Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Moving this blog ...

I am moving this blog to a new home on the Wordpress platform, as this is where my garden journal is hosted and I have decided to keep everything under one roof - so to speak.
My first post is up to-day after more than 6 months away from the studio.

Although it has been a wonderful time - I did have a slight "something is missing" feeling - and of course it was art. I am struggling to get back to a place where I am working creatively - so my entries on my new blog may be a bit sporadic to start with. Please bare with me!

Part of the reason that I have not been in the studio is that I have found work as a gardener - it pays slightly better than art! Plus I have been working in my own garden - which I am passionate about.

Now the nights are drawing in - and the weather is changing - fingers crossed the studio is where I will settle for the winter.

Above is a small image - to tempt you to my new home An Artist's Garden-Studio

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Pink Artist Project

In January of this year I discovered Monicas Blog - Girl Gone Thread Wild.

She put out a call to textile artists - to make a 2 inch pink square for a project she was doing to raise awareness and money for breast cancer research.

The response she received from textile artists across the world was amazing. The pink squares 490 of them, flooded in. Monica used them to create a doll called "Love Squared".

This doll is now being raffled for charity and if you would like to donate/enter the draw please check out this link for all the details.

Monica has boundless energy and her enthusiasm and joy are amazing.

On her blog are the details of the the pink artists - and the journey to make the doll a reality -

Please take a look.

And remember:-


Tuesday, 18 March 2008


Thursday is the Spring or Vernal Equinox - this is a time associated with "The Greenman" and above is a picture that I did some years ago.

The original drawing was based on my middle son, when he was a teenager, and this son has also been on my mind these past few weeks, as his wedding takes place over the Easter weekend.

I think that part of my reluctance to be in the studio this past month is to do with my feelings around my sons wedding.

Or let me re-phrase that my feelings around becoming a "Mother in Law"!

Two of my sons are getting married this year. For the past month - I have not set foot in the studio - but I have been tending my garden like there is no tomorrow.

I love my two new daughter-in-laws-to-be. I am overjoyed that my sons are getting married and I am just so proud of all my children and their partners.

Yet somehow these imminent weddings have affected me more than I knew.
I thought I had embraced my age and in some ways I have - apart from the occasional moan about the fact that various parts of my body seem to be hurtling towards the ground - Gravity has a strange effect on the over 50's!

However at another level - I know these weddings are also a milestone in my life, and for the past month I have been in the grey time, the liminal phase of neither here nor there. Somehow, not the same mother I was - and - not yet the Mother in Law I will become.

Tending the garden has been my metaphorical rite of passage - cultivating the soil, pulling the weeds and moving stones. A way of separating from the Mother I was, actively nurturing my children (Although in truth - I have not had to do this for a few years) and moving towards the Mother I will become.

Now - I send them joyfully into this new and exciting phase of their lives, while I take my new place as the "Mother in Law"

This is work in progress that I started to-day. It is going to be composed of fragments. Fragments that I have saved over the years - from pieces that didn't work out, experiments, bits that I liked - but never got around to working into a picture.

Perhaps another metaphor for where I am just now.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Digital Art Journal Entry

Please click on the picture for a larger view.
Art Journal entry
Sketchbook pages from 1991

As I am not in my studio very much just now - you may find me in
An Artist's Garden

Monday, 25 February 2008

Absence and Award!

I have not been in my studio for two weeks. The reality is that I probably wont have much studio time in March.

However, despite not being here Threadspider has passed on this to me.

Which I really appreciate.

The idea of the Excellent Blog Award, is to award it to 10 more people whose blog you find Excellent Award Worthy.

I would like to pass this on to:-

Seth at the Altered Page
He writes a very interesting blog, I particularly enjoyed his "pulse" series of interviews.

Jude at Spirit Cloth - her blog and her stitching are a mediation

Michelle Ward - whose work I think is amazing and she is so generous, with links, techniques and her writing.

Monica Magness at Girl gone thread wild. My experience of Monica's blog is one of such joy and vibrancy. In particular the Artists Squares she has organized.

Kate Smudges - who has just celebrated her first anniversary with her blog Kate Smudges in Earth, Paint and Life, and I feel that Kate's blog is like sitting down with a friend for a cup of tea

Also - Sandy at Garden Path. I have only recently started following Sandy's blog, and I am enjoying her images and her Haiku.

Apologies for the brevity of this post - normal creative posting will resume when my muse returns from being out to play!

