Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Off the starting blocks and running ...

Well ok - walking then ... bosoms far too large for running with any comfort I'm afraid (phew). But I am off and going with a new banner for Region 10. The region includes Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Rutland, Derbyshire and Leicestershire (in no particular order) - so I've designed a banner with five sections, one for each county. It will also have a top and bottom with the QGBI on and the region number. These top and bottom panels are going to be pieced flying duck (I think that is what I mean), and I tremble whenever I think of making them .. so much care and accuracy needed. So I'm leaving those till last, like the true coward I am, and starting with the county panels. Here is my working drawing:

The counties are, from the left: Leicestershire, which will be a background of the old forest, with silhouettes of the county emblem the Fox over; Lincolnshire, which will be the sea, wolds and fields, with Lincoln Cathedral as a silhouette over the top; Nottinghamshire, which will be the oldest oak (made from Nottigham lace) with Robin Hood as a silhouette; Derbyshire, which will be the Derbyshire Dales, with a silhouette of Chatsworth; and Rutland, which will be Rutland water, with a sailing boat silhouetted. The design above is just for the backgrounds. I felt my oak tree lacked a smidge of detail, so even though it will be made from lace, and hence more interesting, I redesigned it a bit:
Sorry about the curly paper! - but you get the gist. These background panels are going to be made from rather modern commercial fabrics and will not necessarily colour match reality (do I ever??) This will go well with the very stylised drawings I feel, and contrast beautifully with the dark silhouettes
You may notice that I have also swapped Lincolnshire and Derbyshire round, to give a better balance of colour and shape. You see those white piles underneath? - those are pattern pieces, cut from a master copy of my drawings ... startlingly accurate for me, but it is for the Region, so I feel it must be done nearly properly. This is the background of the background, if that makes sense (probably not actually) - I shall add the other trees, windmills, viaducts etc after I have quilted these. I have finally learnt to think ahead a bit, and this will be much easier. So here they are quilted:
They are all lovely and ripply now and ready for the next layer of applique - which is tomorrows job. I'll report on progress.
I have to show you this lovely image from last week before I go:
How magical is that combination of snow, white trunks and blue blue sky? There is so much beauty in our world. Talk soon - Hilary xx

Monday, 21 January 2013

Exhibitions, workshops and a page

Well here we all are, snowed up cosily and getting lots of stitching done I bet/hope. This weather is so beautiful  as long as you don't actually have to get anywhere. I've been out in the garden taking snowy photos for future inspiration, as I am sure many of you have too. I'll show you a couple of mine in a minute.

But firstly I wanted to remind anyone who is within reasonable distance of Ardingley in Sussex, that it is the first of the Grosvenor shows for this year this week, starting Friday 25 Jan though until Sunday 27 Jan. My gallery 'Favourite Things' will be showing again and I would love for you to go and see it if you can. If you do - please let me know what you think. I am missing my quilts - they have been away since early October and I won't have them home until April - that is a long time and the walls look a bit bare in places.

There is also the next showing of the Orientation exhibition from Six and Friends at the Bramble Patch in Northamptonshire from 23 March until 6 April. Some new works are being added, so well worth a visit (and the shop is gorgeous too). Also at the Bramble Patch, Stephanie Redfern and myself are putting together an exhibition of work 'From the Studio', which will be open throughout August, finishing with our Open Studio on the last three days. That should be great fun so please do come an play!(Hilary G - we expect you!!)

I am also running a couple of workshops at the Bramble Patch in the latter half of the year: A 2 day one on Friday 8th and Sat 9th November, where we will be looking at ways of designing an abstract composition as a background for animal or bird silhouettes. Here are some examples:

 I hope to add some more to these before November. The techniques we will be looking at are rather different to the ones I have taught on the one day silhouette workshop, and this would be a great follow-up if you have done that one. But you don't need to have, as it is quite fine to start from scratch.

Later in the month, on Friday 29th November, I will be running a one day silhouette workshop, where we will be concentrating on Christmas images to make a wall-hanging, which could also be used as a print for a Christmas card. I have done this with the one below - and the cards are wonderful (well I think so).

