Gallery of past work

Sunday, 25 February 2018


We found this beautiful male Bullfinch lying on the lawn in our garden this morning. A victim of the cold after the long winter that had reduced his reserves or of some other catastrophe, he seemed to have died lying on his back holding a small twig or perhaps he had fallen from the tree above.

This lovely bird, together with another male and two females, has been visiting our garden regularly since Christmas to feed on the sunflower hearts my husband puts out each morning. We felt we couldn't leave him where he lay and picked him up so he didn't get mauled in passing by our cat. He was extraordinarily soft to the touch and seen close up that rich salmon pink breast contrasting with his dense, coal-black head and the tell-tale bright white rump were precise and vivid.

We have always counted ourselves very lucky to see him and his ilk at all because the British Trust for Ornithology website says that a recent survey recorded Bullfinches (scientific name Pyrrhula pyrrhula) visiting in only 10% of British gardens. But we have what they describe as a rural garden connected to a small woodland which no doubt explains why he and his little flock have been visiting us so often.

The male is one of my favourite garden birds - perhaps it's his colour that attracts me. I suspect it is. Whatever the reason, I couldn't resist photographing him. We have so enjoyed his visits and hope that we will long continue to see others.


PS Since I no longer seem able to update my sidebar in Layout on Blogger to include the poster of this exhibition, I will be including it as a footnote in my posts till the exhibition is over. I can only apologise for this and the poster's large size. Images in a post don't seem to go any smaller!

Saturday, 24 February 2018

Stitching trees once more

It seems I'm unable to let go of trees in black and white (and also in this case, grey). Removing colour seems to accentuate their form and their growth patterns in a (to me) very satisfying way.

This is another piece in a series developed from photographs taken last autumn in BC Canada. There was certainly no shortage of opportunities for photography. There were trees in all directions, everywhere we looked, large and small and in their millions!

Since I'll be exhibiting this piece in the group exhibition shown at the bottom of this email, I've shown only a hint ... and a view of the back before stretching, a ghost of what is on the front.

I always find backs, with their story of the stitching process, interesting. As will be seen from this photo, I certainly don't subscribe to the philosophy that the back should be as neat as the front as I stitch intuitively, responding to the image and the cloth.

I sometimes toy with the idea of mounting work in acrylic boxes so both sides can be seen but get defeated by the logistics of the thing.

PS Since I no longer seem able to update my sidebar in Layout on Blogger to include the poster of this exhibition, I will be including it as a footnote in my posts till the exhibition is over. I can only apologise for this and the poster's large size. Images in a post don't seem to go any smaller!

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Great Western Embroiderers' exhibition 2018 (Update)

GreatWestern Embroiderers, the group I stitch with regularly, will be having their latest exhibition in the John Bowen Gallery, Malmesbury, from Saturday 24 March to Thursday 12 April. Full details, including varied opening times are given on the poster below.

The exhibition will be stewarded regularly by members and we would be very pleased to see any stitching enthusiasts who are close enough to come to Malmesbury (incidentally one of England's oldest boroughs and well worth a visit in its own right).

Visitors wanting to come on a Saturday would be wise to phone the Town Hall to check before setting out as the gallery is not always open at all at weekends. It is closed on Sundays.

Update (18/03/18) For any local readers hoping to attend, I have now been assured that the Town Hall will be open on all three Saturdays and on Good Friday (30 March) and Bank Holiday Monday (2 April) between 10 am and 4 pm. However, it is possible times of opening may vary and it would still be wise to phone ahead to check if you are coming from a distance. 

Malmesbury Town Hall telephone number is 01666 822143.

Monday, 19 February 2018

And back to 2D again?

When I posted last night, I had a feeling there was more to come. Today, I'm back with 2D and playing more visual games.

I began the fun with one of the extra photos I'd ignored yesterday. It had especially pronounced shadows so I traced over the outlines of selected solid shapes and those shadows and filled in with colour.

Feeling there might be more to find, I then moved the original tracing layer to reveal some of the original underlying shapes and traced and filled again. 

And then moved, traced and filled again to reveal another part layer ...

Finally, just out of interest, I masked off the first coloured tracing layers to reveal this accident ...

Looking at the results of these games, I could almost climb inside so I pose the question: is the end product 2D or 3D?

PS Looking at these afresh, I think they could benefit from some of those black and white dots ...

Sunday, 18 February 2018

2D back to 3D

I spent this afternoon printing out the experimental architectural images I had generated and posted here and here at the end of January (a while ago but I work slowly and get easily diverted). I used 150 gsm card to give some rigidity and cut them out with a craft knife. I had manipulated and printed them so that they would fit back to back and make a new 3D structure when glued to one another. I cut look-through shapes to give more interest and then photographed them after dark and with a spotlight to increase shadows.

First of all, and sitting in the orientation I had originally envisaged, is the mainly black and white face with colour only visible on the reverse of the far side ...

Then the coloured face with some interior shadows ...

Then upside down, in an unexpected orientation (rather uncannily reminiscent of a space invader mask?) and perhaps my favourite ...

Finally from above is a view which seems to generate fresh shapes and interesting internal and external shadows ...

So this shape experiment has given - 3D into 2D into 3D again, all with the help of a camera, and the circle is completed, ... or maybe not. I never did put in those lines of dots that I rather liked on the original photo manipulations. They may change things.

Then maybe I could even return to 2D again through those shapes and shadows. 

I have a feeling this experiment is circular. 

Time will tell!

Friday, 9 February 2018

Rain Book

I've recently been to a couple of meetings of  Stroud Artists' Books, based (as their name suggests) in Stroud in Gloucestershire.  Many in the group are professional print makers who produce beautifully crafted pieces to inspire - and are most encouraging and welcoming to less proficient new-comers.

I have so, so much to learn but being able to see and hold and examine their work and ask questions is helping me to develop my skills in an area that I've long felt could be useful in expressing some of my thoughts and ideas.

Ahead of each monthly meeting, participants are given a theme to work to if the spirit moves them. For February, that theme was, very appropriately as it turned out, Rain. I had little time but generated this small accordion fold piece in Photoshop ...

with the words and thoughts taken from here ...


rain in floods
rain torrential pouring from the road rain
wind lashed cloud-scuttling rain coming in breath-taken gasps
steady-booted splashing through puddles
rain all day streaming
drizzling mizzling rain  
green spring-growing
something to be thankful for warm after winter cold
gently seeping through coats
rain damping the skin  
rain with no end
swift showery people running umbrellas held high
will be gone in a minute rain
misty quietly damp
teasingly hardly there 
rain leaving stealthily quietly on a gentle wind at storm's end 

This is the first time I've included anything creative that I've written but it seemed appropriate here as the words on the photos are so hard to read.

The usual thoughts are very welcome!