Planet Textile Threads

October 25, 2016

Dijanne Cevaal

Linocutting and I

I seem to have done a lot of linocutting of late, mainly because the more I do it, the more ideas spring to mind, and I can't wait to get onto the next one.

There is a few things I wanted to share as to how I work with linocuts. It is a bit different than making linocuts for paper- where you often texture the black in order to create texture- so you will often find there is more of  black on the paper than white ( the negative space)- this is partly because the evenness of your black indicates your skill as a printmaker. Also some of the background gouging out does not print on paper as it is a harder surface but it does print on  because ,fabric is soft and therefore picks up some of that texture- which at times can be disconcerting.So I tend to gouge quite deeply.

I never use a brayer to ink up my linocuts- I use a dense foam roller that I buy in hardware shops. Over the years I have discovered not all dense foam rollers are equal and some do the coverage job much better than others, so there are now  a favourite or two one of which at least one gets to have trips overseas, so that when I feel the inclination to make a linocut I know I can get a decent print. My linocutting tools also travel ,as do bits of lino. I use silk cut lino as I like it's density for carving and I find I can get a good print on fabric with it. There are softer materials to carve available but I feel they don't carve in the same way nor do they give the same kind of print. in France I buy my lino and tools from Joop Stoop in Paris- they are print making specialists.

I use water based textile printing ink- the oil based ones are too messy for fabric and dry too hard. There are several brands available. In Australia I get mine form Kraftkolour and buy the base extender and add my own pigments to create the colours I want- I can also add more pigment to make the colour more dense. Also ambient temperature plays a role in printing- so I find the cool of early morning seems to make better prints than say a warm sunny day.

And last  but not least. I said linocuts for paper seem to have more black than white. The linocuts I make have more white than black so that I can stitch in the space- allowing for creative interpretation and adding an extra factor of colour and texture with stitch to the  linocut image. And I also print on  hand dyed fabric so sometimes the texture of the hand dyeing plays a role in the final print. Being able to stitch my linocuts has opened up a whole new world of ideas for me- and I am really glad that it seems to have done the same for other people- given the enthusiasm with which the Sentinelle project and Medieval project were received.Also having more white space than black space means the actual print on the fabric stays softer and is therefore easier to print and therefore stitch.

So here are some of the linocuts I have made this year and stitched this year. I have also been working on trying to make a name stamp for myself- still not sure but getting there. Most are stitched by hand but there are a few which have been stitched by machine.

by Dijanne Cevaal ( at October 25, 2016 10:05 AM

Margaret Cooter

Drawing Tuesday - V&A

The meeting place was the cast courts, because of the splendid stuff they contain ...

 But the other cast court is being renovated, with screeches and bangs that reverbrate disturbingly, so we each found somewhere else to go.
 I stayed for a while and took some photos - the next is a closeup of the one above, wonderful cascades of cloth -
 ... and Ms Threeface is at one corner of the monument -
A convenient bench gave this view -
 ... and again the camera was useful for "seeing" the details

 and pulling the upper areas into focus -
Result, a page of careful looking at shapes and patterns, and of trying to get the column to fit on the page without measuring (third time lucky). Measuring with a pencil held at arm's length is a good check, but as a tutor in some class said, "try it by eye first". That helps with getting the proportions intuitive - you do a lot of checking against what's nearby, and switch back and forth with the negative spaces.
Finally fleeing the noise, I went to the Chinese room and was captivated by the colours of these vessels, part of the emperor's rituals to ensure that heaven and earth didn't get out of synch.
 The museum's website puts it better: "Chinese emperors of the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) performed rituals every year at the Altars of Heaven, Earth, the Sun and the Moon. The rituals were considered essential for the well-being of the empire. Porcelains of different colours were placed at different altars. Dark blue was used for the Altar of Heaven, yellow for Earth, red for the Sun and light blue ( 'moon white') for the Moon. While performing the ritual the emperor would have worn a sacrificial robe of a matching colour."

Miniatures - Ming dynasty (1368-1644) tomb furniture included garment hangers and a tower stand -
What did we find this week? Going round the table ...
Janet's madonna and child

Michelle rubbed back the graphite background, then added the jar
(and couldn't resist the jagged shape)

Najlaa's closely observed mosaic flooring

Carole's staircase and finial

Sue's golden mask of a king, 1700-1800

Jo's bronze vessel, 1200-1100BC

Joyce was in the 20th century gallery
 Showing and telling ...

by Margaret Cooter ( at October 25, 2016 09:51 AM

Neki Rivera

in awe

don't think i'll get tired of my new hood. started my morning walks and there's a lot to be explored in the park in front of where we's an interesting kind of urban park, very natural and wild,yet with some facilities such as water fountains, a section with exercise machines, toilets, benches and even picnic tables. all in a very unobtrusive fashion.
lots of bird chirping and even mooing cows, not to mention the electrified wires to keep the wild boars from descending to town. no luck with that so far!   

neki desu
Creative Commons License

by (neki desu) at October 25, 2016 08:00 AM

October 24, 2016

Margaret Cooter

Going walkies

While the weather is good is a good time to get some exercise, preferably out in the countryside.

Saturday's walk was billed as "River Brent and Osterley - a leisurely 6 mile walk".
After traversing the little park near the station, we passed under Brunel's Wharncliffe viaduct -
The story goes that Queen Victoria would have her train stopped on the viaduct so that she could admire the view (photo of view not possible just now...)
Further along, the Hanwell flight of locks -
 and this charming lock keeper's cottage -
Beside the locks is a mighty wall, repaired in crucial places -
Behind it was - and is - the asylum. St Bernard's Hospital is still active as part of West London NHS Mental Health Trust. It came into being in 1831 (when prisons, cemeteries, etc were being shifted to the outskirts of London), and the old buildings are still there ... behind that wall ...

