Tuesday, 19 August 2014


Whether it was eating more strawberries than went in the basket at the 'pick-your-own', or trying to catch apples before they hit the ground as we picked them in the orchard, whenever I think of summer I remember fruit picking, now it's Amelie's turn…

The branches of the plum trees in our garden are heavy with the ripening fruit.

We picked 15lbs in about 15 minutes and the trees look as though they haven't been touched. I think the surplus produce basket in our village shop might soon be filled with plums!

Morning and evening
Maids heard the goblins cry:
“Come buy our orchard fruits,
Come buy, come buy:
Apples and quinces,
Lemons and oranges,

Plump unpeck’d cherries,
Melons and raspberries,
Bloom-down-cheek’d peaches,
Swart-headed mulberries,
Wild free-born cranberries,
Crab-apples, dewberries,
Pine-apples, blackberries,
Apricots, strawberries;—

All ripe together
In summer weather,—
Morns that pass by,
Fair eves that fly;
Come buy, come buy:
Our grapes fresh from the vine,
Pomegranates full and fine,

Dates and sharp bullaces,
Rare pears and greengages,
Damsons and bilberries,
Taste them and try:
Currants and gooseberries,
Bright-fire-like barberries,
Figs to fill your mouth,
Citrons from the South,
Sweet to tongue and sound to eye;
Come buy, come buy.”

Extract from the beautifully sinister 'Goblin Market', Christina Rosetti.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Free Magazine!

Annabel, Linda and I have just published the second issue of Through Our Hands Magazine. This edition is even bigger than the first and packed with loads of inspirational articles. We've tried to gather together a really varied mix of textile related reads. You'll find the amazing work of Eszter Bornemisza, Sandra Meech, Sue Benner, Bente Vold Klausen, Michala Gyetvai, Fiona Campbell and more. Bobby Britnell shares her first hand experiences of making bark cloth and there are fascinating features by our regular contributors Margaret Cooter and Helen Cobby.

But don't take my word for it, the magazine is completely free so why not take a look for yourself…

If you've enjoyed the Magazine please share it with your quilting, sewing and art groups, students and friends. Thank you so much for your support!


Saturday, 16 August 2014


With studio renovations on the horizon I really oughtn't be buying anything for that room, but when I spied this on the market for £18 there was no way I was leaving it behind…

It's an old tool box, the lid lifts up and the front drops down revealing a really useful tray and shelves.

I've hoovered out the rust and dust, given it a wipe with polish and it's now the home for all my printing rollers, print blocks and stamps.

Meanwhile, my studio apprentice gets to work on one of my painting panels. Luckily it's just the cardboard cover. Still, you've got to admire her ambition to fill the whole canvas!


Friday, 15 August 2014

Tech questions

Following up from my video workshop on DMTV a couple of weeks ago I've received emails about the Apps etc. that I use for digital drawing. I've not tried and tested everything out there, that's impossible!, but here's what I've found works for me:

The drawing app I like best at the moment is proCreate for the iPad. You can of course get it in the App  store.

And the stylus I've got is one of these:

an Adonit Jot Pro, though of course since I bought mine there are new versions available! 

I hope that helps if you've got an iPad and are keen to try some digital drawing. I warn you though, it's addictive!


Monday, 11 August 2014

Festival of Quilts 2014

Before it's old news here's a quick round up of Festival of Quilts from my perspective. It was another enjoyable show and we loved seeing so many familiar faces and catching up with students past and present and DMTV subscribers.

We packed our stand with as much as possible - quilts, fabric, panels and pincushions!

I managed to get a photo of Linda actually stitching on the Powerquilter - in spite of good intentions we spent more time talking than quilting. OK, no change there then!

My apprentice was on top form. She managed three long days charming the visitors, adventuring amongst the quilts, and generally wearing us out. Here she is modelling a dress in our 'cupcake' fabric.

We had a TV on the stand playing DMTV videos and an iPad showing the online courses. It was great to have a chance to talk about both. Don't forget, you can sign up for either on our website, we'd love for you to join us. www.lindakemshall.com

Here's another corner of our display. Many of the new designs we've been working on aren't yet in the online shop but it's on my list to pop them in there as soon as possible. 

