Wednesday 30 April 2014

Paper cut successes!

I had two paper cutting workshops last weekend; Saturday at Henley River and Rowing Museum - a wonderful place beside the Thames and a stroll from Henley town centre. Full of boatiness and watery achievements and a delightful exhibit of 'Window in the Willows' complete with models of Ratty and Moley, Badger and of course Toad. And on Sunday a return visit to Ardington School of Craft for more paper cutting.
'Art at Ardington', sees sculptures and artworks located through out the village, well worth a visit.

All my students excelled and produced fabulous designs.
They left some great feedback and I can't really wish for more than that.

Thursday 24 April 2014

Make do and Mend

Inspired, may be,  by my trip to the Boro exhibition, and perhaps a basic need to stitch and mend some favourite garments, I spent a productive and relaxing afternoon patching a much loved jumper, loved not only by me but by a moth and patching and refixing buttons to a top.
I used circular patches on the jumper as I had the urge to stitch some spirals, and I mixed and matched small patches on the top. I have a 'let's celebrate the mending' approach to my fixes, rather than get depressed that my invisible mends are anything but!

Slightly glazed cotton patches with silver thread
Lovely gingham top patched with vintage Laura Ashley
and whacky red diamond gingham and finished
off with lime green button

Sunday 20 April 2014

Floral portraits

This time of year is a joy with floral wonderfulness bursting into the garden. Tulips are a favourite along with daffs and bundles of blossom. And every year on sunny days (I am a bit of a fair weather photographer, well everything looks so much better bathed in sunshine doesn't it?) I rush outside, armed with my trusty Canon and get up close and personal with a whole variety of petals and stamens, leaves and stems.

Georgia O'Keefe, painter of large canvasses depicting huge close ups of flowers, had several things to say about  her choice of subject, things which I agree with wholeheartedly:

'I decided that if I could paint that flower in a huge scale, you could not ignore its beauty'

'When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it's your world for the moment. I want to give that world to someone else. Most people in the city rush around so, they have no time to look at a flower. I want them to see it whether they want to or not.'

'Nobody sees a flower really; it is so small. We haven't time, and to see takes time - like to have a friend takes time.'

She also said, which I find remarkable as her flower paintings are so full of energy and vibrant,

'I hate flowers - I paint them because they're cheaper than models and they don't move',  

So here are some of my floral portraits, if they were ever shown in an exhibition I would like them to be either very small, like Kodachrome transparencies and mounted in black frames that obscured the light boxes that would illuminate them, like tiny stained glass windows, or precious jewels. OR printed up huge, a la O'Keefe so that when you stand in front them they envelope you. I find the whole scale question fascinating.



Thursday 17 April 2014

Stitchy heaven in Islington

I discovered the very delightful 'Raystitch' this week. This perfect 'old fashioned yet contemporary' haberdashery shop is stuffed full of delights - patterns, buttons, fabrics, ribbons and braids cover every inch - nestles in the heart of Islington and announces itself with three deck chairs parked up by its window. The ground level shop is a joy and downstairs there is a well appointed workshop area where they run regular sewing classes.

I was there to meet and greet and help promote my course at Les Soeurs Anglaises (August 18th - 24th) along with some of the other tutors and the sisters who set up LSA.
Met some lovely ladies, consumed some deliciously wicked (or should that be wickedly delicious cake?) and chatted patchwork and craft for a couple of hours.

Patterns galore
Colourful embellishments
Busy chatting
Bundles of ribbons
Claire Wellesley Smith's beautiful hand dyed threads
and stitched panels
Buttons a plenty

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Beautiful Blue Boro

After the excitement of Sunday with it's original Lotte Reiniger cut outs, I was very happy for the rest of the week to be rather more mundane. However I had not anticipated the sheer fabulousness of the 'Boro:Threads of Life' exhibition in the East Wing of Somerset House. The sun was shining, the fountains were in full flow with small children running through them, cafe tables and chairs were out and the whole place felt quite special. I observed and smiled, London is transformed when the sun is out, as is its population.
I walked across the cobbles and entered the gallery and was blown away by what was on show. About forty extraordinary examples of Japanese Boro. Ravishing panels of blue and cream, and sometime brown fabrics, layered and re-layered and stitched and over stitched to create stunning pieces of work, that spoke of years of history. They are imbued with an understanding of visual aesthetic way beyond the humble materials used. The textures and patterns of both the fabrics and the way that they are pieced together reminded me of Klee and Rothko - I wonder if they had ever come across these panels?
Added bonus points to the visit was meeting, by chance, Claire Wellesley Smith who is an expert dyer and just happens to be one of the other tutors at Les Soeur Anglaises and was equally bowled over by the show - it was a treat to share it with her.

If you see one exhibition this year make it this one.

Sadly it closes April 26th so what are you waiting for?

Cobbles at Somerset House
Shadows and sunshine

Sunday 13 April 2014

What a treat!

A glorious sunny day for heading into Oxford to the O3 Gallery which is part of the castle/prison. I had been asked to do two hours worth of paper cutting, a demonstration, as part of their current exhibition One Thousand Cranes - contemporary paper craft - and it seemed like a good networking opportunity, little did I know what was going to come through the door.
I had a little group who had come specifically to watch me cut my stuff which was reassuring - lots of questions and interest. Then three ladies came in and walked straight over to me. One of them was carefully holding something  and she handed it to me - a silhouette of a fairy and signed underneath, Lotte Reiniger, and opposite an exquisite profile of a young girl, it turned out to be the daughter of the bearer of this treasure. And inside the card a delicate figure labelled 'Romeo'. I couldn't believe that I was handling these beautiful, historic items, being allowed to touch them and that Lotte Reiniger had handled them all those years ago when she spontaneously cut them for this lady and her daughter - just amazing.
And if you don't know who Lotte Reiniger is google her and watch a couple of her charming fairy tales.

Cut fairy on back of card, the front is printed
'Romeo' figure and profile of Anna
Large intricate and multi coloured piece by
Anna Haworth
My work desk
Multi panelled piece by Astrid Jaekel
The ancient prison wing that houses the O3 Gallery

Thursday 10 April 2014

Preparing for paper cutting in public!

I'm off to the O3 Gallery which is part Oxford Castle, on Sunday to demonstrate paper cutting for a couple of hours. They are hosting an exhibition of contemporary paper making entitled One Thousand Cranes. So thinking ahead I have been busy designing a couple of pieces to cut - an alphabet sampler and a relevant saying, Imagination is Everything. Nothing too complex and detailed as I suspect that I might have to talk and cut at the same time!

Tuesday 8 April 2014

Fun find!

Oh I do love Pinterest, you never know where you'll end up and with whom!
I just came across this

and when I tracked it back to its origins, I came across this  
a perfect combination of text and stitching!

Saturday 5 April 2014

Easter paper cut delights

A perfect spring morning to pack the car and head off to Marcham where the WI's Denman College sits, amongst swathes of daffodils and beautiful lawns.
It was a one day paper cutting course with a theme of Easter (or not depending on the student!) and as always my students surprised themselves with what they achieved by the time it came round for tea and cakes at 4.30 - eggs, bunnies, flowers, a 'just moved in' card, family names and 'Once upon a time' - all very different but all a success.
So happy students, happy tutor!!
Same again next year has already been put in the diary well it will once the 2015  year planner arrives that I have just ordered for my filofax - I know, abit 80's but it suits me fine.

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