Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Democratic vote

Different group, same obsession.
We are a newly formed group still searching for a name. Some suggestions are somewhat risque.......HOOKERS = Happy Circle Of Key Eastern Region Stitchers.........another more wholesome suggestion FIESTA = Friends In Every Sort Of Textile Art.
Guess we will put it to the vote at our next monthly get together

We are meeting in this drear village hall, so any aesthetic excitement will have to be generated by our work.
We are pledged to raise an exhibition in six months time, preferably not at this venue.
We also discussed the theme for another exhibition arranged for 2011. It is to be titled Concept and Meaning, it will take us that long to sort out what the heck it means.
Suggestions welcome.

At home the magnolia is finally out
At last, too many blossoms to count.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

additions and deductions

Me and us took a short trip today to visit another group's textile exhibition.

I liked this small piece best, it had depth and the skills in building up the little bits of fabric and stitch produced a pleasing result.

These large and blousey sails were very kitsch and didn't meet with instant approval. The maker wanted them taken to her Spanish villa but they were a bit big to transport, they would probably look more at home in the Spanish sunshine than in the dusty museum where they now hang, even tho the walls are bravely newly white washed
While I was out artisans had taken down a spare chimney before it fell down
Please view in reverse

And RP and son had bonded in a manly way by chain sawing down the poor old apple tree that didn't make it thru the winter.

Sunday, 18 April 2010


Suffolk seens

Little egret/
white heron?

Big fat sticky buds

fluffy lambs tails


My dream would be to still live in London as well as here.

London seens

Took a snap of the London bus just to remind me of years passed, spent queuing,or more likely cursing and missing them.

Hungerford bridge has always been in the centre of my mind map of London, if I can get there I can usually then strike out and find somewhere else.
It has been refurbished and smartened recently, but it doesn't take long for the city to start imposing on the clean white lines.
This umbrella has been trapped on the spikes for months now, reminding one not to float off the familiar track in any big city

The balloon could be one's youthful dreams of flying high, fortunately it becomes tethered - or who knows what could happen.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

rich stitch

Popped up to London to see the Quilt Exhibition yesterday at the V&A. Pop was a bit extended as our train got stuck behind a long, long freight train that was going slow.
Lots of people and kidlets around as it is still the Easter holidays. Fortunately as we all marched down the tunnel from the tube station to the sunshine most peeled off like an excited army of chirruping chickens to the Natural History museum. Haven't been since mine were small,and I hear lots has happened, but will wait to re-acquaint with the dinosaurs at a less seasonal time.

The show was excellent, well set out, each quilt in its own space, well lit and impressive. It was all so richly colourful; I felt the museum was granting the makers total respect, equal to all the other pieces in all the other galleries of art and crafts. Stitchers aren't usually allowed the same gravitas as sculpture or ceramics.

Most of the older quilts were embellished with stitching and applique and obviously took ages to complete, revelling in the sheer joy of making, and then making some more.

Quilts by men, often soldiers were very structured - often made from cut up uniforms. Tailors also made historical didactic quilts, carefully planned as masterpieces to show at big exhibitions.

The women's quilts were more domestic, meant for use but from fine silks or velvets and expensive scraps of printed textiles they were still intended to impress.
The contemporary quilts were often much more spare and cerebral, dyed and designed to impress in a different way, often quietly including opinions and attitudes that would not be discussed in general society.

The whole cloth quilts, painstakingly quilted by well trained apprentices were meant to provide an income, so competed to display the skills and twirls of the handstitcher, working in a group, flawlessly completed, the only spontaneity being the chat between the stichers as they worked long hours together.

One quilt that combined the two, individuality and total control was by a colleague, Sara, who uses text. She took some lines from a love letter found after her mother had died and created a poem, each letter trapped in a grid of machine stitching. very much appreciated by the women at the exhibition. The few men tended to sit on the benches and wait.

This quilt explored abortion and was hung at the back of the space allowed, out of reach, as was our Tracey's, bed covers of a young girl reflecting her fears about sex. I so wanted to get nearer to read the text.
This difficulty affected many of the ladies peering at the perfect/imperfect stitching and concepts. The warning siren sounded repeatedly as the line was over stepped by extended pointing and then all went quiet except an embarrassed titter as we were repelled back into our proper place.

This link hopefully will give you an idea of the riches.

