Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Free thread!

As you might know Linda and I love using Madeira threads and the company very generously support our projects. When they heard that I was giving a talk at Festival of Quilts next week they said, "Would you like a reel of thread for everyone in the audience?". Wow, yes please I said! Isn't that a wonderful treat?

So, if you're coming to my lecture 'The Digital Quilt' on Friday 8th August you'll receive a goody bag which includes a gorgeous reel of Madeira Cotona which I think retail at about £5.40 each. Not bad eh?  I'm sure you'll all join me in saying a big "thank you!" to the team at Madeira.

And if you're not coming to my lecture, why not book a spot today? There's still time to book online at www.thefestivalofquilts.co.uk I'd love to see lots of friendly faces in the audience.

Hope to see you there,

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Wednesday Workshop

Today was the Monoprint workshop and we had a great time! I had so been looking forward to today and in spite of the hot weather (even in the lofty hall), the students worked hard and created a huge amount of work. It's not easy to arrive, be shown techniques, and handed a pile of paper and fabric, but they knuckled down brilliantly, embraced the what if and produced fabulous results.  Here's a quick look at what we got up to…

Thanks for dropping by. I'll be scheduling more classes for September onwards (weekdays and weekends). If you'd like to be kept informed and aren't yet on my mailing list, just pop your email address in the box near the top right of this blog. 


Friday, 18 July 2014


It may well be touching 30 degrees C here today, but it's always beautifully cool in the deep pools of green shade underneath the big trees. I call them the big trees as I'm not sure exactly what they are! I need a tree book!

Sadly one of the plum trees didn't fair well in last night's thunderstorm.  The boughs were already straining under the weight of kilos of fruit. 

I'm not sure there's much I can do with bucket loads of hard green plums that are now lying on the lawn!

At least the lemons don't mind being baked on the patio! 


Thursday, 10 July 2014

New on DMTV

The new video workshop on DMTV today is called 'Folk Art Style Quilting'. Linda's been working on the stencilling sampler project and made far too many samples for just one hanging. Join her this week to see how she's used some to make a small panel quilted with lovely folk art inspired hand stitch.

Video workshops are just for subscribers and you can sign up anytime. There are always 30+ videos to watch with new content added nearly every week of the year! You can find all the info on our website and we'd love to welcome you. http://www.lindakemshall.com/DesignMattersTV.html

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

At the workshop

Today was the Altered Books workshop. It's a vast subject to try to tackle in one day so we focussed on a few key stages. First was editing the number of pages. Some were removed, others were stitched together by machine or hand.

We altered the structure with secret doors, flaps, apertures and niches.

The hall which is most often transformed with drapes and flowers and used for wedding receptions in the summer months instead saw transformations of other sorts as the tables quickly filled with lovely books.

Of course I'd taken along piles of altered books and sketchbooks for inspiration and reference during the day.

Although I'd asked students to bring their own choice of books to alter I also gave each of them a antique or vintage book that I'd found which I wrapped in antique newspaper and old maps.

Pages were soon edited with gesso layers or flooded with glorious washes.

There are so many techniques that can be used in altered books to decorate the pages. Today we used collage and I took along a box of interesting painted papers, found papers, prints and photos for the students to dip into. When I saw Wendy with this bit of drypoint print I almost regretted popping it into the scrap box - I love checkerboard!

There were too many lovely details to photograph during the day, but this use of stitch caught my eye. Can't wait to see how it develops...

The students all did a brilliant job and I hope went away filled with lots of ideas to keep working in their books. Linda and I always describe our books as a work in progress, there's just so much you can always add!

The next class is 'Monoprint' in a couple of weeks time. It's full, but I'm hoping to book some more dates so if you'd like to join me for other classes please drop me an email and let me know whether a weekend or weekday would suit you best.

Thanks for dropping by,

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Painting and the worst fake tan ever

Today after the real work was done it was playtime so we painted. We tried using a paintbrush for the first time, rather than fingers, hands, feet and face.