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Wolf Moon

Wolf Moon is now finished - in this picture it probably does not look a lot different than in the last post - but there is more stitching on it. I don't know why but all the close ups I took of the piece today showed a real haze on the layer of organza (with light reflection I suppose) - but it is not there at all when you look at the real piece. It is quite hard to photograph - which will be a problem if I want to have giclee prints made from it. (OK not a problem - a challenge!)

The full moon in February is known among other things as "Snow Moon", or "Ice Moon"
It is hard to think about a "Snow Moon" given the wonderful sunshine that we have had over the past few days, so I think the inspiration for this moon will come from the snowdrops in the garden.

Tomorrow I am going to spend some time in the studio working on this theme!

What has happened to the spell checker on blogger?
When you are dyslexic it is a real problem if it doesn't work!!

Monday, 11 February 2008

No Apologies

Well - actually I do have one apology to make - and that is I am so sorry that I have not replied to all of you who took the time and trouble to leave a comment on my last post.

So thank you;-
Shirley, Dobby, Sharon, Threadspider, Paula, Judy and Linda I valued your input.
I have not looked at the piece since I posted it - and as I said in my last post I have done a bit more stitching.


So I have been working in the garden and at the weekend we walked.

"A little piece of Heaven"

I feel so much better now that I have had some sun on my face. When we walked at the weekend , the weather was so wonderful that we were in T-shirts. What bliss.
(humm - the spell checker on bloggger does not seem to work - apologies for spelling errors)

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Comments Welcome

This is where I am up to with "Wolf Moon" the "mount" around the edge is only paper. So that I can get an idea of the composition of the finished work. The piece has not been pressed - so it does look a bit creased!

I am now in a position where do I .............

1) leave it as is with minimal hand stitching


2) Do hand stitching all over

Detail 1

detail 2
(Actually the wolf has a little bit more stitching on it since the photo)

Your comments are welcome

Saturday, 2 February 2008


Good walk to-day.

This is a vain attempt to loose weight before one of my sons wedding ...
7 weeks to-day - eek

Wednesday, 30 January 2008


"It is better to light a candle,
than to curse the darkness"

I read this earlier in the day and it seems very apt for me right now.

Following on from my last post - I am still sad for my youngest son, who is now travelling lighter than ever - as the burglars also took his suitcase!

But in "blog land" today I came across this on Monica's blog. (girl gone thread wild)

Monica is going to make a doll and a quilt from 2 inch squares sent to her by fellow bloggers. The square can be in your chosen medium, with a cloth base, so Monica can sew the square to the doll - please see her blog for inspiration.

The doll will be sent to Art Doll Quarterly, and then auctioned. The proceeds will go to help fight breast cancer.

The square must be with Monica by the 1st March 2008 - so there is plenty of time if you want to contribute. Do check out Monica's blog for all the information. HERE

I started my squares to-day.

2 inch squares - work in progress.

Sunday, 27 January 2008

Please click on the images for a larger view.

Thursday, 24 January 2008

The Sun Came Out To-day .....

The sun came out to-day so I went for a good walk with a friend. Sunshine Exercise and Good Company - just what I needed.

There was a lot of water in the river, after the rains we have had.

I was so glad to see the sun.

Wednesday, 23 January 2008


Stressed today!

I am setting up an ETSY shop for Giclee Prints of my work.

In the past I have had giclees professionally printed of some of my embroideries. They generally tended to be steady little sellers at exhibitions and fairs. However now that I am not out at shows any more - I thought that ETSY would be the way to go.

It took me half a day to get one picture up there! Not because it is hard - far from it - really the whole process seems quite straightforward. I think I was stressing too much over whether the colour reproduction of the photo was accurate and trying to get the text correct.

Phew - well one up 4 to go! Anyway I wont direct you to my ETSY shop just yet -because "Cherry Toes" is the only thing there - but I will put a link up when I get it all sorted.

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Work in Progress - Wolf Moon

I have started on a new piece of work - from the journal page that I did on the 8th January.
Yesterday I dyed the fabric, today I started laying on sheers and organza fabrics and tacking them down. The finished piece will be slightly bigger than this - approximately 12 ins x 12 ins.

I usually use a scoured felt - prepared for dying as my background fabric for a piece of work. Felt is a wonderful ground fabric when you are doing a lot of Free Machine Embroidery, and building up layers. I use heat fix silk dyes, and acrylic paint to add colour to the background fabric.

TIP - If you are tacking fabrics down before free machine embroidery - use a thread which breaks easily and is a good colour match to the overall picture. When you do dense FME it is impossible to get all the tacking out - especially if like me you work in layers. I tack fabrics down - and then overlay more fabric on top. If you use tacking thread that matches the picture - when you have little ends that refuse to come out - they look meant!

