Thursday, 26 May 2011

Gorgeous paints and glittering things . . . !

Another Place - installation by Antony Gormley on Crosby Beach

The Liverpool show was great fun and I enjoyed meeting up with those of you who came and said hello! Being in Liverpool was a great opportunity to spend more time at one of my favourite places - Crosby Beach. Wendy Dolan and her husband Rob were at the show as well so we spent a evening on the beach together. It has been wonderful to see Wendy so often this year, we are going to make time to see each other more often rather than just seeing each other a shows. My good friend Brenda Killigrew was also doing the show promoting our courses for Castanea and she joined us at the beach.

 Brenda nearly being blown away (she's only little) - making contact with one of the sculptures

amazing jellyfish washed up on the beach

When we all arrived on the beach we very soon became aware of hundreds of jellyfish that had been washed up on the beach, I have never seen so many of these creatures all at once - even in Greece. There were some amazing natural designs. We all took loads of photos with great ideas of developing them into designs 'one day'!

Wendy taking her umpteenth photo, every shot you took you thought was fantastic - until you saw the next jellyfish, we were like a load of kids, mucking about and screaming, great fun!!!! 

While I was at the show I took the opportunity of a relatively clear table (so rare in my life) and some spare time to make up some new samples for upcoming workshops. I don't often promote other companies and their products but I am so excited about these I am going to break my own rules. You may be aware of Sarah Lawrence and her mail order company Craftynotions. Sarah has been developing some new paints that are water soluble, don't give off fumes and when you heat them and iron fix they are permanent on fabric. They are also beautiful on card and paper.

These are my favourite colours but there are many more -

These paints are high metallic and need to be watered down to paint Tyvek and Bondaweb so they go a long way. I won't be using anything else now - I have finally found the paints I have been searching for. Sarah has also produced some fabulous glittery embellishments which work well with painted Bondaweb. As you know I don't really like using glitter and sparkle on my work - much!!!!!! These are just wonderful.
On the left is a pile of Colourful Thoughts Dot Jewels in mixed metallic colours

The the pile in the middle and on the right are Gilding Flakes, they are GORGEOUS!!!!

this newspaper sample has been embellished with Gilding Flake and is now ready to stitch

this newspaper sample has been embellished with the Dot Jewels

I am now sorting out images for my own website. My wonderful friend Jayne Routley is coming round tomorrow to put the finishing touches to it. The new look website should be launched over the weekend. It has been a long time coming, it is looking very dated. Jayne is a great help and very patient, she knows me very well and helps me think!!!!! 


I shall be stewarding all weekend at the Pink Birdhouse for the last weekend of the Brighton Open Houses. Maybe see you there - if you do - I will be stitching on the newspaper samples pictured above.


Denman College next week to teach a 4 day course - I had better start thinking about what I am going to need . . . 

Have a great week end


Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Australia and New Zealand April/May 2012

My wonderful group at Ballarat in 2010

I can now announce my courses in Australia next year. They have been launched in Australia so it is my turn now. You may think it a little odd to be advertising my Australian teaching on my blog but have you ever seen the traffic on my blog via the green Feedjit box on the left hand side of the screen? If you click on the small link at the bottom of the Feedjit box real time view, you will see a lot more information. I find it fascinating. Nearly half my hits come from Australia - So Hello! Australia. Greetings Donnie, Ruth and Dale . . .

I will be arriving in Melbourne around the 1st of April having had a week to recover from my busiest show of the year - Fashion, Embroidery and Stitch at the NEC.

