Friday, April 28, 2017

Bayeux and So Much More

I have been trying to blog more, but it has been a bit difficult this last month as I have been teaching and demonstrating  or driving to get to one place or another, and then staying in  places that have not always had the best wifi access.

First of all I am teaching  in Chartres in  the studio of Cardamome Gallery on 2 and 3 May. The first day I am teachign Tranfer Printing and stitching ( working with Lutradur) and the second day creating your own linocut, printing and stitching. The french descriptions of the workshops are on Smaranda Bourgery's blog. There is still time to join. Both these workshops are great for expanding creative ideas and mastering some simple but enjoyable techniques.

I have spent the last two days in Bayeux which was on the road to Caen where I am teaching tomorrow and Saturday. I wanted to see the Bayeux tapestry again- that marvellous 11th century embroidery  detailing the Norman conquest of Britain. Just wish I could have taken photos but also understand why I could not- and then there is the tour groups... sigh....I  was there at 9.00 am and they were already queueing. I have seen the tapestry several times and this time I was a bit struck by the bloodiness of it all and by the  really rather fine detail of the horses throughout the tapestry- the horses are quite  quite wonderful which makes me wonder about who designed the tapestry- the detail of the horses seems much finer than all the other details, and they are proportionately well executed. Below is an image which was from a  poster for the museum.

I have been staying in a monastery whilst in Bayeux. I had intended to camp,but they were forecasting rain so I though a room might be a better option.Staying in  monasteries is cheaper than staying in hotels and then there is the ambience of the experience. The monastery I am staying in is Benedictine and the sisters who deal with the public have been most helpful. The only down side is no wifi- but then again the walls are so thick that this creates a problem. It's been very peaceful and just the kind of break I needed after a rather frenetic couple of weeks which included demonstrating at Nantes for Bernina at Pour l'Amour du Fil. Everything is within walking distance which is an added bonus.

Whilst demoing for Bernina I worked a little on my  pomegranate linocut print quilt with Wonderfil wool threads. I love how these threads almost look like hand embroidery

The one thing about staying in a room  rather than camping is that you have to eat out for your meals  unless you picnic in your room. The other night when walking back from a pizza restaurant the light was just magical. I don't  usually doctor my photos at all apart from cropping, so was especially pleased with the way the colours turned out in this photo- it was almost dark but not quite, and the Cathedral is lit.

And I had not intended to go to the British cemetery in Bayeux- but in the end, in light of some of the current madnesses decided that I would, if only to pay quiet respect. I was overwhelmed- the ages of those young men, the number of those young men, the people they left behind, those that survived with all sorts of wounds- it was almost unbearable to feel the weight of what they sacrificed. I was visiting at the same time as a group of  english school boys- one lad seemed as overwhelmed as I was - I watched him- he looked at each grave attentively read each  young mans name- his head was bent in attention to what he was reading , he was reluctant to leave when the teachers called for him to join the group to leave. I don't know what his thoughts were- but I felt as if  all the cares of the world were on his very young shoulders. We must do better than resist. We must stop this bloody madness- nobody has the right to sacrifice the life of another.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Coburg and then Nantes

It has been a hectic few weeks with a quick trip ( well actually it was slow- like an eleven hour drive , more with stops) to Coburg and the studio of Regina Klaus where she has several longarms for people to work with. Linzi Upton had been there the previous two days ( and i am sorry to have missed her classes ). Always lovely to get together with other teachers- and we had lots of commonalities including fountain pens, paper and typewriters! I arrived a day early as Regina had offered to show us around Coburg, a delightful small city  about a two and a half hour drive from Frankfurt. We visited the Schloss Veste Coburg, with wonderful views over the city and with some wonderful smaller treasures. The collection of Lucas Cranach the elders paintings simply gorgeous!

Unfortunately I had left my good camera at the house, but there was one room, the hunting room where the wood panelling was simply  divine- hard to believe it was all inlaid wood. All were hunting scenes.

