Saturday, 16 September 2023


Next week The Midlands Textile Forum exhibition

 A Sense of Place

18-24 September 2023

Nottingham Society of Artists
St Luke's House,
71 Friar Ln,
NG1 6DH 

These are my pieces that are included in the exhibition

If you visit the exhibition please let me know.

Thanks for joining me today

Saturday, 9 September 2023

More Poetry

For the next few weeks I'm only going to post once a week on a Saturday rather than twice a week.

In our Write Poetry zoom group Sara-Jane introduced us to poems that had strong emotions and an element of urgency.  Here are my poems from the three exercises we were given.

The persistence of why 

Why is the sky blue?
Why does the moon move
in the night sky?
Why aren’t the stars out tonight?
Why do the clouds hide the sun?
Why do I have to get up?
Why do I have to clean my teeth?
Why do I have to eat green vegetables?
Why do I need to wash?
Why do I have to go to bed
when it’s still daylight?
Why can’t I roll in the mud
like the dog does?
Why can’t I jump in the puddles
like the raindrops do?
Why can’t I swim in the sea
when the waves are high
and crashing on the beach?
Why do you always answer
‘because I said so’? 

Sometime Never

Make the time,
take the time to rest,
to dream of future hope.
Don’t say sometime I’ll take the time
to dream and rest
as sometime never comes.
Take the time to take notice
of what you’ve done,
of where you’ve grown,
of where you’ve come from,
of where you are now.
Ignore the social pressure of
‘you’re not enough’.
It’s not true.
You are enough.
You are you, in all your beauty
and your imperfection.
So, take the time, make the time
as sometime never comes.

Not Invisible

I am standing here
Can you not see me?
I am here in front of you
Surely you can see me.

I am standing here
a sixteen not an eight
Quite large really, almost plus size
not a catwalk stick insect.

I am standing here looking
at the shelves, choosing
a flavour of yoghurt
but you step between.

I am standing here.
Can you not see me?
Pushing your trolley
into me while I’m standing here.

I may not be dressed in purple
or wearing a red hat. I’m not
so old that I’ve withered
to a ghost of my former self.

I am standing here,
standing right in front of you,
surely you can see me.
I am not invisible. 

Thanks for joining me today

Saturday, 2 September 2023

Theme Poetry

Last month I joined in Sara-Jane's Theme Poetry online workshop.

The session started with Sara-Jane giving us a list of things we might write about as a warm up exercise.  I chose 'up in the air'.

The View from Above

The coloured silk had lain
on the ground, beside
the wicker basket. It too
lying on its side. 

The noise of gas burners
forcing hot air into the silk
until it ballooned aloft
dragging the basket upright.
Pegged down, the basket convulsed
trying to escape the ground.

Climbing into the basket
trepidatiously, I wondered
what possessed me to think
that this was a good idea.

Ropes and pegs released
we lifted from the ground.
Husband and young son
becoming smaller until ant-like
they lacked visual form.

The currents took the basket
almost where they willed.
Occasional bursts of noisy power
interrupted the silent sailing
through the air.

The panorama stretched before us.
The rolling hills of Warwickshire
The patchwork fields and tiny trees.
Magnificent Oaks brought low
by height and distance.

A beautiful sunlit early evening
displaying mile upon mile upon mile
of pristine English countryside.

But all good things
come to an end
and time had run out.
It was time to land.

It wasn’t a pleasant experience
landing heavily in a locked field
brought down to earth with a bump!

But all these years later
nearly 20 years
the memory lingers of seeing earth
from God’s perspective. 

The theme for the session was 'In Minature'.  Sara-Jane did a presentation about 4 aspects of miniature or small things and introduced three poems to us.  She gave us a variety of ways we might write about small things.  One of which was to write from the point of view of the small thing.  Here's mine.


It’s so dark
I cannot see my associates.

I’m flattened, squashed
amongst the obscured leaves.

It’s lighter now.
The cover has been opened.

Paper rustles as it’s turned
bringing the light nearer.

A discarded bookmark slides in
brushing against me.

The light is getting closer.
It’s almost time for me.

The reader sighs at words' end
as I, the final full stop

bring the adventure to a close.

Thanks for joining me today


Tuesday, 29 August 2023

Karen Wicks Too

We started day 2 by printing the collagraph plates we had made on day 1 and that Karen had varnished for us.

I also tried printing on fabric

I took a ghost print on paper after printing the fabric.  The plate had taken the impression of the weave of the fabric.

Between days 1 & 2, I made this plate using the packaging from some medicine.

During the afternoon we played with gelli plates seeing what impression our plates would make in the paint on the gelli plate and then taking monoprints.  Some worked better than others!

I think the best results were what the collagraph plates looked like at the finish with the mix of printing ink and acrylic paint.

