Well hello

Just spent several hours updating my site thanks to a very nice lady  at University…who has been helping me figure out word press which is not at all intuative….websites are an anathma to me but I’m hoping it’s looking a bit prettier now.  Its also serving as a bit of a displacement activity for not doing work..I have been making these though….

and doing lots of drawing…… and lazy-copylots of prevaricating…

When I got back from the Knitting and stitching show last month  with the Embroiderer’s Guild -was helping out on their stand – promoting the Guild, the Worlds Longest Embroidery and the Hardhome tapestry…  I read Nicky Barfoot’s post of the Knit and Stitch and thought ah well don’t really need to bother to do a new blog  now as she pretty much said it all!!!    Thanks Nicky! The other thing I did like was the woman who was doing things with taxidermy ..she recycled old taxidermy items and added stitch to them..they looked great.  Great to see Marks and Stitch doing so well…. and also loved the guy opposite – the weaver with the body stuff going on.

Liss in Stitches Exhibition was successful with lots of lovely feedback…….blink and you missed it…

….finding it really hard to keep up with everything but I’m managing to keep getting to my Art History Lectures and working on my ‘pack of cards’ and just seeing what happens.  I’m keeping a sketch book so tending to write lots of things down and draw a  lot and hoping to  block out some time to actually do more making in the near future…been doing hand stitch which is portable too..what do you think Sarah?

Finding that I really need to focus  on what I have done and not on what I haven’t  done …… otherwise it gets quite depressing. So much to fit in!

Just got back from a week in Amsterdam was great..was inspired by Picasso, Tinguely  …. the Rijks Museum and the  Sedeljk.  More than the museums the place is just full of inspiration from the canals and buildings and great Art Galleries for the well heeled client..amazing what art is for sale!!!  Banksy, Klein, Koons,  Hirst as well as  Picasso and Van Dongen….wow!

Image result for image of a beguine woman

also loved the story of the Beguin women and want to include that in my work too…..Beguine**** … the start of the 12th century, some women in  lived alone and devoted themselves to prayer and good works without taking vows. At first there were only a few of them, but in the course of the century, their numbers increased. These women lived in towns, where they attended to the poor. During the 13th century, some of them bought homes that neighbored each other, and finally formal living spaces and some formed a community called a béguinage. Beguinages tended to be located near town centers and were often close to the rivers that provided water for their work in the cloth industry .

Still madly searching for inspiration…went to the Tate on Saturday evening and am now in love with Wilfredo Lam…one of Picasso’s mates..this is his version of my favourites….. Madesmoiselles d’AvignonImage result for wifredo lam the jungle..also liked LouiseBourgeois Artist room..Image result for images of louise bourgeois sewn legs and it was great to see a Leger painting in the flesh…Image result for leger circus image

And  now I am trying to stop going off on a tangent and go back to my mitochondria and under the microscope….. to help me stay focused….. am off to collect some more  images and then draw them ..going to mark up a  grid on my studio wall at uni and see what happens…..watch this space….

PS How are you Sarah? Are you ready for your cruise?  I will email you the book stuff!x Promise!

PPS Helping out at an Amanda Hislop workshop on Saturday..hoping for more inspiration!

PPPS Making stuff for Christine Watkins Art House Open Studios in Romsey first weekend in December. Looks like there’ll be lots of lovely things to look at and buy.

PPPS looking forward to Livvy Stainer’s  private view at the Flora Twort Gallery in Petersfield this evening..it’s on for a week….so get there quick!




Feeling very grown up….

Illustration above by Charles Keeping

And am blogging at midnight again! How sad is that! Had a great day yesterday talking to The Textile Group At Droxford. What a fantastic audience… Well they had to be to listen to me rabbit on for over an hour. They were really lovely! And they clapped at the end and everything. Evidently Chris Harris used to be a member there… And that is the lady who got me started on this whole malarkey with the needle case. Isn’t it a funny world? Really enjoyed. If any of the ladies are reading this.. thank  you so much for having me! It was a real pleasure.

Forgot  to take photos,  but much like a course I took far too much stuff with me (anyone out there recognise that feeling… Remember Wednesday’s Sarah? ) But on the plus side I think there was something for everyone to have a look at. Really great to be able to show work and talk to people about it. Really enjoyed and really want to do another one!

Been making more little people this week ..

imageAnd also versions in larger  cushions but can’t mass produce, will leave that to the professionals! thinking about doing commissions???????..marilyn has asked me to make some for her shop…I actually prefer doing the little ones and making them into people…they speak to me more.. I just need to work out why. But working out how to do bigger ones in the first place was fun! (And thanks for you advice Lynn!)

imageOn Wednesday went to uni  to have a chat  about returning to do my final module for my of my first part of my final year come January.  Talked about trying to work out why I do what I do and seeing if there is a similar vein that runs through my work. Also chatted thru marks for my last module…. got a huge list of theory books that I need to brush up on!!!Need to sell some flippin things at Harrogate to pay for it though….600 quid should just about do it!!!! I can dream okay! !Been making fabric bundles.. Not sure they are going to do it for me but every little helps!!!  Also made more cushions big and small…. to possibly sell.  Decided I would rather mass produce packs of raw materials with which people can create themselves something rather that mass produce a thing to buy(my idea of mass producing is 10 btw!) .. I like one offs!!!!!

like this…..image

Going to put a large price tag in this one and see what happens…£600 quid anyone????!!!!!  I actually love it and don’t want to sell it!!!!!  The image is taken from a painting by Lowry..Anne…I bought this print for him in doors about 10 years ago from the Lowry museum in Manchester….love the story behind it.  Been reading all about him what a fascinating man…didn’t sell anything of note until he was 52!!!! Then he made a mint…….hmmmmm?