Over the canal -
 ... over the M4 -
 ... and soon to Osterley Park, well used on a sunny Saturday afternoon -
 A long tea stop at Osterley House cafe -
On the way to Isleworth station, this imposing building - Borough Road College, now Lancaster House, Osterley campus of Brunel University. The college dates back to 1889 in this location, and 1798 on its former site on the Borough Road in Soutwark. 
 Through leafy streets to the station (and a little window shopping in Richmond) -
I couldn't trace the exact route on the map -

It didn't feel like "enough" walking so I tried a longer walk the next day:

Seer Green to Amersham via Penn Street

Moderate 11.3 miles / 18.2 km
Linear to Amersham Station (Metropolitan Line, Zone 9) over gently undulating terrain via Coleshill Common, Winchmore Hill, Penn Street, Little Missenden and Amersham Old Town. Through beech woods, some good views and attractive villages. Lunch stop at 'The Squirrel' pub or bring picnic.
As this walk was twice as long, there are twice as many photos - taken on the hoof as the pace was verging on "challenging" for me.
The golden road not taken
Lanes, fields, blue sky
Woods and leaf-litter
Inky caps - exciting to see them after reading about them in years past
Unlike on television, the scenery is 3D
The sign on the post at left says "Quilts" - but I'm not sure of the name of the village
Another sign, in front of Winchmore Hill Memorial Hall
More woods - of a different sort
Lunch stop - but buying a drink didn't give us the "right" to eat our own food on the benches outside
Penn Street village church, at the edge of  Penn Wood
"Mop End" - ah those quaint names!
Regrowth of beech
Across the fields to some village or other...
... Little Missenden
Little Missenden Manor House - its tall chimneys visible from afar
Countryside pursuits
The little river flows under the houses ... charming
Woodsmoke, the smell of autumn
Reminds me of Anselm Kiefer
The house at the top of the hill...
... and its lake at the bottom of the hill (Humphrey Repton dammed the River Misbourne to create it)
Old Amersham runs...
... along a long street ...
... to the 1682 Market Hall ...
... and the church is round the corner
Climbing the (considerable) hill to New Amersham
Through more lovely woods ...
... and finally to the station. The last mile was definitely the toughest, but I'll happily do it again. Red kites and buzzards overhead, flinty fields and crisp leaves underfoot. Not too much mud - yet.

by Margaret Cooter ( at October 24, 2016 02:53 PM

Neki Rivera

not perfect

but in working conditions. the sewing table's still inundated with stuff but getting there.the two knitting machines all set up and the printing table is the babe of it all.
can't believe all the natural light! my studio in barcelona was a dungeon.
still need to hang the warping board and the textiles; the board is a necessity the textiles can wait.
dying to get the looms set up. the table one is going to the alcove between the walk in closet and my bathroom.there's a huge window there so i think i'll need sunglasses ^_^

neki desu
Creative Commons License

by (neki desu) at October 24, 2016 08:00 AM

not perfect

but in working conditions. the sewing table's still inundated with stuff but getting there.the two knitting machines all set up and the printing table is the babe of it all.
can't believe all the natural light! my studio in barcelona was a dungeon.
still need to hang the warping board and the textiles; the board is a necessity the textiles can wait.
dying to get the looms set up. the table one is going to the alcove between the walk in closet and my bathroom.there's a huge window there so i think i'll need sunglasses ^_^

neki desu
Creative Commons License

by (neki desu) at October 24, 2016 08:00 AM

October 23, 2016

Margaret Cooter

Hitting the buffers

Buffers at Paddington Station
To hit the buffers is to come to a sudden and unsuccessful end. It implies a massive force moving at speed - like a train with brake failure, about to overshoot the station. Good thing they installed these big ones ... just in case. 

More commonly in rail transport, though, "the buffers are projecting, shock-absorbing pads which, when vehicles are coupled, are brought into contact with those on the next vehicle" (wikipedia). Shock absorbers.

As well as it's chemical usage, buffering exists in data ... won't go into that just now ... and "hitting the buffers" has often been used as a catchy phrase in articles about economics.

Buffing - polishing - may require a machine, a buffer -
Which leads me to wonder about the origins of "in the buff" ... won't go into that just now.

by Margaret Cooter ( at October 23, 2016 10:42 AM

October 22, 2016

Dijanne Cevaal


This year seems to have been  the year of angel encounters. I have been ruminating on my next book Musing in Textile:Italy and one of the images that surfaces on a regular basis, in the Italian encounters I have had is the image of an angel. My friend Ada Melegari also thought I should make a linocut angel image, and the idea has been hopping about in my head since. So I finally set to and made an angel linocut. As usual my first trial print was on newspaper, and then I have printed various ones on fabric. The image measures 22 cm x 15 cm. The orange/turquoise one has been printed on a hand dyed vintage  table napkin .I only have four of these available.

You can purchase the "angel" hand printed fabric from me and I have put a Paypal button for ease of purchase ( at the bottom of my post). I have made them all the same price even though the table napkin is a larger piece of fabric- but then- the first to buy has just a bit of luck. If you don't see a colour just ask me as I will be printing more. The angel has been printed by hand, from a linocut I have carved, on fabric that has been hand dyed.The price for the print and postage is $17AUS

I wanted to share some of the images of angels I have encountered this last year. starting with one from William Kentridge's exhibition in Milano that I was lucky to see.

The next two images are from the museum next to the Duomo in Milan and are stained glass

And some angelic encounters from the Pinacoteca in Siena.

I have also  created a Paypal  button for the Aussie Bush Project on the Aussie Bush Project  page

Below is the button to purchase an Angel panel

by Dijanne Cevaal ( at October 22, 2016 07:18 PM

Margaret Cooter

On the home front

Sometimes - not very often recently - I go and visit my flat, which is still under renovation. In years to come I'll look back on this "interesting" time, and having a few photos will bring back a flood of recollections, if only of  how not to do it "next time".