Again I will have more examples and ideas for you by November. Both courses are now listed, with full details on the Bramble Patch site, so do have a look (lots of lovely fabric and stuff there too!)

As some of you already know, I am teaching at the AGM in Nottingham this year. It is one day workshop where we will be making a collage featuring a gorgeous pot or vase of flowers - like this one ...

  There will actually be a choice of three types of flowers and 3 types of pots, and it will a really good day. I don't know if there are any places left - but it's worth a visit to the guild site to see, if you fancy it. I am also doing a free  demonstration of printing, dyeing and colouring fabric on the Sunday of the AGM ... so for all those who have thought it all looks good fun - do come long and join me. I'm down for 2 hours, but likely to just keep going!

I have rather a lot to do in preparation for the AGM, including making a new banner for Region 10. This is all designed now, and I have the fabric and plans - so making that will be my next job, and quite a big one I suspect. I will keep you up to date with progress.

Before I start though,  I must just show you a draft 'page' for the new book .... 

This is very much still a draft - I'm not even sure it will stay this shape! - but I have spent many many hours getting to grips with new software for this project - and I am just rather proud of this creation. 

And lastly - boy, I can go on can't I?? - here's the snow!!

View to front an back whilst I was having breakfast

 Gorgeous trees

Thanks for reading all this (and well done) - hope you are safe and snug and enjoying the views - Hilary x

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Interesting question for the day 'Can you block paper?' and also how art imitates life

What a stonker of a title eh?- I do like a nice long, multifaceted title ... but it is rare I can think of one - so I'm dead chuffed with that one. Doesn't even fit in box.

Last night I finished quilting my Coast piece ... if you can remember that far back - it was houses on a cliff at Robin Hoods Bay. As ever when I have marmalised my work with quilting, it was a little distorted. My work is far from perfect, but we all have to have our little 'things' ... and one of mine, is work hanging flat, if that is what is was meant to do. It must be the poor Virgo in me, finding some small spot to get satisfaction ... a nice bit of perfection. So the piece needed blocking. Simples - yes? Well, maybe not actually. This piece is made of fabric, fabric paper table cloths (brilliant things) and paper. So I wasn't at all sure how all those would react to being stretched and soaked. I could have covered the paper in matt medium to protect it (and probably will after blocking) - but this would stop the water getting in to the fibers during blocking, and it is this process that allows the piece to reform to the nice flat rectangle I have blocked it to. So I just went for it - stretched it on the design wall and then fired my spray bottle at it. Bit of a heart in mouth moment if I am honest, although I had already decided that I would work with whatever happened. But I am pleased to report that nothing untoward happened, and it seems to be working. I will let you know in a couple of days if it is still OK and if the blocking holds. So - after all that fascinating stuff(??) - here is the piece ... blocking!

And a couple (well 3) close-ups

It is called 'On Edge' and here is where art starts reflecting life. This piece was planned as a rather jolly seaside scene, a sort of merry pastiche of happy beach houses and cheery seaside scenes. My houses were all to be bright colours (most were white in reality), the sun was out, and perky childish seagulls circled (did anyone else draw birds like that as a child?). All this was done, and I started to stitch the piece, even though I didn't feel especially happy with it. It then went on the wall and sulked for a few weeks and I let it rest in my head  Then I realised that the problem was that it wasn't really very cheery at all, in fact  it has quite a lot of tension in it. The houses actually look very precarious to me, - are they going to fall off the cliff? and what about that big red gash in the cliff - will it split? will everything come tumbling down? will people lose their homes?or even their lives? or might the ladder save them?  are those circles life buoys  This all sounds like a very planned story - but it wasn't. All the elements were inspired by quite different motivation. But my life was tense during the time I was making this. I was on edge, worried, unsure, a little fearful even and my home felt insecure. And I do believe that found it's way into this work. How weird is that? But now I see that, I like the piece again, and can even see the happy houses on a cliff there too, once more. So I changed the name from 'On the Edge', to 'On Edge', just to give a hint ... viewers can now view it as they wish. If that all sounds like pretentious claptrap! - enjoy the scene, but maybe you will see something else too.

