Saturday, 24 August 2013

Painting today

My younger daughter is very inventive when it comes to giving presents. For my birthday last month a small package arrived by post. "I know you're busy", she said "but it's only small and I'm sure you can do it"!

Inside was a 4inch box canvas and a set of official rules for the Pen Pal painting exchange. The deadline seemed ages away so of course the canvas got filed under a pile of more urgent business. Yesterday she emailed to remind me that I have to get the finished painting date marked no later than the 30th of the month.

This afternoon I painted this little sparrow in acrylics. They are a common sight in our garden although I understand their numbers are declining in Britain.

A four inch canvas isn't very big - even for a tiny sparrow! So, I wrapped his tail and the branch he's perching on around the sides of the box. I only need to add a second coat of metallic gold to the background and he can fly off the America. The idea of the pen pal exchange is that everyone taking part is paired with a like minded individual - I shall await with anticipation to see the painting I get in return!

I am very lucky with my relatives! They take time to find unusual gifts and treasures they know I'll appreciate. One of my brothers-in-law sent these lovely old shuttles to me this week. They've seen a lot of hard use but are no less desirable for that! Oh dear, ours will never be a minimalist house!

Talk to you again soon - Linda

Thursday, 22 August 2013

In the garden and thinking ahead

I love this time of year when I can wander up the garden path to see what to have for dinner tonight.

Not so good though if you don't like your greens - this is just today's pick! You'd think I was feeding a tribe rather than just the two of us wouldn't you?

Of course we have food of other hues too! Looks like ratatouille is destined for the menu as soon as the aubergines cooperate.

Last year we really enjoyed the tomatillos so he who gardens has grown them again. They may look like Christmas decorations but they taste wonderful with chilli and coriander in a salsa.

You may have spotted (behind the pots of tomatillos) the less than lovely tunnels we grow all our vegetables under. The lace-like cabbage above shows why they are necessary. It's one thing attracting masses of beautiful butterflies to the garden but not so great when their caterpillars munch their way through your veg! This victim of the munchers was a spare left out in a pot. Looks like the bait worked!

I am doing some work as well as living off the land! Thr3fold have had a bit of a sabbatical of late but we have an exhibition on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia next spring so I've started work in my sketchbook. The title of the exhibition is Unfinished Business. It refers to the work we produced for the five thr3fold journals we wrote where all of us loved the pieces we did but sometimes felt we didn't always have time to do as much as we'd have liked on a particular theme. This will be our opportunity to revisit favourite inspirations to make new work. I'm starting by drawing treasured objects I've collected over the years.

My collection of old medicine bottles and inkwells have very little monetary value but I love them. I've found them at antique auctions, flea markets or, believe it or not, dug them up in the garden. When our house was built in the early 1700's there weren't such things as refuse collections and much of the rubbish was simply buried. We regularly unearth all kinds of broken china and now and again we find perfectly intact bottles too. We even discovered a silver thimble one time - now that was a real treasure! There it is in the photo below sitting next to a lovely mustard spoon and a fragment of blue and white china.

The thimble was full of earth and covered in verdigris but it cleaned up a treat. What made me quite emotional was the hole in the side showing how well used it had been! Both the favourite objects and the printer's tray they sit in will provide inspiration for a quilt or two. I'll keep you posted with my progress.

Thanks for dropping by - talk again soon - Linda

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Festival of Quilts and back home again

Festival of Quilts has come and gone again for another year. We spend weeks getting ready and suddenly it's all over in the blink of an eye!

We were kept really busy on our stand - here I am with Laura - we're both chatting twenty to the dozen as usual. It was so great to meet up with people we usually only talk to by email from all over the world. You can just see a corner of Amelie's high chair in the background - Granddad seems to be  taking care of her.

She came every day and managed to charm everyone she met. My thanks to Linda Seward for this picture.

There were many exciting exhibits at the show. To get a flavour of the Through our Hands gallery that both of us were part of you might like to check out Laura's blog posts from the last few days.
It's hard to choose favourites from all that was on offer but one of the exhibits I loved was the Banjara work curated by Jan Petranek

I took this photo of the deserted gallery before the show opened and the rest of the photos were taken through the glass of the display cabinets so I'm sorry about the glare of the reflections!

Basic patchwork, usually worked in red and blue, is transformed with closely worked simple stitching to create beautiful patterns. I have collected a few of these traditional cloths myself over the years and will be having a go at my own version for DMTV very soon. If you liked the recent Kantha inspired project I think you'll enjoy this too. Get your cowrie shells ready!!

This detail of a rather distressed quilt was wonderful. It's not typical Banjara technique but no less lovely. The layers of cloth have worn away to reveal underlying colours. I can't believe how contemporary it looks. The worn layers look just like our textured and painted surfaces!

Yesterday was taken up with unpacking boxes and stock taking but today we're back at our desks and spending time with our online students. One of our recent Creative Sketchbook graduates has generously allowed me to share some of her pages with you. Thank you Pat!

Gorgeous observations of favourite objects!

And Sue, a subscriber to DMTV has generously sent me images of her wonderful rusted fabrics.

She's used them to create this intriguing polygon pages book. Thanks Sue - I'm pleased you were inspired by our videos.

I've spent a few essential hours in my studio today. It looked like a bomb had exploded in there. That's what happens when you get back from a show - everything is just thrown into the room as the van is unloaded. After 4 days at Festival we're all so exhausted we're satisfied if we can just empty the van and actually shut the door of the workroom before we creep off to bed. I must admit it was satisfying to have a reason to have a tidy up this morning and I've made the most of it by having a bit of a move around. Surprising what treasures turn up when you have a purge!

Thanks for reading this - I appreciate your company! Linda