Thursday, 5 April 2018

The arrival of Poppy the puppy. . . and a catch up!

Poppy on Kilkee beach.
I have adopted a rescue dog - and am a tad behind with everything! 
Those of you who follow me on Facebook will have seen quite enough of her already. She is great fun and keeping me on my toes. She is 11 weeks old and I have had her for 6 days. We are getting used to each other . . . 

What breed is she - Yes! Good question - her mum is a Lurcher - her dad, unknown! She will be a surprise. One of the positive sides to my new friend is that I will be walking more - much more.

Poppy enjoying playing with a radish!
Right back to the blog - 
I had a stand at The Fashion, Embroidery and Stitch Show last month. It was a great show and I got to see a lot of you. Thank you very much for coming to say hello. Whilst I love living here in Ireland, I still do enjoy doing the the shows in the UK. It helps me keep in touch with what everyone is up to. 
The best part of the show for me was the 3 groups of ex Experimental Textiles students who exhibited their work. It is wonderful to know they are continuing to work and exhibit together.

Sheila's Journey.
  (ExTex Online)

Experimental Textiles Online started in January and things are going well. The students are working and creating some great samples. I am so encouraged by what the students are producing and how they are handling the work that I will be offering it again from September this year to finish in September 2019. 

If any of you are tempted and need any more information - please don't hesitate to get in contact with me.

Just a few of Pat's printing blocks she made from her black and white design exercises.
I am very grateful to the 6 students who signed for ExTex Online, and for proving it can work online.


My online workshop Manipulating with Heat has just gone live. The workshop will be available to view until September 7th. Plenty of time to create some fab samples from Tyvek, cellophane and food packaging on what is basically a one day workshop. Last time we ran it about 15 of the 100 students worked right up until the course finished. It was fabulous.
One of Susan's Tyvek corsages .
A selection of Ann's beads. A combination of Tyvek, polyester organza and cellophane. Fab!

This is what the workshop covers . . 
Fancy having a play???


Jayne (my business partner in is flying over next week to film the last session of Experimental Textiles Online. She is a regular visitor here and is looking forward to meeting Poppy. As well as filming we will be discussing which new workshops to film. If you have any suggestions - do let me know. Jayne doesn't feature in any of the videos. She is very shy. However you will occasionally hear her voice when she corrects me or you may see her hand come round the camera to pass me something I have forgotten. We leave these bits in as I think it is good to see someone else in involved in making the videos. And it is amusing!!!

I have a Look. Draw. Stitch. weekend here at home on the weekend of April 21st and 22nd. I have 2 students booked so far. There is room for more if you want to come and see where I live and get some work done. Have a look at the link if you are interested.
 There is so much to inspire you near to where I live - and if it is pouring with rain, then there is plenty inside to inspire with my collection of natural artifacts.
The weather is a bit grey and cold at the moment - I hear it is rather warm and lovely in the UK.  Hopefully the warmer weather will be traveling this way. 
I am knuckling down to some new work in May, I have a new installation to work on. I can't wait to get started, I am at the collecting materials stage at the moment . . .

Enjoy your weekend which is fast approaching - I will be on a local beach clean up on Saturday - let's hope it is a fine day.


Hello Jill - September seems way off.
Hi Diana - hope you are both well.
Hi Tod - so glad you enjoying the images of Poppy.
 When you have one slipper on and go to put the other one on. In that time someone has whisked it away into another room. So speedy!


Saturday, 10 March 2018

What's happening Kim? Lots - that's what . . .

My house has probably only seen snow 3 or 4 times in its history. It is quite rare for it to snow on the Loop Head Peninsula.

Have you all defrosted?? Are you thawed? 
We had snow on Loop Head for the first time in 10 years or so. Most of the children living here had never seen snow before. I have never seen so many snowmen and snowball fights - great fun for a couple of days - then it is enough.

Fashion, Embroidery ad Stitch next week - March 15th - 18th
I had a chance to get on with some work while I was snowed in - I will have some of my new seaweed work on show on my stand at the Fashion, Embroidery and Stitch Show at the NEC next week.

A few of my new pieces wrapped in plastic and ready to travel

I will be on stand L22 and there will be 3 groups of my ex ExTex students exhibiting in the same area. I will have Paint and Bond for sale again as well some of the interfacings I use, and Tyvek. I will also be running the Vlieseline workshop. Here is a link to the bookable workshops - scroll down to the ones I am running.
Jayne will be there helping me as usual - I couldn't run the 2 stands without her. Jayne will also be delivering the paper rose workshop. It looks fabulous.

Jaipur Journey - January 2019
I have a few ladies coming to talk to me at the show about the holiday I am hosting to Jaipur next January - Jaipur Journey
Do come and have a chat if you are tempted and have any questions.

 The architecture and decoration is fantastic.

There is always plenty of time for shopping . . 

