The joy of hoovering…a cautionary tale…

or why you should never agree to frame a black jacket in a vintage frame…

So friends what have I been doing for the last 2 days…hoovering,  yes, hoovering you heard it here first… only those who know me well will know how absolutely  ridiculous and out of character  this is.  On my return from the wonderful private view at Romsey Abbey on Tuesday eve…where my work is featured on the cover of the catalogue…oh yes indeedy… feel almost famous…went quite to my head…want to photocopy and illegally fly post all over the shop…petersfield notice board had to do….and you dear reader(s) can have it here  free…okay it came out pink but hey that’s my fault, my iPad has a will of its own…it’s still rather wonderful that it’s there…


and that’s what the iPad saw it as….anyway back to now….decided I’d better get to it and finish re-framing my ribis jacket for Ally Pally.   What a white bespoke frame did to it just wasn’t quite right.  I still really would like it to hang free in a frame…but  if encased it must be….I mused the idea for a bit then procured a beautiful vintage frame and stuffed it in there …yes stuff is the correct technical  art word…and it does look rather lovely. However…did you know that you find out when you do these mad things ….old frames have an awful lot of dust and debris that falls off them…so 48 hours later… I think I’m nearly there….of course if I had oodles of money I’d pay a minion to do it for me ….but if not fun, it’s definitely been a learning experience and I am better and wiser for it.  It’s not perfect but I like the imperfections.. There’s  some Japanese saying about imperfection isn’t there allotment woman…. .?…(I love you Helena!)  I knew there was a good reason for some people going to Polytechnic..obviously it was wasted on me….image

imageWhat do you think???let me know…. come and see the real thing at the knitting and stitching show next week…. it’s in my blog now so they’ve got to let me hang it!!!!imperfections and all.

Well got to go and finish packing for Ally Pally….need to make more lists.  Do try to get to Romsey if you are in the vicinity…it’s such a beautiful venue.. The l is the abbey is the best work of art…..does anyone know any other cathedralesque places that would like the exhibition? Let me know! We’d like to take it on tour.

PS Sarah, thanks for the fishing wire…its in the post xx

PPS Your nuns look fabulous!!! Like they are growing out of the stone around the font! Meant to be there!

PPPS Himindoors.. the children would probably quite like a phone call at some point over the next week…but don’t NEED one and are quite sure that your much NEEDed holiday will not change you!!x



Up and coming….

quickie…just finished making for my latest exhibition opens at Romsey Abbey on Tuesday  -and runs throughout October..come along and have a butchers ….there’s quite a few people exhibiting so if you don’t like my stuff you might like some one else’s…..always a good thing that! Canapés at  Rums Egg Gallery in Romsey afterwards.. PV at 6… Canapés at 7…..

I am exhibiting two pieces…one from thefirst year of my Stitched Textiles Degree…. ‘My past in the present’ which I think has ‘cathedralesque ‘ qualities ……my phrase and I’m sticking with it…..see if you do…..  Spot the angel of the North and the 5 Bridges…yes it dates me cos there’s more bridges now……but still fits in with my not admitting to anything over 39 and a half years old back story….,prizes on a post card if you can guess where I’m from!!!!! My avid follower(s) will of course know this piece and appreciate its’ significance blah blah blah…. that was supposed to sound up myself by the way….. on purpose but my avid follower(s) will already know that won’t they/ you Sarah!!!!! (Talking of which.. cards that is ……decided to take the plunge and have some post cards printed to go with my show at Alexandra palace in October at the Knitting and Stitching Show… I love them but I am biased. Hope I can flog a few as this framing malarkey is not cheap!!!! Debating between 50p and £1….hmmmmm if you read my blog you can have one for 50p!!!!

My past in the present…….


