As time goes by

I think this is week ten of the new normal for our household. We isolated earlier than most due to concerns for our son who has Down Syndrome. I have not been to the shops at all during this time, and become quite good at online ordering. ???? I rarely leave my house, other than for my morning walk. I spend quite a lot of time at home working in the studio, and that hasn’t changed, however due to the cancellation and doubt in my 2020 exhibition calendar, my enthusiasm took a dive. Like many people, my emotions were all over the place for the first month or so. Gradually we have set new routines in place and weekly events to look forward to. We now have a weekly movie night among other things, and as I write this my son is having a cooking session with his support worker via zoom.

On my Groundhog Day morning walk each day (a walk for the hills and exercise, not the view) I have time to think and I have started to notice the gradual changes over the past few months, the weather (cooler), the smells (more fragrant), the increased number of birds and various plants blooming and then fading. This beautiful Banksia flower slowly blooming got me inspired.As I work in the studio, I’ve been listening to the fabulous The Great Women Artists podcast.I’ve enjoyed reading Threads of Life by Clare Hunter, The Birdman’s Wife by Melissa Ashley and most recently The Diary of a Bookseller by  Shaun  Bythell (if  you’re a fan of Blackbooks…)This one below reminds me of the state of my Covid 19 hair 🙂 


A Moment in Time

“How blue is the sky?!” inspired this work. An amazingly bright blue sky highlighted the old “Cafaro’s Store” sign. The sign has been part of the fabric of our local community for probably sixty years. On the side wall of the building, it hints at the humble business long ago. Changed dramatically over the years, it is now a popular small bar.

There was a gorgeous modern mural on the wall, contrasting the old with the new. Sadly, as I worked on this piece the mural was destroyed by graffiti, eventually beyond repair, it was painted black.

The next time I drove past a new artwork was there…and they had painted over the sign. Part of our local history now gone forever.

Made from layers of silk, satin, organza, business ties and sari silks, the work has been machine stitched, cut away in sections and hand stitched with simple embroidery stitches.

A Moment in Time has been selected for the City of Stirling Art Awards, 31 October – 3 November 2019.

Stormy Weather

I’ve recently finished and delivered this large canvas commission for a dear friend of mine.Stormy Weather 1Stormy Weather. 61 x 91cm

The commission was for blues, creams with a winter beach feel. It’s certainly not in my usual bright bold colour range, although all the fabrics are from my collection and most have been used in other combinations. Many of the deeper blues I have hand dyed. There are glimpses of bright colour here and there and metallic prints add to the richness. Stormy Weather 4 ST 8 The process of make these works starts with A4 sized pieces of fabric that I have stamp printed, for this work using metallic fabric printing inks. I then layered fabrics underneath and stitched all the layers together. With very fine, sharp scissors I cut away sections to reveal the under layer. With this work I took a hit and miss approach with the cut away sections to keep some of the printed areas adding more texture and colour. You never quite know what you are going to get at this point. The fabric underneath can really alter the look of the piece.

Once all the A4 pieces were complete, I invited my friend to choose the pieces she wanted to include. (I have a collection of sea greens, copper, deep blues, tucked away in a box ready for another canvas). All of pieces were then cut into 1 1/2 inch squares.SW7SW 6SW 5At this point I arrange the squares onto the canvas, photograph and arrange again. This process is repeated until I am happy with the design. Taking photographs of each arrangement frees me to mess it up without the fear of losing the previous layout.imageThe photographs are great to be able to refer back to and viewing from a camera or iPad image you see the scale of a completed work, whether the proportions are correct, how it works as a whole piece. It’s easy to get lost in section or details of the work…not seeing the whole piece.ST 4When I am happy with the layout, each square pinned to the canvas, I let it hang on my design wall for at least a week…I work on other things, ignore it. There may be some tweaking…the odd square not quite right…I look at in daylight, night time, move it around the house for different light.St3The next step is to edge every square. Usually I match the machine thread to the top fabric colour.ST 6 Lastly the squares are individually stitched onto the canvas.Stormy Weather 1

Printing Blue

Colour Project  – Blue, Part 7



More prints with stripes and wood block print. This is how they look without the tucking.






Overall random prints with wood blocks on light weight silk I had previously dyed – these look a lot better than the photos and the larger pieces I printed at the same time will be used in future projects.




Similarly to the yellow month I have found a strong contrasting colour appeared in my other work, I  have found myself working on a very red piece this month.

