'If you make happiness your goal, then you're not going to get to it… The goal should be an interesting life."

Dorothy Rowe

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Bad nights…

early mornings and busy days makes Cheshire a dull woman, who doesn’t achieve much apart from rushing around and whinging about being tired.

I did finish this. I found a pattern on Ravelry [sorry, too lazy to finds the link] which used 2 and a bit balls of Cashmerino.imageAs I had 2 and a bit balls of Cashmerino and it was simple enough even for me in my current mood, I cast on. You can see how much I had left.

It will be delivered to the VHC on Sunday when we VHC and Babybel sit, while his mum and dad run a race dressed as Santas. Of course, although it's a three month size, he could have grown out of it by then…

I have also managed to keep  get back up to date with L&F and POT.



A’s green contribution has been joined by an orange one from Babybel. I haven’t measured either of them but I’m having to stand on a stool to photograph both.










And I finally got round to buying some more white floss to assemble the final cloth. Tomorrow I will work out how I want to hang it and, more difficult, where – I am running out of space in the garden.

Then it’s head down, writing up the paperwork for PCs and PMS before handing them in at the end of term – which is all too close!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Today started off well…

but went rapidly downhill in the afternoon.

Printed off my spam messages, rolled them and added them to L&F?  √

Finished another PC? [More details later.]  √

Had an enjoyable lunch with W.?  √

Successfully experimented with inkjet transfer techniques? XXXXXX

A week or so ago, when I was having a procrastinating tidy-up, I came across some of the litter photos [remember those?] which I had printed off for some reason I can no longer remember. So I decided to do nasty things to them, in a spirit of enquiry and filling up space in to make a meaningful contribution to my Personally Managed Sketchbook.

So I glued tissue paper on and drew on top – although it doesn’t show much.

imageimageor I scratched and sanded and painted them with watercolour







image or painted them with gesso and coloured them with Graphitints

image or – most dramatic of all – resisted parts of the image with crayon and then added bleach.

So today I thought I’d try image transfer.

I tried 2 sorts of acrylic gel and plain water.

I tried leaving the image for seconds or minutes.

I tried 2 different sorts of paper, and acetates which turned out to be not the ones you use in ink jet printers [which worked well if you didn’t want a recognisable image]

I looked for the hand sanitizer I once used successfully and couldn’t find it.

And an entire afternoon, much cursing and several cups of tea later I had nothing to show for my efforts apart from a bin full of paper..

Then, in a fruitless search for the right sort of acetates, imageI came across something called ‘Studio Paper’, which I had bought heaven knows where, and which, though remarkably lacking in anything like instructions for use, implied that you could use it to make transfers just by printing on it and rubbing.

And you know what? You can. Even on to brown paper.




I also found some sheets of labels I never managed to work out how to print addresses on, and got a rather nice window pane effect, although the labels are a bit reluctant to stay stuck down…






So it wasn’t a complete disaster.

Plus I am pleased with these – which I expected to end up looking like lampshades, but which W. has christened storm cones. [He used to live in Whitby – it leads to him coming over all nautical at times.]

Mind you, after I researched storm cones, I can tell you that this signal means there are storms coming from both the north and the south at the same time.

Perhaps I ought to stop whingeing and look on the bright side of life. After all, I have learned that, in the unlikely eventuality that I ever do want to make inkjet transfers again – if I get out the Studio Paper I’ll have no problems. [You can wash off the remnants of your image and, apparently,  reuse it.]

Friday, 18 November 2011

I have kept forgetting…


to post pictures of the book I made from Photoshopped pictures of an early tubes piece, now named ‘Chronicle 1’, as it is made from an old copy of the Hampshire Chronicle [a newspaper, at least nominally]. 

As you can see, I was exploring different paper treatments when  I printed the images. The binding is the drumleaf, which I found in Dorothy Simpson Krause’s ‘Book + Art’, and like very much – it’s firm, feels good in the hand, and looks professional, while not being difficult to do [just slow]. This is destined to be a Personal Cloth, if only because it is too good to be a sketchbook <g>.

I actually finished it a couple of days ago – nothing much college-related has been achieved today due to  a circular tour round the Hants/Berks/Surrey borders.

Sandy kindly alerted me to an exhibition in Bracknell – and regular readers who look at the image here will know why! The tubular piece is by Margaret Hodges, who is exhibiting with other artists from New Greenham Arts – which is another discovery. It is quite a small exhibition, and all visible from outside the gallery if it isn’t open!

