Monday, 18 November 2013

First article In print ...

A few months ago, I wrote an article for a very inspirational & new magazine 'Be Inspired' (click if you want to find out more about the magazine) - in fact it's an addition to the already existing "Workbox" one.

The article traces the beginning of my current 'creative journey' & acts as a spring-board for other articles I'm planning next year as I start to work on a variety of artistic designs.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Bleeding hearts !! ...

Playing around with yesterdays bits, has resulted in these ideas - possibly to be used within another project which is starting to emerge!

A few years ago I had an initial idea & a few weeks ago (after sketching some nerve cells), was soon sparked into thoughts again of it. Now the idea is beginning to 'take shape' in a more textural way.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Create an X-ray illusion ...

An experiment that's worked better than anticipated!
If you want to find out more about it, visit my studio

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Curtain fabric snippets help ideas ...

Surplus fabric while altering a pair of curtains* this morning helped to focus ideas for some machine embroidery. Continued from yesterday, some previous sketches have got computer enhanced & resulted in the above - ideas for distressed surfaces are now on the agenda.

* adding heading rings can be read here

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Upside down & more ...

Yesterday I began to look initially at different lighting - this had the effect of computer enhancing the image from last week to transform it into the above. Maybe an image from a few months ago was still at work (see 'The Moon' here) !

After being inspired from this (together with the ocean sketches of Friday), I started seeing other glistening shapes as I continued with more computer enhancements - some reminding me of kaleidoscope images. (I'm hoping to use one of these as a design for an experiment in some specific stitching.)

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Upside down ...

My day out in London at the Knitting & Stitching Show on Thursday (London) provided more inspirational ideas. Not having attended for several years to just look at 'new things', meant I came away with some fabrics & books to 'fuel' my current project ie. cells.

This meant on Friday I was able to continue with my 'water cell' sketches - 2 of which can be seen here. Also, while I was working, I looked up at an earlier 'experiment' (image above) & suddenly noticed it had become almost 3D. I hadn't seen this earlier in the week when I had it the other way up.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Ubiquitous cells ...

Seems appropriate to use this design as the background for 'Stitcherydoodaa' (my textile blog) - title of it being "Ubiquitous cells". It has also become the name for a magazine article I'll be writing in due course.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Full circle again ? ...

Once more I'm using this image. Here it's to represent having gone full-circle (AGAIN!!) ... but in a different direction with design thoughts not unlike a turning sphere!!

As I subsequently investigate cells in more depth & have ideas for various designs, I find it's beginning to pull me into a geometric world involving equations (my love of maths here), spherical shapes & curves alongside other odd or interesting shapes. Although the plastic & fabric stitched 'nucleus' (Project:Cell) is just starting, I'm also considering other ideas to experiment with as part of this.

Does this possibly account for the constant need to be thinking of other diverse things to make once I've already decided to make something? ............. I think so! Possibly because of a background in sewing (where a garment is assembled in individual sections) & latterly in crafts teaching (where students work on different crafts), I'm finding that I need to have several projects on the go simultaneously. Also, I find that any problems encountered in a particular design are usually resolved when another design is begun.

Monday, 30 September 2013

Thoughts regarding this cell structure ...

Below is a sectional close-up of the start of one of my current projects. It's being made in paper, fabric & plastic - NOTE: the image 'section' was photographed purely at random.

I currently have this piece labelled as 'Project:Cell' & whilst researching 'cell structures', I came to the conclusion that a lot of my visual work to date (ie. current projects) appears to have common themes (which also continue into things I like as well as specific art & design interests I have). In fact, I can now see why I've chosen specific images to be uploaded here. With this now in mind, I intend to focus more on just this & see where it (visually) leads me.

To begin this process (& as a note to myself!), I'm looking at the above image & notice it has unintentionally captured what the overall finished design will ultimately depict:
  • intricate patterns (ie. to the left, the distortions in the overlayed pieces of netting)
  • unusual & irregular forms (ie. a mix of angular & curved shapes)
  • illusion of a 'body' (ie. the central shiny panel depicting a female upper torso with one arm up, the other down)
  • an outline or illusion of other forms (eg. to the right, a mask; overall jigsaw patterning)

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Cell designs - stage 2 ...

