Sunday, 17 February 2008

The best way to spend a Saturday

It has been a while since I posted: the job hunt is gearing up so I have made several trips upto London to talk to recruiters and I have submitted a couple of applications directly. I had a very nice half hour in Falkiners Fine Papers on one occasion, looking at (not surprisingly) papers of all kinds, book cloth, bone folders. It's a shop very much of it's time and I love it.

However, last Saturday I went on a day school with Frances Pickering. Frances came to talk at Sevenoaks branch of the Embroiderers Guild last year and brought with her her stash of gorgeous hand made books. She gave her day school on the technique and what a marvelous few hours it turned out to be. Maggie, I used some of that left over gesso from one of our Boughton sessions and unearthed my enormous collection of Stewart Gill and Lumiere paints which had not seen the light of day since the end of City and Guilds. I created a cover and pages, based on my regular Gaudi chimney pots theme and after much fiddling and cord wrapping completed it the following day; don't you always feel better with a finished item within twenty four hours of going on a day school? If it hasn't happened with me, the WIP gets confined to a small collapsible crate and resurrected many months later, often to be thrown away. (I do throw, and I'm proud of it!). Before I had a chance to photograph it, it has been spirited away for a display cabinet.

Last week I had lunch with a friend at Bluewater (any excuse) and tea with a friend who I haven't seen for fourteen years. It's really funny - Bev and I used to attend a keep fit class (we were quite choosy on what we actually did in the way of exercise) and when she moved to Gloucestershire, we kept in touch with Christmas cards but as anyone who works long hours, getting together never actually happened. Then she moved back to Kent with her husband in December and it was like we hadn't really been apart. That's a really nice feeling.

This Saturday I was back at Guild, listening to a talk by Carol Naylor. Loss of projector bulb meant Carol had to improvise a talk on the hoof and she did a marvellous job. I love Carol's work - lots of glossy soft textures which reflect the light that so characterises her pieces. So for me, guild has been the best way to spend a Saturday, and in between the job searching, there have been some nice ways to spend the weekdays too.

Oh and one of the cats has had his first encounter with the pond... definitely a soggy moggy!

Saturday, 26 January 2008

Belated Epiphany

I had a belated epiphany today; Gina and I were driving along the A25, putting the world to rights when I narrowly avoided going into the back of a car whose brake lights I had not seen - very careless, especially with another passenger in my car. We were on our way to the Grace Barrand Centre at Nutfield to see the 'Select' exhibition and have a nice lunch - which we did. The exhibition was small, but beautiful and inspiring and I wandered round wondering where the inspiration came from and how it got to where it was. And what journey was my inspiration on, as it certainly wasn't alongside me.

Over a yummy panini and two pairs of eyes on some delicious looking rocky road brownies, we continued to talk about directions and pathways before heading back to give a joint talk to Sevenoaks' Embroiderers Guild, about life after city and guilds machine embroidery. Sevenoaks are a fabulous guild - friendly and very stitchy and I talked my talk about sewing machines and machine embroidery, pointing out that my needle frequently found it's way into the fabric and refused to come out or a tangle of threads on the underside of the work was perfectly normal, and on some occasions, could be described as a feature. Gina shared her work and stories and afterwards, when the audience came forward to look at the goodies and ask questions, I found myself feeling confident enough to impart advice on 'which sewing machine?/what needle to use?' - to chuckle at the knitted nautiloids that came along for the ride and describe how they and other items were made.

Then I heard one member say to me 'Having seen all this I think I'm confident to have a go and master my own machine', and I had my belated epiphany as it occured to me that inspiration doesn't always mean production of exhibition standard work as we had seen at Select. Sometimes it just means that you give a person enough 'oomph' to go away and have a go themselves.

(And we never ordered the rocky road brownies!)

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Opening Salvo

I have been led to blogging by Fan my Flame. A dear and precious friend who has a similar sense of humour when it comes to anything creative, and a very similar taste in restaurants and red wine.

My profile says I am a forty something, between jobs - loving the time off to create, play with the kittens and ferry Mum around following her broken foot incident three weeks before Christmas - but feeling somewhat uneasy about not actually being in paid employment, mainly because I'm not actually earning any money! Still, that aside, as I wrote the profile, I believe it to be correct.

I went through my workroom cupboard on 2nd January, and so long as I avoid the Festival of Quilts and the Knitting and Stitching show for the next five years, I have more than enough to keep me going, fabric and thread wise.

So, three photos of 'things wot I have made' since I have been at home. Starting with 'The Christmas Cake'

My usual rough ice snow scene with dodgy plastic santa and reindeer was replaced with this glamorous creation, culled from the pages of Good Housekeeping magazine. My friend Alison texted me from her flu bound bed to ask if I had finished it and what was it like two days before Christmas - I replied 'Fragile and gorgeous, not unlike yourself'. I was thrilled with the finished article - I never believed I could manage something like this, even if I had the time!

Now the felt slippers. These were a real challenge and were my second attempt, as I used too much fleece and not enough soap first time around. Just waiting for the suede soles to turn up (I've had an email to say they're on their way) and then they'll be complete. Gilliangladrag if you want to know more.

Finally, a nautiloid! See for this pattern. I absolutely love him and have honed my skills knitting with four needles after too many years. He's about to get a brother, once I finish stitching the head on tonight. If anyone has any sensible suggestions as to what I might do with my nautiloids - well, I'm here and waiting for your call!