Friday 27 January 2012

Life Drawing #2

Long pose, short sketch. Charcoal

Some drawings from my second life drawing session this year. It was a quiet one again but we had some fabulous poses, I started us off with 2 minute poses and the model gave us some great, dynamic positions.

Same pose, longer drawing. Charcoal
Continuous line drawings, pen
2minute pose, graphite

Quick sketch, pen

Thursday 19 January 2012

Sketchbook Project- Finished!

Front Cover

Woohoo! I have finished my entry for the 2012 Sketchbook Project, run by Brooklyn based Arthouse Co-op. My theme was stitches and folds which I decided to take quite literally and I used it as a chance to have a bit of a play with techniques. Two things that I've really enjoyed about this project are working on a small scale and working to a restricted theme. The theme didn't have to be restrictive, I decided to make it that way because I wanted to focus on technique rather than concept and I found that on this occassion this worked very well for me. Anyway, here are some images for you! You cane see more and find out more about the project here:

Graphite drawing of hands smocking

Pin tucking sample

Continuous line drawing of gloves

Back cover

Tuesday 17 January 2012


Quick charcoal sketch (5 minute pose)

Last Thursday was the first of my Life Drawing sessions of the new year. It was a really quiet group but a really good session, helped ease us back in gently! Here are some of my drawings. I'm finding it hard to work on a drawing for any length of time at the moment, I find 15 minutes is about as long as I can stick with one drawing. I also prefer my freer, shorter drawings. I suppose it feels like there's less pressure to produce a 'perfect' drawing if you only have 5 minutes. When you start working on something for a length of time the pressure mounts!

Long pose, short drawing. Graphite sticks


Detail of pen drawing

2 minute sketches. Pen

Charcoal, I am incapable of getting a drawing on one page (20 minute pose)

Sunday 15 January 2012

Wooly Exploits

Yarn bombing Rheghed

Yesterday I went to Rheghed in Penrith to see their new exhibition, Wonder of Wool and the Art of Knit and Stitch. The exhibition features some of the top contemporary artists and practitioners using wool in the UK, including Freddie Robbins, Deirdre Nelson (one of my favourite artists) and Rachel Matthews. I've been really looking forward to this exhibition as I love all things stitchy and using traditional 'crafts' in art is kind of my thing.

There was a really diverse range of work in the show which was both its advantage and disadvantage. It was great to see so many different pieces and approaches but it did mean that the exhibition didn't really feel very cohesive, the common thread being the material rather than the concept. At times it felt like looking at a disparate collection of art works rather than a curated exhibition. However, it is still a very interesting show with high quality works and it is great to see shows of this type being put together. One thing that I think would have helped would have been more accompanying information. All the pieces were titled and credited and there was a clipboard you could take round with more information but I would have liked to have seen a bit more information with the works or an accompanying catalogue.

Of the work on show I particularly enjoyed Donna Wilson's animated knitted adventure 'I am Ahab.' A clever and highly entertaining combination of cute and gory gently prods the viewer into questioning the low value traditionally placed on the materials and techniques employed. Similarly, Freddie Robbins knitted portraits of female serial killers houses 'Houses of Crime' asks us to question the feminine as something purely soft, gentle and without threat.

Link to the Rheghed website:

As well as the exhibition Rheghed were also encouraging people to yarn bomb the centre, I had brought a piece of my knitting with me specially and put it up on a sad looking pillar. There were a few other bits up and I hope that over the course of the exhibition more people will join in. I'm taking my Heathlands textiles group to see the show soon so I will be able to see then how the knitted take-over is going! There were also several small 'flocks' of pom-pom sheep, part of the Flock project run by Eden Arts that I've also got my textiles group involved with.

Link to Eden Arts Flock page:

Flock at Rheghed

The Heathlands Flock

My piece of knitting is done in a chunky Jacob sheep wool using 10mm needles. I chose a traditional feather and fan pattern and added a row of eyelets down each side of the knitting so I could lace it onto a pillar, which I did. I also incorporated some ribbon and lace for added textural interest.

In situ

Detail of the lacing

Stitch detail

Feather and Fan pattern

Tuesday 10 January 2012

Life Drawing 2012

Life Drawing Poster

This Thursday my new set of life drawing sessions start in Carlisle. If you need any more details just let me know!

Sunday 8 January 2012

Stitches and Folds

Smocking sample (detail)

Way back in August last year I entered The Sketchbook Project, run by Art House Co-op in Brooklyn. Since then I've been so busy with other things that apart from occasional "I really should do that" thoughts I've not got much done on it. However, last week it suddenly popped into my head and I realised it must be getting pretty close to the deadline (it is) and I better get on with it.

The theme I chose was stitches and folds as I thought it would be a good chance to experiment and play with some different techniques. Today I have been experimenting with smocking. I've had this see-through fabric for ages and thought it would be interesting to try smocking it to see what effect the gathered fabric would create.

Taped down whilst in progress

In progress

I'm pretty pleased with how it's turned out, although it was the devil to work with. When I'd put the gathering lines in and pulled them to gather the fabric it curled all over the place and it was really hard to find the pleats, but I persevered and via the gift of masking tape I got it stitched. I just did a basic honeycomb pattern using knots rather than stitches as I thought the short threads would stand out nicely against the soft folds of the fabric. The finished sample has a lovely soft, shadowy look to it that I'm very pleased with.

Finished sample

I also made a stitched button for the front of the sketchbook, using rayon thread and a plastic ring. Time consuming but very pretty!

Hand stitched button in progress

Finished button

From the side

Tuesday 3 January 2012


Heathlands Flock

Woo, it feels like a very long time since I've been here writing my little posts. Pre Christmas was a bit hectic, to put it mildly, but I've been getting together my to-do lists and getting myself organised and focused again now that the madness is more or less over for another year. I made quite a lot of presents this year and it was really lovely at Christmas to hear people say how pleased they were with their handmade gifts. It cheered me up after the make-athon that was December and I have vowed (probably foolishly) to try and make even more presents next year.

Anyway, the main point of this post was to show you some pictures of pom-pom sheep. Inspired by Anthony Gormley's 'Flock' Eden Arts have been running a project to get as many people as possible to make pom-pom sheep using wool yarn as a way of promoting wool, specifically British wool. I believe this is a Good Thing and so got my textiles group at Heathlands to make some. Today I posted them off to join the bigger flock. Check out Eden Arts website for more details (just search Eden arts.)


Happy Sheep

Scary Sheep