Friday, 24 August 2018

August - Look. Draw. Stitch and Experimental Textiles Online.

One of Denise's prints

I taught the August session of Look. Draw. Stitch. this weekend. Three lovely students, we had a great time and what fabulous work they produced. I have had to really sort through all the images I took. It has been difficult to choose.

I run the Look. Draw. Stitch. weekends from January to November. So far this year we have ranged from one student to four. Next year when I move into the studio I hope to have six every month. Anyone can come - whether you have worked with me before - or not. Most students just come once, others come a couple of times a year. This weekend we had Susan from Australia. Denise from New Zealand and Rosie from West Clare! Usually students are from the UK or Ireland but these 2 antipodean ladies planned my workshop into their holiday in Ireland - good forward planning.

 We started the weekend with a bit of drawing, nothing too terrifying. I have plenty of interesting things to draw inside and outside the house. We are never short of inspiration.

After we have drawn for a while the students then take a couple of sections from their drawings and make tracing from them.

Rosie, Denise and Susan working on their drawings and tracings.

 This are Susan's traced designs and the printing blocks she made from her designs.

 Denise making a block from one of her designs.

 Rosie making one of her printing blocks.

 Rosie's first prints.

 Everyone getting down to trying out their first prints, getting to know their blocks.

 One of Rosie's designs.
The positive and the negative parts of the deign make the blocks.

We use baby wipes to clean the blocks - and end up with more gorgeous prints to work with.

 Rosie enjoyed playing with this block.

 The first prints from Susan's first block.

  . .  and playing with her second design.

 Susan decided to work with the baby wipes she had cleaned her blocks with. 
Aren't they beautiful colours?
 We played with the prints. Cutting out section and and adding different backgrounds.

 Rosie starting to stitch into one of her samples.

 Two of Denise's prints.

 On Saturday is was plenty warm enough to st outside and enjoy the sunshine 
. . . and the view.

 To give you some idea of the process we cover on the weekend - I am using Denise's work as an example.

 Denise's drawing.

  . . her traced section of the drawing.
The middle right design was used to make the following blocks and prints.

Cutting the self adhesive foam (yellow) and sticking onto the foam board.

 Four blocks - Denise made the first blocks then flipped the design to make two more blocks - mirror images.

 Denise over printing her blocks.

 Three of the combination that you can achieve with these blocks.

 The next piece of work was printed with the other deign that Denise had worked on  - the bottom right of her tracing page.

 Cuttign out parts fo the design to show a different background - in this case, we chose a heavy linen in a toning brown.

 Denise starting to stitch her print.

A bit more stitch - more to come. 

It really was a fabulous weekend, all the hard work paid off. Well done those girls, and thank you.

The next Look. Draw. Stitch. weekend is September 22nd and 23rd or October 20th and 21st. There are still places if you want to come and play at my home in Ireland.
Just email me for a booking form. 


4 of the Journeys from the current Experimental Textiles Online course which started in January this year. 

The second course of Experimental Textiles Online will start enrolling tomorrow.
This is a one year course with regular feed back from me until August 2019.
Interested? Click here . .

The course begins at the end of September. Once you enrol you will be able to view the introduction video and the materials list video. It is wonderful to now be able to teach this course online, reaching out across  the world.

If you would like to develop your own style of work - then this is the course for you. If you would like to speak to me about the course, then do please email me with your phone number and I will will ring you at a time that suits - or we can Skype. The course is a big investment in your time, and money, so I would want to make sure the course is for you . . . 


Hello Jill - not long now.
Hi Diana, so glad you enjoyed the show.
Hello Tod - will speak soon

x x x x

Thursday, 9 August 2018

It's been a while . .

My original 'Capstones' created in 1999. 5 foot wide.

Hello! Remember me? 
It's nearly 2 months since I posted on here, apologies. Life has been a bit up and down and to be very honest, I haven't really felt like writing. 

I am back up to speed now. I have had 2 dear friends staying with me from New Zealand. They have helped me finally get all my kit sorted. They have been such stars, coming here for a long holiday and ending up clearing out all my STUFF!!!

 I am surrounded by these remarkable feats of human endeavour.

Inspiration is all around here in West Clare and I have been taking photos of the particularly wonderful dry stone walls to be found in this part of Ireland since I arrived here.
I have now started on a new body of work. As always I am going take a little artistic license, I have enjoyed making the first 2 in the series. These are 3 feet across.

Dry Stone Walls I and II

As you can see I going right back the very beginning when I started to make large pieces of work. I love the simplicity and the essence of simple shapes and lines. My original Capstones piece was based on the capstones on a wall in Devon, the colour of the stone in Devon is remarkable. I am going to enjoy developing more work along this theme. I think I have enough photos of walls - don't you Jill?

