Thursday, December 31, 2009

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

My favourite mountain the Matterhorn seen from St Luc in Switzerland.

Have done some Christmas shopping at Conakry Refugee School. Such a small amount of money can do so much. £5 buys exercise books, pens and pencils for 5 children for a year. £10 pays for 50 school lunches, the only hot meal many of the children have each day. The charity is run by a family we know back in Shropshire and their promise is that every £ given goes directly to the school.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


After the success of Warb's exhibition at the tour we had planned to have a couple of 'open house' weekends at the end of November/beginning of December. The light here in Autumn/early Winter can be so beautiful. Then I got to thinking about the leaden, rainy days where the lights are on from the time we get up.... What if we were unlucky? Our lighting is fine for living with art but not for the scrutiny of a potential buyer. I chickened out but next year the new studios will be up and running with adequate lighting for the exhibiting as well as the making of art.

'Follow a Thread' exhibition at the Dovecot Studios in Edinburgh - includes work by Jo Barker and Sara Brennan. Until 31st December.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


An almost edible display of pencils. I want them all!

The last few months in this house have included sciatica (ongoing), flu, an unspecific chest infection and specific bronchitis! Also a dead ibook and camera...

BUT the sciatica is improving, I've finally got antibiotics for the bronchitis, a gorgeous MacBook Pro was delivered yesterday ( all set up and ready to go thanks to Katy and Paul at PC Net Solutions), a Panasonic Lumix has been purchased (the nearest I'll ever get to a Leica!) and project henshed is back on (only nearly 3 years later....things happen slowly around here) as is project 'convert the small barn into a studio for Warb'.

If that weren't all exciting enough we had 6 cubic metres of firewood delivered this morning. Firewood really, really makes me happy!

ps. I've lost everyone's email address with the old Mac. Any friends/family reading this please email me so that I have them on the new one. Thanks!

Monday, August 24, 2009

One of Warb's self portraits on show at Galerie La Tour Montsalès. The show is going well - lots of appreciative visitors coming and good sales. It' s now going to run until the 13th of September instead of the 7th.
My apple laptop has died now ( in addition to the camera) - my fingers are well and truly crossed for the washing machine...! Fortunately the tour has a laptop and I can borrow it until I get a new computer sorted out.

BTW... we produced a small catalogue for the show. 20 pages, full colour with essays by Daniel Lefranc and Ian Warburton (in French). We've sold out for the moment but are going to reprint this week. If you are interested please email me. Cost is 5 euro plus postage.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Warb at La Tour

I wish I'd had a camera this morning. At 9.30 a neighbour came by to collect Warb's paintings and take them to the tour - thankfully only a couple of miles away. Said neighbour has a huge roof rack on his van so a dozen large paintings fitted on easily. Another car load of friends arrived and another neighbour on his motorbike. Once everything was loaded we set off to Montsalès - a convoy of 3 vehicles and 1 motorcycle outrider - we drove all the way there at about 30 mph with the hazards flashing! So funny!

The show is up and looks great. If I climbed the tour once today I must have done it 20 times - I'll pay for it tomorrow. The pv is at 6 pm. Venez nombreux!

Friday, August 14, 2009

and now for...

something quite different! I had a sudden desire to make this collage so despite the fact that this is probably the busiest week of the year with Warb's exhibition in the Tour starting on Monday, I did! It all worked out paler than I anticipated - ( the letters are covered with a layer of tissue paper but the circles aren't) - but it was good fun!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Just had a call from my Mum in Dublin to say that Poplar won 1st prize in the tapestry category at the RDS National Crafts Competition!

Monday, August 3, 2009

colette bessac lefranc

I haven't got around to getting a new camera is photo of a piece by my friend Colette Bessac Lefranc who also happens to be the president of the association Galerie La Tour Montsalès and one half of the driving force behind the renovation/restoration of the tower.

I have uploaded photos of the tower inaugural festivities to the website here and a page for Warb here.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Royal Dublin Society

Poplar will be on show at the National Crafts Competition at the RDS in Dublin from August 5 - 13.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


My camera has died so I'm showing you a multi tapestry I made a few years ago. Including the one in progress I have made four like this. Am just about to warp up the next piece for 'trace' and listen to the Archers omnibus!

