Friday, December 19, 2008

international blue string

When we lived on Shirlett all minor repairs around the farm were effected with bright blue polypropylene string. Repairing fences, tidying stuff up, holding vegetation out of the way, a makeshift belt - all used blue string. Years later we find that French farmers are just as fond of it especially for tricking cows into thinking it's an electric fence. It is known as international blue string in our house. I have taken to photographing it - it makes for a bright splash of colour on these grey days. I think of it as a line of scribble across the landscape although as you can see from the photo below - some people are neater than others!

I haven't been round here much lately. It's meant to be a tapestry blog or at least a maker's blog and I haven't been making anything... I hope to rectify this in the new year.

Monday, November 17, 2008

You can see Warb's paintings at Twenty Twenty until Christmas.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Have a look at Judith James beautiful textile works here

Friday, October 24, 2008

I haven't seen Lynne Curran's tapestries for ages - see some pictures on Sue Lawty's blog here

Saturday, August 23, 2008

brighton art fair

Warb and I will be doing Brighton Art Fair next month (19/20/21 September) If anyone would like an invitation to the private view please let me know.

I've been quiet/absent around here lately. A combination of tendonitis, loss of direction and summer I'm afraid...

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

I've been meaning to take a picture of this sign in Dublin for years. What an image to conjure with!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

not weaving

This is a little Jo Barker tapestry which has recently come into my possession. She made it in 1986 for her post-grad show. Isn't it gorgeous?

Absolutely no weaving going on here however. My 'Lime tree - landscape' collage got through the first round of judging for the RDS crafts competion but when I started to weave it the niggling discomfort in my arm/shoulder got worse and my fingers went tingly/numb which I take to be a bad sign.

This coincided with my hearing from a gallery that people were remarking how much my work had gone up in price recently and baulking at it. In fact it hasn't gone up at all but I am making bigger things. I have made a lot of tapestries 4 x 4 inches (16 square inches) whereas recently they've been as big as 8 x 8 inches (64 square inches). As I price my work by the square inch you can see that yes, there is a big difference in price. People don't seem to perceive the difference in size though. Both 4 x 4 and 8 x 8 just register as - well - small...

So all in all I'm a bit disenchanted with weaving at the moment. I'll see how I get on with physio for my arm but it may be time to explore other media.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

twenty twenty

My work is at Twenty Twenty until June. The driftwood sculptures are by Kevan Hopson.

Fiona Rutherford has been writing a blog about her trip to Australia for the Tapestry 2008 symposium.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Lime tree - landscape

See Jo Barker's 'Dappled Circle - Orange' here and Sue Lawty's 'Line' here .

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


'Interwoven' at the Grace Barrand Design Centre has finished but you can see pictures of the tapestries here .

The Stroudwater Textile Festival is on until the 21st May.

cloth and culture NOW continues at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, University of East Anglia until June 1st.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Thanks to Jilly Edwards both for her warm welcome and the seemingly effortless hard work that goes into running her lovely gallery space in Exeter - BSW Studios!

My work will be on show next at Twenty Twenty in Much Wenlock from Saturday 3rd May.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Monday, March 31, 2008

happy anniversary

Anne Madden and Louis le Brocquy celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary today (and also on april 8th!). There's a beautiful picture of them here. I spent some time today looking at le Brocquy's tapestries and marvelling at how well he (a non weaver) understands how to design for the medium. I wonder how much is down to his skill and how much to the weaver's. I suppose it must be an equal balance.

A day out in Albi

7 tapestries finished, parcelled up and sent to the framer... What a relief! I'm having a short break now and am going to catch up on everything that I've let slide over the past couple of months.

We had a long overdue day off/out in Albi on Friday which was lovely despite persistant rain. I love the mellow, faded beauty of so many French towns and villages. I guess you could call it benign neglect though I do worry that the whole place will just fall down one day. Our local town, Villefranche de Rouergue is beautiful but crumbling. 'Operation 100 façades' has been launched to stop the degeneration but there are very many more than 100 buildings in urgent need of repair.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

spoon #5 progress. I've just realised I've sent this off to be framed without having taken photos of it finished. Ah well...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Monday, March 17, 2008

Friday, March 14, 2008

more spoons

I've become quite fixed on these spoon shapes - more to come...

Thursday, March 6, 2008


Deadline approaching. Very busy. New puppy. WHAT was I thinking of...?

Friday, February 15, 2008

20/21 International Art Fair

Warb will be showing his paintings on the Twenty Twenty stand at the 20/21 International Art Fair at the Royal College of Art next week (21-24 February).

Friday, February 8, 2008

tools of the trade

You really can't get much lower tech than tapestry weaving! A wooden stretcher, scissors, a few nails hammered into a piece of wood to put spools of thread on, a ruler and a water soluble pencil (for marking the warp). Oh another essential - nasty, pink 'flesh' coloured elastane support gloves. Not photogenic - you don't want to see those!

