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Passing time…

One of my model testers, Laura painted a narrowboat model for me, entirely her choice of design. The name chosen may be appropriate as sales of my range of models – 17 different boats and aircraft – are almost non-existent.

Miller Toys and Models Narrowboat model, 30cm, Tiny Titanic, painted by Laura H/A-M, 2021

Still sorting out work from a year or two ago, this quilt was made in 2018, there was also an artist’s book using similar mask images. The animals are all British Isles native apart from the grey squirrel, although that has been here for quite some time now. I haven’t done much work for the last two months and sorting out old pieces, repairing or completing them feels like a way back in to making some art. These are sketches of some of the mask images, drawn on a tablet, or drawn on paper and scanned and manipulated in Affinity Photo. The bamboo silk fabric was digitally printed and I also screen printed some tiles but the results were messy.

Many people have reported how the early part of the Covid crisis was a period of stimulus and creativity, I felt that but in the second UK lockdown I felt quite depressed, especially with our government incompetence and found work difficult. I did start work on a fairly large piece – another art quilt – but progress was slow and I have put it aside for a while.

Animal Masquerade, quilted bamboo silk, 120 x 90 cm, 2018

The next and final step is to make a border, this will need to be a dark material and quite wide I think. The quilt was to be a practical piece for a child’s bed but didn’t get finished and so wasn’t used that way. I try to use organic fabrics, usually from the Organic Fabric Co. in Wales but this isn’t always possible; I like bamboo because it is grown without herbicides or pesticides and is really versatile, takes dye and print beautifully and is widely available. The quilting (wadding) is also bamboo.

Here are some details.

I am having a clear up and out, and I came across these small pieces from a few years back when I was pursuing an MA in Multidisciplinary Printmaking at Bower Ashton in Bristol. I made them with the Fukushima fiasco in mind, knowing that would be a topical issue all my remaining life and beyond. Fukushima is in the news again as the authorities want to release a million tons of radioactive water into the sea, Uproar Over Japan’s Decision to Disperse Radioactive Fukushima Waste Water and the situation at the site remains dire. I made about ten, gave some away.

I’m thinking of re-framing them perhaps as a single piece, but undecided about the type of frame, a black painted board? These scanned images are fuzzy, the originals have a lot more detail.

Kind of Blue, Embroidered fabric, 135 x 52 cm,

This patchwork and machine embroidery quilt was made from a piece of patchwork originally destined to be dolls clothes, but I had so much that it had been put aside and forgotten. The quilting lines show in this picture but the metallic threads do not. There are a lot of shiny silver and blue metallics here and many of them and vaguly flower shaped.

The quilting lines are mainly broad curves, often inspired half or quarter moons or those slivers of the new moon.

Using Kind of Blue as a title feels very cheeky, but the Miles Davis masterpiece is often playing in my studio and the dreamy, sensuous curves of the music are always in my mind.

Moonflowers would reflect my hippy youth, back when work of this kind was unknown, or just consigned to ‘women’s work’ and ignored by the art world. Now there is a wealth of fabulous textile art, many examples may be found on the web.

There is something I find satisfying and rewarding about doll making, although I can’t claim to know what that is. These four dolls are button-jointed in the Jan Horrox style, about 60 cm long, their clothes are made from embellished and embroidered scraps and may be much longer. The fabric scraps are often silk and satin and have many metallic threads but these shiny things do not show in these photos.

These dolls might represent both birds of the British Isles and the four regions, Scotland – Magpie, Wales – Red Kite, Ireland – Greenfinch and England – Tawny Owl. I think the Magpie, the first one I made might be my alter-ego, a Scottish Prince!

I don’t make many art pieces but I was sorting through my fabric and came across this forgotten piece of work that I had put aside for some reason, possibly a left-over from a double-sided cape of some years back. It was patchwork blues, slightly embellished and overstitched, looked quite attractive so I thought why not quilt it.

I found a length of black cotton just the right size, then a layer of wadding and finally some thin cotton from a sheet. There is a lot of silver thread used in the embroidery and the quilting but it doesn’t show in this pic.

I’m using a free motion embroidery foot to quilt circles and flower patterns, takes practice but gives me a distinctive style.