Reflecting . .
Having taught for as long as I have, I have met some fantastic women - yes - mostly women - I have only ever taught 7 men on my courses. This may change now I am teaching online. Many of these women have become friends and few, very good friends. You know who your are!! Some I don't see for long periods of time. 
I am now teaching small groups at home in Ireland and some of my ex students are booking onto my Look.Draw.Stitch weekends. These are students who took my original 4 year Experimental Textiles course, it must be as far back as 18 years ago . . I can't tell you how delighted how I am - we will have the best time. And get some work done of course.

Have a look at this link for more information 

The hares are coming out to play -
One of things that gives me the greatest, almost disproportionate joy, is watching the hares hopping across my yard and into my field. 

Since the thaw the sun has been quite warm and the hares have been coming out to play - I just LOVE hares.
They usually arrive as it is getting light - or getting dark. I am starting a new body of work to celebrate them.

An Irish hare. The hares are coming out to play . . .

Online workshops -
Manipulating with Heat has just gone live
If you fancy playing with Tyvek, cellophane and food packaging, then is the workshop is for you. Several easy to follow videos and you can chat online to the rest of the group and upload your images. It was a great success when we ran it last year so it now out for its second outing. The workshop will be avialble to view for 6 months - until September 9th, so plenty of time to get all those exciting textured samples done.

 Textured food packaging.

I am very much looking forward to seeing what the new group of students get up to on this course - get ready to 'kiss, stoke and carress' and 
'welly, wiggle and off'!!! 


Hello Diana, thinking about you . . 
Hi Jill, see you next week, whooppee!!
Hello Tod, talk soon, its been a bit bonkers.

x x x

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Drawing and painting the ExTex still life.

 A 'squidgey' print taken from the left over paint from painting the colour wheel.

I have just about finished clearing up from filming the 3rd and 4th weekends of Experimental Textiles Online. The 3rd weekend looks at colour and the 4th weekend is the still life. Students will be encouraged to build their own still life - or they can paint and draw from images of mine. I find a large scale still life is less frightening than the usual bowl of fruit. The idea is to look at shapes, lines and positive and negative space. It is not a competition to see who is the best artist. Few of us can paint and draw really well, but we can try, and the more you practice, the better you get.

 Jayne has a new clapper board to help her with editing the videos.

 We filmed the colour wheel on Saturday and the still life on Sunday.

 I use paper plates as palettes.

 When I was teaching Experimental Textiles at various colleges I always used a few of the same pieces, the wooden bird and the big lantern are 2 of them. Past ExTex students will recognise them.

 When building up a still life I use quite large artefacts, with groups of smaller items.

 I posted this image on Facebook to show what we were up to . .

  . . and my friend Jill Crowther painted this from the image - isn't it FAB!!

 It's good to have a mix of sizes and shapes to draw and paint.

 Me having fun with paint.

Krystyna's hands. 
My friend Krystyna came over to play for the day. I am not particularity proficient with pencil and paint so it is good to share the experience.

Some of our drawings.

 One of Krystyna's colour drawings.

 As usual with Experimental Textiles (ExTex) students will be asked to tear up one of their paintings and stitch into it - but not their favourite one. It is good not to be tooooo precious about your work.

I have torn up one of my paintings - ready to stitch.

I shall be working along the students with most of the projects and homework that is set. I am so excited to be teaching this course online - and I couldn't do it without Jayne - now over there in chilly old Brighton.

Experimental Textiles Online begins this weekend, there is still time to enrol if you fancy working with me for a year? Have a look and see . . and there is a video and more information here -

New beginnings are so exciting.


Hello Jill - see you on Thursday.
Hi Diana - hope all is well.
Hi Tod - see you on Monday. Sending love.


Tuesday, 16 January 2018

The first Look.Draw.Stitch. weekend - January 2018.

A detail of one of Fiona's fab prints.

The first Look.Draw.Stitch weekend was a great success. 
I had met Fiona, Ann and Sidella last August when I was working on the Vlieseline stand at Festival of Quilts, NEC, Birmingham. They stopped to say hello and ask how I was getting on in my new home, here in Ireland. All three ladies are from Dublin and are deeply involved in the Irish Guild of Embroiderers. We had a good chat. They asked if I was doing any teaching in Ireland and I said I was thinking of running weekend workshops from home. We discussed it further and I asked if they thought if anyone would visit the back of beyond where I live in January? And they said Yes!! They would . . . and they did.

Fiona and Ann looking out. Fiona drew some of the landscape lines and Ann drew some of the stone shapes in the dry stone wall.

Sidella chose to draw Brachychiton or Bottle tree seeds that I have in a basket in my sitting room.

From a simple drawing you can take a section and create your own original design.

The ladies settling down and taking sections of their drawings with 'L' shapes. Isolating designs for their printing blocks.

Sidella's section of her drawing and her 2 printing blocks (one positive and one negative) from the design.

Trying out the blocks for the first time . . .

