Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Lying Stone / Standing Stone

A frozen stiff thebigone this morning before Rich helped me raise her and peg her upright. She is beautifully encrusted with snow, mud and grass, which should make it very interesting while she thaws...
I have placed her more permanently in the circle because she is not now going to the church. The developers who own the land around the church have said "no". Never mind, because she does look so right in this place.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

When we positioned thebigone yesterday we did not peg her down, so when I heard strong winds in the night, I had a pretty good idea that I would find her lying down this morning; and so it was. I tramped out and stood her up again, and look at the lovely effects of the snow.
Tommye had been watching the movement of shadows round during yesterday, so I set up the camera today to keep a record. Sadly, it is so cloudy that nothing much is happening. It is only mid-morning, so I will keep it there just in case...

As Promised....

Once the snow has thawed a little more, I need to walk up there and do some measuring in order to establish potential anchoring points.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Oh Frabjous Day!!

I have been given permission to site the big-work-to-be in the grounds, within the circle of Quercus ilex (Mediterranean Oak) near the arboretum. I think I posted a picture of the site earlier in the year....

Update: Imagining things again; will post one when I get back to the laptop (currently suffering horribly on the studio iMac!!!)

Today is Just One of Those (Photo) Days....

Icicles and berries on the back wall of the Main House. The little bird (to be identified) that Diana is feeding outside the studio door.

thebigone back in her tree circle; thanks to erica who helped me to (wo)manhandle her into place.

Worshipper, the felt torso, which has been outside now for 5 months.

Weather and Weathering....

This the view as I walked from the main house to the studio this morning. We have had nearly a foot (30cm) of snow, and there is an agreeable sense of being cut off from the outside world.
And here is a detail of the surface of thebigone, beginning to show some green growths....
She is still in the studio, partly because the current weather makes it difficult to install her, and also because the church has had to consult the Health & Safety guy from the site developers. Ho Hum.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Head Implosion (Averted)

I had one of those days today, when I started out all jaded and grumpy, and not sure whether the current pieces are working, and, and...... You know what I mean. I decided to keep weaving anyway, and before I knew it, the brain was afire with all sorts of ideas about how to change / improve / move things on. Too many ideas for a 'bear of small brain' to handle all at once, and threatening to leave me whimpering under the work table! Two remedies for such a thing: mug of strong tea and a chat with a trusted friend. Enter Diana, who listened while I talked it all out, offered encouragement and advice, made me laugh, and then we had tea (and a Violet Cream) together. Thank heaven for others to act as sounding boards when needed. The Tapestry & Textile Art group here is great; Diana, Erica, Magenta and Tommye. An amazing group of women with experience galore and loads of friendship to share. Thanks!

Monday, 22 November 2010

Pieta (there should be a grave accent over the a) all complete. But without all the warp ends tucked under! The threads of the lying figure have felted together a little - I was a bit vigorous with the hot water used to block the piece to the proper size. Lesson learned for the next time!
I have now dressed the loom with three narrow warps; two unbleached linen to start the memorial tapestries, and one red cotton for Picasso's tear. Of which more next time....

Sunday, 14 November 2010

On the Move

The Boy and I uprooted thebigone while it was still light, and, by serious remodelling of the car's internal space, she is inside and ready to go south to her birthplace. She is already weathering very nicely - some green mould and rust marks from the steel armature, yummy! Will take some close up photos tomorrow; forgot to take any until too late today.
I shall probably be travelling on Tuesday, so will take the opportunity to do some Dissertation reading until then - the date for a first draft is fast approaching, and I need to catchup and not be seduced into weaving the live long day....
And the frog? Just because I like them!

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Grease is NOT the Word, Scringy IS

A first attempt at creating the effect of a 'dissolving' line was just too fluffy, and, ironically, too thick in appearance. Pat coined the word 'scringy' for how the line should look in thread terms; messy, bouncy, light.... More experimentation with linen and cotton (admittedly of wrong shades of grey) and then back to a mix of black Shetland, grey Shetland and grey sewing thread, laid in individually. It also led me to change the core thread for the wrapped line. It is now a doubled fine linen in black; less chance of show through, and it can be lark's head knotted round the first warp in the sequence (no slippage). Sometimes it is worth undoing things to make them better. And so the scringy line is done, the right hand side of said line is about to be defined in wrapped cord, and then the head of the kneeling figure...
Not much time for weaving tomorrow, as we have drawing class all day. It is rumoured that the tutor is bringing some fish in for us to work from!
Today I learned how to do copper plate and drypoint etching; I so wanted to do it last year, but with thebigone to make I did not dare spare the time, glad to have got to it at last. I intend to include printmaking in my practice. And film, so I am having a tutorial in Final Cut next week. Woohoo!! I love the possibilities here.....

Saturday, 6 November 2010


....or "what happens when you are weaving away merrily and suddenly realize that you have covered the cartoon and thus have to do some unweaving (evaewing?).

