Thursday, 17 April 2014

The Intelligence of Touch


On Saturday 26th April I will be taking part in a surgical simulation !  This is the work of Professor Roger Kneebone( surgical educator and Brother of the Art Worker's Guild) who will bring his pop-up operating theatre to the hall of the Guild. There will be discussion on how we think with our hands with a stone carver, tailor, knitter and me amongst others from a wide range of craft and art disciplines. Medical and academic types will also be there to discuss how we understand materials and techniques with our hands and not words.
Free Entry but you must have a ticket ( apply to or call 020-77130966)
Saturday 26th April 2-4pm.
The Art Workers Guild,
6 Queen Square WC13AT

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Butterfly weekend

Next week I will be teaching a butterfly brooch making course at the lovely West Dean college near Chichester. Students can go and visit the local butterfly farm and then come and learn the skills to make a stumpwork butterfly brooch ! This is a gorgeous place to learn any skill, all the tutors are practising artists and the house and grounds are so beautiful. At night the blue dusk lays like velvet against the golden light from the candelabra lit windows in the state rooms, in the early morning you can walk around the dewy walled victorian gardens.......'still some places left !

Monday, 10 March 2014

The Algorithm Isles

My pin corset will be in the show at PYF from 20th March-23rd April. There are a lot of pins in it...........

.. I overheard someone at a show once say   " I don't think it's quite finished, all the pins are still in it "
Yes they are.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Moss Book

I wasn't supposed to be making this at all but I sat looking at this old book and decided that it needed moss more than I needed to be getting on with stuff .

Ghiordes knots in four shade of green , two in cotton , two in silk,

 ..stitch density of about one hundred to the square inch ( more than an expensive carpet....which takes my mind to unrealistic notions)

...four big tufts (12 hours) and three tiny ones to fill the spine of this old French-English dictionary. After listening to very inspiring music I decided that this will be part of a  larger piece that I have been working on for a while...the piece I was, in fact, supposed to be doing anyway ( thankyou Sigur Ros).

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Good Needlework

I've embroidered a frock,
   And I've sewn the long seams,
While I stitched up a heartache
   And mended my dreams.

I've patched a torn garment,
   And darned a big rent
While I've worked in new hopes
   And a sweeter content.

Why stitching brings gladness,
   Or ease for Life's pain,
And healing from sadness,
   I cannot explain.

But for little hopes baffled,
   And foolish tears shed,
I have sought and found comfort
   With needle and thread.

from The Book of Good Needlework no.4  ( 1930's)

Friday, 17 January 2014


Yes , if anyone goes a bit mad during the dark months of winter it's me. I have set myself the small project of 'making' pi in needlelace...just the first thousand digits. above is the first 50 , below the first 100.

It works like a knitting pattern ,just rows of stitches which I decided to centre rather than offset. In my ignorance I didn't account for zero when I dreamt this up so when I came to the first one..... I decided to do a non-stitch. That is to say instead of looping through to form the stitch properly it is simply a slip stitch. The rest is just increasing and decreasing ( or deceasing if you are a bad typist like me ). The leap from a 1 to a 9 is tricky , bearing in mind that this thing is only 8mm wide at the most. I also leave the tails of the old and new threads on for a bit to prevent any over-handling problems.
...........suffice to say that this post will last forever !

Over the past two weeks I have reached digit 200 ! Above is a close up of  a 019 sequence which is  the trickiest as I have to increase from 0 to 9 stitches in one row . I didn't enjoy these leaps until I realised how lovely they looked under the magnifier. All the stitches curl round the previous stitch like a bunch of keys on a ring. It has become quite a philosophical process as I make each number and see how each one affects the next in the sequence.It is one thing to look at numbers on a page but another to physically justify their existence !

This image shows digits 150-200 . I have found myself reading through  my page of Pi looking for interesting sequences , interesting to make that is ! I'm not sure how I will tackle the 000 section later on ..........

I got bored with photographing it against the numerical background......

...digits 200-250 ( the last few being 01909 )

Friday, 20 December 2013

Horse Hoof boots

Now here's a blast from my past ! I graduated in fashion quite some years ago (1991, for goodness sake!) and for my final show I designed some boots that looked like horses hooves, they were done beautifully by a shoemaker called 'Napoleon'. Isabella Blow picked up on them and at the beginning of an extraordinary career used them in a shoot she styled with Steven Meisel. It became an iconic shoot for Vogue as it put upcoming designers ( me , Husein Chalayan, Alexander Mcqueen etc. ) with new models and many went on to stellar success.
  The new exhibition about Isabella at Somerset House has those photos (mine is the one on the left, thanks to Aeshetica) . I have fond memories of Isabella and some mad cab rides around London. She bought me silk and tights and I gave her a velvet jacket ! My career has changed since then but I am still proud of this shot. I should also add that I no longer produce these boots for sale...........