28 February 2012

Bletchley Park - Alice and Bob

A detail of my piece 'Alice and Bob' which celebrates the background story of Alice and Bob in the history of cryptography. This was shown as part of the Secret Messages Exhibition held at Bletchley Park in association with the Quilters' Guild on 25th and 26th February. The exhibition was a great success and saw 1500 people through the doors on the first day alone!

My piece was contructed from recycled papers and a found silk scarf. Constructed with hand and machine stitch. I was intrigued by the mythology that has grown up around the mysterious relationship and secret messages that fly between Alice and Bob (A sends a message to B), and wanted to develop an ethereal piece. The typewritten texts that are visible through the layers include translations into Binary code, Enigma code and Morse code.

Crisps selected for York exhibition

This is my piece made from recycled crisp packets selected for a new exhibition at the Quilt Museum and Art Gallery, opening on 4th May. Sixty 20cm squares were selected by Contemporary Quilt to be joined together into a larger piece to represent the UK entry for Celebrating Diversity, organised by the European Quilt Association.  

Crisps – a celebration ...
A French exchange girl came to stay with me when I was 11. The girl was very, very homesick and simply didn’t stop crying. My elder brother’s bi-lingual girlfriend had to be summoned over to speak to her in French (my skills hadn’t got much past “Bonjour, je m’appelle …”). I decided I would give her my favourite Pickled Onion Monster Munch – how could that fail to cheer her up I thought? But I only made things worse and the Monster Munch made her cry even more (even the Roast Beef flavour was no better if she couldn’t take the extreme of the Pickled Onion). Her horror was equivalent to the horror I felt when faced, six months later, with a tray of bubbling snails emerging from a French oven (but at least I didn’t cry).

I think this was the point where I began to understand that there were some things that are typically ‘British’. Crisps abroad are very disappointing and bland. You get salted, or occasionally some paprika (though admittedly they are catching up a little more these days). But over here – what a celebration of Britishness and diversity all rolled in to one. What other culture would have Cajun Squirrel, Builder’s Breakfast or Onion Bhaji flavour limited editions?

The technique used is essentially a crazy patchwork.

Sewing retreat in Sew Hip shows & events

Pleased and excited to see that my creative textiles retreat at the Really Big Dream Company in France from 6-12 May is featured in the April issue of Sew Hip magazine. Find me on page 54!

Also coming up in Sew Hip, is my article on making pendants and key rings from recycled scraps which will be featured in issue 39 (out at the end of March) and my denim jeans cushion with lettering applique which will be in issue 40 (out at the end of April).

Lovely feedback for Sabi Westoby site

There's still time to catch the last three weeks or so of Sabi Westoby's exhibition Filamental, until 24 March at The Courthouse, Thirsk.
Before the exhibition began, I designed Sabi's new website. Recently we've received some lovely feedback on the site:

"I love what you did for Sabi. The website is so clean and fresh and a delight to navigate."
Hilary Gooding

"What a wonderful website, Sabi. Excellent presentation, easy to find one's way around and what brilliant work! I will want to look at it again and again."
Hannelore Braunsberg

Thanks - its so good to hear that the website has been well received. And as a direct result of Sabi's site, I'm going to start designing a new website for author and quilt artist, Linda Seward. Watch this space.