Radio Silence, Ramblings & Workshop News

Oh my goodness I’ve been pretty rubbish at updating my new website and posting on my blog so far. The problem is that whenever I have a lot going on, I go into ‘radio silence’  – which is kind of unhelpful for social media!  My head gets so involved in what I’m actually doing that I totally forget to take any photographs. Also, although I do mentally write lots of blog posts while I’m taking Annie the pooch out walking, I somehow never quite get round to writing them for real! Anyway I’m here at last and bringing some exciting new workshop news.

But first a wee update of goings on.

It’s been rather gorgeous outside The Purple Thread Shed.

We’ve been lucky to have had some gorgeous days over the last couple of months. I’ve finished all my workshops at The Purple Thread Shed for the summer and I’ve closed the shed door to visitors for a while. The reason being that we’re doing some pretty major house renovations and the place is heading into turmoil. I do know that it’ll be worth it in the end (because I tell myself this about 100 times a day) but to someone who is a bit of a control freak the thought of my whole house being turned upside down is a wee bit daunting! I think Annie the pooch and I will be escaping to the shed and barricading ourselves in as much as possible. However the upside of not running any workshops from here over the Autumn is that it is giving me a break to think, to plan and to concentrate on my personal textile projects – and that definitely feels exciting!

And now for some actual workshop news.

Although I won’t be running any textile workshops & classes from my own studio, the Purple Thread Shed is taking to the road to some other great venues over the next few months.

You can find more details here:  The Purple Thread Shed Takes To The Road.

Look out for some gorgeous new workshops coming to the Edinburgh City Art Centre

I’m really excited to be working with Edinburgh Museums for the first time this summer and have created two workshops to support their Edinburgh Alphabet exhibition at the City Art Centre. It’s worth noting that the cost of these workshops is £25 which is an absolute bargain!

The first is ‘Patchwood Houses’ which is taking place on Saturday 19th August during the Edinburgh fringe and festival. Perhaps some of you from further afield will be in Edinburgh at this time and would like to join me for the day.

A row of  Edinburgh tenements made from ‘patches’ of repurposed wood

It will be a day of hand stitching with a difference creating a colourful  little row of  Edinburgh tenements from ‘patches’ of repurposed wood all stitched together. Inspired by the Old Town, you will design your own row of tenements embellished with Edinburgh ephemera, vintage papers, tweeds, floral fabrics and other small treasures all hand stitched into place. Your buildings will then be stitched together to create your own ‘Edinburgh Close’.

Made with vintage papers, tweeds and ephemera all hand stitched into place

We can include house numbers, street names and other personal details and I love the little washing line strung across the close. Before you can begin to stitch, tiny holes must be drilled into the wood. By the end of the day you will feel as at home using the drill as you do your needle and thread.

You can even add a little washing line strung across the ‘close’.

All the materials will be provided but to make your piece even more personal you may wish to bring along some of your own small treasures and Edinburgh ephemera to include.

Patchwood Houses

City Art Centre, Edinburgh

Saturday 19th August 2017

10.30AM – 4.00PM

Cost £25

Booking is essential and can be done by contacting the City Art Centre reception on 0131 529 3993.

The second workshop at the City Art Centre is taking place on Saturday 16th September

Patchwood City workshop in the City Art Centre

In “Patchwood City’ we will be creating one of my  Patchwood Samplers inspired by our beautiful city of Edinburgh. Using “patches” of repurposed wood, you will create your Patchwork piece from vintage Edinburgh ephemera, found objects and images from old Edinburgh postcards transferred onto fragments of wood. Everything will be stitched into place and your “patches” stitched together.

We’ll transfer mages from old Edinburgh postcards onto fragments of repurposed wood

Again all the materials will be provided but to make your piece even more personal you may wish to bring along some of your own small treasures and Edinburgh ephemera to include.

Patchwood Samplers inspire by ‘mine own romantic town’

Patchwood City

City Art Centre, Edinburgh

Saturday 16th September 2017

10.30AM – 4.00PM

Cost £25

Booking is essential and can be done by contacting the City Art Centre reception on 0131 529 3993.

 

 

 

 

 

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Another View – exhibiting with Textile Group Prism

Last Thursday I set off on a wee trip down to Birmingham where I was exhibiting as part of the textile group “Prism” at the beautiful RBSA gallery.

Prism Another View
That wonderful moment when you first see your work hanging

The Background

At the start of 2016 I made what seemed like a huge decision to stop ‘making’ for shops and selling online and to concentrate my time instead on my own personal textile projects for exhibition.

I love to start the year by writing an ‘action plan’ where I set short, medium and long term goals. As a way to move forward my personal textile work, I set myself a medium term goal of joining a UK wide Textile Group with the specific aim of exhibiting further afield in the UK.

At this point I was already a member of edge- textile artists scotland and knew how well this works for me. Being a member of a group not only gives me deadlines and something definitive to work towards but this, in turn, seems to stimulate my ideas and motivation. Not to mention all of the advantages of being part of a group of likeminded people – especially when I tend to spend a lot of my time working alone.

I therefore set out on a bit of research to find a UK wide group and turned to textileartist.org where I found the feature: Top 5 Textile Art Groups. Further research took me to the various websites mentioned and after looking at the work of individual members I decided that I could see my work sitting alongside other members of Prism so I decided to take the plunge and write an application.

