Sunday, 28 December 2014

The Green Dilemma

Many months ago the Running Stitchers decided to participate in a challenge using green fabric.  Each member of the group put a piece of fabric into 11 packets.  We all took a packet of 11 assorted fabrics each, plus some green beads someone had added.  We were meant to finish the final piece by our November meeting, but due to various reasons several members had not finished, or even started, by the deadline.  I have really struggled with mine as firstly I did not like the fabrics which were to hand and secondly I did not really have any enthusiasm for the challenge.

I have now almost finished my piece of work and it has to fit in an Ikea square box frame I just happened to have rolling around.  Although I carefully measured each piece to ensure the finished size would be correct it has been a struggle.

Friday, 26 December 2014

Twas Christmas Day ....

Views towards Malvern
What fantastic weather we had on Christmas Day.  DH took me along to the Wych Cutting and dropped me off and I then walked back via the Worcester Beacon and North Hill in good time to prepare Christmas dinner.  He, of course, spent most of the day reading magazines, listening to the radio, watching TV and eating.
In places the gorse bushes were full of flowers and where it was sheltered from the wind it was quite warm.  This did not mean that there was not any frost on the ground where the sun had not reached the exposed areas.

Below are views towards the Herefordshire side of the hills.  I could not take pictures of the best views as the sun was in the wrong position in the sky.  I just had to take in the lovely scenery, mists and magical shadows along the ridge towards British Camp, Eastnor Castle and May Hill.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Christmas Visitor

This little chap has been visiting our garden on a regular basis since we lost Sox.  Not sure whether it is a girl or a boy but it is very friendly and rolls over to have its tummy tickled.  It probably lives over the busy road outside our house so hope it does not get knocked down by a car.
You can tell by the look on its face that it did not like having its photograph taken.  Since first encountering it I have been amused by its half moustache.  It has now got a little friend, of similar colouring, which I think must be coming down from the housing estate.  It is a kitten (teenage like) and very entertaining as it stalks the older cat and then trails behind it at a safe distance.  Neither of them have shown any aggression to each other, although the older cat totally ignores the younger one.
Had to go to Worcester last week to get my car MOT'd and walking past the cricket ground saw this ornate fence.  We are doing something on LINE for Running Stitchers so thought I might be able to use it, not having spotted the diagonal lines on the grass behind.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Creative Friends

I have been put to shame yet again as several of my friends have sent their handmade cards and I, of course, never got round to it.  I did make one for Running Stitchers group but it was no great shakes.  Cards are not really my thing and I have great difficulty producing anything presentable.

from a member of Running Stitchers

A lovely paste paper background from bookbinding class

A felted tree from a felting friend

The family dog from a printing friend

Monday, 8 December 2014

Whippet Book

The whippet book is almost finished.  I managed to get the leather onto the outside on Friday and just have some glueing to do on the inside to finish it off.  Is it a Yorkshire whippet I wonder .... it is meant to represent Whippet's Brook.
This book shows the route of Whippets Brook through our garden. I have added some small beads to the blue leather to give it a bit more interest.  The brown leather was a recycled leather jacket from a charity shop and has been used to make at least two other books to date.  Attaching the strip of blue leather to the gap in the front cover was quite a challenge but so pleased with the result.  Drawings need to be made inside the book now of the flora and fauna which inhabit the wild part of the garden.
These little pots contain some snowdrops purchased earlier this year from Colesbourne.  I got such a surprised when I saw how much they had grown.  The left hand pot actually has some buds trying to poke through.  Guess the slugs and snails will be chewing them off before long!!

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Another Book

This little creation is called a Pocket Flag Book.  I made some pelmet vilene figures to go in the pockets, however, there are additional pockets between the top of the folds too.  Most of the class made credit card shaped books, but I decided to be a bit different and made mine tall and slim.
The picture below shows the concertina folds which hold the whole thing together.  I used up some bits of contrasting paper I had created at some time in the past and then painted the inside hinge with some bronze metallic paint to bring it all together.

At long last I have done a bit more on the cover of my Whippet's Brook themed book which is to be covered in leather.  Additional pieces of board have been added and pared down ready for the leather to be attached.  It should give it a more dimensional finish.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

When You Are Feeling Blue

It is a very sad day today ... it is the funeral of Ann Holden who recently died after a brave fight against cancer.  She was a dear friend and wonderful tutor from whom I learnt a wealth of techniques over the years I have known her.  My everlasting memory will be "the class glasses" which were always on hand for those who had forgotten to bring their own with them.  It was always a huge joke in the class.

