Adventurous Drawing and Colour with Mark Cazalet

I feel blessed to have spent the bank holiday weekend drawing in the beautiful landscapes around West Dean in  glorious sunshine. Mark Cazalet was an excellent tutor, I signed up for this course hoping to come away using colour in a more considered way and he did not disappoint. He set us a number of exercises over the 3 days including using cool colours on warm grounds (papers) and vice versa, exploring the effects of black versus cream grounds and seeing the colours around us in a much less literal way.

The first drawing was made in the gardens, Mark suggested I redraw it from my original drawing without looking at the source.


It is interesting how the colours are so much more vibrant…


This one was a 10 minute sketch, playing with different colours to give and impression of depth, light and shade:


This drawing was exploring the combination of warm and cool colours together on a neutral ground:


I had 10 minutes before we were expected to pack up and return to the studio so I did this one just for fun:

We were asked to create some sketches of abstract forms  from what we saw in the gardens, from those I repeated the same design several times on different coloured grounds, it is curious how the colour of the paper has such a an impact on the feel and tone of the drawing.



These last two drawings are my least favourite but it was an interesting exercise, the first was warm colours on a cool ground:

And cool colours on a warm ground:


Now it is back to work for me! Enrolment for the new online felted bag class closes on the 22nd and the class starts in earnest on the 25th, I am still doing the final edits on the tutorials while trying to prepare for the Surrey Open Studios event beginning on June 2nd it is going to be a busy few weeks but both are projects I am really excited to be taking part in, if you would like to join in the fun please follow these links:

Felted bags online class: link

Surrey Open Studios: link


Preparations for the Oxmarket in Chichester

The last couple of weeks have been a whirl of screen-printing, trying to get a couple of new designs ready for exhibition at the Oxmarket gallery in March. The exhibition will feature a selection of new and established printmakers and will be open from 13-25th March, if you are in the area  please do pop in, there will be over 100 framed prints on show and hundreds more in browsers. It promises to be a wonderfully ecletic exhibition of different printmaking techniques and styles.

This is a small sample of my prints (no two are the same, even though only 3 sets of stencils were used).

This series I titled “dinner time” and I’m sure anyone who owns a cat will be very familiar with this pose 🙂

I have struggled to come up with a title for this one (any ideas?), but I was trying to capture that fleeting glimpse of a fish beyond the ripples in the pond surface…



The address for the exhibition is:

Oxmarket Gallery
St. Andrew’s Court
off East Street
West Sussex
PO19 1YH

Open Tue – Sun 10am to 4:30pm
Free admission

Bacchus Exhibition

I am very pleased to say my Tropical Reef wall hanging that I made in response to the Felting and Fibre Studio Forum Challenge 18 months ago is currently on display in the Bacchus exhibition at Denbies near Dorking, Surrey. The exhibition is only on for another week so you’d better be quick if you want to see it. Entry is free.

This is my exhibit, some of you might recognise it 🙂

These links will take you to the story of its creation…


And these are a selection of the exhibition pieces that caught my eye… Clicking on the image will make it larger and the labels easier to read.

Natasha Mwaegbe was the only other textile artist in the exhibition. Her work reminded me of Maggie Grey’s books.


Anna Scott also has a print exhibition at Watt’s gallery, I am planning to visit that in the next couple of weeks.


This piece by Caroline Bond was made from glass, sand and rocks, it invited the viewer to touch it.


I liked how Grace Ellen had used the gloss medium sparingly, it really made the bank on the other side of the river recede.


This painting of a cow was my favourite and I was surprised it did not place in the judging.


If you are thinking about embarking on Ruth’s current mixed media challenge, I say go for it! You never know where it might lead! 🙂


Feeling Inspired

Yesterday was the last day of a 3 day workshop with the genuinely lovely and inspiring, Louise Anderson. Normally I feel a bit deflated and sad when a workshop comes to an end but this time I think I am feeling too energised and excited by the new possibilities to feel sad that I will not be meeting up with my classmates again. It sounds trite but this workshop really has changed how I look at even the most mundane of objects, I am noticing colours and shapes that I was previously oblivious to.

Louise is a lecturer from UCA, a university that I mentioned a few weeks ago, but she was teaching this course, Colour and Abstract Design for Textiles, from City Lit in London. To be honest I wasn’t really sure what to expect but it came recommended from another UCA lecturer so I signed up and kept and open mind, and I am so glad I did!

The first half day was spent on the basics of colour theory, a favourite topic of mine and one I would have happily spent all 3 discussing. Then we moved onto using view-finder techniques to find interesting combinations of line and shape from various still life objects. The second day was spent predominantly working from photos for inspiration and the 3 day for me was spent working with scale and repetition (I went off on a bit of tangent here, I don’t think this was intended to be part of the class).

Here are a few of the designs I produced over the 3 days…

This next series was derived from the photo on the left, the panel in the top right was drawn from the photo while the panel below was a more geometric representation of the one above, focusing on the elements I found most pleasing.

Photo found on but no credit given to the photographer so I’m afraid I do not know who took it.

Then I played with repetition and scale, out of all the designs this is the one (or at least sections of it) I can see myself translating into felt and fabric prints.

This next one solicited the most interest from my classmates, this is it after playing with scale and repetition.

I’m not sure I like the large layout, it is too chaotic and makes me feel tense just looking at it, but small sections of it are appealing and worth further exploration…

We also had a brief discussion about rust dyeing as part of the “how to translate your designs into textiles” segment, so when I spotted a rusty, ornate metal plate in the garage, I had to give it a go didn’t I? 🙂

For a first attempt a rust dyeing I am enormously impressed with the results, the print is far clearer that I expected and it only took 2 hours (I was told to leave it for 2 days but could see the rust seeping through after just 30 min). On the left is cotton muslin and the far right is a scrap of habouti silk.

A close up of the cotton print…

I have already wrapped another piece of cotton around the plate for attempt number 2, fingers crossed it is as beautiful as the first!

Rainbow Hat

This week, in between running the online concertina hat class, I have been working on a commission from New Calendonia, I confess I had to look up where that is, and turns out it is in the Pacific, off the east coast of Australia! I don’t think I could pick a location further away if I tried! 🙂

We have been making good use of the translator function offered by Etsy (my customer speaks French) and I think it is working well, but its a little bit nerve-wracking not knowing how much is getting lost in translation. She asked for a rainbow version of this hat:


This was the sketch I sent to check we were on the same wavelength:



I spent most of this weekend working on it and this is the finished hat, still drying:


The second concertina hat class is progressing really well, we have such a talented group of felt-makes I can’t wait to share some photos of their work with you, I am so proud of them all! 🙂

Finally, a word of caution for anyone selling to customers in Germany, I have been working with a customer in Germany to contest a DHL customs charge for nearly 50% the cost of the goods I sent her, it appears they have decided the UK is no longer a part of the EU and therefore, subject to customs fees. My customer is understandably angry and I am more than a little annoyed with the half-wits at Deutsche Post. If you are selling to Germany, you might want to forewarn your customers of this potential issue.

Update: Deutsche Post have acknowledged they made a mistake and said they will forward the parcel which is now more than a week late 🙁

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