Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Nine Ways To Make A Leaf
Made as a class sample to demonstrate applique methods, in black and calico...
Approximately 1 metre square

This quilt is for sale - £170

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Brass pots all in a row.. Taken at the next-door business this summer. More later

Life drawing...

Life drawing...
Hello again...

Saturday, 31 May 2008

Sewing Machine Mania

I have been making decisions again. Following my L5 spinal disc injury in January I have been trying to recover - it now looks like I will never be able to lift very much weight, so I have reluctantly decided to let all the sewing machines go. I have always liked old machines, am not a collector (although I do own a few) and have restored them and sold them on for a long time. Shown above are a Wheeler and Wilson 9 from 1896 or thereabouts, and a Singer 29k15 Boot Patcher machine on a treadle. I have some rather more practical machines too, link and prices here
I'm sorry to see them go, but I am looking at quite a long term recovery here. I go for my MRI scan on Monday, to confirm the problem.. If it means surgery I do not quite know how I will manage...

And here's the little beast that did for my back....

Friday, 16 May 2008

This is Doreen...

Life Class on Wednesday night. Great fun and some nice drawings. Here she is again in a slightly more negative light..

And one more...

All charcoal and pastel on paper...

Monday, 12 May 2008

All Done...

And what a week. Probably my best Spring Exhibition since the first one, and I had a good time. On Saturday I had a visitation from Hannelore, who drove 140 miles each way to see the work, and took home a small piece she has wanted for ages, my Silken Roses:- Here in whole and in part

And my mermaids, which weren't in the show, went to a good home too. And right at the end of the day, the Green Man I made to replace the one I sold on Tuesday found an admirer and went home with her.

So I am happy but exhausted, and now I have to get on with some work..

Friday, 9 May 2008

Update on Physiotherapy..

Nice man. Did all the tests my other chap did, asked lots of questions. Treated me mostly as an intelligent adult, which is nice. Confirmed the diagnosis - I have a trapped nerve on the L5 disc in my spine and consequent numbness and lack of function. I went home at 12. At 1 he rings me, asks a few more questions, tells me I am to be sent for an MRI scan - probably next week.. Such efficiency!

And then I had a good afternoon, sold a big kite

and a flag. And some books and other stuff...

And had a long talk with my friend in Silverdale.

And came home and had a very nice supper.

And made a webpage for my 2008 Journal quilts Here

Ah, it's a hard life (not)


I have spent the last few years collecting, fettling, and sending-on sewing machines for a charity that supports self-reliance projects in Africa and elsewhere
Much needed work from 2 perpectives - I hate to see old machines junked, and I do like the idea that someone in some dusty African village is working for their livelihood on a treadle or hand-crank machine very like the one I use every day..

In January, I went to collect a couple of machines from a house in Suffolk. I arrived late in the afternoon, to find a treadle and a handcrank, and no-one to help. And I injured my back. Again. Three times in 3 years is one too many.
I have reluctantly decided to give the machine collecting a rest for a while, and I'm off to see the senior physiotherapist this morning, for a referral for a possible MRI scan, as it isn't healing on its own.

In a way I'm relieved, as it's hard work with little reward apart from the satisfaction, but I will miss the things. Not that I am short of old machines...

And then back to running the Exhibition. Last 3 days, folks, and so far it has been a good one.
Image at the top is a detail from "Ancient and Modem", a piece I made to take to the Quilters' Guild conference this year and am showing in the exhibition. Half green-man, half robot, whole-cloth quilted. The green-man is on old linen, the robot on polyester satin.. £100

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Comments and more pictures..

First, a painting - Garden Of Eden
This one sat on the easel for weeks, just as an underpainting, then fell out of the brush in an evening or two. Sometimes this happens - the thinking process seems to be a big part of the end result, almost unseen. Other times I find that a steady progress can be made on a piece, with no fits and starts. 24 inches square £275

Then another book - this one is called "Clearly An Alphabet" It has recycled tracing paper pages with remnants of text and lines on, and is filled with words associated with transparency, clarity, and see-through-ness. I have made a few Alphabets, some flow more easily than others, and this one was particularly gratifying to do. I finished with only one letter missing - J. (Jelly, of course, added later) The alphabet parts of these books are meant to be added to - I hope they will be evolutionary in their future lives...

Many thanks to all for comments on my postings over the last few days. I have been in Hibernation all Winter - lacking motivation and full of Sloth. Now the Spring has arrived; my HbA1c is 5.5; I have had a breakthrough on my acupuncture, and I feel like I may be able to Get On With It All....

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

More Pictures from an Exhibition..

Sold my "Green Man - Oak and Ivy" today. He is going to Canada as a wedding present. Seems appropriate, as the green man is Fertility personified..
And I made another in a fit of industry. Photo when finished..

More of my Books below - sorry for the poor images, not up to my usual standard.
On the left is
40 The Hive

All manner of things beginning with B...
Found text, wooden box frame, glass, cutting.. £25

and on the right is

41 Apparent Places

Found text, wire, beads, hand-dyed linen thread; stitch, disassembling, assembling £47-50

Left to right:-

43 The Book of A
Found text, wire, hand-dyed linen thread; stitch, disassembling, assembling £47-50

44 An Ecclesiastical Abecedarium
Handmade paper, found text, handwritten alphabet text; stitch £15

42 Tassell Book
Found text, hand-dyed linen thread; stitch, disassembling, assembling £23

I think I may have to make some more of these...

