Friday, 19 September 2014

I promised you cake...

Pistachio and almond macaroons (gluten free) ....
 
 
Ginger cake with lemon icing...

 
Brownies (warning... may contain chocolate)

 
and blueberry and lime drizzle cake (proved very popular).

 
Baked today to take along to our Embroiderers' Guild AGM. You might think I was bribing the membership so they would vote me in as chairman for a second year. But no, I think I would have been voted in anyway. There wasn't much (any) competition!

 
Stay tuned... it's going to be a weekend full of cake!

Thursday, 18 September 2014

A Comment about Comments

I am a little overwhelmed by the response to my last post. What can I say... other than thank you, a huge thank you... and you do all talk an awful lot of sense. I don't think I was being brave... just getting it off my chest. A sort of metaphorical punching the wall... except a lot less painful and without the grazed knuckles!
The rawness of my rejection is passing and of course in my heart I know that what is most important is that I am true to myself, not to the expectations of others... although saying my work lacks variety and depth seemed unfair. I don't agree! On reflection it is probably not the group for me and in all likelihood I would have ended up spending my time trying to fit in and regretting it... so onwards and upwards. But I do appreciate every single one of your comments and emails and the fact that you have taken the time to write so thoughtfully. Lesley remarked that there were a lot of comments that could be printed out and stuck up in the studio for the times when I need affirmation... so true! 
 
 
Isobel sent me a great quote from the wonderful Grayson Perry  "Cosy is good... if it is nice to look at and makes you feel good, it's art!" I will remember that as I continue to make the art that I want to make! Gill also emailed with some good advice... but I can't repeat that here!

 
I am trying to reply to as many of your comments as possible, as and when I can, but it has make me think about blog comments generally

 
The comments on my blog posts come through to my email in-box (I haven't a clue if that was something I set up!) and where there is an email address provided I will nearly always try, when time permits, to reply as a personal email. But of course many of you are no-reply bloggers and do not supply an email address and so I can't do that.

 
I know that the trend now is to reply directly in the comments box but  when I leave a comment I never think to check back to the comments to see if there is a reply. I read quite a lot of blogs and generally never remember if, when and where I've left comments and don't really have time to check back, so I tend to think other people will be the same. I know you can tick a box to receive notification of follow up comments but the only time I tried that I was inundated with follow up emails. So that is why I don't reply to comments in the comment box...

 
Which does mean I don't get to reply and converse with quite a few readers who regularly take the time to leave me a comment.

 
I try to get round that by leaving comments on your blog posts so that you know I am engaged with you online...

 
But not everyone who leaves a comment has a blog... and then of course there is Google plus which just seems to confuse the issue because I can't do anything without joining!

 
Which does mean there are some of you I never get to "talk" to. But I do read every single comment and appreciate that you take time to "talk" to me.

 
And the images today (with the exception of Grayson Perry) are a small selection of my non-varied shallow work... because I will remain true to myself and make the work I want to make... always with my tongue firmly planted in my cheek and my sense of humour intact.
 
I think Grayson would look very good in my wig!
Next post... very definitely will be cake!

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Challenging expectations.

This was the view I had at the weekend looking over the vale of Evesham - it was beautiful.
 
 
I was at the fabulous Farncombe Estate in the Cotswolds for a weekend with The Textile Study Group. It was an illustrious line up of textile artists that read something like my book shelf!

 
We were tutored by two TSG members Sian Martin and Penny Burnfield. The idea throughout the weekend was to challenge conventional ideas of drawing and to consider alternative ways of getting ideas out of our heads.
 
 
We drew in the studio and outside, rapid 30 second sketches over and over again using different media, combining different media, using different hands... "getting to know our lines"

 
We layered drawings on top of drawings

 
and then back in the studio, looked at various different ways to make drawings.

 
It was an excellent weekend and lots of fun, challenging expectations.

 
For me, the weekend had another purpose as I, along with four others, had been invited to bring a portfolio of work to be considered for membership of the group. Unfortunately for me that wasn't quite so much fun and I heard yesterday that I would not be invited to join the group. My work was considered not to have enough variety or depth.

 
To say I am disappointed and deflated is a bit of an understatement, but mostly I'm disappointed in myself as I know I didn't present well. But now I'm starting to question whether I could have done better in the circumstances. Family life has not been always been easy over the past couple of years, but then that seems like making excuses... we all have hard times. At the end of the day, I'm just not up there with that illustrious group of names and that's a hard pill to swallow. It is one thing having lots of wonderful blog followers who leave me kind comments and lavish praise but the recognition of my peers was something I aspired to. It is making me seriously reconsider where I go from here.
 
However, in the grand scheme of things, especially considering the atrocities that are going on in the world at the moment this is all pretty meaningless. I'm not usually one to stay down for long and no doubt I'll bounce back before the week is out... but you can expect cake from me not fine art... mostly because we've a special family birthday at the weekend!