I try to stick to talking about tapestry on this blog and avoid 'hellobirdshellotreeshellosky' syndrome. It's hard though when summer is as glorious as it is in this part of the world and most of your food is coming from the veg patch and kids are on holidays and doing the rounds of all the various pools, rivers and water butts (really) at their disposal.... there - I've had my 'hello birds' moment. I'll stop now!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Ian Warburton

Warb is having an online sale of some small paintings. See them here.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


The first two tapestries for another 9 part piece provisionally entitled trace or perhaps traces. I like these 'multi' tapestries. Small parts of a whole. It seems much more like how I actually experience things - small snapshots, fleeting images, random thoughts.

Monday, June 29, 2009

galerie la tour montsalès

This is a photo of our village taken from a farm across the valley. There was a chateau here once but all that remains are some ramparts, the tower on the left of the photo and local lore has it that what is now the church was once the orangerie. The tower was built in the 14th century as a lookout point over the valley below (specifically to look out for the English during the Hundred Years War ).

The tower has been deteriorating quietly over the centuries but earlier this month 5 years of hard work - physical (40 skip loads of rubble was removed from the upper floor and a new roof put on) organisational and fundraising came to fruition with the opening of Galerie la Tour Montsales.

This is the president of the association Colette Bessac Lefranc introducing our first exhibitor, graphic novelist Jean Pierre Gibrat.

No event in the Aveyron is complete without sustenance of some kind so after the inauguration of the tower and the private view there was supper for all in the village hall!

This is the first floor which is reached by a metal grille stairs. To reach the second and third floors you have a vertiginous climb up 14th century stones steps (with very high risers) not intended for 21st century accessiblity! Yesterday Warb had to escort a man having an attack of vertigo back down...

This in the underside of the steps.

Bearing in mind that there will be people who aren't able to make the climb there is a slideshow of the exhibition playing on the ground floor. The next exhibition, Charles de Rodat starts this Saturday - private view at 6.30pm - all welcome!

Monday, June 22, 2009


Poplar - finished at last and sent off for the second round of judging of the RDS Crafts Competition in Dublin. Lots to tell - back soon!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

mobile/minimal studio

I well remember the first time I gave thanks for the lightness and portability of the materials and equipment I use. It was the day Lud and I moved from one third floor flat in Edinburgh across town to another third floor flat. Did I mention that he worked mostly with lead at the time?!

The hen shed is still a hen shed albeit minus hens. Sadly it will be a while before we can make it into the cosy studio with the wood burner in the corner. In the mean time I'm still in the house. I don't take up much space though. Everything I need fits into the following...

When I was an artist in residence in a Telford school the kids were given a D+T project to make a useful container for a staff member. Naomi chose me and made this lovely box which I have used ever since (10/12 years?) There are spikes to put my threads on and they are just the right length so that nothing moves in transit. There is a little side section for skeins of thread, scissors etc. She hand painted the box and finished it with brass furniture. Naomi was an exceptional girl/student. We still know her. I taught her to weave or rather just pointed her in the right general direction and let her get on with it. She wove a tapestry that took about 100 hours when she was 14/15. I have some of her work and should show it...

The ubiquitous Ikea drawers - all my sewing threads fit in here.

Two Olympus plastic film boxes (at least I think that's what they are). Skeins of DMC thread live in here.

I'd still really like my hen shed though. I'm sure I could fill it!

Monday, May 25, 2009

under the tilleul

We have an extra room in our house in Summer. It's called 'under the tilleul' (lime tree). A good lime tree is a glorious thing - sweet smelling and humming with bees in Spring, a cool, shady, breezy place in Summer. I started the day well listening to Desert Island Discs and finishing n° 5/9 of Poplar. Then I decided to have a sandwich and a glass of wine under the tilleul...

which turned into another glass of wine, bringing blankets and cushions and a pile of books out and settling in for the day. It was bliss!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Outrageous floribundance in the car park at Figeac. Gorgeous!

tom phillips has a blog. (He taught Warb at Corsham in the 60's)

also 20 sites n years

Monday, May 18, 2009

Tapestry weaving is not for those in need of instant gratification nevertheless I am finding Poplar a bit tedious... The 9 squares make an image which I feel (hope) is more than the sum of it's parts but the weaving of each part is not very exciting. Today I am mostly weaving yellow. Hmmm.

