Moody…

So, what you’ve all been wondering, is what happens on a foggy morning if you leave your smart phone camera set on fluorescent from the night before.

Here’s the answer…

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It was weird weather, because by the time I got to the tree, the sun was out and the sky a deep blue, but not quite as strange as the camera made out. There are a few other settings I might try out by accident too.

In other news…

I’m frantically stitching away for our Discover exhibition at the end of the month.

I’m still spiralling…in blue.

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Details from a three panel triptych that’s almost finished.

Happy stitching

So, how was it for you?

I wish it was possible to stop the clock when the children go back to school after holidays, so that I can get round and do all the jobs I can’t do while they’re at home, without it eating into my ‘productive’ time. If anyone manages it, please let me know the secret…

But half-term was good.IMAG7870

Our early tentative plans to camp in the Brecons were consigned to the bin when the torrential overnight rain reminded us just how it feels to get into a damp sleeping bag. Instead the Other Half googled and came up with The Farmer’s Arms in Abergavenny – terrific find, the sort you don’t really want to let on about – and so off we went to meet up with my brother in Hay-On-Wye (best town in the world), and scour the shelves for books on Roman architecture.

Thanks to Booths and the Hay Cinema Bookshop, we now have every book ever published on the subject (I may be exaggerating, or possibly not…) which was a relief and also extremely good fun – a bit like doing a private treasure hunt.

Just before we left Hay for Abergavenny, I ditched the others and nipped in to Wool and Willow. I’d had a good feeling about it when we passed by in the morning, and I wasn’t disappointed. I’ve come home with a gorgeous stash of silks, dyed by Jenny Cook of Glasbury – I’ve used some already and they stitch brilliantly – so happy.

We drove home the next day taking in a selection of ruins – well this is me, I can’t pass up on the chance to visit a castle or two…

First there was White Castle…

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Then there was Tintern Abbey…

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And finally, Chepstow Castle…

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I’ve really missed out on heritage trips over the summer, so it felt very good indeed to be wandering over the ruins. More about these in a future post.

But for now, it’s back to the stitching.

Show and Tell…

As promised, here are a few pictures I took at the Artists’ Network Bedfordshire’s exhibition last weekend. This was the first time I’ve ever shown any of my stitched tapestries to anyone ‘outside‘.

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You’ll no doubt remember my problems with getting anything from the ‘stitched‘ state, to the ‘showable‘ state over the years. The brilliant thing about having the opportunity to show at this exhibition, was being gently forced to face up to the issue and find a solution.

Thanks to Kathy (Of Gardens, Grandmothers and Gleanings), blogging about the The Eye of The Needle exhibition at the Ashmolean, I went over to Oxford and saw how the Feller Collection had mounted some of their fragments of needlework, using calico stretched over a canvas frame, with the needlework stitched to the calico. Ta Dah! At last, a way to do it that seemed sympathetic with my pieces and achievable without too much difficulty.
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Here’s my table with Firmament, Hedonism and Brian.

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So what did I learn over the weekend?

IMAG7479I discovered how good it feels to be part of a group of like minded people. Making art in many forms is a largely solitary existence, so getting together with other people was a wonderfully uplifting experience. It’s wonderful to find kindred spirits out there! And as you can see, they’re a talented and versatile lot around here.

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I also learned that people are very interested in how we make our pieces. I hadn’t anticipated how chatty visitors would be, and it was quite an eye-opener to realise that complete strangers might actually want to know more about the process and the inspiration behind our work. I also discovered how much I enjoy talking about my stitching (I do hope I didn’t bore for England, but once I got going, I found I loved explaining all about it).

So my first foray into the real world was a very happy experience, and now I know that I can do it, I’m sure I’ll be doing it again.

 

 

 

Scotland and other news…

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Scotland is very much in the news at the moment with the vote less than 24 hours away! But I shall have Scotland in mind throughout 2015 thanks to Jo Woolf at The Hazel Tree, who has produced a fabulous calendar featuring her wonderful photographs of Scottish scenery – and best of all for me – Scottish castles…

If like me you’re in love with Scottish countryside and history and you’re not already following Jo’s blog and website, do go over there right now and have a look around. I thought I knew Scotland pretty well, but since I’ve been reading Jo’s posts, I’ve acquired a long list of places I must visit the next time I go north for a holiday.

I’m not sure how many calendars Jo has available, but there’s a link here to take you to her Etsy shop if you fancy a little piece of Scotland on your wall next year.

(I’m sure you know me well enough by now, but just to reassure you, this is a personal recommendation and not sponsored in any way – I am just a big fan!).

And in other news…

Well, I’ve finally done it – I have decided to dip my toe tentatively into the real world with my stitchy stuff. At the weekend, I’m hoping to have a small number of my stitched tapestries on display at the Ivinghoe Community Hub, (really close to Ivinghoe Beacon for those in the know) as part of the Artists’ Network Bedfordshire September Art Trail.

Having played around with various ideas, I’ve finally come up with a simple, but I hope effective way of presenting the tapestries, so the last few days have seen me busily putting them together, stabbing myself in the finger far too many times with a very sharp needle and having much more fun than is strictly allowed with a roll of bubble-wrap.

If anyone is in the Beds/Bucks/Herts borderland this weekend and fancies tea, cake and original local art – Ivinghoe is your place to be (the tea room in the same building is absolutely first-rate – it really is extremely good, and you know I’m fussy about these things!).

Wish me luck!

All over the shop…

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So, how’s May been for you?

I was mildly surprised this week to find it’s almost over, surely it can’t have gone by quite that fast.

I seem to have walked in a lot of rain lately, which has had the benefit of making everything smell wonderful, although the elderflowers are refusing to come out until they get some more warm sunshine.

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There has been some stitchiness, but I’m having real trouble getting this one to photograph – this is the best shot I’ve managed so far. Is it me, or does my phone simply not like doing bluey shades – anyone else have this problem?

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Otherwise, it’s all been a bit of a blur.

Did manage a quick trip to Berkhamsted Castle yesterday (dodging the rain – just!). There’s a post over at Mists of Time if you’re interested in ruined castles that had a lot of big name medieval visitors… (oh I know, no need to feel guilty). 

Back in June!

Happy stitching.

False starts and moonbeams…

What do you do when something just won’t come together the way you think it should?

I’ve just had a stitching false start. The piece I thought I knew what I was doing with, didn’t agree. We couldn’t come to terms, it was deeply frustrating.

And although I like the old Robert the Bruce adage of ‘if at first you don’t succeed…’, I do not have the same mettle as fugitive medieval kings or patient cave dwelling spiders.

No, I failed, and so I did what was the most satisfying thing I could think of at the time – I ripped it out of the frame.

Instead, I am now working on a new piece inspired by a gorgeous silk yarn from Eleanor at Solstice Yarns – Moonbeams on a Mystic Sea.

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I am in love with this silk and I’m back in the flow – phew!