Category Archives: A time to do what inspires me

In April of 2013, I was diagnosed with and treated for cancer in May/June and spent the summer recovering in the garden, taking advantage of the wonderful summer. We had built me a new studio in the garden in the early part of the year, dumped everything in it from the little bedroom I used to work in, so that by August when I felt up to going in it, I couldn’t remember where anything was!

A second tote bag


I love the first bag I made and decided to make one as a birthday present for a friend.  The indigo patches are from fabrics that had been dyed either by her or by me, so it felt appropriate to use them for this.

Inside I have used a piece of ice dyed fabric:

I’m glad to say she was very pleased with it!

Indigo tote bag

Whilst in Bangkok last December I saw some beautiful info tote bags for sale – quite expensive, so thought I would make my own.  I’m really pleased with the way it turned out, using fabrics I bought in Japan and an Indian fabric as the lining.  I zigzag stitched the outer fabrics onto a piece of heavy calico to give extra strength and used  pieces of denim fabric for the top and bottom and handle pieces.


Lino printing at West Dean College

I had heard so much about West Dean and seized the chance to go there.  The course, with Dale Devereux Barker, was brilliant.  We started by using resists and stencils on the lino, which was first inked up, and then printed using a press.  My favourite effect was obtained by removing the resist or stencil and then printing a second time, so as to get a much more ethereal effect.  Below are just a few of my prints:

lino printing001

lino printing002

The lower two prints also made use of  actual leaves.

I then cut a block based on a curving leaf shape.  Having made a few prints from the original block, I cut away some of the leaves and over-printed.

lino printing003

The one below also used a block made of drilled out dots and once the printing was finished, I added the cut out shapes that I had previously used as a resist.  Finally, I over-printed with a piece of sequin waste over the central section.

lino printing005

The next one utilizes a partial print donated by Dale  on to which I added my block using different coloured inks.

lino printing004

The next one grew and grew as I kept on over-printing.   I made another block, this time with a tulip shaped flower as well as leaves (inspired by my Turkish tiles project maybe?)  Finally, I overlaid the central motif with gold leaf to bring the piece together.


Having made the background below, I then made paper cutouts of my leaf image, inked the block, printed onto scrap paper so as to get a good layer of ink onto the cutouts which I then removed and placed them ink down  on the background.  I used silver ink.  I am reluctant to add anything more to the print as I rather like it as it is.

lino printing006

West Dean itself is the most amazing place.  It was built by the American father of Edward James who then took it on and lived there.  He was the patron of many surrealist artists so the house is full of their work, including three copies of the famous Mae West’s lips chairs, which Dali made for him.  I would love to go back in the summer to see the gardens in full growth.

Colour, Mark and Composition

I did a weekend course at Hawkwood College, just down the road from me, with Gizella Warburton at the end of October, entitled Colour, Mark and Composition.  I didn’t know what to expect, but as I had had to cancel other courses I had booked earlier in the year, I thought it would help me find my creativity again and I liked the look of Gizella’s work.  It certainly gave me a new perspective on how to look at things. We started by analyzing the colours within a small strip of a photograph and recreating the strip using scraps of fabric, threads, etc.  We did various other exercises along the same vein, printed papers and fabrics, cut everything up to recreate something else.  These were my final two pieces, both on a heavy cotton background, which I feel summarise the weekend for me.  Much more abstract than I am used to working with, but a lot of food for thought.



Back at work at last in the new studio

I’ve finally got round to bringing this blog up to date.  It was lovely to start work again and the first thing I did was an A5 sketchbook, just experimenting with different techniques, inspired by one Linda Kemshall was doing based on her own garden.  Here are just a few pages from it.

Title page:

summer sketchbook title page

Fabric cover:

summer sketchbook cover

summer sketchbook

summer sketchbook

summer sketchbook

summer sketchbook

Here the bleach from the previous page above has leached through to the next page and I decided to take advantage of it:

summer sketchbook

summer sketchbook

summer sketchbook

I also finished quilting a quilt I had started earlier in the year, inspired by Mickey Lawler’s Sky Quilts.


Each square is cut from cotton fabric that I had painted with Pebeo transparent fabric paints, except for one or two squares which had been dyed with Procion Mx dyes.   I am not totally satisfied with the quilting stitches – I was trying out some new stitches and I am not convinced they all work.