Next Exhibition

So, I have barely got over Heallreaf 2 and the next exhibition is due to open on the 9th September at Haslemere Museum.

It is a group show with friends from West Dean days and PJ who will be exhibiting some of his lovely photo’s.

The website is








So I hear you ask, what are you weaving? Well, I am taking a short break from the diptych in order to weave some pods for the exhibition:

It is a close up as I am not sure about the rest of it and it isn’t quite finished yet, it needs sewing up and squishing into shape. They will all be red or red and black, except the one which is red and gold. Gosh I had trouble finding my lurex, put it in a safe place. and it took ages to find it.

I am torn between carrying on with these pods (I have some amazing ideas brought about by going to Art in Clay on Sunday) or get back to the flat weaving which I love and too be honest is far less fiddly, well, generally less fiddly, especially as I am currently thinking of pods with tentacles. I also wove a ‘jellyfish’ in fishing line but am not entirely happy with it, it is okay but lacks the sophistication and finish that I require. I am not sure I can make it as beautiful as it needs to be.

I mentioned in my last blog that PJ’s workshop was being cleared so I could use it as a studio, here it is:






and from the other direction






It is just about 3 metres square and is looking very small at the moment but as you can see it still has stuff in it, some mine and some tools and the like that will need new homes. The builder has been and I am just waiting for the quote. A bit scary as I have no idea at all what it will cost. It is only a single skin building at the moment so it will be insulated and plastered and painted and a sink put in one corner with an extractor fan so I can do dyeing without the fumes. I am hoping for velux windows if they aren’t too expensive.

I was down to teach three courses for Anglia Leisure Courses this year but the first two have been cancelled due to lack of interest, the last one is 10th – 12th November but I don’t know whether it will come off, it was worth a go anyway.

I received an email from Qest yesterday saying that as a Scholar I can automatically become a member of the Society of Designer Craftsmen, so I am seriously thinking of doing that. It will mean opportunities to exhibit more in London and at Collect. For those that don’t know, ‘Collect’ is an incredibly expensive craft fair run by the Craft Council and Saatchi, you aren’t allowed to sell anything for less than £500 and I expect that has gone up since I last looked. I know the powers that be at West Dean would not approve (it’s ‘craft’ after all) but I just think I need to get my work out there as much as I can whether it is in the craft arena or the fine art arena.

Next post will probably be pictures of the exhibition and the pods so watch this space.


Heallreaf 2

I am assuming anyone who is reading this will have already come across the exhibition somewhere else. PJ, Mike and I went to London on Monday and set the exhibition up and the private view was Tuesday night. It sort of went well, I would have been happier with a few more people there and a few more not weaving people there as well but I had a call from the gallery today and they said they have been very busy so that’s good.

So if you want to go it’s at the Brick Lane Gallery that’s 216 Brick Lane London E1 6SA and it closes Sunday at 6pm. It looks very good even if I do say so myself and as I write this blog I am hoping PJ will be sending the photo’s he took at the PV down the stairs, via the internet of course, and I will upload some at the end of this post.

So I have actually started weaving, but not the image in the last post. I have gone back to a diptych I put together some time ago but Weavers Bazaar have only just got the colours I asked them to dye for me, lots of what they are calling Cerise and Ruby colours like these:

ubergine Aubergine Cerise 20 Cerise 20 Cerise 2 Cerise 2 Maroon Maroon
Cerise 10 Cerise 10 Cerise 9 Cerise 9 Cerise 8 Cerise 8 Ruby 1 Ruby 1

And I have been dyeing the greens myself but will probably add some Weavers Bazaar greens in as well.

In between doing this I am trying to clear out PJ’s old workshop in order to use it as a studio. Success, I called a nice company in Littlehampton this morning and next Thursday morning they are coming to (hopefully) buy the lathe and all sorts of other bits and pieces. Hurrah! They are not sure about the bandsaw as it is difficult to get parts – so sell it for spares I thought but didn’t say anything. There are huge amounts of blocks for woodturning, making bowls and stuff so I might try to get in touch with the local woodturning group and see if they want them. PJ is out whilst I am doing this fingers crossed he hasn’t decided to take up wood turning again in the last few hours.

