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.

Sunday, 27 May 2018

A wonderful Weekend - Look. Draw. Stitch. May 2018

One of Ness's printed papers flooded with a procion colour wash.

I always enjoy teaching, particularly at home in Ireland, but last weekend was really special. I had 3 ex students from the UK travel to the May Look. Draw. Stitch. weekend. I had taught Ness and Kate in Worthing about 15 years ago and Sheila in Hove even longer ago. It was a complete coincidence that they booked the same weekend as they didn't know each other. it was a real treat. I have occasionally bumped into them over the years, but the chance to spend more time with them and catch up on all their news was fantastic.
As well as working with them . . .

This was the 3rd Look. Draw. Stitch. weekend. There are still spaces in June and August. If you would like to learn more - then have a look here. look_draw_stitch

The weather was good so the girls could draw out side, when I say draw, I mean make lines and shapes with a pencil. You don't need to be able to draw, 'properly'!!!

The girls drawing in the yard and garden.

Once the girls had got all the information they needed, we took 'L' shapes ad isolated sections of the drawing to create new designs.

Sitting around my big table.

Once the designs had been isolated and traced off - we made printing blocks with self adhesive foam and foam core board.

Kate's drawing, her traced sections and her blocks.

Ness's drawing, traced section and printing blocks.

Sheila's drawing, traced section and printing block

Once the blocks were made we could starting trying out the blocks on paper,  getting used to how much paint to apply . . . I think it is much less scary to print on paper first, then move on to fabric when you are ready.

 Sheilas first print.

 The first prints drying in the kitchen.

 Once the prints on paper were dry, we flooded them with a procion colour wash. This really make the prints 'sing'!
 Glorious colour.

 This 'shadow' print was made by putting spare paper underneath the fabric you are printing. The fabric was cotton organdie so was a very open weave.
The paper caught the paint that printed through the thin fabric.

 The girls produced a huge amount of prints, every area of flat space was used, even the spare bed.

 Here are a selection of the prints - on paper and fabric.

 Don't they look fab??

 Printing on my dining table.

 I am currently teaching in my big lounge that has the views across the bays. whilst it is not ideal to teach in the house, it does the job. However. Work will be starting on my studio next month, I am so very excited. It has taken a while.
To have everything in one place and a more professional area to work and teach will be FANTASTIC.

It was wonderful to work with the girls again and I hope to be seeing them again later in the year.

The beginnings of Sheila's appliqued sample

 Ness's piece, ready for stitch.

 Kate started to stitch her sample. This also has bonded

 And how did madam behave? Quite well once the excitement died down. If anyone books on a course with me at home and is allergic to dogs, then she have an away day, but she is getting better all the time. Lively and affectionate - just like her owner!

Poppy resting - puppies need a lot of rest . . 


Sonas Studio Online Teaching. 
There will be a big announcement on June 1st about some changes we are making to the Sonas Studio online workshops. if you would like to receive the newsletter - then you can subscribe here - on the bottom left of the page.


Hello Diana - hope you are having a great weekend.
Hi Jill - more sun to top up that lovely tan.
Hi Tod - hope you are coping with the heat. x