I've recently started a creativity counselling course, Women-Art-Life tutored by Myrna Giesbrecht who teaches the Self Expressions class on Quilt University. It explores ways of organising yourself and your life to develop your own creativity and I highly recommend it - see details on http://www.womenartlife.com/ . The class contains a lot of soul-searching and written and practical assignments with a great deal of input from Myrna herself. The piece above is my first piece (you produce one a week), fused applique using two pieces of hand-dyed fabric, cotton background and silk applique, with the applique outlined in couched glittery braid. Based (rather loosely) on my handprint. Fun and very fast to do except for the silk binding: I did the whole thing in an evening, which is very speedy for me!
On a more personal note, two friends, Harvey and John, went through a civil partnership ceremony recently at Leeds Town Hall, one of the best wedding celebrations I've been to. Huge numbers of guests, lots of people I haven't seen for years. I used to teach Harvey (on the right) so I could claim to have known him longer than anyone else there except his family. John isn't bald - he normally has thick curly hair but had it cut off for the occasion. Both have been through so much themselves and helped so many other people they deserve a great future together. They've already been together thirteen years so their relationship is already long-lasting.
Next month they are moving to Harris in the Outer Hebrides in Scotland: they've bought a place there on a sea-loch with amazing wildlife and fishing-rights and plan to develop it as an alternative holiday-centre, with green energy and a choice of holiday-cottages or yurts. In the pictures (I haven't got permission to show them yet) it looks idyllic, the ideal place to go for peace and quiet (I'm thinking quilters'/artists' retreat though we'd have to find somewhere to set up the sewing-machines): should be up and running by next summer so I'll keep you posted. It's sad to see them go but it looks like a great place for an away-from-it-all holiday.
THE JOURNAL QUILT
It's finally finished - and though I'm not sure about the end result I've certainly learnt a lot doing it; it's included making my own fabrics by bonding sheers, layering, machine reverse applique, threadpainting, couched braid, beads, sequins, angelina, using new and different fabrics (I'm not going to be tempted to use lame again in a hurry) and so on. Given I've done very little in the way of embellishment, except in a few postcards, this was a steep learning curve. I just hope the lame holds together long enough to outlast the Houston show.
Given that I changed my mind about what to send until the last minute when I decided I simply had to do something relating to Carnival (and even then I had a few false starts and over-ambitious ideas - think 3D prancing horse coming out of the quilt(!) and attempts to be somebody I'm not) I really had to push myself to get it finished in time so ended up having to make speedy decisions (You have to understand it normally takes me three days to decide what to get in my weekly shop - I'm not a speedy decision-maker) and act on them quickly. I think this was good for me but it hurt.
Finally there was the challenge of actually getting it to Houston. All went well in the beginning - I even found a box the right size to send it flat in and a courier service that would get it there in two days. However by Thursday night I was in a real state of panic - after 32 hours it had still only got as far as East Midlands airport, only a hundred miles away. By the time I got to bed it had only just boarded the plane. BUT by next morning it had reached Wilmington Ohio and by 11.30 Houston time it had arrived. Yippee!
Can't show photos yet until after the Houston show opens. Maybe I'll like it again by then.
And finally - the beta-blockers are working - Nibs's blood-pressure is down to normal; he can slo see but still demands I take him for walks!