The plastic-coated nucleus has been shaped (above), some holes cut into it & then sandwiched between layers of transparent fabric. Then in an embroidery hoop (below), it's ready to stitch - if you want to read more about the techniques in progress, click here in my studio.

To ensure all the layers are kept in place whilst I'm working, (especially the plastic nucleus), it's been tacked in position & placed in my large embroidery hoop to keep it taught (if you want to see how to do this, click 'cover an embroidery hoop'). I'm unsure at this stage whether it will be hand or machine stitched but likely will be a combination of both.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Cell designs - stage 1 ...

A brilliant day yesterday in the studio - the result above. While hunting in my cupboards, I found some handmade paper samples that I'd been keeping for a particular use. Made from re-cycled paper in greys & purples, they had originally dried to quite delicate textures & I thought them ideal for this project. The above shows them half-way through the afternoon while drying - I like the crinkles appearing but doubt if they will remain.

I also completed some other 'experiments' - below right I want to symbolise 'inspection' with the addition of clear plastic. I have also guled on & added a fabric/paper backing (paper on dyed muslin) with the intention of stitchery through all layers.

The design below also has further handmade card added behind the initial design - unsure where to go next with this one!

(if you want to see any of these 'progression routes' in more detail, have a look here in my studio).

Monday, 16 September 2013

Cells ...

  1. As a result of becoming VERY inspired with this topic, I've decided to start Project: Cell. I'm not sure which direction it will take or where it will lead, but think that to isolate it at this stage may be beneficial.
  2. Carrying on from the other day, I've been looking at cells on the Internet & am finding them very enthusing & inspirational. Not so much for the imagery but more along the lines of interpretation as I find I'm immediately transposing them into stitching, fabric or textiles. Also, in looking back over many of my initial designs (both here & in my actual sketch books) - the ones I prefer are those that in some way could be termed as types of "cell structures". I like the way in which together, cells form a particular 'final shape' - not appearing to link to the individual cell shapes.
  3. I'm also finding the on-line cell structure patterns are providing me with a sense of 3D interpretation while I look at them - in effect they appear to almost 'move'. Having not opted for any sciences at school, this aspect is interesting me sufficiently to now put pen, paint & ink to paper - an initial start (in Photoshop) can be seen here. Whilst I've been looking on-line, many ideas are now presenting themselves regarding how I can work some of my initial designs. One in particular (a blog entry) now becoming visible to me as (sections) worked in a variety of laces & bubble plastic.
  4. It's also of interest to me (while researching a specific insect), to find that a part of it has legs that carry crochets! Not sure where this will end up but am very enthusiastic with this imagery - more so than for some time.
  5. Although not in the studio today, I can't wait to get started on this line of thought - it seems to provide me with a specific 'tool' to use!

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Radial ball flower sparks ideas ...

Not being a gardener, I can't put a name to this but spotting it in a neighbour's garden has sparked off an idea - maybe connected with my buttons. Having cleaned all the odd ones at the beginning of the week, I'm now looking at ways to incorporate them into a design. I don't want to use any ones with shanks (as I don't have that many of them) & the choice is either to use them in a 2D or 3D format.

Taking the image above (& looking at other 'vegetation' pix I've taken), made me realise I do like shapes (& patterns) like this. Why? .......... I don't know but I'm now going to explore this .......... (& question this thought! as I feel in the mood to write it down ... quickly):

  • What do I see? ..... radial - spokes - central pivot - different 'ends' - impression of a ball or sphere made up of separate 'bits' - image of a 'globe' - simple individual shapes - growth in the making
  • Why do I like it? ..... contrast colours - spherical shape - implies 3D - specific individual sections - implied movement
  • What does it mean? (to me) ..... individual shape - one complete unit made from many separate ones - different from other flowers since it's made up of many - multi-faceted
  • What does it actually mean? (by definition) ..... if the plant is an allium, it's apparently a 'monocot' & (according to wikipaedia) something to do with it being made up of 3 (or multiples of 3) - if an allium, I also like many of the others in this family of plants both for colour & shape
  • What next? ..... allium appears to interest me so will find out more so WATCH THIS SPACE !!
Have just found this on the Internet which possibly captures my next direction!

