Monthly Archives: May 2015

Studio Sale

Muted Earth Ice Dyed Pack

Muted Earth Ice Dyed Pack

As per my previous blog about the ‘rebuild’ of my studio I have sorted out a selection of fabric packs for sale on my Etsy site. These are combinations of overs from dyeing runs, pieces that didn’t dye perfectly and pieces that I dyed for my own art but have decided not to use. I have also reduced the price on 4 pieces of wall art already listed on Etsy.

You can find my shop by clicking on the Etsy button to the right of this blog. I’m also offering a 10% discount across all items – just use the coupon code STUDIOSALE2015 during checkout.

Purple and Pink Pack

Purple and Pink Pack

Citrus, Green and Navy Pack

Citrus, Green and Navy Pack



Breakdown Printing

Around all of the disruption in the studio I have managed to produce some really lovely pieces of cloth using breakdown printing. (I have produced some ugly pieces too!). I start by spreading thickened procion dyes onto the back of silkscreens then embedded various objects including metal joining plates before leaving to dry. On a nice sunny day this only takes a couple of hours. But I live in Manchester so sometimes I have to dry the screens indoors overnight. Once the screens are completely dry I pull through with plain thickened paste. Sometimes I keep the prints separate and quite pale. Other times I print off until the screen is completing spent. The printed cloth is left overnight to batch then washed out. Wonderful!


Coping with disrupted plans

I am a great one for making plans, writing lists and organizing my working methods to give maximum output especially in the studio where time is very precious. I am so much more relaxed and productive when I have a plan. But life has a way of disrupting plans!

I’ve been sharing my studio with my son Callum for the last year to support him starting his own picture framing business. It has been wonderful to be able to do this and we have worked around each other reasonably well. He uses it 2 or 3 days in the week and I use it in the evenings and at weekends. We each have to tidy up a bit more than we would do if we weren’t sharing but it has been a real pleasure to see his business grow. And I have got to see some wonderful pieces of photography, print and even textiles. The great news is that he is now moving into his own studio. The bad news is the period of chaos that we are going through!

The date he got access to his new space has been a bit fluid. As has how many hours he can spend getting the space ready (it needs a lot of work!). So the date he moves out of my studio has become very fluid. He also still needs to earn money so he has been coming into the studio at odd times including weekends to do framing. When he moves out next weekend he will be taking his big work bench and the glass and paper store we build on the back wall. This will involve dismantling them. And then he needs to build me a new print bench and some more storage spaces. All of which creates sawdust. Lots of sawdust. Which means I will be packing up and covering up all my stuff for a period of at least two weeks.

I don’t actually mind being without a studio for a couple of weeks because I’m going to end up with more space (and no sawdust). But uncertainty is a powerful distraction. Although I’m making good progress on the goals I set for April and May I have struggled to enjoy the hours that I have spent at my print bench and am not as happy with the results as normal. As Steven Pressfield would say the Resistance is very strong in my life right now.

So my coping strategy – shift focus to activities that don’t require ‘creative’ input. And to activities that I can stop and start at short notice. I have been busy finishing ‘finished’ pieces – that is binding or stretching, adding labels and photographing. The extra space means that I’ll be able to move all of my ‘stuff’ out of various nooks and crannies in the house. Including all my quilts and my many boxes of fabric. So I’m using this period of chaos to think about how to store quilts and to decide if I even want to keep all of them. I’m also looking at all my boxes of fabric and wondering the same thing. Maybe a ‘studio’ sale on Etsy?

The key thing is that I am still ‘turning up every day’ and ‘doing the work’. So what if it is not the work I thought I would be doing. Steven Pressfield would be proud!


Ticking Boxes

One of my goals for this spring was to finish at least 8 of my Hidden Message skyscraper pieces. Having realized that my older Hidden Message pieces would be too big for the Etcetera exhibition at Platform Gallery, Clithero (12 – 27th September) I intentionally set out to create pieces that were 12 inches wide by 30 inches high. I had to dye more fabric, print using a smaller scale and finally, think of a more appropriate construction process. Hence the skyscraper pieces which I have documented in earlier posts.

I constructed and stitched 4 pieces during the Rydal retreat in February. Over the last few weeks I have completed another 4 pieces and have ‘finished’ all 8. In this case finishing has meant stretching over canvas, adding labels and picture hooks. I brought a box of 10 12 x 30inch own brand stretched canvases from Jacksons Art Supplies who have a great selection of canvases (and other lovely things!) and give a decent saving if you buy in bulk. The method I used for stretching my pieces has been really well described by fellow Etcetera member Helen Conway. I used double sided tape instead of contact adhesive and finished the backs by covering the edges of textile with a self adhesive fabric tape (well I am a neat freak!). I added fabric labels to the back of each piece. I used an Epson S22 printer with pigment inks to print onto hand dyed fabric. I love this method of finishing my work. And I have ticked a box!