Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Emily's Quilt

Another commission but this time a small appliqued quilt for DD Emily for her to put on her name plate outside her room at University of York. She loves colourful African, batik and ikat fabrics and has a liking for elephants too so here it is in glorious technicolour and I also got the pleasure of pinning it in place. 

Monday, 5 January 2015

Last Snowman Standing

So tonight is twelfth night although I took my Christmas decorations down last night on the eleventh night as frankly glad to see the back of them once the festive season is well and truly past. Why oh why is it though that every single year I can guarantee one of the decorations gets forgotten about and left behind once the storage crates have been stashed away back in the garage despite me carefully scouring the house for the odd bauble or stray bits of tinsel. So this year after hoovering up the last of the pine needles (and thank you Wood's Farm in Shirley for selling me a pup of a Christmas tree guaranteed not to drop its needles when it certainly did - everywhere and they do get everywhere believe me!) and like a Krypton Factor puzzle trying to fit them all back in the crates so the lids can close properly, what did I find when I finally sat down last night to watch Last Tango in Halifax (and aren't Anne Reid and Derek Jacobi absolutely marvellous in it) but a cheeky little snowman sat beside the TV staring back at me listing heavily to one side. 

It's no good, he tried to escape but it's the garage I'm afraid for him for another year.  

Monday, 29 December 2014

Jane's Quilt

My latest commission was a quilt for a lady's 70th birthday on 21st December.  I didn't get chance to meet Jane as it was going to be a surprise for her birthday from Shocka one of her daughters but from making the quilt and creating the design I felt I got to know her quite well.  Shocka asked me to  include the names and nicknames of her mother's six children - Val (Shocka), Robert (Dennis), Etus (Junior), Amos (Tony), Verna (Vee) and Carmen (Gloria) and to also include a palm tree to reflect Jane's Jamaican roots.  Jane loves her garden and is particularly fond of roses so I made the background from six fat quarters of Tanya Whelan Barefoot Roses from The Cotton Patch in Hall Green.  I liked the idea of juxtaposing the two diverse cultures of Jane's Jamaican upbringing with her English rose garden.

Note the slipper socks are not part of the design! 

The trunk of the palm tree was made up from various batik fabrics from my stash.

The coconuts in the centre of the tree were made from the Tanya Whelan rose fabrics to which I added embroidered text.

 Shocka asked me to include some of her mother's favourite sayings.

I then embroidered the names of the siblings on the leaves of the tree adding a bit of bling with diamond buttons.  Their nicknames were embroidered down the trunk of the tree and a border added using the same green marble fabric used for the leaves to bring the design together and to create a narrow frame.

And here is the finished quilt with a framed photograph of Shocka fastened onto the base of the tree with more diamond buttons .

Happy 70th Birthday Jane! 

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Not So Daily Drawing # 16 My Not So Paul Hollywood Kitchen Santa

One of my favourite Christmas decorations is a ceramic Santa Chef who sits on my kitchen window sill over the festive season. He is not exactly Paul Hollywood but he oversees all the cooking at Christmas keeping a watchful eye on the proceedings and I always remember to thank him by raising my glass to him. I always feel quite sad when it is time to put him away for another year so here he is recreated in a variety of pencils and markers so I can see him all year round.  Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! x 

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Bespoke Gifts & Cards @ Ikon Gallery Shop

On Thursday 4th December and Saturday 6th December, 11am - 5pm I will be demonstrating free-machine embroidery techniques at Ikon Shop @ Ikon Gallery, Brindleyplace, Birmingham.

I will be embroidering your special message, design or dedication onto cards and wall hangings, making a unique Christmas gift, prices from £2.95. 

Ikon Shop, as well as being Birmingham's only specialist art book shop is a great place to find cards, magazines, jewellery, books and music by local authors and bands and gifts that are just that little bit more interesting and different than those you would find on the high street.

There are lots of other events happening too this week at Ikon.  On Wednesday 3rd December in the evening, its the Art Bus  when you can travel for free and visit six Birmingham art galleries – Ikon, The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, RBSA Gallery, mac Birmingham and Eastside Projects and Parkside Gallery. Each gallery stays open late for Christmas shopping, free gallery tours and festive refreshments.

