Showing posts from 2010

Final thought as go into 2011

"Limits are a secret blessing..." Twyla Tharp


Back to it - smile please :)

So having picked myself up from the gloom of yesterday (thanks for the words of wisdom from Leslie on previous post), called back into the studio for a few hours and took some more photos to document my work so far and make some notes.  There are some good ideas there, I just need to make a bit more sense of them to move it on.
Binding things shut - a memory contained, or lost, inaccessable. 
 Small scrolls, a collection of memories.

 Wrapped in gold thread, preserved, threads of conversation, connected, stored. 

  at the edge of memory, blurred details, vivid imagery.

Missing, extracted, empty, absent.


I feel like growling - as unbelievably I have another cold!  So despite making it to the studio, I found myself completely ineffective, so just wasted 3 hours stood staring at scraps of paper, bits of thread and generally being confused.   There are a few key themes that I am trying to illustrate through my work, and it is a much more conceptual way of working than I am used to.  I am trying to show time through the use of materials, depict memory found and memory lost, a way of containing or preserving time and memory.  I want to find a way to embed these ideas through the process of making.   The handmade quality of my work is important and I don't want the concept to overpower the making of it - I really dislike the sort of art that has some deep meaning, but looks badly made.  I worry that although I have narrowed my research down, there are so many avenues to explore that I am still confused about what I am doing.

Continuing with ideas around the breakdown printing method - th…

Snowy Seaside Sneaky break ...

Last weekend we managed a few nights away to sunny and snowy Scarborough on the east coast, was lovely, very pretty, so just thought I would share a few of the photos with you...

 View from the flat we stayed in
 Wintery walk on the Cleveland Way
 Stormy seas
Lovely, but freezing cold.

and the winner is.....

Emma Thomsen is the lucky follower to get the prize!  Picture will be finding its way to you through the snow soon - hope you like it.  Sorry to my other followers who didn't win this time - but keep your eye out for future giveaways.  I will be blogging over Xmas, so please come back and visit me over the Xmas holidays.  Happy Christmas to everyone who follows and thank you for all your words of encouragement this year.

Become a Follower to win.....

Ok, so as promised, to celebrate now having over 50 followers on my blog I am having a bit of a give away.  If you want to be included you need to become a follower by Wednesday 15th December and you will automatically be entered.   One follower will be picked at random (put in a hat and picked out by my better half) and I will post it out to you. The prize is pictured below.  So get following and good luck.....

Little give away coming soon....

As I now have over 50 followers I am doing a little give away of a piece of my work.  Will post an image soon (forgotten to bring my camera to the studio)... so watch this space - image will go up tonight with details of how to take part.

Back from Knit and Stitch at Harrogate!

Back from the show at Harrogate - which was a lovely event and so nice to meet lots of people.  I practically have no voice left after all that chatting.  Hoping everyone got home safe on the Sunday - the snow caused chaos!  Will be back soon to update my blog, as I have a lot of catching up to do..........

One presentation done - on with the practical stuff

I had a presentation to give for my MA on Thursday - it had been a bit of a mad dash of reading and trying to write it after the trip to Dublin, but I got through it and I have to say all the reading and research over the last month or so is beginning to help me find a way for the practical side. Because my Grandmother has become more of the focus for my research, I have found myself quite emotional at times, when reading about memory,time, absence and loss - the key themes for my work.  Fortunately I have been spending more time with my Grandmother gathering stories, memories and photographs - just got to translate this into something more solid now. 

I think she is enjoying retelling the stories and the excitement of being recorded via my laptop!  It seems  important to find a way of preserving these times but I am still trying to find ways to illustrate these themes of time and memory - how do you illustrate something that is intangible??

Back from Dublin!

Had a fab time in Dublin - the people were lovely and so friendly that I would love to go back at some point and exhibit again.  Thank you to everyone who came for a chat and again to my Mum for being there to help me out.  Back to the studio this week to tidy up!  And then busy creating some new work for the Harrogate Knit and Stitch show - hope to see some of you there.

oo - and before I forget - few places left on my print taster workshop!

Before I set off to Dublin , just a reminder that I have a few places left on my print taster workshop, to be held at my studio in Huddersfield, on Saturday 13th November, it will be great opportunity to try out a variety of printing techniques and leave the day with some lovely fabric samples and some new skills.  Check out the workshop pages on my blog or my wesbite for more details.  Would make a very nice early Xmas gift for someone too!

Off to Dublin!

Well its been a mad couple of weeks since getting back from London.  Beteween teaching at Leeds and Huddersfield, reading for my MA and trying to get a bit more work ready to take Dublin, there hasn't been a lot of time for blogging - or much else!

Anyway - I am really looking forward to going to Dublin and meeting some new people!  A few pics of new work......