So, below are some images from the show, it looks lovely, the vinyl lettering on the window gave me a moment when it stuck in the wrong place but it only has to stay until Sunday night.


Heallreaf 170627-82

Heallreaf 170627-34




Technology eh!

So, I wrote this post and then it fell over and I lost everything I had written, not even lurking somewhere as a draft.

So what’s new? Well, I heard from the Artapestry5 jury and yes they like the triptych and it has been accepted. Hurrah – that’s 600 or more hours of weaving vindicated. So it is off to Denmark somewhere around the end of the year – loads of time to put the felt backing on!

The course at West Dean seemed to go well, here are some images of work by the students: (this is where it fell over last time so I am getting them in early before the laptop does it again and so I don’t lose loads of typing.) The students were all lovely artists and worked very hard over the three days.

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Not everyone was keen on the ‘show and tell’ at the end of the course so not all the work is there, to be honest I can’t blame them it isn’t really what I like to do at the end of the course. Anyway we all got through it which was quite remarkable bearing in mind I popped home at the end of the first day to pick up a few things and some idiot drove into the back of my car and wrote it off. I would post a photo of my bruises but there is such a thing as decency, there again anything can be art.

Just after that we went away for a few days to Lynmouth and had a lovely time in a nice hotel called The Bonnicott House Hotel where I might add they do the most amazing eggs benedict for breakfast. The best day was the one where we walked up through the sea mist and sat for some hours on a hillside watching the mist come and go – PJ got some lovely pictures but also some lovely bites and I met some not so lovely ticks, fortunately I never go anywhere without my trusty tick remover.

So I do need to get some weaving done, I have Heallreaf 2 in London almost organised, just got to check a few things with the gallery, pay the deposit on the van and do a hanging plan, oh and order the vinyl lettering, so maybe not as organised as I thought. There should be an ad in the July/August Selvedge magazine, please let me know if you see it. The proposals for Heallreaf 3 are just about to go out, yes I know it’s not til 2019 but I thought the people I am sending them to might want to come to the London show.

So what about weaving you ask? Well, there are lots of ideas floating about, there’s the diptych which I am still waiting for some yarn to be dyed for, there’s the 3D fishing line pod with a smaller red pod inside, there’s the experimentation of several layers of warps on one piece looking like tendons in the human body and there is the latest piece which is based on one of my drawings and I can’t decide whether to go back to square or go round again, it was going to be square but I think round works well. Here is an image of the cartoon, it gives a general idea but I always carry so much of the finished image in my head it truly is just an approximation,

Drawinga-1.1- small


Hopefully by the next blog I will have started it. It was going to be 120 cms wide as a square so I suspect the circle will be something in that region in diameter.








As usual….

a lot seems to have happened since the last post. I got an email back from the organisers of ‘Artapestry5’ and they said my triptych was eligible so I cracked on and this is the result:

Jones.Into the Void - Full View

It is about 2.3 metres wide, each tapestry being about 75cm in diameter. Fortunately the deadline was extended from the 31st March to 15th April. This was very useful as Mum was poorly again with her third chest infection in 6 weeks. Then Heallreaf 2 had to be set up and my photographer and general helper went down with some sort of flu bug and spent best part of a week in bed. I think he has given it to me as I am starting to feel a little under the weather. At least the show is up and running and I just have to be well for Wednesday which is the PV 5-7pm. The show was very quiet yesterday, only 19 visitors but was busier today with over 50. You just never know.

So now I am a trifle lost, no weaving on the go and no tapestry exhibition to organise. What am I going to do with myself? Well, maybe just head for my bed for a bit. Between two poorly relatives it has been regular to have nights with only 3 hours sleep and whilst we all joked when I was at college that ‘sleep was over rated’ I am very fond of my bed and goose down duvet and pillow.