Fibrearts - Ballarat
I am very excited to be teaching for Glenys Mann again for Fibrearts Australia, I had such a fantastic time last year, was so well looked after and met some amazing tutors - two of whom I will be teaching with again next year - Mary Hettmanspurger and Dorothy Caldwell. It will be so good to see them again.

 painted and dyed newspaper with painted Bondaweb

8th - 14th April 2012
5 day workshop - New Layers using Newspapers, Spunbound and Organza in 3D
A new workshop investigating the contrasts between the redemptive quality of recycled newspaper, distressed fine Spunbonds and colourful polyester organza.
This workshop will encourage students of all experience levels to experiment with unusual combinations of products to develop new samples and finished three dimensional forms. Using heavy iron on interfacings exciting structures can be constructed and stitched. If you would prefer to work on 2D samples that will be fine.
It is hoped there will be time to develop, finish and decorate at least one well considered sample and a whole portfolio of new and unusual stitched samples ready to work on at a later date.
All the details can be found at

faux chenille with painted and dyed newspaper

ContextArt Forum - The Blue Mountains 
It will also be good fun to be teaching for Janet de Boer again at new venues in and around Katoomba.

4-DAY Workshop: HOT TEXTILES – NEW SURFACES FOR STITCH (from Mon afternoon April 16th to Friday noon, April 20th).  
Come and discover what Kim has been experimenting with in the past 2 years since she first graced Australia's shores in 2010 to work for TAFTA. New, soft fairy like and jewelled surfaces can be developed by distressing Vilene Spunbond/Lutradur and layering this exciting product with Tyvek, embossing powders and Hot Spots! Using beautiful mica powders and high metallic paints we will create stunning layered surfaces on which to stitch – or not. There will be plenty of opportunity to experiment with all the products and develop several well considered samples to be finished at a later date. The website will be ready in 2 weeks, I will let you all know when it has been updated.  

layers of Vilene Spunbond CS500 with painted Bondaweb, embossing powders and mica paints
this is what happens when you teach in Australia . . .
After teaching in the Blue Mountains I will stay with friends in Sydney for few days then fly to New Zealand for the Creative Fibre Festival
CREATIVE FIBRE FESTIVAL - Blenheim, New Zealand   Thursday 26th April – Tuesday 1st  May 2012
I will be lecturing and demonstrating at this Festival and then teaching one day workshops on the 30th April and the 1st May. The content of these workshops is still to be confirmed, there is a blog that will be updated regularly as plans develop.

I must start preparing for the Creative Stiches show at Aintree Race Course, Liverpool this weekend. I will be on stand A18 and will be giving a lecture at 11am everyday. It's going to be great fun, Wendy Dolan and Rob her fab husband will be there as well so we will be getting together to party. We are going to picnic with 'The Gormleys' on Crosby Beach one evening, I can't wait to see this amazing installation again.

Another Place - installation by Antony Gormley


Monday, 16 May 2011

French Debauchery!!!

Well - I was in France for 5 days and put on FIVE POUNDS - so much for me losing weight, I managed to be good for the first 2 days then it all went to pot! I just love the food in France, and of course the wine. That's what did it. We were all having such a good time it would have been very rude of me not to join in . . . I can recommend a chocolate gallette for a slight to medium hangover.

Lesley and Sue preferred the ice cream remedy!
Sue and John have a beautiful courtyard garden and the fragrance that hits you when you walk in, it is exquisite. There is lavender, honeysuckle and fabulous roses in abundance. You may remember seeing an image of a Buddha head on a telegraph pole in my garden, It was given to me by Sue and John - they also have one (below). When we were sitting out in the evenings we heard cuckoos and a barn owl and loads of crickets, it was bliss. So peaceful  . . .

The main idea of the week was for a bit of peace and quiet and to arrange the workshops for next year. However, we did have a dinner party one evening with Sue and Johns friends David and Yvonne. Fabulous people and very great fun. It would have been another very alcoholic night if Lesley hadn't kept an eye on me.

David arrived with treats in his bag for Bix and BeBop
This is one of my favourite images, taken in St Jean d'Angely
. . . and one of my collection of French doors for my new cushion range.

So that is just a quick catch up with what we did in France - all the info on the textile courses in  France is on the previous post. Or you can go to Textile Courses in France I now need to knuckle down to getting ready for Liverpool at the weekend and make some more cushions for the Open House.

