Monday, 28 March 2011


This hand stitched picture was on the wall of the Dorset house. I don't know if it was done from a transfer and instructions, it was certainly old.

I thought the variation of stitching in the clothes and scenery was really effective. It was also such an appropriate pic for the area. [double click on pic. to see the detail]

I enjoyed living with it for a week and thought i would bring this souvenir home with us.

I heard that I have sold the Dance IV piece at the library exhibition, this is good news as i wasn't at all keen on it.

I promised myself I would pull it apart and try again once I got it home, odds on I wouldn't, so it would just niggle.

So double good that someone else will take it home and hopefully enjoy it.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

I did

I have been doing some "research" for my Open University assignment today. I have to do a bit of autobiography, so have chosen 1960 as a time of CHANGE. Hooray. I likened one of the boys at school to B Fury and when checking the dates, to see if they were close, I came across this video. Oh Boy, as we used to say, often, did it bring back memories. We girls used to get dressed up in very full and swishy home-made wide cotton skirts [at least 3 metres of fabric], supported by many petticoats [soaked in sugar to make them stiff], wide black elastic belts [with silver metal clasp] and pony tails [unfortunately my hair was short and very curly] and fore gather at each others houses on a Saturday afternoon to dance - together. I believe it must have been an early rehearsal of the mating ritual..........................

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Corfe castle, everywhere we go it is grinning down on us.

The sun has been shining, blue skies, lovely scenery it is like a dream of summer. I expect to wake and find I am nestled drooling in damp leaves and mud.....presumably sucking a magic mushroom. But no, it is real.

Monday, 21 March 2011

suffering for art

On the way down to Dorset, for a few days away, we stopped off overnight in exotic Basingstoke. thought we would never make it as we got stuck on the M25.

Sailing round the clockwise ? loop we scoffed at the traffic jam taking root on the other side, and then passed miles of emptiness as that side of the motorway was closed because of an overturned car transporter.

As we were doing so well we decided to stop off at South Mimms services for an early lunch. All went well till we tried to rejoin at the roundabout.

What we didn't realise, was that this was precisely where they had closed the motorway, so all traffic trying to get on anti-clockwise was backed up to hell.

We spent an hour and a half stuck on the roundabout, all we wanted to do was go clockwise.

I nearly had apoplexy, no idea what was going on, no information. The driver is a persistent man and believes that in time all will work out, I tend to have a tantrum, it gives me something to do.

So it took 6 and a half hours to get to wonderful Basingstoke rather than a couple.

The satnav took us to the postcode, but no hotel in sight. Big Bad Basingstoke has a one way system, we now know it well, too well. At least half and hour rotating.

Next morning we went to the reason for all this faff, - an exhibition by Alice Kettle - worth every trial and tribulation.

Huge panels of her work hung in this excellent little museum gallery, the colours of the figures so stunning against wildly machined backgrounds.

Often she puts rich threads on the bobbin and stitches them from the reverse [silks would be too thick to go through the needle] mesmerising work, and maybe some clues for me and my background problems..........the gallery stewards liked the work, but not the wildly staring blank eyes "Zombies" one muttered.

Guess that wouldn't go down too well at home.

Pics can follow when I get back, not allowed to take photos, but 2 excellent catalogues can hopefully be scanned.

Saturday we drove on to the coast to this rather posh house we have rented for the week, cheaply because the weather is cold. So far the sun has shone every day.

Thursday, 17 March 2011


Sploshed about a bit with a new box of textile paints. Then failing inspiration gave it a good seeing to with the machine.
Maybe I could work it up into a piece for Concept and Meaning exhibition, at a pinch. Who amongst the curators would dare argue [no-one really knows what it means]

Perhaps do another piece with a thin adolescent looking in the mirror and seeing a fat image.

However as usual have no idea what to do with the background. Maybe cut them out and put them on a background but "one I have prepared previously".

As usual nature does it better.

Pigeons don't quite fit on the bird table but they do their best.
Mr Pheasant is still sheltering in the garden, where he is most welcome, except that this week I filled the other bird feeders and dropped some seeds on the grass. Mr P strutted over to tidy things up, and in the process trampled at least a dozen daffs. Bloody men.
Keeping thoughts close to home as can't bare to think about Japan, Libya, Bahrain. Is it the end of times, no just usual chaos with everyone a bit scared of how many daffs they would trample if they try tidying up.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011


Five of us [not the Famous Five or even the Jackson Five, obviously] went to see an exhibition of paintings by this gent who used his paint tubes to draw long lines and make reeds.

