Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Art is Unity

'just got back from a trip to Cumbria with the Art Workers' Guild. We had been invited up by Grizedale Arts to be involved with their long running community project with the Conniston Institute. There was little in the way of a brief as it was a 'go see' kind of mission but never the less, being artists, we did stuff ! The public were invited to come and learn or just observe the various master crafts people there and many did ! I teamed up with Rachael Matthews of PYF and we decided that various aspects of the institute needed attention. The Ruskin museum is situated at the back of the main hall and there is a large collection of Ruskin lace in it. It was developed as a form of income for local people and combines drawn thread work with needlelace techniques. We took the idea and started developing some ways of making lace that could be printed with . Rachael had a huge roll of jute with her and we made various pieces to explore simple ways to improve the floor and chairs !The above photo shows how I turned a chair into a loom and then made a strip of needlelace on it . This was then wrapped around a roll of masking tape and made into a printing roller by Daniel Heath , another member of the team.

The complete story can be found on the Guilds' Tumblr

Sunday, 4 May 2014


What inspires me ?? Quite a lot ,usually organic things like leaves unfurling , crystalline structures and things under the microscope. I have amassed quite a lot of pictures and so decided to create a tumblr page to put it all on. (you may have noticed the link on the sidebar ). Everything I do is underpinned by my love of art and nature so this is the easiest way to answer that most oft asked question ! and a chance to show other people's work too.

Thursday, 1 May 2014


   Imagine you had to sew like this ! I had a go last Saturday and it isn't easy, especially as I was sewing real skin....well pig bowel to be precise. I was part of a an interactive discussion with a group of surgeons and craftspeople brought together by Professor Roger Kneebone.(see previous post). We talked needles, one-handed knots, stitching in the round and what the body smells like inside....not a lot apparently. Embroiderers and surgeons face common technique challenges and some not so common, my material is not slippery and alive and they don't have to worry about what their sewing  looks like. 
   When sewing in a circle either on a hoop stand or attaching a cornea we all have to struggle to turn ourselves and not the 'work'.Some of our needles are the same..'leather' needles are also 'cutting' needles and we all use squissors. Your insides are often stitched with two slip knots and an overhand knot to secure which gives flexibility to a join .I may request a faggot stitch in future !!!

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).


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