Progress is being made. The unopened, returnable packets of the unsuitable flooring await collection by the courier --
This leaves the stairs clear, and as the dusty work is done (or is it?), soon the plastic covering the carpet might be removed, along with bags of cement etc -
Where once my little pots gathered dust, now there are empty shelves! The pots are packed up, and drilling will soon be taking place in this wall, to deal with bits of wiring, and there's a plan to change the shelves to cabinets with glass doors, here and elsewhere -
In the studio-as-was-and-will-be-again - clear floor space! Only a small patch, but it's a start -
Plans for the bookshelves have been pretty much finalised and involve an entire wall of the living room, but bookshelves take a lot of time to build, so the plastic here will be in place for a while yet -
I spent a happy half hour clearing out the under-sink cupboard -
It's so encouraging to have a definite, finite space in order
Tom is using the living room as a workshop at the moment; he's making skirting boards, yet another thing that still needs doing -
The gold flooring is underlay - soon to be covered with a wood floor
The corner - butted, not mitred - isn't a straightforward cut and it's a beautiful fit. In the background, the bits of wiring will be fixed once the drilling through the wall takes place -
Now we are left with some of the prime grade canadian birch flooring - enough for a small room or a couple of landings, should you know someone who would be interested -
Five cartons of birch flooring for sale!

by Margaret Cooter ( at October 22, 2016 10:14 AM

October 21, 2016

Rayna Gillman

in the Alps

So here I am, almost at the weekend in this gorgeous area of Switzerland, about 1-1/2 hours outside of Zurich.  The mountain changes according to the time of day and the weather.  I have been here since last Monday and will be leaving on after the weekend.
  I have had a wonderful week staying with my friend Barbara and her husband, sewing with Barbara's friends, and being too well fed and pampered.  Today I got the $50 tour of the area and over the weekend, more.  But it was hard to take photos on those curvy mountain roads, so I don't have any to show right now. 

We had raclette for dinner tonight and it was yummy.  The first time I have had it!  Here are just a couple of pictures of tonight's meal.

Cheeses, bacon, hot peppers, tomatoes, cornichons, potatoes, and roasted peppers.  The cheese was melted, poured over the potatoes, and eaten with all of the other items. 

Delicious!  More, tomorrow.

by (Rayna) at October 21, 2016 09:21 PM

Margaret Cooter

East end, west end

East End graffiti (here today, gone tomorrow) -

 West End history (established 1827, and at these premises since 1845) -

by Margaret Cooter ( at October 21, 2016 09:30 AM

October 20, 2016

Rayna Gillman

And the winner is...

Thanks to all of you for posting comments on my blog.  Hilda Bakke is the lucky winner of Cindy's new book; I wish you could all have won a copy!

I'm in Switzerland this week and next.  Next Monday I am teaching near Geneva, but this week I am playing and relaxing with my friend Barbara and some of her friends -- looking at the gorgeous scenery, and doing a lot of eating, drinking, sewing, and laughing.  The laughing is the most important part!

Here was the mountain early this morning.

 And here it is, from a different vantage point, later.   Snow up there.

Bedtime in the Alps at this moment.  Night.

by (Rayna) at October 20, 2016 08:18 PM

Margaret Cooter

Poetry Thursday - Spirit Song Over the Waters, by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Staubbach Falls, Lauterbrunnen (via)
Gesang der Geister ueber den Wassern

The soul of man
Resembleth water:
From heaven it cometh,
To heaven it soareth.
And then again
To earth descendeth,
Changing ever.

Down from the lofty
Rocky wall
Streams the bright flood,
Then spreadeth gently
In cloudy billows
O'er the smooth rock,
And welcomed kindly,
Veiling, on roams it,
Soft murmuring,
Tow'rd the abyss.

Cliffs projecting
Oppose its progress,--
Angrily foams it
Down to the bottom,
Step by step.

Now, in flat channel,
Through the meadowland steals it,
And in the polish'd lake
Each constellation
Joyously peepeth.

Wind is the loving
Wooer of waters;
Wind blends together
Billows all-foaming.

Spirit of man,
Thou art like unto water!
Fortune of man,
Thou art like unto wind! 
Written in October 1779 in Lauterbrunnen, where there is an extremely high waterfall. The title was originally "Gesang der leiblicher Geiste in der Wueste" and the lines were a dialogue between two spirits rather than a lyrical utterance by the poet. 
Some take the opening to mean that we enter life in cycle after cycle, others that we have joyful and sad experiences within one life.

by Margaret Cooter ( at October 20, 2016 01:23 PM

October 19, 2016

Dijanne Cevaal

Aussie Bush Project

It is full steam ahead on the Aussie Bush Project which will commence it's exhibition life next year in May 2017. I will post more details about the schedule as soon as I have them to hand. I have finished the last and final linocut to be a part of the project and will be putting the different colours I have on the Aussie Bush Project page later today. I have also created Paypal buttons for each of the lino prints that is available for purchase ( you do need to tell me colour though) to make it easier to purchase and you don't need to go through the process of emailing me.

I have called the last linocut  Blackwoods Dancing with Mountain Ash as earlier this year when I went out for an early morning reconoitre I was enchanted by the swirling twirling blackwoods which seemed to be dancing with the tall and straight mountain ash trees whose foliage was all the way up in the sky- it was such a happy idea that trees should be dancing with each other!

The print measures 22 cm x 45 cm and has been hand printed onto hand dyed fabric.So now to head downstairs and begin printing!

by Dijanne Cevaal ( at October 19, 2016 07:10 PM

Margaret Cooter

Contemporary art sketchbook walk course - week 1

First meeting started at Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood - challengingly noisy!

