Technical Difficulties and Serendipity

I’m writing from my laptop, which I rarely use as it has Vista for it’s OS and I have been waiting to install Windows XP. I have Windows XP on my desktop pc and just find it a lot more user-friendly and also easier to install my printer drivers, camera software, copies of MS Office, Photoshop, etc. My friend Simon up in Scotland is going to give me some long distance help with this.

Yesterday, I switched on my desktop and it simply wouldn’t. I’ll try replacing the fuse on the plug tomorrow. In the meantime, all of my photos are stored on it, so I don’t have access to my archives. (I’m still waiting to replace my camera). Just as well I don’t have it yet, as I can’t publish photos of what I’m currently working on until after it has gone on show.

I’m finishing two quilts for the Festival of Quilts 2008 at the NEC in Birmingham this August. ‘Manhattan Angel’ is an homage to the photographer Lee Miller. I’m working on her dress and some Art Deco angel wings and just about to fuse all of it into place. Then I’ll sandwich the three layers and do the machine quilting.

‘Ivory Fish’ is a paper quilt made from monographs on cartridge paper. It tells the story about a fish I carved from a bar of soap when I was eight years old. I have glued the centre squares together and added a border. Just finishing up hand stitching the border to the centre, then I will ‘tie quilt’ a fabric back with a hanging sleeve and blanket stitch around the edges. Then, voila!

My low-tech difficulty is that I have lost the 2nd leather thimble I bought for the hand stitching. I’m sewing through 2 or 3 layers of cartridge paper and PVA, so can only work for about 30 minutes at a time until my finger gets too sore!

Yesterday, I went to the South West Quilters Summer Meeting in Okehampton. I got a lift from my friend Dorrie who was hosting one of the speakers, Edinburgh-based textile artist Pat Archibald. Her talk was ‘A Creative Journey to the Roof of Africa’ in which Pat told the story in words, slides and quilts of her inspirational climb to the top of Mount Kilamanjaro and the resulting award winning quilt ‘From Addis to Kili: From Dawn to Dusk’. Quite a journey and turning point.

Pat will have a booth at the Festival of Quilts 2008 where she will also be teaching, lecturing and doing demos. During this year’s Edinburgh Festival, Pat will be showing and selling her textile art at Venue 123. So if you are in Birmingham or Edinburgh this August, check her out.

During the journey Pat and I had a really nice blether about Edinburgh, creativity, fibre art, solo vs group art making and tattie scones. Besides the serendipity of meeting a new fibre art friend, I have been looking all over Exeter lately for foils. Pat had taught her workshop Travellers’ Tales Told in Little Landscapes yesterday and just happened to have packets of foil, special foil glue and glue crystals. So I bought everything I need and got expert advice to boot! I’m looking forward to playing with these in between all of my other projects!

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