2014 The Journey continues

Our experiences as a group over the last two years has help develop and inform our direction of travel - our first exhibition this year (Veldhoven October 2013) will be followed by two more in 2014; London in early April for the 2012 pieces and Beaujolais in Mid April for the 2013 series.

We move forward in 2014 maintaining the same size for our work (A3 30x42 cm or 12 x17 inches); after some discussion the group has determined that an open theme of 'The earth' will be the theme for this year. This will give us each the opportunity to interpret the theme in our own way to produce a series of six pieces, one every two months.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

The Liar's Cloth.  

This months subject is Silk.  There is a small amount of native silk in Africa.  Magagascar is well known for it's silk, both local and introduced.  A lesser known silk found in West African is woven into beige cloths known as Sanyan (Nigeria).  The cloth is rough and heavy and not at all like Chinese silk.  The background of this piece is a Sanyan cloth - it may be silk - but probably is not, but it's the closest I can get! The purple distressed piece is more than likely silk.  It is a wonderful scrap that I found while rooting through the many bags of scraps that my friend Akwazi hoards.  Akwazi is a Kente cloth dealer, he spends many hours repairing old kente cloths - so his bags of scraps are a) useful to him and b) an absolute delight to root through!! This piece has certainly lived a life.  The silk for this cloth would have been imported from Europe, either across the Sahara desert or by ship to the Gold Coast. At one time imported silk cloth was bought by the weavers, unravelled and then used in their own work. The bobbin of yarn is to represent this idea.  The pattern in the warp - the three crooked gold lines is called 'Liars cloth'.  Once worn by the king or chief to put off Liars in his court.  

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Another Man

Another one finished
I photographed this man whilst I was in India in February
Painted, with added applique and stitch
For some reason I have lost my cropping of the photo!

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

New Men

I have finally found some time to make some progress with my Voyage Quilts.
Here is no 2 in the series

Skinny Man with hat.
Whilst in Orissa in February I photographed this man who was looking at his goats.
The backgroung in painted with added applique

Here is the third one in the series, again similar technique. I photographed this guy in the Flower Market in Kolkata

I have started on the 4th one, not finished yet but here are the 4 together. 


Monday, 14 July 2014

Earth Quotes:If you think the ocean isn't important, imagine Earth without it...........

My third Earth piece is based on the quote:

"If you think the ocean is not important, imagine the earth without it. Mars comes to mind. No ocean, no life support system."

Sylvia Earle

I have used various shades of blue dye with three layers of discharge paste  which were sponged on the dyed background to create the various depths of the ocean around coral reefs. Jacquard discharge paste was used for the layer processes but to achieve a 'white' to show the coral near the surface I used a powder discharge paste  which was very effective.

Some colour was added to the reef with thickened dye and some highlighting with Inktense blocks. The piece was then machine quilted to add additional texture.


Earth Quotes: Trees are poems that the Earth writes upon the sky......

This quote:

 "Trees are poems that Earth writes upon the sky" by Kahlil Gibran 

was the starting point for this piece. The background was dyed and lightly discharged to give some soft images of tree shapes.

 It was then overdyed, discharged with some larger more definate, shapes.  I then appliqued with dyed fabric the three trees in the foreground before machine quilting the outlines of the trees.  Some Inktense pigment was used to create light falling on the trees


Monday, 7 July 2014


For this month I have chosen Indigo as my subject.  Not a cloth coming from the African Earth - but a colour. I felt that Indigo is significant enough as a dye within Africa that it warranted attention. The plant is grown and used in many cultures across West Africa.  I've created a kind of sampler with many small pieces of different indigo cloths set on the background of a beautiful piece of strip woven Mossi cloth.  These Mossi cloths come with a fabulous hand twisted fringe that I just had to include.  (It is removable if it is deemed necessary for exhibition).  All the fabrics are from West Africa and include examples of weaving, tie-dye, starch resist, and stitch resist. Some are old and some are new. 


Sunday, 6 July 2014

Earth - Quotes "The earth laughs in flowers....."

"The Earth laughs in flowers"    is a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson, a nineteenth century American Philosopher - this was the starting point for this piece. 

It is a wholecloth piece dyed and discharged to achieve a textured natural background using Gocco screens I made to discharge the flower images before adding some Inktense pigment to some of the flowers in the foreground.

I machine embroidered flower outlines through the wadding but left some of discharged images  unstitched to give a softer distant effect. Whilst I initially used Jacquard discharge paste for the first discharging, I used Decollorant with pigment to remove and add colour at the same time for some of the flowers.