Friday, 29 June 2012

Hola amigos!

Hello everyone! You all kept my secret so brilliantly  - thank you! Especially to Annabel who I had to confess to much earlier to explain why I was ducking out of offering any workshops for our forthcoming exhibition in Leamington! Truth be told, because of DMTV videos it was just a matter of time before the secret couldn't be kept any longer. We were either going to have to confess or get a higher table for me to hide bump behind.

Before there are three of us to worry about Jamie and I snuck off last week for a few days in Spain. We got back yesterday in the midst of that massive storm over Birmingham. Steph, I'm sure you'll have sympathy with how bad it was. We were all set to land, seatbelts on, Kindle packed away when the pilot comes over the announcer to say it looks a bit rough ahead, but we were still going to try to land. Well, I've never been on a flight with such bad turbulence or seen such a lot of lighting out of the windows. To be honest I decided it was best not to look. The poor little boy in front of us was ill which of course then makes everyone feel grim and the man opposite me even starts reading the safety card. We circled round trying to land, but couldn't, fuel was getting low so they at least gave in, much to our relief and diverted to East Midlands. We weren't allowed off the plane and instead had to wait while we re-fuelled and for the storm which was by that time at East Mids to quieten down a bit, before taking off again to head back to try to land at Birmingham. I'm not usually anxious about flying but it was all quite frightening. It's typical, we've not been on holiday for ages and we choose to fly back the exact moment that there's one of the worst summer storms for ages! Anyway, much later than planned and very tired and a bit shaken we got back to Birmingham. We were very glad to get our feet on that tarmac that's for sure.

So an eventful journey home, but it didn't spoil the trip and we really enjoyed getting some sun on our backs. We stayed on the Costa Blanca near to Denia. The scenery is quite striking - high mountains, orange groves, rice fields and then long, long sandy beaches. The plan was just to chill out, but I did keep my eye out for inspiring things and took a few photos.

I loved all these doors. Of course I saw others that were just as good on the days that I couldn't be bothered to cart my camera around! 

I'm not sure how they'll feature in work, but I would like to use them in some way so I'll work on a few ideas in my sketchbook. Before I went away I finished the majority of the quilting on one of the pieces for Orientation. Now I look at it after a break I think it needs more stitch here and there and some more drawing. I'll try to tackle that this weekend and will post pictures when I'm done. It's good to be back in my workroom, there's only so much lolling about in the sun that a person can take you know!

Monday, 25 June 2012

Secret no longer

Oh yippee - I've just read on Linda's block that it is now official news that Laura is expecting a baby later this year. She told us when we all met up the other month, but we have all been very good and kept 'mum' (boom boom) until she decided to go fully public. So CONGRATULATIONS!!! Laura - and young quilters get ready ... baby Kemshall is on the way! - Hilary x

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Japanese Bronze Pots - pen and ink sketches

Bronze Jug and Kettle

I thought I'd do a couple of sketches of some bronze jugs and kettles whilst I was watching TV.  I picked up what I thought was my permanent ink gel pen, only to find that after putting a wash on the kettle, it began to melt away.  Wrong pen. Rats.  What a waste of energy!!

However, waste not want not, I doodled around and with some cutting and sticking, put it and it's source photocopy into my sketch book, and it least it had the useful effect, of making me fall in love with red and turquoise again!

 And here is some eye candy sent to me by Sharne from Sharne's bits and bobs who is a reader of this blog. She found these Japanese patterned papers on the interweb.

Next time I have a need to do blossom, I shall remember the blue one; the shapes look easy to do and I like the way they're piled together. The centre marks would make a good stitching pattern too I think.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Not a pot - but still working

I have been very quiet on both here and my own blog of late .... I find when I am working flat out, I tend to carry on until it is too late to do anything else except collapse with a gin and an episode of Lewis. I clearly lack discipline - I am goiung to ask Linda to train me! Mind - I think it is that time of year ... FOQ approaches and I suspect we are all working for those deadlines. So I thought it was about time I piped up. I have not started my next Oriental Pot yet, but have been busy with this peice 'Asters 2' (another off the wall title)  which is indeed for Festival. It is relatively big - about 60" x 40" and is here being blocked after alot of quilting and machine embroidry. It is almost inpossible to see on here, but there machine embroidered asters and leaves in the background ..... I will post more images on my website to show the progress. The top asters are ironed on and await stitching ... which will be a mixture of machine and hand. I think asters might actually hail from the Orient, so perhaps it is relelvant here too!

and I have kept up, more or less with my 15 minute drawings each day ...... here are a couple more favourites....

I would love to have these as thermofax screens, and as I have a BIG birthday approaching, am considering getting a thermofax printer as a very special present ... never a girl to do things by halves. I have been enjoying the drawing so much, and it would be such a great way of using them in my work ..... you see? - just makes sense doesn't it?! - Hilary x

Monday, 11 June 2012

A quilt in half a day!

I don't think I have ever produced a small quilt top in such a short time. It took an hour to cut the strips and squares and two hours to stitch it together.
It is based on an idea described by Kay Koeper Sorensen on her blog Quilts + Color I decided to use some of my large collection of indigo dyed fabrics plus a fabric I printed last year when I was teaching at The Studio in Loch Lomond.
I thought this multi coloured fabric, printed with a masked out silk screen, would provide an interesting contrast to the indigo fabrics. I like the sparkle that the complementary colour provides here.
All that is needed now is another length of dyed cloth for the backing and then I can quilt it.
At least with this rather damp summer weather there is more time for stitching!
Speak to you soon

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Award winning gorillas

Oh, OK, that should say guerrillas. Let me explain:

(To the rest of the group - not one of you has noticed my sneaky addition to Annabel's name at the top of this blog. She's far too modest to show off but I will on her behalf. Annabel, I will have to drop the title from the blog though, you're making the rest of us look inferior).

Back to the story...

Most of us Brits this weekend have been joining in celebrations for the Jubilee and as you might have seen from Linda's blog, have had to make do with cardboard cut-outs of the Queen. Not so for Annabel who along with her guerrilla gardening buddies have been mixing it with Her Majesty for real. For several years now Annabel and her friends have been swooping into the less than pretty areas of Leamington Spa, tidying up the mess and beautifying them with wonderful planting schemes. All this in their own time, with no reward other than the satisfaction of making the town a nicer place to be. The brilliant news is that their efforts have not gone unnoticed and they have been awarded The Queen Award for Voluntary Service (The MBE for groups) which was presented by The Queen at Buckingham Palace.

I'm sure you'll all join me in congratulating Annabel and the others on receiving such recognition for their inspirational hard graft. Well done girls!

If you'd like to read more about what she's been up to and see photos of the gardens they've created do head over to Annabel's blog.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Sketching some apples.

I spent a couple of hours this morning getting back into the groove after a lovely weekend celebrating the Jubilee (though the weather was pretty dire; cold and wet)

I used an 8b pencil which was an experiment, and I like the dark darks I got with it, but it is harder to get smooth lines, and I found it easier to take out the lights with a rubber.  If I had had a bit more time, I think I could have got to grips with it a bit better.

Still, there's always another day!