oops I think i missed again

Phil Collins

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so dear reader (or readers) in case I’ve picked up a other one due to the ally pally show.. what do a textile artist, Phil Collins and Brittany Spears  all have in common? Well yes  oops I I did it again I think I missed again uhha….,a lovey lady from Bedfordshire absolutely loved my acrylic slow Instagram which I put up the day before.,,,my very first cell work and she really wanted it..

See it here….image

Yes to part with cash for my work.. She wanted to buy it…and yes I froze , said didn’t think I wanted to  sell it and wasn’t sure about a price.. Well of course I’m sure about a price I know how much I want for it… I need to eat!!! Yes I do! BUT It is also my baby.. The first large slow Instagram I produced.. And the frame I love the frame!!! It took ages to track it down!!!

I am as rubbish at selling my work as I am at photographing it!!! So I tend to get other people to sell it for me. ( I am looking for a photographer too …for  free of course!! ) I am am artist not a what ever it is you call a person on who sells art is…..

Anyway she said she would take my card and email me me.. well if you are out there and want my picture I would absolutely love for you to buy it! I was flattered that you loved my work so please do! and  if not then hey…what will be will be,  some one else is very interested too  and if it doesn’t leave home then it’ll be in my retrospective when I’m 90! Before I was an artist and actually had money I bought some original pieces… I have never regretted any of them and treasure them still.   ( hint hint)

Now I was supposed to post this blog three days ago and since then  some wonderful things have happened…nope the woman from Bedfordshire has not got back to me yet…..but if you still want it I haven’t sold it yet.. It now has a price tag on it  and is ready to pack its bags and leave home! (I think!) No,  a wonderful lady from last year turned up just before closing and bought loads of my work!!! She said the pieces she made made her smile! I am so happy! If you are reading this thank you!!! I am going to set up mail chimp soon.. Well I’m going to try any way! let me know if your interested in finding out what I’m up to  and it’s a way if keeping up to date with what I’m doing… Totally mystery to me at the mo but watch this space.  Also I didn’t even ask you name!!! Please get in touch! I would love to know it!


Anywho last but definitely not least….. a very discerning gentleman..obviously…bought my ‘ You only get one shot so make it a good one!’  I was so happy to send it to a good home. He loved it! If you are reading this I want you to know that it is a one off original …..I destroyed the screen after!  I hope it gives him as much pleasure to look at as it  did to me in the creation of  it! Thank you!!!!! I ran straight round to Art Van Go ( http://www.vycombe-arts.co.uk )  bought more fabric medium and paint. (And they gave me a plastic bag… don’t ask ….you would not believe how stressed a woman can get over one plastic bag!!!) And much to my embarrassment Kevin shouted rather loudly ‘Helens sold a picture’ … I now know now that I can turn a shade not dissimilar to my silk pictures.

A big thank you to all the people who have supported me over the last year by buying my work!  Art should not be an an investment.  It should be bought cos you love it!      Art is an investment in the artist and not an investment!  There is a difference!!! Anyway that’s what I think!! So there!

And meanwhile I am attempting, badly …..to learn to tambour… If anyone from LisS in StitcheS is reading this we are booking these ladies to come to us.. It is a beautiful  beading tecnique which  sadly I had never heard of ….loved it! the teachers are fabulous and very patient.. Which is a good job with me! I love the rhythm of it!!! The tiny line at the top is what I managed…..( serendipity as I purloined a frame only 2 weeks ago..sorry Mrs masala chai)


This is Diana Vernon demonstrating the art of tambour.  The picture above shows samples of tambour work . She and Lesley Coidan were demonstrating and letting people have a go at this amazing art of couture beading.  They are fantastic teachers and do workshops and lectures. See their website for more details. http://www.couturebeading.com

And……, in the brief moments when I hared  around trying to see stuff…Managed  to get to see Sadies Plaice which is fab work by Kate Jenkins and met  and talked to Amanda Clayton  who is showing  some gorgeous work with Vivian Prideaux. Also Sue Dove and Jill Denton’s work blew me away…never seen their stuff in the flesh apart from a couple of small pieces by Sue Dove in a gallery  in St Ives last year… Fabulous!! Love them ! Quilters Guild pawns are fabulous… Just look at the faces and see if you can spot the chuppa chup and the knitting bishop… Fabulous!!! SAQA have some amazing quilts too…my favourite was Tomato Soup by Jim Hay https://www.saqa.com/memberArt.php?cat=8&ec=3&ex=47#artists. Fantastic story!

