Sunday, 29 September 2013

autumn leaves falling ......

a lovely blue sky Sunday and time for gardening but before I put on wellies and disappear down the garden path a few pictures of past exploits !!! The exhibition at Form Gallery, Blaenavon was an exciting adventure into new developments and certain characters popped up to entertain and charm.
I have been revisiting these characters and discovered they may still have more to say, journeys to go on and adventures to be traveled. Firstly there is Lizzie and HMS Minifred. Ready to set sail across the briney ocean  with places to see and characters to meet. She first of all tried the boat out in the studio on dry land to ensure its sea worthiness as yet she has set sail so maybe this is something for the year ahead. Then of course Yeeha the donkey who has grand illusions of being a wild west pony ( hence the name!).  He has his cart all ready to travel and once having delivered the clock could also set out on a voyage of discovery ..only time will tell where they go and what they might see......

test drive on dry land

trying out for size in the studio

who is the go slow refering to !

alsorts of lovliness

Thursday, 26 September 2013

dimpled grey sky ......


and just a quick hello before I go with Lola for our afternoon preamble. The kiln is on getting toastie hot, so fingers crossed everything comes out ok. I now have a facebook book page for Karen Shapley artist with lots of snippets of information on this and that. I hope if you look you like and enjoy reading my bits of news.....




Wednesday, 25 September 2013

dampness in the air......

meant Lola and I had a wet walk ! we have come home to have a cup of tea and dry off before starting work. The exhibition at Shire hall gallery is going well , so I thought today I would show you some bits and pieces. A trip to Manchester Textile Fair provided me with lots of lovely bits to work with, some lovely brushed cotton nighties, old cashmere and stripey cottons. Lots of loveliness leads to plump rounded bodies clothed in vintage swatches of old fabrics. each character tells its own story of history through fabrics used objects attached. Hills and trees tie characters to a landscape that belongs entirely to them, we can only dream and wonder what they are about to do or where they are going carrying their bags......

" the little dog laughed to have such fun..."

bags packed off on a journey

winter tweeds keep them warm

"mind you dont trip"

Monday, 23 September 2013

drizzly morning clouds............

leave a damp film on my new old tweed jacket as I walk Lola through the woods. The jacket is a lovely brown herringbone and was made by a company called Rosette, I feel I could be part of my exhibition with just such a named jacket ! Although its a heavy grey sky there is a hint of warmth in the air and a smell of bonfires, leaves being gathered and nuts falling on the ground. A time for gatherings and enjoying daylight hours soaking up the rainbow colours on the trees. I visited Shire Hall Gallery and all my characters were as placed, no shifting around, owl has obviously doing a good job of maintaining order and decorum. I took my camera and hope you like the photographs of reindeers and antlers. The shadows were playing on the wall and giving depth to the story please enjoy and share....

large reindeer with responsibility for pulling duck post

small blue reindeer very proud of rosette with ermin tails

ermin tail award for bravery !

Friday, 20 September 2013

over the misty mountains to home......

this morning and back from my little adventure. The scenery was beautiful and atmospheric with leaves changing from yellow to orange hinting at golden autumn days to come. The exhibition has been at Shire Hall Gallery for a week now, I cant believe how time has flown by, definately a spot of house keeping needing to be done after a week of frantic activity. My lovely pink stoat has broom at the ready to brush away any bits and pieces  and low behold gondolier rabbit if she zooms across with muddy wheels ! I have some visitors  traveling to see the exhibition so will be popping in on Saturday to make sure they have all behaved and life is continuing in an orderly fashion. I have four very superior owls there, each with instructions to ensure the best of decorum is displayed to all visitors. Please let me know if you have anything other than a well behaved show of excellence !!
PS any noteworthy behaviour can be left in the comments book which situated on the other side of the gallery!

with broom at the ready !

ticking stripes and winsiette

piles of old kid gloves make paws and little mittens
pps not sure how to spell winsiette but its such a lovely word its that old fashioned brushed cotton

