Tuesday 30 September 2014

How Do You Feel?

Facial expressions are the most universal form of body language, with hundreds of subtly different expressions allowing us to convey our feelings and emotions.
We instinctively learn to "read" faces from a young age.

Yet for individuls on the autistic spectrum this can be totally confusing with each expression like a code that needs to be deciphered.

This work has now been completed and delivered ready to be exhibited at the Knitting and Stitching show at Alexandra Palace next week as part of the second stage of Prism's Coded:Decoded exhibition

These girls, each with their machine embroidered facial expressions, will be travelling to Harrogate and Dublin too.

If you are visiting the shows, be sure to say hello to them!

Friday 26 September 2014

French Knits...

Remember some time ago when I confessed to finding some knitting lost and forgotten about down the side of the sofa? No... well, it doesn't matter...
Because I finished it! And what's more... I really like it, which is unusual for me as mostly when I knit things for me to wear they end up too big and baggy (I know... I know I should knit a tension square) and I never wear them.

I'm not quite so keen on my inane attempts at a selfie using my iPad...

What possessed me to grin at myself like some demented woman...

Not much better with the camera and the mirror... but you get the  idea. The yarn, which was beautiful to knit with, is a beautiful organic wool called Gilliat from a French company de rerum natura.

And the pattern... well, I seem to have mislaid it... but when I find it down the side of the sofa I'll let you know! The best thing about it was that it was knitted all in one, so no seams at all, just sewing in loose ends and putting the buttons on!

I was so pleased that I entered it into the homecrafts section of our village show last weekend and it got second prize! I didn't mind it coming second because my socks came first!

I'll be back next week with some new deep and meaningful work ;)
Meanwhile I'll leave you with cake just because it is the weekend.

Must fly... we're off to a "French Evening" at our village hall. Not sure what that will entail but these village things are always a laugh and it's a good chance to catch up with lots of people.
Hope you have a good weekend... doing anything fun?

Monday 22 September 2014

A Birthday Bash

On Tuesday my Mum will be 80 and to celebrate we actually managed to get the entire immediate family together for lunch yesterday... all 14 of us! I had great plans to take loads of photos to mark the occasion but what with dishing up enough food to feed a small army and a glass or two of Prosecco too many, I forgot I was meant to be chief photographer! I did manage a few snaps only to inadvertantly delete them this morning. What a  twit! However with the benefit of modern technology and the advice from some friends I have retrieved them...
As it is rare for me to get all four of my sons together at the same time I thought it would be good to get a shot of them that I might be able to print out and frame... but this was their idea of posing for a photo!

Of course there was cake... an apple and blackberry frozen yoghurt cake which was rock solid in the centre but starting to melt at the edges... but still tasted good!

And a chocolate fudge cake with champagne truffles. I decided to forego putting 80 candles on the cake and had sparklers instead but by the time I got the 0 lit the 8 had burned out so no photo of Mum with a sparkling cake!

But at least I got a picture of her with her grandsons when they finally stopped climbing on each other!

Happy birthday for tomorrow Mum. xxx

Friday 19 September 2014

I promised you cake...

Pistachio and almond macaroons (gluten free) ....
Ginger cake with lemon icing...

Brownies (warning... may contain chocolate)

and blueberry and lime drizzle cake (proved very popular).

Baked today to take along to our Embroiderers' Guild AGM. You might think I was bribing the membership so they would vote me in as chairman for a second year. But no, I think I would have been voted in anyway. There wasn't much (any) competition!

Stay tuned... it's going to be a weekend full of cake!

Thursday 18 September 2014

A Comment about Comments

I am a little overwhelmed by the response to my last post. What can I say... other than thank you, a huge thank you... and you do all talk an awful lot of sense. I don't think I was being brave... just getting it off my chest. A sort of metaphorical punching the wall... except a lot less painful and without the grazed knuckles!
The rawness of my rejection is passing and of course in my heart I know that what is most important is that I am true to myself, not to the expectations of others... although saying my work lacks variety and depth seemed unfair. I don't agree! On reflection it is probably not the group for me and in all likelihood I would have ended up spending my time trying to fit in and regretting it... so onwards and upwards. But I do appreciate every single one of your comments and emails and the fact that you have taken the time to write so thoughtfully. Lesley remarked that there were a lot of comments that could be printed out and stuck up in the studio for the times when I need affirmation... so true! 
Isobel sent me a great quote from the wonderful Grayson Perry  "Cosy is good... if it is nice to look at and makes you feel good, it's art!" I will remember that as I continue to make the art that I want to make! Gill also emailed with some good advice... but I can't repeat that here!

I am trying to reply to as many of your comments as possible, as and when I can, but it has make me think about blog comments generally

The comments on my blog posts come through to my email in-box (I haven't a clue if that was something I set up!) and where there is an email address provided I will nearly always try, when time permits, to reply as a personal email. But of course many of you are no-reply bloggers and do not supply an email address and so I can't do that.

I know that the trend now is to reply directly in the comments box but  when I leave a comment I never think to check back to the comments to see if there is a reply. I read quite a lot of blogs and generally never remember if, when and where I've left comments and don't really have time to check back, so I tend to think other people will be the same. I know you can tick a box to receive notification of follow up comments but the only time I tried that I was inundated with follow up emails. So that is why I don't reply to comments in the comment box...