Amanda provided information on using line and tone

A longish but invigorating walk to Chisenhale Gallery to see an animation by Peter Wachtler (till 11 Dec)
Then to other galleries on the list, in a cluster south of Bethnal Green: Maureen Paley, Laura Bartlett, Herald Street, Campoli Presti ... and ...
... "End-User" at The Ryder (till 12 November)

Annette Kelm at Herald Street

Jutta  Koether at Campoli Presti (till 12 November)

Review of sketchbooks at the end of the day. 
I missed seeing Sol Calero at Laura Bartlett (till 13 November), might be able to go back, looks interesting!

by Margaret Cooter ( at October 19, 2016 01:40 PM

Neki Rivera


as susan says trying to put a pint into a quart.but will get there out of sheer will.

neki desu
Creative Commons License

by (neki desu) at October 19, 2016 09:45 AM

October 18, 2016

Margaret Cooter

Drawing Tuesday - Wellcome Collection

Arriving early, I used the till receipt for a bracing cup of coffee for a warm-up ... loose marks combining to resemble (somewhat) the vase of gladioli and lilies -
Photos from here and there, some taken in retrospect -
nice place for a little afternoon snooze!

Florence Nightingale's moccasins, worn at Scutari 1850-56

amazing bottles

Statues of deceased twins (Yoruba people, Nigeria) (via)
wooden statue showing childbirth, Angola, 19th century (via)

Janet's rendition of the childbirth figure

Sue's rendition of the deceased twins
Jo's massaging apparatus

Carol's collection includes the giant jellybaby

Joyce's shoes (or rather, Florence N's)

Michelle's contrasting sculptural figures
my marks-becoming-lettering (taken from Mary Kelly's
  Post-Partum Document VI, 1978)

my large drawing, with blunt crayon, based on Ramon y Cajal's microscopic
 ink drawings of delicate neural structures

Michelle brought along some books she's been making out of here prints and other sources
 Returning to the Reading Room after lunch, I'd hoped to see again the book that had fascinated me previously - a facsimile of Mascagni's plates of the lymph system. It had disappeared, but another fascinating facsimile book was available -

How is it that you revisit places and still don't notice so many things? This time, the ink-on-slate drawings held my attention, bot for their almost-xrayness and for the process used to produce them -

by Margaret Cooter ( at October 18, 2016 09:52 AM

Gerrie Congdon

The 70273 Project


I don’t remember where I first heard about this project, but I was immediately drawn in. It was founded by Jeanne Hewell-Chambers. You can followalong and find out more on her blog. Here is what she has to say about how she came to start this:

Between January 1940 and August 1941 (before the Holocaust began), 70,273 physically and mentally disabled people – men, women, teens, boys, and girls – were murdered by the Nazis. Though they never even laid eyes on the disabled person they were evaluating, the Nazi doctors read the medical files and, if from the words on the page, the person was deemed “unfit” or an “economic burden on society”, the doctor placed a red X at the bottom of the form. Three doctors were to read each medical file, and when two of them made a red X on the page, the disabled person’s fate was sealed. Most were murdered within 1-2 hours.

I will commemorate these 70,273 voiceless, powerless people who were so callously and casually murdered by gathering 70,273 blocks of white fabric (representing innocence and the paper the doctors read), each bearing two red X’s (representing one person), and I will stitch them together into quilts. 

She soon realized she could not accomplish this alone so she reached out to the world via the internet for help. She has specific dimensions and some instructions, but how you make the red x’s is up to the maker. Here are my first 3 in the 3 different sizes. I fused some red linen x’s to white cotton.


I then stitched them down.


Here is one of the quilts that Jeanne has made.


This is a big deal and a lot of work. I do hope that some of my readers will jump in and help with this. Just go to her blog. In the sidebar, you will find every thing you need to know.

I have finished one HRC hat and am working on the second one.


I am busy cleaning, packing, purging and moving my studio. Most every thing but the furniture has been moved. The furniture will get moved on Sunday. Then Mr C and I have to clean and paint the old studio so that I can get my deposit back.


by Gerrie at October 18, 2016 04:52 AM

October 17, 2016

Marion Barnett

When The Student Is Ready...

...the teacher will appear.  Nope, apparently the Buddha never said it, but that doesn't make it any less apposite for me.  I spent the past two days at a Cas Holmes workshop at Eaubrink Studios.  It was one of those things... I saw it, saw the word 'Japanese' in the description and thought, yup, I'd quite like to do that... and signed up.  Those of you who know me well, will know I don't do many workshops... it's just not my thing.  At the moment, though, I'm undergoing major change, mostly down to the health 'challenges' I'm struggling with, and thought that it would be useful to use the workshop as a kind of catalyst for change....and that's pretty much what it turned out to be.

I should say of Cas that she is a generous tutor, who met me where I was, accepted that I wasn't quite walking the same path as everyone else, and provided unobtrusive, unfailing support during the two days.  The focus of the workshop was paper, cloth and stitch with particular reference to momogami, or Japanese paper scrunching.  And scrunch, I did... producing some surprising results.  As always, it was interesting to watch everyone else, and what they were doing, and the diversity of the work was remarkable.  What did I make? A number of small pieces, all of which I expect to finish.   I had done some pre-work, which resulted in a single piece of work, which I think will be the first in a series.

I've turned up the volume on these, colour wise, because I wanted you to realise that the semi transparent focal point is made of a lot of different colours...I have to say, it looks a LOT better in real life.  It has a little bit of crinkled paper, and is very simple...I love the Japanese aesthetic, which I guess could be summed up in the phrase 'Less is more'.  The piece I started with was much more complicated, nothing like as successful, and shows the impact the workshop had before I'd even gone...

So... what did I learn?  I'm not going to go into the content of the workshop, because that's not fair to the tutor.  I thought I'd sum up the learning, instead.