It is probably because I am a bit tired after a LONG day in London yesterday. If you are anywhere near London before March 6, I thoroughly recommend a visit to 'Threads of Feeling' at the Foundling Museum; I also went to the RA and took in Treasures from Budapest and The Glasgow Boys - both also well worth a look.

And so to evaewing. I feel a bit like the Tailor of Gloucester, 'worn to a ravelling'.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Today's Weaving.....

I have woven as far as I can on the background, and now have to continue the smooth line already begun and begin the right hand side of the 'dissolving line' of the supine figure. Life drawing class tonight, and aesthetics lectures and seminars tomorrow mean that it will be tomorrow evening before I can get to it.....

Monday, 1 November 2010

thebigone to have a new home

thebigone is going to move to the grounds of Immanuel Church in Chichester!! Hoorah; a properly public and risky space. My front garden is just too safe and protected. Have to arrange a trip to uproot her and bring her south....

Remember, remember to blog in November....

I have been busy experimenting with some other mark making, on a much finer sett (5epc), and have now started on a small (A5) tapestry Pieta. The original drawing was A2.

Had a BEAST of a time getting the leashes right (haven't done them for a year), but they do make access to the closed shed easier when working fine.

Here are the pesky things! There are 50 of them, and I had got to no. 45 on Saturday when I discovered a mistake at 34, and then another at 13. No choice but to undo all the half hitches and redo. Chiz.

Here is the loom set up, with some weaving done...
..and here the detail.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

The Latest Experiment..

I am looking at ways to 'draw' using just tonal variation caused by the interaction between thin and thick wefts; the opposite to the incised marks I was working with before.

But some of the drawings I have done are in colour, and rectangular, and I really like them; they would have to be rendered in a more traditional form and sett; a dilemma or wot?

Oops; no posts for a month...

...but I am now back at WD and immersed in work. The new studio space is amazing; it is over in the Sussex Barn, which means that I get to walk through the walled garden every day to get there. Even when it rains it is beautiful, although I have invested in some new wellies and rain cape.
We began with a week of drawing, and have just had a week of 'pushing the boundaries' , using mad materials to weave with. I think I win the prize; I wove some conkers in, having drilled holes in them and run a string through. I have not photographed the stuff with hideous colours in

It is so good to be back here; the new group are lovely, and I think that it is going to be a good year.

Friday, 10 September 2010

What I did yesterday...

Just a small section of the incised marks, but they work, and I am pleased with the results. Onward and upward! (after a piece of M&S cappuccino swiss roll - the best cake ever invented)

Latest Progress...

...or at least it was when I first started this post, before I got an 'ERROR 503', whatever that is!

As you can see, I am up to the point of 'incising' the first image marks. You never know quite how / whether it is going to work, so procrastination is a great temptation. This was at about 11 am yesterday.

The studio cat (Penny, aka Janus Valmai Valentina) asleep in her bling basket (the white fur trim has silver glitter in it). She prefers my lap, but does NOT like being clonked on the head when I beat the weft.

Sunday, 5 September 2010


Two visitors yesterday and none today. Molesworth has the phrase for it: 'Mouldy Chiz'. Although the people who came yesterday were positive about the work, and very interesting to talk to, so it is not all negative, just a bit disappointing. And I got to eat the pink wafer biscuits myself!

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Ready and Waiting.....

The house is all set up for Open Studios, biscuits have been purchased, the kettle is filled.
All I need now is some visitors!
Getting on with weaving the reclining nude in the meantime; I think that I shall have to give her a name.
Any Suggestions?

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Progress by Coffee Break (and Yummy New Bobbins!)

The bobbins were made (from ash) by Colin Simpson, who teaches woodturning short courses at West Dean. They are beautiful to look at and to handle. I added blue beads to the tops so that I can identify them as mine.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Cartoon in Place

The cartoon is an original drawing of a reclining nude that I did earlier this year. The weaving of the background is on a double warp (about 4 epi) and the figure will be 'incised' at 8 epi, the way the marks were made on thebigone, only this time in a paler mix, rather than black. Much more subtle than the drawing. I am using the paler Henry Moore greys, mixed with cream silk, grey linen, grey knops acrylic and a raw silk / cotton / cashmere blend.

It is good to be weaving again!

Only three days until Open Studio......

Monday, 30 August 2010

What can be done with scaffolding, acrow props and string....

Our first scaffolding loom (warped too)- and the loom builder extraordinaire!!

I'm Back!

As promised, a photo of thebigone in the front garden. I did make an attempt at removing the neighbour's roof in Photoshop, but it was taking too long and looking too weird so I reverted to the original. Northants Open Studio begins on Saturday, until 19th, and I am hoping for lots of visitors....

Thursday, 22 July 2010


...for not posting for a while. End of term events, the great pack-up and re-establishing myself at home have taken time. The first thing I did when I arrived was to place thebigone in my front garden, where she looks rather good - will post a photo after the weekend. I hope to start on a new piece in the next couple of weeks....

