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!



Missus masala chai this ones especially for you…countdown is the name of the first programme on channel 4  and I was there…showing all my 39 and three quarter years here….it is also ‘on for me’ and my first year after graduating from Eastleigh…lots been happening this week…

imageStarted off my week at Romsey Abbey to discuss exhibition happening in the autumn – chose my places just need to get on with making for it. Will show some work I already have and be creating some new pieces in response to the Abbey. Beautiful building. Watch this space.

Next I was back at uni for my second semester..great now that I know what that actually means! with my tutor about up and coming exhibition to mark the end of my first year of my final year here. Got results back for my essay only a 2:1 but because there was lots of other family stuff going on at the time of hand in I am not too disappointed ..hey it is what it is! Anyway we have an end of year mini exhibition coming up. Will be April and in the foyer at Art One at Chichester University. All welcome. No pv just rock on up between Monday 20th and Thursday  23rd April. Closes 1pm. There are 5 of us part timers exhibiting in the space. so quite exciting if a little daunting as there isn’t much time between then and now and I’ve got an exhibition at the NEC between now and then. Oh dear!

Marlene Dumas

I’ve booked my pv tickets for Marlene Dumas ..can’t wait 9th feb…v excited!

Foyer Southampton Art Gallery
Foyer Southampton Art Gallery

imageimage imageWent to Southampton yesterday to continue my love affair with all things Bourgeois. Goodness I admire that woman. She can do no wrong in my book. Is there no end to her talents? Fantastic exhibition imageand have come back inspired..going to dye everything red!!! Robert Dyas here I come! Bought the catalogue if anyone is interested in a butchers.

Spent rest of evening watching Jerry Gorovoy interviews. Great stuff!

Place Kurt Jackson
Place Kurt Jackson

Kurt   Jackson also there with an interesting exhibition and the Perseus stuff is always good to look at again – Mr Edward Burne Jones ..but not what floats my boat at the moment.

imageOther news: my poorly Bernina is in resus as we speak and will be winging its way back to Petersfield next week after its enforced stay in the North End  – after I have parted with a sizeable amount of dosh. By the way Missus masala chai the Singer you rescued last year can be made good for around £100. Not sure that I can afford to revive it just yet. My man says its a fab machine, nice and solid and with lots of potential – let me know if you want it back! I might let you have it if you talk to me nicely! Does anyone else want it?
So I’ve ended with loads to add to my do list..more than I crossed off but hey. Lots of ideas and need to keep forming them, been adding to my sketch book.

imageP.S. Been looking at lots of competitions and deciding whether to enter or not and  if I can afford it! Why oh why does everything cost money!!!!!! Oh and managed to squeeze in work too! Just need to anchor the goal post and aim.

PS not mentioning you Sarah cos am seeing you tomorrow!