Friday, 12 September 2014

My week in drawings

I've continued with my daily drawings in September, joining in with Laura Kemshall
 
 
On Saturday, I stuck a printed page into my sketchbook. painted it with a light coat of gesso and then drew this goldfinch using Inktense pencils... as a reminder that I'm currently reading The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. I was inspired by some work I had seen by Anne Kelly.

 
Sunday morning we walked to the neighbouring village to buy the newspaper and despite the glorious weather there were signs that autumn is definitely approaching... lots of conkers already on the ground.

 
On Monday I was preparing for my day teaching at Art Van Go and realised the canvases that I had planned to use as samples were in an exhibition in High Wycombe library... so I had to put together the one below in order that I had something to show the students. As a result, this is really my drawing for the day, done with the needle. But I put together a scrappy little sample to go in my sketchbook, just to mark the day.

 
On Tuesday I noticed the huge amount of work that needs to be done in my sadly neglected garden... but I didn't do anything about it. I just drew a Nigella seedhead instead!

 
And because there was a stitched square on the opposite side from where I'd stitched in my previous sample, I turned it into a frame and put in a different view of the seedhead. Two drawings for the price of one!

 
Wednesday, the weather was still glorious so I went for a three mile walk first thing... I was that mad woman going along at a pace singing along to Frankie Valli!

 
Thursday I thought about doing the housework... I really did. Think about it that is... I  never actually did any.

 
And Friday... well I've not done a drawing yet because I've been busy getting ready and travelling down for an exciting weekend away. I'm sat in a room overlooking the beautiful Vale of Evesham... more about that next week! So that's my week... I thought about the housework and the gardening, went for a couple of walks and had a day teaching!
I hope you have an exciting weekend too... anything good planned?

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

A Flying visit...

I've been teaching a class today at the wonderful Art Van Go. The class is called "Stitches and Doodles" and the idea is to get beginners to free machine embroidery, drawing and writing with their sewing machines, taking away the fear of free machining. I took photos of the finished work and promised to post them on my Facebook Page (which I've done) and then Jill asked "But what if we're not on Facebook?"... so I promised to put them on here too... just for you Jill! And if you are on Facebook... please go and like my page!
 
 
There was such a wonderful variety of work and such a high standard, especially considering the majority of the class were complete beginners. I'll let the work speak for itself...











 
This is the second time I've taught this class at Art Van Go and there has been a waiting list on both occasions so if you are interested get the date of the next one in your diary... 10th April 2015!
 
That's my flying visit.. Now I've got my feet up, cuppa poured and knitting out. After having August away from teaching I need to get back into the swing of working all day... I'm shattered!

Friday, 5 September 2014

Five on Friday

A round up of my week using the ever so convenient Five on Friday format....
 
 
One
I made just one cake this week - a Dorset Apple cake using windfalls from my neighbours garden. It looks pretty squished and sunken in the middle but it tasted okay... honest!

 
Two
I finished the two bunnies, using Julie's pattern. It's the first time I've made the little boy bunny and I just loved knitting that tiny jumper!

 
They have now been delivered to their new owners.

 
Three
I read three books in August.I finished my year in books choice - The Death of Lucy Kyte by Nicola Upson and really enjoyed it. I'm not sure I like the writing style enough to read any more by this author but it was a gripping story and a good mix of fact with fiction. I also read How to Build Girl by Caitlin Moran. It wasn't exactly bad and was even amusing at times but overall a bit of a disappointment... actually quite a big bit of a disappointment. I like Moran's writing as a journalist but somehow it doesn't really translate into a full length novel for me. All a bit samey and a tad boring. But the final novel I read in August was Peter May's Extraordinary People which I thought was an excellent fast paced thriller... and which I couldn't put down, reading it in just three days!

 
My September choice for the Year in Books is The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt which I am really enjoying... I'm already half way through!
Joining in with The Year in Books with  Laura at A Circle of Pine Trees

 
Four.
Another joining in thing... this time with Laura Kemshall for a daily drawing each day in September... and I have done another four drawings. I liked Laura's drawing of keys so much that I thought I would try a key on 2nd Sept...

 
Then Laura suggested going larger so I tried it with a different key on 3rd, but I was starting to get bored and could see me giving up...

 
Then on 4th as I was taking the bin to the bottom of the garden I noticed all the wonderful flowers on the Ivy and drew those and I was much happier. I also made a note that these were spotted when taking the bins out and it occured to me that making it almost like a diary of what is going on each day will be far more interesting to me than drawing random shiny objects

 
So this morning I made a quick sketch of a pretty little ceramic jam pot that I bought years ago. I'm not sure I have ever used it for jam but at least it is a record of all the jam making going on here this week. And I'm really enjoying the daily drawing again.

 
Five
Which brings me neatly on to number five...

 
Because whilst out walking yesterday I managed to pick another five pounds of various plums and damsons just from the hedgerows... which will mean an awful lot more jam. Guess what I'm doing this weekend!
Hoping you all have a lovely weekend.