Monday, March 31, 2008

Still alive

Looks like it is my turn to assure everyone I am still alive and I should be able to start answering emails and returning calls tomorrow. Instead of this being something of a holiday it's been manic. It has been good, even though the lack of sleep is wearing. I've quilted two childrens quilts for a fabric company this week. They aren't really my thing, but several of my friends think they are amazing, so look out for a new childrens range from Makower.

I've also been working on my entry for the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. It's come on well, and I was thrilled to discover last night I have two days longer than I thought to deliver it. On the other hand I do still have to take a quilt on a stretcher frame into London on the tube. Doesn't sound too bad, well it is 2.1m by 0.7m. That's bigger than me! Fortunately I will have a helper, I think I will need it.

Today is the last day you can see Golden Storm, it will be off to it's new home tonight. This also means that next week I will have something different hanging, and no I am not sure what yet.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Thank you all for a great weekend

I've had a really good long weekend, and it has been entirely due to other people. So to everyone who has helped, thank you.

Friday was great, lots of people visited the gallery and were all so enthusiastic, and helpful. For such a miserable day, weather wise, it was really unexpected. It was enhanced by hearing of Trogdors first racing run. After the first qualifier Trogdor was 1st, how amazing is that for a first outing. Over the day he did loose a few places, but was still 7th at the end of the day.

Saturday was a quiet day all round, a lot of chatting at the gallery, and no racing due to the weather. Still I got a lot of sewing done and found it generally relaxing. Actually in some ways it was the first day the gallery worked the way I expected. I had though that once I had everything set up it would be very relaxing to look after and I would have time to sew, mostly it doesn't work quite that way.

I wish I had pictures of the weather Sunday, but I was too absorbed just watching it. It's funny how much snow changes things. People were much nicer in the snow, for the first time I got a cheery greeting as I put out my sandwich board rather than being grumbled at or even shoved in to the road. Everywhere was so peaceful. I loved watching the huge clusters of snow blowing towards the gallery door. I only realised when it stopped that I really should have taken pictures. maybe sometime it is better to just enjoy these things. When I was publicising my show I came up with a list of people I would really like to invite, some I couldn't find current contact details for though. One I was particularly sad to have missed turned up! He had chosen just the right time to go hunting for us and found out about my show. So in between other visitors we got to catch up and swap contact details. How amazing is that? I think I would add that as one of the success factors for a show.

Monday brought me another visitor I had been keenly waiting for, and more snow. When I invited her I hadn't considered her children skills, but those turned out to be very useful, when two other friends arrived with their children. The kids were kept entertained while the parents had a chance to look around. I was really thrilled that some of he children really seemed to like my work. They played with 'See Sound' and listened very patiently to my rather woolly explanation of how it all works. They experimented with how it behaved to different noises. What really made it for me was the idea that one of the children was going to send her gran a postcard with a nude on it, some how that is just amazingly cool.

As there were a lot of people about to keep and eye on the gallery I was able to go and look at some graves. One of the friends of Kensal Green took me to see my hero's, the Brunels. It's a very solid functional monument, I think it suits perfectly. I was thrilled to find out how much of the family are there together. We then visited James Barry, I didn't remember the name, but the story did come back to me. If you're in the same boat do follow the link it's a great story. It was so good to be shown the cemetery by someone who is not only very knowledgeable but also massively enthusiastic. I has already decided that I was going to take a tour sometime, but this has brought it home to me how important that is. The tours run every Sunday, leaving from the large Anglican chapel at 2pm. The first and third Sunday includes a tour of the catacombs, so the next catacomb tour is the 6th April. If you take that one you will end up in the gallery where my show is.

Through out the day I was getting texts from the drag strip...through the first round...though again...into the semis...... At each step I knew this would be the final result, the weather was horrible for racing. I was wrong, they managed to run the meeting to completion and Tet has his first pot, he came second in his first outing with his own car, isn't that just a fantastic outcome. I can't quite believe that after all this time he is finally on the podium, and it being his car is just amazing.

Finally, some more pictures of my show, by a friend who came along on the first night. If you look hard you will find I failed to escape all the pictures.

Saturday, March 22, 2008


Well looks like today will be quiet, and I am holding the weather largely responsible. The wind is still quite strong and so far this morning I have seen rain sleet, and snow. No hail yet but I am sure it is just a matter of time. Still if you are thinking of visiting, I am open and I will be happy to make you a hot drink when you get here. The sun does keep coming out too, whenever it does the cemetery looks beautiful, and well worth some time.

As you might imagine the drag racing isn't enjoying the weather either. They have had constant snow from early this morning. I suspect there are a lot of racers huddled in tents and vehicles.