Thursday, 17 January 2008

Destroy to Create

Interesting day in the studio today - I really wanted to push the development of the images from yesterday and the day before - as a double page spread in my 2008 "Moon Journal".

I also wanted to push my sewing machine as well - because - as yet I have not had time to see what it will really do. I decided to see what the "built in quilting stitches" would do. And I really rather like them. The machine also stitched nicely through the layers - which were - woven paper, painted bondaweb, inkjet transfer on muslin, tissue paper and vyline.

I always find synchronicity interesting. I spent the day yesterday in the veg. garden sorting it out after the high winds and lashing rain we have been having - and I still didn't get to plant the onions. To-day I received a "planting by the moon" e-mail and low and behold - it is tomorrow that is a good day for planting onions!

The page developed further as the day progressed - there is still a couple of things I want to add - but the note about it being a good day to plant onions is down the left hand side - and next to it, is an abstract design I drew, painted and cut out from a sketch I did last summer - when my onions went to seed.

Purple Missus (Lynda Monk) left a comment yesterday - saying she would of been more than happy with the first image on yesterdays post - I think the sub-text of a lot of my work process is "Destroy to Create" and "What happens If ..."

Sometimes this doesn't work at all - but if you push and push - Sometimes the results are wonderful.

Is this is a wonderful page - No it is not - but it is a very useful page. It has some excellent starting points to build on. Which - for me - is a good reason to keep an "art journal"

My mind is buzzing with ideas to develop from what I did today. I know my machine just a little bit more - and perhaps - most importantly - I can plant my onions either to-morrow or Saturday!

Tuesday, 15 January 2008


Here are some developments on the picture I posted yesterday - with a view to using them as starting point in my art journal.

The picture above - is simply yesterdays image with the contents of my "to do" list scrawled on top.

I took this page and two photographs of onions that I took last summer. Then I cut these into one inch wide strips and wove them together to create a new back ground paper.

This back ground I will be working on further tomorrow - but I did scan it and alter it in photoshop, and type a journal entry for today on it.

Unfortunately - I have just slopped my cup of tea on my computer keyboard - so need to go and dry it out!

Monday, 14 January 2008


This is a very small detail of a development page of the wolf moon image posted a few days ago.

I was working on this image for the "travelling sketchbook" I do with Linda.
When I had finished the page - I scanned it to make a copy. But my scanner glass is so mucky with paint and fibre - that I had to edit it in photoshop to get rid of the bits of fluff around the edges of the picture.

As I had it blown up really large - I noticed this wonderful bit of texture. Sometimes little areas of texture blown up make wonderful starting points. I think I may print this bit off, to use as a background for a page in my art journal.

I want to thank Sharon and Shirley Anne for giving me a "You Make My Day Award" I am touched - and I appreciate it very much.

As I nominated a couple of folk on the 9th January post - I hope Sharon and Shirley will not mind too much if I do not pass it on at this time. But I would like to thank you all who continue to read and support my blog.

Thursday, 10 January 2008

The Sea ... The Sea

At the moment I am totally captivated by the new work that Vivian has on her blog. Her current art is speaking directly to my soul. It is also inspiring me to return to working with sea themes again.

It is strange - that now I am living about 5 minutes away from the beach how little sea imagery is in my work.

However - when I was living away from the sea - my work was about the sea. I missed it so ......

In 1988 - when I was doing my City and Guilds in Creative Embroidery. My part two theme was "the sea". One of my major pieces was a coat, which had seaweed and sea horses as decoration.

My father - who lived by the sea, sent me regular parcels of sea weed - so that I could draw it. How brave was the post man who delivered it!

Then in 1998 I was doing a lot of shows and exhibitions - the sea and all things watery, featured strongly in my work - again I was living a long way away from it and missed it a lot.

However here I am now - returned to my soul home, and prompted by Vivian I am pulled once more towards the sea.

The joy of having a theme that returns time and again over the years (decades) is that you have the opportunity to revisit the theme with new eyes and new perspective.

During Part 2, City and Guilds - my sea themes were large.

In 1998 my sea images had a melancholy - which perhaps reflected where I was in my life at that time.

And now - 20 years down the line - although the water and the boats appear from time to time - I am edging towards doing another body of significant work around the sea and my life beside it.

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

You Make My Day

Judy gave me a "You Make My Day Award" yesterday - which was lovely!