Far more exciting things are happening in the studio downstairs. The washing machine and overflow fridge also live down there and each time I pass through I have a quick look to see what has been going on. This painting ( I've shown you 3 details as I haven't got a good low resolution one of the whole thing) took my breath away.

Ah well back to my yellow..

Saturday, May 9, 2009

There's rather more gardening than weaving going on at the moment.
Here are some nice links...
Bethan Ash
Elizabeth Brimelow
I love Blackshore and Shingle I and Shingle II.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

poplar i.p.

Am on the 4th of 9 and starting to get into the rhythm of it.

Have a look at absolute

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

le troc

There's much talk of le troc (barter) in these times of la crise. (I've got a good bread for eggs arrangement going with a neighbour!) Over the years we have been lucky to exchange paintings and tapestries for other artist's paintings, pots, sculpture. The textile piece in the picture is the latest. It's a gorgeous embroidery made by a friend Colette Bessac-Lefranc and one of my tapestries is now hanging in her dining room. How satisfying is that?
I'll take some close up photos of it to show if the sun ever shines again!

Friday, April 24, 2009

aino kajaniemi

Aino Kajaniemi's tapestries here.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

susan mowatt

I tell you it's all happening round here - Spring that is - trees in leaf, wild flowers everywhere, birds singing like crazy, enormous black bees on the wisteria and lots of rain in beween the sunny spells. I have just potted on 37 tomato plants. It is impossible to have too many tomatoes...!

Have a look at Susan Mowatt's blob, I love it.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Tapestry 08 catalogue available here

Sunday, April 19, 2009

abbott and ellwood

I started my day with a smile - lots of smiles actually - looking at Mike Abbott and Kim Ellwood's metal sculptures!

Saturday, April 18, 2009


A woven version of Picasso's Guernica is on show at the newly reopened Whitechapel Gallery in East London. Be sure to read the last paragraph of this.

Friday, April 10, 2009

cornelia forster

Cornelia Forster 1906-90. I had never heard of this artist (thank you Kathy) and while there's more going on in most of the tapestries than my little head can deal with, there is a lot of beauty too. It seems she worked with Jean Lurçat in the 40's just down the road from here in Saint Céré.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

annika ekdahl

See Annika Ekdahl's extraordinary lush tapestries here

my little helper!

Tilleke Schwarz has updated her website and now also has some work for sale. See it here

Thursday, April 2, 2009


I've started weaving the first part of Poplar. It feels odd to be weaving again - there's no excitement as yet which is unusual for me. I don't think there's a tapestry weaver alive who doesn't sometimes shake their head and question the validity of a process which frankly seems so tortuous sometimes. Or if they don't they should. When I was at art school in Edinburgh once you had decided on a design to weave you had to really sell it to the course tutors. Convince them that it was worth weaving, that you could sustain interest in the design for the months it would take to weave, that it was worth the investment in materials, that it would gain something from being woven.

In her piece in Art Textiles of the World : Great Britain, Sara Brennan says 'To be a tapestry weaver it helps if you're a tactile person. But there's a risk with tapestry, that people get carried away with the making. It becomes a way of life and then everyone's too cautious to criticise. Constructive criticism is very absent.'

I don't want to make tapestries just because that is 'what I do'.

Friday, March 13, 2009


Exhibition - Vive la tapisserie! French tradition, Scottish tribute
Institut Français d'Ecosse, 13 Randolph Crescent, Edinburgh. Until 9th April. Artists include Archie Brennan, Sara Brennan, Amanda Gizzi, Maureen Hodge, Fiona Hutchison, Susan Mowatt.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Saturday, March 7, 2009

collage 060309

Using glue now... exciting!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Some interesting sites...

IC : Innovative Craft website and blog, Maakin lab and Universal Pattern

wallace and friend

I was reminded of Helen Kemp's ceramics today when I saw Wallace enjoying the sun this morning! Her friend was made by Jonathan Barrett-Danes .