Introduction to Cells
More educational videos on Cell Structures at  

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Diamond Buttons ...

Button sorting now finished & ready to be used in some way - one of my favourite sets @ left. They are predominantly 'old glass' buttons & all odd ones (they've just been photographed on organza). Not sure yet what to do with them all but have initial design ideas.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Button ideas ...

This should have been added earlier (some others visible in my artbook)


Saturday, 10 August 2013

Moving head & reflections ...

A visit to here yesterday inspired thoughts of the 2 ideas (heads & reflections) from several years ago - both of which I hope to resurrect in some way. 

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Patterns in my life ...

I've just finished writing a magazine article concerning 'Patterns in my life' & have uploaded the images I took at Oakham Treasures. It seems relevant that many of the shots were 'pattern' based - here's one in particular I found interesting.

It's all made from various ironmongery & 'hooks' & made me think of my grandfather's shop.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Patterns ...

The night before last, I watched a recording about Faberge & his Eggs as I love them & his work. As I watched (& began to have some textile 3D ideas forming), so many on-screen patterns seemed to jump out at me ... so many shapes I also have preferences for.

Then yesterday I spent some time writing a magazine article about my work - actually I've completed the initial 'draft' version & now going through it updating & putting in better phrases etc! Whist reading through its beginning (a very brief outline about me) it suddenly dawned on me that one thing I've always been fascinated with is PATTERNS.

Obviously (!), sewing ones but also knitting, crochet, embroidery, lace etc etc ... but not the actual pattern instructions but the shapes of what the results create & form. Those 'shapes' known as bodices - sleeves - cuffs - collars - pockets - bags - tops - mats - scarves - gloves - socks and so on. Typing this now, I'm reminded here of a wall-hanging I made a few years ago that has miniature dress pieces stitched (then embroidered) onto a basic 'dress shape' to form a full-size hanging:

As a dressmaker, I love fabric & consequently the weave patterns as well as any surface stitchery. I also love the inner & created shapes of mosaics, grids, architecture, kaleidoscopes & those patterns formed by mathematical equations with fractals, chaos & space being exciting. From YouTube is this to demonstrate:

And I'm making mention of all this now as I feel it to be extremely significant. I'm not sure why but possibly in the context of a direction where I shall go next or maybe how I continue with Project: Interspection.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Hot Pink Bottle Brush ...

In the mid 1970s, I lived in Oz & fell in love with certain plants. Coming back to the UK & many years later I got one of these in red for the garden & it grew into a lovely shrub. I moved, bought another to replace it but it didn't grow so well & rarely flowered. Now having moved again, I thought I'd try once more & about 2 weeks ago I bought this one. In "Hot Pink" (& it really is much more vibrant than the image), it attract the bees in profusion. My attraction to it:

  • is the colours - in this one: the varied shades of green, pink & yellow
  • the way it grows - just like a bottle brush
  • the way the blossom petals unfolds from the little balls
  • the way the bees climb inside the spiky 'stalks'
Somehow I feel these images will have a connection to Project: Interspection

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Ship ahoy !!

I can see boats & ships from several windows when they pass by. Not living by water before moving here, they have now become somewhat fascinating to watch. Here's just a little tug heading off to bring a larger vessel in but I can't wait til the end of July when some special ships are due to pass by! (Hopefully I'll get some pix!)

Speaking to our decorator (who was a regular sailor when younger) yesterday about ships & sailmaking, reminded me of my personal stitching interest & once again a connection with stitches, fabric & threads in yet another craft. He told me there's a sailmaker nearby where possibly I could go & watch ... a definite diary date for the future!