Back from London

Well I made it back from London late last night after 5 days at Alexandra Palace.  It was a great show and I met some very lovely people who said some very kind things about my work.  So thank you if you were one of them.  If you didn't make it down to London, there is still chance to catch the Knit and Stitch Show at Dublin and Harrogate.  Some great exhibitions to see and a very high standard of embroidery in general.  Although I have to say I think the graduates on the Knit Awards stand were probably one of my favourite stands.  So what next.... I need to make some more work to take to Dublin and I have a lot of catching up to do for my MA!  Thanks to my Mum as well, who was a fabulous map reader and general all round supporter - couldn't have done it without you.

Stitch, stitch, stich - getting ready for Ally Pally

Not long now before the Knit and Stitch Show at Alexandra Palace.  I am currently surrounded by fabric, frames, threads and more.   Hoping to see some of you there, please come and say hello - I will be on the Embroiderers' Guild Graduate Showcase Stand.   Four days of great textile work to see - I only hope I get a little chance to escape my stand to have a look around too - but thankfully I have an assistant (Mother) who will stand in for me for a little while - so you can come and say hello to her too :)

Thank you

Thank you to all the lovely people who visited the studio at Radiant Works over the last 2 weekends, for all the nice comments about the work and those who purchased things too.  Hope to see you all again next year.
Back to the grindstone now...

Open for Viewing

Its your last chance to come and see the studio this weekend as part of the HOST event -
You can find directions to Radiant Works here
Not just my work here - so come and join us, we have fizz and wine too!

Well it was tidy...

The studio was looking all pristine and then I have a good creative day (which has been a long time coming) and made some pieces of work that I am reasonably pleased with (is everyone as bad as me when crticizing their own work?)  and look what I did to my nice tidy studio!

I have had one of those funny weeks (read as months), where I start to panic about all the things I am trying to do and got myself into a bit of a rut.  Fortunately I have lovely people around me with positive thoughts and ideas and so thanks to them, today has been good, messy but good.  Time for tea and biscuits....

Nearly ready!

Its been very busy in the studio this week, with a frenzy of making and tidying up.  Nearly there, just a bit more tidying to do with some help from all the artists who will be exhibiting this weekend and next.  Hope to see some of you at the Preview Night at Huddersfield University tomorrow night (6pm - 8pm) and obviously at the Studio - Radiant Works on Saturday and Sunday (11am - 5pm).  Its a really good chance to see some great work and also an opportunity to see some of us in action.  I will be busy making work to take to the Knit and Stitch Shows, so there will be some printing, some machine embroidery and the embellisher may even make an appearance (only if its good).  So if you don't know what an embellisher is - now is your chance to find out.  For more info check out the HOST site at

Printing in the Studio

Full day at the studio today - which is a treat - so starting with printing some backgrounds for stitching and cutting up to stitch.
Using my squeegee on the piece above to use up excess binder - waste not want not. And below are some results from the break down printing technique (see the committed cloth link to the right for more info on this)

Lots to do, getting ready for HOST and the Knit and Stitch Shows, just waiting for some new screens to arrive from Thermofax and then the stitching begins!

Back from Sheffield

Well, we had a very lovely time at Art in the Gardens in Sheffield. Great event, added to that an award for our stand! Very exciting, so I think we will all be going again next year, maybe with a few more of our colleagues from the Society of Designer Craftsmen. Thank you to anyone who bought some of my work, everyone was very friendly and interested in our stand.

Back in the studio today, getting ready for HOST next - don't forget to come and see me during the open studio weekend (last 2 weekends in Sept). No rest for wicked me!

New Workshop Dates now added

Just added some new workshop dates, see the pages on the blog or visit my website on for more info. is a great website and they have very kindly put some blurb on there about me this month - check out the link

The power of twitter!

Despite trying to avoid tweeting and facebooking and all those other things - beginning to realise just how useful they are for spreading information about and networking - so thanks to a few nudges from the others at Radiant Works (studio where I am based ) I am now on Twitter too! And I even have some followers, so thanks to anyone who retweeted me! (eek even learning the lingo) So if I can do it - anyone can!

I'm in this months Embroidery Magazine!

Very excited to be in the Embroidery Magazine this month as one of the Guild Scholars. Emma Ludgren is the other scholar whose work looks amazing so will be great to meet her at the knit and stitch shows. Great issue of the magazine this month so make sure you get your copy.

Art in the Gardens - Sheffield - This Weekend

Just a reminder that I will be at the Sheffield Botanical Gardens this weekend for Art in the Gardens, along with my other colleagues from the Society of Designer Craftsmen. Please come and see us if you can. The preview night is Friday 3rd Sept 6.30pm - 10pm and then its also on all day Saturday 4th Sept and Sunday 5th Sept. I will be doing a bit of demonstrating on the Sunday and other artists will also be showing some techniques during the event. See you there.

