Friday, 30 December 2011

I wasn't exactly out in the fresh air since this was taken from my bedroom but a gorgeous sunset on Boxing Day, couldn't resist, I've so many attempts at the perfect sunset, I'll get it one day!

Best wishes for the New Year to you all, look forward to seeing everybody,

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Blowing away the cobwebs

The sun was shining so I've been out blowing away the cobwebs and taking photos to add to my collection of reference images. I'm working on new designs to be digitally printed and I'm sure that some I've taken will come in for that. Here's a couple of my favourites:
 I love the trees and hedges at this time of year and have some new work planned that's going to revisit some of the thorny things I did way back.
And who can resist some peeling paint?!

Bye for now,

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Cake for breakfast

Hello everyone!
Hope you all had a fun time on Christmas Day. Linda cooked up a storm and lunch was delicious, of course. My sister stepped in as Sous Chef and in spite of a slight mix up when reading recipes, the cheesecake and the cumberland sauce both went down very well with the family.

I love the lazy days after Christmas. I didn't make a wish list, but I got a Kindle which I really didn't know I wanted until now. I used to read all the time, but never seemed to find the time lately. All this has changed! Many of the classics are free on Amazon so I'm working my way through Great Expectations etc. first. I know, I know, it's on the TV tonight! The Christmas cakes I made were delicious and in true family tradition I had cake for breakfast - well it is my birthday after all!

Talk to you all again soon,

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Happy Christmas to you all!

Happy Christmas to everyone, whoever and wherever you may be. I hope however you celebrate, Christmas will be all you want it to be!

 I don't know about the rest of you but after a final shop at the market this morning I've been cooking all afternoon. The fridge door can hardly close and I may have to wait up half the night for the enormous cheesecake to bake! I did have help today though I'm not sure how helpful it was when number 2 daughter confused two of the recipes we were using! Hmm, a little creative thinking was required to make everything OK but I think we got away with it - we'll see what the tribe's verdict is at lunch tomorrow!

I hope everyone survives the next few days and will be raring to go again in the New Year! It's exciting to have so many exhibitions to work towards and I can't wait!


friendly and auspicious dragons

Just before we all get embroiled in turkeys and such I'd like to introduce my friendly dragon. Tatsu is the Japanese for dragon and unlike some other cultures they are a good omen.

Have a great Christmas and a happy New Year,


Friday, 23 December 2011

Happy Christmas

Well - I'm signing off this evening for the holidays (well, a day or so at least) - so would like to wish all the other group members and all regular or indeed irregular followers a Wonderful Christmas and a Happy and Healthy 2012 .... see you all then - Hilary x

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Look what DD bought me back from Hong Kong!

Look at this delightful little teapot which my youngest daughter bought back from Hong Kong for me! Isn't it wonderfully inspiring for the Oriental theme?

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Love the SiX and Friends blog?

Hi All,

Thank you to everyone who's following this blog. It's great to know that you're interested in what the group's getting up to. If you've enjoyed the blog so far, why not help us spread the word by posting a link to us on your own blog or website? We've made a logo that you're welcome to use. Here it is:

Bye for now!

Friday, 16 December 2011

Mince pie crisis ends sewing.

Here we are on the 16th December, and I've only just realized that I better stop sewing and get a wobble on with the cooking and present buying.

I'm usually much better organized; Christmas just seems to have snuck up this year and is shouting "BOO" in my ear.

So before I stop for the year I thought I'd wish anyone and everyone reading this, a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Peaceful New Year!

Here's where I'm up to with the landscape - can't wait to paint it!

The mountains have been shaped to show incline, and to separate one from the other; the leaves veined; the sky gently moved; the grass grown; the water made to  flow; and the trees turned into small forests!!

Take care everyone, and see you at the beginning of January!

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Let me introduce you

Hi All,
Sorry to have been awol for a few days. I can see that there's been lots of back and forth, mostly about bats. I think the license is just if you need to post one. Hopefully you won't. I do remember that should you need to pick one up then you must wear thick gloves in case they bite!

