Sunday, 12 June 2011

More Kanta style bags

I have been spending quite a bit of time sitting in the conservatory overseeing the cats' 'garden time' over the last three or four weeks.  They only go out with one of us keeping an eye on them because we have had some terrible experiences of lost cats in the past.  Even so there are times when one escapes and when I arrived home from my Tate volunteering yesterday afternoon Nui had completely disappeared.  Running round the block calling for him is a good way to get to know the neighbours!  It appears that the conservatory door had opened itself so they were able to get out.  The girls, being girls, were sitting on the lawn when my husband realised what had happened but Nui stayed out for four to five hours until it began to rain and was beginning to get dark.  We have no cat flap so it is a bit of a problem when you have more than one cat and you don't want the other cats to get out but do want the absent one to get in.  All this activity meant that I did not have a chance to read the book about Margaret Mellis which I bought from the Tate bookshop but I still plan to do a post about this.  Instead I spent the time updating the cats' PetLog registrations.  I am very glad they are microchipped.  This wasn't possible in the olden days but would have been a great help on a couple of occasions.

You will see that I now have three finished yellow bags made from the scraps of the yellow churn dashes.  There is plenty of fabric for more but I fancied a change this week so I have made a blue one from the small offcuts of blue cotton that I keep in a large old-fashioned sweetie jar.

There is only one square left to do and then I shall line it with bright red/pink batik.  The yellow ones have worked well especially with fancy buttons:

I think the buttons are designed for use on cardigans for small children.  I just have to remember that the ones with flowers on them cost 50p each so it rather puts the price up.  I originally intended to give these bags to the Put Em Ins fund-raiser at the Festival of Quilts but the St Ives Arts Club of which I am a member is going to have a craft fair at the end of September.  I missed the first one last year because it was the weekend of my nephew's wedding.  I showed these bags to a friend who had been to the fair and she said they would do sell  so I am now working flat out to see how many I can make.  It is a pretty slow technique but I think of it as the equivalent of Victorian needlepoint.  I may swop to making them by machine but the hand-sewing is very portable and I will be able to take it on holiday with me.  Also it is a wonderful excuse to use lots of Stef Francis variegated thread.  I find their extra fine mercerised cotton is best because I am working on three thicknesses: wadding, the cotton patches and finally a layer of fine net to keep it all in place.

I do have some other bags that I can let the Put Em Ins people have so I don't feel too guilty about keeping these to sell.  My main aim at the St Ives event is to try and sell some of my journal quilts and in theory I would like to make a few more, possibly similar to the ones I know people like because they are supposed to represent various features of the Penwith landscape.  I fear it will all depend on how much time I have to sew over the next few weeks.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Flowers as inspiration

This morning I received my copy of the new book by Twelve by Twelve Twelve by Twelve: The International Art Quilt Challenge which one of my fellow Contemporary Quilt group members recommended last week.  It is every bit as good as she said and very well designed.  Twelve by Twelve is a  blog based group who do group challenges of quilts that are 12 inches square.  I already knew quite a bit about them but it is always good to have a book to study rather than just using the Internet to see images.  As I have been taking my camera on a few short walks round here this week I was particularly struck by a comment in the first chapter where the topic was 'Dandelion'.  Diane Perin Hock says that Jane Sassaman, teaching a workshop, would ask her 'What do you want to say about that flower?'  This has made me think about some of my photos in a different way.
First, foxgloves.  I have been photographing these off and on for years but it is often difficult because it is almost always windy down here.

This morning I walked up the valley that starts a few hundred yards from here.  The foxgloves were magnificent and  there was lots of red campion plus plenty of white cow parsley.

The comment made me consider what it is that is so attractive about foxgloves apart from the general effect of drifts of them.  I decided it is the detailed mottling inside the petals and the bell like shape of the ends of the petals.

I need to get out the drawing tools!
A couple of days ago I walked up to a nearby small reservoir.  It has wild rhododendrons i.e. they are all purple as opposed to the different colours of cultivated varieties.

 In fact they are a big problem here as they 'get away' and often cause wildfires so there have been a lot of clearance programmes over the last ten years or so.  This one was growing in a an uncontrolled hedgerow beside the reservoir.  When I uploaded it I realised that although it is not very sharp it is probably the sort of photo I can play with in Photoshop.  Also the centre of the flower is sharp and detailed and the petals quite wispy.  I am sure there is some artistic message there!
The reservoir also has a good display of wild waterlilies at this time of the year.

They remind me of the ones I saw in Monet's garden last year.
I have also had the camera out in the garden now that the plants are beginning to bloom.  I am not a good designer of gardens - I just know what I like - but this year I decided to go for hot colours in our small herbaceous patch.  The patch is getting smaller as the shrubs grow but I know it will be easier to maintain in future so I am not panicking.  Apart from the self-sown nasturtiums which I am having to pull out so that they do not strangle the plants they hide, we have some rather nice gazanias this year.  I am sure they are the sort of flower of which I should be asking: What do you want to be saying about that flower?'

So now I just need to think about how I might use some of these images.