Sunday, 21 December 2014

Odds and ends

A drop of festive drink to warm you up; I've passed this recipe on to several people after serving it at my Christmas Open Studio. With no alcohol it's a good choice for anyone driving and is delicious.
Mulled Fruit Punch
1litre red grape juice
500ml cranberry juice
500ml orange juice
6 heaped tbsp demerara sugar
2 sliced lemons
2 sliced oranges
2 cinnamon sticks
6 cloves
1 heaped tsp garum marsala
Make a bag from a clean cloth and put the spices inside, tie up so that you can hang the bag in the pan. Put the rest of the ingredients in the pan and heat to just under the boil and simmer for 15 minutes, taste and add more sugar if needed. Enjoy!
I've found knitting therapeutic and once I'd worked out how to start this pattern (5 attempts!) I enjoyed the challenge. I bought the wool from baa ram ewe who had a stand at Ally Pally Knit and Stitch show; I really didn't need anything else to do but found myself going back to their stand, I loved the colours and chose these to knit this shawl; the internet proved useful for stitches I didn't know.
I worked out my stripes and it's nearly finished, just a few more ends to weave in and then I need to block the shawl. 
My print group met for our last printing day this year with a few Christmas goodies to help our printing along. I thought how my life has changed since I retired and discovered printmaking; a new creative journey for me and lovely new friends, time to spend with family; especially my two little grandsons which is precious time indeed. 

Both have a great interest in books and of course William likes to copy his big brother. 
I wish you all a brilliant Christmas wherever you are, I will be with my daughter and her family having fun.
Recently I swopped a print for a press, this is a dear little etching press which I will have fun with in the new year. I can use it for drypoint, monoprints and lino prints as well, only small ones but good to have at home to experiment and play with. 
Happy Christmas and let's hope 2015 will be a happy, healthy and creative year.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Printing ready for Christmas Open Studios

I've been printing fabric to make cushions for my Christmas Open Studio weekends.

First the cutting fabric from the roll and marking up where I want my central images.

This time I was printing hares in black, grey and red. 
Here on tea towels and here are the cushion pieces. 
I've also been cutting a new lino block, a hare in the summer to complete my hare series. 
Now finished and ready to print along with a small lino block of Hare and Moon. 
I cut a stencil to screen print some backgrounds for the hare print. 
Screen printing in progress
and the results 
I can never decide which process I like best, so I often combine screen printing and lino cutting.
I hope to have time to print the block on top of the screen printed background soon.
Meanwhile I've been hand colouring my other hare print. The original edition is sold out. It's fun to be painting again and I enjoy mixing and playing with different colours. 
Now to make up the cushions!

Friday, 17 October 2014

Busy, busy, busy, long time no posts!

Here we are in mid October and I've not written a post for ages. August was a quieter month with good family times, a time for reflection, thanks for health, family and every day.
Time for big Will to spend time with little William
and Barney 
before flying back to Oz on September 1st.
What a year this has been. Will is now in USA, holding meditation meetings, talks, inspiring people and promoting his book. All going well apart from collapsing and being taken to hospital; all OK now but a reminder that the journey continues.
My September was busy with Herts Open Studios, open for 3 weekends which were good although, as usual, quieter than Cambs open studios; taking work to a gallery in Long Melford - Jessica Muir, a great day at Gransden Show with a stand in the Craft marquee and a lot of preparation for an amazing print show in Cambridge. I was fortunate to take part in the inaugural exhibition of Cambridge Original Printmakers, 40 printmakers showing their work in the wonderful Pitt building right in the centre of Cambridge. The aim was to raise the profile of hand pulled printmaking, which it certainly did. There were talks and demos and a fabulous variety of techniques on show. Heaps and heaps of visitors over the 9 days made it all worthwhile and it was lovely to meet other printmakers new to me. I learnt a lot and made new friends. 
From this to..... 
to the private view. 
Friends Kate, Sue and Tracey. It was a great experience for us all. The chelsea buns from Fitzbillies over the road kept us all going!