I should explain why I've been quiet for the last couple of days. We've just taken delivery of our new fabric printer. It is extremely exciting and it's a wonder I've left it alone long enough to type this post! To introduce you, here it is along with Jamie, my partner in crime for this venture and chief technician.
As you can see the printer is a bit of a monster! It can print up to about 1.50m wide on pretty much any fabric you can think of from chiffon, organza or voile to corduroy, canvas or velvet. In this photo we're just running some tests onto some cotton poplin. The colours are amazingly vibrant and true. So far I've  experimented with digital photos, but also scans of sketchbook pages and we've been printing them much enlarged.
It may well only have been 5degrees C today with a threat of snow, but that didn't stop us getting the first run washed and out on the line. I may be biased, but I think this butterfly fabric might just be the most gorgeous thing I've seen in ages! It's a photo of one of Linda's butterfly collections that she acquired from a college. It's printed onto silk chiffon that's as light as a feather. I only have a few fabrics to play with at the moment, but I'm sure that this chiffon will become a favourite for scarves or for shadow applique projects.

So to finish the introductions I will tell you the name of our enterprise and give you the first peak at the logo...

As time permits I'm working away on the website for Fingerprint and needless to say we'll be producing more samples to show how versatile the printing can be. I have a feeling I'm going to need to order more fabric!
Bye for now,

Friday, 9 December 2011


Now this isn't going to be a particularly impressive post, but I thought it was about time I joined in. I have juggled with a few ideas for some work and abandoned them and this is a possibility at least.

I like these little 'Wooden' books and bought this one entitled 'Li' some time ago. It's an ancient Chinese term applied to the universal and inherent pattern of things. I think this will serve as a theme as I have wanted to explore animal markings and the connectedness of patterns in nature for some time. So I may have to acquire a book or two as well, there's one called 'The Self-made Tapestry ' which may be relevant. It all sounds a bit worthy so far; I think I just want fun with pattern, with some Oriental twists worked in too. I'm also pondering on minimal pieces based on Japanese gardens, you know, some gravel, a tree and two rocks. You could spend ages moving those elements around looking for the perfect composition.

I will most likely use my precious few scraps of 100 year old Chinese newspaper I found in a Chinese screen I bought about 30 years ago. In the screen were disintegrating beautiful embroideries and two paintings, and the screen itself is beautifully carved. It's also in the loft which is sad, I feel guilty now so I may have to retrieve it. 

Here's the cover.

Some pages.

Some more pages.

These are the scraps of old newspaper I have left. I used some in a recycling project, unfortunately, although the newsprint does make the work look interesting.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

sketch book work

Hi Everyone,
Just had a few evenings when the studio was too cold and there was far too much football in the sitting room so I found refuge in my cosy upstairs office, intending to do some digital design work. However, spurred on by Linda's example I had treated myself to some Inktense pencils so started to mess about with them in my sketchbook. One thing led to another and I made a couple of digital collages from different pages, thought you might like to have a peep....


Wednesday, 7 December 2011

It's good to hoard...

Turns out that collecting is genetic. Be it the irrepressible urge to pick up the shards of old china that I spot in the fields as I walk home, or the growing pile of small tins that I'm amassing on my window sill. I can't really tell you why I want these things, but I'm sure that one day, they'll come in. I get this trait from my mother, evidence of which you have already seen and she in turn, from her mother. My Grandma's house by the way is simply an ever-changing display, mostly of china, but any beautiful object might find a home there.

There are certain special things that I'm sure we'll keep for the rest of our days, but for everything else there's the risk of the cull. Every so often space must be made for new additions and none of us are averse to a serious clear out. This is the long way round telling you about this little thing:
I can't imagine how this little scrap of folded paper has survived the many blitzes that we've given the workroom over the years. Why on earth it would have been kept I have no idea. Somehow it's survived and not been thrown out. Linda rediscovered it today in her search for various inspirational things. In the pursuit of all things origami it'll now be added to my sketchbook and saved!

The patchworkers among you will no doubt think it immediately looks like a block design. I'm not sure I have the inclination to piece it. I've got other plans. For now though, they're all theoretical so I better get on to some practise and see if any of my grand master plan is going to work!

Hope you're all having a good week. It's the countdown now to Christmas holidays - the first batch of mince pies have been and gone and the tin of Quality Street is in serious danger of not seeing Christmas! I've been feeding the cakes with brandy, they smell great I just hope they'll taste as good. The temptation to cut a slice and have a peak is almost too great. I'm not sure I could hide the evidence of such investigation though, even with a seriously thick layer of marzipan and icing! 

Let the search begin

Hi everybody.

I've been trying to get some ideas flowing for the exhibition. Now we all know that actually making something is the easy part - what takes the time and brain cells is knowing what that something will be! I've been gathering my thoughts and began by searching around the house armed with a camera. I found these lovely Japanese bits and pieces an old friend brought back from her travels as gifts for me. They've been hidden away for far too long and I'm wondering if I can finally make more use of them.