It started well

and I'm sure she'll soon master the concept of a 'thin, even coat'

but fingerpaint was demanded and chaos ensued

culminating with what might be the worst fake tan job ever. Yes, she carefully painted both her legs yellow. Still, if they are looking for extras for The Simpsons we're ready.


Monday, 7 July 2014

10 years on

It doesn't feel ten years since Linda and I made this:

'Flock', Linda and Laura Kemshall, 2004, quilt, 222cm x 193cm
But somehow it is.

We've nearly finished this one. Just the last few stitches to go in.

'Edge of a Feather', Linda and Laura Kemshall, 2014, quilt, 82cm x 138cm

And then the two of them will be flying off to Sainte Marie aux Mines for the 20th Anniversary Exhibition at Carrefour Europeen du Patchwork.

It's quite interesting to consider, when asked what has changed to your way of working, what has happened during a ten year spell. Most of all in our case I would say technique has changed above anything else. Development in product and technological process which we both continue to embrace has ensured that the traditional techniques of drawing and painting that we both love and that are fundamental to the meaning of life for both of us, can now feature very easily on our quilts. I think sometimes there's a misconception that using digital processes some how distances the artist from the work. For us it's the complete opposite and our hand is more evident than ever.

Most importantly, ten years later I'm just happy that I'm still here doing my own thing, that I've not succumbed to the safety of a proper job. Best of all, I'm glad I can do all this with my Mom, that we still, after all these years of working together, dream up madcap creative schemes that seem impossible to achieve at the time but turn into wonderful experiences like pioneering online creative courses for City & Guilds, teaching ourselves to film, edit and produce for DMTV and design, write and self publish a pile of books. I'm looking forward to seeing where we will be in the next 10 years. Mom might say hopefully lying in a hammock with cocktail but I'll be more than happy if we're still here in the studio slogging it out. With of course, our new partner in crime.

Yep, it's that 'smile for the camera' face again!

Thanks for dropping by,

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Books for Altering

The first of my new workshops happens next week. We'll be altering books and so I've been gathering together the books I've made and also scouring the local shops for likely contenders to be added to the pile.

When I'm choosing a book to alter there are a few criteria:

  • Price! I'm no cheapskate, but I set a budget per book and try not to spend too much. I wouldn't alter an expensive and collectable book. I'm looking for the books that are a bit tired and need some love.
  • Size. Smaller books are more doable and have a certain charm.
  • The cover. I prefer hardback books. They just stand up to the rigours of being altered better.
  • Paper. If the pages are made from nice paper then that helps. I try to avoid anything too thin or too shiny. 
Here's the lovely collection I've found this week ready for the class. Can't wait to see them transformed!

Friday, 27 June 2014

Studio update

Just a quick update today. The Monoprint workshop on 23rd of July is now full. I'll keep a reserve list so if you are still interested just email me.

Couldn't resist a quick spin around the garden with the camera. These seedheads would be perfect inspiration for some printing don't you think?

Bye for now,

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Art Day - again

OK, well I suppose nearly every day is an 'art day' around here! I managed to put my back out yesterday so as that's put pay to any more gardening we've spent today in the studio.

Amelie, who seems to have extraordinarily long arms when it comes to getting her hands on things I am sure are well out of reach, swiped a gluestick off the studio shelves so we decided to do a little bit of collage. Small children are cute at any age but now, at 21 months, I'm loving how I can say a word once and she'll learn it or I can show her something and she get's the hang of it really quick. She's a real pro with a sticker book, but this was the first time we'd used glue. I couldn't cut shapes fast enough for her demands - 'Mommy stdar (star), Mommy eart (heart)!!'.

Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Art day

Bookings for the workshops are open and the classes are filling up nicely so if you're interested do drop me a line so I can hold you a place. They should be really enjoyable days! Hopefully you'll have as much fun as Amelie - today we played with water-soluble pencils and a colour frenzy ensued…

Her 'smile for the camera' face.

Thanks for dropping by,