Friday, March 21, 2008

What a great day.

Who would have thought that a very cold and windy day would be perfect gallery weather. I've been busy all day and it's been wonderful. Thank you to everyone who braved the weather and trains to come and see my work, you have no idea what it means to me.

As well as the gallery going really well, the race car seems to have made a good start. It passes scrutineering, and ran well in it's first run. Very well in fact, number 1 qualifier that round. It managed a respectable second run too, and only slipped to number 4 qualifier. Given this is the cars first outing and Tet is used to a Pro tree not the sportsman, this is really amazing. Hopefully they will get some more runs over the weekend, but given the weather forecast I am not going to hold my breath.

All in all a fantastic day.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I've done it now

Well I've entered the Summer Exhibition. I can't quite believe it, but it did make sense as my next challenge. I don't rate my chances, apparently they prefer small pieces and 'normal' media. Still the sooner I start trying the sooner they will get the idea that textiles might be worth considering. Next year I will try and get organized earlier though, I like less panic. Actually I did try to be organized this year. I did check the Royal Academy site several times about the time I thought the forms should come out, but I stopped before they came up. I'll blame it on being preoccupied with my own show I think.

The show has continued to have strange bonus effects. I've discovered (with the aid of a friend) a new restaurant. It is an Eastern European restaurant in Camden near the Round House. Zorya, opened about three weeks ago, and describes itself as 'Imperial Vodka Bar'. It certainly has a very impressive vodka menu, two sides of A4 covered in quite small text. The vodkas are grouped by country, so for those who have strong views on where their vodka should come from it's perfect. Despite my great love of vodka I haven't even started on this menu as they also have a very interesting cocktail menu. It's not a huge selection, but they are really interesting cocktails. Between us we have tried most of these, and they are great. Food wise I have been failing you all. I've managed to try two starters and two deserts (both great) but only one main course. Their roast duck it astoundingly good. I think it will take me some time to try something else. Please do go and try this restaurant, I really want it to do well, the staff are friendly and food good. The address is 48 Chalk Farm Road, London NW1 8AJ.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Artists are normal people

Stop laughing. I don't know what I expected but the peopl filling in forms weren't it. They write their statements on scraps of paper, cross out wildly then use what is left. They double and triple check the name of the piece they are entering, and they are confused by the whole process. One lass was calling her friends and canceling her social life for the weekend, she has a show on and now needs to sort out this entry too. This has been a worthwhile experience if only for discovering I don't stand out, I do look like an artist, but then so do you. Whatever your style I am sure someone in that queue looked like you.

Now I have the weekend to sort out my entry. I decided I would rather have someone check my form than save myself an extra journey.

I love my friends

Really I do, well most of the time anyway. I had been familiar with the phrase "If you want something doing ask a busy person" but over the last month I seem to have been proving it rather more than I would have liked. So on an already over comitted day did I really need reminding about the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition? Apparently so. However the entry form has to be purchased by 5pm today, and as the deadline is so close my only option is to go and get it. So here I am on a tube train blogging. I have also used the time for some lesson planning so it could be worse. I also thought to pick up my posters so I will see if any of the art shops will display one for me. What have I got to lose? Oh and I will probably need to hand deliver the forms back as well, the deadlin is Tuesday. I suppose that will stop me thinking too much and losing my nerve.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Herd Mentality

Here is a picture of Herd Mentality, if you click on it you will get a bigger view. I know it isn't the greatest picture, but I will take more. I wasn't going to put this up yet, but as another site didn't want to upload it I thought I would put it here to show them. Please remember that all images on this site are copyright.

If you have voted for my piece in the Saatchi gallery, thank you. If not there is still time, click this link and it will take you straight to the voting page.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Another lovely review

Another friend has put up a review of my opening. two in fact. So if you would like to read them, and admire the picture of real live people in the gallery, take a look here. I know, I should use a direct link to the post, but there are two of them! I will change it at a later date.

Saatchi Showdown

I've just remembered my round of the showdown started yesterday. I have put 'Nude with Rope' into the competition. The winners will be shown in the bricks and mortar gallery as well as the online one. If you would like to have a look and consider voting for my piece you can find it here. One of the nice things about this showdown is you can vote for many pieces, you are just saying how much you like each one. The highest scores go on to another showdown later in the year. I don't think my chances are great there are a huge number of pieces in the competition, but if I don't try and I don't tell people I have no chance. For those of you have had had problems with other online contests, this one doesn't harvest emails. They don't ask for any information you just click a star.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Another day, another early start

Well here I am again. Today I am actually looking forward to going to the gallery. Yesterday was fun. I had a friend who came and helped me, which is great and I enjoyed meeting new people. There was a lovely mother and daughter from America who were really interested in my work and so encouraging. I was amused that the mother instantly identified she was looking at quilts, even if I insisted they were mixed media art. Yes they are both, but in the UK it is a lot more acceptable to call them mixed media, don't ask me I don't get it either. I wonder if that is the true value of mounting an exhibition like this.

