Sunday, 3 May 2015

Moving to a new country, a stunning coastline and a bit of dyeing

Well - here I am in Wales .. Swansea, South Wales to be precise. Hilary (another one with a lurcher) pointed out that I hadn't really updated on here about that .. and she is completely right. I have probably talked more about the move on facebook, but not kept us fully in the picture here on the blog. Mea Culpa and I shall now make recompense. That above is the view from the back of our rented house ... need I say I am  happy??

Job changes for Stephen meant that we had to move from Lincoln to Wales at rather short notice. We seem fated to make moves like this - but the time scale and distance of this move meant that we had to rent in the short term .. only practical solution. We went out for supper with our new neighbours last night, and as they said - we have really rather fallen on our feet (paws) here. WE are in Uplands - the area of Swansea where Dylan Thomas was born (I keep saying Bob Dylan - but that is just menopause and age). It is a quite fascinating city and this area is a wonderful place to live. Everything you could want close by, cafes, shops, museums, galleries, stunning parks and of course - that beach

I cannot believe how quiet it is - and smothered in treasure

which I just can't resist collecting (by the bucket load as you can see). I do have some plans of how to use this in work - so not just over excited gathering (really - it's not)

The sea from the window changes colour and shape constantly and I just cannot stop taking photos and staring ..

 The bands and strips of blues and greens have me both mesmerised and excited


 It took me a while to realise that one of the lines of blue that I can see on clear days is in fact mountains over in England

Obvious once you do realise

Beautiful views when down at the beach too 

even the odd person ..

I have an exhibition with Steph Redfern in the summer, coincidentally at the Minerva Gallery in Llanidloes .. which is called 'Sanctuary'. I have some of the work already made, but will be adding more: this place is a sanctuary for me - a place of beauty and safety when all else is change .. and I want to include some of these views and blues .. I'll keep you informed ..

We also went up the Gower coastline a couple of weeks ago .. more stunning scenery and empty beaches ..

 I spotted the perfect house overlooking Rhossili Bay .. look hard below

 here it is zoomed in - no electricity, but who cares????

 and South Wales is not just beaches - there are mountains too .. and rocks .. spectacular ones

 no wonder the Welsh are proud ... 

I do have to force myself away from all these new and exciting wonders to work .. and last weekend was sunny, and I needed some blue and sandy coloured cloth (surprise) I got a folding table out onto the terrace outside the back of the house, some old dyes and a few silk screens and got going..

 accompanied as always by the ever faithful Dixter ...

 My thickened dyes had been kept in a very ho car for nearly 3 weeks (whilst I tidied the studio - was not meant to be so long, but you have seen it). Most were OK - but some had really thinned out - still usable but a bit runny

You can see how they blobbed through screen ... but do I care?? I do not. I used mostly plain screens to just apply various blues, pinks, corals and browns to plain white cloth - messy but effective

I also used a screen that I had brushed Soy was on to as a resist - I've used it a lot and the wax did start to break down with the very wet dye .. but lovely marks just the same

I had my fabric in a big stack as I worked and let each application of dye soak through to layers below. This made only having one table much easier to manage and I love the extra marks the soak through give. The fabric was also very creased - but that just gave me more organic marks too

 All were batched (kept damp) in plastic bags overnight and then rinsed and machine washed the next day. I knew the old dyes would leach a little - especially in a hot machine wash - but I wanted the colours paler - and was really pleased with my results

You will see these appearing in my sanctuary work in due course. This was a very un-technical and rough screen dyeing session - but I got great results just the same - and it was FUN. I say this to encourage you to just have a bash and see what happens. If your dyes become liquid - well just go with that blobby look .. if they are old and faded - either utilise that or overdye ... and screens are just a great way to get marks on cloth - try them. You will also notice mine are mostly not taped up with duck tape. I just got bored of doing it really. I now have some metal screens that don't need it anyway - and the wooden ones will rot eventually .. but so what? They will do a good year or so - and they are not very expensive - I will just replace when they really won't play any more.

So - I am keen to get on with my coast based Sanctuary pieces - but first I had  a couple of Bulrushes pieces to collage and stitch. These are to go to France for the Quilt en Sud exhibition with Crossing Oceans International group ... here they are collaged and just about ready to stitch. I will show you more of that process next time

Thanks for visiting - Hilary xx

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Tidy Studio and other new phenomenon

I know it doesn't sound very likely, but my studio really is tidy. Not by choice or virtue I should say, but by the fact that this:

only appeals to a very few people .. and none of them are likely to be buying my house. So action was needed and I can honestly report it took about 4 times as long to sort out the studio as the rest of the house combined. I hang my head in shame ....

So prepare yourself .. as we enter the room .. no longer this vision:

but now this:

clean floor, clean walls, and shininess everywhere

more shininess and the HQ 16 with a clean table ...

incredibly tidy bookcase - even the canvas are arranged in size order ...

computer and desk all ready for nice tidy work ...

clean tidy top of chest (above) and yet another tidy bookcase below - although books not in size order - bad me 

I honestly had forgotten I had this nice bench under all the gumph .. so arranged pretty cushion and baskets. Wall planner on wall sort of empty - but at least I aimed high 

more tidy shelves 

and all is lovely when we turn round and head back 

past the design board (and my ever present helper - who was disgusted that his 'studio bed' was designated 'too vile' to be displayed)

past neatly organised files 

and in to the kitchen are ... previously a toxic waste ground - all be it a non toxic water based one - look at the shine on everything - this is what happens when you polish

bet you never realised that table was even there - or the windows come to that 

another tidy rack .. and shelf

detail of shelf - nearly size order and artfully 'casually' arranged 

 other side of table

Thelmas space .. she is as fed up as Dix because I only tidied it after she was removed to Wales - I've told her (and Dix) that it is because they are so important I need them with me

I imagine you are gasping now - yes this is the worktop and sink - and they are GLEAMING ..


in closer so you can check

just to remind you again ..

I think a scattering of applause might be in order ..

Obviously I cannot work in this room now - it would take a mere few hours to wreck the lot - but it does look pretty - let's hope someone else thinks so too. 

I am sorry for the absence of news (both on here and FB too) recently - but you know what I have been doing now! 

I have missed working horribly and now feel I am just about sorted enough to get back to it - thank goodness. I've got a fair amount of stuff here in Swansea with me, together with a smaller machine - and am planning on getting to work on my work for the Sanctuary exhibition with Steph Redfern in the summer. More about that next time xx