Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Gender, Justice and Security

Well there's an unusual title for you, not my usual thing.

In my last post I shared all my latest news, but there was one thing I left off the list - a project which has now gone live, so now I can share it!

I was approached by LSE (London School of Economics and Political Science) for permission to use an image of my work on an internal publication, and also a web page for a new research hub - and I was absolutely delighted to agree.

Coming from a family background where most people do "proper jobs", including a fair few who have worked or still work in academia themselves, including close friends of the family who have reached the top echelons, somehow this feels like a bit of validation for what I'm doing! And I'm honoured that the image is being used for such an important topic.

The announcement by LSE is here, and the research hub itself is here.

They wanted to use embroidery for the banner image, explaining that "embroidery is significant both because it is a traditionally female craft and also because development agencies often support women to learn textile skills as a way to earn money after conflict or displacement."

From the LSE announcement:

The UKRI GCRF Gender, Justice and Security Hub will work extensively with civil society groups, practitioners, governments and international organisations to advance gender justice and inclusive peace in developing developing an evidence-base around gender, justice and inclusive security in conflict-affected societies....the Hub will also connect with leading ambassadors for gender justice to turn research insights into ongoing actions that will improve lives.

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Many things

Many things to tell you! I always tell myself "I'll write a blog post about that" and then time gets away from me again, and then another thing happens and I say "I'll add that to the blog post I was going to write about that other thing"...and so on.

Where to start?!


Just before Christmas I had a very exciting meeting with Becky Drinan from Dot to Dot Studio in East Hoathly, East Sussex. Becky is the dressmaking tutor who taught Jade the Girl with the Bright Red Hair, youngest ever participant and finalist in the 2016 BBC Great British Sewing Bee.

Anyway, back to Dot to Dot. We've agreed three dates for one-day machine embroidery workshops for this coming year, with yours truly teaching up to 8 people a little project in the Dot to Dot studio.

The first workshop is Saturday 13 April, making little books with appliqué covers and stitched cord fastenings.

These are great little book covers for using up all your snippets and oddments of fabric, practising free motion embroidery, and learning how to stitch a cord. Your little book could become a needlecase (easiest) or a cover for a handmade paper book, or a reusable slip cover (a little more involved - for the keen!).

The second workshop on 17 August is machine embroidered landscapes - again, using lots of scraps of fabrics and different threads and fibres to create either an imagined landscape, or maybe recreate a favourite place in stitch.

In the third workshop on 23 November we will be making embroidered Christmas baubles!

To book your place with Dot to Dot please click here.

Exhibition 1

In 2017 I exhibited at Ramster for the very first time, and I'm going to be there again this year. The show runs every day from 16 to 31 March, and is well worth a visit - two gorgeous old halls in a stately home, absolutely packed with embroidered textiles. Much of the work is for sale, and there are always hundreds of artist cards to choose from, unframed pieces of work, and other bits and bobs for sale.

I think I will enter my purple swirl

and my two little birdie pieces that I've been working on recently. Here's the first one (sorry the photo isn't great, I blame the lack of daylight!)

Exhibition 2

Maggie Grey has kindly invited me to take part in the Brockenhurst Needlework Fiesta in the New Forest on 27 and 28 April. I'll be exhibiting and selling work, as well as handmade cards and packs of goodies. I've never been to the Fiesta before, but I know it's a popular event - and I love the New Forest! The last time I was there we were camping at Easter, and our tent zip froze. While we were struggling with frozen fingers to escape into the frosty morning, we were taunted by the smell of sizzling bacon from all the cosy campervans and caravans. I've booked a B&B, but I am tempted to take my little tipi and won't be that cold, will it? It's nearly May! 

I've also given one talk already this year, and one workshop, with another three workshops and a talk to come - all before Ramster kicks off!

So at the moment I am VERY BUSY trying to make enough things for all these different things, and keep all the plates spinning! But busy is good, and it takes my mind off politics, albeit temporarily.


Back in November I did a couple of little questionnaires asking for your thoughts about what I'm up to, and also about the creative process. Thank you to everyone who took the time to take my little surveys - the results were really interesting to read and very encouraging!

The results of the creativity survey are being compiled into a project that I've had ticking over for a while now. I have a Big Idea about the creative process, in particular how to get "unstuck", and also how to make your work "better" (something that is also hard to define).

Personally, I get stuck all the time - and I'm a master procrastinator, so I have much experience in this area! Can you tell?!

As a tutor, I like to think that I help people to get the best out of their stitching when they come to one of my classes or a workshop. I've worked with many many people now, and I can usually tell where people need a little prod to produce really wonderful work.

The problem is, do I turn this project into a mini online course? A mini book? A longer course? A longer book?! Maybe I'll do them all. When I've got a moment.

Thank you for reading!