I am going to post all the workshops for Australia and New Zealand 2012 tomorrow. Everything has now been launched down there so I can make my own announcements.

see you soon, x

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Brighton Open House - Independent Trail no 29 - Pink Birdhouse - first weekend

 Independent Open House 29  - Pink Birdhouse

29 Southdown Avenue
Brighton, BN1 6EH

The house is packed with lovely affordable things. 
Clare Rose: Beautiful and sometimes humorous textile and felt pictures 
Chrissy Smith: One-off fabric bags made from vintage and recycled materials 
Jenny Sutler: Jewellery 
Shirley Rose: Plants 
Tina Clarke-Sheward: Victorian preserves and magnificent cakes 
Colin Rose: Organic honey 
Lisa Pilling: Mosaics 
Kim Thittichai: Wonderful voluptuous cushions

Well the first day was amazingly busy and several large pieces of work were sold as well as many smaller items, what an amazing start. I think people have realised that if they collect someones work they need to arrive early. We opened at 11am and the first rather large sale was at 11.05!!!! Boy were they keen.

 The house was open and we were just about ready - Me on the left and an exhausted Clare on the right. She and Tina who makes the gorgeous cakes and chutneys had worked so hard to get the house ready - it looks absolutely fantastic.

 As soon as you walk in the door you realise this is going to be a slightly bonkers house, there is so much to see, such colour and texture and wonderfulness . . . I love peoples reactions when they walk in.

 Beautiful silver plated spoon jewellery, I have never seen jewelery sell so fast!
The front room is full of gorgeous things

 . . . beautiful bags and mosaics

including these beautiful paintings

 As well creating fabulous and humorous felt pictures Clare teaches mosaics, this a display of some of her students work

  A large range of greetings cards showing images of Clare's pictures

 pots of local honey for sale

. . . and plants

 . . . and of course CAKE.

if you need anymore information about this house or any others go to 

I'm off to West Dean College now for the Short Course tutors get together and then I'm off to France tomorrow to stay with Sue from Kangaroo. for a few days to sort out some teaching over there next year. I will update you on the weather in France in the next few days . . . .


Saturday, 7 May 2011

Even more cushions . . .

It has been SO good to get back to some basic sewing, I hadn't realised just how much I missed it til I started gathering all my fabrics together. I made 3 more cushions yesterday. I love random log cabin, as you can imagine I am not one to measure and be neat unnecessarily so this technique is perfect for me. The blue cushion is a combination of various lurex fabrics and Thai silk.

I made these 2 when I got back from 3 Private Views last night. Image transfer onto white linen. The 4 images on the left are from a range of French windows I use for my greetings cards. I hope to take some more when I visit Sue at La Verdrie next week. The image on the right is of ferns deep in the woods. I think I will continue making these image transfer/linen cushions, they will be a good way to promote my photographs. I will be updating my personal website next month and will be selling my cards and bits and bobs from there.

I must dash off and steward at the Open House now, its all very exciting - the first day. I will take some photos of the house today and update you all tomorrow.

Have a great weekend



Friday, 6 May 2011

Brighton Open Houses May 2011

Pink Birdhouse

29 Southdown Avenue
Brighton, BN1 6EH

the weekends of ~ 7/8, 14/15, 21/22 28/29
11am - 6pm 

The Brighton Open Houses start this week end and I am making some cushions to go into my friends Clare Rose's house. If anyone wants to pop in and say Hello! I will be stewarding tomorrow from 11 - 6, Sunday 15th 11 - 2.30 and the weekend of 28th & 29th 11 - 6.

I am no longer opening my own house as I just don't have time to get it all sorted, it is such a mammoth task which is just as well with the website crashing last week.

I have been having great fun working with all my scraps and oddments of fabrics making cushions. It is such a treat to give myself time to play with fabrics and see what happens. My floor is a sea of colour, I have been wading through silks, denims and cottons and it has been wonderful. It makes such a change to be working with natural fabrics and my trusty old Bernina 707. I have had particular fun combining image transfer with log cabin using up old denim jeans.
I have been using up an old tub of Image Maker with gives you lovely thick images that you can distress with a scourer. While I was at Art Van Go I picked up some of their JetFx inkjet paper, this a fantastic paper that gives a very clear image that can be washed AND ironed!!! I am very pleased with the effect.