So textural, us stitchers loved it.

He was a friend of Francis Bacon [always a dangerous habit] but when FB denigrated his exhibition in the 70s, our man gave up the brush, what a shame.
The artistic muse is a fragile spirit.

We had a very nice lunch in the cafe out the back and then had a wander round the new Arts centre which seems to have managed to squeeze under the wire before everything goes on Ration.

It is apparently the Essex version of a Guggenheim.
We lost a building in town last night as some clever person decided [allegedly] the the local Muslims should not take over a redundant church, and so burnt it down. We do have an awful lot of churches, all those wool merchants
adding to Norman edifices, there must be at least a dozen in town. All very lovely.
There are 3 in this small village, none of them lovely.
However this burnt one was only a Victorian brick built one so no great loss, and maybe a nice new mosque and minaret will rise from the ashes.

The morning call to prayer will raise some hackles tho.

Thursday, 3 March 2011


Can't resist showing the GG on the phone to moi.
He isn't always this angelic. tho when we were Skyping [daughter and I] after a couple of tantrums and heels drumming on the floor, she drew him a dinosaur and then he sat on her lap "drawing" away for his fascinated g'ma, {"see how well he holds his pencil!"]

A high spot; a low spot was hanging the exhibition at the library yesterday.

Most group members wisely handed over their precious work and skedaddled.

As the tallest of the five small volunteers, I ended up precariously teetering on a tall ladder trying to hook the picture rail [it is an old library, probably originally a Victorian school i guess] for two and a half hours.

But exhausted triumph was short lived when the librarian returned and asked us to move everything around [2" to the left?].
We exited with a merryish wave and left poor J to accompany the librarian round again.
She claimed that for insurance purposes we had to personally put up the work in case it fell and injured someone. Thanks
In the end librarian agreed that she would move it if J just touched it last.
Hilarious, poor J was there for another 2 hours "touching".

Tuesday, 1 March 2011


Went to the annual Textile Show.

It was the last afternoon the reason I suppose for fewer stalls and no demonstrators, but still colourful.

Felt sad for some of the stalls where stitchers had obviously gone to a lot of trouble to produce work and stuff to sell, but weren't looking very busy.
May be the same for me when we put up an exhibition at the library.

I have two pieces for Sale and two not. Doubtless browsers will show unexpected taste by not lusting after those for sale, but instead showing interest in the ones I actually like.

The library is round the back, one way streets of the small market town and I wonder if I will even get my car and cargo in the vicinity before closing time.

We have about 30 pieces to hang [by about 10 artists] high above the book shelves on the duck blue walls. All of us are possibly past the stage and weight when we should be teetering about on ladders, but doubtless won't admit it.
We had a nice roast dinner/lunch at the pub at the end of Devil's Dyke in the village of Reach

I particularly like the church with the double doors. Presumably once a school seperating the young persons before they got up to mischief and dedicated to St Etheldreda who is a new on on me.

In early Anglo-Saxon and Viking times, Reach was an important economic centre. Goods were loaded at its common hythe (wharf) for transport into the fen waterway system from at least 1100. Reach was a significant producer of clunch, a chalky stone; a new wood has been planted on the old clunch pits, where chalky cliffs are visible from early quarrying. Reach's use as a port continued until about 200 years ago.
Reach Lode, a Roman canal, still exists, and remains navigable. The village church, originally Holy Trinity School Church[1] and latterly called St Etheldreda's,[2] was built in 1860, on the site of the former chapel of St John. The ruined perpendicular arch of the old chapel is visible behind the new church.
Etheldreda' was an East Anglian princess, a Fenland queen and Abbess of Ely in the English county of Cambridgeshirewho decided not to grant her second husband conjugal rights. Despite having been married once before, it is said that St Etheldreda (also known as St Audrey from where we get the word 'tawdry') remained a virgin

Thanks Wikipedia

At the exhibition I liked these very small scenes I think of the local docks which are to remind me that small is sometimes beautiful too.