an artists' view

an artists' view

Monday, 28 March 2011

National Mining Museum

On Saturday we visited Caphouse Colliery, where the National Mining Museum is. It was my mum's birthday, so Jon and I took her for a visit, as she'd wanted to have a look round. My dad was a miner; he left and joined the army before the outbreak of World War Two, then spent the war in Burma, and later on, Germany. I took the opportunity to look at the fossils they have on display. Despite the strange shape of the 'thing' in the photograph's not a fossil, or from the Mining Museum! It's a tied up scrap of fabric; waiting to dry out! Am still busy dye-ing, tie-ing, and sewing! Spent today working on a 'prototype' fabric piece. Strange how, as I'm working on fabric things, other ideas come to me, to develop the ideas. I seem to be in a very fertile place at the moment with making art. Just need to have more time so I can get on with the making!

Friday, 25 March 2011

Jones Sewing Machine

The trusty 70 year old sewing machine has been in use this week!
After the workshop with Louise Taylor (what an apt name!) last Saturday, I've been playing with the sewing machine, and experimenting with it. Pleats; reverse applique; squiggles and swirls; straight lines!
Yesterday I went out and bought myself some sewing 'instruments'! such as a decent pair of fabric scissors! And an embroidery foot.....which I have tried out, and found, yes, it DOES fit, and it does work! Hooray!

I'm having quite a lot of ideas of how to develop this textile work. Over the next few weeks, I'll be working on them, and trying out things.
It makes me realise how much I enjoy learning new things.

What with all these ideas, and the gorgeous weather we've been having, it feels like the winter really is gone, and Spring has arrived. I'm so ready for some sun, and warmth. This weekend the clocks leap forward, so Spring is officially here!

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Time Bandits + Terry Gilliam

Last weekend was certainly one to remember!
The Saturday began with me spending a day at the Art House doing a Sewing Machine workshop. Louise Taylor led the session, and I learned such a lot about my own machine (the 70 year old one, given to me by my mum) as well as the machines that Louise brought for us to use.
I made a purse, complete with zip (!) fitted into it. It felt quite an achievement for me.

Louise's website can be found at;

In the evening we went over to Bradford; where Jon had got us tickets to see TERRY GILLIAM (!!!!!) introduce his film Time Bandits, and then receive an award and take part in a question and answer session.
Terry Gilliam is one of my favourite directors, and I've followed his films with interest. I've not managed to see them all, but went to Bradford to see his last film 'Dr Parnassus', which was wonderful. At the time, I thought, wouldn't it be great to get Terry Gilliam to Bradford and hear him speak. The thought must have been floating in the ether, as the organiser of the Bradford International Film Festival acted upon it, and here he was!
I was so thrilled to be there, and hear Terry talk. He was very open; very honest, and spoke about the problems he's had getting funding for his films. But he also spoke with great warmth about the people he's worked with.
We saw a couple of early short films that he'd made in 'the early days'; his famous trademark animations that made his name from the Monty Python Flying Circus days.
All in all, a wonderful experience; and I'm so pleased I managed to attend it.

We got home really late; midnight. Fell into bed, both very tired.
The Sunday, I was up and out to Haw Park Woods, to plant 400 native British trees. Though I should add, not on my own!
A very busy, and fantastic weekend!

Friday, 18 March 2011

Whitby Museum

On the left are spindle whorls, in a range of materials, ranging from bone, shell, pebbles and clay. On the right are loom weights, to hold down the warp and weft of fabric woven back in the neolithic age. From Whitby Museum; that treasure trove of interesting finds. The next visit I make to the seaside, I'll be looking out for a holed stone. Have a play with making my own spindle whorl to attempt spinning some thread/wool. Lots of inspiration from the 1970's book I found in Pickering!

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Happy Birthday!

I've been writing the blog for 1 year now; and I thought I'd have a problem finding enough to write about!

Yesterday I went out and got a new blade for the surform I've been using to rasp the beechwood I started last summer at YSP. I should be able to work much faster on that, now. I also bought a set of 3 rasps; one which is curved. That means I can get into the curved indents of the carving. Sat and did some smoothing of the wood, using the carved rasp. It's made quite a difference! Hurray.

I completed the felt piece I was making on the textile course. It's a 'purse'; and boy, has it shrunk! Someone asked me, 'Did it start out as a bag?' Luckily I know my limits, so I haven't had to adapt a bag into a purse, due to excessive shrinking!
Waiting for it to dry; then I'll start to use it.

Friday, 11 March 2011


The land is covered with white patches that isn't snow but snowdrops! Thick patches everywhere. Lovely.

I'm still working on the textiles course; doing some felt-making now. And have got the sewing machine workshop to look forward to in a few days time.

We visited Whitby on Wednesday to celebrate Jon's birthday. It was very cold; a biting wind. We had a lovely visit to the Museum; and I found a whole case full of spindle-whorles, from Neolithic times. Jon found me a lovely old 1970's book on Spinning and Dyeing using natural ingredients! Just what I've been needing! It will keep me quiet for many hours to come; and this summer I shall be seeing what I can use from the garden, and fields nearby, to use for dyeing. Sometimes things just come to you at exactly the right moment!

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