Four seasons book

I have just been doing an online course called Pathways and Wanderings with mixed media artist Roxanne Evans Stout which I found full of inspiration.  I produced this book on the Four Seasons.  First I used a combination of watercolour paper and Khadi paper for the pages and to give more substance to the Khadi paper I brushed on a layer of gesso.  Then I collaged all the different items until I was happy with each page.

The cover:

Winter pages:

Spring pages:

Summer pages:

Autumn pages:

The final spread, as I had 2 blank pages left:

I attached a little tag for each season with writing about that season on the back.  It hangs down on to the appropriate page.

Winter, when the earth sleeps and life slows down, longing for Spring.  Snowdrops throw their light across the dark soil.

Spring light returns and myriad shades of green push through the soil.  Yellow flowers are everywhere and the birds sing all day.

Summer long days of summer warmth and bright light.  Lazy days to enjoy. Profusion of colours, flowers, insects, birds.

Autumn mists and mellow fruitfulness, the birds help themselves. Colours changing from green to reds and golds, then browns as the land gradually returns to sleep.

The four seasons in the garden, always changing, always something new.

The back cover:

The good thing about this project was that I used only things that were in my studio – I plundered my stashes of fabrics and papers (most of these previously dyed or coloured by myself), paper napkins, plant material, feathers, photographs, collected sea glass, beads, some in polymer clay that I had made, including the plaque on the cover and a lots of bits from previous projects.

I also resolved to make a larger composition for each season, with Winter so far the only one completed.

My home in winter:




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.


More umbellifers

Umbellifers continue to intrigue me and I wanted to attempt something a little different.  My inspiration was some pastel sketches I did of hogweed against the fields and sky.  I glued down scraps of fabric with bondaweb and then stitched one layer of seed heads. I then added some pieces of transparent silk fabric to give some depth and stitched again.  I added colour to the stems with Intense crayons.


A fourth scroll


I went to visit my son in Hove a couple of weeks ago and wanted to take some stitching with me so a scroll book seemed the perfect choice.  I cut out the pieces before leaving, attaching them with a narrow length of bondaweb along the edges.  I got quite a lot done there and finished it on returning home, adding beads and mother of pearl buttons, more hand stitching and some machine stitching. The buckle is also mother of pearl.  I wish I could always take one of these to stitch while travelling, but it’s not possible to take needles when you only have hand luggage on a flight.


The outside:




Continuing the theme of unbelief’s

I had some pieces of umbellifer printed Evelon remaining from the textile book based on these flowers, as well as sun printed fabric, so decided to make a quilt.  The central background area is sun printed, the top and bottom are procaine dyed.  I painted the binding with the same red paint I had used in the sun printing.  I used free machine embroidery, some hand stitching and french knots on the appliquéd Evelon pieces before quilting the whole piece.


Ice dyeing

This is something I have been wanting to try for a long time and then I found an online workshop by Lynda Heines which gave me all the information I could possibly need.  The principle requirement is to use  mainly non-pure colours, because the whole idea of ice dyeing is to make the colours split in order to produce the wonderful pattern variations this method produces.

Having soaked the cloth (I used old cotton sheeting) in soda ash, I  pushed the damp cloth along the table top into rough folds, placed it on to something with holes – I used a variety of flat sieves, plastic baskets I punched holes into and foil barbecue trays with holes – using 2 for each dye bath with the lot placed in a bowl or plastic cat litter tray.  I actually dyed two layers of fabric as well, finding that the lower one often dyed a darker colour.  Covered with ice cubes, I then sprinkled on the dry dye, using two or three colours each time.  Covered in plastic it needs to stay in a warmish place for 24 hours.

Top layer, midnight blue, neutral grey (pure), forest green.  (There is rather more green than this photo shows)


Bottom layer, red brown and violet navy:


This is actually my first attempt and I used only warm black:


Bottom layer, red brown, chocolate brown, golden yellow (pure):


Top layer, mustard, orange rust, charcoal, then as I wasn’t satisfied with it, I overdid with golden yellow, red brown, red orange:


This is a piece of muslin.  Bottom layer, mustard, orange rust, over dyed with chocolate brown:


Bottom layer, mustard, orange rust, charcoal:


I also tried some Itajime folding which produced some stunning results.

