Friday, December 24, 2010

happy christmas!

from the land of the very busy chocolatiers!

Monday, November 22, 2010


A friend gave me this beautiful piece of linen cloth some years ago. She had had it for a while and didn't quite know what to do with it. I think she thought I might make something with it. It is a heavyish linen which has been patched and darned and the patches themselves darned - the effort which went into prolonging the useful life of this piece of cloth is quite something. It puts me in mind of Japanese Boro textiles.
I couldn't possibly cut this cloth. It has sat in a drawer for ages, being taken out and looked at every now and then. The other day I was fighting to try and keep slippy pieces of paper on my knee to provide contrast with the black warp I'm using when I thought of it and went and got it out of it's drawer. So now I get to admire it often, haven't cut it and have found a use that won't damage it.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


The first finished tapestry from the collages in the last post. It's 20x20cm - quite big for me - and I'm somewhat daunted by the prospect of the next 8...

Incidentally, if anyone knows where I could buy Drima extra strong thread I'd be really grateful if they could let me know. Drima were bought by Coats and now the thread is really hard to find. I'm sure there must still be some out there though. It's cotton covered polyester I think and is strong as old boots. Thanks!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Am so pleased to discover Daler Rowney's Murano range of paper. For years I've scrabbled coloured paper together from magazines as I could never find 'in between' shades to buy.

Here's what I've been doing with it...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

cycle #1

This one was a long time coming...

Monday, August 9, 2010

When the henshed was a henshed it had doors and/or windows on all sides bar one. We made a window on that side so I would have the evening light. An unforseen consequence of this is that the birds can see straight through and therefore think that they can fly straight through. We've had a dead woodpecker, blackbird and a stunned bluetit. I hung a makeshift curtain up to prevent any furthur casualties but really didn't want to go down the curtain/blind/shutter path if possible. This is what we've tried then - masking the windows and painting them with opaque laquer. I hope it'll break the light up enough to alert the birds...

Still in painting mode, today I masked a rectangle on the wall over my desk and painted it with magnetic paint - Weird! I've still got another couple of coats to put on. Does it work?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

tapestry weekend

I shall be teaching a beginner's tapestry course the weekend of the 21/22nd of August. 10-12am and 2-5pm both days. Bring a picnic lunch. If the weather is good we'll weave under the plane trees on the village square otherwise we'll be in the salles des fêtes. Warp and frames will be provided but please bring wool to use as weft. The cost is €50 and all proceeds go to Galerie La Tour . If you are interested please email me.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

jacques mataly

We saw this stunning exhibition by Jacques Mataly at the equally stunning Abbaye de Beaulieu in the Tarn et Garonne last week. Metre square photographs which examine the horizon, they had something of Rothko about them. They were powerful yet subtle. Very moving.

Monday, July 12, 2010

A call for entries for ARTAPESTRY 3 here. Open to all tapestry weavers working in Europe. Tapestries must be a minimum of one square metre.

Monday, July 5, 2010

I'm in!

Moving in has been a gradual process. I was away in Tours and then had visitors so I've been doing it as and when. There are still more books to be barrowed up there and as yet there's nothing on the walls. This morning however I felt like I was properly installed - we tried out the wireless connection and listened to The Archers!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

lighting the stove

We are stove fanatics. Jotul stoves, Vermont Casting stoves and particularly Clearview stoves. We love burning wood (and planting trees) There has been enormous stove excitement this week. The stove from the hall was moved to the sitting room, the stove from the sitting room was moved to the henshed, the beautiful brand new Clearview stove was put into the hall and (keep up!) the new workshop stove that looks like a dustbin was put in the painting studio. I think we have reached our limit now!

Here's me and Dilly the dog lighting the henshed stove for the first time. It burns beautifully and the henshed is so well insulated and double glazed that I think I'll be able to run it on scavanged sticks rather than shop bought logs.

So close to moving in now...

Saturday, April 17, 2010

rds crafts competition

It's that time of year - (doesn't it come around fast!) - the call for entries for the Royal Dublin Society National Crafts Competition
Go here for full details and the online application form. It is open to all craft practitioners working in Ireland regardless of their nationality and all Irish craft practitioners regardless of where in the world they live.

There are two weaving categories, fashion and furnishings and tapestry. There's also felt, multimedia textiles, knitting, embroidery, printed textiles and patchwork and quilting ( and lots more: ceramics, wood, metal, musical instruments etc...)

Friday, April 2, 2010

There is a slideshow of the works in Artapestry 2 here.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

take me for a walk...

