Sunday, 28 October 2007


Photo - approaching through the 'Siq'

Watercolour of the Urn and Silk Tombs (painted on site)

Watercolour of the Treasury (from photograph)

Finished Quilt (60 x 60 cm)
Petra is one of those places that despite the increased tourism and associated kitsch lives up to all the hype. I visited Xmas 2001 and had 2 days there - the first with a guide , the 2nd free to wander. As we approached the Treasury through the 'Siq' we were told to close our eyes for the last few metres- corny but the impact on looking for the first time was tremendous. 2 days gave the opportunity to explore the huge site (including climbing up for a birds-eye view), see structures in different lights and paint quite a few watercolours ( although those unwordly colours are difficult to capture)
For quite a while on my return I had the sketches and a rough layout ( with fabric swatches) for a long thin quilt pinned up on my design wall. Then there was a call for entries for 'Poetry in Stitches', textile pieces 60 x 60 cm interpreting poems in a booklet ' Poems in the Waiting Room' to be displayed in hospital waiting rooms . One of the poems was 'Petra' with that well-known quote ' a rose-red city half as old as time' - a challenge to rethink a long thin quilt into a square one!
I decided to do it as a combination of 2 views , the walk through the Siq and a close-up of the treasury. The 'Siq' side was constructed from painted 'shot' silk taffeta with strips of different purple fabrics applied over the top. The 'Treasury' side was a photo printed over 3 A4 pieces of organza ( quite tricky to match up) laid over different coloured silks and cut back in places and quite heavily quilted. In the flesh (if you can call it that!) the treasury really seems to glow - the effect of having the bright silk shining through the organza.
That was 2 years ago - its since been exhibited at several shows and galleries, featured in the book associated with the project but for the last few months its been in Kingston hospital shortly to be returned. Now I'm planning my next Poetry in Stitches piece- 'Giant'
Taking of structures ( rather a tenuous link this), half of the scaffolding is now up. The scaffolders were supposed to come on Saturday afternoon and we waited in but they never turned up. On Sunday when we returned from our outing for Sunday lunch to the Lord Nelson (excellent organic roasts) and light buying expedition to B&Q , there was scaffolding up on the front of the house! As we weren't in, they couldn't take it through the house to the back so goodness knows when they'll be back again.

Friday, 26 October 2007


Continuing in the 'Moore' vein, I've been thinking about possible ideas for a possible ' Poetry in Stitches' submission (I'll write more aboout my previous entry 'Petra' in another post I think)
Among the poems to choose from is one called 'Giant' which describes a Henry Moore Madonna striding over the landscape.
I've taken several photos of the sculpture 'Large standing figure:knife edge' and playing with opacity in Photoshop, have superimposed the image over a quilt I made a few years ago based on Devon fields. I think it has possibilities - the decision is whether to make a landscape from scratch or to cannibalise the original quilt which I'm not totally happy with. The figure I think I would construct from metallic organza - it would probably be too dominant in opaque fabric

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Front Room Archeology

The Builders have started! We had a very busy weekend decanting the contents of front reception to rear reception (computers and bookshelves) and front bedroom to rear bedroom ( all my stash , art and sewing equipment) and chopping back plants so the scaffolding can be erected. No sewing for a while - at least by machine.
The decorators arrived at 7.30 ( some early mornings ahead and as I'm not a morning person, making decisions could be a bit painful). When I returned in the evening they'd been very busy removing the dado rail and stripping off the ghastly wallpaper. The effect was of some ancient excavation of frescos - you could see the lines where both the most recent dado rail and the original must have been and scraps of different paints( yellow, turqoise , purple). I quite like the 'distressed' look but Ian was rather depressed by it.

Friday, 19 October 2007

Double Oval - focus on marks

Yet another attempt at interpreting the 'Double Oval'. This time pieced curves of kimono fabric before and after the FoQ shibori dye-bath with indigo fabric for sky. I was attempting to capture the scratches and marks on the bronze scupltures with stitches in variagated cotton perle and metallic thread. I appliqued some bronze lame fabric to give some textural variety - it works better in the flesh than in photos but even so probably better without. I need to work more on the irregularity of my stitches! The next step I think is to concentrate on shapes and stitching directly onto plainish fabric with colour/ metallics paints applied after.

As I left work fairly early, I took more photos in the late afternoon light of some different sculptures, focusing on figures this time.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Another Dose of Double Oval

Acrylic Ink added to darken some areas

Another attempt at a multiple view of Henry Moore's 'Double Oval', this time overlaid with photo printed on organza of Chilterns farmland with hills in the distance ( thus Moore in the landscape). Lots of quilting to emphasise the curves of the sculpture and the furrows in the fields. After some painting with sepia acrylic ink to darken some areas , I'm satisfied enough to call this my September Journal Quilt.

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Childhood Dresses

In between working on various Henry Moore inspired Journal Quilts, I've been sorting through some of my fabric stash, particularly the fabrics acquired from Jumble Sales and Charity shops mainly in the form of clothing , deciding whether to bin, keep , return to charity shop or pass on to other quilters. A quite productive activity when concentration and inspiration are in short supply due to a stinking cold.
Among the fabrics are several bits of old dresses or remnants with dress shaped holes in them. My mum made all my dresses and I learnt to appreciate fabrics at an early age ( and had strong opinions too - no spriggy florals )
The dress made from the blue daisy fabric was sleeveless with a long zipper down the front with a wonderful pendant style bobble pull on it. I wore it with red or yellow socks ( I could never keep white socks clean for more than 5 minutes - still have that problem with white clothes! )
The mustard fabric from the early 70's (can't you tell!) was made into a long sleeved winter dress worn with lacy tights and black patent shoes.
I've not used them for patchwork so far as particularly the mustard one doesn't really go with anything . Looking at it afresh after several years, I'm now thinking it might work well with some of my African fabrics, particularly with quilting and overpainting with acrylics. I'm sure I shall find further samples of even uglier retro fabrics - I feel a challenge coming on.

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Double Oval x 4

My first Journal Quilt in a while - I have several on the go at the moment based on the Henry Moore scultures although I'm not sure which will end up as the 'proper' ones.
This one was 4 b&w photos printed on cream linen of 'Double Oval' superimposed with different viewpoints of the same sculpture printed on silk organza. I quilted the outline shapes in both layers but feel overall its too complex , should have concentrated on just a pair of images.
Its been fun though - I've been whirring away on my sewing machine while Ian sleeps off his operation. My few days of being a 'responsible adult' looking after him are coming to an end. As I have a stinking cold, a day in bed is tempting
Hope I can still do the 'Big Draw' at Kew on Saturday, I'm supposed to be helping out with the 'See More' session observing dissected flowers and fruits for a large collaborative drawing.

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Photoshop Opacity

Still haven't managed any sewing yet ( 5+ weeks since the move -I'm getting a bit twitchy)
I have however been planning my journal quilts based on the photos I took of some of the Moore sculptures. I took pictures all around the sculptures and am interested in combining multiple viewpoints of the same piece , almost in a cubist approach.
Using Adobe Photoshop 7, I duplicated images and altered their saturation and in some cases hue. I then cut and pasted one image over another and altered the opacity of the layer to reveal the image underneath to varying degrees.
I've done a lot of experimentation in the past layering with opaque poplin and sheer organza -playing with Photoshop gives more subtle variations as can slide the opacity button from
0-100% rather than working always with c. 50%
Looking just at tone with reduced saturation ( black and white ) also has potential.
Must prepare more fabric with 'BubbleJetSet'........