First... less really is more.  As you know, I've gone from two rooms of fabric, to two boxes.  This workshop, with its emphasis on working from scratch to develop a couple of pieces, reminded me that even those two boxes might be too much.  It is possible to work with nothing but a blank canvas, and colour as you go along, rather than having a huge palette of fabric sitting waiting to be used.  And that's the way I need to work.

Second...workshops make you do things you'd never ordinarily think to do.  These bags are a case in point.

Both paper bags were scrunched up in order to tear them up and use the paper, whilst the cloth one was made in response to the paper one it is paired with. .  I felt I needed to use the top, brown paper bag entirely as it was, and realised, after a carefully placed comment from Cas, that this was 'about' creating a bag to keep my grief in.  The second bag is to keep secrets in, as it closes.  I'm pleased that the secrets bag is much goes inside the first one.  The patterened bag wants to have stitch, I think, and is 'about' something else entirely...not quite sure what,  yet.  But more small bags will be made, I suspect.

Another thing I learned, or was reminded of, is how important it is to talk about the work, preferably with people who 'get' it.  The bags are a case in point, but another would be these following pieces.  I have a small collection of  vintage white cotton table wasn't until I pulled this piece together on a long, thin piece of tea and onion skin dyed fabric, and talked about it to Cas, that I realised that this was a similar shape to a table runner, and was my way in to working with the collection, which I started about fourteen years ago, knowing that I wanted to make things that shape, but not knowing where to start.  I know that now...

Equally, looking at some of the fragments I had made during day two, I found myself telling Cas that I had been fascinated by flint walls, and that they had seemed to me like a lot of paintings, all combined in a building...and how I had made several fruitless attempts to make a painting inspired by that idea.   Being a good Norfolk lass herself, she talked about Norfolk Churches, and in particular, the wool churches.  As this post is long enough as it is, if you're interested, here's a link.  And something in my head shifted.   What I'd been doing, in making fragments, was creating the textile/paper 'paintings for a felt 'wall'.

Another learning point is that workshops are safe places to test your own limitations and beliefs.  Part of the reason for the first piece I showed you, was 'about' my belief that I couldn't work any bigger than vintage napkin size., actually, it turns out I can work larger than that... and here's the proof.  Okay, it's not huge, but it is bigger than a napkin.  Hurrah.  I still feel in my gut that small is my future, but I don't have to create false limitations for myself.  After all the ME creates enough real ones... though I do get a mobility scooter out of the deal, which pleases me somewhat... I never have to look for a chair...

This last is very much a work in progress, a piece of Sumi E paper, tea dyed and scrunched, stitched to a calico background.  I have absolutely no idea how it's going to progress, but it will.

And finally...there is one more piece, which I haven't photographed.  I have the feeling it was 'the warm up piece'...there's always one... and to be honest, I can't see it going anywhere.  I made it because I was carrying a set of expectations... and that particular one, which was about working with semi transparency, just didn't fit either the framework of the workshop or my own real needs, which became apparent very quickly.  And that would be the final learning... you don't have to do anything you don't want to...

I have to say I'm delighted with the outcomes of this particular workshop.  Would I recommend a Cas Holmes workshop to anyone?  Yes, without hesitation.  Run, don't walk, if you get the chance.  I was really impressed, got lots out of it, and would do it again... probably in three to five years time...I suspect that's how long it's going to take to work through the ideas that this one has generated.  And that's no mean feat.  Thanks, Cas.

by marion barnett ( at October 17, 2016 01:57 PM

Margaret Cooter

Here and there (and more Gormley)

Out and about in town last week, being part tour guide and part tourist in my own town.
Large flat bowl by Amanda Simmons at London Glassworks in Bermondsey

Mesmerised by suds and brushes going to work on a taxi, Bethnal Green

Lincoln's Inn gateway

Bar wigs - gowns - "Established 1689"

Tucked away in Covent Garden 


Lovely escape at the Geffrye Museum, Shoreditch

"Garden rooms" at the Geffrye

Dogwalker in Shoreditch

Charming cottages - and surveillance - in Canonbury

Coffee on wheels at Borough Market

And still they build, near London Bridge

Extension of London Bridge Station - the old arches
More from White Cube. First a glimpse of Untitled works by Virginia Overton, made of glass and Danby marble ... reflecting green leafy wallpaper with a design from the 1970s, playing on notions of the indoor and outdoor. In another room is a woodburning stove and enough wood to stoke it throughout the exhibition. Cosy.
 Layers of "white" wood and LEDS make the (Untitled) landscape above the seating in the corridor. Nice.
Antony Gormley's exhibition divides the large South Gallery into 15 small rooms containing 24 works - "dramatic physiological encounters"; as you wend through this maze, "each room challenges or qualifies the experience of the last".

The exhibition considers the relation of the individual to the built environment ... and "resulting displacement". It "asks whether we as citizens identify with the forces that determine inclusion or exclusion from city or country." Or so the handout says. Whereas we spent our time recognising "the people" and enjoyed the contrast of living humans moving about the rooms, appearing and disappearing, in contrast with the blocky forms.

The highlight was "Sleeping Field" (remember Field?) and suddenly "seeing" what it was about. Yes, those aren't just 517 elements of cast iron (which took 5 men 2 days to install, or was it 2 men and 5 days?) -
But how best to photograph these little hominoids?

"Hold" is made of 6mm weathering steel ...

... as is "Passage", a 12-metre long tunnel which visitors are invited to enter

You walk towards darkness, then turn around and walk towards light
"Gormley's approach to exhibition making is a test ground for perception, focusing on the mapping of our subjective experience and the potential of the viewer's projected empathy ... releasing us from any expectations of what sculpture is and how it might act on us."

