June Florals










It is the end of semester andI have to tell the world that I have had such a wonderful time teaching two first year groups drawing and textile design. What a delight – great work, enthusiastic and creative students and 16 weeks of fun. I hope to share some of their designs with you, but will need to get permission first.

Today I have been reworking and recolouring some designs for the next Tigerprint  contest . The theme is florals – my favourite. So  here they are….


Black and White


It’s Sunday and I spent the  morning in the garden with the rest of the Community Crew getting ready for the Autumn planting. I’s a gorgeous day – sun shining, breeze blowing, big blue sky. But I couldn’t wait to get home to start another design challenge – this time set by http://designcompetition.tigerprint.uk.com. The challenge is to design wrapping paper or gift cards for the Marks and Spencer Customer and to only use black and white.


To create this collection I used a range of blocks that I have cut out of  waste material that I scrounged from Reverse Art Truck. It’s perfect as it has one side that is adhesive and it sticks well to the various sized blocks that I have picked up about the place. I also use all sort of things I find around the house to create patterns and can spend hours stamping onto paper. Here is one of  blocks I used for the prints above and below. 

Noughtsandcrosses             allover            smallstripeything

Playing with pattern.

It is a long weekend here, holiday time, beautiful weather, sun shining… I was thinking a 

Imagefew days at the beach would be sensational Sun, salt water and sand – bliss… didn’t do that. Stayed at home and spent time doing one of Chelsea’s Challenges. Chelsea is part of the team at Pattern Observer which was started a few years ago by Michelle Fifis. Pattern Observer is one of my favourite sites for textile design and they offer great courses in all aspects of textile design and the business of textile design.

Whist I am involved in teaching textile design and often do the briefs that I set my students it is fun doing a brief set by someone else. It just happens that I set my students a very similar task,  that is  to explore a wide  range of different ways you can develop a motif. We then learn about all the different layout and repeat systems that can be used to create patterns. So take one motif. It can be any shape – draw or paint or stamp or use any method you can think of to recreate the shape in as many differentways that you can.  Here is my example


Once you have experimented with your motifs and your mark making you can then arrange your motifs into a pattern  repeat. You can also start manipulating the design by working through different elements and principles to create a well balanced layout. Change the scale, layer motifs, add colour, vary tonal values, introduce new elements – lines, shapes, textures.

Bangalore and beyond

It’s March…long time between posts and what a lot has happened….. I can only say I am relieved that 2013 is over. It was one of  the most challenging years I have ever had. It was full of sadness and loss –  on so many levels. But, in December I travelled to India to attend the  Samaanata Round Table which was the final leg of the  Sangam Project, another inspirational project initiated by Kevin Murray. ‘Samaanata’ means ‘equal respect’ in Sanskrit and other Indian languages.  What a joy Samaanaata was ! I met some extraordinary people, doing extraordinary things undertaking creative projects that engage communities on a range of different levels. There was such  positivity and enthusiasm amongst the participants who were keenly interested in creating collaborative partnerships, developing hand made craft items and  then finding a way to get them to market.

Another highlight of visiting Bangalore was the opportunity to catch up with Graduates  NIFT Textile Design Diploma – Kakoli Das, Partho Sinha, Rakesh Kumar and Vani Kannan who I taught in Delhi in 2001. They are all successfully working as Textile Designers and it was great to share their experiences working in the industry…and with Kakoli exchanging ideas about Textile Design teaching practices.  So as I roll further into 2014 I look forward to having a creative, collaborative, sharing, engaging and enjoyable year as I return to teaching  textile design… I think it will be so much more fun.


Painted wall ( above) in the Tipu Sultan’s Palace Bangalore  looks very similar to this wall  a chapel on a hill side on southern Spain near Jerez de la FronteraImage


Winter Berries

It has been too long between creative breaks. I am now in the very fortunate position of being able to take some time out from  my full time job. I am taking this opportunity to  return to painting, drawing and manipulating imagery using Photoshop and Illustrator and  to reflect on textile design practice and teaching.

I have also made time to join the Moreland Community Garden, which has enabled me to fullfil  a dream of having a decent space in which to have a garden (but also all the enormous benefits of sharing and meeting new people) . I am also a volunteer  with the  Tree Project  which again is helping me fulfill my desire to grow things.  And will most likely squeeze some travel into this short space of time.  I am so happy to be able to mix all these passions together and see what comes out the other end.

So, for my first post. I picked these berries on the way to the garden last week.

Here is one of my first sketches… Winter Berries

A sketch using gouache and watercolour

A sketch using gouache and watercolour