Tree and Leaf...

..which is the title for my Spring Exhibition
Actually started on Saturday, but it has been rather a hardwork weekend and I haven't had time to sit down here before this. I had my usual panic about whether I would have enough work to fill the space and whether it was good enough and coherent enough, but it seems to look all right. The business next-door-but-one had a Grand Opening on Saturday, with much fanfare, big signs, loads of customers - so that didn't hurt. Then they decided not to open on Sunday or Bank Holiday Monday, so I've just spent 2 days apologising for them. Grrr

Anyway, the Big New Thing for me this time is my Artist's Books. I have made a Cabinet full and they are getting a great reaction - I thought that people would think they were silly, but they seem to be much appreciated. Whether anyone will buy one is another story..
Top image is a Japanese bound book in A3 size, image below is "Hanging Book"

"48 Hanging Book
Bamboo, pencils, found text, hand-dyed cotton thread; stitch, disassembling, assembling, suspension.. Approx 14 inches high £55"

Thursday, 31 January 2008


Some days you get the feeling that the world runs OK, especially if you don't try too hard. I spent all morning being filmed for short online video how-tos that will be hosted by a chap who does such stuff locally.. He was very professional, and it all went as smoothly as a particularly smooth thing..

Last Monday, I finished quilting a piece I have had layered since November. It was printed (offset and screen) and I was very pleased with it, but sometimes its hard to work on top of a good image. Anyway, I finished it, and decided it needed blocking, so I pinned it out on my big table, spritzed madly, and left it to dry. Tuesday afternoon I have my Beginners and Intermediates class, so I left it there to show them the "blocking" process - none of them has seen this as I can't demo and then leave a blocked quilt, they need the table space to cut out. As they were all coming in and setting up and rattling around, a couple came in looking for the Cafe (which was closed) and fell in love with the piece. Paid me a deposit and came back for it this week. They bought it as a Golden wedding present for themselves. I am utterly chuffed, but I do feel that I would have liked to get to know the piece a little better..

Ah, well, need the money..

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Further to the Postcard Thing

I spend more time than is healthy on Old Sewing Machines - note the capital letters, as they are Important... And I belong to Treadleon
a group of Old Sewing Machine Collectors and Users

And there has been a big conversation about all that thread that gets left on old bobbins, and wound on top of with the next colour, and how some people just can't bear to throw it away...

Personally, I unwind it all and junk it - the underneath layers are compressed to uselessness and the outer layers can have only a few feet - the record is 38 colours on one bobbin.

I made the postcards from Old Sewing Machine Fabric, unwound threads, and net. First two OSM users to ask, can have....

Thursday, 17 January 2008

Posting Postcards

Well, this morning I am sending out 8 of the cards in the post below. I have already had one in exchange - from America...
Taught postcards yesterday afternoon - then came home and made a couple more. I am on a roll with cream and textures, having sorted out the boxes of fabric I find I have 5 full boxes of cream and a box of scraps... Oh, joy! Cards in the image (one on the left is not finished, needs buttons and beads) will be for sale..

(Added 8th April 2012.  Please see more recent posts for lots more postcards)

Friday, 11 January 2008


I made a piece (in black, white and pink, for an online challenge) ...(link here)...
which I was not keen on. I gave it to another artist, who put it in a dyebath and made it very orange, and stitched some more, then gave it back. And I stitched a bit more and then I hung it up. And I still didn't like it.. So, as part of my New Year ohgodwhatdoidowiththis annual chuckout festival, I cut it up and made postcards. Now I quite like these.. If you fall in love with one, send your address and I'll send it to you...
If you like, you can send one back...

Thursday, 10 January 2008

Teaching schedule..

I have made a programme for the first quarter, and I am hoping to do much more teaching at the workshop this year..

Sunday 27th January 1 till 4:30
Patchwork Purses £15-00
Easy patchwork and quilting techniques to make a pretty purse in a choice of styles...

Sunday 3rd February 1 till 4:30
Absolute Beginners £15-00
An introduction to basic sewing machine techniques and troubleshooting; you don’t have to fear your machine. You will make a cushion and take it home ready to use...

Tuesday 12th February 11 till 4
Spiral Quilt £25-00
Foundation piecing and invisible machine appliqué combine to make this impressive quilt. Suitable for beginners..See image above...

Saturday 23rd February 11 till 4
Japanese Bookbinding £30-00
Make two delightful and useful Japanese-bound books with your sewing machine.. No glues! Price includes paper and boards for the books.

Friday 7th March 11 till 4
Play With Dyes Day £30-00
Procion dyes, screen-printing, and transfer dyes. Make your fabric sing with colour... Not for complete beginners

To book any of the above,
please ring Helen on 01508 548137, or email
Workshops held at 4, The Raveningham Centre, Beccles Road, Raveningham, Norfolk NR14 6NU

6 trees

Six pieces of 12 by 10 inches. I like this slightly odd size - these were made for my exhibition in November 2007. Oh and hello again, sorry for the long break. Life, you know...

Actually I have been finding it hard to motivate where the computer and my websites are concerned. Too damned tired and it's cold up here. Must try harder...