Needless to say the house is very untidy and grubby so I feel duty bound to do a bit about that before launching into the next tapestry project, I have a big diptych organised but got Weavers Bazaar to dye some of the yarns for me and am still waiting on some colours so can’t really make a start on that yet. I have another in mind but am not sure how big to weave it. The Kate Derum awards in Australia are coming up in June and I would like to put something for that but the size limit is 30cm square so the drawing I was thinking of doing was going to be a metre square (ish) but then I thought maybe do it small and fine, but I think it will be better larger. It is an odd sort of surreal landscape and I still can’t decide whether to put in on a washy coloured background or a pale back ground. Some photoshop playing due I think. Maybe I could do it small and large.

I also have to do some work for the short course I am teaching at West Dean, a three day course on three dimensional sculptural tapestry.

Just one place left available – get it whilst it’s hot!

I am involved in an exhibition at Haslemere Museum in September and want to do a whole series of pods all about the size of a tennis ball ranging from red to black so I did start one of those today at the exhibition. I don’t usually like to weave whilst invigilating, it has it’s pros and cons but it was so boring yesterday I had to take something to do just in case today was as bad.

Yesterday I started writing the proposal for Heallreaf 3 in 2019.














This time I know exactly where the time has gone.

So, unlike me, I am having a bit of a displacement activity. Weaving is usually my displacement activity but I have just heard the criteria for Artapestry5 and it looks like the piece I am trying to finish is the wrong size. Sigh!

I think I posted a bad image of the first part of the triptych so here is a slightly better image of the second part.

diptych 2

I have started the third one now but it is all black except the red line and the face and for some obscure reason I decided to weave it on black warp which is not kind to the eyes. I have this odd idea that black weft and black warp gives a much blacker and velvety black. I have done some tests and the colour of the warp does impact on the piece but I am not sure it has enough of an effect to warrant the eye strain. Strangely the one pictured above is woven on blue warp but it doesn’t look it in the picture. The light in my studio isn’t good at the moment.

Of course, on top of this weaving I have also been organising Heallreaf 2 the tapestry exhibition. The jurors made their decisions out of 160 pieces of work entered and have chosen 31 pieces and I have added a piece by Kirsten Glasbrook, one of the jurors. My work got in which I was quite pleased about. It was all anonymous so they didn’t know it was mine, well I don’t think they did. It is the round blue piece that didn’t get into the Cordis. Some artists work, like Anne Jackson or Jilly Edwards is immediately recognisable but I don’t think I have been weaving long enough for anyone to recognise mine just by looking at it.

So if you are around please come to the exhibition, details below:

Email footer

Come and say hello if you get there, I’ll be the one looking pale and exhausted in the corner.

Part of me is hoping the triptych doesn’t comply with the criteria for Artapestry5 (I have emailed to ask) as then I won’t have to be weaving til the early hours of the morning between now and the end of the month. I can maybe take some time to consider some of the experimental work I have been mulling over lately. Although I still have to crack on and get it finished, just not on such tight deadlines.

Displacement over, I’m off to weave for the day.


February Already?

Yes, no doubt you are fed up of me saying things like this but just where does the time go? It goes into weaving that’s where it goes.

I have been weaving desperately to try to get a triptych ready for the end of March to enter into Artapestry5. Also I have been administering all the proposals sent into the BTG exhibition ‘Sound and Weave’ and I was one of the jurors. Stupidly I arranged the weekend for telling artists if their work had been selected for that to be the same weekend I finalised all the entries into ‘Heallreaf 2’. So last weekend was a bit fraught. Especially as my Mum was very poorly too. So that is all behind me now, and I have spent a few blissful days weaving.

I taught a days workshop on weaving pods at the beginning of December which was fun, I was asked about weaving with fishing line. So you can guess what happened next, I got some fishing line and did a quick pod.