I've even got the original tag from one of the shops where the things were bought.

I've never used the pincushion because it seemed too precious to stick pins in!

Even the carrier bag it all came in could be an inspiration.

Yesterday we got our monthly fix at the local auction house. I was on a mission to seek out something oriental and spotted this ginger jar. No one else seemed interested in bidding for it and I got it for  £5. When I brought it home Laura commented that it looked like something you won at a fairground when they'd run out of goldfish!

It's no great treasure but I'm sure I can do something with these colours and shapes. And looking at all those little raised dots suggests there may have to be beads involved somewhere.

I've spent a lot of time looking at traditional Japanese and Chinese art and what I'm drawn to is the absence of perspective, the stylised simplicity of the subjects, the focus on ornamentation and especially the use of gold leaf.

Today I made paper and laminated chinese fortune cookie wrappers between very fine layers of pulp. I plan to wax some of the papers ready for stitching. They might become a book or a mixed media piece - really don't know yet. Right now there's lots of collecting and preparation of materials going on but no real direction discernible yet. Just got to crack on with it I suppose.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

mounted and complete!

Went down to B&Q yesterday and got a very nice man to cut a quite enormous piece of MDF up into manageable sies for me, including one for my Oriental Pot piece. I have two more boards of an identical size as well - so I feel a bit of a triptych coming on I think ... probably more pots, but I have also got plans for some cranes and a couple of moon gazing hares - as ever my problem is one of selection from all the excitement in my head. Anyway - I got the board covered and the quilt bound and mounted - it is now just ready to hang on the wall.

I find this stage of the work perhaps the most difficult as I always seem to have lost confidence in the piece by the time I have made it and am full of doubts. I did make some final adjustments to this one - I brightened up both the pot and the blossom with some additional paint as they had lost their lustre during quilting. But I know now that all I can do is leave it and trust my original plans and the process, and believe that in a few months I will like it again. Does this happen to anyone else? or like so many things, is it just me! - Hilary x

no idea where this will go..

Hello from Vancouver!
As the far flung and physically distant member of the group this blog is a terrific idea, its a great way to stay connected.

I agree with Linda, it`s much easier to talk about my work than it is about myself so I will keep this short! I am a Vancouverite born and raised though I have had the good fortune to spend time in the north- what we call north of 60. I love the landscape and people of the north and west coasts. The amazing legends and landscape of those areas have provided me with endless inspiration in my work. I really enjoy researching traditional legends and interpreting them in new ways. I spend at least one night a week life drawing, it provides me with no end of inspiration and really hones my drawing skills. I am a huge fan of the written word and will often use text in my work, quotations and stories offer no end of ideas!

I usually develop my ideas by painting , drawing and collage in my sketchbooks and I enjoy working in paper almost as much as fabric.

I have been really stumped with the Orientation theme , there seemed to be so many possible options I wasn't really sure where to go. This pile of miscellaneous bits have started a few ideas circling.

The lovely little embroidered cap was something I fell in love with at Festival of Quilts this past ear ( funny how these things work out isn't it!?) It is a Hmong child's cap dated and has the most wonderful embroidery. It is a bit fragile and some stitching is obscured in the folds but there are the best bugs and birds embroidered on it, and some wonderful flowers.

I have some wonderful rice paper pages with Korean ( I think) writing on it, the pages are quite old and gorgeous when you really start to look closely. There are some wonderful shapes in the individual characters.

...and then there's the pile of antique kimono pieces I have had for ages... really years!
So, I have no idea where the ideas are going yet but I have started playing in my sketchbook... this is going to be fun!

Bye for now, Catherine

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Can you tell what it is yet?

After flailing around in the dark for a while over this Oriental theme I think I might have a seed of an idea that could have potential. Origami! In the name of research this of course justified the purchase of books...
Hmm...reading an origami book is a bit like reading through a knitting pattern - nothing makes much sense until you start. Here's my first attempt which wasn't quite as difficult as it looked, but not far off.
It is in theory a crane and it does look a bit birdlike, more so than other origami forms that I've seen so far, some of which really need a caption underneath to give any clue as to the subject. Where is all this leading I hear you wonder. Well I'm not sure yet, but I am confident that it won't include any fabric folding, that's just not my cup of tea at all.

This first crane is folded from a photocopy of a drawing I made of a bird in a cage. That might have potential I think - to decorate papers that have some meaning and then use them in the folding. There are also a couple of avenues I want to pursue that explore the stages of the folding. Time to make a start in the sketchbook!