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School under Lodge Hill

This Landscape quilt was made as a leaving present for the Headmistress of our girls Primary School.

I made the building very angular and distorted the perspective.  Reviewing the picture now I see that dots and spots dominate my fabric collection.

In the rush to create I did not take the time I now do to ensure my seams and lines meet up.  These now scream “slow down and be careful”.

One of the down sides of the technique I used in the early days (joining a whole line of pieces along the radial line) is if you are not precise in your marking out and stitching inaccuracies will be seen down the entire group of pieces.  This is what has happened along the upper line of the hills!

Small quilt (24x30cm) made for our Primary School Head as a leaving present.

Small quilt (24x30cm) made for our Primary School Head as a leaving present.

School under Lodge Hill (24 x 30cm)

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The Bedtime Book 12 x 12 Midsomer Norton Exhibition 2012

Have you heard of the 12 x12 quilters in America?

http://www.twelveby12.org

They are twelve quilt artists who have embarked on an art challenge together. They are from different places throughout the world and their artistic styles vary hugely, its fascinating to see how different artists interpret one word in so many ways.  The challenge allows them to experiment and grow.

For four years, they each made a 12×12 inch quilted art piece on a designated theme or Colorplay palette. For 2012, they decided to change the format making rectangular pieces, 20×12 inches.  Sweet, their final 2012 challenge were revealed on 12 December 2012 – 12/12/12! The results are showcased on the Quilt Gallery and Artist Gallery pages of the website.

I am really luck to live so close to Midsomer Quilting, a quilters haven on the Mendips.  This was the only venue in Europe this year that the 12 quilters chose to exhibit their work.  The exhibition was held this year in July titled Colourplay.

Having built up a relationship with the International quilters De, Chris and Birgitta decided to hold their own exhibition for shop customers.  The first title in 2011 was Fruit and they had 85 entries.  The entry ‘Cherry tomatoes from California’ by Diane Perin Hock is totally stunning and has made me want to experiment and challenge myself.

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I plucked up courage to enter in 2012 when the title was ‘Book’.  The titles are potentially so huge that the major obstacal is narrowing your choice down to one (Chris would always be happy to receive as many as you can make though)!

The images below show my entry and the reason for my choice.  This was a challenge as I wanted to have so many elements in the quilt so that it would tell the story.  This lead to a huge number of pieces considering the size of the quilt. It was all consuming for a few weeks and the family were lucky if they got feed.  I had great fun making it though and despite the lack of motherly care the girls enjoyed being involved too!

I Hope you like it!  Take a look at some of the amazing entries.

Entry into the 2012 12 x 12 Exhibition

Entry into the 2012 12 x 12 Exhibition

The Bedtime routine

The Bedtime routine

The Bedtime routineThe Bedtime routine

What is the most important book? The answer is not a single book but a genre that inspires us from our earliest days: bedtime story books. From early picture books to wonderful imaginative tales and adventures, the bedtime story sparks our imagination. But sadly fewer children than ever share a bedtime story with their parents and instead time is spent watching television. When the TV is switched on conversation fades and we no longer need to use our imagination. It’s all done for us.

I wanted my quilt to tell the bedtime story, that simple routine that delivers our children to bed, ready for their pre-sleep treat. My own children wanted to be involved with the project so I asked them to name all their favourite stories over the years and these make up the background text. My pictures are in sequence starting with the bedtime clock through the bedtime drink, the stairs, the bath and so on with each frame getting slightly darker. Finally, the quilt the book rests on is made from old quilt covers they slept under after listening to their stories. Good night and sleep tight.

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St Ives

The quilted landscape that started the journey…..

Excited about being booked onto the two day course at Midsomer Quilting run by Effie Gallety I started to plan my project.  The course information stated it would be an advantage to have selected your image ready to get going on day one.  This was the easy bit, St Ives and Porthmear beach in particular hold special memories for me.  Looking at old photos and books the Chapel above Porthmear beach was ideal.  I started to sketch……

The old habits I had never overcome as a painter were creeping into my work.  Too much detail and overworking!  How on earth was I to get in all the details in fabric?  I tried to draw on my experience creating garden design plans, clean lines, geometric shapes and unfussy. The picture was improving now.  I popped some radial lines across the whole picture to give the impression of radiating shafts of light.

Enough was enough, I’ll take it along to class…..

The weekend came and off I went with my sketch and photos.  Ten of us sat around tables eager to begin. My fellow quilters thought I was being over-ambitious using 54 pieces. Effie was confident it could be done, not least because of the radial lines I was working with.

It grew quickly, working that evening and the following morning to get ahead, to prove perhaps that it could be done. The biggest challenges were including a building and the curves of the beach, both very ambitious for my first piece of work. As you can see, the buidling was never quite right. You can see the subsidence! Effie was very supportive and gave me invaluable advice that I have used since in my work with great results.

To date this is still my favourite piece of work. It’s where I spent our Honeymoon. It’s one of my favourite places. I still love the colours and it’s the only piece that hangs in my house.

Porthmeor Beach, St Ives.

Porthmeor Beach, St Ives.

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Porthmeor Beach, St Ives

You can see the building’s subsidence here and the curves of the sandy bay are imperfect…

Porthmeor Beach, St Ives

Porthmeor Beach, St Ives

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My First Blog Post

Welcome to my Blog, such a short sentence but its been a long time coming and I’ll be honest it feels scary!  Finally fingers have been pulled out and I’m entering the 21st century.  The blogs published will be collections of my experiences and ramblings.

They will be a journey, a voyage of discovery, so bear with me if the direction is not obvious.

My quilting journey and fabric passion began in 2009.  We had moved to Somerset from surbaban Hampshire and life took on a whole new and relaxed pace!  I had worked for the NHS as a Radiographer for 20 years and the move was like a breath of fresh air!  Rural Somerset offered no local large hospital to continue my first career and frankly I was ready for a change.  Since the birth of our eldest daughter I had worked part time and by the time our second daughter was born I was down to one day a week.  Priorities had changed and I had retrained as Garden Designer, a far more flexible career option!  I loved the creative process, designing  very geometric outdoor spaces for many a local Microsoft employee!  I love gardens but I adored the drawing board stage more than the planting process.  The move to our new home in rural Somerset took me away from the wholesale nurseries I had used and I threw myself into the beautiful surroundings and artist groups prevalent in the area.  Somerset arts week opened my eyes to everyday people creating work and ‘getting it out there’!

The town of Frome started the journey off for me and i gave many a craft a go, wire sculpture, ceramics and a number of textile courses.  I had never sewn by hand or using a machine (except an unfinished year 3 school skirt project).  A course at a fabulous shop called Millie Moon in Frome started the fabric affair!

After a 6 or 8 week course I had a quilt to give to my daughter, I had been obsessed with the process and was at the machine in any spare moment.  It grew at a rapid rate and as it neared its end I was dreading not having it in my life any more….

So followed quilts and cushions for all my relatives, whether they wanted one or not!  I needed to change what I was creating though because I ran out of people needing quilts and they are expensive to make with no known home to go to.

Another downside was that those asking for quilts did not necessarily choose fabrics I liked and I quickly realised that I needed to love the colours and patterns I was working with to create my best pieces.

So, in the search for smaller projects that harked back to my original love of painting I stumbled on a course at the friendliest most supportive Quilting shop in my life,  Midsomer Quilting. Flicking through their course brochure an image by Effie Gallety jumped out of the page.  I booked myself on and have never looked back!