Thursday, 4 February 2016

Adding value and charity shop insider trading

Living on a small island means working materials can be difficult to come by. Things I took for granted in UK are hard to find here. For example certain fabrics, an extensive paint range and of course natural materials like waste wood and metals on which to paint. So I have had to re adjust the way I work and look for a ready supply of materials to use.
One thing we do have here are charity shops with bags and bags of unwanted clothes. Most of which one wouldn't want to wear but the fabric content is invaluable, I have always been a recycler and it's ethically a good thing to do for the planet. I love to use materials and discarded goods in my art work. Of course the money I pay for recycled fabrics also goes to benefit the charity concerned which makes us all feel good !
What is really important is that as an upcycler I add value to a piece before it is ready for resale. My reworked skirts have much time spent on them to add value and make them into a unique piece of wearable art.

It seems there has been some insider trading going on on the island ! Over the last few months I have noticed a decline in variety of garments for sale at the charity shop and enquired as to why. It appears that big bin bags of goods have been cheaply sold off from the shop for staggeringly below the going rate and then those individual items re sold at a massive profit at a car boot sale !!! Shocking ! What that says to me is that someone is making money at the expense of the charity (and the good will of the donnors) and at the same time depriving all us artists (!) of our natural resource, not to mention a Spring frock. You may think that is enterprising and of course it is, but I personally feel there is a fine line between making a living and cheating a charity. Now if the garments were bought at the charity shop for the going rate and then a profit made then we would all be happy. It's only my opinion ... just sayin'

Well that's this week's rant over and done with !
My new labels for my ReWorked skirts have finally arrived and I have sewn them on.. all ready to go.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Beaut !

January 26th and the weather is wonderful for the time of year. With renewed energy after a bout of airoplane circulated bugs, I felt a energizing day coming on. Familiarising my self with with a footpath route Raffi and I set off for a walk on the cliffs above Cable bay.
What a view, it was particularly breathtaking today as the terraced feilds are already begining to colour with the bright yellow of the wild flower Oxalis pes-caprae.

Past the ancient cart ruts to view Comino and Malta beyond. I am not sure where the ancient peoples were going with their carts down this track as it's a fairly hazardous way down through the garrigue to the water ! Perhaps the terrain has changed in the last thousand or so years. There is also evidence of the fault that joined Comino to Gozo. All very interesting and absolutely beautiful.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

The Art of Pain


I am up to over 80 hours of sewing and I still have a long way to go. I am loving it but I can only manage a couple of hours a day. The sheer difficulty of sewing this long hanging is tiring, my arms ache. I have managed to do a fair amount sitting down but I just can't get a feel of the whole thing when it is screwed up on my lap. I need to stand back from the design and see how I am using colour, just as I would when I am painting.

I doubt most people even consider, when they look at large scale art works (and mine aren't that big !) how difficult they are to produce. The physical energy that is used to actualy reach the top/middle/bottom of a large painting is massive, up and down the ladder or scaffolding to asses progress or having to reach a canvas at an awkward angle is slow and tiring. Michelangelo lay on his back to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, it must have been exausting. Starting a canvas the size Mark Rothko uses would be daunting. Even Andy Goldworthy's large scale structures take a massive amount of effort or Richard Long's walks are no mean feat.
The joy comes in the achievement of overcoming the difficulty and the finished product.  Can we measure happiness by the amount of work and struggle we put into getting to where we want to be ?
I am a stress avoider by nature and will always take the path of least resistance but there is something satisfyingly compelling about overcoming difficulty in one's art. 

So next time you look at an art work, what ever the size, and mutter under your breath 'How much ?' just give a little thought to the pain, effort and time that went into creating it !

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Excited ....