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Fabric mosaic samples

Scraps stitched in various colours
Above is a sample of machine embroidery - initial techniques/ideas originating from a reversible patchwork waistcoat I'm working on. I think somehow they are going to be ideal for Project:Mosiac - however early days yet!! Pix below show the previous stages (if you're interested in finding out more about their stitching, visit my Machine Embroidery blog where there's more detail):

Scraps pinned into position
Held down with machine embroidery

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Fabric Mosaics ...

Whilst currently working on a patchwork waistcoat, my thoughts led back to some of the images from Project Mosaic. Possibly because of the colours I'm using or maybe some initial thoughts regarding machine embroidery that I hope to be using for the waistcoat.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Poignant Avatar !

My first try in YouTube has resulted in a slide show which at this stage I'm quite happy with. I've been trying to upload this into my blogs for some time but it hasn't been very successful - I think to do with software etc & compatibility! Anyway it appears to have worked so with my new phone & camera 'toys' I hope to expand this side too.

By the way, I've chosen my current Avatar in YouTube as the above image - it seems suitable & rather poignant!

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Seeking to understand the tradition ...

The above ("Laid to Rest" Skull Brooch - one of my stitched 'artworks') was one result of studying some worked examples of an embroidery technique (needlelace) whilst researching WWII. 

During the past week I've been studying some of my collection of embroidery samples - mainly to update details for The Stitch Sanctuary (if you click this link you'll be able to see them). Anyway, whilst doing it, I was reminded of the phrase:

Seek to understand the tradition and the techniques will regenerate within your imagination

... and I belive (just as in the example above) that's quite a true saying. On looking at my samples quite a few new 'stitchery' ideas are beginning to 'float to the surface' - especially ones that I can now relate to Project: Dolls. 

Friday, 22 March 2013

The memory of water ...

During the past few years (with my aim of getting to where I am now), I started to keep a notebook of words & phrases that I'd been thinking & which may be useful for me to use in the future. The title of this post is one of these & seemed quite appropriate for these images (others I've recently come across whilst continuing with 'digital housekeeping'!

To explain: About 15 years ago, I painted my 'studio' walls with a totally imaginary landscape & using just emulsion paint. The room & no specific view from the windows & as a 'studio workroom' I decided to paint what I would like see when working. (I have a vivid imagination & the scene can easily become quite realistic.) The 3 pictures (above & below taken when moving out) show a secluded 'beach' (image above) with some trees on a hillside to the right (image lower left) & flowers on a 'mound' to the left (below right shows overall view from the doorway).

I thoroughly enjoyed using this room at all times to work in & it was always 'bright & cheerful. When it was 'tidied' for the intending house move (& much of my equipment was boxed up), it was 'altered' to become a bedroom where the landscape became a focal point. (I hope to do something similar in my new studio at some time in the future.)

Anyway, to get back to "The memory of water" (written in my notes mid 2011), within several hundred yards of where I now live, I have this view which I find not very different from the one I painted from my imagination.

I have yet to be here on a summery day - when it comes I'll take a shot to see how it compares! By the way, I've never been to this place before I came to live here or ever seen a picture of it. However, the place name is relevant - it links to a tray (from another country) that was one of my earliest childhood memories. Spooky or not ?!

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Lazy Daisy ...

One of the embroidered linens I've been uploading to the STITCH SANCTUARY has constantly 'caught my eye' since I originally bought it many years ago. I don't know why but I think it maybe connected to its stitch term of 'LAZY DAISY'.

Several thoughts recently are now beginning to connect to Project: Doll - especially the above imagery!

Friday, 8 March 2013

Wrap in cotton wool ...

A few weeks ago I came across this verse in one of my old notebooks:
             Wrap in cotton wool & it will soon become a straight-jacket

- it had sprung to mind after thinking about one of my "ghosts" last year. Anyway, I wrote it down as somehow it seemed important. This morning, whilst looking for a particular image file, I noticed another image (from last year) that somehow tied together with the verse. So a quick slip into Photoshop produced the above which really (almost) does portray that verse.

