My London trip

I have just got home after a few days in London. It was an opportunity to feed my creativity by visiting lots of galleries and take a break from teaching and my studio work. It was a great mix of exhibitions, theatre, restaurants and a little retail therapy. I was fortunate to be invited to Burberry House to see the lastest catwalk collection from London Fashion Week. Amazing clothes and fabulous fantasy capes inspired by Henry Moore sculptures. Some made out of found objects others sculpted out of metal, wood or leather.

It was great to see the Burberry collection, but the real treat for me was the chance to see sculptures, maquettes, sketches and studio tools giving a great insight into Moores way of working.

Over the few days of the trip I went to the Mall Galleries to see the Pastel Societys Exhibition, Tate Britain for the Hockney and the RA for the America After the Fall  Exhibition, lots of visual treats.  I love to look at other artists work, their techniques,  colour palete, choice of compositions. I am inspired by the brave choices and bold decisions they make and hope it encourages me out of my comfort zone!

On the way home we made a detour for Stanley Spencer. We visited the lovely gallery in Cookham, his home town. The unfinished Christ Preaching at Cookham Regatta is on display there and it was like meeting an old friend! On seeing it for the first time in the RA I was fascinated by the unfinished areas as much as the finished sections of the painting. I particularly like  the details on the mop head and the check trousers of the centre figure.

I first saw his work at a retrospective at the RA about 30 years ago and have been a huge admirer of his work ever since. I especially love his eye for colour, pattern and rhythm.

Australian adventures

I really intended to write a blog for each city/location I visited during my trip to Australia this autumn. Each place was rich with sight seeing, great students and good times. You will probably have noticed it didnt happen! So here is my tale of the whole 6 week trip.


End of October I arrived in Canberra, a new place for me to visit. Before I started teaching I had a couple of days to get over the journey spent looking around the surrounding countryside and the downtown area. My hosts were very generous with their time and I enjoyed seeing a lot of the spacious green city. Built around a huge man made lake there are fantastic vistas of the ANZAC Parade with Government House one end and the Australian War Memorial at the other. I love the story about both Melbourne and Sydney wanting to be the Capital as as neither would give in to the other they built Canberra!

I taught 2 courses, “Dramatic Skies” and “Seascapes” so I was there for a week in total. Thank you Leonie and Lorna for taking great care of me.

I moved on to Melbourne next for 2 weekend courses, “Up Close and Personal” and “Textures in Nature”.

My painting demonstration for ” Up Close”

This meant I had 5 days off in between the 2 weekends in such a great city with so much to see and do. Fortunately I coincided with the last few days of the Australian textile artist Annemeike Miens exhibition and the first day of the David Hockney! What a lovely way to spend time off. There was a Banksy exhibition on too so it was a visual feast for me.

Hockney giant landscape

I always meet new students keen to learn my techniques but also several who I have taught before. As the number of my visits increase the friendships grow, we keep in touch and I look forward catching up with them. At the Annemeike Mien exhibition I bumped into 2 women I knew, that’s a strange but lovely situation to be in the other side of the world!

There is a large selection of the work by my Australian students on the website courses page. There were 6 courses in total so a wide range of work and a lot of talent to see.

Sad to leave Melbourne but with more places to go, I flew to Syndey for a few days, staying in Manly and travelling into the CBT on the ferry each day. Its such an iconic sight, as the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge come into view. I hand delivered an embroidery that was bought at the Chelsea Flower Show in May earlier this year. Can’t promise everyone that service but it just worked out I could do that! I enjoyed the Rocks and The Botanical Gardens were fabulous, 2 days were spent there taking photographs, lots of inspiration!

Next venue was Harrington, a 3 hour drive north of Sydney on the coast. 2 more courses here for Jen at Love Patchwork. “Landscapes” and “Flowers and Foliage”. Jen and her friend Cecily had been to Margaret River on my Seascapes course in 2015 so it was really good to meet up with them both again.

View from my teaching room!

I had a wonderful room to teach in, overlooking an estuary and warm sunny weather too. It was a great week, exploring the area and meeting all the neighbours.

The trip ended with a few days in Queensland on Hamilton Island.

Hamilton Island

Sunset over the Marina on Hamilton Island

Time to unwind, sit in the sun and think about what a great experience it all was. I am often asked why I keep returning to Australia. It’s an extraordinary country with warm hearted generous people. I hope my plans for a trip in 2017 work out so I can enjoy even more of the same.

A visit to Gardens by the Bay in Singapore on the way home

Teaching through the summer

The year is flying by and the variety of my activities certainly speed it along!

I am enjoying teaching a few embroidery courses this summer in beautiful locations, Brighton, Dorset and of course at my home studio in Shropshire.

My silk painting of a white poppy in the Chelsea Physic Garden

A range of subject matter as always, to keep me fresh and enthusiastic. Rivers and waterfalls, flowers and reflections in water are the themes. I am inspired again by another trip to the Chelsea Physic Garden where some close ups shots of their colourful borders gave me some great source material for the “Up Close and Personal” course in my Garden Studio this month.

Lots of colour and inspiration from the Chelsea Physic garden

During the course in Brighton I started a waterfall embroidery of the Liffey Falls in Tasmania. It is an amazing place and I have wanted to make an embroidery for some time based on my visit there. The students work from all my summer courses are posted on my students work page

My trip to London was filled with visits to galleries and gardens, it was a great few days break. The RA Summer Exhibition was a wonderful eclectic mix as usual and a return trip to the RA to see the Hockney – 82 Portraits and a Still Life completed the visit in style. Lunch in the National Portrait Gallery gave us great views over London!

Home from Italy… off to Australia

I have just got back from a wonderful week in Italy with my family. We stayed in Reusa, near Fizziano, up in the mountains north of Pisa in a beautiful villa with views to die for. We visited Tellaro on the Italian Rivier and had a day in Florence and Lucca for a culture fix. I was trying to have restful time before my big trip to Australia and with good food, long leisurely lunches, great company and sunshine, I succeeded!

There are only a few days left until I fly to Perth so I am busy gathering everything together for my trip. I have a lot of courses to prepare for and a few clothes to pack too!

I have a few things to do before I go, deliver some pictures to the Willow Gallery in Oswestry and an article to finish for the Swedish Embroidery Magazine.

I am really looking forward to meeting all my students when I get to Australia.  I will be teaching at Fibres West for the first week, then on to Melbourne to teach another course over the weekend.

During my time in Australia I will be exhibiting my embroideries in Melbourne at the Firestation Print Studio Gallery with textile artist Carly Leech. Our work will be on display from October 14th to 24th. I first met Carly at the Tasmanian Craft Fair in 2013, she flew from Melbourne to visit me there. Carly and her friend Sue are the organisers of my course in Melbourne this year and we are planning one for 2016 too!

After teaching in Melbourne for the Embroiderers Guild and then in Deloraine, Tasmania at Elemental Artspace, I will head back to Perth for yet another course! Then down to Margaret River to complete my 6 courses in 6 weeks away. A very busy schedule,  meeting up with some very special friends from my last visit. I plan to post my travel progress on this blog so you can keep track of me!