I have cut the tails off since taking this photo and it hasn’t come undone. I am thinking of doing a larger one – this one is only about four centimetres across – I want to do one about 20-25 centimetres across with a small black one attached inside. Fishing line is okay to weave with but the weft doesn’t wiggle around the warp as beautifully as you might want it to. Hence keeping the sides straight is even more of a trial than usual.

I also have images of the triptych so far – not very good ones, the tapestries are quite large for me, about 70cm across so the first one I had to lay out on the bed and stand on the edge to get it in shot. It looks very baggy, in fact I can’t believe how wrinkled it is but then it hasn’t been blocked yet or the slits sewn up. I couldn’t sew them up before taking it off the frame (long story). Also it refused to roll right side out when first cut it off so I rolled it right side in for a while, strangely it will now roll right side out which I have always believed to be the right way, it’s the way tapestries usually want to roll. Who knows what state it will end up in when I block it.

You can just see the outline of a face emerging in the black on the second piece. (Bottom RHS). The third weaving of the triptych will be all black with the red line and the face and they will be hung next to each other hopefully with the red line all on the same level – if I get it right. I can always blame whoever hangs it if it’s wonky.


And finally, I have just found an artist called Daniel Zeller. His images are fascinating and I am trying to think how I can weave something similar. As you can see below they are incredibly complicated and I couldn’t weave that but I am thinking of the idea of several layers of weaving all stretched across each other and disappearing like ligaments into muscle, or roads into tunnels. They would have to be woven on and left on the frame, I realised that from my previous excursions into this type of weaving, cut them off and they curl up and die.

And even more finally, I had over 150 pieces entered for the Heallreaf 2 exhibition so am waiting for the jurors to come back to me and also for the results of the latest Arts Council Funding application. Got everything crossed for that one, should hear next week I think.

Some weaving.

So life is quite busy and not as much weaving has been achieved as I would have liked. There has been a bit of dyeing and the like so I haven’t been a complete sloth.

Yes Fiona’s course was excellent. There are times when I am on a course like that I wonder why I am still going on courses when I did three years at college (I am sure PJ asks the question regularly) but you cannot fail to learn from someone who has been weaving for decades when you have only been weaving a few years. This is the piece I started on the last day and finished when I got home:


I thought the ends might be an interesting way to finish off the warp threads on my pod weavings. It looks a bit jellyfishy and floaty on the black like that.

A closer look – although I think I prefer it from a distance!


Between the last blog and now we have had a lovely trip to France. When we got there our nice friends Annie and John asked where we would like to go and I said  ‘How far is Angers?’ So they were absolute stars and drove us and hour and a half each way so I could look at tapestries. Firstly there are the medieval ones in the chateau which were amazing, there were so many of them but the place is VERY dark. It still strikes wonder into my heart when you think how fine those tapestries are and they were woven from the back and by candle light. There is a video showing them taking one down and they turn it over so you can see the back – yes – those greens are really bottle green and the reds are scarlet. Just amazing 0 sorry I said that already.

Secondly we went to see the Jean Lurcat tapestries at the other end of town. A nightmare to park as the inordinately loud funfair was in the car park. So you walked through these doors and the funfair died you found yourself in an oasis of calm and confronted by the series of tapestries known as ‘The Song of the World’ (only in French but I can’t spell it.) I have seen these tapestries on the internet – trust me these images do them NO JUSTICE WHAT SO EVER. Below is a link thingy to a youtube video. It isn’t very good but at about 4 minutes and a bit you get to my favourite tapestry of the lot which is the Man of Hiroshima. I cannot find a good image of it anywhere. I like it partly because it has elements of the Graham Sutherland crucifixion of Christ tapestry at Coventry cathedral. That may just be the greeny colour and the skeletal figure but something about it resonates with me. (be very impressed I managed to imbed a youtube video into my blog – I am!)

And finally after going there, next door was another tapestry exhibition of contemporary tapestries. Now I did have to take a deep breath with this one because like the Lurcat tapestries these were designed by artists and woven by weavers. But some of them were stunning.


