We move forward from two successful exhibitions in 2016 in Prague and in the USA to the challenge of an exhibition in the Netherlands in the Autumn. We continue to work on A2 sized pieces in portrait format and will be producing four pieces over the year with the theme of 'Freedom'. An essential part of our art is working in series to a common format which does give us all a framework for our creative endeavours.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Momento Flori- Taiwan

Have a small bit of an obsession with skulls and Memento Mori (Latin translation: "remember (that you have) to die"). 
Memento Mori is the medieval Latin theory and practice of reflection on mortality, especially as a means of considering the vanity of earthly life and the transient nature of all earthly goods and pursuits. It is related to the ars moriendi ("The Art of Dying") and related literature. Memento Mori has been an important part of ascetic disciplines as a means of perfecting the character, by cultivating detachment and other virtues, and turning the attention towards the immortality of the soul and the afterlife.

I think previous generations had a healthier approach to death than we have! We hide from it and try to evade, when it's as necessary as breathing and something we all face. As a society we elevate the young and beautiful and marginalise the older and wiser. Our arrogance and greed is destroying the air we breath.
In art, memento mori are artistic or symbolic reminders of mortality.
Growing up in a strong Catholic country, I was surrounded by religious symbolism and paraphernalia which can have a very strong effect.
I'm also a country girl at heart and a highly sensitive introvert, I'm happiest when out in nature and away from crowds. The natural world nourishes the soul and I'm always mesmerised by the beauty and design of the natural world.
It makes me so sad to see what we are doing to the wonderful planet, I fear for what my children will have to face.
So my Taiwan piece is "Memento Flori" a reflection of the beauty of the natural world and the transient nature of all things.

I used a new photo transfer method that I'm playing with and used images of natural forms from Ernst Haeckel's "Art Forms in Nature" which I photoshopped.

Had great fu playing around and building up the design!

I also looked at the work of Giuseppe Arcimboldo, one of my favourites.

Finally got round to stitching!

Close up

Some colour added.
Final version ready to go!

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Gaia's Blessings - Taiwan

I neglected to post a photograph of my quilt for the Taiwan show.  Here is the photograph together with my artist's statement about the piece.

          My quilt, “Gaia’s Blessings”, was inspired by the Gaia Theory (or Gaia Hypothesis), which was formulated by the chemist James Lovelock and co-developed by the microbiologist Lynn Margulis in the 1970’s.  The Gaia Theory proposes that organisms interact with their inorganic surroundings on Earth to form a self-regulating, complex system that contributes to maintaining the conditions for life on the planet.  The theory suggests that organisms co-evolve with their environment.  In some versions of Gaia philosophy, all life forms are considered part of one single living planetary being called Gaia.  In this view, the atmosphere, the seas, and the terrestrial crust would be results of interventions carried out by Gaia through the co-evolving diversity of living organisms. 

Lovelock believed that the increase in human population and the environmental impact of their activities, such as the multiplication of greenhouse gases may cause negative feedbacks in the environment and that this could bring an extremely accelerated global warming.  He and Andrew Watson developed the mathematical model “Daisyworld” in which temperature regulation arises from a simple ecosystem consisting of two species whose activity varies in response to the planet’s environment.  “Daisyworld” examines the energy budget of a planet populated by two different types of plants:  black daisies and white daisies.  The color of the daisies influences the reflection of light by the planet such that black daisies absorb light and warm the planet, while white daisies reflect light and cool the planet.  On “Daisyworld” competition between the daisies (based on the effects of temperature on growth rates) leads to a shifting balance of daisy populations that tends to favor a planetary temperature close to the optimum for daisy growth.

          Look around the next time you take a walk in nature.  Do you notice an abundance of white flowers?  


Saturday, 18 July 2015


To me, the cocoon represents "potential".  In this quilted cocoon, we can see the bold colors of the soon-to-emerge butterfly that is depicted in my first quilt of this series, "Mirage".  I was deeply impressed by an article I read recently about how the numbers of the Monarch Butterfly have decreased in their annual migration from the United States to Mexico.  Where the fields in Michoacan, Mexico were once covered with more than 60 million Monarch Butterflies during their annual winter migration, due to destruction of the Monarch's habitat, these fields now host vastly smaller numbers of butterflies, some say now only in the hundreds of thousands.  What a sad world this would be if we lost the Monarch Butterfly.  That article inspired my slight change of perspective for our theme for this year and my four quilts will depict, in abstraction, the life cycle of the butterfly.

