Normal Service has been Resumed

I have taken a bit of a break part of which has been spent in Cambodia. I thoroughly recommend it as a destination, the people are lovely and very laid back in spite of a very tragic history. Inevitably went to Angkor Wat and took some probably very cliched pics.

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These of of the area known as Ta Promh and the only bit now with the trees growing through. The rest of the site is vast and I took loads of inspirational pics

We also went to Pnomh Penh, Kampot and an island, Koh Rong Samoleon which was relaxing and totally off grid





On our return I went to Birmingham to the Embroiderers Guild AGM to report on my year as one of their scholars. It feels like the end of an era especially as I am considering moving on from the ways in which I have been working for the past 3 or 4 years. It will still have an ethical basis but I would like to explore alternative ways of mark making.

However I have not quite finished yet. At the moment I am working on a very large piece that is to go into Romsey Abbey. It will go into a large arch and is double sided and will consist of 5 separate ‘banners’. Since it is time consuming I am hoping that the elements both together and apart will have various different guises over the coming months and over time will be altered in some way, hence title of Metamorphosis.


This is how far I have got.
I will document here the nature of the changes as and when they happen so watch this space!

Another Direction

I have been experimenting with my jar dyed fabrics. I wanted to do something loosely based on the flaky scots pine bark that I have been playing with from the Common.



These are a couple of samples. In the interests of testing whether the dyes are at all colourfast and to distress the pieces, i threw them in the washing machine. Apart from a slight colour shift the dyes held well including the elderberry.

I then went onto working on a much larger scale


I am not sure this will make it into the exhibition since it is radically different to all the other work I have completed

A Reveal

I returned from my holiday and checked on the jars that have been stewing gently on my conservatory windowsill. Since it has been very hot I decided that it was unlikely they would go any further – the liquid in the jars were all clear. I also want to try some more plants etc and there is a limit to the number of jars I have


As is soften the case with natural dyes some of the promise of depth of colour was lost when they were opened

This one is oak bark on alum mordanted cotton. It was originally very much like the birch bark from my previous experiments so I added some rusty nails. It has come out a pale mottled grey with some quite lovely marks including some tannish areas
This is the willow leaf and twig cloth I chucked in some copper staples which has definitely had some interesting effects

This one is the Forsythia mordanted with alum. This has come out a yellowy green – I was expecting more green than I achieved
This one is the cherry bark I was hoping for more pinkish tones but the mistake is mine. I added some vinegar when I should have added some alkali. I am going to repeat this experiment. I am still pleased with the results
Lastly and most interestingly I froze some elderberries last year. I kind of expected purplish colours and in the jar the fabric appeared black. I was surprised therefore with this result.
a beautiful shade of teal. I am well aware of the notorious fugitive reputation that elderberries have. I am interested to see whether the act of freezing has any effect on this. I am going to have another go with this years elderberries too without freezing.
I am working very much on the principle of the need to work with nature and not try to influence it too much. I am going to use what I achieve with no preconceptions and let it inform me of the next step. Thus if the fabric fades so be it I shall still use it.
I still have 2 jars of St Johns Wort, one jar of honesty flowers and a jar of birch bark which has yet to exhaust.
In the meantime I need to start thinking about how I am to work with my fabricsP1020709