So if it collapses during blocking, it would almost be a continuation of the story wouldn't it?! I'm hoping not though, and I am much happier now, so hopefully my houses will hang on.

Thank you for visiting - talk again soon - Hilary xx

Monday, 14 January 2013

Quirky Rituals, more cloth and a sunken bath(room)

No doubt the quirky rituals are the main attraction here - but you will have to wait, as the cloth is coming up first. Steph Redfern and I hired a room from Anne at the Bramble Patch last week, so that we could work and talk book stuff at the same time. I fear we are both workaholics, as neither of us really feel too comfy about just discussing ... no, we like to work flat out as well. The BP is a great venue for this, as it is sort of in between us, and fabulous for a messy day with the dyes and paints. We had some new paints to try out, and some new fabric, as well as a couple of new dye colours, so it was all very exciting.

These images show us arriving, heavily loaded with bags of stuff, but in a tidy space, and then below, the situation a couple of hours later. I leave you to work out whose is the messiest space ...

No point in packing lightly .. and we were there for two days, so lots of stuff was necessary. OK - I'm going to do the ritual bit now....

I hadn't realised, but Steph always does this little dance (on the left and somewhat Morcambe and Wise) before she starts working ... sort of a good luck thing. I like this so much, that we are going to adopt it as A Quirky Pair practise - it may become our defining feature. And here she is at work too. In the foreground at the bottom, you can see her pile of thermofax screens .. an awful lot. This is just like me, and why we needed the machines. 

And the cloth ....

These are just some of mine ... I think I am going to have to think of something else to do with them. I love making them so much .. but really can't see how I can use them all myself ..... yet. I am thinking ......

These were done using a mixture of acrylic paint and fabric paint, both by Pebeo, and dyes. Those made with the fabric paint are rather softer than the acrylic ones - but both are wonderful for collage. The colours are so vibrant - they just sing. Steph made some gorgeous stuff too and no doubt will be posting those on her blog - so have a look there too.

Oh yes - I nearly forgot ... the bathroom!! 

I know - a bit of an odd image. We stayed at the local pub and I was thrilled to discover that my en suite was down some stairs ... a genuine sunken bathroom. I may be easily pleased, but I though it was very plush!

Thanks for visiting - talk again soon - Hilary x

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Anticiapting Spring, New work and a New Company!

I have to start this post  by thanking Marion, Annabel, Sandra and Amo - without whom it would still be sitting sulking as a draft. When the going gets tough (technologically on this occasion) - get the girls going. So Thank You girls ...finally - here's the post!

Firstly - Happy New Year ... I think 2013 is going to be brilliant. Those who have been reading my blog for a while may remember that in late 2011 (unbelievable that it is so long ago now), I planted a lot of pots with Spring bulbs, with the aim of photographing them for use in future works in my Pots series (as well as enjoying them of course!). I did take those photos, but then last Spring got so busy, they never got posted, or used. I found the images again over the Christmas break, when I was trying to tidy up and organise all my photo files ( true horror job) ... and they really cheered me. Once the longest day is out of the way, I always feel that Spring is just around the corner, and these remind me of what there is to look forward to ..

These are so inspiring to me - I will definitely be using some of them in work soon. 

At the moment though, I am working with found objects .. shells and crabs and pebbles etc, as these were a nice follow on from my last coastal work. I already had some thermofax screens made (have I mentioned how much I LOVE that machine?)and I added in a few more and then printed a pile of cloths and papers. I've chosen a few and made them in to collages :

These two are about 13" square 
 These are about 13" x 20" each
They are ready for stitching now, so that is the next job. I shall machine stitch first and then probably add hand stitching. I'm really looking forward to getting these mounted up and complete ... and that will be another bit for the book too.

Talking of which ... I have to show you this parcel that arrived today ...

This is the first delivery for 'Quirky Pair' .. Steph and I's new company ... very exciting!!

Back soon with more news and work - Hilary x