Monday, September 24, 2007

Felt artist, Bailey Curtis

I showed you the pink felted piece that I brought back from England. It was made by Bailey Curtis. We were able to visit her in her home studio and find out how she makes her wonderful art. Later on, we saw her at the Birmingham quilt show, where she had a booth. The photos show Bailey explaining how she dyes the felt, some landscape photos and a woven piece she made that was inspired by them, and an interior shot of her tiny studio in a former garage behind her house.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Making cute felt creatures!]

I found this incredibly charming book at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and decided to try making some of the little creatures in it. As you can see, I made three of them--a blue monkey, "Liar" (the guy with the yellow head and red body), and a Sprite--actually, my daughter made the Sprite and did a very neat job of it. We have vowed to make all the creatures in the book--they are so cute! The book was originally published in Japanese but the English version came out recently, so you should be able to find it. The author is Aranzi Aronzo, publisher is Vertical. Also, "Craft" magazine, volume 3 ( published a cat pattern from the book recently.

Needlework souvenirs from England

These are the best needlework souvenirs I brought home from England. The top piece is a felted work by Bailey Curtis. She felts the wool, then adds machine and hand stitching. The red strawberry pincushion was purchased at the Needlework Guild shop at Hampton Court, and was made by a volunteer as a fundraiser. The patchwork pincushion is made with old cotton fabric and I bought it at Jen Jones shop. If you look closely, you can see that the prints were carefully cut to frame the images. The last photo is a hand knitted and partially felted tea cozy that I found at a tiny shop at Hay on Wye. The red flowers and green leaves were knitted and then felted. It was made by a woman who lives nearby, the shop owner told me that every tea cosy she makes is different.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

England watercolor journal

Five pages from the watercolor journal I kept while in England on the Textile Tour. The first is a garden we visited near Abergavenny, Wales. The second is Tintern Abbey, or Abany Tyndyrn as it is known in Welsh. Next is the Old Stocks Hotel in Stow on the Wold, our hotel for several days. I want to live in this town! The next sketch was made inside Jen Jone's shop. And the last page is from Hay on Wye--if I can't live in Stow, I will be happy to settle for Hay. It is known for being a town full of bookshops, and it is, but it also has some excellent antique shops, contemporary crafs, and one of the best tea shops we found in England (The Old Stables Tea Room). Tell them I sent you, the next time you drop in for a spot of tea and some wonderful Lemon Drizzle Cake.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Great lesson in watercolor sketching

Before I post some pages from the watercolor sketchbook that I made on my trip, I will give you this link to check out:

Trumpetvine Travels Sketchblog

It's a great beginning lesson in sketching a scene on the spot. I've been keeping watercolor sketchbooks for about four years now, and really enjoy doing it. My own watercolor paintings are much "tighter", so it's fun to have a looser way to draw and paint.

I first saw Trumpetvine Travels when it was a printed journal, many years ago, and it was one of the main reasons I started painting. So I'm really glad that Martha has an online sketchblog now. Find out more about her at

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Basketry with Susie Vaughan in Wales

On August 11, we visited Susie Vaughan at her home in Wales. I don't have a picture of Susie, but the first shot shows her husband Mike standing in front of a lovely carved wood fireplace mantel in their home. The woman on the left is Kathy Brassill, who planned the whole tour. Susie cooked us a wonderful lunch and we ate in her dining room, second picture. The straw figure in the garage building is one of her woven creations--she had more along the driveway, pointing the way to her house. The last shot shows the lawn, which slopes down to a swimming pool and a gorgeous view of the entire valley. We learned how Susie makes baskets and even tried to make a piece of rope using leaves from the garden--it is really easy but does require strong hand muscles, as you have to keep the rope under tension while twisting it.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Art class with Marie Roper, quilter

On August 15, we visited an art quilter, Marie Roper (top picture, in her studio) at her home (third picture) and studio not far from Crickhowell. Her husband Martin drove to meet us and guide us the last bit of the way, as the roads were not well marked. The visit started with warm homebaked scones, clotted cream, jam and butter, and hot tea. Then Marie gave us a tour of her quilt art and watercolor paintings which are hung around the walls of her home and in her studio (bottom two pictures). We ate lunch at the pub next door, then began our art lesson. After a tour of her garden for inspiration and a visit by the neighbor's curious cows, Marie provided gorgeous little paper booklets that were already hand painted, and urged us to try making various types of stamps and also rubbings using oil sticks. This kept us happily busy until tea time, when we had more scones and plain cake. Our booklets are shown in the second photo--mine isn't finished, but I plan to find some poetry about leaves to add (I pasted some leaves from Marie's garden into it.)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Closed Quilt Shop and Badger's Hall

This is not exactly in the order we saw stuff in England, but who cares? Okay, on Aug 10, we drove to Chipping Camden because it is a charming old town and has a quilt shop. Well, it used to have a quilt shop. Now it has a sign (second photo) that says the shop closed forever after all the fabric was damaged in the recent floods (the shop was below street level). SAD. So we had to console ourselves by having a wonderful tea at a shop just across the street, called Badger's Hall (third photo).There are cute badgers and pictures of badgers everywhere--the top picture is one of them. The day before, we visited a lovely shop in Cheltenham Spa, where Katherine Chinn sells old textiles like samplers and lots of ribbons. Katherine's great grandfather started the shop, he was an upholsterer. The last three shots are pictures of the inside of the shop.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Finally, some pictures from England!

It took awhile, but I finally went through my photos from England. These first three are from our visit to Jen Jones, who collects and sells antique quilts and blankets. Her tiny shop is in Wales, next to her house. She's pointing to some of the antique quilts she keeps in her home because they are so special. The inside of the shop is tiny and crammed with quilts, wool woven blankets, and other special things. I bought only a pincushion made with old fabric, but one of the women in our group did buy an antique quilt from Jen--I'll post a picture of it later. We also had tea in Jen's kitchen!