This one is by the artist Mario Prassinos and is called ‘MacBeth’ It was one of my favourites along one by Andre Borderie but I cannot find an image of that, here is another of his, it gives an impression of the sort of images he had woven:

So too many pictures this time, but all I can say is – if you are ever any where in the vague region of Angers and even if you only have a passing interest in tapestry – just go to all three venues, it is a day worth spending.

So strangely whilst on my travels through the internet to bring you some of these images I found this:

It is call a cartoon for a tapestry and comes from this website:

It appears to be some sort of site which is an ‘online sales platform of selected design & vintage furniture’. I wonder how effective it is at selling work?  It’s a nice cartoon, I wouldn’t mind trying to weave it myself.

Back to the weaving frame, I will post an image of the latest as soon as there is very much to see.

I am teaching again in Angmering next month – just a day on the 12th to teach the very basics of my three dimensional pod weaving. If anyone is interested let me know and I’ll put you in touch with the organiser.




So, no weaving then.

No weaving. The Arts Council funding has just gone off at 2.02pm. Fingers crossed this time and many thanks to my lovely friend Pernille who sat with me all last Thursday trawling through it. She just comes up with some lovely turns of phrase which hopefully they will like. It was a bit like my Qest funding application, David Stent at college went through the declined one and all he did was just make the language much more positive and I got the funding so hopefully this time will be the same. I hope so or I am going to look a complete idiot having to cancel the London show because I can’t get the cash.

So no weaving and no photo’s. Next weekend I am attending a weaving masterclass with Fiona Hutchison who is a very well known Scottish weaver for those of you who are not in the weaving world. I have to sort out a ‘sketch book of visual inspiration based on the sea’. Oh dear I don’t do sketch books. I am sure I can find something, there is that lovely photo I took of a dead gannet on the beach at Walberswick and Pernille has promised a photo of a dead fish head. Yum.

Last weekend PJ did a portrait photography course at West Dean. They asked if there was any chance of more models so I stupidly volunteered. Lots of people said I was very brave but actually I have got so fed up of PJ pointing a camera at me I just don’t care anymore.

rembrandt-lightingpjSo here is the portrait PJ thought was best out of all those he took. The tutor immediately said to me ‘do you always wear your hair up?’ and ‘do you always wear your glasses?’ Consequently the hair came down and the glasses came off (that was all that was coming off!) It did irritate slightly as I don’t see this as a photo of me, but then I was there to be their model. I also wondered whether a female photographer would have put my hair down?

Anyway apparently this is classic Rembrandt lighting, half the face in light with the light just tipping over the bridge of the nose casting a small amount of light into the other eye socket. It is a rather lovely effect – shame about the subject!

Still Here.

So I just heard my piece hasn’t been chosen for the Cordis shortlist. As you can imagine I am quite disappointed. There is a quick flip through all the tapestries submitted on this website:

It is really odd as you get a fleeting glimpse of all the work submitted and I mean fleeting. If anyone knows how to slow it down please let me know.

It will be interesting to see what is actually chosen, the website hasn’t been updated yet. However it did occur to me thinking about the pieces that flip through on the link and the work that has won the last two prizes that maybe traditional weft-faced two dimensional tapestry is no longer in fashion and are weavers distorting the medium in order to seem relevant to the contemporary art scene. And yes perhaps I am just as bad with the three dimensional forms I have been trying to weave. The bad news about those is that I have given up, the last blog showed the one that my brother thought looked like a desiccated rose and here is an image of the latest failures:
img_0820The end black ones are particularly difficult to photo, this one might be better:

img_0822Or maybe not, it was supposed to look like a pitcher plant with spikes but I can’t get the shape and finish quite perfect so I have given up on it. When I told PJ that he said ‘good’, so I am not quite sure what he meant. I haven’t even stitched up the red one or the blue one because I could see they were not working.

