Saturday, 18 April 2020

Borrowed from Boro

I recently taught a course inspired by Boro textiles. It is important not to copy exactly their techniques or aesthetic but i think OK to take inspiration from this textile story which emerged out of poverty. I twist it and make it my own by not using indigo but using pieces of very worn quilts ( which I have unpicked to reveal their raggy layers)  sourced in the north east of England in conjunction with other blue scraps. I patchwork these together and then stitch into them decoratively. Unlike the original boro textiles they are not designed to be useful so the stitching is not there to hold it all together.

Here are my pieces laid out on my desk this morning and then images of each individual piece.

Coronavirus Diary

Coronavirus has really squashed me creatively and I feel unable to do much as my thoughts are with my loved ones and friends and I feel anxious and fearful for them and me. I however have been doing a sort of textile diary since lock down. Marking time I guess. Each day I sew on one little scrap, turning over each day so the marks of the previous day are in evidence. Just for me, contemplative and slow stitching to start the day.

Saturday, 14 March 2020

Gees bend

This week I have been to see the  "We Will Walk" exhibition at Turner Contemporary in Margate. A long way to go from the north east of England but worth it to see the quilts which haven't been here before and probably will not come again. Loved the way Polly Bennett ( 1922 - 2002) described hers as "get togethers". I am going to start using that phrase for my collages.
For those of you who can't get there here are pictures of some of the quilts. The rest of the exhibits are also deeply moving and thought provoking.

Tuesday, 18 February 2020


I have been working on some new samples for a course I am teaching later on this year. Rather pleased with this cod and it was fin to work with metallics and spangles again. All hand stitched as usual.

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

Hanging by a thread

At the weekend we had a night on Holy Island and I managed to photograph these wonderful pieces of cloth blowing in the severe gales.before they blew away. They are covering an upturned boat. There are several old boats on Lindisfarne like this.In one of the pictures you can see how they echo the castle on its mound. A very special place.

Saturday, 18 January 2020


I have been doing portraits of birds that are on the British red alert list. This means they are in serious decline in terms of numbers. Here is a Lapwing. They are exotic looking in our bleak Northumberland landscape. Hope I have captured their beauty effectively.

Wednesday, 15 January 2020

Pressing Matters

I have been drawing today but feel I just can't capture the beauty of these pressed flowers and grasses. They are from a portfolio collected by Birgitta Theodorsen, I think from Sweden, and were given to us as a gift from my daughter Alice. I think what I really like is the sellotape and how some things are just crumpled.

Wednesday, 1 January 2020

Thinking about 2020

I would just like to alert you to some new courses I am running at The Hearth, Horsley, Northumberland in 2020.  All of my work and workshops are about using old things and recycling but here are three new courses with a bit of a  green agenda. . Check out my website to find out the availability and for full course description.

So my usual bird collage course is given a new twist as I encourage students to choose a British bird off the red or amber "Birds of Conservation Concern ( UK)" lists. On the red list now are starling, lapwing, house sparrow, curlew, kittiwake and skylark.  Check out this link to find the full list.
Here is a Dartford Warbler,  one from the Amber list, it is in decline and is so pretty!

Then there is the problem of over fishing around the UK. I have never thought about fish much apart from how to cook them but reading about the concern for the way fish are farmed and caught inspired me to write my first fish course. I really enjoyed bringing metallics back into my textile pieces when working on these samples.The first date for this course is full but  there are plenty of places on Friday 10th July. Check out the link HERE.

I have an allotment and grow lots of flowers to attract bees but where would we be without them?
I have been practising embroidering bees and in July I am running 2 courses called "Telling the Bees".

Contact me through the website if you are interested in joining me on any of these three new courses and a Happy New Year we hope!