The gallery's photos are here, and both shows run till 6 November.

by Margaret Cooter ( at October 17, 2016 09:31 AM

Neki Rivera


working on my new 20cm moss garden, zen to keep me going.
after my long blogging hiatus i come back to find blogger has eliminated the links from the sideboard. they say that they're working on it -yeah right- but if you want them back you can do it yourself. ಠ ಠ as if i didn't have anything else to do.

neki desu
Creative Commons License

by (neki desu) at October 17, 2016 08:00 AM

Terry Grant

The week in phone photos

So many things this week. It has been one for the record book.

Sunday: after a wonderful weekend in Moscow, Idaho and Pullman, Washington with old friends, we drove home in the rain, arriving in time to collapse in front of the TV and watch the presidential debate, and I don't need to even talk about that—back to the sordid reality of the campaign.


Monday: Transition meeting for old and new Board of Columbia Fiberarts Guild. I'm the new president. I have a long list...

My essay on crows in my artwork appears in newly published issue of the online magazine, Through our Hands.

Tuesday: walked with Beth. When I returned home I was stopped by a motorcycle Sheriff's Deputy who refused to allow me to drive on our closed road to my own driveway. I had no choice but to park in the neighborhood behind my house, cut through my neighbor's yard and climb through the arborvitae hedge at the back of our property, emerging in my backyard disheveled and, in Ray's words, "hopping mad". I wrote a rant on Facebook, then sent an email complaint to the County Sheriff, which only made me feel a little bit better.

Eye Dr. appointment for that horrible stress-inducing visual field test and pressure test and new prescriptions for more drops. Glaucoma sucks.

Tuesday was not a good day.

Wednesday: beautiful rainy walk and day spent cleaning my studio for the Open Studio Tour. Every time I turn on the radio or look at the internet, the news is uglier than the last time.

Thursday: A big day. Dylan wins Nobel prize for literature—makes me smile all over! Mail arrives with a copy of Farm Girl magazine (not a joke—it's a real magazine) with a photo of my campfire quilt published. Michelle Obama thrills us all with heart-breaking/lifting speech. Tears. Voicemail from Sheriff. He is very apologetic, will look into the road closure problem and talk to his officers and get back to me tomorrow. More studio cleaning. It's still not fit for visitors.

Friday: another rainy walk. Cheerful, sincere Sergeant Tannenbaum, from the Sheriff's office pays a visit. He has brought large local access passes for our cars and talked to the patrol officers. I have his phone number and must call him if I have any further difficulty accessing my driveway. I am a happy camper. Spend rest of the day cleaning the studio.

Saturday: Open Studios! But will anyone come? Not only is our road closed and an intimidating mess of machinery and mud and piles of gravel, but hurricane force winds and heavy rain are predicted. But I am ready and my first visitors are my daughter and granddaughter bearing fancy coffees. A few more neighbors and hardy souls show up, but it's the slowest Open Studio day I've ever had. Mid afternoon I am alone in the studio when, with a loud CRACK and quiet thud, a large ash tree falls across our driveway and front lawn. (coincidentally, right where a studio visitor's car had been parked a couple hours earlier) It seemed the perfectly calamitous end to a fairly calamitous day. Really that thud was kind of the closing punctuation to the whole week, but by then I was just calmly waiting for the next whatever...

The day ended with dinner at the Mongolian Grill with our grandchildren. My fortune cookie fortune said, "you are ready for a new hobby." I don't think so.

And now it is Sunday again. The storm is over. The tree is no longer blocking the driveway. Nice people, fun to talk to people, came to the studio and some even bought things. A new week has begun. I hope it is a little less eventful.

And the good news is my studio is clean.


by Terry Grant ( at October 17, 2016 12:50 AM

October 16, 2016

Margaret Cooter


Wheatfield with Crows, by Vincent Van Gogh (via)
Yet another serendipitous delight from the BBC radio iplayer - a farming programme about The Field of Wheat, a bit of "social art" that involved a 22 acre wheatfield - combining agriculture, art, science, economics. Up to 60 people could "buy in" to the project, with the hope that they'd make a little profit on their investment at the end of the year. They collaborated on decisions like how much nitrogen fertiliser to use and where to sell the crop, but the farmer (Peter Lundgren) decided the practical things, like when to harvest. 

This is part of a global art project - the idea behind it is to bring farming, and the decisions the farming industry makes, to a wider audience. "Having a conversation with the general public" - trying to understand wat they think about the importance of farming.

Artist Ruth Levene made some interesting comments about "framing", which is something that can be applied to any artwork. (I take framing to mean how is the artwork contained and how does it sit in its context, and that the frame sets the work apart under the label "art".) This is my transcription of what she said:

When does a field of wheat become a work of art, she was asked. "I think for us it's about framing the land and framing the story. What we're interested in is how the world works and how we perceive the world and often people are busy doing their own thing and they see this field of wheat from one particular perspective. 
In one sense we don't see it as much different from a framed picture. It's just our frame goes on in time and a bit further on in space. We're taking a landscape, we're taking a subject, in this case wheat, and we're putting a frame around it but we want to invite people in to make that live, to have that discussion, and following the wheat itself means that we have to see it from seed to harvest, and so the frame is just expanded, and in it we invite people not to just look but to speak and to listen and be involved."
They say great art has the power to move people, said the interviewer - do you think this field has done that? "Yes - I think together there has been times where ... everyone goes on their own journey to this, and everyone has come to this field of wheat from a very different place and a very different politics, and to share those with other people means that they'll see the same field maybe through a different lens, and I think there's time to do that where people have realised that their own perspective is not the only one."

A "meeting house" was built of straw bales roofed with a tarpaulin - at one end was a window, "framing" a view of the field, now cut to golden stubble, bringing everyone back to that focus on the 22 acres. Talks about to takeplace were about the changing relationship of art and culture to agriculture (including rituals and rural celebrations, and ways of reinventing them for our age), and about "harder" topics like the global grain market. 

