Thursday, 3 September 2015

A New Starting Point at The Bridge - Brighton. August 24th - 27th.

My teaching table . . . Scrummy!

A New Stating Point is now by far the most popular workshop I have ever developed. It is very satisfying when a workshop 'works' so well.
I taught a 4 day version of this at The Bridge Community Education Centre in Brighton. A scant 15 minutes door to door - it is such a treat to teach so close to home.

The Bridge is a great place to work and the food is fabulous. More of that later . . .

A New Starting Point includes my 'Backgrounds and Prettys' tearing and layering technique and making newspaper faux chenille.

Torn and layered book pages with painted Bondaweb and lots of gilding flake. 

Painted Bondaweb ironed onto newspaper and then printed with a printing block. Simple and very beautiful.

A torn and layered sample printed with a spiral printing block.

Another torn and layered sample that has been printed. The print has been highlighted in selected areas to give definition.

All the commercial blocks I use on workshops are from Colouricious
On my design workshops the students make their own blocks.

Painted Bondaweb ironed onto newspaper and decorated with painted polyester organza.

The girls working hard.

Tearing the painted papers and ironing onto a background of newspaper and painted Bondaweb.

A torn, layered sample that has been decorated with lines of red machine stitch.

A table full of great samples.

Torn and layered papers ironed onto  pre-coloured Decovil 1 ready to make a book cover.

Working hard . . .

Playing with torn shapes and colour.

Pages from an old gardening magazine torn and layered with painted Bondaweb. This has been decorated with glitter and sparkles

The second phase of the workshop is to develop some faux chenille samples.
These are created by layering painted newspaper and polyester organza and stitching channels which are then cut, leaving the bottom layer in one piece!!
The cut channels are then distressed to great effect.

 Stunning textures - I just LOVE this technique. . .

 . . almost as much as - CAKE!!

I was invited by my lovely friend Jayne for high tea while I was teaching at The Bridge - what a treat. Jayne had won the delisciousness in a competition and wanted to share it with me!! What a dear friend!!!

Jayne inspecting our show and tell at the end of the course, chatting to the lovely Penelope.

Jayne is one of my ex students who did the full 4 year course of Experimental Textiles and is now a tutor and felt artist. She also works in the office at the Bridge. You may have seen her at the NEC where she helps with my stands every March.

Brooch shapes cut with my die cutting machine.

The group had a choice of various interfacings to iron onto the back of their samples to make them firmer. We used Decovil 1 and Decovil 1 light for the book covers and the stiffer S!33 for the jewelery. If you just want to stitch not your newspaper samples, by hand or machine -  I recommend the medium weight iron-on interfacing F220. It helps stop the paper from tearing as you stitch. Art Van Go stock all the interfacings I use as well all the gilding flake and paints . . . and . . .


Tomorrow I will be off to teach the Eastern Region Embroiderers Guild Residential Weekend at Belsey Bridge Conference Centre in Suffolk. 
I am one of three tutors teaching this weekend, and one of the other two is my dear matey Wendy Dolan. What a treat to be able to spend some time with her. We will be driving from Brighton the Confecne Cente together - a great chance for a catch up and to find out how well her new book is doing - very well I am sure.
Watch this space for how we all got on . . .

*** has now stopped trading, but I am still packing and sending out the orders I received before the website closed. There were rather a lot!!!! I hope to get most of them out today.

Lots to do.


Saturday, 29 August 2015

Colour theory, monoprinting and bye, bye to


Close up of Jackie's monoprint.

It has been a while between posts, the closure of the mail order business generated a huge amount of interest and I was inundated with orders. 
The website is now closed and I hope to be able to get all the outstanding orders posted by Thursday 3rd September at the latest. I had several offers to buy the business - but I wanted to keep the mailing list - for my newsletter and my online teaching when it eventually happens.

As I am no longer tied down by the mail order business, I can travel for longer periods of time - watch this space. There will soon be news about me teaching more workshops in NZ 2017 and a new teaching tour of the United States 2017/18. It's all very exciting.

Now back to the UK . . . 
It was the 3rd weekend of ExTex 4 on the weekend of 22/23 August. The 3rd weekend means colour theory and mono printing. I know we rarely use colour theory, but is important to know how it works if there is something not 'balancing' right in your work. Once you have painted a colour wheel and mixed the colours for the tints, tones and shades chart - you will have a bit more of an idea and have all the information you need to refer back to. 
I always paint a colour wheel along with the group - you can never have enough practice. Mine is usually the messiest - but the information is there.

 Painting the colour wheels and the tints, tones and shades chart.

I have never yet achieved a violet - more of an aubergine!!! No matter which shade of red/pink and blue I use. One day . . . 

After a day discussing the homework and colour theory, it is good to let off steam, so we spent the Sunday mono printing. I love mono printing. It is the simplest form of print and you can achieve some fabulous effects. To use as backgrounds to print on further, or just for the beauty of themselves. 
All you need is a roller/brayer and an old acetate sheet or laminated paper to roll out on. Simples!