I once more turned to textileartist.org where I found another great feature: ‘Top tips for applying to Textile Art Groups’ I couldn’t believe my luck when I discovered that the article was written by Anita Bruce – one of the chairs of Prism!

Anyway to cut rather a long-winded story short, after submitting photographs and statements I was asked to send some of my work down for the selection panel to consider and was absolutely delighted to be invited to join the group. I was even more thrilled when, at the start of this year, the work that I submitted for their 2017 exhibitions ‘Another View’ was accepted for both the RBSA Birmingham and later in the year for Hoxton Arches, London.

Now reading that back makes it sound like a very straight forward and painless process – it is SO NOT!! It’s hugely scary to put yourself and your work out there. You are essentially inviting a group of people that you aspire to belong to – to either accept or reject you – yikes!! I actually didn’t make any announcements on Facebook until about three months later because I   kept expecting the email to say that they’d changed their mind. Me – paranoid? Not at all!!

I’ll tell you more about the work I submitted “Not Just Blue” in another post but in the meantime you can find out more in Cloth Work.

Art by Ali Ferguson
‘So why do I feel like this” Ali Ferguson

Another View

In the words of Prism Chairs Anita Bruce and Jackie Langfeld :

‘The title ‘Another View’ presents opportunities to explore different ways of looking, seeing and understanding; a chance to visualise the complexities and possibilities of people, places, events and the world we live in. It also perhaps engages the viewer in discussion about contemporary textile practice; offering a different perspective on the ancient craft of stitch.’

Art by Ross Belton
‘Nest’ Ross Belton
Art by Judith Isaac-Lewis
“Aberfan Handkerchief Project’ Judith Isaac-Lewis
Art by Jackie Langfeld
‘Beholder 1 Found’ Jackie Langfeld

The exhibition itself absolutely lived up to expectations. Spending a day stewarding in the gallery allows a glimpse at the public’s reaction. I love how something will catch someone’s eye the moment they walk through the door and they’ll be drawn straight to it, for that moment not seeing anything else around it. And the best of it is that each person will be drawn to something different.

I love too when someone calls over their companion to point something out and an enthusiastic discussion takes place. I quite like when arms get tightly folded across the body but the person continues studying  – you know that something has touched a nerve. And of course there’s the moment when someone’s face lights up and you know that they’ve just experienced that slightly breathless sensation of when something has touched the heart and is ‘speaking’ to them.

Art by Anita Bruce
‘Natural History” Anita Bruce
Art by Julie Harper
‘Novice Parade’ Julie Harper

Also, of course, it is such a thrill to see your own work hanging in the space. No amount of ‘mocking up’ at home compares to the moment you walk into the gallery and see that after all of the many hours of work that your piece ‘fits’ and that your idea for hanging ‘works’. I gave a huge sigh of relief when I first walked through the door and saw my quilt hanging, and then later in the day I couldn’t help a wee smile of pleasure as we opened the window and it gently moved in the breeze, casting its shadows around it.

Art by Ali Ferguson
‘Not Just Blue’ Ali Ferguson

Another View will be showing again with a slightly different collection of works at Hoxton Arches, London from the 17th – 29th October 2017

Hidden Conversations

I made a wee pledge with myself that when writing my blog posts that I would try and give a ‘real’ account so I’m sharing the conversation that took place between me and my other half when I first saw a photo taken at the exhibition opening.

Prism Another View
Exhibition opening at the RBSA

‘Me being me’ means that despite having had my pieces accepted for the exhibition I don’t dare believe that they have actually been included, until I see them with my own eyes!

Me: (peering at a photo on the Prism Facebook page and frantically zooming in) ‘Look, look that’s it – that is definitely mine isn’t it? They’ve definitely hung it – haven’t they? Oh yay – that’s amazing!!’

Paul: ‘Yes definitely yours. Well done. I’m so proud of you. And look there’s someone standing looking at it.’

Me: ‘Yes they are looking at it. How cool. And it looks like they’re talking about it – amazing! Short pause – D’you think he’s saying that it’s sh** and has to come down?!

Exciting news

How exciting – a shiny new website and a brand new blog!

I’ve been meaning to update everything for such a long time and it all seemed rather overwhelming. However, having made the decision to enlist some help in the form of a professional web designer, the whole process has been a joy and here we are – ta da!!

So welcome to my blog!!

Annie the Thread Shed pooch

My plan is to use this space to record some of the “happenings” in The Purple Thread Shed – in my workshops as well as my own personal projects.
I’d love to share some of the stories behind my artwork – from the initial idea (which usually takes place around 3AM) to the thinking behind the materials used and through the process itself.

I’d like to think that this will be a ‘real’ account – an actual scrapbook of the ups and downs of leading a creative life, working on my own, battling with insecurities as well as sharing all the exciting bits.

We will, of course, be joined by Annie the Thread Shed pooch. She takes her “job” of welcoming people very seriously so it seems fitting that she does the first welcome to the blog.

Annie the pooch outside The Thread Shed

I do hope that you will return to find out what’s going on and do please feel free to leave comments. I’m always up for a wee chat!

Lastly a huge thank-you to Fiona Dix of hiraeth mixed media for creating such a fabulous website and also Michael Graham of The Studio, Penicuik for many of the fabulous photographs throughout my website.