Visual artist Shelley Castle has used soil samples from the field as pigments -
Subtle, beautiful, rich colours of the earth (via)
She has made a 7-foot long scroll with drawings of insects that have been found on field surveys. A baker made bread from some of the harvested wheat - a loaf that needs no kneading and goes into a cold oven, proves at 110 degrees C for half and hour to prove it, and then you turn the oven up to 180 degrees for an hour to cook it. 

A year in the life of a wheat field is summarised by John Lewis-Stempel (here), author of The Running Hare: the secret life of farmland, which was a Book of the Week on Radio 4. (Yes, BBC radio is the mainstay of my entertainment, information, and enlightenment. Glory be!)

The Running Hare "recalls an era before open-roofed factories and silent, empty fields, recording the ongoing destruction of the unique, fragile, glorious ploughland that exists just down the village lane.
But it is also the story of ploughland through the eyes of man who took on a field and husbanded it in a natural, traditional way, restoring its fertility and wildlife, bringing back the old farmland flowers and animals."
Wheatfield - A Confrontation, Battery Park Landfill, downtown Manhattan, 2 acres
of wheat planted & harvested, summer 1982 (via)
Another wheatfield is a land art project by Agnes Denes, grown on derelict urban land. "In Wheatfield - A Confrontation, Denes examined the natural cycles of growth and regeneration. Her stated purpose was to call "people's attention to having to rethink their priorities." She constructed the wheatfield on a landfill near the World Trade Center, an unlikely spot for crop production. Two assistants and some volunteers helped her remove trash from the 4 acres of land, spread 225 truckloads of topsoil, and plant 1.8 acres of wheat. She contends the work would not have been possible without numerous volunteers who arrived at random to help ... An irrigation system was installed to sustain and regulate the wheat's growth cycle over four months. In summer, the green wheat stalks stretched skyward and turned a brilliant amber by early autumn. In the late fall, the artist harvested a thousand pounds of the grain."

Paintings of wheatfields abound, possibly inspired largely by Van Gogh. Yet, as a common part of ordinary rural scenery, wheatfields have been showing up in landscape paintings for a long time. Keep an eye open for them!

by Constable (via)

by Elizabeth Moore Golding (via)
Vincent Van Gogh, Wheatfield with cornflowers (via)

by Margaret Cooter ( at October 16, 2016 01:57 PM

Natalya Aikens

fire escapes, bridges and water towers

I thought it's about time that I shared full images of all the new pieces I have created in the past few months. Now that I have premiered them at the Armonk Outdoor Art Show, it is time to see them on the blog. So without further a do here they are: 
Iron Spine 1xs (6"x6") © Natalya Aikens 2016
Iron Spine 2xs (6"x6") © Natalya Aikens 2016
Iron Spine 3xs (6"x6") © Natalya Aikens 2016
Iron Spine 4xs (6"x6") © Natalya Aikens 2016
Iron Spine 5xs (6"x6") © Natalya Aikens 2016
Water Tower 1xs (6"x6") © Natalya Aikens 2016
Water Tower 2xs (6"x6") © Natalya Aikens 2016
Water Tower 3xs (6"x6") © Natalya Aikens 2016
Water Tower 4xs (6"x6") © Natalya Aikens 2016
Water Tower 5xs (6"x6") © Natalya Aikens 2016
MNHB span (12"x12") © Natalya Aikens 2016
TRIboro span (12"x12") © Natalya Aikens 2016
TZB span (8"x8") © Natalya Aikens 2016
WHTstone span (8"x8") © Natalya Aikens 2016
GWB span (8"x8") © Natalya Aikens 2016
Soon I will have these up on my website with juicy detail images. Stay tuned! And thanks for stopping by!

by Natalya Aikens ( at October 16, 2016 12:31 PM

October 15, 2016

Sarah Ann Smith

Autumn at its finest

Dropping in briefly to share autumn’s glory.  Just got back from teaching in Little Rock, now entering final preparations for teaching at International Quilt Festival Houston.  Some of my classes still have openings, and you can sign up on site.  Hope to see many of you there and will try to post to share with those of you who can’t be there.









Ironic…I love “what is it” type of close ups, but this week somehow my psyche obstinately decided *this* would be my submission. Perhaps not as mysterious as it should be, but I was so tickled that I shot this hand-held and got the effect I wanted.  I’ll post a link to my other pics in the comments, but don’t go there until you (easily?) guess….


This is what those odd photos are above...I was tickled that I was able to hold the camera steady for 1/4 of a second to get the blur shots!

This is what those odd photos are above…I was tickled that I was able to hold the camera steady for 1/4 of a second to get the blur shots!

Hmmm…there may be a quilt or few in these……

by Sarah Ann Smith at October 15, 2016 03:34 PM

October 14, 2016

Olga Norris

Doodling on

It's interesting that as soon as I put a design-in-progress up on the blog I see problems and am set itching to work at it further.  I thought I'd show what wee progress I made on my classical viola player.

by Olga Norris ( at October 14, 2016 04:32 PM

Margaret Cooter


Since discovering that the newer ipad has a "pano" mode for the camera, I've been busy shooting vistas -
At the Maker's House

Upstairs at the Maker's House

Courtyard of British Museum - most people have been shooed off the premises
These grand sweeps include, for the record, some interiors of the flat under renovation (still!) -
A fair degree of disorganisation in the living room
(note the gold floor - it's underlay for wood floor, yet to come)

Something out of a dystopian novel: the studio-as-was

Just some of the books that need shelving

by Margaret Cooter ( at October 14, 2016 09:52 AM

Neki Rivera

vicarious practices

studio still in bad shape. thank goodness for vids
enjoy your weekend!

neki desu
Creative Commons License

by (neki desu) at October 14, 2016 08:40 AM

October 13, 2016

Dijanne Cevaal

Playing with the Q20 Bernina

My second and last day in Florence I spent visiting the Battista near the Duomo, which has long been closed for restoration. Part of the entry ticket also included entry to the Museo di Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore and the climb of the  Duomo itself (but given the queues I decided to leave it for another day). The Battista itself was a treat, the inclination to lie on my back and just stare up into the spectacular mosaics was almost overwhelming, and the tiled floor was spectacular.