Also decided to do boxes in homage to my last years’ degree show….anyway made three and let me tell you the third one.. ah the third one…… getting the third one out was comparable with childbirth.. I kid you not!!!! Maybe that’s why I only had two children????? However they  are done!!!!! Finished Friday set up Monday… so loads of time there then!!!! Am really pleased with the panels but will be interested to see how they go down.  Mind you as with all my stuff I love doing it and become possessed in the making and if people like it it’s a bonus but not one I need…unless of course they want to buy them … Not sure where I’m going to store them… So selling would be good……they feel really rather lovely and are great to pummel!!! They depict different stages in Saint  Ethelreda’s life. The middle one is made up of a 50’s novel about a sleighted woman and called ‘ the fiancée.….totally inspired! (Mind you I haven’t read it so it might be awful!) The little rolls  on top are made from a ripped up Mills and Boon novel ( her life was about as faraway from Mills and Boon as you can get..geddit?) and they are meant to signify the 7 high tides that miraculously appeared  and enabled Ethelreda to escape her frustrated (bless him) husband…shed taken a vow of chastity and he had got fed up waiting for her to give up her vows as he wanted his husbandly rights……personally I find feigning sleep works for me….. Mind you having two kids not much time for anything other than a glass of wine occasionally……

rubbish photos of my work on my sofa…they’ll look better on the box in the abbey that they were made for…honest!!! Here’s hoping anyway………..  

There is also a nod to the refugee crisis that we are currently experiencing. I like to think Ethelreda who was supposed to be marvel of exemplary behaviour to her fellow nuns …would have got her finger out and done something to help……

And finally been stressing about how to re frame my work for Ally Pally…but the seeds of a solution are slowly forming….meanwhile the children are becoming feral and I think him in doors will kill me if I say… C…’so what do you think if ‘ again……… out for my next blog……I know you can’t wait…………

Hi di hi campers…..

Been standing in a field for 5 days with glasto girl serving mushroom crumble and hash browns to workers at Bestival on IOW…didn’t manage to escape from the site and make time to see the lovely Lyndsay Taylor,..but hoping to pop over to see her soon.  Variety is the fabulous spice of life…the people who work there are amazing.


My lucky scarf came to the rescue and managed to get us in and out of the festival with ease which was nigh on impossible,,,,don’t ask……the magic of textiles.  I’ll happily fill in the details to anyone  who visits me at the Embroiderers Guild Stand at Ally Pally in 3 weeks time! and wants to know…

wish I’d seen you back in the day SiLeBo!!

FKA twigs - LP1.png

Saw and heard Duran Duran (white jeans are not a good look for men especially in their 50’s  oh dear Simon I was disappointed!)), Chemical Brothers and fka twiggs   (going to start calling myself fka dowdeswell!!)  only joking…)

Watched some fabulous animation in a teeny cinema and didn’t make a tie die t-shirt in the slow motion field.

one of the animations used shadow puppets like this but I found this image whilst googling Martha Mosse..see last para of this blog..seredipity?

Charoenchai I think was the animation reference but cant seem to track it  down now..note to self..take was a great story!!..really fun…


Also  listened to a talk on feminism which was good in parts but included the thought that providing creches when women work will re address the gender imbalance, I’m more for making the father look after the sprogs myself, why don’t men require it just women’s work to look after the babies????… but what do I know. Isn’t it more about choice? And giving more choice? (lots of great women referenced and Half of a Yellow Sun by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi which I want to read.. ..which in turn reminded me of the Yellow Wallpaper which is a great book too..serendipity?) Talking of which my children have nearly forgotten what I look like!  I actually picked my son up from school today and he asked his dad to come too as he wasn’t convinced that I would remember!!   I made a cake with him after I picked him up okay okay..great mummy!!!i

this is rather lovely..sadly not mine..some lovely art for sale on this page

Came back to land of living to teach about digestion to 8 year olds… appearing in an art work coming your way soon….they love that I keep saying pooh, anus and colon…funny that….

Reminded me of Chris Labrooy…………

Did my first talk on my work this week  for the wonderful ladies and one man.. of the fabulous Liss in StitcheS ..they got me started HOPE YOU’RE READING. Went really well.  I do like talking!  If anyone else wants me to talk..I am ready!!!! I did change the title at 3am that morning to a more appropriate one so made the publicity  wrong..sorry… but hey…….’Becoming Me Again’ far more fitting…because I truly believe we all need to be me again ..with whatever it takes…art and stitch floats my boat…what floats yours????  We lose ourselves under the weight of so many labels it’s good to be yourself again….ANYWAY I DIGRESS…

Been keeping my feet up today trying to get my ankles back to normal after standing in fields but have been mad on the internet catching up with texts and trying to sort out all my stuff for Romsey..drop off in 12 days time as well as getting stuff ready for the knit and stitch…3 weeks and counting…just finished my artist statement for Romsey….what do you think..a bit too honest perhaps?

