Brexit the reason for my exit….

shhhhhhhh

Oh my oh my  this has got nothing to do with Brexit..and,  I haven’t been so caught up in Brexit  that I haven’t been able to blog. No dear reader I’m just a bit rubbish at social media.  So what have I been up to since December – well here’s an over view…

Art Conference

January: spent  trying to keep my instagram up to date!  Still digesting all the lovely things from my travels in Gujarat taking me quite a time and I was also busy with deadlines for University.  I arranged and ran a lovely arts day called Gujarat Journey at a local school last month and also talked about my work at a teacher’s Art Conference at Southampton Art Gallery.

Rajasthan here I come!!

Can’t wait ( but I have to) for my next trip to India this time I am going to Rajasthan in October 2020 and will be hosting a trip with the wonderful Colourlicious. …do come with me if you can I know it’s going to be fantastic! I know it’s along ways off but places do book up fast so have a look now!

January:   off to Newcastle and a whistle tour of all the Baltic had to offer. Sadly not too much appealed to me which is such a shame as it’s a great gallery space… it all seemed a bit dated.  Ended up explaining what a rave was and clubbing to the teenager.  There’s some great stuff on a the mo tho.  On the plus side I did replace my angel of the north key ring which was looking decidedly tatty …….well there wasn’t much of it left actually….

Can you tell why I like this?

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Lovely Kantha from the ladies at Liss in Stitches

February /March:  Ran a kantha evening at Liss in Stiches and talked about what I had learned on my travels and the history of kantha quilting. I am indebted to Dorothy Tucker for letting me know about this amazing book. Kantha Recycled and Embroidered Textiles of Bengal

Its fab..get it before it goes from  being expensive to extremely expensive!  Mainly images and it is really beautiful.

I am continuing to research for my master’s paper and trying to decide what to hone my research on..I really want it to provide a firm basis for my PhD..,.ever onward…..you have to aim high…and I just love being a student.

March: A trip up to see the Embroiders Guild at the NEC Fashion and Embroidery Show where I got to see my heart and medal for 100 Hearts with lots of other lovely work.  It was good to see some of the graduate show case too as I was in India for the Knit and Stitch last Year…..and of course look at all the other lovely things on offer..I needle felted a bee and leant about traditional scandi stitching on linen.. hard!!!! No backing calico!!!  And linen thread…what’s all that about!!!!  Hard! Hard! Hard!!!! Their designs are so beautiful tho.  My friend bought a fluff remover……the less said about that the better…..mentioning no names ..Helena!!!!…and she drank Guinness….

100 Hearts in Memory of George Patrick Martin…middle – yellow and blue with pompoms.

Next it was time to take my turn stewarding at Ramster Hall where I was very pleased to be exhibiting for the first time. 

The grounds and the tea room are excellent too…-  loved being a part of it.

April: Last month I decided to take the wayward teenager to Egypt..sorry Megs!! We had the most amazing journey.  I cant begin to tell you about how fantastic and incredble  all the amazing art we saw was.  We travlled from Cairo to Abu Simbel just North of the Sudanese border.  I came across these guys and the ancient art of  Khayamiya………..check it out ..fascinating or what???/!!!!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvrMJHaXBBk

I had a lovely chat with one of the stall holders in Luxor who made pieces for the Coptic Christian church there.  I bought one teeny piece…..although I would have loved some of the larger pieces – they are truly magnificent.  The video of how they make them is intriguing!!

Also bought some ‘secrets of the desert’ essential oil…supposed to drive men wild.  I’ll let you know!!!

I drew a lot – not as much as I would have liked -but the most interesting thing I did was when I spent a day on a felucca…won’t talk about the night on the felucca  and it was nothing to do with ‘secrets of the desert’or maybe it was? Lets just say Helen nul points   mosquitoes 1099’……ok back to drawing…..as we were sedentary while the boat moved I drew lots of people and used my camera to fill in the details of the poses….a really interesting exercise!!!

Here are some of my images…..

I am now stitching them.  Currently working on a piece about community and using examples from my draw every day book…….. which is still going strong… very proud of that Sarah H thank you!!

