Friday, 30 August 2013

Corbridge Romans

The sun shone gloriously today and we explored a new, to us, Roman site, the supply town of Corbridge.  No costume for Sam here but there were eight AWOL Roman soldiers to track down and the reward of a sticker and a certificate.  There was a good museum and I enjoyed seeing these spinning and sewing items found at the site.

Saturday, 24 August 2013


This is a short post to check out my lovely new iPhone 5 which, hopefully, will allow me to blog and include photographs easily.  These are my birthday flowers from DD and DGS.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Festival of Quilts 2013 - The Last Post!

As I stayed at the Festival of Quilts for the full period this year I was able to take advantage of some of the wonderful classes and lectures on offer.  I spread these over the four days as follows:
Thursday afternoon:  Alice Fox - 'Coastal Perspective'
Friday morning:         Leslie Morgan - 'Inspirations - Origin and Outcome'
                                  Sheena Norquay - 'Seasonal Inspirations'
Saturday:                   Jane Callender - 'Wholecloth Shibori'
Sunday morning:       Pat Archibald - 'Japanese Inspirations'
Sunday afternoon:     Jane Callender - 'Indigo and the Tightening Thread'*

*  Lecture given was actually 'Indigo, Shibori and Pattern'

As things turned out I was treated to several different perspectives on design.  Alice Fox spoke about her residency at Spurn Point which I have previously blogged about and it was a delight to see some of her sketch books.  She uses found objects to make marks on both paper and fabric and explained how she makes 'collograph prints' from collages of found objects.  Earlier this year Alice worked on Gifts from the Pavement in Saltaire and her work reminded me that I saw wonderful manhole covers in Japan.
Leslie Morgan, Sheena Norquay and Jane Callender all spoke about design.  Jane has published a book and her talk showed how she 'tiled' designs from a simple starting point to create the complex designs shown in her book.  Leslie and Sheena both described how their daily walk, their surroundings, inspired their designs, via sketchbooks and photography.  During the later part of Sheena's lecture I found myself scribbling down ideas for possible projects of my own and, as a result of all these lectures, I decided I must start keeping a sketchbook/ideas journal.  Also I appreciated that a quilt does not have to be a pictorial representation of the inspiration, I might use the colours I see, or the textures, or the feelings they inspire.  I came out of the lecture rooms feeling all creative!  Sheena had a display of quilts on the Aurifil stand which I photographed for my reference but agreed not to share on my blog.  This quilt, Transported - Windblown Leaves, however, was in the QGBI Challenge exhibit so I am happy to include it here:
Leslie and Alice both worked in the "Virtual Studio" at FoQ and it was interesting to see them actually at work, practising what they preach if you like!
On the subject of practical work, I did workshops with Jane Callender and Pat Archibald.  I'm afraid the full day with Jane was very disappointing so I shall write no more.  The hour with Pat, however, was brilliant.  She showed us how to use iridescent Markal oil paints with a stencil to create a design of falling maple leaves (hence the "Japanese" in the title of her class).  She then offered us the choice of stitching into the design for the rest of the workshop (with the lovely Wonderfil thread provided) or "gathering round" and learning lots of techniques that she uses in her work, with the Markal paints, glues and foil.  We all decided we could stitch later!  Pat was fun and so generous as a tutor, it was an excellent way to spend an hour.  My maple leaves piece has become a 12" block which will join others sent to me by Global Piecers for my recent birthday to create a lap quilt in Autumn colours.
Well, that concludes my reports from what I think was a very successful Festival of Quilts.  I enjoyed seeing a wide variety of well crafted quilts and textile creations, meeting up with friends old and new and spending time with them, learning from experts and being inspired to go forward along my own textile path and, of course, one or two shopping opportunities.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Festival of Quilts - Post 6, The Blues

Is it too late for another post about FoQ?  Have you had overload?  Well, you've had a little break while I've been in Norfolk and celebrating my hmm-hmmph th birthday and I have just two more festival posts in mind.  This one will be about blues and the next one, Post 7, will be about the workshops and lectures I attended and then that'll be it for this year.  I hope you'll bear with me.

So, blues.  Does anyone else notice the themes or colour schemes in the photographs they take of quilts?  I have a definite leaning towards the blues so I've saved them all for this post.  The first two are from the "Beneath the Southern Skies" travelling exhibition:
Kiwi's Nocturne by Monica Johnstone
 and Antipodean Adventure by Debra De Lorenzo
 Mood Indigo by Ruth Hainsworth
caught my eye 
 and the subtlety of Night and Day by Mike Wallace was worth closer inspection
 Julie Mackinder's Always the Sea was a delightful piece
 and Janice Gunner's arashi shibori piece, Umi spoke to me of water too 
(which is clever as I later discovered "umi" is "water")
 Sylvia Hammond's Blue Reflections was inspired by Japanese blue and white.
Next are two inspired pieces.  I love the ethereal pojagi-style
Allegro Ma Non Troppo by Mercè Gonzalez Desedamas.  
It must have been difficult to decide how to display it and it was certainly difficult to photograph it.  Not only did people keep appearing through the sheerness of it but the lightness of the handpainted and dyed organza meant the piece keep wafting about.
 Margaret Ramsay's Transported - Shinkansen
was so clever, summing up those blurred views from train windows.  
Finally, two subdued blue and stone pieces which caught my eye,
Flint Stones by Yvonne Brown
 and another piece by
Margaret Ramsay, Fleet Mudflats
And, still on the blue theme, here's a picture of me "stitching into the breeze" in Norfolk, what a lovely morning I had:

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Birthday Number 1 - Silk, Indigo and Chocolate Cake

Not a Festival of Quilts post today but a report on my first birthday celebration.  My birthday is on Saturday but today I met up with DD and DGS, DS and DDiL, plus Al for lunch and a visit to the National Centre for Craft and Design.  For those of you new to my blog, DGS is Sam and you will soon get to know and love him as he features heavily in this blog.
I've never been to the NCCD (blushes with embarrassment as it's almost on my doorstep), but was very impressed.  I was also impressed to see so many young people there, fully engaged with the crafts and various hands-on opportunities.
We started with presents and I had things to give out from lovely Carin.  DS and DD divided the boxes of Wasabi and Red Bean Kitkats between them and the phone/camera was an immediate hit with Sam. Thank you Carin and if Sam starts speaking in Japanese I won't be the tiniest bit surprised.
We explored one gallery and the opportunity to cut and paste was great for Sam (I did warn you that my blog is Sam-heavy).
Lunch was next and a little while later a wonderful chocolate cake (and yes, that is chocolate on Sam's nose):

Then it was time to explore the other galleries and the shop, full of interesting creations by local craftspeople.  There were a couple of pieces that seem to have been exhibited just for me.  To celebrate the 10th anniversary of NCCD nominations were invited for makers and designers "with a great future ahead of them".  I've included the nominations made for the artists I'm showing.
Nao Fukumoto created these two Chidori woven scarves and the yellow kimono:

Masahashi Tsukada used silk thread to create "Seeds" on the wall and "Roots" on the floor:

And there was indigo...  
Louise Anderson created these handprinted pieces on natural linen, "Brush Strokes" and "Circles":
and a Large Triptych Scroll Series in silk, linen and indigo:
Sam was obviously inspired to be arty, look at that professional photograph-taking position: