Blog Hop

29 September 2014


If this Blog Hop works then you might be new to this blog (and if you've been here before it might be worth introducing myself).

I'm Hilary and I am in the UK (we are still United - how much was the rest of the World aware of the very recent historic vote in Scotland?  They had the opportunity go 'go it alone' after 300 years Union of Parliaments.  In was an opportunity that, on this occasion, the majority chose to turn down, so we are still the United Kingdom).

My little bit of this island on the edge of the continental shelf is complicated.  Technically I live in Gosport, a small town on the south coast right next to Portsmouth. But I work in Milton Keynes about 60 miles north of London. And I spend most of my time here in MK (the company I work for rents a house here).  It is where I keep my art materials, so I guess it is more 'home' than Gosport.

And what are my art materials? Well, my sewing machine, but also my paints (acrylics mostly but I have just started dabbling with watercolour) my glues and mediums, my inks and dyes, my stencils and thermofax screens, my fabrics and my papers (lots of tissue paper!) my pens and pencils........

So what am I?  What is my 'genre'? I guess, if pushed, I would describe myself as a Machine Embroider, but more of that later.

But before we go any further I need to credit Sheila, 'The Idaho Beauty' who got me involved in this Blog Hop.  I love Sheila's blog - she writes really well - and I love her 'mission' - "I appear to have a calling to create art, but I flounder in my quest".

(And this is why I love the internet and blogging. Without this wonderful 'tool' how on earth would Sheila and I have ever met!?!)

So, back to the blog hop.  Basically, I was asked to address these questions.

1. What am I working on?
Really, the answer to this should be what have I just finished?

Because I have actually just finished three things - two have been hanging around for ages but the third I started a couple of months ago.

Lets start with the 'two'.

First up, another of the 'Garden' series.  This one in blue. These were worked on velvet which was bleached, printed, polyester organza was laid over the printed panel and then the whole piece was  embroidered. And then using a heat gun, some of the organza is burnt away revealing some of the velvet underneath.

This fantastic technique came from a class 'Exploring Velvet' with the amazing Angie Hughes at the Bramble Patch.

I should apologise for the photo. The glare at the top is from the glass, and the  frame is white, although it looks pink here (why?). The colour of the actual piece is pretty accurate though.

The second one is a piece that came from a prompt 'Memories in Black and White'. I blogged about it here  and here (I am ashamed to say that it took two years to finish this!  And its not big!)

The leaves are tiny individually cut pieces of painted nylon. The nylon was, I think, a bit of net curtain from a charity shop. The acrylic paint was applied very randomly with a roller. The leaves are stitched either onto the actual picture (held down before stitching with a dab of Pritt stick) or into a chain which I made by placing the leaves between dissolvable film, stitching the leaves through the film and then dissolving away.

And finally, 'Seizing the Day' is finished. I blogged about it here.

This is a great example of how I can end up wandering around the craft world! I got completely sidetracked into the world of beading and made a whole batch of paper beads to use.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I guess, if you start from the point that I embroider, then the two key things that make my work different are that I mostly use the sewing machine, and I use an awful lot of paper! The "Memories in Black and White" piece is a prime example - tissue paper adhered to calico with PVA glue, coloured with ink powders, incorporating mono printing and then stitch.

Many of the pieces I create are technically 'quilts', in that they have quilt sandwiches - but these sandwiches are not usually very conventional.  The 'quilt' for the Contemporary Quilt Gallery at FOQ 2014 was tissue paper (coloured with acrylic paint, printed and appliqued) sandwiched with acrylic felt.

As was my Horizon quilt at the 2013 FOQ Contemporary Quilt Gallery.

3. Why do I create what I do?
 Why do I create?

And why do I blog?

This is an easy question - I have come to art late ( really only in the last 10 years of so) but having arrived, like Sheila, I seem to have a 'calling'.  It can sometimes feel that there is masses of work bursting to get out.

And I blog to keep me on track.  Blogging 'tricks me' into thinking that people are expecting something from me.  And it works,  If I go for two long without writing a blog, I feel guilty.  I feel as though I am letting people down.  And I am then spurned on to write a blog, and to make the art to write about in the first place.
4. How does my creating process work?
This is a tricky question!

An idea can sometimes be taking shape in my mind for ages.  Sometimes I do a lot of background work in a sketch book; sometimes my preparation is much more limited perhaps with only 1 sketched idea.  Sometimes the work itself is the experiment.  The 'Seize the Day' book is an example of that.  I just 'went for it'.  (That was a great journey - and I am not sure if it is finished.)

So that is me.  I hope you found this interesting.

If you want to know more about how I created my backgrounds, let me know and I will try to put together a demo video or some such.

And now I must pass you on.

First of all to Iz, Threadnoodle to her friends.  She always makes me smile and she is a demon textile artist to boot (plus she is on a mission to find the perfect flap jack recipe - what's not to love?)

And to Felicity of Textile Seahorse.

And finally , please also stop by Slightly Triangle.   Chloe could not join in the blog hop, but she is worth a look. 


  1. I'm already a follower, but I enjoyed learning more about you and seeing more of your wonderful work.

    1. Thanks Sherrie - and I must say that I enjoy yours too. Isn't the internet wonderful. We would never have 'met' without it.

  2. What a great post, Hilary!! I love your work and I really enjoyed 'getting to know you' a bit better!!

    1. Ah, thanks so much for your kind comment.

      I love blogging. It really incentivises me, and it's a real boost to know that people enjoy reading it.

  3. Thank you for taking up the challenge. I guess I knew you did all this different work but I hadn't stopped to consider how complex each work is, multilayered and multifaceted. Your enthusiasm for what you create just bubbles off the page! And I am in love with that book! Definite handmade book envy here. ;-) You always make me want to get busy and try some of these things that are outside my usual work.

    Funny that you should pick up on my "mission". I hope I am floundering less than when I first started, but flounder I do at times. And even though I just sold two more pieces through ArtWalk, when I deposited the check and the teller asked if I was an artist, I could only reply "I'd like to think so." Yes, still lacking a little confidence there. ;-) The teller just smiled, pointed out that on the memo line of the check it said, sold 2 pieces of art, and stated, "I think you are!" Ok fine, I AM an artist...

    Something else we have in common I didn't know. I started my blog for the exact same reason you did, and it continues to function as outside accountability to keep me at it. Isn't it amazing that part of our motivation derives from not wanting to let down our readers? What ever it takes, I say! And I have to say, the readers certainly give back!

    1. Oh, and thank you for your kind words about my blog and my writing. Sometimes I worry I'm too verbose so it's nice to know at least some of the readers do more than look at the pictures but persevere through the text. I'm really glad we connected and you are right - no way would we have "met" without the internet and blogs.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Blogger is jamming so I will try to respond properly to comments tomorrow.

    4. Trying again. Sheila you must be an artist. I've got there. I've not sold anything but at last feel confident to show people at work and will acknowledge that in this other life that's what I am.

  4. You are doing some stunning work!
    Greetings from Switzerland

  5. Really interesting to find out some more about you, after all this time! I'd better get back to my blog and have a tidy up before the visitors....

  6. Beautiful pieces here, you've written a great post full of lovely detail. I really loved watching the creation of that gorgeous book, delicious beads! Yes, very interesting ;)

  7. I think I've seen the yellow one on the OEQC in Veldhoven?? I took a picture of it, it's very beautiful.

    1. Well thank you so much. Yes it was there. I love the fact that my quilts go if on little journeys of their own.


I love to receive your comments - so please say hello. I have just been brave and turned the word verification off. Lets hope those spammy gate crashers don't get in!

Latest Instagrams

© Living to work - Working to live. Design by FCD.