Here are the guidelines for this:-

Give the award to up to 10 people whose blogs bring you happiness and inspiration and make you feel so happy about Blogland! Let them know by posting a comment on their blog so that they can pass it on. Beware! You may get the award several times!

Some of the folk that I would pass it onto - also got it yesterday too!

I have decided to very selective about who to mention and pass on this award too.

There are so many of you out there who "Make My Day" Blogland is a wonderful place - and in my experience such a supportive community.

I will give this award to

Sharon Young
Because I enjoy her blog - but also she is a wonderful reader of my blog and so many other blogs. She also takes the time and trouble to leave comments. Her questions set me thinking, and her support is great.

The other blogger I would choose is

Catherine Kerr
I have only recently discovered Catherine's blog and I love it. For me it is a gentle reminder every morning to live a soulful life - and for that I thank her

Here is my second to last doll - This is for Denice - who signed up for the PIF - way back. As I didn't have a picture of her - I transferred a picture of a Venetian Mask to the doll. I had hoped to get it to her for Christmas - but time ran away with me - so she got it today!

One more to do - hopefully tomorrow.

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

New Year - New Art Journal

Journal page January 8th

A New year and a new journal.

A journal for me is different from a sketchbook - this is where I start with a theme and see where it leads and this year my theme is the wheel of the year as defined by the full moons. (Actually it is the wheel of the year every year!) The journal is where my themes and ideas for significant pieces of work gestate

My sketchbook is just that - sketches and drawings - very rough, samples and ideas, thoughts about techniques. Colour notes, reminders, "what iff's" and so on. I suspect the main difference is that the journal is rather inward looking and the sketchbook is looking out and observing the world. Of course the two feed each other - for how can you draw a wolf moon - unless you have stood under the night sky and truly looked at the moon.

Judy has left a comment giving me a "You make my day Award" which is delightful and I will be following up on this tomorrow. Thank you Judy.

Saturday, 5 January 2008

What I did Next

Printed image and "shrinked" image

For my three girl-friends here in Wales - I decided that although they had their own doll - they could also have smaller versions of their two friends to hang on the Christmas Tree!

(Although one of my friends has such a tasteful Christmas tree - her decorations did not make it onto the tree!)

So I photographed the finished doll. and printed it onto "shrink paper" for an ink jet printer.
After a few trial and errors - I printed the image nearly the full size of an A4 paper, and as you can see from above - I really lightened the colour - because during the heating process the colours darken.

Close up of the Christmas Decoration!
Size approx 3 ins high
The images shrink a lot during the two minutes that you heat them in the oven. I also discovered that they don't shrink evenly - so if I printed figures sideways (landscape) on an A4 sheet - they turned out small - but slim!

However portrait I could do bigger figures - but they were slightly "well rounded"

Anyway - it was fun and I have wanted to try shrink plastic/paper for the inkjet printer for ages.

Friday, 4 January 2008

Another doll

This was the only "boy" that I made!

I was trying to do a gingerbread man - but he looked a bit strange - so I had to give him "Christmas trousers" and a bow tie!

I made a doll for Judy as a PIF - and the photo she has on her blog is better than the photo I took - so if you want to see Judy please click here

The paper mountain is slowly decreasing! I want to get it done and dusted so that I can be in the studio with a clear conscience otherwise it sits like a grey cloud in the back of my mind and I get grumpy.

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Happy New Year to you all

Happy New Year to you all. I apologise for not blogging for ages - there were two reasons for this.

The first was the dreaded vertigo - which - fingers crossed, for the most part is better.
I have been seeing the osteopath, and she has really helped however the process of recovering
from the vertigo gave me a very uncomfortable back - so I could only be in the studio for short bursts of time!

The other reason is that I was making "art dolls" as Christmas presents and for the PIF exchange and I did not want to post pictures until I was sure that all of those dolls were in their new homes!

They did prove to be slightly more time consuming than I first thought - although they were not really very complicated - just fiddly. The hardest part was turning the doll right side out.

However - they were a joy to make!

I will post more pictures over the next couple of days - as they are not all in the "group photo"

Here are links to two more fun tutorials on art-e-zine;- for making this type of doll which caught my eye when I was first thinking about making "fairies" for my friends Christmas Trees.



One of my resolutions this year is to try and stay on top of "paperwork". I seem to have half a Brazilian Rain forest of papers and "stuff" to sort out. (I think I say that every year) So no studio time for me until I have made some inroads into my paper mountain.

So I wish you all a wonderful 2008, thank you all for visiting my blog and all your comments and e-mails.