On Thursday 4th December there is afternoon tea with a tour of the current Imran Qureshi exhibition, followed by festive tea and cake courtesy of ChangeKitchen.  Then on Saturday 6th December it's Family Saturday which is open to all ages (families and adults alike) to drop in between 1 - 4pm and be inspired by the current exhibition to make some original artwork.

 In fact a really busy week all round at Ikon so come along and join in all the festive fun.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Daily Drawing # 15 Markal Paintstiks

Continuing with the autumn leaves theme I spotted a beatifully coloured leaf lying on the pavement on my way to work just waiting to be picked up, photographed and drawn. I scanned the leaf then printed it twice onto paper and cut around the leaf.  Then using Markal Artists Paintstiks I applied the paint to the very edge of the cut out paper leaf, placed it on a sketchbook page and then using my finger dragged the paint off the paper leaf onto the page.  

The cut out leaf acts as a stencil so that a crisp outline of the leaf is left behind on the page when the leaf is taken away giving a subtle graduation of colour.   Markal Paintstiks  are artists oil paint in stick form. I love them because they are so easy to use by applying the paint directly from the stick like a crayon and on almost any surface such as paper, card, canvas, natural or synthetic fabrics, wood. unglazed terracotta and plaster.  I keep all my old toothbrushes to use with my Markal sticks, dragging the paint onto paper and fabric and blending colours together. They are also ideal to use as a rubbing stick by placing a textured surface under the fabric or paper.

The paintstiks are great to use on fabric as can be made permanent by leaving to dry and cure for 48 hours, then ironing as hot as the fabric will allow.

There is also a large colour range with 52 Professionals (non-iridescents) and 14 iridescents. You can see here the scanned image of the leaf too which I have attached to the page showing all those wonderful vibrant autumnal colours. I used Alizarine Crimson, Yellow Ochre, and Burnt Siena.

Friday, 14 November 2014

What happens if.....

I am taking part in a group exhibition at Solihull Arts Complex with three other artists. We call ourselves ‘Four Seconds’ because we all graduated from Solihull College with Second Class Honours degrees in Fine Art.  This is our first collaborative exhibition bringing together a diverse collection of sculpture, painting and textiles.  What happens if…. sets out to explore themes of bereavement, personal emotions, observations and social comment.

My work is titled Fag Break. I got the idea because each morning from when I get off the train at Snow Hill Station and walk up to Ikon Gallery where I work my path is littered with smokers, banished from the warmth and comfort of their offices and forced out on to the streets.  Fag Break is a stitched narrative of my journey.  They stand huddled together sheltering from the rain or enjoying the early morning sunshine. They are perhaps chatting about last night’s TV or complaining about their new boss brought in to reduce headcount.   

For the lone smoker too it’s a chance to chat on Facebook, email or text, to maybe ring their other half to discuss whose turn it is to cook dinner.  For them their mobile is as much of a habit as their cigarettes.

The fag break is a by-product of the smoking ban, a necessary part of today’s changing office culture and the water cooler of today for smokers. 

Most of my resource material was from photographs I took on my way to work of the smokers standing around which was difficult without them knowing they were being photographed. However,  I found this chef having a crafty fag break sat outside the fire exit of the restaurant where he worked and he seemed quite happy after I told him what it was for, to pose while I snapped away. As an aside why is it that so many chefs are smokers as I so often see them and their kitchen staff hanging around out back of their pubs and restaurants in their chefs whites and chequered trousers. 

This is the work of Pamela Gregg whose personal experience of bereavement informed her work. 

Amanda Elliott's work focuses on personal emotions and her amazing sculpture made of layered plywood explores feelings of vulnerability and exposure.

Gareth Jones is a painter who draws on his own observations of the landscape.

Here Gareth has created a very textural abstract interpration of a waterfall.

Last night was our private view and thanks to family and many friends for coming along to see our work. The exhibition continues until 15 November.