Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Happy Happy Times

There is not much better than doing something you really enjoy with someone you really like ... so no wonder I am happy right now. As mentioned in the last post, my friend Steph Redfern and I are co-authoring a book .. to be called 'In the Studio' which will aim to share the way we both work. So we are both hard at it, amongst other commitments, working on our first subject of Coast. I showed you some of my inspiration last time ... rather a lot actually. Anyway - that was whittled down, some designs drawn up and these are some of the resultant collages I have made:

Sorry if they are rather bright .. everything needs to be in high contrast when it goes on a page. All these, and others, were based on images of boats at Whitby ... and I quite like the idea of 'Messing about in Boats' as a working title for a series of pieces

But I also like the following collage - shown in progress amongst the mess!

This one is based on the images of houses on the cliff at Whitby .. and is my favourite I think ... so will probably be the one I make for the book. I can't wait to get started.

Steph and I will also be having an Open Studio at the Bramble Patch next year (Anne has put us in the messy room - very wise) and a joint exhibition there too. I hope lots of you will be able to visit both. Happy times most definitely! - Hilary x

Monday, 12 November 2012

A new subject .. very excited

I am about to embark on a new project with my friend Steph Redfern (you almost certainly know Steph's work - but if you don't .. have a look at - she does quite beautiful stuff). As part of this project I am starting work with a new (also old) theme of 'Beach'. No hardship this, as I love the coast and have already worked with seaside imagery in Beach Boy and Master Caster. As a start I thought I would rootle around for images and ideas ... and was delighted to find an old(ish) sketchbook I started on a seaside theme. I have literally hundreds if not thousands of photos from various beaches and also collections of shells, pebbles, driftwood and knick knacks. In all honesty I have enough inspiration for a lifetime of work here .. So let me share some of that abundance with you, before I settle down to try and whittle it all down to some working designs:

Firstly just a few views: Filey ....


Boats at Whitby ...

Beautiful gull, also at Whitby ....

Next up - some of those sketchbook pages ......

Nothing very brilliant here .. but loads and loads of ideas:

Beach huts …

On site watercolour at Mablethorpe ... trying to capture the colours and light ..

Closer in ...

Playing with
 filling in magazine images with pastels ..

More beach huts ...

Collage of magazine pages based on photo taken at Mablethorpe ..

Watercolour sketch and photo ...

Acrylics applied very thickly and torn ...

Even a bit of needle felting ....

Collage of images - including painting by Matthew Forster 

Close up drawing of shells ...

Filling in spaces in torn photograph .... I'm a bit better at colour mixing now, but this still looks interesting ..

I am SO pleased I re-found this book - it all feeds in to a wonderful mental library of imagery ..

These next are a few images of some of my collected stuff laid out on the table ...

Look at this lot!! - you have to feel excited don't you ...

Closer in - lovely mixes ...

and again ....

and again ...

My head is now teaming with images and ideas, so the next thing to do is to get some firm ideas down and reduce this lot to just a few ideas ... not so easy!! I haven't even started on my shell and pebble collections, but I think I might just over do it if I try to include any more .. so I'll stick with this lot. I can already see some themes and interests repeating and showing .. and I'm itching to get to my sketchbook now.

Just before I do though - I must show you these images of the John Lewis building in Leicester, from inside the cafe, where Steph and I spent most of the day being very business-like and also slurping tea and yummy cheese scones .. 

How beautiful is this?? ...

I'll keep you in touch with progress - talk soon - Hilary x

Friday, 9 November 2012

Thelma and friends

Well I've finally done it - I unwrapped Thelma and got her set up and ready. For those who don't know - Thelma is my beloved Thermofax machine, which was my 50th birthday pressie from Stephen (yes - I dropped a few hints). She has been waiting since September for me to find time to get her up and running. She has a friend, Louise, who makes nice laser prints for Thelma to eat .. because that is what she likes. So I started with one of my drawings of Dixter:

A tricky choice for a first effort, as it has a lot of shading in it - but hey, why not? I made my laser print and put it in to Thelmas mouth. And out came a Thermofax screen - really did. I ran it on a sort of medium setting and think I should have cooked it a bit longer - but it worked - wow. So out came the quickest and nearest thing - some fabric paint - and I made a few trial prints ...