In spite of being located in the supposedly quieter hall, plenty of visitors seemed to find their way and we much prefer the lighter and airier space. At the far end of this photo is the Festival Theatre which was moved to within the halls this year for the first time and I thought was so much better for that. 

There were plenty of art quilts and contemporary work on display but these patchwork quilts caught my eye. I'm not always a big fan of pieced work, but there are two blocks which I love - Drunkard's Path and Log Cabin. I could be quite tempted to start my own, not that I need a distraction!

 Despite the 100s of traders I didn't buy much. I did get a pair of lovely handmade scissors from Wrights.

Here's a photo of the Fine Art Masters Gallery, a spacious display which made a refreshing change from the crowded aisles elsewhere.

And here are a couple of pieces from Ann Johnston's gallery.

I enjoyed seeing some lovely digital print in the Graduate Gallery. These are by Toni Hardy.

Eszter Bornemisza's gallery was excellent of course.

See more on her website http://www.bornemisza.com or at Through Our Hands www.throughourhands.co.uk

Here's a piece by Rosie James in the Art Textiles: Made in Britain exhibit. I must have done some random clicking on my camera as the rest of the photos were a bit dark, but they have a website http://www.arttextilesmadeinbritain.co.uk where you can see more.

And finally here's a quick view of Linda Seward's gallery showcasing artists she selected for inclusion in her brand new book, 'The Ultimate Guide to Art Quilting', http://www.lindaseward.com/latest-book.html Mine and Linda's quilts were hung quite close to each other which was nice. Unfortunately mine is still suffering from a previous loan to an unrelated exhibition in the US where it was folded. I'll have to get the iron out and see if I can fix it!

So just a snap shot of a few things to see at the show, there was so much more and I'm sure there were areas I never even got to. If you went I hope you enjoyed it and perhaps we'll see you again next year. 

Bye for now,

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Nearly done

We've set up today for Festival of Quilts. I had all the best intentions to photograph our progress, but pressure of time to just get it done meant I only managed a few shots early on.

The first few boxes arriving.

The black curtains in the distance surround the Festival Theatre where I'll be giving my lecture on Friday morning.

All a bit chaotic!

We soon started to make sense of it all and the sombre grey walls were quickly filled with colour.

I promise to do more photos tomorrow. If you can't make it perhaps you might like to follow our Twitter feed (the link's top right of the blog). If you're coming to the show please do come and seek us out, you'll find us on P14/P15.


Sunday, 3 August 2014

Mommy! Paint!

After the shouts for 'nom nom' (breakfast), Amelie's first demand of the day at the moment is for painting. Her colour of choice has changed from green to purple though I suspect that might just be because she likes saying the word.

Of course, feet were painted. Mine and hers.

We used Crayola Washable Paint which works nicely but the tubs we have are way too small and will last about five minutes!

I helped and we painted around each others hands and feet. I love how this turned out! Definitely one to keep for posterity.

Hope you've had a creative and colour-filled Sunday too.

Laura (and Amelie)

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Student work

Teaching isn't just about telling someone how to do something, it's much more about inspiring someone to find their own way don't you think? Inspiration works both ways though and often I find seeing what my students are doing makes me want to run for my sketchbook, pencils and paints! I only tutor a few online students at the moment, but I do love receiving their work. Just recently Gill sent me her latest pages that she's been working on for Creative Sketchbooks. There were lots and this is just a small selection. I thought they were so nice I ought to share them with you. Hope you enjoy...

Our online Creative Sketchbooks course is open for new enrolments at the moment. It's divided into four Modules each with around 12 videos plus a fully illustrated workbook that you can print. There's more info on our website. Here's a link: http://www.lindakemshall.com/DesignMattersOnlineCoursesCreativeSketchbooks.html

Thanks for dropping by. I'm off now to continue with the manic preparations for Festival of Quilts next week. You can picture me ironing fabric, cutting and folding like there's no tomorrow!! Hope to see you there.

Bye for now,