I am looking forward to going back and remembering the good camera so I can take some good photos! And we will be. If you follow the link for Regina's website there is a report of what we did and what is to come in the future!. I am only sorry I did not get a good photo of Linzi's wonderful fish drawing/extrapolation- but there is one on her blog ( just follow the link on her name and you can also see what Linzi taught whilst we were there)

 We coined a new phrase longarm drawing and we put the machines through their paces using 30 weight thread. I like to see the line and 30 weight thread does that and really gives great texture as well as colour ( thankfully Aurfil makes this thread and I love their colours!)
.Some of the work done:

And then it was straight back to Le Triadou as I have a mountain of work to do and  there is a lot more to do still! Today I am packing today  to drive to Nantes to demonstrate for Bernina France at Pour l'Amour du Fil. Another long drive, but then I will be up there for close on two weeks  teaching mostly.

Then I intend to go to Italy and camp and do a stage at Opificio della Rosa for 2.5 days on shadow theatre- thinking of exploring Colombina from the Commedia dell'Arte- just wish I had brought the Colombina I made with me. Anyone want to come?

Thursday, April 06, 2017

New prints

I have been stitching samples for my classes in Germany next Monday and Tuesday at Bernina Longarm DE owned by Regina Klaus. It will be a long drive but fortunately I have a friend with whom I can stop for a night on the way to Doerfles-Esbach. The week after it is to Nantes for Pour l'Amour du Fil and demonstrating for Bernina and then after that workshops in Caen.

Extra Workshops
I will also be doing workshops  in a gallery just outside Chartres on 2- 3 May 2017  at the studio of Cardamome Gallery. On the 2nd of May 2017 we will be doing transfer printing ( and working with lutradur ) and stitching and on the 3rd of May 2017 we will be making a linocut for printing on paper and fabric and doing some embellishing with stitch of the linocut. If you are interested in joining please email me

When I was up north  recently I picked up a bag of my things that I had stored in the garage of a friend. I had forgotten about half of the things that were in there, but was pleasantly surprised to find a large linocut of a boabab tree which I made quite some time ago and which I had put aside because I thought it needed more work. So I finally got around to doing the little extra work and printed off some panels this morning. I can't wait to stitch some of these up!  They measure 34 cm x 49 cm and have been hand printed on hand dyed fabric. They are for sale for $25 AUS plus $3 postage. At present I only have these colours available as I have to dye more fabric which is on the to do list for when I return. I have created a Paypal button for your convenience- just tell me which colour you would like.

I also printed up some of the Travellers' Blanket linocut which are also for sale. This print measures 34 cm x 39 cm and is also priced at $25 Plus $3 postage.

Monday, April 03, 2017

Felled by a Cold and Travellers Blanket On-line Class

The week has flown and I have been sick most of it. I was teaching free motion  quilting and applique to beginner groups in Toulouse and I lost my voice- trying to speak in french with no voice proved quite challenging but we got through.

Back in Le Triadou now before heading off to Germany on Wednesday to teach some workshops to much more advanced free motion quilters and am still finishing the samples.

I did finish the linocut I started last week and have printed off trial prints, but as my preferred printing pad these days is newspaper ( about 6-8 sheets) I am holding off printing more until tomorrow when I can get a newspaper.

The linocut took quite some carving as it measures about  30 cm x 45 cm. it was inspired  by my Travellers' Blanket with Circles which will be coming out as a book in August or September in French
 Once I print fabric I will then embroider it- I think I will try with machine stitching first seeing I have the Bernina here for the time being. The print below is on transparent paper- just to see how the print works.

And then I printed on fabric. I think it has lots of possibilities- now to just find the time!

There is still time to join the Travellers' Blanket on-line class.  Lessons are delivered as pdf files that you can print and include dyeing instructions and story ideas and stitching ideas with closeup photos of the  traveller's Blankets in Blue and the one with circles. I also set up a private Facebook group  for discussion and I keep this open for some time after the workshop as I realise hand stitching is a long process. I view the travellers' blankets a way of telling stories without words- so your stitching becomes your way of telling the story. The cost of the class is $60AUS