I also came home to an absolute flurry of feedback. Thank you all for taking time to comment it makes all the stress worthwhile. One particularly nice piece is here. Cy, as he says is as old friend, who writes. I've loved his story telling for years and I value his opinion. Like many of my friends he was a little confused when I said I had taken up quilting, but I guess he has come to terms with it. It's fun changing people view of what quilting is all about.
For those thinking about coming along, the address and directions are on this page. The google map of the area is here. I realised in the bath last night that this will be the only chance to see all these pieces together. It looks like several will be going off to start new lives after the show, so if you want to see them in the flesh, it's now or never. Equally my talk on Monday will be pretty unique (and I suspect a little longer than usual so if you are in the area drop the talk will start at 1pm and be followed by tea and cakes.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Pictures, as promised

Now bear in mind I am doing this from my phone at the gallery, so I can't be sure what order you will see them in. If all goes well this will give you a quick virtual tour of my show.

The gate that gives direct access is a bit hard to spot, and may not look like it leads to a gallery, but bear with it and head down the stairs. The gallery is a custom built space wrapped arround the old Dissenters Chapel. As you can see the gallery is lovely, and I think it's great to be able to have so much of my work on display at one time. The show is open for a month every Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

Morning after

Well that worked then. Thank you all for coming. It was great to meet new people and wonderful that so many friends did manage to make it. It looks like the workshops and tutorials should be lively too, judging from the comments from those who will be coming back for them. Now I have to head off and open up for the day time visitors.

Some tips for finding the gallery,
  • It is attached to the Dissenters Chapel.
  • It is in the Cemetery not the Crematorium.
  • It is very close to the Sainsbury's on the canal.
  • It is surrounded by a huge brick wall.
I think that covers the main points that people mentioned last night. If you think there is something else I need to add drop me a note and I will.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

An odd thought

I've been running about like a loon to get everything ready for the show, and I wondered if I should have decided to make less new work. It would have meant less to do, and that has to be a good thing. Well maybe not. Just the thought of sitting around without a ton of work to do just before a big event was truly terrifying. Strangely I think I am happier and calmer because I am so busy. Sometimes I puzzle myself.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008


Apparently my iron has been dying for a while. It's had water coming out from the bottom of it for at least a few days. Of course I only noticed it today. I've been able to save most of the things that were around it, and if I use it as a dry iron it will see me through the next few days. Still I don't remember saying what I need now is a dead iron and a soggy studio.

'Real' Art

I pick my moments. I would say the way I normally work isn't 'real' art. I work from photographs and just present the data that is there. Generally that works well. However, this time it failed me, I found one area that really needed more information to make sense. The data isn't there on the processed pictures I have been working from so I've had to go back to the original and draw. Oh my, I don't do that, well I suppose I do now. And I would have to say I am pretty pleased with what I have achieved. I have vastly improved the piece, but given the choice I think I would have rather tried this experiment at a less stressful time. Of course there is an argument that says I wouldn't have done it if I hadn't been pushed, and that's probably the truth of it. I suspect if this had been going straight to a quilt show I would have left it. As a piece of art I felt it needed more work.

Maybe in future I need to be thinking more about how my work will look in a gallery, even if it is going to a quilt show. I certainly seems to be pushing me to do more and work better? I know that isn't quite the right word but I hope you get the idea, I am not working harder, just seeing I might be able to do better. Does this mean I might have to learn when to stop next? I've always had a clear end point but now it is a bit more fluid.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Seemed like a good idea at the time

I guess this is a symptom of crunch time. I am sure having an exhibition seemed like a good idea at some point, but right now it seems very dim. There is so much to do and so little time. The cows are almost done. I am working on them steadily, I don't want to rush or get annoyed with them and I know I do have the time for them. However the shopping and preparing all looks very scary. Fortunately I do have people who can and will help on the day. I hate to think what state I would be in now without that. Why is it all the little things seem to take so much time and effort. Now where will I get very large sheets of clear cellophane to wrap my prints...

Sunday, March 02, 2008


I love snow, yes really. I've been really hoping it would snow and I could get pictures of the Henry Moore sculptures in the snow, they would look amazing. However, the one thing I didn't want for my opening was... snow! So today the weather forecast is suggesting we will get lots of snow over the next week. Not fair. The worst part is I won't even have time to go and take the photographs.