OK - possibly more than a few - but I don't ever really do just a few of anything ... the brain kicks into 'what if' mode and I just follow. As you can see I tried all over printing, overprinting, paper, fabric, vilene and different colours. These are all from that one small screen. Just imagine what you could do with 10? or 20, or 100??!! I think this technique is going to be so useful for me. Here are a few favourites:

I especially like the overprints on colour and combined fabric, which is fairly typical of my love of as much pattern and layer as I can get away with.
I have to confess that I then ruined my screen by too zealous scrubbing on the wrong side - but I now know not to do that, and I got an awful lot of prints from it anyway. And what is so nice about having your own machine is that I just printed another. Oh happy days.

On a different note, I spent a lovely and very relaxing day in Louth with some friends this week. You know you have those days when there is just no pressure and you can just be you - well it was one of those. We were given a lovely tour of Louth by the local girls, especially the charity shops of the town (and there are just loads) and each of us  collected a little - or in some case, and mentioning no names (Maggy) a rather large - collection of booty. We also ate very well. At the end of the day, we decided that we would all make a book cover using the stuff we had bought. A re-cycling project. Here is my booty:

A couple of lovely cotton stripey shirts, napkins, lace and more lace. Will need some paint or dye I think. I have in mind to make another fabric book. rather than just the cover (will need to check this with the girls first mind - rules is rules) and perhaps fill it with leaf images, as there were lots around this time of year. We are all hoping to finish this by our next regional day - a lovely sewing day in November - so we can compare our reminders of a lovely day.

The studio is just about sorted out and tidy - yes, it has taken this long. I will take photos quickly when I finish, before I inevitably start again, which I know I will.

Next up for me is a rather big project, which I will be talking more about over the next few weeks. But suffice to say I am very excited and I think it will be really good! Talk soon - Hilary x

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Normal service resumed!!

Yes - I am back to my usual cheery self and want to share some pictures that I took at Malvern last weekend (where has this week gone again??) I visited with a couple of friends, mainly, for me at least, to see how my gallery was looking. I was very nervous, but Grosvenor had done a great job and it all looked fine. Here are some of the pieces:
(a quick alert - spell check has deserted me, so please be kind)

It was nice to see these three old favourites displayed together ... Jugs 1,2 and 3 ...

A bay of silhouettes

More silhouettes - this time the deco hounds ..

One of my personal favourites 'My Home, My Heart, My Country' .. a biggie too

another personal favourite - In a Spin

A couple of photo collages

and lots of work based on plants/flowers

that isn't all the ones on show - although it is a fair number ... I do hope that if you are able to get to one of the other shows they are visiting, you will go and have a look .... I have posted details on my website at

There was lots of other lovely work on display too - here are just a few favorites ...

I loved this gorgeous log cabin in blue and white by Caroline Wilkinson

I also loved this quilt featuring quirky birds by Sheena Norquay

Being relatively new on the quilt scene, this one of Sheenas from 1996 was a real surprise .. I have only ever seen quite muted work from her before ... this is a real wow quilt

And I was very taken with these wonderful 3D fantasy flowers by Catherine Millar

look at the exquisite work on them

and I can never resist a jug of flowers - this one by Jenny Garlick

So we had a very good time there and I even manged not to spend too much for once. We then went on to see the CQ@10 exhibition at Weavers Gallery in Ledbury. I have never been here before - what a beautiful place it is. The gallery is an exquisite old timbered building down an appropriately nookish lane, and the exhibiiotn was well worth seeing, even for the second time for me ... such a lot of talent on display.

We then went on for tea (you have to in these kind of spots) and I just had to take this photo of one of the lovely buildings, complete with someones 'drawers' on the washing line ... fabulous!

I have just updated my website (well nearly finished) and have put images of most of these quilts on there, and many are for sale too. As such a lot are out on tour, I am happy to take a 10% deposit to reserve any of those. I have decided to do this as I have been asked a few times about purchasing pieces. I shall be completing my update over the next few days, and will update the galleries regularly as new work materialises ... so please do go over and have a look ..... I am quite plesaed with how it looks (I think!)

Enough I think - I am now going to unpack Thelma and Louise (Thermofax and laser printer) - I have waited patiently, but have waited long enough now. I'll let you know how I get on - HIlary x