My father came to stay for the weekend, which was the first time he’s visited this house for a long time, and we’ve changed a good deal of it since last he was here, so it was nice to show him the new things – and to put him in the spare room, which has the crochet zigzag blanket in it. It’s his favourite of the blankets I’ve made, so I wanted him to have the opportunity to use it (this isn’t entirely an open-spirited or generous gesture, since what *he* really wants is to take it home with him!!)
One thing I *can* show you is this monster, which I made for my nephew’s birthday a couple of weeks ago. I also gave him some story blocks, painted by my friend Siobhan, who is not only an award winning journalist for BBC Coventry and Warwickshire, but is also a very talented artist. She makes things under the name Matilda’s Mum, and really ought to have a website of her own, to link to. Anyway, she made the story blocks (which I foolishly didn’t photograph) and I made the story monster. The deal is, when my nephew can persuade the story monster to sit down and be quiet (with his mouth zipped, see?) then Mummy or Daddy will make up a story for them… The monster was a huge success. Mummy and Daddy weren’t so sure about their ability to spin a yarn on demand, but there you go!
The monster is standing on a box of tissues in my workroom. I took a couple of pictures of that, too, for a friend on twitter. It’s a custom built work room, in my garden. It’s effectively a *really* smart shed – with fully plastered and decorated walls, two double glazed windows and a front door! It has full electricity (obviously) but no water. I dye indoors! It looks like chaos, but it is, in fact, quite tightly organised. The cutting/design table is just visible (under a cutting mat) in the lower lefthand corner. That’s at waist height, and has storage boxes underneath for fabric and some yarn. It also has drawers with all my dye stuff – chemicals, fixatives, and salt. In front of the cutting mat is a miniature ironing board, with a big bundle of felt on it. The hanging basket to the left of the zigzag shelf is full of zips, elastic of various types, and binding tapes. The sewing machine sits on a Horn cabinet which also has storage for thread and various notions. The zigzag shelf contains boxes of thread, dressmaking patterns, and my own design patterns all filed away. It also has dyed wool tops and a felting block for needle felting. The walls are stuck all over with postcards, favourite pictures and various design inspirations, which I refresh from time to time!
This is the other end of the shed. The net bag in the lower left hand corner hangs from a bookcase, above the end of the Horn cabinet. It is stuffed with usable sized scraps of fabric from several years’ worth of projects. My friends delight in raiding the scrap bag – and Penny (from Rats as Big as Cats) has made beautiful things using my scraps! There are two bookcases, in an L configuration. They hold quilting books, surface design books, dressmaking books, various art and textile magazines I’ve subscribed to over the years, drawers of fat quarters (quilting fabric), drawers of buttons and beads and embellishments, index cards of dressmaking notes dating right back to my youth and all sorts of useful oddments – freezer paper, dissolvable stabiliser, tracing paper, and so on. They also hold some of my art equipment. The blue bag is a roll of interfacing. The back of the door has a hanger of pockets which hold any number of embellishments – ricrac, chord, braid, ribbon, decorative yarns, and so on. And then we’re back to the cutting table.
So that’s where I work.
And the final thing to show you this post is actually not my work, at all. This wall hanging was made by Pat Nicholls. I bought it at an exhibition in 2002, or 2003. It’s a lovely redwork angel surrounded by a variety of red and blue borders. I love it.