‘Helen is a Hampshire based artist originally from the North East of England.She combines her passion for drawing and stitch with a compulsion to never throw anything away. Fortunately recycling is integral to her work . As well as an interest in drawing and creating machine embroidered images she is fascinated by stitch in general and the emotion and energy produced when people come together to do so.  Helen is currently about to exhibit at Romsey Abbey and still needs to  finish the sodding work. Her piece is called the abbesses’ new clothes. She is going to be extremely busy over the next few days.  Helen blogs about her non-progress at’

A bit too honest perhaps? Hmmm?.. Its actually called the’ Abbesses’ Dowry’ and will be three boxes –  I’ve only finished two at the mo tho so getting busy over the weekend! .better stop blogging!! I’m also showing  My Past in the Present’ because  I think it has ‘cathedralesque’ qualities…Romsey just seemed to suit it….I am really tempted to dye it all red..but don’t think I am brave enough…maybe I need expert advice..Caroline????

Oh! Going to PV tomorrow to see Ai Wei Wei v. excited.  Only problem is I haven’t got a babysitter so bringing the kids…should be interesting…will the trees look the same after my children have been in the vicinity?… this space…(wonder if there’s a creche!!)

P.S, I hate you Sarah your work looks amazing!!!

P.P.S. Have you thought of a title yet?

P.P.P.S.   Also been listening to TED talk by Martha Mosse  ‘the slut, the spinster and the perfect woman’…nothing new here (what is?) but succinctly put..wish I had her confident  delivery…

Following images come from an exhibition called passion for freedom in 2013..the first image is Martha’s work couldn’t work out who the other artist’s were but loved the images…website is..    see if you are more lucky!

oops forgot to post…

imagePeople of the Heath private view was last night. There was a great turn out.  If you want to see the exhibition now  there is a charge of £2 to get into the museum.  You can pay £5 for a years pass to the museum and the Flora Twort which means you can pop in whenever you want for a year. Finishes Monday 21 September 2015.

Manically making for Romsey wish I could say its all going swimmingly but its not! Watch This space.

open studios has been and gone…

haven’t been blogging cos I haven’t had time…here’s a quickie…..
image image
image image imageimageDid stint at open studios ……lovely work from Caroline Bell Lynn Onions Alison Hulme Consuelo Simpson and Sue Chapman as well as yours truely…AKA Room 6

i was also showing at Chritine Watkins in Romsey…most of my work is still for sale..funny that?????.Call me if your’e interested!!!  need to buy more materials….and school shoes!!!


Sold a picture at Petersfield Arts and Crafts Exhibition and got a highly commended.  Thank you very much!imageNext I will be exhibiting at the Flora Twort People of the Heath Exhibition.  No photos as I am without access to internet at home and have handed all my work in…why do internet providers always tell you there will be no problems when you change? What’s worse is you believe them!!  the picture above is the start of my second version..i ripped the first one up!  there will be an interactive piece form me too!

Opening night is Monday.  See you there!

Panic* on the streets of Petersfield or thank goodness for Frida*

No blog for a bit as have been panicking! *The reason for the panic was all the stuff I needed to get ready for open studios, Petersfield Arts and Crafts and People of the Heath Exhibition. (Also been trying to negotiate a way back to uni and fit in visit to the Embroiderers’  Guild in my role as Education Scholar to discuss plans for  getting more stitch in to schools..all looking very exciting!!  More info in next blog! ** Frida (as in Khalo) is my sat nav who gets me from A to B….. I am now a sat nav believer…I used to be very sceptical but am now a convert!!! (With a little bit of help from Ken)

 Frida managed to negotiate my drops offs for Open Studios at Romsey and Owselbury smoothly and avoid the crush for Boomtown. Anyway two weeks ago I was in a bit of a tiz about everything so I did the only reasonable thing and  left home….went  to Gateshead for a bit..fab trip to the Baltic which had some great art on show .

