Benbecula Bus Embroidery

I started working on this piece in January last year but life got in the way and it lay abandoned in a drawer until September this year. I saw an advert for the Fife Art Exhibition which is open to artists without a formal art qualification who live in Fife so I thought that as this piece was close to being finished I’d get my arse into gear and enter it.

I saw this beautiful Bedford bus – which was used by the Caledonia Macbrayne ferry company – on a trip to Benbecula a few years back. I’m a big fan of ‘Quilting Arts’ magazine and seeing the amazing examples of textile art created using photos I had wanted to try a photo based / realist embroidery for some time. Stage 1 involved printing  out the photo,outlining the main parts of the image then tracing it on to thin paper which i then transferred to fabric using a light box. Then the hard part of the painting began…

I found the painting an enjoyable challenge, trying to find the exact shade, especially making more of the same colour I had created (too light,too dark, not ‘red’ enough…) but once it was finished I was really pleased with how it was looking,those patches of white on the bonnet really bring the image to life, I was so excited to get back into my comfort zone to start the stitching!

I attached the painted fabric to fleece and stitched the main lines of the bus in matching thread.Although this did push sections of the image out I wanted a more 3D effect so I cut slits in the back of the work and burrowed in thin lumps of stuffing, I discover later that this is called trapunto embroidery so that’s another new skill learned through this project! 

So here’s the finished piece hanging in the gallery, the artwork above mine was a red setter made from bark! There was certainly an impressive range of work on display and the exhibition was a great show case for the talented people in Fife. All of the work was for sale and I had mixed emotions about mine being unsold (it was a bargain at £80!) but it will be on display in my living room and I’m proud that a piece of my work had been included in an exhibition. I need to start planning for next year now! 


Summer Journal – Should Scotland be an independent country?


This gallery contains 8 photos.

Last week over 80% of the Scottish population went and made a cross on a piece of paper to decide the fate of the United Kingdom. On Referendum Day I took a walk down the Royal Mile in Edinburgh to the Scottish … Continue reading

Laughs with my sister and a finished piece

I’ve just returned from a lovely weekend down south to celebrate my step – mum’s birthday. It’s a 6 hour journey involving planes, trains and automobiles but I still find the plane part of the journey quite exciting- I always get the urge to make a landscape quilt when Im gawping out the window at the terrain below. I think this is part of Wales and then the curve over the Bristol Channel. Lovely to see the sunny West Country again!

The best part of the trip was spending some proper time with my 11 year old sister – I’m 41 this year so there’s a pretty hefty age difference but thankfully I don’t find it hard to revert to my 11 year old self!
Another bonus is that she likes embroidery so while I finished covering the back of my ice sheets textile she made a Jasmine flower out of felt (for our 18 month old niece) And in the picture she’s sewing a J onto some tartan ribbon. She didn’t finish it before I left so I’ll be getting her to post it up to me so I can attach her contribution to the crochet giraffe I’ve been making for Jasmine (I’ll do another post on him as he’s coming on well!)  I loved seeing her stitching away next to me, helping her out with the odd tangled thread and chatting about her starting Secondary school, God I remember how nervous I was!
Staying with my sister also means breakfast in bed in the morning – check out the presentation of my peanut butter and jam on toast! There’s a big mug of coffee served with that as well.
I also got to meet Rosie the new hamster who likes eating strawberries while sat on my sister’s head. Sadly there’s  no photos of us dancing in the kitchen to 1 Direction and Katy Perry but I was lost in the moment!
Final pics in the set are of my finished textile piece (there’s hardly any stitching on it so I can’t really call it an embroidery! ) that I gave to my Dad as a belated birthday gift. You can see a section of one of his ice sheet photographs – I must print some of mine out as his look  amazing! He really liked it but my sister thought that my test piece made with the cheap green nylon fabric looked better than the pure white silk version, she’s the second person to say that so I think I’ll frame that one up as well now!
It’s always hard saying goodbye to the family especially as it will be a good few months before I see them in the flesh again, Skype is all well and good but nothing beats sitting stitching and laughing on the sofa with my sister at my side.

Ice Sheets at Loch Errochty

landscape 2

Back in February last year I spent a week up in Loch Rannoch in Perthshire. I’ve visited this area many times (Schiehallion is my one and only Munro!) but I hadn’t been up to Loch Errochty before – so glad that we trekked up there as when we crossed the dam that spans across the foot of the loch we saw these amazing ice sheets:

ice sheet

As soon as I saw them I thought of rippled silk –

ice ripple 3

So my plan is to try and recreate this as a textile piece – I’ve bought a metre of pure white silk and thought I would use either black satin or velvet as the base, I think I’ll do a trial run first with some cheaper nylon fabric before I start messing around and cutting up the silk!

ice ripple 2

Also need to choose which section of the ice sheet to focus on – if my trial run goes OK then I might do a few of them – thought it would look good as a triptych but as I say we’ll see how it goes!

ice ripple 1

The Loch Errochty Monster? A spirit in the Loch? My Dad thought it looked like a dragon – you could see so many patterns in the ice

ice goat

At the other side of the dam is the power station. If I had the cash and Scottish Hydro were willing to sell it to me I would convert this building into my Highland retreat so if I get a sudden multi-million pound windfall look out for me chatting to Kevin McCloud on Grand Designs!

grand design 2

gd entrance

building 1

My sister was getting bored waiting for me and Dad to finish taking photos so she entertained herself leaving marks in the snow:IMG_5418I’m planning to get started on this in the next couple of evenings – I thought by writing about it I’d feel compelled to start it so hopefully I’ll have something to show by the end of the week…my Dad turns 60 this year and I’d love to give him something to remind him of our holiday (he’s sold a few of his photographs of the ice sheets at Craft Fairs down south!) so perhaps this will spur me on a bit too!