New work ready for Artsmix Market

Its been a hive of activity in the studio over the last few days, I have a lot of events coming in September, October and November, so trying to keep up to speed with it all. Sharon asked earlier what I was going to do with the scrim I dyed last week, so here it is now made into scrim and wool scarves ...
I have also developed some new concertina books with my print designs on them...

You can see them for real at the the art market at Castle Howard on Bank Holiday Monday, or at HOST in September.

Back from the Festival of Quilts

Well I had a lovely day yesterday walking round the Festival of Quilts - always something interesting to see. I promised a full picture of my quilt on my return so here it is...
No prizes for me, but was still great to see it exhibited. I think my work is maybe too far removed from what a quilt is expected to be, so may try a different technique for next year.

The Creative Habit - Twyla Tharp

Apart from the fact that she has a great name - Twyla Tharp's book 'The Creative Habit' is proving to be an inspiring read. Going through the MA and trying to establish myself as an artist and teacher has been a challenging last twelve months since graduating and whilst I am getting there, it is sometimes like 'pushing string uphill'. So having seen the book at Mum's house in the past I asked to borrow it. So I am working my way through it and found I couldn't put it down last night. I would highly recommend it and will keep blogging about my journey with it as there are exercises to do!! The questionnaire was very revealing... watch this space!

Shadow Applique

Well - I have always fancied a go at shadow applique and just never got round to trying it. Been having a bit of a creative block so thought I would try something new, so here are my efforts.

Quite pleased with the outcome, but need to find away to make the stitching at the end look nice and neat - any thoughts??

A Day of Dyeing

Thanks to Mum who spent the day dyeing scrim with me - we had a great day and made some beautiful colours.

Bit of printing

Well, after a few weeks of reading and thinking for the MA, I am back in the studio printing some backgrounds for work to be exhibited at Art in the Gardens in Sheffield. Details here

Just some simple screen printing with a stencil - ready for stitching onto. - Feels good to be getting my hands dirty :)

Maybe I am on to something

Feels like I may have gone full circle - but I may have the actual starting point for the next stage of the MA. I am going to document some family stories and objects from my Nana (or "The Nana" as she has become affectionately known) as a way to illustrate some of the themes I have been exploring. My Nana's side of the family were stationed at Holy Island as my great great Grandfather was the coastguard there - a man called Samuel Bone, who had so many children they lived in two cottages, one for the older children and one for Samuel and his wife and the younger ones. My great grandmother, Amy Bone, used to tell my Nana wonderful stories of escape huts from the tides, sailors being saved from rocks and coaches being stuck in the sands coming and going from Bamburgh Castle. I don't know - its just an inkling and I feel that I want to document these stories as otherwise they will be lost. Having given a brief outline to my tutor and having a positive response, I am r…

Sketchbook Project

After a tip from my friend Carol Ann - I have signed up for this ! How exciting - can't wait for my sketchbook to arrive.

You can find out more and sign up yourself here:


Mmmm, new find to add to my collection - this lovely old map that was used to calculate distances - full of rusty old pins - next piece of inspiration

Plus a stash of maps from my Dad which he used when working in sales and a couple of finds from the second hand market
Love the colours and lines on these, but particularly like this one where a bit of the map escapes the border

Large scale

Watched the programme about David Hockney on iplayer yesterday whilst knotting the quilt together - called Imagine - Summer 2009. Really interesting to watch - he created a huge painting, which makes me want to increase the scale of my work too. I particularly liked a moment in the programme where he mentions how we all look at the same thing but with our own memory, and therefore we all see things slightly differently - I suppose because we all attach our own meaning to it. Well worth a watch - find it here...


At last - the knots are done and it can be posted off!

You can see the whole piece at the Festival of Quilts at the NEC.

So much for no more blogging!

I couldn't help it - I just had to tell you that I had finished my website - which is now up and running - there is a link on the top right hand side of the page. Have a look, tell me what you think? All feedback gratefully received.

Final Stages

So with a few threads...

A lot of cutting out of squares and bonding time.... Its now onto the final stage of knotting these layers together....Its got to be there for Friday - so no more blogging today!

New Gallery Page

New page with images of my work. More images will be uploaded over the next few weeks. Keep having a look see.

Good things always come out of bad...

Time away from making like a lunatic - probably why my back is bad - has given me time to do those things we put off. So I now have some new pages on my blog - which is increasingly becoming more like a webiste. The new pages launch my new workshops available from the summer, so please have a look. There is a print taster workshop with dates available and a stitch workshop coming soon, dates and venue to be confirmed.


I am feeling rather flat - my back has gone again and I am therefore not very mobile and shouldn't really even be sat at this computer.
It means I am getting very behind with my entry for the Festival of Quilts (sneaky preview below).
Makes me realise that I need to make sure I am fit and healthy if I am going to be self employed!
I am trying to do bits and pieces of stuff I normally put off, like my marketing and my business plan!

