Little bits of nonsense

Three little artworks on the studio wall

High time I showed something of what I’ve been up to. In essence, lots of messing about without stern objective or excessive critique. Lovely, I recommend it!

Left to right:

A paper chain – each link the strip torn off a teabag packet. Needle and thread still attached ready to add with the next cup. This is fun in itself and I expect it to become part of something else.

A collage of ATM receipts, teabag paper and tags, found knitwear scrap and painted papers. Türkiye Garanti Bankası receipts are my favourite, with their reverse print of something like a four-leafed clover.

A hanging lamp crafted from a fine plastic bag, the frame some found wire. I brought the strip of LEDs from home, they reflect on streamers of chopped up tea packet- cerise & silver foil.



As i may have mentioned earlier, I didn’t bring much with me in the way of studio equipment or materials.

Pliers, scissors, watercolour paintbox, craft knife, glue stick, needles, threads

Sometimes this has been Extremely Frustrating. Mostly, I’ve enjoyed the simplicity. And the challenge of improvising.

Today I discovered a plinth for my first 3D piece by uniting a vacuum cleaner box (of which more later) + black plastic bag + chunk of polystyrene.

…also a way to display my bilingual loving-kindness mantra, thanks to a somewhat dodgy light switch.

I’m feeling ridiculously pleased with these two small steps towards creating a gallery in my middle room. It’s nearly there: plain white walls, decent light and no furniture. If I can just scrounge a hammer and about 8m of light wire i can improvise a hanging system!



I’ve brought a few tools (needles, scissors, pliers) and a little handful of threads. Every other material must be found.

Here I’m patching together SHINY teabag packets. This in response to realising that my darling little stone house has no mirror to a check how fabulous i look each morning. A totally non-functional activity probably deserves a totally non-functional artwork.

Quite a few of the rubbishy things I’ve been gathering are shiny. I’m a magpie from way back! This is a fun way to use them for once.

There’s nothing like a change of location and lifestyle to bring to mind how much is automatic. I have no idea what will come out of this and most days that’s ok.

wearing my art on my sleeve

I made this cuff a couple of years ago at a fun sewing weekend with 2 dear friends.  We each taught a technique.  Portraits & weaving will come here sometime.

This begins with a heavy Pellon foundation covered with velvet, then interesting scraps, ribbons & braids machined down with programmed and free stitches. Cut to shape, decorate the edges, button/beads, loops to close and it’s ready to wear.

It’s the only piece of my work I wear – and it comes to work sometimes as a Wonderwoman deflector bracelet.  Definitely worked today!

The Quilts of Abundance

Late in 2010, my friend Veronicah was the recipient of 17 – count ’em 17 – banana boxes of mixed fabrics from a deceased estate. After much sorting and appropriate donation, she made up a box each for some quilting buddies. Sharing the love!

I’m a lucky possessor of one of these Boxes of Abundance. It holds a fairly random mixture of approximately shirt-weight cottonish fabrics from (I think) the middle 1980’s. Not exactly what I would normally choose to work with.

My – self-imposed – challenge is using it to make quilts for my big patchwork group’s community quilt donation programme. This has been far more enjoyable than expected.

  1. Free fabric is much easier to cut!
  2. Funny combinations work when they have to
  3. I’m not doing it alone – all the other people who have passed this fabric along are sharing in the eventual gift

I’ll document these quilts on their own page.  What is your challenge?

Could be the Last Baby Quilt

Max arrived recently. His big sister has one of my quilts, so he gets one too. I make them fairly quickly out of whatever is at hand, and take particular pleasure in giving them a complementary pieced backing made from my stash of flannel samples. Max’s is a triumph of the scrap ethic, made completely from the left-overs from another quilter’s project.

I’ve said it before: this is my last baby quilt.

Why? there are bound to be more babies, some with a family precedent of a quilt from Auntie Sarah, and all needing quilts. I have more than enough fabric, and get a lot of pleasure out of being able to bring a special gift.

I have to stop, because snuggling in behind that fuzzy feel-good factor they are thieves.

The baby quilts steal my most precious, scarce resources: time, willpower, focus. I do good work on them, but not my best work. I offer that work up to the least critical audience imaginable. I romanticise the beauty of the motherhood I don’t participate in. I choose to make a pretty baby quilt rather than struggle with the challenge of creating the weird wonderful unique images that rarely get past the sketchbook.

I make the baby quilts as cuddle rugs to comfort my own fear of inadequacy, of failure, of success. Knowing this, how can I make another?