can see all my forthcoming courses on this link including a workshop in the French Alps with Alpine Experience in August and at Logie Steading in September with Diva Design Studios.

I can also announce I am back to Australia March-April 2018 with Fibre Arts Australia. Amazingly my course at Ballarat sold out overnight so more are being offered. Check the site FAA for further information. I will update with details of other venues in Queensland and New South Wales as they are confirmed.
Time for a cuppa I think and dwell on a poem by Anne Bronte about the glory of the glimpses of bluebells:
A fine and subtle spirit dwells
In every little flower,
Each one its own sweet feeling breathes
With more or less of power.
There is a silent eloquence
In every wild bluebell
That fills my softened heart with bliss
That words could never tell.

Yet I recall not long ago
A bright and sunny day,
'Twas when I led a toilsome life
So many leagues away;

That day along a sunny road
All carelessly I strayed,
Between two banks where smiling flowers
Their varied hues displayed.

Before me rose a lofty hill,
Behind me lay the sea,
My heart was not so heavy then
As it was wont to be.

Less harassed than at other times
I saw the scene was fair,
And spoke and laughed to those around,
As if I knew no care.

But when I looked upon the bank
My wandering glances fell
Upon a little trembling flower,
A single sweet bluebell.

Whence came that rising in my throat,
That dimness in my eye?
Why did those burning drops distil --
Those bitter feelings rise?

O, that lone flower recalled to me
My happy childhood's hours
When bluebells seemed like fairy gifts
A prize among the flowers,

Those sunny days of merriment
When heart and soul were free,
And when I dwelt with kindred hearts
That loved and cared for me.

I had not then mid heartless crowds
To spend a thankless life
In seeking after others' weal
With anxious toil and strife.

'Sad wanderer, weep those blissful times
That never may return!'
The lovely floweret seemed to say,
And thus it made me mourn.




Monday, 17 April 2017

Common Cloth and Canine Partners.

I am delighted that 'Common Lands, Common Spaces'  first shown at the Farnham Pottery moves to the Oxmarket Centre, for the Arts, Chichester from 25-30 April,  in support of the charity, Canine Partners. which trains dogs to help in the lives of others. Below is one of my favourite 'weeds' the humble Dandelion
The pottery were fabulous hosts and we ended the last day with a workshop exploring the locality and did not even stop entirely for a lovely outdoor lunch in the April sunshine surrounded by the wonderful brick of this old building. Explorations of nature of our landscape has become of great interest and will be a focus in my next book for Batsford.

It is hard to believe the year is moving on so quickly. Art Textiles Made in Britain open their exhibition Concealed at the Minerva Gallery on 6 May with many of our group members including myself running workshops.
Textileartist has been doing an thoughtful series of articles on textile practice recently. I am delighted to be included in the article 'Creating Texture and Pattern in Stitch' The piece featured is currently touring as part of Stuff for Thought
It has been a busy month for workshops starting off with a weekend retreat in Folkestone with the Maidstone region Embroiderer's Guild. They meet every 2nd Saturday at the King's Studio, Aylesford Village Hall near Maidstone at 11am if you want to pop in and visit.


I went back to the studio Zijdelings in the Netherlands for the 5th time last week. Karina is a great host and we got to grips with the neighbourhood in a one day workshop followed by a two day class. It is worth checking out their courses. I am already planning a return.Thankyou to the students who kindly agreed to allow me to share images of work in progress








More contributions were also made for the project Tea Flora Tales. I am building a nice European element to the project.




Monday, 20 March 2017

Common Land, Common Spaces

I am delighted to be exhibiting Common Land, Common Spaces at the Farnham Pottery with a new installation ‘Trees’ and pieces from 40 yards, an ongoing modular work. The term 'Common' in English means to 'belong equally to' or 'shared equally and  is also used to denote areas of land used by all, historically for grazing, catching wild game and gathering plants



Trees installation and link to video here.

The pottery is a beautifully restored building and an inspirational place to visit with a fabulous tea-room. The exhibition is the first in a series 'Powered by Touch' with a focus on the intimacy of the hand-made. Exhibitors included Richard Box, Christine Green and the next is basketmaker and willow worker  Dominic Parrette. The venue is also the host of intimate performances, the next being 'Dr. Jeckyll and Mr...'by the talented David Keller.


I just loved the little details of the pottery which is worth a visit by itself.

The exhibition is open Tues – Sat 10am - 4pm with free entry. The show closes on 8 April when I will also be running a second workshop following demand on the opening weekend and we will use the pottery as stimulus and starting point for a folding bookform or modular piece.

Here are some images from my one day workshop 'Small Objects of Desire' held at the beginning of the exhibition.



New Quilting at Rheged Arts Centre continues until to Sunday 23 April and Stuff for Thought a shared project of textile artist Heidi Drahota and the Human Rights Office of the City of Nuremberg is touring to the Prague Patchwork Meeting from 31st March to the 2nd April. You can read about the project on my blog post back in July 2016. Amazed to find I am a Kent Creative Awards finalist.



Finally, but not least. I am delighted to be a feature artist with in Somerset Studio magazine. An interview by the talented Rice Freeman-Zachery.Sneak peak below of some of the pages from an eight page spread







Saturday, 28 January 2017

To be an Explorer...Gathered Thoughts

I had a rare day out last week in London with an old friend.  It started as a trip to the Victoria and Albert Museum to see the wonderful Opus Anglicanum exhibition (finishes on the 5 February) and on a whim and ended up in the London Docklands as the sun was going down.

Detail of the Butler-Bowden Cope


It was a bright, cold day and I remembered an old friend of mine (from Community Arts days in the Medway) had a show in the Docklands at Trinity Buoy Wharf  'Everything Comes from The Egg'. The 'Exbury Egg' Turner has lived on for over a year has been brought indoors in order to exhibit many of the pieces that it helped to create as part of his understanding of the environment and the river it is named after, the River Exbury in Hampshire





Above are pictures of the exhibition, the artist's working and living space inside the egg and collected plant materials in jars. ‘I call them all ghosts because it’s a way of remembering what was there,’ he says. ‘But it’s not perfect – like memories, they carry on changing.’Sharing things related to water I have been invited to take part in New Quilting and exhibition of work by international and Cumbrian makers which have been selected for the Arts Council England supported exhibition, New Quilting at Rheged Arts Centre from Friday 3 March to Sunday 23 April.  LV21 shown on board the lightship of the same name,  is one of three pieces I will be exhibiting in the show.
 It has been a cold start to the year. I visited family in Norfolk and used the opportunity to make some sketches and photos of the bleak landscape. I have also had my head down to plan for workshops and exhibitions coming up returning to Norfolk in early February a couple of workshops at Eaubrink studios and I have just booked my ticket for the French Alps with the Alpine Experience in August. All other workshops including a return to summer school at West Dean are detailed on this blog. Have a good 2017.