Where will this go I wonder !

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Strange bodies & coverings ...

I'm hoping to get some earlier sketches made up into actual artworks - above just one of the ideas. To get some sort of order into their display & so I can see them quickly together too, I've added a few of them in my sketchbook here (click if you want to take a look). At this point in time, I'm undecided what techniques I shall use etc etc but completed 'shapes' being considered are (my use of these words for the ideas): dolls, masks, parachutes, covers.

I've also added more items into my "collections" - as again, they are easier & quicker for me to find here when I'm referencing.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Looking inside ...

I've finally been able to log on to another external drive,  located some other images which have now been updated into my library. I came across 4 of these & thought I'd taken more but not found them! It's from inside one of my kaleidoscopes at what can be seen & reminds me I've still that job to do too.

It's possible it may ultimately 'link' with Project:Pattern so for the time being, it's to be filed there.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Notes to date ...

Just over halfway through this month - how time flies when your legs are out of action !!!

Anyway, very pleased with all my design & conceptual ideas to date ... all my hard work 'computer housekeeping' is certainly paying off. Images & documents are now much easier to find & add to.

At the weekend I popped into the studio to pick up some books, art materials, old research notes & a box of samples to photograph. That prompted me to start on ACTUAL WRITTEN NOTES about my 'stitches thoughts' as it's a lot easier when you're reading books etc rather than typing on the computer. However, maybe when I've got more underway, I might computerise it using a database of some sort (I think I have one I started from several years ago that may come in useful).

Naturally, reading about 'stitches' resurrected my thoughts on an old research topic started back in the 1990s. Having collected the notes, I'm hoping to have a good read & see if it can be continued as it was sort of an on-going project in the first place! At this stage I can't remember what I've got although I think I may have a lot of it & it just needs a good sort out !! (More on that later)

By the way, the image above relates to the topic of research & immediately seeing it made me think that I will possibly carry on with it  - maybe not along the lines I originally thought!

Monday, 18 February 2013

Do you use STITCHES ?

I've just begun Project:Stitch which then made me wonder ...
... what do you use your stitches for
PLUS do you have any alternative names you know them as?

If you'd like to tell me, then click the STITCHES link below to add your comments:
(NOTE: you will be redirected)


alternatively, have a look at some of my samples here

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Section 3

Another section completed & looking good so far … PLUS stitching keeps coming into my mind! I’m unsure whether this will be totally or just in part as at the moment, I can only ‘see’ partial or in certain sections. For this reason, I’m not going to continue with any other sections until I’m more definite on a background. Also, I’ve covered 21 years (appx) & feel that if any of the design should change, it would be appropriate at this point in time.

It’s a nuisance I can’t get into the studio to try some different things but at the moment I just have to keep imagining (legs still keep me from walking)! Anyway, I think I must now give some thought to different backgrounds. It is possible they may be textile but maybe not … as I can also visualize a textured (non-textile) background perhaps with overlays. I have a few ideas I might try initially in Illustrator or Photoshop (for concepts). For the time being, will just have to be happy with that & see where it leads.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Sections 1 & 2 Reviewed ...

A few experiments yesterday led me to readjust sections 1 & 2 in the context of the 2 being used together. I’m much happier now about the concepts & can continue with the next sections. Also stitches & textiles are beginning to be visualised (although other art forms as well) – so this is likely to affect my other conceptual ideas of the next sections.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Section 2 - Progression ...

Although wanting to get started on some samples, I decided to continue with Section 2 (basically the next 7 year cycle for inspirational ideas). Each section needs to detail my progression of ‘thought processes’ so using a similar series of Photoshop techniques as per those yesterday, I’ve managed to produce the above image. It will also help me decide how I’ll be ‘linking’ each section together – both visually as well as on a creative level. (I’ve learnt from bitter experiences in the past not to start something ‘too quickly’ as it can often lead to ‘reworking’ something you're not entirely happy with.