Gearing up for a workshop on boxes with the Phoenix Juniors Stitch group and the Beltaine festival at the weekend…….more drawing……. before heading off to Paris next month to look at some art with my teenager…….oh and probably sample a few macaroons and a croissant or two.  .  Also, due to an arts council commission ………which I sadly didn’t get… are you supposed to share your failures.. well I do ’cos I think you learn from them… told you I am  no good at the social media game…….….I am revisiting old work.  Phew that’s it!!! Up to date!!  Just got to load it all now.  Fingers crossed!!!!

Ps Great talk at uni by the Caravan Gallery check them out they have work at Mottisfont…and managed to catch Pete Codling a t Portsmouth Cathedral…….beautiful huge drawings….there until June

PPs looking forward to visiting the Emsworth and Chichester Art Trial later this month…….Pat are you ready????

PPPS Doing some work on a community art project at a hospital……..

BYEEEEE!!!!! Off to stitch!!!!  I’ve realised why I don’t blog…no time!!!!!!!

PPPPS Sarah can I still come and see you……I’m sorry that you cancelled your computer lesson…my bad…totes x

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December – Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Mycorrhizal – the Otter Gallery

As the year draws to close..what a great couple of weeks I have had. Being part of the final exhibition Finalelement at the Otter Gallery was amazing.  The show looked great and was well attended.  Sadly the last ever exhibition at the   Otter Gallery  in Chichester 

Shisha Slow Stitch  workshop in February  – see info below

 

I held a wonderful  creative workshop with  Liss in Stitches Textile Group    (my great textile group)  on  the 24th November.  We loosened up with

some drawing exercises which were fun and based on the Dorothy Edwards books ..drawing from the  right side of the brain and then used lots of old materials to make in to a  something new……the results as you can see were varied and stunning…..looking forward toseeing the finished pieces

 Last weekend I managed to cram in a  weekend away with him indoors wandering round Venice and soaking up the beautiful light and of course sampling the pasta.  Fortunately that’s all the soaking we did as the floods had recinded by then.   Stayed in a great central apartment and went on lots of Vaporettos.. …him in doors is still bound to his mobility scooter which we couldn’t take on Easy Jet .Consequently after a speed boat on to the island (very James Bond!)  we ambled everywhere with him on crutches ….and I sat and drank cappuccinos  and did some boro ……check out my  instagram mycathasniceboots.  ( We also got to go on one  of those trucks at the airport..great fun!! and you get to board the airplane first!!!Not really worth smashing your leg up for but great fun nonetheless ).

The plane had hardly landed in blighty before I was off again on an M25 sojourne  (it’s not really a road is it??)  to the wonderful  Art Van Gogh..bit of a pilgrimge as I’ve never manged to make it to the actual Studios before.  It was a doddle to get to  Knebworth though and  lovley to hone my kantha skills and learn more abou it with Dorothy Tucker. I’ve bought Dorothy’s book on Embroidered Pictures  and John Gillow’s on Kantha..oh dear..early Christmas pressies for moi….

A wonderful tutor and great to talk to her about my current work.  It was also lovely to see Kev abnd Viv  as I didn’t get to see them at the Knit and Stich this year as I was in India and spend time and money in the lovely  Art Van Go shop..…(more early xmas pressies!!)

On my return to Hampshire I managed to catch up with  Sarah Homfray  who was in the vicinity, trotting off to West Dean no less  and she inspired  me with her lovely drawing every day book ..(watch our for Sarah and Caroline’ s drawing courses at the RSN…..a real treat) …..   anyway, ever the magpie, I’ve pinched that idea and have started my own book.  I will keep you posted on  my progress.   …..currently on day 12  … only another 253 to go ……this is so not a chore…..you should definitely try it….see pages  above! …. theyve come out above as my site is playing silly beggars with me again….aaargh the life of a blogger is not easy….

Also thanks to Sarah  H ….who managed to update and revive my rusty  shisha skills whilst we were in Gujerat ….. eternally grateful Sarah ….. I am offering a  workshop on  shisha mirror embroidery  at the Town House in Petersfield on Thursday the 7th February   (with her blessing I hasten to add…!!!) Spreading the word according to shisha!)  also see picture above!!!!  She also put me on to this book The Left-Handed Embroiderer’s Companion: A Step-by-step Stitch Dictionary  by Yvette Stanton which is now on my christmas list..if anyone is reading this ..hint hint.. 

I am planning to run a series of workshops at the Town House through the first half of 2019 on traditional stitch.  They will be two and half hour sessions of slow stitching where you can learn a new skill, relax in lovely surroundings and drink nice coffee into the bargain!  Pre- booking is essential..there  are still a few places left  for the first session in February ….. I am keeping the classes small…(this would make a great Christmas pressie)

Email or call me  for details.

I am now off to make a start on my 2000 word artist statement  for my assessment for one of the  final  modules for my Masters Degree at the end of January…… and do a bit of research on Vivian Koorland….interesting…. and Ruth Loibl 

Vivian Koorland Pays Inconnu (2016),

O and finally , sadly I  have parents evening to attend for the teenager verging  on thirty year old…’shes not a child you know’….oh dear, there’s definitely a work of art in that…

PS Merry Christmas and I hope to see some of you at my work shop at the Town House in the New year.

PPS Look here in the new year  for more news on my next exciting trip to India in 2020……heres a few more photos from my last trip.

 

PPS Enjoy your tutoring on your cruise to South Africa Sarah W…..xxx.

Short and Sweet but I’m Back : India and Exhibtion

 

Well my time at Chichester as Artist in Residence has now passed and I’ve just spent the most amazing (nearly a ) month in India travelling round Gujerat  with a sneaky trip to Delhi and Agra at the end…...I would have blogged from India….but I need a new phone ..the old one does not just cut the mustard…..I did instagram though      http://mycathas niceboots .  It’s on my business plan now ( thank you Sarah Homfray)… need new phone..…yes dear reader I do now indeed have one –  a business plan that is ..and I’ve nearly got a new phone…..just tryng to narrow it down.. (boring!!) ….so much more interesting arty things to do….

2018/19 is the year when I’m going to get all media savvy and sorted!!  I’ve had my first proper PR session with my private advisor (aka the Mad canadian  — who also kindly dropped me at heathrow last month for my BIG ADVENTURE….) Watch this space….don’t hold your breath though!!

I’ll also be holding my first workshop of the year in Petersfield in January……watch this space also for details.

My Gujerat trip with colourlicious was amazing – beyond all expectations  and I’ll be bloggin’ more about it in my  next few posts…. I have some very exciting news!!

But for now I’m concentrating on my MA exhibtion at the Otter Gallery FINAL ELEMEMT https://www.chi.ac.uk/about-us/otter-gallery/current-exhibitions which opens next week.. all welcome!  Private View is on Thursday 6 til 8pm… I would attach the picture of the invite but I cant work out how to convert the ruddy pdf to a doc you can ruddy read..aaargh!!!!! Click this boring looking lookin link and you’ll see the lovley invite.     A5 pv

Heres  a sneaky peak of my fantastic trip……….i have alot of very beautiful phots to share..i;’ also be going to do some show and tell if anyone is interested!!!!

and that is it for now..off for a crit at uni…..

PS look forard to seeing you later this month Sarah for your talk at Liss in Stitches

 

slip sliding away

 

as summer slides away and culminates in my artist in residency exhibition  – it opens on the 15t hSeptember… it’s going to now take me teeny bit it longer to put together the finishing touches… as at the start of the week I managed to slip slide away and do a cartwheel down a flight of stairs.  No mean feat when you are 39 and three quarters (sic – for the sake of the new reader I decided a while back to stop aging before I got to 40 – very sensible advice in my opinion feel free to magpie).  No broken bones fortunately just bruised and battered… I feel extremely lucky….I think the crystals I bought in Totnes over the summer must be doing their thing.  Did you know crystals, according to my 10 year old, keep you self-centred???  Hmmm…he’s possibly right!buddha crstals

Fortunately, until said fall from grace, I had been very busy getting things finished for final assembly of my work at the theatre next week so my enforced hiatus shouldn’t be too much of a setback…. so I will pop pills like there’s no tomorrow for a couple of days and then get back on track…time and tide and all that jazz…and pull everything together at the weekend.