The Blues


Colour Project – Blue, Part 6



Oh well – it’s blue…that’s all it’s got going for it.





Another try with the Flower Stitcher with variegated thread.


Trying out some of the fancy stitches my machine can do…applied to the flower stitcher.

Stitched on (above) felt and (below) brown paper. Both have visoflex  (paper backed fusible web) painted with artist acrylics ironed onto them. The brown paper has been scrunched to give the texture.




My last attempt to use the flower stitcher on Romeo. Promise


Twin Needles in Blue

Colour Project – Blue, Part 5

Twin needle stitching on 3 layers, with cut away sections.   Simple rows at right angles.




Scraps of blue pieces stitched together with a twin needle. A light and a dark thread used.




Small scraps and threads stitched together using twin needles.





Back to a single needle. Selected blue wool and cotton embroidery threads, zig zag stitched with blue and contrasting threads.

I’m quite pleased with the possibilities of these samples…

Print and Stitch

Colour Project – Blue, Part 4

Home now and inspired by some textile art works in the foyer of our Singapore hotel.

Stamp printed stripes and wood block print on shot silks. Tucks stitched on the stripes, width and positioning change the effects.

(left) Tucks with stitching across in alternate directions. This would be much more effective on a larger scale. (right) Twin needle stitching on light weight silk…the stripes have become lovely textural ridges.


Still Away

Colour Project – Blue, Part 3




The Phi Phi Islands are stunning, this a view from Bamboo Island.


Simple Running Stitch and French Knots.

Above are rows of chain stitch, linked together. I’ve used  variegated threads throughout all these samples, stretching to the purple end of the blue scale.

I have many more gorgeous photos from this holiday, and not just of turquoise  beaches.

By the way the afternoon and night of our anniversary, near the end of our holiday, was spent standing on top of a cliff. There was a Tsunami evacuation called after the earthquake in Aceh. Fortunately for all, especially the local residents, the Tsunami didn’t eventuate.


Colour Project – Blue, Part 2

In April, my husband and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary at a lovely relaxing resort in Phuket. My first blue samples were created here. Once again traveling with a small selection of “blue” bits, and inspired by our surroundings…


The view of Karon Beach from our room…



Late afternoon…






I’ve only brought embroidery threads and a variety of blue fabric pieces with me. All I could  fit into a sandwich size zip lock bag. The printed sections are leftover scraps from a project.



It was lovely to sit on the balcony, overlooking the sea and stitch…


April – Blue

Colour Project – Blue, Part 1

I never get tired of the blue sky” Vincent Van Gogh

Blue colour is everlastingly appointed by the deity to be a source of delight” – John Ruskin

Blue is the only colour which maintains it’s own character in all it’s tones…it will always stay blue; where as yellow is blackened in its’ shades, and fades away when lightened; red when darkened becomes brown, and diluted with white is no longer red, but another colour  – pink” Raoul Dufy

Blueberries, Lapis Lazuli, Azure, Skyblue, Ultramarine, Ocean, Cobalt, Cool, Sky, Calm, Cyan, Cold, Reflection, Trust, Turquoise, Aqua, Ice, Water, Sadness, Winter, Police, Royalty, Boys, Magic, Conservatism, Capitalism, Depression, Indigo, Woad, Azurite, Cerulean Blue, Prussian Blue,  Blue Print, Cornflower, Royal, Navy, Picasso’s “Blue period”, The Blues, Powder Blue.

Time and again in research blue is the world’s favourite colour. It is calming, it’s the colour of the mind rather than the body – affects us mentally. It promotes communication and connectedness, will facilitate clear thought.

In Mexico, blue is the colour of morning, in Judaism blue signifies holiness, for the Chinese immortality.

19th century British Scientist John Tyndall used an image of the sea to explain the colour of the sky.  “Think of an ocean…waves crashing against land – when they hit a huge cliff, the waves stop; if they meet a rock, only smaller waves are affected; a pebble changes the course of only the tinniest of waves. It is the same with light from the sun going through the atmosphere – biggest wave lengths (Red) are usually unaffected; only the smallest ones (Blue & Violet) which are scattered by tiny pebble like molecules in the sky give the human eye the sensation of blue…At sunset when the air is polluted with molecules of dust & over the seas, salt particles – act as rocks not pebbles disturbing the wave lengths of light – the sky will seem orange or red.(Sources – Colour by Victoria Finlay and Sensational Colour)

There is no blues without yellow and without orange” – Vincent Van Gogh