Expectations. 1, Process

Altar : found polystyrene. Temporary. Disassembled… and what I’m learning from them.

I expected to make a huge body of cohesive, location-influenced work to bring home and exhibit.

–instead, scraps and snippets, very little of which will come home. Some of it is too organic to make it through the bio security cordon at home. Some pieces have been temporary : made, unmade, recycled.

Lesson: I have always loathed the idea of it being “all about the process” – it’s seemed like art/craft making as a filler of time, an amusing alternative to boredom. To consciousness even. It’s never that way for me. When i make, or even think about making, i always have a Big Idea, something inside me burning to get out and connect with others.

Now, I’ve had over 2 months intensive tinkering with no specific idea in mind. My Gallipoli/Çanakkale memorial work is a long way off. It deserves a really decent level of attention and engagement.

Here I have experimented with a new medium (watercolour) simply because I couldn’t think how else to get colour in the absence of my usual textile resources.

Knowing nothing of how to use them I’ve surrendered to the process of experiment and found I quite enjoy it.

The pleasant discovery is that the process-generated works are settling gently into conceptual groups, just as they would be had I begun with an Idea. They look like ‘my work’ too. Surprisingly, they don’t much look like ‘here’ Cappadocia, but perhaps I’ll see that later.


Not home; alone

Today was awful.

Some interesting things are starting to happen in my studio, as the collection of found objects comes to critical mass. And I’m delighted with my dear little house.

Picture of front of house taken from teras, through apple tree branches.

But today was awful.

  • Everything I’ve done is unsatisfactory, to say the least.
  • I’m a third through my time, Turkish is not improving, Yoga barely happening.
  • I’m over-spent against my plan. Not badly, but…
  • I’ve totally lost touch with my Big Idea and I cannot see how to

Feeling like everything I hoped for, dreamed of for this trip, is beyond my reach. And that it’s My Own Fault. That I’m All Talk & No Action. That I’ve Spoiled It.


If you’d walked through Güvercinlik Vadisi this afternoon you would have found me sobbing beside the trail.

I think it’s just loneliness, homesickness, adjustment. I’ve gone early to bed (warm, comfy) with a chocolate bar! sharing with you that not all days are perfect but no doubt this is a temporary feeling.

Thanks for listening.


 wall planner chart with lots filled in 
2016 will be a big year for me, so PLANNING was right at the top of last night’s do-list

I love to wing it, be spontaneous, trust that everything will be all right on the night. It usually is! And much more exciting. I hate listing and planning and scheduling, and I think of them as workplace disciplines.

Now that my studio is my primary workplace, and i want to get a lot done…I have to admit I can use them here too. It’s been working better than Spontaneous Sarah likes to admit. 

I also have to admit that i spent most of the day scraping paint off architraves, which was about no. 8 on the do-list. But, just in time before bedtime, voila! The wall-planner hung & embellished with the known, suspected and desired elements of the first half of 2016. Whew.

I prefer to change my own tyre

  I like to be able to do stuff. If you can change your own tyre, you aren’t waiting around for someone else to do it for you.

The more you can do…the more you can do. So I like to learn all sorts of odd off-beat things, building my competence, preparedness, strength, and resilience. You never know what bits will fit together to solve a problem or create a new possibility.

Learning from a person is a great way to build a relationship with them, and to appreciate their wider mastery.  

It takes a few goes sometimes. My bread is unforgettable for all the wrong reasons…but I think I know where to find a master who will give me a demo. I’ll keep working on it.

I’m perfectly capable of changing my own tyre – without wrecking my manicure – if I can get the wheelnuts undone. So, I build in some resilience with an AA membership – the most recent mechanic who met me at the roadside taught me a Protip for the too-tight wheelnut problem too 😊

12×12: the phenomenon

  Maybe you already know about the phenomenon that took the artquilting world by storm? 12×12 quilt challenge Making a series of small works to a regular schedule with a set size, theme and completion date for each one.

It’s been so successful many have been inspired to emulate it. I’m delighted to be part of a group embarking on this adventure. After only 2 rounds we are already more thoughtful, more skilled and more confident in presenting our work.

I’d love to show you what we’ve been making, but we’ve agreed to keep the works unpublished until our exhibition. So you’ll just have to wait. Meantime i recommend you find – and celebrate! – your community of people who challenge you to grow in ways you can’t predict

In praise of Round Robins

Not a fat little songbird , though sometimes they participate.

Round Robin is a group quilting practice. Each person makes a small start to a quilt project, swaps it with someone else and adds to what they received. It goes on, exchanging and adding, until everyone has worked on every project. The finished works – usually quite large – is given back to the person who started it.
Some groups have a “recipe” for what technique or design to use at each swap. Many groups keep the growing project secret from the originator, so there are wonderful surprises at the final handover.
It’s a great experience to get you out of your comfort zone and face a regular design challenge.
A bunch of my friends are using this process to make quilts for the Mangere Women’s Refuge.
The picture above is Cherry’s Mariner’s compass centre, I’ve added the deep orange framing triangles. I can’t wait to see how this turns out- and to swap for my next challenge.