Oh and there is quite a lot more!!! Look at the knitting and stitching shows galleries page… See if you can catch in Harrogate and see the galleries at this link http://www.theknittingandstitchingshow.com/london/Content/Galleries-2015

Sadly not as many artists as in past years.. Hope there will be more next time!!

Was presented with my fab certificate.. Thank you to all at the Embroiderers Guild and special thanks to Pat for making it look do lovely! I will treasure it!!!!! Love the way my work is transposed into it!


I also learnt  a bit more about haute couture. Thank you Alice!!! I love this place!

PS come  to liss and learn to tambour Sarah… You’ll love it x

PPS is want to give a mention to mr x stitch who was helping out on the stand.. In his capacity as chair of young Embroiderers. Obviously our readership figures are very similar but am hoping that this mention in my blog will help boost his a little!!!!!!!BTW seriously his TED talk is fab!!! Watch it on you tube!!!!

PPPS Alice bring your needles to Harrogate and I’ll  teach you to cast on… Should be interesting!!!!

PPPPS this blog was posted well after the event so is a bit jumbled. Artistic license! I had the most amazing trip home….its definately a  piece of work!!! Read my next blog….x

PPPPS Georgina Bellamy http://Georginabellamy is fantastic and deserves a yacht!


No lederhosen in my digs…*

image(* see Caroline’ bells Facebook post!)

well  have arrived at the K & S again this year .. You couldn’t make my day up..,,,what with teaching a class of eight year olds in the morning , ( asking me if I’m a real artist…yes dear reader I ask my self that question sometimes too… remember the mantra.. yes I am yes I am yes I am..)!…..juggling sorting out accommodation for students in Harrogate (not quite sure how I ended up doing that one but there you go) …. nearly missing my early train,  losing my purse (think it’s an age thing.. ( well i am 39 and three quarters now ) .. dont  panic it did get handed in…but  I have no money now which will make things interesting for a day or so.. here’s to selling lot of post cards over the next couple of days…..and then I got delayed on the train when a vehicle in front struck  a bridge..told you, you couldn’t make it up.

Anyhow had the most wonderful taxi driver from Bounds Green ….my old stomping ground… who helped me out with getting free access to cash ….I flipping hate those machines where they charge you for getting your own flippin money out… arrived to set up at Ally Pally.  I do love  that view From Ally a pally as you drive up the hill.. Note to seLf make time to get out over the next 5 days ( yes 5!) and sketch it….

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Though didn’t manage to get everything out.. I did hang everything that I could … Sadly no space for big Instagram but it is acrylic and ink so probably  a bit of a push for the knit and stitch any way.. Here it is now tho…., sorry I love it!!!! It talks to me!!!

Back tomorrow  well later today to set out the rest….one of my pictures got damaged in transit so had to do a bit of emergency surgery but all tickety boo now.

I am at the Graduate Showcase, exhibiting on the Embroiderers guild stand .. .as Education Scholar….look  out for the red stuff. Also there is all the fabulous work that Anthea Godfery did with Cornelia Parker on ‘the Magna Carta (an embroidery)’ .. Am lusting after one of the beautiful books that have been produced to go with the project…..very .. what’s the word lovely to look at and lovely to touch.. Is it esoteric?? I still haven’t seen the real thing.. The Magna Carta an embroidery… It’s in Manchester now…there are also exhibits from EG  members and Young Embroiderers.. So lots to see as well as information on the more stitching in schools project that I am involved in…  And of course all the other work by the other scholars and graduates.  Please come and say hello!

Had a very lovely evening  evening in north London being very spoilt .. staying again with the lovely Anthea … who is a fabulous host and so pleased to see her friends again , the marvellous Diane Bates ….,who has a stand and is demonstrating again.. definately worth going to see, you will laugh (a lot) as well as find out some interesting things to do with some very unusual materials….   and  her lovely friends from Chichester,  John and Marilyn (Cushions by Design .. rather lovely … you should take a peak!) http://Cushions design.co.uk once I’ve finished setting  up I am looking forward to taking a peek around the rest if the show…wonder what will ‘get’ me this year?

Meanwhile, I am desperate to get to Romsey Abbey to see if my labels  are on my work ..,,,OK  I have an obsession with people understandings the story behind my work.. I know I need to get over it…but I want them to know about the mills and boon message and refugees welcome cos I think they are important!!!!

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anyway time to get up…looking forward to a first day at Ally P… Hoping all my pictures have stayed up.. If they have then there’ll be a picture here…..  if not there’ll be a picture of me .