 I love Rosie's face in this shot!!!

We printed onto various fabrics and papers using simple resists and tools.

 As you can see, this was a very free session, I try to balance the activities so if there is a day of 'hard work', then the next day is playful.

The next session is on 12th and 13th September - this will be the large scale still life drawing . . . . no pressure then!!!!!


I taught a great group of ladies at The Bridge in Brighton last weekend, I will post about that on Tuesday.


I have a little R & R booked this Bank Holiday, in between packing up orders ready to post . . . I am off to stay with my matey Susan Chapman on Bank Holiday Monday. Her Open Studio ( is on, so it will be great to see that, then in the evening we will be discussing our joint exhibition next March. Yes!! I am actually going to create some new work!!! It will be a shock for me too . . .

Then I am off to Suffolk on Friday 4th September with another matey, Wendy Dolan. We are both teaching on the East Region Residential Weekend at Belsey Bridge Conference Centre. It should be a fabulous weekend. I am very much looking forward to meeting my group who are doing my workshop - Design to Stitch. It will also be wonderful to spend some time with Wendy. We are great friends, live in the same town - and never see each other as we both travel so much. We are sharing the journey from Sussex to Suffolk - so we will have a good catch up - Yipppeee!!!

                        BOOK LayerPaintStitch small

Wendy has her first book out - it is fabulous. You can buy it from her website.


So - lots to show you next week.
I hope you are having a great weekend.


Monday, 3 August 2015

Making printing blocks with ExTex 4 plus the closing of

A fabulous design, beautifully printed.

On the 25th and 26th of July we had the second weekend of the new ExTex (Experimental Textiles) 4 group. The previous weekend we had created the original designs and taken sections. These were the sections the group then used to make their own printing blocks.

The designs are traced onto tracing paper and then transferred onto foam core board and self adhesive foam.

 For one design - you need one piece of self adhesive foam and 2 pieces of foam core board all cut to the same size.

 2 blocks from one design - showing the 'positive' design on the left and the 'negative' on the right.

 The design is then transferred onto all three. The design is then cut from the self adhesive foam. The 'positive' design is lifted out and stuck to one of the pieces of foam core board. The design that is left is the 'negative' and this is stuck to the second piece of foam core board. As long as these blocks are cleaned with baby wipes and not run under the tap. They can last for several years.

 The above blocks printed onto denim.

 Experimenting with printing onto different papers and fabrics.
Getting used to the blocks.

Each student made at least 2 sets of blocks.

Getting down and dirty, working through the printing process.
playing colour and surfaces.

The next session with ExTex 4 will be the 22nd and 23rd of August when we will be looking at colour theory and colour washing the groups printed papers.


 The very beautiful Farncombe Estate late evening, near Broadway in the Cotswolds.

I have just had a few days away to attend the Textile Study Group summer School at Farncombe Estate. It is wonderful to be a student at least once a year, a chance to play and develop. It is even better to catch up with good friends that I have made when I have attended this summer school over the last 15 years or so. 
It takes me a while to 'get into' the correct mind frame, sometimes it doesn't happen till the last day - but I usually manage to develop something new to me. 
I am starting to think about the exhibition of work that I will be sharing with Susan Chapman next March at Fashion, Embroidery and Stitch at the NEC. It has been a long time since I have exhibited - it is scary and exciting at the same time. I shall be going back to my 3D roots.

Playing with tea dyed scrim and melted beeswax.

I THINK I know which direction I am going . .  watch this space . . .

Having had some time away and out of my usual frantic routine gave me some time to think . . . With my traveling more often and further afield to teach, it is becoming more difficult for me to keep up with getting the orders our for on time. 
I have come to the conclusion that even I can't do everything by myself and be in 2 places at one time. So I have decided to stop the online shopping website from the end of this month (August 2015). I would like to thank all of you who have been customers over the years. I will still carry all the products for my workshops and will still sell odd products on my stand at Fashion, Embroidery and Stitch in March. 
Making the decision has been a great relief. 
Everything in life has a time span.


This week brings us to The Festival of Quilts - a VERY exciting show. I will be running the Freudenberg Vilene Retail stand no M8. We are opposite the Fine Art Quilt Masters as Vilene sponsor the main prize.

The Freudenberg Vilene Retail stand will be M8
(this is a pic of last years stand)

Laura and I will be on hand to answer any questions you have about any of the Vilene products. We don't sell anything on the Vilene stand - we are for information only.

Laura Strutt is a great designer crafter and the author of just the SIX books!!!
she is 2 ahead of me already . . . 

Art Van Go will also be at the show - on Stand P5 - they will have all the paints and gilding flake that I use as well as my favourite Vilene products.

Art Van Go will be on stand P5 with all you could you desire.

Do come and see us and have a chat.

Hopefully see you very soon.

x x x