Well that's it for another year. A visit to Blighty, tick, spend quality time with the family, tick, rush around like a headless chicken, tick, tie up loose ends, tick, return to gozo exhausted, tick.  Just enough time to catch my breath before the start of a great adventure in 2016. I love the beginning of a New Year, I love the expectation of what is to come. I love that time to reflect on what went by in the last year and what we can learn from all of that. A time for renewed optimism and a rush of energy. 
Being back on Gozo is a joy, despite January and February being the worst months weatherwise. We still get those fabulous blue skies more often than not and the people look happy and less strained than in the UK. The colour of the stone is sunny and not grey and it won't be long until the fields are filled with the wild flowers of an early spring again. We have carnivale to look forward to in early Feb, which is the culmination of 12 months hard work for all the costume makers and troop chroegraphers. What a spectacle that is. 
So... I must make plans and prepare, lots to do during the dark evenings. All the hard work of last year, I hope will now come to fruition. 


... and a nice little thought for us all to start a new chapter. xx

 If I want to be accepted as I am, then I need to be willing to accept others as they are. It is arrogant to set standards for others.
- Louise Hay

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Open Studio weekend

   December Weekends
      Fri 11th Sat 12th Sun 13th
      Fri 18th Sat 19th Sun 20th
10am – 3pm
Paintings.. Art to Wear
Turned Wood Items .
Carved Stone . Cards
Painted furniture

Go to my facebook page to see photos of artist's work


Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Cabinet of curiosities

I have long been inspired by the work and collections of American artist Mark Dion. Having seen his 'Tate Thames dig' at the Tate Modern, beautifully displayed in a Victorian collectors cabinet, I have wanted a similar collection myself. I along with all mudlarks and beach combers have one thing in common, the need to scavenge on a river's edge or along the coast line for curiosities. Looking for the unusual, beautiful or just something useful.

Living by the sea and indeed on a small island, my daily dog walks are always spent scrambling over the rocks (if not in the sea) looking for bits and pieces. The weather is changing and finally in November I think we can say good bye to Summer and are due the first of the winter storms and high winds this week, which should produce some big seas. In turn the big waves should wash up a whole treasure trove of driftwood, shells, stones and all manner of things to be gleaned.
My collection is growing fast and is already taking up too much space on my small shelf. I need to make a special display case (probably out of driftwood) to show them off, all lined up neatly. To add to the bits I have found I have also been given some beautiful and unusual pieces that add interest to the collection.

 I have a whale bone, a dragon fly, sea urchin shells, cowrie shells, stones with holes in, heart shaped stones, egg shells dyed with plant dye, a fossil cockle, a sharks tooth, a mother of pearl fish, a manilla (slave currency  in the form of a bronze bangle) and 3 buddha's, one ivory (old), one jade and one sandlewood.

My textile hanging is coming along. I have been working on it for nearly a month now. Every day I spend a couple of hours sewing. I love it. Very medatative ! I am not rushing to finish. I have now sewn down all the edges and will soon begin to work on the detailing. A little gold silk has crept into the gaps, I guess in the style of  Kintsukuroi - mending with gold-


I have used scraps of vintage linen, embroidered cotton, silk, handmade gozitan lace and many other collected textiles. I love the way there is no order to it, it's very intuitive and very wabi-sabi.

Next project, I have some suitable china to use for this !

Friday, 30 October 2015

It's a boro (ed) thing

I can feel a winter of sewing coming on. I have a desire to make a textile panel using the ancient Japanese folk cloth idea of patching and mending old textiles called boro. You can read a bit about boro here. Shabby textiles became works of art, the more stiched and mended it became the more interesting the fabric. Sashiko stitching on the antique boro fabrics became an art form and in true wabi sabi style these old textiles became precious.
Anyway I am going to have a go myself. The backing is an old fine egyptian cotton sheet and the patches are scraps of linen and cotton. Some with embroidery and old lace pieces made here on Gozo. It may take months to finish but the winter here is just the time to do this.

First day's work

Some of my boro skirts can now be found in my Etsy Shop

I will be adding some of my small paintings on here soon too.