I am still just making my own stuff that I like to sell as I truely believe that you can never tell what people will like or buy so I stick with  the tenet I just make what I like and if it sells it sells!!!! What will be will be.

My father in law met her during the war and has a signed photo!!! Impressive huh!!!!
My father in law met her during the war and has a signed photo!!! Impressive huh!!!!


Also been to the Ashcroft centre in Fareham to check out the rooms where I will be doing two work shops in February. One hand stitched keepsake the others machined book making! Really looking forward to!


Finally saw Ralph Steadman exhibition at Winchester discovery centre😍Totally fab! On til,January too.  What an amazing artist! Didn’t realise he used so much collage in his work?! Wanted to run out and nab a copy of greys anatomy! Loved his take on life and he does fab Polaroids too..loved how he got the one of Hockney!

Oh and look at theseWOW!! perhaps this is what influenced my cushion people?

And happy birthday Marcel du Champ.. I spend to much time on Facebook at times..

Ps see You at at MADE Sarah in Brighton on Sunday. Glad things going so well for you!

PPS nearly there with shop.. I think!

PPPS reallylooking forward to Knit and Stitch next week. Driving up to Harrogate on Wednesday where I will have an exhibition with the Embroiderers Guild graduate showcase. I will also be being an Artis  in Action for Art Van Go which I am also very Xcited about. (Another reason to feel very grown up) Come and say hello,if you are going.


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 ..as 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


Back to reality

A new day dawns.  Back in the real world to get woken up at 5am by a six year old who still loves me even though I abandoned him for 6 days. Megan woke up at 3am to remind me who she was. You’d think I’d  left them with a basket of sandwiches and a picnic blanket for 6 days…well they are quite self sufficient,  but they do need some one to operate the remote control on the telly. (Gary was actually there looking after them.)(Honest.)

Great journey back from London with Alison and Caroline who  thankfully ignored the sat nav at a crucial moment and went off piste and got me home fast! Thank you to the Mad Canadian who picked me up in tesco car park outside Winchester and sped me homewards to large glass of wine.

Head still buzzing with everything that’s gone on.  Need to take a moment to compose.  So much more material for new work.  Back later with more musings.

I love books
I love books
The ladies are back
The ladies are back
More books
More books
Great artists acknowledged
Great artists acknowledged
The family and a punter...Megan had just got money off me so no where to be seen!
The family and a punter…Megan had just got money off me so no where to be seen!
She's back for more
She’s back for more

PS. claim to fame I took Diane’s  first selfie…..

Diane, me, Hanny over the ironing board
Diane, me, Hanny over the ironing board
...and her second one!
…and her second one!

PPS Also have the recipe for the best cottage pie ever! Which I am so passing off as my own.

PPS Thank you to the lady with the back pack who knocked all my boxes over because when I piled them back up again they looked even better cos you could see more of my drawing.  (Couldn’t  thank her in person because strangely she disappeared rather quickly afterwards) It’s all about change!

Bye bye space
Bye bye space


Off to do a life class. Will be good to draw again instead of talking!


been far too busy to blog

Hello my amazing followers…for those of you new to this incredibly popular site that’s a joke by the way…. I appreciate this is only read by myself and Sarah…but if you have dared to take a peek after picking up my card today or chatting to me ….if I let you get a word in edgeways….hello.and  thank you for stopping to look at my work.  I am having am absolutely amazing time at the knitting and stitching show. It’s fantastic , the people are amazing the work is amazing and next week when my head has stopped spinning and I’m not quite so pooped  I will tell you all about the gems that are here and all the fantastic things that have been happening to me….if you can still come before it closes on sunday then please come. Meantime her’s a little bit of stuff to keep you going….

Selfie in front of the wonderful Caroline Bell's work
Selfie in front of the wonderful Caroline Bell’s work


My name in card...
My name in card…
The ladies are back
The ladies are back
Heroic hieronymous
Heroic hieronymous
Graduate showcase
Graduate showcase

And for all those girls who bought my badges have you googled Picasso? Do you know who he is? And have you googled Mademoiselles  d’Avignon? Laters x

ps thank you Embroiderers Guild  for asking me to come and exhibit my work, words cannot express how thankful I am.

Pps and hey and Grayson if your reading this the box is yours!

Messieurs perrie
Messieurs perrie

pps Mr x stitch have you started blogging  about me yet? Textile art is the future.

ppps goodnight Sarah you should be asleep.

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!

imageimageIMG_0896 - Copy

Just a quickie…or where are my glasses…



Just been sent this to advertise the knit and stitch if you can read it you’re a better woman than me. Just spent half an hour trying to play with the image to increase it. Where’s a teenager when you need one!  Made my own poster( see above)..much quicker to do and really easy to read.. You like? Perhaps a bit amateurish but with a little work?????

Madly making to do lists to get ready for shows and trying to fit in uni and teaching. Flipping technology glitches not all helpful.  I need a bernina moment….painted some bits of wood to try to calm myself…what do you think Abi? Are you following my blog yet?

imagePhyllida Barlow eat your heart out! Can you guess what they are?  Answers on a post card please….look out for them on my stand at



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?


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.