I really had a lot of fun with Karen and learning this technique.  I don't know whether I will take it any further.  I think you have to be more careful and patient than I am willing to be.  My style is more slapdash.

Thanks for joining me today

Saturday, 26 August 2023

Karen Wicks

I spent a fun two days with Karen Wicks (@iacartroom) and two other students learning about collagraph making and printing.  Karen started by giving us a card with various bits stuck on to it for us to print with.  She had varnished this.

We also did a little one of our own which we didn't varnish so we could see the difference.

We printed these to see

Then we made a test plate using a piece of tetrapak carton.  Print on the left.

Next we made a bigger plate using tetrapak

Inked up ready to print

After lunch we worked on mountboard to make our plates.  Karen kindly took them home to varnish.

I was going to write about both days in this post but we did so much on the second day that I will write another post.

Thanks for joining me today

Tuesday, 22 August 2023

Summer School 3

I mentioned in my last Summer School post that I had chosen to make a not-a-book.

So what is a not-a-book?

Well, it's when you put fabric together which could be folded up and made into a book but isn't folded into a book!

I'm not sure that is any clearer.

I cut up bits of my fabric in different sizes and machined them together. 

I put bits of fabric onto Mistyfuse to use as collage bits.

I put lots of pleats into the strip of fabrics.  I used the preset stitches on my machine.

I've attached the fabric strip a piece of  Pelmet Vileneand machined it some more.

This is finished for now.  I may come back to it when I've finished other pieces and add some hand stitching.

Thanks for joining me today

Saturday, 19 August 2023

A birthday day out

It was my birthday this week. Quite often Roger has organised a birthday surprise day out but this year I asked if we could go to The Workhouse at Southwell.(pronounced Sothel - don't you love the English language!)

I particularly wanted to go there because the Midlands Textile Forum, which I have just joined, has an exhibition there: Identity.

As with many National Trust properties there was a one way system around the main building.  My plan had been to go to the top floor, see the Identity exhibition, and wotk our way down through the rooms.  However, this was thwarted, so the exhibition was in the final rooms we came to.

There were lots of different techniques on show and some interesting interpretations of the theme.  I think what came over most was that MTF members had been really taken with the idea of loss of identity.  All residents of the Workhouse had to hand over all their possessions and in return were given a numbered uniform.  The whole ethos of the Workhouse was for it to be plain and boring so that the residents would be encouraged to want to find a way of earning their living outside the workhouse and therefore be able to leave.  However they were looked after well so some of them didn't want to leave.  However boring the food - they did get meals 3 times a day.

You can find lots of photographs of the exhibition on the Midlands Textile Forum Instagram account.

From The Workhouse we went to Southwell Minster.

By this time it was well past lunchtime so we went off to find a pub.  We eventually found The Red Lion at Thurgarton where we had a fabulous meal.  We didn't arrive until 2.25pm so sat in solitary splendour in The Parlour.  The pub has many dining rooms and there were people in the pub.

We set off home after our meal.  I wish I had taken a photo when we got back.  The grey wheelie bin was in the porch.  Removing the bin, we found a flower arrangement and behind the upright doormat we found a box of chocolates.  All sent by the Hopper Juniors and Minis in Australia.

Thanks for joining me today

Tuesday, 15 August 2023

Summer School 2

After a few days with the pale fabrics I decided I liked them after all.  Now we had two days back in the studio to start using them.

Right at the start of the four days I had said I did not want to make a hanging nor did I want to make a book.  I was all booked out after making so many for Festival of Quilts.

I played with the fabric tearing up strips and bonding them to a piece of acrylic felt.  In my head this was inspired by the costumes that are worn at the Venice Carnivale in February.  To be honest it was okay, but not really doing it!

I used one of the fabrics I didn't like to make a box.  That really didn't work.  It does with paper but not this fabric!

With the very palest fabrics I tried out the different parts of how you fold to get the box above.  Each piece is part way into making a box.

By the end of the day I was particularly frustrated.  Thankfully for all concerned Liske has phenomenal patience.  She did however point out what I had said at the beginning of the Summer School.

I went home and made these from paper.  The largest box was made from a 21cm square.  The rest of the boxes were from 19, 17, 15 and 13 cm squares.

I gave myself a good talking to that evening and went back to make a hanging and a not-a-book.

I cut the fabric into strips of different sizes and moved them around so the fabric wasn't how it was originally.

Then I cut each strip into rectangles.  They are supposed to look a bit like buildings.  I decided to put some plain blue between some of the rectangles - a glimpse of the Grand Canal maybe?

I machined each strip together and then machined the 5 strips together.

I'll let you know how this progresses.

I'm going to introduce you to the not-a-book in another post.

Thanks for joining me today