It was quite tricky deciding which route to go for the final installation.  As you might imagine the theatre has provided me with a plethora of stimuli……. I spent most of August sorting out what to do and what to use, what to take forward and what to shelve. The end result is my take on a celebration of ‘Festival 18’.  My main aim was tell a story through my art work and reflect the theatre, its’ environment and its’ people now – as well as acknowledging its’ wealth of history.  You can let me know if I’ve succeeded!!!  It’s quite tricky working to produce something that lives up to other people’s expectations but I am hoping my artistic response will please….however, as an artist, it really is about putting yourself out there and I find that its best to just do what you love so whatever the feedback, I have had a blast, enjoyed the creative process, the meeting people, the close experience of theatre, the looking beyond and the digging deep – I feel satisfied with the outcome and am excited to see my pieces in situ.  They will be there until mid October.

CFT_TheMeeting_Portrait.jpgOver the summer I did another morning stitching at the theatre and went to see ‘The Meeting’ by Charlotte Jones -met her briefly at the directors talk for the play where audience members were encouraged to take part in my ‘Everyone is an Artist’ project. There will be piece to celebrate the outcome of this in the exhibition…I hope you managed a label…if not you could add to it when it is at the theatre from the 15th September.

‘The Meeting’ raised several issues……the role of pacifism when the nation is at war, outsider influence and how people cope with and react to disability.  A play about language, silence and outsiders coming into the circle – I found it compelling, moving and thought provoking. I did a bit of stitching during the performance and through the interval to feel fully involved (!).  The chairs from the production really spoke to me and I loved the way they were used in the play….and I am really lucky in being able to borrow them for a bit and use them in an art installation near you from the 15th September.  It was tricky to decide what to do with them and how much to add and how much to leave them alone to tell their own story.

The idea of the protagonist, an army deserter, coming in to disrupt the circle was the crux of the play, and he was welcomed in to the inner circle. I saw similarities in my coming into the theatre as an outsider, although, I hasten to add, I am not an army deserter nor have I  been disruptive in quite the same way (but ( definately feel accepted by the circle.)   However I do hope that I make people look at things from a different angle as that is what I see is my job as an artist!

There were going to be screen prints too but I had a bit of a mishap with the screens…..the less said about that the better…moving swiftly on….they (the chairs) relate nicely to the wall pieces which I have stitched and printed using material printed with leaves collected from Oakland’s Park where the theatre stands, imagery drawn from the 2018 brochure and materials given to me by the lovely ladies in the wardrobe department.

Wall  pieces were taken to the framers last Friday and will be on display (and on sale – ever hopeful!) at the theatre next week.  Life atthe moment  seems to be treating me torahter a lot of incidents at the mo and my  trip to the framers was an interesting foray in itself… what started out as an excellent concise meeting of minds turned into a two hour ordeal when my 10 year old managed to lock my car keys in the car!!! Don’t ask!!! Ah the joys of multi-tasking… thanks go to the mad Canadian who came to my rescue!!!! However every cloud -which is totally my motto in life – if we hadn’t been stranded I wouldn’t have wandered in the studio of the very talented artist Nicola Hancock who also develops and manages the Chichester Art Trail.  I really got a lot from my unintentional visit and it wasn’t just the tea, shelter and my 10 year old occupied terrorizing her lovely dog!  I felt inspired looking at Nicola’s eclectic mix of work. It really was beautiful, interesting and drew me in.  Can’t wait to get my pictures back…and get on with making more diverse work myself.

In between times or should I say liminal places(?)

Rewind to July and, stop press….all work for the theatre was put on hold when the Embroiderers’ Guild invited me to stitch a medal and a heart for their celebration ‘100 hearts war stories’

They will go on display at the 2018 knitting & stitching shows and the NEC in 2019.   Research for the project involved me finding out lots of new facts about my maternal grandfather who incidentally inspired one of my very first large textile works… ‘my past in the present’. George Patrick Martin served in the army for the duration of WW1, fought at the Somme and Passchendaele and hence was an old contemptible

My research resulted in the production of a medal in memory of him and a heart in memory of his sweetheart, my future Grandma Abigail – whom I never met as she died before I was born.  He was 19 when he signed up to go to France.  Hard to contemplate what he must have endured and what all those young men and women must have gone through.  Although it is important to celebrate and commemorate it is also really important to acknowledge the futileness and awful devastation of war.  I think it will be a thought provoking exhibition and am proud to be a small part of it.