Recently, whilst undertaking a Fine Art Printing course at Hereford College of Art I had the opportunity to create some cyanotype prints on paper.  I have had a kit for years but have never used it as it involved making up the solution, preparing the fabric and then keeping it in a light free environment until a nice sunny day came along.  The College have a huge ultraviolet light box which makes the whole experience so easy and holds the items you are exposing down with a vacuum so they cannot move.  Can you imagine doing it outside on a sunny but windy day.  All your materials would either blow away or move during the exposure.

Above is an image created using a mixture of hydranga flowers, skeleton leaves from the garden, dress pattern tissue and some lovely old lace I acquired from the sales stall at our local Embroiderers' Guild meeting.  The detail on the lace is amazing.
Prior to the lace and dress pattern tissue I had been playing with honesty seeds.  I had to peel off the outer casing to get a transparent image, which also meant losing the seeds inside.  I think the odd colour effect on this print is due to the fact that the cyanotype solution had not been painted onto the paper very evenly.

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Autumn Feast

I was surprised to find that a veritable feast of fungi have appeared in the garden this past week.  I do  not know what they are and certainly will not be eating them, but they are very pretty ....

This little chap was over in The Dell and was ever so tiny and I had not spotted the second one peeping out from under a leaf.
Very small puff balls

Above and below on the front lawn

All of the above were very small and I suspect the orange ones were growing where there used to be an old apple tree in the front garden.  This last one was on an old tree stump in The Dell.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Harlow Carr Gardens

I have just returned from a few days 'Up North' and no doubt the poor friend I stayed with feels like this after 5 days of me ....

We went to Farfield Mill on Sunday to see the exhibition by Joan Newall's students and it was fabulous.  On Saturday morning my friend and I popped to Harlow Carr and, although it was very foggy, we had a lovely time.
Mad Hares Riding Bikes

Anyone for Green Tea?

Owl and Baubles greet you

Mad Vegetable Patch

Lovely Seedheads
My main reason for visiting Yorkshire was to go to the Knitting & Stitching Show, but it is so nice to see lots of old friends too and catch up with everyone.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Reed Pen and Ink

On Wednesday one member of the Running Stitchers group very kindly brought along an A3 sized piece of paper, ink and pens made from dried reeds collected along the Worcester Canal for each of us.  We all had such tremendous fun, particularly when using extra long reeds which gave very little control over what was happening at the nib end on the paper ... not sure who did what now but some interesting marks

An onion was an option for those who wanted something to draw ....

Quink Ink with a splash of water

Some prefer a smaller scale

Could this be a compulsive doodler?

Sunday, 9 November 2014

A Grand Day Out

On Saturday, although it was a wet and horrible day, we ventured out to the Annual Textile Fair at Compton Verney.  The first room as you entered Compton Verney was filled with a display of quilts by the Contemporary Quilt Group with the them 'Dislocation'.  It was excellent and made even better by the fact that there were several folders with handling samples and an explanation of how each one had been created.
A Little Piece of England - Lynne Pretty

Joan Eastham

Gillian Travis - A Broken Jug
There was also an additional room, which I believe is normally used for wedding receptions, which had several textile artists and quilting supplies for sale.  I particularly liked the work of Barbara Shaw.  I believe she has been artist in residence at Chastleton House.  We saw the British Folk Art Exhibition too and there were several quilts in some of the other galleries.  The exhibition of 'Art from Ammunition: Trench Art from the First World War' was amazing.  It was so busy we did not manage to have lunch in the restaurant, but still had a lovely day out.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

More from the Print Class


The honesty and grasses were rollered with water based printing ink and then placed on top of a piece of dry paper in the etching press with a second piece of paper on top of it.  This gave me two prints, one from either side of the plant material.  I was amazed they came out so well.  It was a nice contrast to the cyantype printing we have been doing this week.

This section of a page from my sketchbook is very spooky.  I have been doodling about with stuff we did at the Bobby Britnell/Ruth Issett workshop and was using graphite powder and graphite pencils and wetted a watersoluble one I found in my pencil box.  When I looked at my sketchbook later in the day I noticed that a man in a suit seemed to be visible in my doodlings!!

Friday, 31 October 2014


On Tuesday evening's I go to a printing class in Hereford.  This week we had been doing monoprinting using plant materials with water based inks. At the end of the class I had some ink left and a dirty roller to clean so I was busily rollering over a piece of newsprint when I discovered that I had left some pieces of grass and honesty underneath.  The raised edges were being highlighted with the excess ink coming from the roller.  It was a lovely surprise and I think I might wax the papers with either acrylic wax or candle wax and use them for something.  I could even put a wash of colour over the background before I do this.

We only had red or blue to work with and, as I did not like the brightness of either colour, I mixed them together.

An whole and partial honesty seed that had been stuck to the roller

Grass Stalks