I got another four circles done today - so a total of eight now - and am getting back into the rhythm of things and beginning to enjoy it. Thank goodness - those first four were hard work.

Warb's new paintings here.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

A tiny medal the builders found on a nail in one of the henshed joists. I guess hens do need watching over!

Alice Kettle's current exhibition at the Crafts Study Gallery here.

Friday, March 26, 2010


We're not the only ones building round here. Can you see the tiny strand of International Blue String? Even the birds use it! There's Dilly dog hair in there too. Warb found this on the ground - someone must have had to start over.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

henshed i.p.

Great progress is being made on the henshed. It should be finished next week and then the builders will be back to working on the barn.

Great progress is not being made weaving wise... I started a new tapestry last week - with a section filled with circles like in Spoon #6 and I just can't do it. Can't make my brain make the leap to thinking in negative and can't seem to follow the marks on the warp in anything like a satisfactory fashion.

So... going to walk the dog...

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

found (2)

We live in a hamlet of three houses. Daniel's cousins lived in one and a cart maker and his wife Berthe lived in the other. They're both empty now. French people don't have the same attitude to property as English people (or Irish for that matter). It's not seen as an asset to be exploited but as heritage to be kept - even if you let it fall down in the meantime. After I photographed my found objects the other day I decided to take a tour round the hamlet photographing all the interesting stuff with no intrinsic value which one day, when someone gets round to it, will all end up at the dump.

Rabbit hutches. I mentioned the waste not mentality the other day - well it runs to food too. People still keep rabbits and poultry for the pot and we all know that the French eat cuts of meat (is offal a 'cut') that are best not dwelt on for too long..(I'm vegetarian btw!)

The precursor to International Blue String!

A bird house chez Berthe

Tractor seat

A door off an old stove (coincidently Scott is one of my mother's names)

A box of stuff

More odds and ends in a cut down can

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


The barn and henshed have been cleared and are now completely empty and ready for the builder. Another step away from this house's agricultural past. Small farms like this are disappearing in France just like everywhere else.

I found tools with hand made handles, an old tractor seat, photogenic rusty metal, many, many walnut shells - the remains of many a mouse's (or worse) supper, home made ladders, old bottles, chains, harnesses, a yoke, a flatiron, two crémaillères (for hanging over the fire and holding a pot or kettle).

These aren't things which were used in the dim and distant past but by Daniel, the man who sold us the house and who was born and lived all his life here. It is extraordinary to think how things have changed in such a short time. In Daniel's youth the cattle and sheep were walked out to pasture then watched over until it was time to come home. There were no enclosures. His sister Simone told us that when she left home her parents invested in fencing so that someone no longer needed to watch over the stock every moment.

Everything that could be homemade and mended was. There was a wooden wheelbarrow here when we first arrived. It weighed a ton even when empty. We have several beautiful ladders and know people who even now wouldn't dream of buying a shop bought handle for a fork or shovel but select a branch and make it fit. There is a strong 'waste not' ethos here which has nothing to do with parsimony but just common sense.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

winter walk

Warb has done an interesting blog post here.

See Joanne Soroka's tapestries here.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

winter sun

Browngrotta have got a blog now.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Ismini Samanidou's Timeline at the Dovecote in Edinburgh.

Monday, February 8, 2010


We met with the builder who's going to be making our studios yesterday and due to a job being postponed he can now start our job next month. This is good news especially as we live in a place where waiting lists of a year or longer are not unheard of. I have occasional feelings of 'oh the money could be better spent on something else, I don't take up much space etc' before I take myself in hand. It is going to be heaven to have a space which is all mine, where nothing has to be put away at the end of the day. That's what bugs me - we have lots of space in the house but tidying work away really gets in the way of any flow or sense of ease that might otherwise develop.

Artapestry 2 has opened in Angers and goes on till May - just before I'm due to go there in June. I think I will have to find a way of getting there sooner. The last time I saw a big exhibition of large scale tapestries was at the Harley Gallery in Welbeck (where Follow a Thread is now on) and must be at least 10 years ago. How ridiculous!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Wouldn't you just love a little studio in there?! My henshed/studio to be is surrounded by tall cherry trees and a bay tree but isn't actually in one. Never mind... It really looks as if the studios will happen now, we have found a builder and he can start in April. Very, very exciting!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Warb's current work in progress. (180 x 150 cm) I wish I'd taken pictures of it right from the start, it has changed so much already. He is much more productive than me at the moment. What am I saying he's always more productive than me.

For mind bogglingly labour intensive and both funny and touching work have a read/look at Confessions of a trichophile.