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P.S. See you tomorrow Sarah! X

PPS didn’t come up,with the mad Canadian this year as she’s a bit busy setting up her just giving Facebook page to help refugees from Syria…check it out!  Facebook page   Petersfield Action for Refugees…..and

Crowd fundingjustgiving http://Crowdfunding.justgiving.com/petersfieldaction

It sure is grand…

Caroline, Barry Flanagan hare and me...Dublin
Caroline, Barry Flanagan hare and me…Dublin

Having an amazing time at the RDS in Dublin. Caroline has picked a great hotel in Sandymount. Went to the National Gallery, after set up,to soak up some art and get inspired.

The little green fields Gerard Dillon
The little green fields Gerard Dillon


Peasant wedding Pieter Brueghel the younger
Peasant wedding Pieter Brueghel the younger
nano's dream Gerard Dillon
nano’s dream Gerard Dillon







Liked this exhibition, lots to see. Having a good think about I might use this work to inspire my work. Liked the Yeats…now why didn’t I buy a post card of his work?)



Meanwhile my son has been exhibiting at the Tate in London…

Live at the Tate modern Nathan Dowdeswell
Live at the Tate modern Nathan Dowdeswell







Also really liking that you can buy a sarnie and a cake at the spar and then sit outside said shop in a rather nice seating area and really have your cake and eat it so to speak…no extra charge! Much better than the pot noodles I was expecting.

Lovely speaking  to lots of people and seeing all the other graduates work. If you go to the knitting and stitching show gallery my work is on the website! Fantastic! Fame at last!

Georgina is trying to persuade us to take in some drum and bass tomorrow. If it starts at 6pm and I can be tucked up in bed by 8pm I’m in!

Nearly sold a book! X

N.B to Gary (or as Margo Ledbetter would have said nota bene) yes I do actually know what drum and bass is and when I u-tubed the band it sounded a bit more like jazz reminiscent of Camberwell Jazz club circa 1990’s rather than Pendulum.)

The future is bright the future is textile art

I cannot believe I only have 12 hours left of the magic that is the knitting and stitching show.  If you see one thing you must see Renate Keeping ‘s work. I have never been so moved by a piece a of work, it is totally unbelievably beautiful, touching and moving.  Why had I never heard of this wonderful lady and her husband, Charles , although I know his illustrations from childhood.  My ignorance embarrasses me.  Something is wrong somewhere in the world when more people don’t get the opportunity to experience this wonderful art work. In fact textile art needs to be out there so much more.

Je t’aime  Anthea Godfrey,  Diane Bates,  Diana Springall.

Gorgeous gold work...Godfrey is god!
Gorgeous gold work…Godfrey is god!
Me t'adore Diane, AKA the Mistress of Stitch
Je t’adore Diane, AKA the Mistress of Stitch


Dig Diana
Dig Diana

You are missing out if you don’t know about these incredible women. There are a whole lot more.


Goodness this is tiring but all rather lovely!
Goodness this is tiring but all rather lovely!

My mission, which I have chosen to accept is to raise the profile of textile art…two years oops  sorry I mean  13 years left to win the Turner Prize! X

ps this should have been posted this morning but being rather technically challenged I didn’t do it! So it’s now. Later…Sarah x


The artist formerly known as Dowdeswell…

Just make things clear to my many, many followers out there I have two names.  I have the one that I was born with Helen Amanda Sill, and boy did I hate that when I was little, evidently everyone is the hospital  ward was Helen Louise …shall we do a straw poll of all those 37 year old Helens out there…are you all called Louise or what?

Anyway I digress,  and the one I signed up to accidentally by ticking the wrong box on my marriage certificate, which incidentally I am very happy with but you know, I didn’t really think about it  and was suffering from baby brain at the time.  So I use the Sill one when exhibiting  cos that’s me and I am my art and the Dowdeswell one is  for everything else.  I bet Grayson doesn’t have these problems when he turns up as Clare.  Anyway I’m sure you are all, the many,many of you,  absolutely so pleased that I shared, and I’m off , here’s some more nice pictures to look at…… Knit  & Stitch here I come ready or not….been creating and drawing in an attempt to have a few things to sell try to help fund my trips around the country and overseas….

imageimage I give up! Still can’t download any new pictures! Total pain! You’ll just have to come to my show to see everything I have been doing! Aargh technology! Give me a sewing machine any day!  Here’s some old pictures to keep you happy!

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My mate Abi

Having total crisis of confidence.  Got all my boxes out on shelves and plinths in my gallery space/ studio aka the kitchen, just watched the summer show for the RA on catch up so feeling pretty inadequate as an artist anyway.  Abi turns up.  Everything makes sense!  She lets me babble on about what I am trying to say with my work and how I want people see it.  Start to move boxes around and it finally really starts to come together.  I think I need a chair though too.  Sorry Sue!imageimageimage