Square fan fold and small clamped circles, midnight blue, forest green, neutral grey:


Same fold, larger clamped circles, olive green, forest green, charcoal and small quantity lemon yellow (pure):


Cloth first folded diagonally, then into triangles, with a clamped triangle resist.  Teal and bronze:ice-dyeing11

Same as above, but using clothes pegs instead of a resist and clamps:


Fan fold, then triangle fold using pegs.  Midnight blue, forest green, neutral grey:


Diagonal fold, triangle fold, pegs.  Olive green, forest green, charcoal and small amount of lemon yellow.


I also dyed some embroidery yarn which worked really well and two t-shirts which I love:


And this is the one that went in the indigo bath:


Experimental drawing for mono print

Last month I attend the above 5 day workshop with Caroline Wendling at West Dean.   Caroline is very keen on allowing chance to play its part, so we started off by picking blind a one inch square cut from a larger image.  We had to choose 5  mark making tools one of which had to be a rubber.  A dice was thrown to choose which tool to use, another to give us what kind of mark to make.  Great fun and we all produced totally different images.  Each morning we went out drawing, focussing in turn on tonal values, line, colour, texture, using the dice and also maps to superimpose on where we were to guide us along paths suggested by the map. We then went on to try different methods of printing inspired by our drawings.

Here are just a few of my better results:

The first print I made after a drawing of some tree branches lying on the ground.  I overprinted with yellow but misaligned the second print.  I quite like the effect though, it now suggests the prow of a ship.


Drawing without looking at the page:


A monoprint made by taking a photocopy of the righthand page, placing it on top of the paper to be printed over the inked plate and drawing the lines.


Another drawing without looking at the page, yet to be turned into a print, but one I really like:


Drawing of one of the flower borders in the walled garden, using pastels:


A print where I painted directly on to the plate with different colours.  I added more pastel once it was dry.


I found some leaves from a tulip tree and laid then on the inked plate.  I then overprinted:


I then printed the inked leaves on to a new piece of paper,  inked the plate first with yellow, then with darker colours to produce a total of three layers.


The colours were becoming rather mixed up on my paint palette which I liked.  Here I inked the plate, drew into it and then added small pieces of fern.  The print now reminds me of heads of wheat.


Here I incorporated white pieces of tissue paper and a rubbing on tissue paper, using the chine collé method and with the inked pieces of fern used in the above print.


It was an amazing wee.  Caroline is so inspirational and I had the privilege of spending time with a wonderful group of women.

Eco-printed hangings

These were done in the months following the workshop with India.  Different bits of fabric were sewn together on to a backing fabric and then put into the aluminium dye pot, having been wrapped around plant material.

This is the first one.  I used quite a lot of elderberries and onion skins as well as leaves, with more onion skins and teabags in the pot.  The top left pink piece had previously been dyed with madder.  The stitching and buttons were added after dyeing.


Here I used mainly indigo dyed fabrics, with lots of onion skins and green walnut skins within the bundle.  Both works have a mixture of cotton, linen and silk fabrics.



Dyeing for quilt making

A catch-up exercise, having found lots of work I haven’t kept a record of on this blog.  Last year I did an online course with Elizabeth Barton on various aspects of dyeing cloth for quilt-making.  I didn’t get round to actually making any quilts, but I was particularly interested in Elizabeth’s methods for arashi dyeing (wrapping fabric around a pole, scrunching up tightly and then dyed.

First we dyed a series of greys to obtain different values:


I got as far as sketching this design for a quilt from a photo I had taken of the old pier in Brighton, but that’s it!



Then came the fun, arashi:





We also did some screen printing:





These are done using a resist, mainly cut pieces of paper.

Printing with leaves and other plant material:



Some of these pieces have found their way into various books and other works.


"Exploration of textiles and mixed media is a huge adventure"