Which does mean I don't get to reply and converse with quite a few readers who regularly take the time to leave me a comment.

I try to get round that by leaving comments on your blog posts so that you know I am engaged with you online...

But not everyone who leaves a comment has a blog... and then of course there is Google plus which just seems to confuse the issue because I can't do anything without joining!

Which does mean there are some of you I never get to "talk" to. But I do read every single comment and appreciate that you take time to "talk" to me.

And the images today (with the exception of Grayson Perry) are a small selection of my non-varied shallow work... because I will remain true to myself and make the work I want to make... always with my tongue firmly planted in my cheek and my sense of humour intact.
I think Grayson would look very good in my wig!
Next post... very definitely will be cake!

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Challenging expectations.

This was the view I had at the weekend looking over the vale of Evesham - it was beautiful.
I was at the fabulous Farncombe Estate in the Cotswolds for a weekend with The Textile Study Group. It was an illustrious line up of textile artists that read something like my book shelf!

We were tutored by two TSG members Sian Martin and Penny Burnfield. The idea throughout the weekend was to challenge conventional ideas of drawing and to consider alternative ways of getting ideas out of our heads.
We drew in the studio and outside, rapid 30 second sketches over and over again using different media, combining different media, using different hands... "getting to know our lines"

We layered drawings on top of drawings

and then back in the studio, looked at various different ways to make drawings.

It was an excellent weekend and lots of fun, challenging expectations.

For me, the weekend had another purpose as I, along with four others, had been invited to bring a portfolio of work to be considered for membership of the group. Unfortunately for me that wasn't quite so much fun and I heard yesterday that I would not be invited to join the group. My work was considered not to have enough variety or depth.

To say I am disappointed and deflated is a bit of an understatement, but mostly I'm disappointed in myself as I know I didn't present well. But now I'm starting to question whether I could have done better in the circumstances. Family life has not been always been easy over the past couple of years, but then that seems like making excuses... we all have hard times. At the end of the day, I'm just not up there with that illustrious group of names and that's a hard pill to swallow. It is one thing having lots of wonderful blog followers who leave me kind comments and lavish praise but the recognition of my peers was something I aspired to. It is making me seriously reconsider where I go from here.
However, in the grand scheme of things, especially considering the atrocities that are going on in the world at the moment this is all pretty meaningless. I'm not usually one to stay down for long and no doubt I'll bounce back before the week is out... but you can expect cake from me not fine art... mostly because we've a special family birthday at the weekend!

Friday 12 September 2014

My week in drawings

I've continued with my daily drawings in September, joining in with Laura Kemshall
On Saturday, I stuck a printed page into my sketchbook. painted it with a light coat of gesso and then drew this goldfinch using Inktense pencils... as a reminder that I'm currently reading The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. I was inspired by some work I had seen by Anne Kelly.

Sunday morning we walked to the neighbouring village to buy the newspaper and despite the glorious weather there were signs that autumn is definitely approaching... lots of conkers already on the ground.

On Monday I was preparing for my day teaching at Art Van Go and realised the canvases that I had planned to use as samples were in an exhibition in High Wycombe library... so I had to put together the one below in order that I had something to show the students. As a result, this is really my drawing for the day, done with the needle. But I put together a scrappy little sample to go in my sketchbook, just to mark the day.

On Tuesday I noticed the huge amount of work that needs to be done in my sadly neglected garden... but I didn't do anything about it. I just drew a Nigella seedhead instead!

And because there was a stitched square on the opposite side from where I'd stitched in my previous sample, I turned it into a frame and put in a different view of the seedhead. Two drawings for the price of one!

Wednesday, the weather was still glorious so I went for a three mile walk first thing... I was that mad woman going along at a pace singing along to Frankie Valli!

Thursday I thought about doing the housework... I really did. Think about it that is... I  never actually did any.

And Friday... well I've not done a drawing yet because I've been busy getting ready and travelling down for an exciting weekend away. I'm sat in a room overlooking the beautiful Vale of Evesham... more about that next week! So that's my week... I thought about the housework and the gardening, went for a couple of walks and had a day teaching!
I hope you have an exciting weekend too... anything good planned?

Tuesday 9 September 2014

A Flying visit...

I've been teaching a class today at the wonderful Art Van Go. The class is called "Stitches and Doodles" and the idea is to get beginners to free machine embroidery, drawing and writing with their sewing machines, taking away the fear of free machining. I took photos of the finished work and promised to post them on my Facebook Page (which I've done) and then Jill asked "But what if we're not on Facebook?"... so I promised to put them on here too... just for you Jill! And if you are on Facebook... please go and like my page!
There was such a wonderful variety of work and such a high standard, especially considering the majority of the class were complete beginners. I'll let the work speak for itself...

This is the second time I've taught this class at Art Van Go and there has been a waiting list on both occasions so if you are interested get the date of the next one in your diary... 10th April 2015!
That's my flying visit.. Now I've got my feet up, cuppa poured and knitting out. After having August away from teaching I need to get back into the swing of working all day... I'm shattered!