The beautiful hand-dyed background fabric for this quilt was purchased from Carol R. Eaton at the SAQA Fiberlandia conference this spring.  The quilt was constructed using fusible web applique and was machine quilted.


Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Peas in a pod

Here is a picture of my 3rd quilt for this year:

I have called it 'Peas in a pod', although I admit I have never seen peas in this color :-), but is that not the fun of an abstracted nature theme. All fabrics used are my own hand dyed / hand printed ones.

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Ildiko's Taiwan piece

A few weeks ago I found loads of pictures on Caryl Bryer Fallert's page about a trip that they made to the Galapagos Islands as an item on their bucket list. One album was full of photos of blue-footed boobies, about which I had never heard before. I did a bit of research about these funny looking birds, and produced this quilt.
The background fabrics are colours of the bird itself: lot of blues with a bit of white, grey and brown. The text is a bit of cliché I know but could not come up with anything more original. I made a stencil of this, stitched it first, and then painted with acrylics. The quilting in the background are all blue feet (was rather boring I must say). In the left upper corner I quilted the outline of a booby in a funny position (based on a real photo), and painted its feet turquoise.

Ildiko's No. 2 piece

This quilt was inspired a piece of fabric in the top left quadrant. Some friends and I experimented with gelatine printing some time ago. I did not at all like the outcome until after a few hours the "plate" broke into pieces and already several layers of paint were stuck. I added I think some metallic brown on top, and had this fabric coming out. Looks like quartz to me!
In the bottom right quadrant I tried to produce a kind of inverse of this fabric: heavily stiching the gaps between the stones with variegrated thread.

Ildiko's No.1 piece

Here I am at last, and will upload pictures of three quilts at the same time.

My chosen topic for abstracted nature is stones and rocks and similar natural formations. This piece was inspired by a trip to Normandy where you can see granite strata all around. The colours of the quilt are not 'true': instead of grays I chose a much warmer colour scheme. After a bit of strip piecing I inserted a brown wedge, and added a brown strip on the left. The pieces glued on the left are heavy-duty Vilene pieces with a layer of tissue paper and painted with acrylics.

Monday, 6 July 2015

A Ghanaian Adventure 2

Continuing my adventures in Ghana I travelled up to Bolgatanga in the north, an area that is known for the skill of the basketmakers that live in the villages. I worked alongside the basketmakers as they sorted and plied the elephant grass, died it in an array of exotic colours and then wove and shaped it into many different styles of baskets and containers.
In this piece I have woven the fabric as a backdrop to a sheaf of elephant grass and the 'ghost' of a basket.
Pat Archibald

A Ghanaian Adventure 1

Earlier this year I was travelling in Ghana with Magie Relph and Bob Irwin. Every day was an adventure as we covered the miles and length and breadth of the country. One of the main thoughts that I brought back with me was a sense of awe and respect at the amazing craftsmanship and resourcefulness of the makers despite (or perhaps because of) poverty and poor working conditions.
In this series of work I am looking at the elements that the craftspeople take from nature and use in their processes to produce wonderful items.
In this first piece I spent time with the brass beadmakers and even made my own set of beads with them. Copper and zinc are smelted to make brass and one of the other essential items in the beadmaking process is beeswax. The wax is extruded through a pipe to make strings of spaghetti-like wax. These wax strings are then wound round carbon shapes to make the mould that eventually is filled with brass. The whole process is long and labour intensive.
Here you can see an atom of copper and an atom of zinc forming concentric circles. The outer circle forms a 'necklace' of images of the beads that I made with the beadmakers. The bees are there as a reminder that beeswax is an essential ingredient in the production of the beads.
Pat Archibald

Thursday, 2 July 2015

A So(e)wing of Tulips

A So(e)wing of Tulips

It is by growing tulips from seed that new varieties are created. In our new garden here in Gloucestershire, UK there were many tulips of different colours which heralded the arrival of spring and I have used them as inspiration.
The background strips of fabric are in spring colours and the appliquéd tulips have three layers of fabric, including synthetics which add shimmer and an extra dimension. Beads reinforce the outline. Some leaves are painted and the background quilting is in a leaf design.
It is exciting watching what comes up in our garden as the year progresses.