Ann trying our her first block in her work book.

I gave the ladies an A4 sketchbook/workbook each to keep all their drawings and tracings in. It is a also a good place to keep a record of your prints.

I love this block - such a sense of movement.

The second day of the weekend started a bit pink - it usually means we are going to get a bit of 'exciting' weather.

However - all was calm - until the evening . .

Fiona trying out her first prints, I loved how she kept over printing to build up rich colour.

I gave the ladies some cotton organdie to print on. It has a slightly 'open' weave which means if you lay paper of other fabric underneath it when you print - you get a 'ghost' print. This ghost print was just fabulous. Almost more beautiful than the 'proper' print.

One of Sidella's 'proper' prints.

I love this tangle of shapes and lines - random over printing.

Because I wanted to concentrate on my teaching over the weekend, I asked Teresa of the Old School B & B at Cross to cook and deliver the lunches for both days. It was wonderful not to have to think about it. Particularly as we had 2 different food allergies to deal with. Teresa is very experienced in cooking for different tastes and allergies. Teresa will be catering for all my workshops and the Kilbaha Summer School.

Gorgeous hot and tasty food.

The second day the ladies really got down to business, the ladies were obviously very experienced in printing. However they hadn't made printing blocks my way or used inspiration drawings in the way we did on this workshop. They loved taking time out of their busy days for two whole days of PLAY!!

A lovely messy table of colour.

The 'before' print . .

We started off printing on white cartridge paper to test the blocks.
Once the prints were dry, we washed the paper with dilute procion dye powder and water. It really lifts the prints. Fiona used a yellow wash on this print.

A couple of fabulous monoprints taken from the acetate sheet that Fiona was using as a paint reservoir .

And of course - there were stunning baby wipes.

Ann created several printing blocks based on my dry stone walls.
Aren't they fabulous?
Ann printing one of dry stone wall blocks in her workbook.

Fiona was quite prolific - this is the print of a random block she made.

I had hoped to get a bit of hand stitch into the weekend - but the ladies were so enjoying the printing - they didn't want to stop - it was their weekend after all. 
Being keen embroiderers I am quite they will be stitching into several of these gorgeous prints. One of the group who is due to go away on holiday this week has already emailed to say she would rather stay at home and develop her prints . . .

Another great print from Sidella.

The Irish Guild of Embroiderers have a website and a Facebook page. 
Do have a look at these links - there is some fabulous work on them.

I remembered to ask the ladies to sign my visitors book that was made for me by Mary Smith, one of ex ExTex students. It has the most amazingly textured cover. I love it.

The visitors book cover by Mary Smith.

Not only did the ladies write in the book, they also printed one of their printing blocks. What a great idea. Now all the groups that follow during the year can do the same.

Fiona, Ann and Sidella also left me a rather nice bottle of fizz (pink, my favourite) and a card. What a lovely surprise.

Thank you ladies. I hope to see you again. 

We had some great discussions round the table over the weekend. One of which was how useful a Scan & Cut machine would be to cut the printing blocks. Fiona, being quite a gadget fan, loves hers. Yes - you could easily cut your designs by machine - but I still prefer the 'hand cut' look. We agreed to differ on this point.
It was a fabulous and very lively weekend - these girls really know how to have fun. Thank you for being my first guests on my Look.Draw.Stitch.weekends.

The next one is in February, then April, May, June, August, September and October. Have a look here if you are interested.


Several students are getting back into the online workshops after the Christmas/New Year break. Transforming Transfer and On the Surface are still running and finish in the next couple of months. 
The next workshop to enrol will be Manipulating with Heat. This Workshop will start enrolling on February 16th and the videos will go live on March 9th and the workshop will be available to view for 6 months from then.

Transforming Transfer - samples by Gill Sugden.
Transforming Transfer - there is a big difference between ironing your painted papers onto a poly cotton mix fabric (left) and pure polyester fabric on the right. Such glorious colour. This workshop closes next month and will be available again later in the year.

On the Surface. 
A decorated Bondaweb sample by Kay Coombes

On The Surface closes on 6th April, so if you fancy playing on the workshop for a couple of months then have a look here.

I am so excited about Experimental Textiles Online. This course goes live on January 27/28. The students that have enrolled are getting all their kit ready to start. Teaching this course online has been something I have wanted to do for a long time. For students to be able to work through the course in their own time and have Skype sessions with me once a month will be wonderful. It doesn't matter where they are on the world - we can talk to each other - brilliant!
There is still time to enrol  - if you are tempted - have a look at the video and all the information here. Experimental Textiles Online
I can talk to you via email, Skype or phone if you need any further information.

So - exciting times ahead. 


Hello Jill. 13 sleeps till you arrive and 14 sleeps till I actually see you!! 
Hi Diana - hope you enjoy Craft4Crafters. x x x
Hello Tod - see you very soon. Sending love. x

 x x x