Thursday, 24 September 2020


Makes all the colours richer

and the cats sleepier

and the blues bluer

but not in a sad way

Wednesday, 23 September 2020

auditioning layers

These pictures are of a test piece, a sample, much recommended by Christine to try things out. So here I am trying out layering the organza again, having cut it with the soldering iron to get a shape which wraps round the existing stitching, as though an archaeological dig were being revealed; playing too with the layers of marks.

I also wanted to see what happens if a darker fragment is layered below. Here the shapes from a portion of the paper lamination I did using the floor plan stencil, on already darkened transparent. I have aligned the "walls" with the voided shapes already there.

There will be at least one more layer over this, but first the stitching to secure this layer. Already I can see that the thread I have been using just won’t to. It works to pick out the voided shapes because it contrasts with the underlying colour of the fabric. But if subsequent stitch layers are to work, I think the thread needs to tone with this colour. All quite experimental for me, I am still thinking my way through the stitching, at a larger scale than the first seeding, but of a similar ilk I think.

Today’s musical companions were the Bénédictines du Sacré Coeur de Montmartre.

Monday, 14 September 2020


We have started Christine’s online Poetry of Stitch course, so had our first Zoom tutorial on Friday. One of the group asked about getting stitches straight, and Christine mentioned "auditioning” the thread before stitching it, like this; drawing it out with the top hand to see where you want it to lie

before pinning it to the cloth with your needle in just the place you want the next stitch to be made.

I remember learning this, possibly on a Sophie Long workshop, and realising how helpful it was when stitching regular rows or patterns, as we are here. The first tutorial will be familiar to anyone who has done the Textile Artist Community Stitch Challenge earlier on in lockdown. Use straight stitches to show the same curve drawn repeatedly within a grid of two inch square boxes. I need to define the open edges as well and then it's done

We did the same thing with her as a Zoom tutorial with Sussex Stitchers, so in true Blue Peter style, here’s the one is did earlier - nine boxes rather than four

Tuesday, 8 September 2020

Further pondering

So I think I’m done stitching, keeping it simple. I rather like this deep green silk as a potential frame for the image

I know I am annoyed at the wrinkles in the underlying calico - shoddy preparation. I can’t iron them out any further because that encourages more bubbling in the organza across the sky, the first layer which I couldn’t avoid when Mistyfusing down.

One notion, once the green silk is attached to the embroidery, would be to mount the whole on a box canvas of appropriate size, wrapping the silk round to the back. The key question now is - wide frame or narrow?

Thursday, 27 August 2020

Contemplating layers

Which is a theme appropriate to working with transparents, which can evoke ...

Layers of landscape - the view from my bedroom in coloured organza cut with a soldering iron and fused to a base layer of calico. Two layers of machine stitching done, just the foreground to work out now. It is intimidating me!

Layers of history in the landscape,

Layers of habitation, evoked by fragile remains; wondering which of  the recent experiments might be useful ...

Layers of stitch to add colour and texture, perhaps that of excavated soil

And maybe reveal those layers of habitation

A bit of a test run, to see how the transparents I have been working with might evoke the levels that are concealed, revealed, during an archaeological dig. Still thinking how to do this. I may need to cut the voile into less regular shapes to create a sense of the unfolding of layer upon layer.

My stitching and thinking today accompanied by Low

And the Oni Wytars Ensemble being Byzantine. There’s variety for you

Tuesday, 18 August 2020


I very often have Mesopotamia in the back of my mind when exploring with Studio 11 experiments - currently in how transparent fabrics can ben coloured and the potential they hold. 

An assemblage is a group of objects brought together from a site which typify that site, or a particular period

This is an assemblage of things old and new which may help me say something about Mesopotamia and history with textiles.

Most recently I created a stencil which which I used with a lamination technique to apply paper to some organza I had coloured as part  of the transparent experiments we have been doing. The stencil was based the floor plans of several of the temple layouts at Eridu, the oldest of cities according to the Sumerians, where sweet water was discovered, site of the Abzu. The transparent is laid over some hand dyed fabric from an earlier class I took with Christine, sort of desert’ish. Though now I wonder if I should try something blue beneath it, for water. And whether I might not cut it up and use parts of it in different things, rather than as one piece.

The stenciling process - cutting out shapes from freezer paper and then ironing that paper onto the silk screen, has created all these negative shapes, which I shall keep and try to use in some other context.

I have been thinking about what skills were key to the development of civilisation in Mesopotamia, and one, of course, is weaving, without which we have neither baskets, nor linen shifts, nor tapestries. So I have been experimenting with the cordage technique, learnt on and Alice Fox workshop at Studio 11 using  grass from the  garden, fibres from yucca and phormium (New Zealand Flax), and some wool roving I bought, to create “thread” of sorts. The blue is the roving, twisted during a recent Studio 11 zoom session.

I like the way the colours work with this fabric, but the “thread” might also be useful with some of the other recent transparents experiments. Or perhaps I'll twist some more

The fabric is, again from an early workshop, using the wax resist technique to evoke the sort of patterns one finds in for example, pottery with scratched patterns, of rock carvings. Here assembled, to see how they might mingle with some linen thread I bought from “somewhere”. 

And here, another assembled group of transparents - fine voile coloured with acrylic inks, walnut ink and rust dyed  

They seem to fit together rather well

I at last have a stool workshop, so I can sit at my bench with music playing - Heligoland in this case (Massive Attack one day Pergolesi the next!) - look at the anemones by the fence, and muse. It is a great pleasure. I am tucked away down the side of the house, and have to duck past the well to get here. It somehow feels appropriate