Three Watercolours

I haven’t got any textile work to show you at the moment – I’m plugging away at a (large) cloth that I hope I will have finished sewing before Christmas. It is slow going, but I enjoy sitting down with radio 4 and stitching myself into a reverie. When my fingers get too sore (actually the inside tip of my right index finger) I put down the cloth and get on with something else. A couple of days ago I decided to tear up a sheet of rather nice Hot Pressed watercolour paper and do some drawing. Here are the results. They are all done from memory.









Place, memory and the act of recording

It is wonderful when you realise that you have gained knowledge without actually having to do anything particular!


This is what happens every time I step outside and take a walk. Sometimes I take a sketchbook or a camera with me to record the things that I notice, but more often than not I take only myself. I walk and I chat (if I’m with other people) but I’m not consciously looking for something new and exciting.


The natural world is always changing: the light, the direction of the wind, the weather and the atmosphere are never constant. Different forces, both visible and invisible, act with or against each other, on the land and in the air, to produce fluctuating conditions. Sometimes these conditions are fleeting – like the bright flash of the horizon when the sun shines on a stormy sky behind it or a strong gust of wind that catches dry sand and blows it across the beach. Because of this mutability there is nearly always something to notice and store away and I never know when these nuggets of information will come to me or what they will be.


The walks I do up here on the North Norfolk coast are very familiar as I have been walking over the same ground for 20 years, and this repeated exposure to the same place has caused me to build a personal relationship with the landscape. What I take from the place: the things I see, hear and touch, I take in because I am me and because I am interested in certain things. I love this place because it provides me with these things and another person might well be immune to them. By walking repeatedly along a particular path new things seem to jump out at me (being deeply acquainted with a place makes uncommon occurrences obvious) and these are stored away, adding to the history of memories and experiences that I already have.


Although the work I am making at the moment started elsewhere, I have become to realise that it is actually about these transitory moments. They are trivial, inconsequential things that, because of me being me, I have noticed: a sound, a movement and a play of light.  I haven’t recorded the ‘noticings’ anywhere other than in my memory and the act of making this work is an act of recording the memory of immaterial, and sometimes invisible, phenomena with physical materials. I suppose this reciprocal taking and giving between myself and the environment – me subconsciously taking and the environment offering – is, for me, one definition of a sense of place.


These photos were taken recently on a walk from Morston to Blakeney …. and I did have my camera with me on that occasion!

Heads up

Just to let you know that Studio 11 in Eastbourne have just put up the details of the Sculptural Forms workshop that I am running there in 2016. This was a great success this year so if you would like to join me for walks along the beach and time in the studio making please go over to the Studio 11 website here. (I’m at the bottom of the page so you’ll have to scroll down!)


In which I feel lost but come up with a plan

I’m feeling rather reluctant at the moment to show you things! I’m working on several ideas but nothing seems to be resolving itself into finished work at the moment. This happens. When I’m in ‘nothing is working’ mode sometimes the best thing is not to think but to just make what feels right. I firmly believe you can overthink and often it is only when the work is made that the ideas and the objects can be joined together to make a whole. I often remember Terry Frost who said that the thinking happens before and after the making. When actually making (or in his case painting) it is all about putting materials together – not concepts.


For the past weeks (or indeed months) sewn eyelets are what seem to be right for me and I’ve made quite a few small cloths in an attempt to feel my way. I hadn’t looked at them for three or four weeks as I’ve been busy doing other things, but this morning I got them out and they seem to be a lot better than I remembered! I feel reinvigorated as suddenly I can see potential.


On the whole the things I want to make are not direct representations of landscape or place. They are ambiguous objects that are inspired by a huge number of experiences and memories that are the result of being in the environment. Textures, sounds, objects and happenings all come into play and sometimes it is a puzzle to pin everything down to the what, where, when and how.


For these works however I do know that I am interested in the physical qualities of the cloth – the actual cloth used, its colour, scale and the processes used to make it into its final realisation, rather than using it as a surface for an image or narrative.




For now the plan is to keep going down this route and see what happens …

The Sewing Machine Project (Part 3)

I have been totally taken up with organising the latest Studio 21 exhibition recently and yesterday after a long and tiring (but enjoyable) day we got the exhibition up. I nipped over to the gallery this morning to put up the last few labels and to take a few pictures of everyone’s work. Do go along to have a look if you can make it – all the details are in the side bar to the right.

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Liz Heywood


Liz Heywood


Sam Harvey


Liz Heywood





Mary Morris (foreground) and Sandra Meech (wall)


Amarjeet Nandhra




Denise Jones (foreground) and Anne Froggatt and Dawn Thorne (wall)

Now I’m going to put my feet up for the rest of the day!


I spent four days over the last weekend teaching a course on 3-D Textiles at Studio 11 in Eastbourne. It was a real treat to be in a well stocked studio that has everything you could possibly need for a creative retreat.

The weather was smiling on us and we spent time at Birling Gap exploring and getting to know that place through drawing, collecting and listening. Back in the studio the beachcombings provided everyone with their initial inspiration for an investigation of materials, space and form. Here are a few photos to give a taste of what we got up to.


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birling gap 080















Well done everyone!

It is possible that I may be running the same course again next year. Watch this space for the date.

Why worry

I’m in the middle of a busy period with exhibitions to get ready for here and here and workshops to prepare (here). At the same time I’m working on a new body of work that will be shown at the Knitting and Stitching Show 2016. I know that seems a long way off but things take a long time to create and realise and already I’m feeling the pressure. There will be a lot more about this in the future but for the time being I’m keeping things under my hat!

Here are a few photos taken on a recent walk to Morston to be getting on with. I think that the name of the boat in the foreground is particularly apt ….