So what next I hear you cry. Well, the Arts Council declined my application for funding but I can apply again. The reason was that it was weak on ‘artistic and public engagement outcomes’ and they also said that they didn’t think anyone other than the artists would want to come to see the exhibitions. One is tempted to wonder what one can do against such ignorance but I will keep trying. I rang the Arts Council help line and asked if they could help me with ‘public engagement outcomes’ because I found them somewhat ephemeral and then had to explain the word ephemeral to the nice lad on the other end of the line (oh my I feel old – he did sound very young).

I taught the course at West Dean and it must have gone okay because I am now teaching a 3D weaving course. It is 14th to 17th May 2017.

I am now preparing for the next tapestries which are a triptych – I am never whether that it spelt triptych or tryptich, I usually go for the former because of the ‘tri’ and there being three pieces in it and spell check seems to prefer that but I never quite trust spellchecker. Anyway they are all circular, each one about 75 cm in diameter and once again they are blue and surprisingly I already have a name. The piece is going to be called ‘Into the Void’ and I have just started warping up for the first one but still haven’t sent of the image for printing and will probably need to redye some of the blues and turquoises I used in ‘Blue’ the Cordis piece. (At least I can now enter ‘Blue’ for Heallreaf 2, see if that jury likes it.) I expect to finish the three pieces around end of January or mid February, depending upon how much time I have to spend re doing the Arts Council applications. I am also starting a series of small tapestries, around 7cm square, I hope to do lots and then hang them somewhere in a very long line.

And on top of that I have to do my proposal for the BTG exhibition ‘Sound and Weave’ which is going to be about sound and weaving! Well, it is actually going to be about mother and child relationships and the sound part is going to be related to body sounds and songs of life and death. It is also going to reference the similarity between the bodies neural and vascular systems and the woven tapestry. That almost sounds like an artists statement doesn’t it?

Talking of which maybe it was the artists statement that caused me not to get into the Cordis. This is the current version:

the smell of acid dye
the twang of a warp under tension
softness of weft through the fingers and sound of a bobbin beating yarn
centuries of tradition, sharing the soliloquy
challenging the loom and the weaver
playing with textures and light

the exquisite woven bead
dark visions
of the infinite

As you might have guessed I like the word ‘ephemeral’.



Arts Council Funding – Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

So, having decided to do Heallreaf 2 next year and getting the dates sorted with West Dean (not a short process) and having a London Gallery interested in taking it at the end of June I decided to apply for Arts Council England for some funding.

I had already got my applicant profile validated and then submitted my eligibility requirements over the weekend but got stuck there. When I rang them at 9.02 this morning the nice man was very good and did admit the website wasn’t very intuitive. So at 9.03 I started filling in the actual application. I had made some notes over the weekend so I wasn’t completely at a loss as what to say. Well, with a short break for a bit of fresh air and some gardening I have just finished it. EIGHT HOURS. You can understand why some people just don’t bother can’t you?

It will take 6 weeks for them to process it and so I will find out on something like the 18th September if they will give me the money or if I have to re apply. At least if I have to re apply I might then understand the difference between audience, artists and participants it can be a bit of a grey area it seems. It is rather wonderful to be able to cross ‘ACE Application’ off my list of jobs to do.

So what have you been weaving you ask. Well, not much I have to admit. There is nothing to show but a three dimensional piece that didn’t quite work:


Oh dear, that’s not such a good photo is it? Well, a bit like the weaving I guess. It was supposed to be a ball but I used a different pattern or net to the one I usually use so it didn’t work, the ends of the warps didn’t match up properly. You live and learn and I suppose I have learnt an important 3D weaving lesson there.

I have been weaving small colour samples, just for a bit of comfort weaving and to see what colours do when they are put next to each other. No photo’s but I was going to put them in a folder so you might get the odd photo of a page from the folder if I discover anything amazing – which is unlikely.

I have decided I am going to apply for the West Dean open call. I know they really want a ‘big name’ artist but it will be good experience to put the proposal together. It is going to be BIG and maybe round but if not round then shaped, Philip’s good at that sort of thing.