Harrogate Embroiderers Guild

I had a lovely afternoon on Saturday talking to the members of the Harrogate Embroiderers Guild who were extremely welcoming and made my first talk to a group about my work a very enjoyable experience. Thank you to those of you who were there and for all the kind comments about my talk and work. Hope to see you all at the Knit and Stitch Show in Harrogate in November.

A week of listening and a day of talking

I have had a lovely week of going to artists talks. I first went to see the Men of Cloth exhibition at the Waterside Arts Centre in Trafford and heard Michael Brennand Wood talk about his work. I particularly liked his thoughts around the history of the textile technique used in work and the importance this can have to you as a contemporary maker, but also he stated that fabric can be an important aid to memory and this seems particularly pertinent to the type of work I am exploring for my MA. He went on to talk about the cellular structure of humans working in a simliar way to the cellular structure of fabric, the idea of cellular degeneration. He also spoke about pattern within textile art work, saying that pattern doesn't just equate pretty, but that pattern can be a powerful tool containing symbols and metaphors that are evidence of culture. This struck a chord with me as often I feel that the fact that my work is patterned and pretty that it can seem less serious or important…

A Tutorial with Rozanne Hawksley!

Wow, I was fortunate to have a one to one tutorial with Rozanne Hawksley as part of testing time at Manchester Met for my MA yesterday. What an amazing and inspiring lady. She understood where I was heading straight away and offered some insightful advice. Amazingly she hopes to return next year at the same time to speak to me again about my work - I can't wait.

Rozanne was also one of the four speakers we had organised to come and talk about their work and was highly entertaining, as was Tabitha Moses, Philippa Prinsloo and Jill Townsley. It was a superb afternoon.

Now I am about to set off for my sisters wedding this weekend, yipee! I am having a very exciting week :) x

Studio Preparation.

Finally got round to finishing off my print table! It is very large - nearly 3m long and 1.5m wide! So now I just need to get my dyes and screens in place and I can start printing there! Next step is to build my own steamer. So I am now on the look out for a baby boiler. Will take some photos of the studio this week, so you can have a looksee.

A Clear Out

With an imminent house move, I am having a clear out of old stock (pre degree show work) and vintage items which you can find for sale on my Etsy Shop - follow the link at the top of the page or you can see some high lights further down my blog on the right hand side of the page (I am getting better at this technological stuff or perhaps they are making it easier?!). Anyway - have alook - you may find something you like.


Well, I am part of HOST this year - which is very exciting, as it will be the first time my studio becomes public! It is at the end of September. You can find more information about the whole event on this link and my profile is here which tells you the days I will be there. I hope you can make it!

Post Assessment for the MA

Well suprisingly and much to my shock and after all that worry I got a good mark for my first stage of the MA! After feeling rather despondent and deflated after presenting it (and packing it all away in a cupboard so I didn't have to look at it!) - I feel that I can take on the next stage now.
I guess we all have moments of self doubt.... This is some of the work I put up for assessing. They are based around ideas of automatic writing and are an illustration of my emotional response to some of the objects I have collected and the museums and archives I have been visiting.
They are a collection of inks and graphite on paper. Not sure whether I will translate these into stitch yet? I still need a definite focus for the Diploma Stage for the MA, so that is the next issue to resolve.

Embroiderers Guild Yorkshire and Humberside Regional Meeting

I am very excited to have been invited to the above this Saturday and will also be taking along some of my work to show to those who are attending. See you there!

Stressy times

Oh how rubbish I have been at updating my blog recently - but I have been reading and reading and writing and writing for my first deadline for the MA. The penny has finally dropped a bit but it was all a bit too late - so although I have handed in the written bit - it certainly was not quite where I wanted it to be.

Anyway - cracking on with a bit more practical stuff over the next few days before the presentation next week, so will upload some images of that soon. Anything to escape the madness that is the eurovision singing contest!

Great news!

I am this years Embroiderers Guild Scholar!! Very excited as I will be attending the Knit and Stitch Shows this year. This will be keeping me very busy and out of trouble!

Absence and Loss

Ages ago I promised to post some images of my partners great grandmothers recipe book. I am currently studying some of my collected objects and documenting their characteristics in an effort to find out why I am so attached to them, even those that I do not have any family connection to. With the recipe book I feel that I am perhaps feeling a sense of loss for the way it is written, something as simple as the style of handwriting.

There is less of a focus on cultivating lovely hand writing now that we have computers as a way of presenting the written word in a neat and tidy way. My own handwriting is a rather unattractive spider like scrawl and I wish it was more like the images below.

Some of the pages have been ripped out and I wonder what was taken, what is absent from this collection of recipes and remedies and who took them. I seem to be trying to fill some sort of void, perhaps for things from my own family that have been lost, a loss of precious collections and memories.