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Here to talk roses! They’ve been brilliant this year until a few weeks back when we began this tropical weather we’re enjoying in the UK and a month in they’ve suffered from lack of water.

This week I’ve dedicated myself to trying to paint some before they’re completely passed it but they’ve wilted as fast as I can paint them.

A messy rose strewn desk is a lovely thing though.

So I’ve done what I can and I’m off to enjoy a g&t in the sun – happy weekend 🙂

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This year has been a brilliant one for my Hellebores which have quadrupled in size.

I’ve been wanting to paint them for some time but couldn’t bring myself to cut any when there were only one or two flowers – but this year is quite different.

I’ve been playing around painting onto darker grounds than usual and I quite like it. It really helps those whites to stand out and it adds a little drama. These were both acrylics on tissue paper; the latter bringing a lovely dappled background which shone through the paint still.

I love a new discovery!

                                                       Muscari © Claire Leggett

The last few weeks have been very busy with HB’s 50th birthday celebrations and I had lots of kiddie classes to teach over the Easter break. However Spring flowers wait for no-one so as soon as these bloomed I made sure to grab some time to paint them. I’m glad I did – it turned out alright and was good for sanity and soul!

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A little painting inspired by the beautiful South African Protea via my local Marks and Spencers!

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I’ve been Spring cleaning of late – you know all those little jobs that you put off but need resolving eventually. So I’ve cleared and filed my desktop…dating back two years! collated all my pattern designing files into one place which was a major task and I’m making inroads into clearing out iphoto.

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Which has prompted me to show you what i’ve been working away at over the last few months alongside other painting and design work.

Every 3 months I get a new group investigating textiles at MAC and I like to have a theme to demonstrate the techniques to and to show how you can develop ideas along an idea.

I was inspired by all things fishy when we were in the South of France in the summer and so that was my theme with my last group.

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Above is a demo of open screen direct dye printing – fish scale style.

It’s always good to play around in a sketch book and I generate so many samples that I find it helpful to theme them into a book.

Students seem to appreciate looking at them and getting their own ideas of what to do.

And I love looking at students sketchbooks – one of the best things about textiles is that there is always something new to try or a new way of seeing or applying a technique.

We use a wide range of approaches in Mixed Media Textiles at MAC Birmingham and so I set myself the task of including a piece of all those techniques into one final piece.

An underwater scene lent itself nicely to the many layers of textile applications.

Hope you had an enjoyable Bank Holiday weekend whatever you were doing x

I’m popping in to let you know that Winterbourne House and Gardens have booked me for a day of painting fun on July 2nd. You can view the details here if you’re interested – we will be collaging canvases, having fun mark making and using the beautiful gardens to gather and sketch ideas to paint. And if your worried about your artistic abilities – don’t! I always have reference books and tracing paper tucked away 😉

I’ve also ordered sunshine so that we can eat ice creams and enjoy the grounds!

 

Over the last few weeks I’ve been inspired to have a go at making a lampshade.

It’s based upon the woods that we live opposite from and can see from our front windows and it’s also where we walk the dog everyday, so of course she features too!

I began by measuring (and measuring again) and making a patchwork textile picture of the right proportions for the shade using colours to suggest the passing of the seasons and some of my favourite rare Liberty scraps.

Then I lino-printed the trees on (regretted using a dark purple but it was too late) and then the fun and time-consuming part was to embellish it with embroidery.

I tried to make the trees show the movement from Spring through to Summer and through to Winter as the shade curls around.

I used French Knots for blossom, diamond-shaped leaves and couching with the bobbin thread.

And of course a bit of free-motion machine embroidery with my new toy*

Still reflecting on what colour to keep the lamp base but I’m pleased to have tried this and it’ll be a whole lot easier now another time – watch this space!

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There is a big gap forming between what I’m doing each day and the speed I get here to show it!

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I’ve been busy lately making fabric butterflies and moths for an upcoming MAC workshop.

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I’m loving the variety of work that teaching Textiles opens up.


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I have loads of photo reference from my trip here last year which has come in really handy.

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I love it when you follow your heart’s inspiration only to find things come together at a later date.

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I couldn’t have known back then how useful the trip to the Oxford Natural History Museum would be and I guess that’s why artist play dates are so important (explanation here)

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And it’s interesting for me to see the marriage of painting and textiles coming about too on this project.

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BTW did you see my new website header sneak in!

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Todays calendar page is not wrong!

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After a lovely busy Summer bursting with family affairs, teaching, holidays and other welcome distractions, today is the first day I find myself home alone and able to concentrate.

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So I picked this interesting Hydrangea flower from the garden and got re-acquainted with my paintbrush. It feels good 🙂

Hello! Today is the first day here that truly feels like Spring. It’s also the first day in a week that I feel well (stupid virus, nothing serious) and maybe it’s a combination of those two things that has prompted me to tidy out my iPhoto library today and come say hello with pictures.

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It’s not that I haven’t been busy creating (apart from last week) but quite the opposite and once there’s too much to say I find it becomes harder to say anything.

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In the last weeks the dresser got Spring cleaned – I found myself picking out yellow and pink china and it snowballed from there.

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I was thrilled to get the opportunity to begin teaching one of the MAC’s adult evening Textile classes (insert whooping and cheering). This has taken me on a journey back in time and a re-birth in skills once learnt and used. I studied all kinds of Textile art for my degree before specialising in Print and it has been really invigorating prepping samples to show the students – here’s some batiking I did inspired by these gorgeous anemones.

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I’m excited to see how teaching this class will develop my own work as these things always have a synergistic effect.

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You know the saying “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime” well this couldn’t be truer in the context of me teaching my daughter to crochet. First she knocked out her own gorgeous Granny Square blanket as her first project, then set about a huge Granny Square blanket as a friend’s birthday gift (here’s where I got jealous!) then for Mothers Day she made me this beautiful cushion cover for a pillow on our bed 😍

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And the making = love message has been strong in our house of late as we celebrated a BIG birthday this weekend. We can’t believe our kids are 18 and 20 – where did the time go?

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Lemon and Blueberry Buttermilk Cake with edible flowers for the girl who gave up chocolate for Lent.

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And following the tradition to have a special item to commemorate a landmark birthday like 18, this little pumpkin asked me to knit her a cardi! Ahh…

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It did nearly kill me as it’s the most complex thing I’ve done yet but that’s how you up your skills level isn’t it!

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Here’s a little snap of my Spring inspired work table to leave you with. Hope the sun’s shining where you are.

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