Ida Ekblad – junk but presented interesting way

Tony Swain- great paintings and collage on newspaper

Fiona Tan – huge truck and great film set to sound of narration from Marco Polo travel will follow just losing will to live with downloading next time ay!

Pink Ladies
Pink Ladies

So panic over I have delivered to open studios…Christine Watkins..who will again have great eclectic mix of stuff on show this year including yours truly… I was so pleased to be invited to show there. Had a great chat with Christine who is really lovely…if you are  around Romsey please go and see her at  her house..drop in for cake and a cuppa you won’t be disappointed!!  (Christine and John Slade – the sculptor who works next door will even provide  a map to help you negotiate all open studios around Romsey.)

Each cell has a specific meaning
Cell Works

Then I whizzed over to Owselbury  to drop more stuff –at the Granary Studios..where I am showing with ‘Room 6’.  Another  great mix of stuff, tea, cake and demos.  ( Hoping to make it to the New Forest to see you too Sarah.)

As well l as being at Open Studios over the next couple of weeks  I am helping Lyndsay Taylor at her workshop for Liss in Stitches..where I will be her slave for the day.  I am also trying to pull together a children’s  entry for the Steep Flower Show…got all the bits just need to put them together now…oh dear!! As well as looking after the kids I think I may have bitten off a bit more than I should have but what the hey…..nearly finished my pieces for the Flora Twort and had a great few enlightening hours at Fishbourne Palace learning about the’ Ashling Hoard’ from Professor Stuart Needham..loving jewelry they recovered..they liked making necklaces, big rings and huge bangles…wonder why it interests me so much? HMMM? More fodder for my exhibits!

Sussex Loop, Bronze Age | The Sussex Archaeological Society

Prehistory collection Sussex Loops

Also managed to cram in a bit of camping  WITH POSH CRISPS….though rain hampered our efforts somewhat so we packed up early and came home.

Anyway I have definitive list now that I appear to be on top next???? Bring it on.

PS hope Cornwall was good Sarah and inspirational.  Really miss not going there this year x

PPS  Christine Watkins 2 Albany Road SO51 8EE

22 August -31 August  10.30 til 6pm

‘Room6’ the Granary Studios Owselbury SO21 1LU 22-24 August  and 27th -31 August

10am  til 5pm

Or visit Hampshire Open Studios at for more info  on all the great places you can visit between  Saturday 22nd August and 31st August 2015

Petersfield Arts and Crafts Exhibition  open on 27th August thru til  1st September 2015

People of the Heath Exhibition Flora Twort Gallery , Petersfield –opens  8 September til ?!

What a difference a day makes….oh knickers!

Dinah Washington
Dinah Washington

yes this is a truly amazing fact. Yes indeed sir. It really is amazing. And quite true. Point in fact …follow my first two wildly contrasting days of the summer holiday…..

Yesterday – first day of the holidays – and I spent all morning slouching around in my dressing gown drawing..lovely..absolute blisss…true I was a accompanied by the trainee teenager pirouetting around the kitchen and high kicking to what ever is most popular on capital radio these days BUT I had my iPad on full blast, listening to reruns of the Archers and was firmly concentrating on my Peoples of the Heath submissions…here’s a bit from my sketch book


imageimageimage(this was following on from the hell journey back from the north west which involved Lionel Richie legendary dinosaur  and T. Rexwho  lives in a castle with Queen Helen, King Gary, Princess Megan and Prince Nathan …..don’t ask ..and two hours stuck crawling though Stafford.)   Anyway ..I digress back to day one of hols…drawing and progressing to stitching to John Osborne on Radio 4 and Desert Island discs with Imtiaz Dharker

Imtiaz Dharker poet and artist………drawing by Imtiaz…

Imtiaz Dharker drawingFantastic particularly liked the bit about the Gujarati belief that some people possess the gift of always having enough in to feed unexpected guests……. Think I’m a bit of the opposite of the opposite of that cos I definitely had too much chicken last weekend..mainly thanks to glasto girl,who turned up,with an Italian and lots of chicken……couldn’t  flipping give it away in the end!…..anyway I digress…back to calmness and serenity of day one of hols …..furthering my research for People of the Heath project for exhibition at Flora Twort. . . ..and enjoying wonderful drawing and stress free sketching and googling into the beaker people… found beautiful photo constructed from what wessex archeology found …lots of supposition here…..skeleton was found not that far away from Hampshire, it’s a bit of a stretch… but artistic licence and all that….