My new work is currently being exhibited in Scariff library in county Clare until September 1st. 


Poppy is growing - her back is as high as the top of my knee . .

Poppy, my puppy (small horse), is doing well. Not the best at recall at the moment - I think she is going through her teenage stage. She seems to be going backwards with her training. She is such great fun, she makes me laugh out loud.

Christine and Denise my friends from New Zealand arrived in Ireland mid July. we have been having a fabulous time touring around and the girls have been helping finally sort out all the bags and boxes that hadn't quite been 'resolved'.
They have been Superstars. Christine has now gone to see family in the UK and Denise is back here after a week away in Brussels. She will be here until the end of the month. We are getting on with some work and as Denise is gluten free, she does all the cooking - wonderful.

 Christine and Denise in Kilbaha Gallery, it has to be done.

Exploring the Kilkee Cliffs.
Or as they fondly termed here on the Loop,
The Cliffs of Nowhere!

As you can see, the weather has been pretty good while the girls have been here. I shall miss Denise when she has gone - she has been a great support. I will see her and Christine in October 2019 when I am in New Zealand again.


My Look, Draw, Stitch, weekends are coming along well. I have 3 students booked the weekend of the 18/19 August. 1 from Australia, 1 from New Zealand and 1 from East Clare. For more information have a look here - Sonas 2
If you would like a booking form for September, October or November, just email me -

Trisha James was on my May weekend and has sent me this finished stitched piece taken from one her printed designs.

One of the prints that Tricia created.

 . . and the stitched interpretation.
Just fantastic.

Tricia is going to send more images as she finishes each piece, I am very much looking forward to seeing what she gets up to.

So that is me more or less up to date. I shall be working on some new dry stone wall canvases to add to my exhibition and traveling about the local area showing Denise things I think she shouldn't miss.


Hello Jill and Diana, I hope you both enjoy the FOQ.
Hi Tod - hope you are enjoying the cooler weather.

x x x 

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Louise Brown - winner of the Manchester School of Art Cass Art Prize.

 Layers of colour and gorgeousness.

 Things have been a bit more down that up recently - a few big changes have occurred and I am regrouping. So it was a joy to hear about Lou Brown and her prize winning sketch books.

I get the odd email now and then saying how helpful my books are and that I am an inspiration. It is always gratifying. But when my friend Jill told me about the work that Cheadle School had been doing based on my design exercise The Journey that can be found in my second book Experimental Textiles and some plastic samples from exercises in my first book Hot Textiles I was really excited.

Louise Brown on the right.

Louise Brown won the Manchester School of Art / Cass Art Teacher Sketchbook Prize on Friday 8th June. 

Lou is Head of Design & Technology at Cheadle Hulme High School.  She teaches A level Textiles and the two sketchbooks she entered show her lesson samples as part of the course in year 12.  The judges were particularly interested in her use of 'The Journey' to influence future work and ideas.  At the time of writing the scheme of work a few years ago, my books Experimental Textiles & Hot Textiles were a great influences and are both reflected in the two sketchbooks.

 One of Lou's sketchbooks.

The Sketchbook Prize invites current Manchester School of Art students, members of staff and teachers from the region to submit their sketchbooks.   Submissions are invited from across all disciplines and levels. Submissions are open to all formats of sketchbooks: physical, digital, three dimensional, or however you keep your personal ‘book’.

These are some of the photos Jill took for me - with Lou's permission. Jill explained I would like to use the photos in my blog.

 Such exciting possibilities from all these exercises.

Here are few more developed exercises and samples . .

Aren't these marks wonderful? So many different qualities of line.

 Starting to develop prints and stitch  . . .
 Wonderful samples that can lead - anywhere!

 And then there were the plastic samples - such fabulous colours.

Such exciting work.

I would like to thank Lou for giving me permission to share the images of her fantastic sketchbooks with you all. It is very generous. And many thanks to Jill for taking the photos for me.

Any of you who have been on any of the versions of my Experimental Textiles course will recognise the The Journey exercise.


I am now teaching The Journey online as part of Experimental Textiles Online. A one year course. This course will be enrolling again on August 25th. 

My new Hot Textiles Online course will be enrolling on September 9th. To celebrate the release of the paperback version of Hot Textiles.

If you are intersted in any of my online courses you can see them here.


Hi Jill - thank you so very much. 
Hi Diana, hope all is well.
Hi Tod - am now warm and toasty, thank you.