April 2021

It is only after the second reveal for the year with Fifteen by Fifteen that I realise how long it has been since I last posted. Time during the ‘COVID’ period is endless and one day blurs into another, with no routine life drifts along . I think a lot about friends but lack the motivation to contact them, when I am in my bubble I am quite happy and outside contact can make me yearn for other things. Although we are only just going back into lockdown we have had a curfew since before the end of 2020, it was reduced from 6pm to 7pm a couple of weeks ago. 

On the stitching front as per usual there are things I have worked on which are tucked away for exhibitions and a wedding quilt on the go which I am keeping under wraps until it is gifted and that will depend on travel restrictions this summer. All I can say is that I know exactly what I am doing in front of the television of an evening for next month or so.

This year Fifteen by Fifteen are working in a series based on a country of our own choice, each reveal has a subject in common, the first was emblems and the second landscapes. Back in the 90s I holidayed in the north of Pakistan and it is a country which intrigues me, the scenery in the Hindu Kush and Karakoram regions is spectacular and my mother was born in Karachi pre partition. I deiced to to mix two flags, the national and regional flag of the formerly North-West Frontier are, now the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region. The colours used are the same in both flags, I machine stitched with three different weights of green thread before adding the painted areas.

The landscape was much harder the mountains rise so high above the river valleys and I wanted to try and concentrate on the KP region. For some reason years back I bought a very detailed map which was just beyond the region but it included the ‘road’ that I had twice travelled so I took a small section and enlarged it, contour lines and their spacing are a really good measure of the steepness of a region, I added some spot heights, the buildings marked on the map and the tracks/paths. The road, which crosses the north, is more of a track as it is a dirt road, then there are many water courses some of which dry up in the summer months. The map is old but I really don’t think that much will have changed in these high frontier lands.

This year I have decided not to do journal quilts, I was finishing my on-line course with Sue Stone and doing varying challenges with the Textileartist.org’s stitch club and I want to have time to explore different ideas without feeling that I had to complete too many things on time.

A small piece as a result of a workshop with Stewart Kelly. I love collecting samples to give me inspiration and ideas for further development.

For the last unit of my Stitch my Story course I had to choose a person I know and do three portraits from the same photograph. I wanted to work on my mother and had difficulty finding a photograph, the first one was relatively easy but the next two were harder as we had to change the look and I was hopeless at it, had I known what the 3rd subject was when I did the second one I would have changed the order. I discovered that finding words to describe her character was really difficult because she was distant during my childhood and latterly suffered from dementia, my choice for the second one was then to try and age her and in her thoughts were her grandfather who she cried out for all the time.

First attempt…
Second attempt with my great grand-father taken from a grainy newspaper cutting…

The last one was in the colours of a jumper she had which I adored, her glasses were made more bookish, she loved reading and the cross stitches used reflect the fine counted thread embroidery she so loved to do. Her jumper reflects nature, she loved the garden and outdoors in general.

I am really pleased to have done the course and now have many ideas of where to go from here…

Next week was meant to be having an exhibition of my own for two weeks but, as is the way of things at present, it has been cancelled. Hopefully it will happen this autumn or next spring. This, however, has encouraged me to make some smaller pieces and mount them on frames as the subject for the exhibition is nature and the patrimony of the Ile de Rè. I intend to go on with the series in the weeks to come but here are the first three. 

I also made a small piece for the SAQA Spotlight Auction.

During March SAQA had a seminar on Colour with weekly lectures, chat sessions and loads of resources, I managed to attend most of it even if I didn’t do all the exercises. I knew some of it and some was too scientific for me but it was great to have something to focus on. With virtually nothing in the diary for the next few months I hope to have the time to be really creative!

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