EG stuff in the bag I schlepped around galleries in London including the Saatchi…lovely….and Frida Kahlo at V and A.   Amazing. However I didn’t really like looking at all her personal stuff… it felt wrong, a bit voyeuristic to be looking at all her private things.  I loved her paintings and her wardrobe …inspiring. Perhaps it would have been different if I’d seen them at the Blue House – because I really enjoyed snooping around Agatha Christie’s summer abode, Greenaway, in the summer. May be it is all about place?  Or maybe I just fancy a trip to Mexico next?

I also managed to squeeze in an exhibition an Ox Market Gallery in August with my fellow MA students. Great experience with some great feedback.  Thank you to everyone who supported us….

ox market
blurry picture of some of the exhibition

So……..you’re not supposed to start a sentence with ‘so’ you know ‘cos it’s not grammatically correct. Did you know that? When you know, you realize how much it is done…or maybe its just me? Something to think about….anyway… there will be three parts to my final exhibition…did I tell you I do like working in threes…? Yes indeed – like a triptych, with a difference. A screen, some chairs and a series of framed wall hung works…… installed in the Foyer of the Festival Theatre from the 15th September….just in case I haven’t said that enough!

And so dear reader my time at the theatre is nearly over…I really am lost for words – which is why I am an artist and let my work do the talking for me.  The immersive experience has been inspiring and interesting for my artistic development and has taken me down a different path… on this occasion responding to the cft environment and its people and interpreting this institution at a particular moment in time.  A huge thank you to everyone who has supported me in my time there, especially Jess and Richard and Charlotte, I will quite miss being there….I will however definitely be visiting the theatre more often in future!!!  I really want to see Copenhagen and Flowers for Mrs Harris.

Ever onwards….my next exhibition will be at the Otter Gallery in October and once the Chichester Festival Theatre work is hung I will be concentrating on that.  This will sadly be the last exhibition at the Otter Gallery as it will close its doors and metamorphosise into  a computer suite…ahh the onward march of technology….marvelous…. we artists need to keep on fighting to get art out there and claim spaces.

Next I’m off on a research trip to India to explore the textiles of Gujarat…. I’ve managed to squeeze in a quick trip to the Tahj Mahal on the way home too……well when in Rome….or should I say Agra….

Signing off

PS Sarah – Hope Edinburgh exhibiton goes well..the pics look fab!! wish i could have come with!

Brace your self…it’s all about the residency!

braces wardrobe
ready for Present Laughter…..the costumes are gorgeous..many things custom made

Couldn’t resist!  Continuing to be incredibly  pleased (understatement) to be selected as  Emerging Artist in Residence for Chichester Festival Theatre  (CFT) and I am currently going for totally immersing myself in the life of the theatre. One of the benefits of the residency is the close access I get to buildings and personnel and the community touched by the theatre and I am planning to use this experience to create work that will be exhibited at CFT in the autumn to celebrate its’ Festival 2018 season.

So what’s has been happening so far? Learning about CFT Day one: I arrived (on the teenager going on 30 year olds 15th birthday) – paying close attention to all the beautiful trees that surround it in wonderful Oakland’s Park – and

Image result for oaklands park chichester

 

and of course

Chichester Festival Theatre_1295C. Photo by Philip Vile
thrust stage inside….

the striking Post War 60s building. (Interesting fact 1.  All the money to build CFT was raised by members of the public..you see crowd funding is not new…Interesting fact 2. – CFT was the first thrust stage to be built in the UK in 450 years…..what’s even more interesting is I now actually know what a thrust stage is – go on google it …you know you want to!)

First I met with the deputy head of the Learning, Education and Participation (LEAP) Department that creates a year-round programme of practical workshops, talks, tours, performances as well as running the largest Youth Theatre in the country. Its four main areas of contact are children and young people, families, community and education.  I’m trying to build up a holistic picture of the theatre and it’s community and the influence it has.  I am also interested in how it makes contact and interacts with the outside world.

industrial ironing
in wardrobe…this is actually an iron..it is a thing of beauty

I spent the rest of the day being amazed by the vastness of metro house – the CFT’s prop store – searching for props and attempting to re-cover a lamp for Present Laughter, which I was lucky enough to see the week before.