 Then onto the Museo itself, where to my great delight they had on display the embroideries designed by Antonio del Pollauiono (also hidden from view for awhile). The embroideries were made with a technique no longer used as far as I know- which involved laying gold thread and then stitching through and over with silk thread. The embroideries themselves were executed by various embroiderers it is thought and were once part of vestments.They were difficult to photograph as they were placed in specially lit and mounted glass display cases and unfortunately there was no book. The best I could do was to get a detail shot.

After Florence I went to visit some family friends who live near Desanzano. Our parents were friends and Ada , who is also an artist and I have become friends over the years. It is always a delight spending some time with them and experiencing Italian life, they also  have a small Bed and Breakfast called Il Martino. Ada Melegari has made some beautiful fresco style paintings and we have found we share a love of images with angels. Two of Ada's artworks are below.

Whilst there i was also in pomegranate heaven, as they have a large number of the trees in their garden, and one morning the light was just beautiful so that the  colour of the fruit against the yellowing foliage was stunning.

Whilst  travelling i did do some hand stitching- embroidering a small linocut print of a coffee pot- I am also sharing an image of  the back of this little embroidery as slowly with time the backs of my embroideries seem to be improving. I use very simple stitches.

Then back to Le Triadou where the last remaining grapes after the vendange offer a few sweet mouthfulls on morning walks. It has been incredibly dry in the south of France and then apparently there was a very bad hail storm in August resulting in a much diminished grape harvest.

And then it was onto Toulouse to demonstrate on the Bernina Q20 for Quilts and Patch. I had a lot of fun on the machine and really just went a bit mad with ideas even though I only had variegated thread available to use ( i had forgotten to take some of my own threads). I also got to meet  Alfonsina Uriburu who is very creative with the Bernina Q24 and caught up with my friend Christine Escanes, who trains many of the Bernina dealers in France and elsewhere and who has more technical know how on Bernina machines and feet than anyone I know. If you want to know how to optimise use of your machine she is the person to ask for a workshop!

 Just a little sample of some of the things I stitched up on the Q20;

  I have finally finished the large linocut tree print quilt I started just before I left France in July. I didn't take it back to Oz with me so  I finished it whilst demonstrating in Ste Marie aux Mines. The large tree linocut is available from me( and i will be dyeing up fabric and printing more this week)

 The photo on the right was  on a morning walk near the village of Moux. I was struck by how similar the detail shot of the  quilt and the scene were apart form the smashing blue of the sky in the photo.

I will be creating the Aussie Bush Project page in the next few days- it will tour in 2017 and 2018.If you are interested please contact me.

by Dijanne Cevaal ( at October 13, 2016 06:23 PM

Olga Norris

Slow recovery

The head cold was firmly established on the last day of September, and it has taken until these days - mid October for me to start feeling that it has almost gone.  Finally.  I reckon that next week I can get back to work properly.
Meantime I find it impossible not be doing something, and the design in progress above has been and is still soothing my turmoil.
I am reading Peter Frankopan's  The Silk Roads, and somehow thoughts of Roman, Persian, and Indian painting became mixed up in my dreams, and this image emerged.

by Olga Norris ( at October 13, 2016 05:21 PM

Margaret Cooter

Poetry Thursday - Letters by Rob Walton


Dear Mercurians,
You spend half of your time complaining
about excess heat,
and fifty per cent saying you’re too cold.
Please make your minds up.

Dear Venusians,
Perhaps putting your clammy hands in your pockets
and investing in a decent vacuum cleaner
would get rid of some of that bothersome heat-trapping dust
(and save you having to import
dodgy ice from the Neptunians,
with the accompanying
exorbitant transportation fees).

Dear Humans,
Maybe you should spend
less time watching television
re-runs of The Blue Planet and
more time sorting out your thermostat.

My dear Martians,
Red is so last season.

Dear Jovians/Jupiterians,
When you’ve decided on your name,
how about considering
the old Earth adage that
size isn’t everything?

Dear Saturnians,
I’m old enough to remember
some of you playing
with a hoop and stick
and a hula hoop,
so don’t think you can
run rings round me
with all of your hoop-la.

Dear Uranians,
What exactly do you intend
to do with all those moons?
The polite and decent thing
would be to share them out.

Dear Neptunians,
Have you ever thought
about sorting out
those bright blue clouds?
I mean, you wouldn’t want
to be mistaken for Earth.
Would you?

Dear Plutonians,
Your claims were dismissed
a long time ago.
Please leave the system at once.
Please leave the system at once.
    - Rob Walton (via)

(Pluto was demoted from the status of planet to minor planet in 2006.)

Rob Walton is a writer and performer of poetry for children and adults, 
as well as short stories, scripts and flash fiction. He won the 2015 NFFD 
micro-fiction award and his poems have been published by the Emma 
Press (Slow Things), Butcher’s Dog and others. His children’s poems were 
published in Let’s Play! (Frances Lincoln).

More poems about space - and aliens - are here.

by Margaret Cooter ( at October 13, 2016 10:31 AM

Neki Rivera

about bread

bread here is a serious matter.i cringe when i remember what used to go by bread in my ex town.
if you wanted something similar to it you had to sell your firstborn in order to buy a loaf at a bread boutique. that's how things are.
over here it's something solid down to earth basic food good. no pretense, no hype just good daily bread.

neki desu
Creative Commons License

by (neki desu) at October 13, 2016 08:00 AM