The website is almost back to normal and ordering has commenced - Hurrah! I have 85 new customers to re enter which I will start next Monday and finish during the week. I am off to stay with my friend Sue Culligan in France next week to discuss my teaching out there, it was supposed to be a bit of a break but I suspect I will be inputting customers onto the website most of the time. Sue is the owner of the mail order company Kangaroo whose website is run by the same company as me so has had the same nightmare week when her website crashed at the same time as mine. The B & B that Sue runs is going well and I am looking forward to seeing all the changes they have made since I was there last. (There is a link on the left).

On Sunday I will be attending the Short Course Seminar at West Dean College where all the Short Course tutors get together and discuss sharing good practice, new technologies, resources and marketing. It will be good to compare notes with the other tutors and of course there will be lunch and dinner to enjoy. The food is the best of anywhere I teach. It's a great hardship - but Hey!!! A girls got to what a girls got to do!

I'm off to make a few more cushions, I can feel a crazy mix of blue and green lame and satin coming on! Yeeehaaaaa!!!!!

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Art Van Go - Hot Textiles 2 - 27th and 28th April Part 2 of 2

layers of Tyvek and polyester organza machine stitched together and zapped back to reveal different layers with a heat gun

When you teach at Art Van Go there is no shortage of supplies, there is a vast range of paints and dyes and products - everything is on hand. Viv and Kevin and their glamorous assistants are always lurking somewhere nearby if there is anything you have forgotten, and I usually have!

The main objective of this workshop was the safe use of heat tools and identifying and using appropriate materials and products. Most the first morning was spent painting up the products, learning how thick to apply the paints. This may sound incredibly basic but it is the most important part of the process. If you paint your products with very thick paint the products won’t react to heat. The paint will create a barrier. It is important to use water based paints as oil based paints and media will give off fumes
The only product where it doesn’t really matter how thick the paint is is pelmet Vilene as we were using that as a background to iron the Vilene Spunbond onto.

Painted Vilene Spunbond CS700 with Bondaweb ironed onto the back then cut with soldering iron and ironed onto painted Pelmet Vilene

Painted Vilene CS 800 as above

 Making faux chenille with newspaper doesn’t really come into the Hot Textiles field but as we were using newspaper to protect the tables when we painted the products we had some rather delicious papers and I couldn’t resist it.

faux chenille with old newspaper

with tissue paper

and more newspaper

Using painted Bondaweb is one of the key processes on the Hot Textiles workshop; I think it is still one of the most versatile techniques for creating decorated backgrounds to stitch onto.

painted Bondaweb on black cotton with slashes of silver heat transfer foil
 strips of painted Bondaweb on painted pelmet Vilene
with turquoise heat transfer foil

my lovely friend Sandra was on the course, it was great to spend 2 days with her.
She was relatively well behaved . . . .

The group created an amazing range of samples and some were even stitched into, everyone worked well together, sharing materials and their own supplies when necessary. Not only did I have the chance to spend some time with Viv and Kevin, my good friend Sandra travelled down from Derbyshire to attend the course. Sandra always keeps an eye on my diary and reminds me if I need to have a ‘stop over’ in her spare bedroom when I am travelling ‘up country’.
It can be difficult to keep in regular contact with friend and colleagues when you travel as much as I do so it is always good when they keep in contact.


Brighton Open Houses start this weekend, I will not be opening my house again for a couple of years, life is just a wee bit too hectic, however I will be making cushions to go into another Open House so I will be involved. I am really looking forward to using natural fabrics and doing some image transfer and log cabin – Yes! LOG CABIN! I do other things apart from using a heat gun you know . . .


 Here you go Jill – The ‘Gentleman of my acquaintance’ broadcasting on local hospital radio this weekend . . . . .


The saga of damage limitation for continues - the new passwords should be assigned in the next 2 days. New customers since 11th February will need to be re entered. If any of you reading this have ordered since that date could you email me? It would be a GREAT help.