CFT_Website_Images_447x792px_Random
random/generations

I was  privileged to be invited to the ‘meet and greet’ with the cast of random and generations where I met and talked to the actors and the South African choir – check them out on instagram! The plays are hard hitting and amazing. Brilliant set.

wardrobe….

In my spare time (that’s a joke by the way) I’ve been researching the history of the building using, amongst other things, books by Kate Mosse and Leslie Evershed-Martin, the man who started it all and who seems like quite a character.

Image result for leslie evershed-martin
leslie evershed-martin

Coincidently, I  met a woman at a textile event (Brockenhurst) whose grandfather owned the building firm that that built a part of CFT in the 60’s.  She was a cornflower girl – one of the girls and women who sold cornflowers to raise money for the theatre back in the 1950s. Serendipity. I need to find out more….

I was invited to (and attended!)  a talk by Tinuke Craig, director of random and generations (fascinating and insightful, an amazing, interesting and very accomplished woman), and met members of the the Commissioning Circle and the Youth Commissioning Circle.

As my residency progresses I am continuing to to meet as many people connected with the theatre as possible and have been finding out about the Pass It On and Renew  projects which have helped the theatre continue to grow and evolve. The reach of the theatre goes far beyond just the people who attend the shows.

Next I will be spending a bit more time in the prop department and meeting some of the army of volunteers who support the theatre. My sketch book is getting  fat and I am getting lots of ideas…I have begun to make experimental pieces in response to time spent st the theatre…I will begin to post these as a visual documentation of my time here. It will be interesting to see where this goes.

 

 

 

images above are in the prop department……..guess the show….

Meanwhile the  Art One Degree Show started last night..great to see lots of new art..the preview was busy and buzzy…….and am now getting ready for a trip to the New Forest, New Milton to be exact…  for my drawing in to textiles  work shop tomorrow..I hope my students are going to enjoy it…its going to be quite exciting  – we’re going to some drawing from the right side of the brain exercises  (thank you Betty Edwards)..and wire drawing and then turning our designs into  textile pieces!  Really looking forward to it!

PS I have actually been doing some work too..so will put pics in my next post..I have a thing going on about how to download images on to my computer  ….

PPS I’m updating my site so stay with me….there are a few glitches…..I will get there!!!  Onwards and upwards.

PPPS …off to pack my car!!

PPPPS Sorry I didn’t get to see you Sarah

 

 

You’re never too old to learn

Just found out at the age of 37 and three quarters and a big bit ….( if your going to fib make it a good one)  that I am hyper mobile. Also, I do not,  I was told 12 years ago have foot drop, my peroneus longus muscle does not work which is why I fall over all the time. Strangely,  since I have found out exactly why I fall over, I haven’t fallen over once……funny that.

 

Da Vinci anyone?
Da Vinci anyone?

image

So it’s all about change!!!! And talking of change, I have just joined the third year of the Fine Art Degree at Chichester University.  My first two days have been great.  The journey there on Monday was quite daunting.  Lots of questions  and conversations going on in my head.  I really want to grab this opportunity with both hands and grow my work.  Scary stuff! But change is always scary.

Apols for underlining don’t know how I did that!

'Eye on the Ball'
‘Eye on the Ball’

I get my own studio space and everything….  today I hung ‘ eye on the ball ‘     A rather small piece of work on a rather large bit of wall……..to try to motivate me.  The idea being  that someone is looking at me so I’d better get a move on!

 

Still spending lots of time sorting out what I need to make, mainly to sell.   Will give all the details in next blog! Am including this featured piece ( not quite sure how I did that either). Rather a lot has happened today and it seemed to be apt.  It will be for sale at the Knitting and Stitching Show along with all my other worldly goods and chattels if I am ever going to cover my flights, petrol and accommodation costs!

Finally…..just got results from Winchester and I got a distinction.  To say that I am really rather pleased about that is a bit of an understatement.  ‘Nuff said.