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Great news

My son had a brain scan a couple of weeks ago and this week we had a consultation with his oncologist. Waiting has been difficult but it was brilliant news, all clear with no sign of regrowth of the tumour; so the radiotherapy did it's job, hooray!
The next scan is in February, so he can get on with his life and I can get on with mine! He has recently self published his book 'Blessed with a brain tumour' and will go to Oz and then USA to promote the book.
His positive attitude throughout has been inspiring. He will be holding meetings, talking at conferences, life coaching and continuing to write, which he has always wanted to do. A complete change from his work fund raising for charities. All very exciting.
My Cambridge open studio went very well. This year I opened for 4 weekends and I had a lot of lovely visitors with good sales. 
The only photo I managed to take, my sister!
Another good happening was in the post, the RSPB are using my hare design as a Chr...... card (far too early to use that word). 
They are calling it Leaping Hare. They pay me for the licence to use the image. Another charity are also using one of my designs but I haven't seen the finished card yet.
I've only 2 of my Hare at Burrough prints left, it was a variable edition of 35, using different colours for the fields and sky. Sometime ago I handcoloured a woodpecker print and thought I'd do the same with a black and white version of the hare. It was fun getting my water colour paints out. This will be sold as a one-off unique print. 
I really enjoyed a recent 2 day stay in York with 4 college friends, we met at Wall Hall College of Education inSeptember 1966 and in recent times meet up every year. It was my first visit to York, what a lovely place. 
Here are Mary, Carol, Miz and Barbara exploring the Shambles area.
We had a fabulous tea in the Earl Grey Tea shop as well as going on a river trip, exploring the Minster of course and the Museum. 
I couldn't resist this roundabout! 
I was lucky to have 2 helpers in the garden the other day, both growing fast, Barney is now 4 and William is 17 months; both great characters. 

Thursday, 17 July 2014

More bits and pieces!

I've not written a post for some time, first, some not very good photos of my last lino cutting workshop; I'll start again in October.

As usual 3 amazing results, I am always so pleased to see the lovely prints my pupils produce.

A few weeks ago a friend, Sue and I went to Cornwall to walk part of the South West Coast Path. We started in Penzance and ended up in Falmouth. What a stunning area!
I last visited this area about 49 years ago and probably wasn't so aware then of the scenic beauty.

The start, Penzance and the Egyptian House 

Wonderful wild flowers and beautiful scenery. 

We were excited to see choughs along this stretch of coastline. 

One of my favourite places was Cadgwith Cove. 
A wonderful week with great weather and lovely people we met along the way.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

More fun workshops

I've had lots of fun working with lovely people coming to my workshops. Here are the results, as usual inspiring.

Tess's tree worked really well in red on black paper and Nicola chose black to show off her house and cats, very effective.

Lynn's iris was lovely, 
Gilly's sea horse looked great in blue.
3 friends came to my next class. 
Clare's lino block of her lovely hare, I didn't get a picture of the finished print.
Collette's toadstools were very effective. 
Nanette's sunflower was delightful. 
All were excited by the possiblities of lino cutting; fun had by all. 
I've been working on a new lino cut, Hares in the Spring, which has taken a lot longer than usual to plan and cut as I've not been well. Getting back to being 'me' again a,d here's the print. It's a series of small editions, each one in a different colour.
One of the screen printed backgrounds. 
 Blue sky version.... 
and this colour way ready to be my next card design.
Recently my son Will watched Mum and fox cubs on his walk locally and I 've spent time quietly watching them, so cute and small. I love their dark ears! 
My own delightful family, Barney walked out of the first picture but the 2nd one shows enthusiastic
removal of pond weed by Barney and William, now walking. They had great fun!
My son William continues his recovery following his radiotherapy. He and Louise have birthdays this week, 35 and 37 so happy celebrations.