Isn’t she lovely!image

I have stitched my version of the image in to my version of the Heath. Just trying to decide if it works in an old up- cycled frame. Like the oldeness and reuse of it but not sure that it’s quite right aesthetically…..hmm one to ponder.. working on three pieces.. …. yes displacement activities…… I should be making bags!!! To sell. Actually looking at it again think the frame might work but the mount is definitely wrong…

…the squares represent the barrows and finds the swishy bits the Heath…..women’s head free machined in bottom left..not that clear…..



WHat do you think Sarah…, does it work? Or can you actually see it? Sorry I do take rubbish photos I need to find a good photographer who wants some practice!!!! I’ve got another frame coming now!

Anyway I digress back to what a difference a day makes….  Day two of the hols .and you couldn’t ask for a more different day …not sure that this was what Dinah was going on about ….but artistic licence and  all that……spent today tootling down to the coast and doing a bit of shopping to get more stuff for daughters camping trip…ended up being rather stressful with warring factions within the camp and cries for can I have more stuff please .. ….all after ice creams, toys and lunch out…well Gregg’s,  which is lunch out for us these days.. If it doesn’t sound it, believe me it was VERY very stressful… back to  this evening and sorting out how many cards I need to have printed for open studios, speculate to accumulate and all that jazz.. Will anyone buy anything? …aaaarghhh!!!!! What do I need to send where and what do I need to finish/start? Who knows ….anyway had a premonition in the imagesupermarket….yes I can just feel it in my bones, I am going to come into money ….. And throwing caution to the wind I  decided not to give into the children’s cries for yet more tat and treated myself to a classy pair of lacey knickers from that well known luxury brand “Tu” …ah the high life….Rigby and Pellar eat your heart out..just wait till I win the Turner!!!!

P.S. Talk  to you tomorrow for an update Sarah. X

¿Qué artistas hacer todo el día …

… Or….image I’ve been off blog…family stuff going on so haven’t felt much like blogging …but Need to get back in the saddle so  To break myself in gently here’s a typical day in the life…so what DO artists do all day…. well they get up and make packed lunches

Yes of course all my packed lunches are like this…just ask Megan or Carlota…
Hey they don’t even look like this…

whilst nipping outside to spray bits of paper with acid dyes


and add glue and sealing substances to works in progress.. Then they take their son to school after arguing with  their 12 year old going on 19 about suitable school attire.. obviously in dulcet tones… then they attempt to answer emails and texts whilst catching up with the Archers( very important stuff this and integral to the creative process) and planning lessons for tomorrow..whilst also chucking ingredients into several bowls to make Dundee cake image

Do people really do the thing with the fork? Btw if your name is marco this is trifle and the reason there is no Marsala is Megan’s fault….

and tiramisu

for partners birthdays whilst still frantically trying to spray bits of random paper and at the same time also look for zips from fabric land  which have mysteriously disappeared in the chaos that ensued after Spanish student arrived.. and ‘studio’ was up turned upside down and became a bedroom for 12 year old going on 19…. after which they spray more bits of paper and have crisis of confidence  when they think everything they do is crap and try to do meaningful sketchbook time… and panic about open studios they have coming up and and the exhibitions at……where????

then they go to lidl and buy three pizzas for £1.95 which can be customised by children for wholesome evening meal…. collapse into bed with a cup of chai  and scone with jam and cream…purely for medicinal purposes…..this was not at all like Cornelia Parker’s what do artists do all day for channel 4 … funny that……

P.S. Glastonbury was fab…wouldn’t go as a punter but working it was fab and loved the opportunity to do Glastonbury tapas with Glastonbury girl … never ceases to amaze me how many fantastic amazing people there are out there doing amazing things….

image image image

P.P.S.Eastleigh was great,  but sad that the college is not doing as many courses as it was… Some lovely work on show.


P.P.P.S. looking forward to first meeting of Embroiderers guild on pilot for stitching in schools

P.P.P.P. S. Thank you for letting me picnic in your house Sarah.