Monday, 29 October 2012

Rerturn of the Wanderer

It's me - I'm back and I have missed you all. I have been on a retreat at the Dorset Wildlife Trust's Reserve at Kingcombe, near Dorchester. This was with our stitchy group that used to meet at Urchfont and we met with great misgivings that it would not be the same as our beloved Urchfont.

Of course it wasn't the same, but it was lovely and we had a wonderful time. The surroundings are fantastic with brilliant walking so, although the weather wasn't wonderful, we managed to explore a lot of it. It also enjoys poor reception for mobiles and my wi fi dongle wouldn't work, so it was something of a reteat as well. I had become so overloaded with work before I went that I felt quite poorly, but I could feel the stress dropping away.

You can see us in the pic above in the workroom. I'm afraid that I am the one with the laptop as I had to finish some editing on the Lynda Monk book which is coming around the end of November. That didn't take too long and then it was on with the stitching. The workroom had a huge log fire and, as I was sitting nearest, I was the log lady (anyone remember Twin Peaks?).

The centre was wonderfully welcoming and friendly and although we did miss the Urchfont puddings, most of us felt less bloated. The cakes were well up to Urchfont standard.

The place is very well designed with the modern additions complimenting the old agricultural buildings. We slept in the cowshed, seen here. No cows but en-suite bedrooms.

Lovely hidden gems in the grounds, too. I came across this metal-worked fawn and just loved the way it was made.

Note the detail of the spine, shown here.It has given me an idea for a piece I am working on which started as a tutorial for the third free lesson from my Dissolvable Delights book.

It will be  a large hanging, mostly metal, with inserts of water soluble stitching and solid free machining. Will show you that next time.

Clive came along for lunch on Friday and then we took Jane Lemon down to Totnes, Devon for the AGM of the West Country Embroiderers, a good sized group of stitchers in Dorset, Devon and Corwall with around 1000 members in total. 

I am rather scared and humbled by the fact that I have taken over from Jane as the President of the organisation. What a hard act to follow, she is such a towering figure in our embroidery world, having been awarded an MBE for her services in bringing ecclesiastical embroidery into the modern day.

West Country are a lovely group - I have been a member, on and off, for years and have always enjoyed my teaching sessions with them.

I gave a talk called Visible, Invisible, one of my favourites, which covers not only dissolving fabric (a natural for the title) but is also about making things appear from unlikely base materials and covers working through concepts to produce art.

The members are all really committed to their stitching and have great tutors on a (mostly) monthly basis.To celebrate the AGM they had all worked book marks and there were some stunning ones, as you can see, right and below.

It was a lovely afternoon and a sunny drive home through Devon and Dorset. I'm glad to be back at last.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Cloud Nine

I'm having a new hall carpet and I'm on cloud 9. No, I really am, as you can see from the pic below. That's what the underlay is called. It bodes well for peace and harmony.


Can't remember if I told you about our disastrous flood in the kitchen which resulted in new tiles in there as well. Actually, they look much better than the previous floor.

Seems to have taken over our lives as we thought it wasn't worth a new hall carpet if we were going to paint the walls later. So that turned into a full scale paint everything job. I am blaming all this for the fact that  I'm running late with the last free on-line class, linked to my Dissolvable Delights book (on the d4daisy site). I now have the requirements on the daisy chains blog and the class will be there next week, I hope. It's based on the wonderful contrast between metal shim and water soluble lacy stitching.

I have been interviewed by the Colour Queens for their on-line journal and used the piece below to illustrate one of my points. Do you remember her? I made her for an exhibition just before we moved into this house. One of you blogging mates left a comment calling her the Angel of Relocation and after that I really couldn't sell her, so had to make my buyer another one. Not the same though, as I can't bear making the same thing twice and that is why I rarely work to commission, unless I'm allowed a free hand. If it was you who christened her, do let me know as I'm so pleased that I kept her. I sold all of my Ancient Faces series so it's good to have one for me.

Thanks for comments about blogger v wordpress. I think I am with Robyn and Heather and will stick to the devil I know.

Smudge's poor paw has mended very slowly and today is the first time I have been able to let him out. He is helping Clive in the garden and I shan't let him stay out too long. I am more than ever convinced that it was a fox or a dog as it was a bite, but much deeper than a cat could inflict. He thanks all his friends for their concern and says that you should have seen the other guy. I think his self-esteem has suffered a knock as he has been quite subdued.