Thursday, 19 September 2013

muddy puddles and splashing raindrops.......

were all part of this mornings constitutional. The leaves already tinged yellow covered the trees and dripped onto the path ahead.  Vista's disappeared into a grey misty wall of moisture and I was only too happy that my characters were in another world safe and dry. It feels strange to have a house with no characters peeping out at you saying dress me next...my mind needs space and time to mull over the next  story, take the next step along a line  to who knows where, so until that happens and I can share thoughts in words, Follow this line to a winter wonderland.....

playing in the woodland

pockets ready to be filled

at Shire hall gallery and on her own she awaits for news

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

stormy clouds loom on the horizon........

however the sun when it peeps out is warm. Swallows, swifts and house martins darted across the sky this morning, collecting bugs on the wing as they stock up before traveling south. My characters have traveled south to Shire Hall Gallery perhaps they too thought they were migrating to warmer climbs! One has certainly found a new home and will be  nicely tucked up in a lush green valley before too long. It will be sad to see her go however I know she is going to be much loved, maybe she will send me a postcard from time to time telling me of her various exploits. Before I go and find myself some lunch I thought you also might like to receive post or at least up dates of sewing and details of costumes ...

french textiles and scalloped edges add detail

buckets to collect berries from hedegrows and post

flying the flag

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

a cold grey September day..............

a day to be indoors  with woolly cardigan and winter tartan skirt. , after such a hectic few months working so hard its now time to sort and sew a few everyday things. Like my characters I love upcycled clothes made from cotton, wool with the odd splash of tweed and as the summer sun has disappeared a few woolly things are being stitched. I thought you might like to see a few close up details. ceramic buttons, fur collars and little pockets all enhance each character. My work is all about the detail, anyone who sees them will know it takes along time to look at each one as they each contain a story...


reindeer has curly fur ruff and gold lustre buttons

close up of scallop edged pocket with hand dyed linen

ermin tailed military badge with hand stitched ruffle
all these details can be seen on characters at Shire Hall Gallery. Please fill the comments book in at the gallery so characters go go on a journey and visit new and exciting galleries...

Sunday, 15 September 2013

having a rest today.....

it was a busy day yesterday and I think everyone who came enjoyed the work. No one had escaped overnight and a good performance was given. Today Shire Hall Gallery is only open in the afternoon being Sunday so its a half day of rest for characters and a full day for me ! A few more photo's for those who cant make it to the show but like what you see and the stories being told..



little empire bird being chivied along by  rather bossy bird!

with bucket in hand little stoat is all set.....

little empire rabbit standing proud!

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Good morning this is the first day for....

"Follow the Line to the ha ha and beyond"..... Before I put my posh frock on and I think as its chilly a little woolly jacket, I thought I would share a few more images taken yesterday when I finished setting up. My characters have been on their own all night in a new environment, so I hope they have returned to their places and look smart for today's first visitors. If you are able to make it to Shire Hall Gallery Stafford a warm welcome to you, if not then I hope you enjoy sharing photographs of all the creatures on show and the story behind it all ... haven't told you yet I must add that ...


as i was the first one I start the show with a wave of the flag modest i am not!

taking duck for a ride on my new travel appliance

enjoying a natter whilst busy collecting feathers for dusting...

Friday, 13 September 2013

final day of setting up..........

at Shire Hall Gallery Stafford. That's it all set up , I cant believe after months and months of preparation and hard work all characters are in place they know what they have to do, cupboard is in place. Everything has gone according to plan and all looks good. Tomorrow is the first day of the show 'Follow the line to the ha ha and beyond" as seen in Embroidery Magazine, I will be there to  sip cups of tea and natter to guests and an appreciative public ! If you can make it your are most welcome come and say hello. To tempt you I have taken a few more images of the complete show , so take a peek and I hope you enjoy....