Thursday, 1 July 2010


The third outdoor piece. A felt torso, marked using iron filings and vinegar. She sways gently in the breeze, and keeps watch over Lith and Thebigone.

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Paint Splattered and Exhausted

Well, the show is now set up, after a great deal of hard work from everyone (and GALLONS of paint on plinths, walls and floors). It all looks really good! The external examiners are coming in tomorrow to look at our back up work and to talk to us about our exhibits; then the Academic Board will meet to discuss our grades, which will be put on the notice board on Friday morning. Hopefully no wailing and gnashing of teeth...

Little lith is outside with thebigone, nestled in a wildflower patch. Pictures tomorrow....

Monday, 28 June 2010

Existential Crisis?

As the end of the year approaches I have been reflecting on all that has happened and pondering all that I have done. I know who I am here. I have changed, blossomed and grown so much; become LouLou as it were, and I do not know how it will be when I go back. I had not really had time to put down roots or settle in my new home before I moved here, and had not really made the time to establish my altered identity as 'unwife'. Another stage in the adventure I guess. Or, as I suppose I ought to say: 'all part of life's rich tapestry'!!

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Plinthed Out

I have just finished making the last of ten (yes, ten) MDF plinths for the show. There are five pairs, all 40 cm square tops, and range in height from 55 cm to 80 cm. I will not post a picture of them because anyone with so much as a D&T O Level would have a conniption at how less-than-perfect they are! But I did them all myself (apart from cutting 50 x 50 cross section lengths of batten into 25 x 25 cross-section lengths of batten. KK did that for me because I am not allowed to use the table saw. Tomorrow I shall paint them white, which will cover a multitude of sins. Nearly there. One disinterrment and three small bits of weaving, and I am ready. Yee Haa!

An Avebury stone for you to admire.

Friday, 25 June 2010

In Situ

And here she is - thebigone in the centre of the mown circle within a ring of trees. All I have to do now is water her exposed warps, add my secret ingredients and allow time to do its thing. Very exciting day!!

Thursday, 24 June 2010

She Stands!

I finished stitching the panel edges at about 9.15 pm, and tilted thebigone up, meaning to lean her against the wall, and she stands alone! So exciting to see. She is due to be pegged out in her place tomorrow, and then I can close this final opening, sculpt all the curves and panels and start the 'accelerated corrosion' on the exposed warps, which are just too clean. I think that I am rather pleased with the results of my labours, although it has reinforced in me the need to work ever larger. Hmmm.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Armature Day

thebigone off the loom and lying in state in plastic sheeting. Carrying her down to the van was (I imagine) exactly like removing a body wrapped in a carpet as she is very heavy. Glad it was daylight when we did it!
G arc welding one of the vertical struts to the base. Being in the forge again was good; the smell there takes me right back to a lovely blacksmithing course I did there last year. Very happy memories associated with the forge.
Half way through the construction, we dress her for sizing extra supports. She is still monumental in height, which is a great relief. There is heft in the weft!! We then carried her across to the Old Dairy for me to stitch her together. Two hours later, the top attached and very sore fingers. Mental note to self: wear a thimble tomorrow.... View from the top; never to be seen once she is standing.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

thebigone is off the loom!

Cutting the bottom warps. Very glad the double half hitches held.
And she falls into a heap at the bottom! The bottom ring is stuck, so I will have to wait for some muscle before I can finally remove her.
Braiding off the warp ends at the top edge of one of the panels.

LouLou IN the Loom

The next big job is to finish all the loose ends inside, and the best way is to do it before the piece is cut off the loom. So in I climb, armed with scissors and a big needle.

G came up to have a look at the 'finished' weaving and to discuss the building of the armature, which we are doing tomorrow morning in the forge. And then she will go straight out into the exhibition space. Preview before the show opens!!

And a picture of concentration.....

Monday, 21 June 2010

Hoorah #5 (and then some)

The weaving of thebigone was completed at 5.35 pm BST. (Hoorah #4 was just before lunch). I danced a little jig on the scaffolding, which caused it to rock mightily, but thankfully did not catapult myself out of the open window. Still all the finishing to do, but I might just allow myself an evening off to walk up the arboretum in the evening sunshine.

This is the final working height. I have had to live / work in jeans for days because of ladder climbing. Your picture puzzle task is to spot the following vital adjuncts to the weaver's tool box:-

1. Large mug for tea

2. Two tennis balls in a sock.

3. iPod

4. Fan

My wonderful friend P was in Piccadilly yesterday, and went to Fortnum's for Violet Creams as a finishing reward. I may allow myself two.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Hoorah #3, and other stuff....

Third panel finished just before tea break this afternoon.

Fourth one well on the way.....

A stone sculpture inspired by some large landscape 'people' that I saw in Iceland last summer.

My very own Henry Moore!

Beautiful or wot?


Locations of visitors to this page