I have revamped my website - please have a look.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

progress update

I have about an inch and a half to go...

Saturday, February 2, 2008


Here is 'spoon' in progress. I'm about half way there and am really enjoying this piece. We all watched a film last night and then I just slipped in another couple of hours of weaving before bed. Weaving till midnight on a Friday night - it must be going well!
Incidentally the brown strip at the bottom is the selvedge - it won't be visible.

Friday, February 1, 2008

happy birthday!

My blog is a year old today, how about that?! It has been fun and I really appreciate the comments and feedback that people have given me. I'm also pleased and flattered to know that art students in Scotland and the States have been finding the links to textile artists and organisations a useful research tool.

Birthdays often involve presents don't they? If you would like the embroidered felt collage in the picture let me know via a comment or email. I'll put the names in a hat next week.

Have a good weekend!

Monday, January 28, 2008


After a week lost to sinusitis I'm just starting to weave the spoon tapestry. Choosing colours is much easier now that Mme Fournac has given me a spare copy of the DMC colour chart.

See tapestries by Valerie Kirk and Sara Lindsay here

Monday, January 21, 2008

spoon collage

I found Cal Lane's plasma cut metal via ceramicist Bibbi Forsman. See Bibbi's website here and her blog here.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

A list

Market Day

Just back from Villefranche market where you can buy, amongst other things, bread, cheese, veg, wine (in bottles, boxes or dispensed by pump) plants, meat, live fish, hens, rabbits, kittens (not for culinary use - I hope!), clothing new and second hand, house plans and while your're at it have your knives sharpened and your sewing machine repaired!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Gosh, craft must be an even dirtier word than I thought. Collect at the V&A is so keen to distance itself from it that it styles itself 'The International Art Fair for Contemporary Objects'. Given that it's organised by the Crafts Council, does that mean that we're going to wake up one day to the Contemporary Objects Council?
West Dean Tapestry Studio is exhibiting on stand 16.

Monday, January 14, 2008

I'm approaching this new work somewhat differently. For now I'm doing no drawing. Rather I'm making lots of patterned collages and will use these to 'draw' or make or cut images out of later on.

I've been dipping into the books on that shelf on the right as I work. One is the Batsford book of tapestry weaving by Alec Pearson. It's a very good technical manual if you should want to learn to weave. There is also a useful section on designing for tapestry. Although I think it's out of print Amazon has second hand copies (which vary wildly in price). I can't find any images about Alec Pearson on the web, anything at all in fact which is a shame. He was a painter turned weaver and made tapestries based on the Cumbrian landscape. He drew and designed very well for the medium. I wrote to him when I was 17 asking for advice and he sent me the kindest letter which I had for years. I used to keep it in his book but I've lent it many times and somewhere along the way the letter dissappeared. I still remember quite a bit of what it said.

My old friend, sculptor Ludovik Boden has a new website - see it here.

I've just come across the V&A's current artist in residence Sian Bowen's blog.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

close up

Else, here's a close up of Max's tapestry (with a ghostly me!). It's not very good but the frame is sealed with gumstrip so I can't take the piece out.

Bartholomew Street West

I am embarking on some new work to show at Jilly Edward's BSW Gallery in April. The exhibition is called 3D Tea Party and coincides with Exeter's food festival. This means revisiting an old theme and ongoing obsession for me. I love everything about food, growing it, buying it, cooking it, looking at it, reading about it, photographing it, sharing it. Did I miss out eating it?! I love the vessels and utensils used for cooking and for serving food. I love the term batterie de cuisine! These two tapestries were made in 1995 - I found the images in the Crafts Council's archive. The stripey cup is the first tapestry I ever sold in a gallery - it was at Roger Bilcliffe's

The embarking is taking place in my usual way which is to hoover, launder, cook a great deal (3 loaves of bread, garlicky pea dip, cupcakes and trifle before breakfast today) ride my bicycle and drink tea. But you know this time I am not beating myself up about this as I've finally recognised that it's not useless procrastination as I've always thought it was. It is how I get back into designing and making after a period of inactivity. During this flurry of activity a switch gets tripped in my head and my thinking and focus alter and by the time I'm sitting down with a piece of paper I will, with a bit of luck, have something to put on it.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

new year's day

Here are some photos from our New Year's Day walk. Everything was clean and white and crisp. Now the rain is pouring down and everything has reverted to brown. It was nice while it lasted!
We had a lot of fun over Christmas and New Year with friends old and new. Today there was an aperitif in the village hall to celebrate the new year and everyone in the commune was invited. I was amazed how many people we knew to a greater or lesser extent and how many kisses were doled out! 3 is customery here.
There's no doubt that having a child has made it easier for us to become part of this community. A lady who I vaguely know wished me Bonne Année, Bonne Santé saying 'You're Max's mother aren't you?' Yes I said that's me!

It's back to school and back to work tomorrow. I shall let you know soon what is first on my agenda.

Happy New Year!