We followed that with a return visit to the Watts Gallery, which we haven’t been to since before it was restored. The restoration is superb, but I find the art puzzling. Obviously the allegorical/historical type of subject is of its time, which is not ours, but Watts seems to have painted in so many different styles. Is this more obvious because there are so many pieces by the same artist displayed together? Do other artists change their styles as frequently? [The website seems to suggest that his ‘ceaseless experimentation’ was a bit of a problem.] Some good portraits – but why did none of Watt’s sitters ever smile? 

No time to visit the Watts Chapel, which is much more to my taste, but lunch was good, and we had a pleasant drive home along the Hogs Back, with stunning views because the air was clear and the leaves mostly off the trees.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

The art of procrastination.

It dawned on me a few days ago that it is now only a month till the hand in date fro PC and PMS – I’d been telling myself it was December – which it is – but the middle of December, nit the end.

So I panicked quietly and then I decided to sort out my Picasa files. Not because this would help with either the PC or the PMS, you understand, but because it was something I’d been putting off since having an internet conversation with Margaret Cooter about it several weeks ago. It suddenly became high priority…

In the process I did remove a lot of dross from the files – and from ‘My Documents’ which I moved on to when I got bored with moving Picasa folders around. In the process I did find my ‘History of British Embroidery’ which I thought I'd accidentally deleted – not that it's relevant to the degree but someone suggested I put it on line so I might just do that [more procrastination].image

The VIbirthdayP on Saturday went very well – Babybel’s clever mummy had won a free party at a local ‘children’s edutainment centre’ –or place for running, jumping, climbing, swinging, sliding, chasing, dressing up, playing ball and shrieking – so a good time was had by all. Even the VHC found something to his taste.

Sunday [in our case] was spent recovering from the VIBP.

The rest of the week seems to have gone by in a bit of a blur. The artworks in the garden were photographed a couple of days early because it was a beautiful day. I’m glad to say that some of them are beginning to look a little tatty.image Today at college we were introduced to Module 13 [I hope not a significant number]. This one is ‘Professional Practice’ – learning about running a business, plus preparing for our graduation exhibition.

Part of the former is setting up a web presence – and unfortunately a long-established blog won’t do. We have to look at, and be prepared to discuss good and bad examples of artists’ websites – so if anyone can suggest good and bad ones, especially the latter, I’d be grateful!  I have some good ones on my Gimmee bar, but of course I don’t add the lousy ones – you know, so picture heavy they take a year to load, so clever you can’t work out how to find what you’re looking for, and in grey on black so you can't read them. Artistic? Yes. Good at communication with potential customers? Forget it.

The latter involved setting up a committee [i.e. all of us] and having an amicable discussion over lunch about what we might do – which given that things like dates, locations and contents are as yet undecided, was a bit diffiult. Yours truly was unanimously elected treasurer [this of course is because no-one else wanted to do it]. However, as we are only seeking to raise a little money to pay for publicity, I don’t think I’ll be able to retire to South America with the proceeds…

Friday, 11 November 2011

It’s official…

Thursday is now photography day.2011-11-10

Outside - 







and inside.2011-11-101

I am also now officially bored with LAF, and I think I will abandon it at the end of the month. It’s too uniform, and printouts don’t have the same connotations as all those lovely envelopes.


building work


Something else is happening outside.

We have had problems with our soakaways –we are not on mains drainage so getting rid of rainwater into the sewer is not an option.

Given that said soakaways are probably about 60 years old at the back of the house, and 90 at the front, and that the pipes turned out to be full of tree roots, this is not surprising.

We have had a hole, a spoil heap, some pipes, and a skip full of chalk. Those of you who are gardeners will have realised instantly that we can’t grow azaleas – given that we only have about 6 inches of soil on top of the bedrock, we can’t grow much of anything. However chalk soils are very good for soakaways – once you’ve dug a big enough hole and filled it with gravel. Two fit young men [in both sense of the word ‘fit’] laboured mightily in our back garden and the job is now finished. Then they are oimagen to indoor repairs.

I have preserved a little of the chalk for drawing purposes, plus this, which the younger FYM thinks is a fossil.




Yesterday we left them to it, and went down to Stourhead, because W. wanted to look at the trees. We were a bit too late to see them in their glory but there were still some leaves on the trees – and some lovely reflections.

  imageWe also indulged in a little retail therapy in the excellent Stourhead Farm Shop.image

We spotted some more colour on the way home 






and some people standing in a field with a lot of old stones.


A bit bigger than the ones in our skip, and definitely not chalk.

The last two images were taken from the moving car, so a bit blurry, I’m afraid. We didn’t stop because we’ve done the old stones before and I always find them disappointing – I think the scale of the landscape is such that the true size of the stones is lost. The landscape, on the other hand, is stunning – chalk is also very good for hills.