 



 little gondolier rabbit always happens to get in the photo! look forward to seeing you there

Thursday, 12 September 2013

a sneaky peek for you .......

today has been lovely after all the hard work packing , labeling carrying to and fro to the Gallery  I have been able at last to set the scene ! Paint has been applied and pattern , it isn't completely finished yet, moulding needs to be applied and the large cupboard needs to be installed.  Display cabinets  placed on top and stories told,  the creatures are out from their bubble wrap and are grouped together awaiting the shows commencement on Saturday. For those of you in the UK the show is at Shire Hall Gallery, Stafford from 14th September for six weeks so i hope you get chance to go and have a look. Just to tempt you I have taken some photos  although you might see the odd dust sheet and pot of paint !






the lighting isnt quite right yet and will be altered tomorrow along with finishing pieces hope you enjoy the quick peek keep watching for more or come along on Saturday I will be at the Gallery from 2 o,clock

Monday, 9 September 2013

cotton wool clouds are drifting over the brilliant blue sky...


on this Monday morning. It is a fabulous autumn day with a very early morning mist that has now been burnt off by the hot September sunshine.I hadn't realised how much the weather impacts our lives and how much I enjoy seeing the changes in light and atmosphere. I wanted something nice and old in the way of card for some textile swatches I have been making to go with my booklet for the exhibition. Whilst rummaging away on the junk market I found a box of old postcards and started sorting out the most old and faded unused postcards. They were being sold at 20p each so I was being careful how many I was choosing, then the lady said oh go on have the box for a fiver what could I say ! That appears to be how I end up with a variety of things but  when I look back these have ended up being very influential in my work. I came home with this old shoe box full of postcards and thought why ? why did I fall for that again ! They sat in the corner of my room like an elephant that wouldn't go away! I started to see if they would work as backings for my textile swatches. Yes they did,  I even loved the hand written messages on the back. I drifted away from stitching to sitting reading these cards looking at the postmarks and working out how old they were. I have ones posted pre-war and during the war it is amazing they are very English and capture  a very British obsession with the weather! I have enjoyed reading them and have some put to one side that are just lovely. My creatures needed names and some already had them but snippets from these cards became their names summoning up a way of life a nostalgic reference to our past and present. They fitted so neatly it was amazing , each story felt complete. Duckie has delivered her post and is on her way having done her job. This morning I was wondering whom you haven't seen yet (there are alot) I thought you might like to see one of my big birds before he goes away. He's very important and  always busy carrying his drawing pencils with him...




Sunday, 8 September 2013

a crisp blue sky and golden sunshine........

today is a day for blackberry picking and gardening , however an exhibition needs to be prepared so a spot of painting in the garden then I must get the bubble wrap out and pack. As you can see it is all a bit precarious on my dining room table. If my cat bought a mouse in (as she is want to do alive and kicking) then all hell might break loose, as mouse chased by dog, watched expertly by cat who is probably trying to teach dog how to catch mice!  As I pack I shall photograph as some of my creatures hoepfully will not be coming home after the exhibition. They shall sally forth into the world into uncharted waters! So just for  now here are the first two to be wrapped. little gondoliering rabbit deciding the black feathers were to precarious a mode of transport and the pink arms too girlie. We removed the wings and eventually settled on a natty knitting needle to push herself along once I have turned the handle and got her started......




more to come later....

Friday, 6 September 2013

a damp rainy morning..............

so painting inside and not in the garden today. After the excitment of being on the front cover of Embroidery Magazine and the fabulous article inside it is back down to earth with a big bump, as time is running out and I must get everyone ready for the show. A few bits of sewing and tidying up and making sure everyone knows what is to be done and then I can start packing. I thought you might like a peek at the crowd gathering before they go to Shire Hall.





 oh yes I almost forgot, thank you to the lady who phoned the other day you took me by surprise and I forgot to ask your name ! And just to say the show opens on Saturday 14th September i will be there on Saturday afternoon from 2 o'clock if anyone fancies popping along to say hello......