Artist & Facilitator

I am a freelance artist based in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria in the North West of England. I have worked within the performing and fine arts for 20 years. Initally I worked within the theatre as a performer and on production. Then moving on to a street circus group that performed around the UK. I did my degree BA(hons) Fine Art at Uclan. For fifteen years I have collaborated with local arts organisations, worked on youth community projects and in schools running a variety of creative projects. I am currently a member of North Lonsdale Embroiderers Guild, Blue Tarn, a rural womens artists collective and Trident Textiles, based in Furness. I am always working on a variety of small scale projects including photography, textile and mixed media. Although my favourite thing is meeting and talking to interesting people!

Monday, 21 December 2009

Momiji Contest Winner Announced

Unfortunately I am not the winner or indeed a finalist of the Momiji Couture Contest.  These were announced on the  Momiji blog on Sunday at 4pm.  It turned out to be someone called 'Felt Mistress', whose blog I follow actually.  I loved the doll and I felt she deserved it.  Photos of the finalist dolls will be published later on.  Click on the link to look at the winning entry and read the interview.


Thursday, 17 December 2009

Snow on Coniston Old Man!

I went for a walk with my brother Eddy today up to Beacon Tarn from the Blawith end.  It was a cold but clear day.  It snowed as we walked up.  When we got up to the tarn we were thrilled to see that the snow had settled on the Old Man and Dow Crag.  It is days like this that make us feel glad to live where we do.  Although I have to say very rainy dark days don't.  Although those type of days are typical and define why we are called the 'Lake District'!  It was my first sighting of local snow this year!  It was a great day.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Momiji Update & Furness Shoreline Quilters Guild Christmas Meeting

Checked out the blog for the Momiji Contest I had entered last month.  It seems they are well on the way to finding their final 10 dolls.  What gave me a bit of a thrill was that in the photo accompanying the blog was one of the judges marking some entries.  I could tell that my doll is the one at the end by the judge!  I know it does not mean anything of course but I was anyone would be!

Last night my Aunty Anne and I attended the last guild meeting of the year.  Everyone had to take some food to share, a christmas card and a fat quarter of fabric for the secret santa.  The Christmas project was to make a table runner or placemats.  I did not have time to do anything unfortunately.  The entries are laid out so we can view and then vote.  I particularly liked the one that came third. 

We ate and drank, played quilt bingo and did a christmas carol quiz.  The average age must be 70 but I really enjoyed it.  I like talking to the ladies and gleaning lots of new sewing tips!  We were given the list of next years speakers too.  Quite a lot to look forward to!

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

HMS Astute and finding the Embroiderers' Guild

I made this cute stuffed submarine (with googly eye periscope!) as a tribute for my husband Nic.  He works for BAE Systems and this weekend the HMS Astute left Devonshire Dock, Barrow-in-Furness for Faslane in Scotland with its new crew.  So it was exciting for the team to witness this new chapter in the project.  Nic managed to get some photos and video of the sub leaving dock.  There was a big spread in the local newpaper too.  Go to this link and scroll down to see video and interviews. All the rest of the lads in the office now want their own stuffed submarine with googly eye periscope!!

I am having real problems finding a local branch of the Embroiderers' Guild.  The nearest was the South Lakeland and Furness now has folded and the next nearest I can find is Keswick.  The national competition for the Embroiderers' Guild deadline is in Feb 2010 and I would like to take part but via a local branch.  In this search I find that many local craft guilds have folded.  For example the Cumbria Craft Guild used to be a fantastic group and would exhibit every year at Grizedale, they too are no more!  Living in a rural area is fantastic but it can end up isolating those who need to network.

So I guess I will just have to do it through national membership for now.  The competition theme this year is 'Shelter'.  I am also a member of a local quilters' guild but again I am considering entering the national exhibition next year, 'Festival of Quilts' at the NEC in Birmingham.  These fairs are good because it gives the artist a chance to exhibit but also to network. On a last good note for me, Nic and I are off to Glasgow for the weekend.  Leaving Alex with his grandparents.  So looking forward to visiting the galleries and a few watering holes!!

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

It got there!

Just checked out online if the doll got to its destination.  It was delivered the day after posting!  That is good I can now relax.  On with the next project now.  Working on a mixed media painting for a competition next year.  Details to follow.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Posted off the Momiji Doll!

I cannot believe the mammoth task I have just performed!  I managed to make the doll in just a week and got it sent off special delivery on Monday hoping to beat the postal strike and then i learn that the deadline has been extended!!! Typical!  At least I have done it and i am on with the next thing now.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Momiji Contest

I am an avid textile hoarder (carrier bags and boxes oozing out of everything possible cupboard), and love reading sewing/quilting mags and look forward to sitting in bed with a brew and a fave mag. In one of these mags was a comp for making a momiji doll. It was open to all but particularly textile artists. Momiji are little friendship dolls that are all the rage recently. The idea of the comp was to get one off dolls into a haute couture catwalk in LA. The finalists would end up with a mag slot and some contacts in the business. BIG PROB for me was I had only read it last week and the closing date in Fri 30th Oct 2009 at 5pm! So I have had just over a week to design and create it. Days are out cos of my son so I get a couple of hours in the evening these days to do work. Although I am not particularly happy with it I am glad to be entering it because it had pushed me into action again. Check out the dolls and the comp

Recently I have had a spurt of ideas and had been experimenting with some fabrics and paper but this is confined to the evenings. I don't have the studio space either which is frustrating as it means tidying away everything each time. Considering making under the stairs into a little cubby hole for stuff. The Summer House was a great space but the light was poor and it was too damp for paintings. I wonder if I could justifiy an extension just for a studio?

Thursday, 25 June 2009

How I am going to get started again?

Wowee! At Last I am seriously thinking about what work I am going to do after having a baby! I don't mean the boring mundane stuff I have had to do for years alongside the 'loves' of my life. The Arts are a lifelong passion. Particularly the theatre, fine art and textiles.

However, the geography of where I live is not particularly arts cosmopolitan so unless your work is main stream you have to have a job to 'fall back on'!! Mine has usually been a youth project worker and barmaid! Nothing wrong with either of these but I am not always cut out to be these things!

My great great aunt back in the early 20th C was a barmaid and her sister, my great grandmother always maligned her as 'a jumped' up barmaid'! Meaning she had ideas above her station, believing herself better than she was. I can identify with this great great aunt and in fact it has become a family joke between my mother and I.

I am a jumped' up barmaid but I am lots of things. I have worked in many areas and I call it 'life experience', it informs my work!! Hee hee!

Over the past couple of years all of my projects have been stunted through lack of motivation and now a baby. I now want to make more of an effort to get interested, to make something and consider how to market it. I think this is something I really need to do to keep myself sane!

At the moment I am finishing a few sewing projects, a quilt for my son, bridesmaids dress and some alterations for friends. Once I have got them out of the way I am going to get cracking! I need to go small scale first of all so that I be in the home and it is has to be fairly easy to pack away. So ideas are now brewing!