There are several other ‘creative influences’ at work in each of the 2 sections so far & although not mentioned here, they will be ultimately (when all sections are comnpleted). I’ve noticed them much more when the 2 sections were placed side-by-side …. yesterday’s section 1 now needs to be slightly adjusted. I’ll possibly leave this at the moment & wait until some other sections are underway & all can be viewed as a whole.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Section 1 - Stencil a year ...

Have played around Photoshopping several copies of yesterdays images – mainly related to colours & shapes (as well as cut-outs). I was also superimposing shapes etc from one to another – all to do with the year I’m trying to show. At this moment in time, the year shown represents a particular memorable occasion. Remembering the ‘lines’ artwork of last week, I decided to try some stencils - they are also appropriate for what I’m trying to show. I liked the first effect I did (see above) so will possibly try some similar ideas following on from this.

Whilst creatively ‘experimenting’ in my new technique for ideas etc, it’s also helping me to consider how I’m ultimately going to produce the image as a final piece of ‘artwork’. I’ve mostly worked in textiles but for this piece, want to do it using other mediums. I did various ‘experimental’ samples a few years ago (many included within the Make-Do-&-Mend Embroidered Book) & quite likely will resurrect some of these.

NOTE: I’m still unwalkable so unable to get into my studio. All my samples, tools etc are there with their references so for the time being I’m having to ‘make-do’ just using the computer (rather appropriately as you’ll find out later!!).

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Faded look of a past ...

During the rest of the day, I've been tidying the image from yesterday. Final positioning of the small images, then Photoshopping the result to get the qualities I'm seeking. Several variants later, I've chosen these 2 above to now continue with ... I'm gradually getting that 'faded look of a past' where images are haunting & somewhat sequential. I'm next hoping to blend the above 2 together somehow ... mainly to portray a final period of time I want to represent.

I'm also trying to make use of a 'gridlike' panelling concept that feels right to use for 'Interspection' as a finished piece of (maybe textile?) art. I've always had a tendency to think practically &/or logically (computer days & flow-charts!) & approach much of what I do with this in mind. I think it's part of the way I work & should be represented. PLUS I think it's how the individual sections may be assembled together at a later stage (when all completed) & would be an important part of the final 'structure'. (I usually test things first visually - it's so much easier to do earlier rather than later!)

7 year cycles !

A few experimental ideas on Monday with the tablet has changed what I'll actually be doing next. As I started to add a few 'experimental sketchings' to the line/shape artwork, it confirmed that the concept I was trying to display as an image would actually work. Rather than now continue with just a 'test', I decided to begin the 'Introspection' piece.

Some days ago I also mentioned  it was possible 'Interspection' would be some sort of pieced or mosaic work. I believe we all travel through different 'life cycles' - each being of 7 years duration (approximately) & for different purposes or reasons. With this in mind, I thought it important to show this in some way too.

I started by rereading my earlier related blogs & looking at that imagery as some 'memory joggers'. As I also have an interest in family history (& periodically doing that too), I spent some of yesterday researching it. Although primarily 'location' based, it triggered some important images for me & these could be integrated too. Thinking it a good idea to 'begin at the beginning', I started to write initial 'narratives' for this artwork's explanation - mainly so that I didn't have to do it later! This immediately provided the detailed concept together with visual imagery which I feel I can now now'capture'.

This first piece (above) shows that 'initial' image to represent the beginning of my 'creativity & inspiration' - up to the age of 7 (the first age-cycle). There's a lot more work to be done on it but at this moment in time, it captures exactly what I want it to.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Interspection taking shape ?

Yesterday afternoon & on re-looking at recent images, one in particular seemed important for some reason. Apart for it being an art exercise, I specifically had chosen certain images & words that were appropriate & suitable FOR ME. Then on reviewing that image, it did somewhat capture something about me so decided to creatively continue with it.

A start was made quickly in Photoshop where the above quickly took shape - I texturised a background (for my meaning) by making it more fabric-like. On then looking at it, I thought it would possibly be suitable to be enhanced further within Illustrator & use of my tablet. Here we go next !!