Monday, 12 April 2010

a sunny view

It is a lot colder in my room than it is outside in the sunshine. Fortunately I can resist the siren calls of the RP to go and help with the weeding and instead de-camp to the conservatory [wish there was a less pompous name] and join the amaryllis soaking up the sun.

Stimulated by these clever plants that don't need BetaBlockers to get on with their productions I am stitching on my bit for the next big show.
The theme is Deeply Rooted and I am exploring Original Sin. It was going to be much more political and biting till I saw this medieval painting

The simplicity and gentleness inspired me and so far I have produced this

The embellisher, which I had forsworn, [more like sworn] because I/it kept breaking needles flowed like a dream, when I quit trying to force it thru thick felt, and the rust stained dyed material seems to have set a good gentle colour range. The snake is begging to be a force............no surprise there
The female family tree art farty cushions are progressing, tho I keep losing confidence as they are undoubtedly odd. The goddesses are gossiping away in an increasingly bejewelled fashion so I am happy in my work, except when I fall into a little wimpy heap thinking I should just do a huge quilt which could keep me occupied without so much angst for the rest of my life, or till arthritis takes over.
However going to the V&A tomorrow to see the Quilt exhibition - 18th century to our Tracey, so might return with more respect.

Friday, 9 April 2010

oodles of tomato ketchup

Just returned from watching the above.
Absolutely excellent, but only if you are adolescent or of restricted emotional growth like me.
If you can't laugh when baddies explode in the microwave or worse when 11 year old girl gets punched hard in the face, twice, by another baddie, then don't go.
But if you can enter the comic book laugh and cheer, it is really excellent, I left with a smile on my face, good conquers bad, the underdog fights back and wins [with big guns] - always a good story line.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

raise high the roof beam carpenter

Got off my couch [largely metaphorical] to visit a friend's new kitchen last week. They have a thatched pink house deep in the countryside, but decided to make the kitchen more airy fairy.
Builders for months, a side room with a "dirty" sink for her dyes, pluses and minuses.
Now they are open to the roof beams high high above and have underfloor heating to compensate.
Draw back here is that the cat brings in half eaten dead things and leaves them as gifts over night, the heating kicks in and by the time friend groggily descends in the morning the offering is "cooked" onto the tiles.
She likes colour and has had each tall triangle topped wall [whatever it is called] painted the brightest fuchsia pink, if you have migraine you can compare the colour exactly to the pink tablets one takes at the beginning, an exact match.
Unfortunately as I was still taking the tablets I forgot to take any pics.
Likewise next day a visit to a new stitching group, whose member bought a derelict sixteenth century manor house 18 months ago.
I encouraged her to host us so I could have a look, and a real eyeful it is. The builders, still in situ have stripped everything back to the cabalistic wall painting and beams.
The first floor had fallen in so they crafted wide new floor boards and hand waxed them. I cannot begin to describe how gobsmacked I was. Too much to remember to take pics.
Her daughter and pals were up in the attics smoking and playing pool. Made me want to slap them. [i did have a headache]
I have tried googling lady of the manor and the house name but no hits for pics so have to inveigle another visit however unworthy I feel as my eyes are dazzled by so much beauty and money.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Elizabeth, Florence & moi

I have more in common with Elizabeth Barrett Browning than lots of hair it seems.
Florence has things more under control as one would expect, but I follow in their foot steps in "taking to my couch" thus I am not shopping at Sainsbury's.

The Retired Person has bravely taken on the daunting task of equipping us to withstand bank Holidays and Easter celebrations [there is even a FunFair in the next village - unfortunately it is pouring with rain, what a surprise] and I am free to languish and express myself.
This is a good and well tried wheeze which ladies have adopted to avoid getting pulled down into the minutiae of endlessly organising life for everyone else.

RP resolutely "keeps going" whatever his temperature/colly wobbles, it only once took a leg broken in two places for him to finally take to his bed sucking pain killers. Man flu is not in his repertoire.

Of course when one has young people in ones care one has to struggle on, and one is encouraged to do so.............but threse days I find if one decidedly takes to one's couch one is allowed to read, stitch and watch TV undisturbed. One can even complain that one is being left alone with one's pain too long and acquire company, till a nice little nap achieves peace once more.
I did have to suffer for my art however. the post virus migraine was so long and extended I had to be ferried to docs who prescribed morphine, so that was impressive.
And I shall make the most of it!