Today has been much less exciting – catching up with POT and LAF, which got neglected yesterday, and another session of ‘add glue and wait for it to dry’ on a little book of photos of tubes. Don’t suppose much will get done tomorrow either as we have a VIBP [very important birthday party] to attend. A home made Thomas cake is promised – can’t wait!

Monday, 7 November 2011

As promised…


a photograph of POT, showing A.’s kind donation. She felt he was looking a little blue, so posted me an envelope in her favourite colour, to cheer him up.

POT is getting increasingly difficult to photograph – next time I think I will have to stand on a chair.




I got out the glue gun today, not to glue anything, but to draw with.  image

These are the best of my efforts – the yellow one is on fabric, and I’m not sure how firmly the glue has adhered. I tested it by adding some gold wax, as the white needed toning down, and it seems to have survived – so far. I am thinking of adding some stitch in the gaps.

The other one contributes to my current obsessions with brown paper and stripes, and my long standing obsession with trees.

My third arty thing today, although it wasn’t on my original 3 a day, was a visit to the ‘Place-ment’ exhibition at the Discovery Centre. We thoroughly enjoyed it, especially the work of Tina Bird Wallbridge – although not all her paintings are of Hampshire, I think it is probably of most interest if you know the area- she says that she looks at one’s sense of identity linked to the place one lives, and her art really raised those sort of feelings in us.

Then we came home and Wensleydale’s lap top died when he tried to pay some bills on line. Two identical laptops, bought at around the same time, one used daily and one used weekly if it was lucky. Guess which one is still going strong? [Is there an emoticon for ‘fingers crossed’?] We have invited the compute doctor over, but I’m not sure whether even he can do anything but rescue useful stuff off the hard drive…

Sunday, 6 November 2011

And then there were nine.


‘Personal cloths’, that is. I just need to think of a name for it – apart from ‘number nine’.

This one was made from a collection of plastic zip-up storage bags whose zips had gone. After rolling I added smaller wrappings with shrink wrap, zapped the whole lot with a heat gun, and then incised them with the soldering iron. [I was very good and wore my Darth Vader face mask throughout – which meant I didn’t realise what an awful smell I was making till I’d finished…]



Then I sponged them with black acrylic and wiped it off again, before knotting them all together, rather untidily, because of the lumps and bumps.

It is hanging in the front garden, while I try to resolve my dilemma about whether to hang one in public [it’s litter! I haven’t got the bottle! They out to be out there! Think of it as [non] knit hacking!]


Insomnia struck again last night, but I kept to my new resolution to do something constructive, and made a little collage. The word was on a bag from Compton Verney and seemed very appropriate.

Nothing to do with tubes, but it’s going into the sketchbook as an idea when I get bored with rolling things.

Speaking of rolling things – POT and LAF continue to grow. I received an interesting donation for POT last week [thanks A.!] – all will be revealed in my next post [if I don’t forget…]

Thursday, 3 November 2011

What a difference a day made.

At 2 a.m. on Wednesday I was convinced that my college work had wandered off up yet another dead end – I didn'tTop-1.BMP know where it was going, didn’t think it was saying anything, and I was missing stitch – to the extent that I got up and worked some blackwork samples inspired by security envelopes.

But I took some photos of the tube-y things I’ve made so far into college and begged for a tutorial.

Amazing what a difference someone's positive reaction makes!

Suddenly everything seemed much better than I thought it was:

  • it’s not just doing the same thing over again, it’s ‘working in a series’
  • POT was ‘ a very strong idea’ and I should consider doing something similar with e-mails
  • the photos I’d taken of the other pieces outside were very good and I should put them all outside and photograph the changes over time – this was before I’d mentioned thimageat T&T were living outside
  • I should use some of the photos, enlarged up to A2 [!!!] as part of the degree show.


  • all the other suspended tube pieces have gone outside permanently and been photographed for posterity.
  • POT has also been photographed, for the sake of consistency




  • and I have started a new piece – hereinafter known as ‘Love and Friendship’ [LAF]. I abandoned the idea of using all my e-mails – or even all the spam e-mails – there are just too many of them – and decided to use just selected ones in white [you can guess which from the image] – plus e-mails from friends and family in green.


Mmm – perhaps I need more friends?

I was very tempted to call it ‘Love and Freindship’ [especially as it was an epistolary novel] but decided that trying to show off would just lead to most people thinking I didn't know how to spell.

I have plans for 2-3 more in the outdoor series – and then I'm done up till Christmas  – apart from the paperwork, the contextualisation, the work book, and the PMS.

But I still like the blue blackwork security envelope patterns…