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Have I shown you these before?

I collect perfume bottles which is a new obsession along with cloisonne. Here's the Christmas one on the right; all swirls and colours. I liked the shape.

But this one is an even better shape.  So gorgeous, and it's on the latest quilt as part of the still life.

I bought this cushion at Linda and Laura Kemshall's stand at the NEC recently.  You can probably guess why!  But aren't the colours fabulous?  It's printed on velvet so feels very rich and luxurious.

Bobby Britnell was also there with her bark cloth shoes and baskets sold obo her charity Hands Up For Uganda.  I couldn't resist this cushion either, so came home well padded. It's great to have affordable snippets of wonderful original work around the house. 

Peace and Love guys, Peace and Love.

A couple of things have happened to me just recently which makes me wonder if quilt-land is dividing rapidly. Or perhaps it's just me dividing?  Always a possibility I suppose.

One of these things is nice, and one not so nice.

Let's start with the nice one.  It's about that quilt again.  You may recall that it was in a London exhibition recently, and as a result of that I had a request to bring it along to Cambridge University and talk for a bit.  The person who wrote had a very long title but was basically Chair of Humanities at one of the Colleges and a Senior Member of the Classics and English faculties, and they wrote an influential arts publication. They were interested in quilts and could I felt, help bring quilting to the attention of other influential people who may be unfamiliar with them as an art form.

Of course, I was highly delighted.  For me, even if it comes to nothing, its a huge step forward in getting quilting (and I genuinely mean quilting, and not me) better recognized in the art world. It's really important to me that quilts are viewed as another art form and not Women's Work and a craft. This doesn't mean I deny that history, just that it should be valued beyond that. Historically painting and sculpture have been done largely by men, and because of that have become fine art, despite being crafts too, but stitch is seen as female and is undervalued. 

Now the yucky bit. About two days later, I went to visit a friend at her quilting group of 10 ladies.  All enthusiastic, all keen to chat about the latest techniques and show their work. Wonderful.  But as part of their discussions they began to talk about art quilts.  They called them (and I'm quoting here) "arty-farty nonsense"  The conversation began to get quite heated and I'm not at all sure why.  There was talk about "fighting back" and reclaiming quilting for "ordinary quilters".  I honestly couldn't believe what I was hearing, and I'm still totally baffled.  Were they threatened? Were they just showing solidarity with each other? What reason was there for such prejudice and unkindly words; let's be honest, nonsense?  A fight might have been in the offing, but of course, I didn't say a word in deference to my friend but I was itching to!

So I've blogged instead! Come on ladies, there's room for everyone. I wouldn't dream of decrying another artist, quilter, painter, writer, sculptor, or anyone for that matter who is having fun, making, or doing whatever floats their boat.  Could I perhaps suggest that we're responsible for holding ourselves back too? There's enough silliness in the world. Tut.

Ok I've been slacking

I've realized that the blog isn't being updated as often as usual and I'm sorry about that - although it's possible you're relieved.  I can't tell from this end of things.  I have my darlingest granddaughter coming to stay for a few days so thought I'd best get in an update before the mad rush begins.  How can one tiny person cause 4 grown adults to work so hard? It always makes me wonder - how did my granny manage with so many children in such a tiny home. I'll never know.  Still, between you and me I feel my mother could have done with a spot more attention.

Life 12 is coming along nicely with the basics in now.  I keep adding bits like this vase of flowers but it needed a flash of something in that space.

The words on the quilt are simple this time. They are, ....And the crows came to the feast and laid waste to the beauty.

I have yet to work out how to create a madness in it all, but there will be bird poo, and probably a bit of feather here and there, some spillage from that wine glass, and a fight over the cake and crumbs.  Some of the birds will be holding torn off pieces of quilt in their beak.  Can you see that crow in the centre front?  Well, he's eyeballing you, and will be hanging on to a bit of boob. Probably.

Life 12 - Murder, a photo update

The table with the feast on has been stitched and I'm beginning to put in the crows. They really are making a meal of it.  Lots more to add before stitching everything and beginning the task of painting in the detail...which I shall enjoy enormously!

You know that other thing I do.....

You know that other thing I do...the gardening thing............well this year, we're (Gals) are helping Debbie Cooke with her exhibit at Chelsea Flower Show, which hopes to capture the essence of Leamington Spa. We've been secretly growing plants in the park, and have now dug them up and are nurturing them and bringing them on in the hope that they'll look magnificent for May 20th to 24th. Fingers crossed please. Not daunting at all!

A touch of the Gothic around the tea and buns.

We had a lovely afternoon at Coombe Abbey Hotel in Coventry today.

20 years ago the Abbey was a ruin but is now a thriving hotel, and quite a good place for afternoon tea - which we were treated to by youngest DD.  It's moated, ever so slightly spooky, and the rooms are quite dramatic - a touch of theatre!


 DH is a great tapper. Sometimes this gets us into trouble with curators and security men, at other times it's a great way to find out that most of the furniture and fixtures are hollow and reproductions.

It's kept quite dark on purpose so the photos aren't clear but I thought you might enjoy a flavour.

The waiter asked if we had any special dietry requests.  I said yes please, I'd like a lot of cream.  Seemed to work.

Life Stuffs Coming soon!

I've been busy taking some better photos of my Life quilts - the whole lot - as I hope to be able to offer them as a series of various products including the complete collection as tea towels.  For those lovely people who've said they'd love something connected to the Life Stories, this might be an affordable product that you would enjoy...fingers crossed!  I think they'd be great fun and bring a smile to faces at Christmas time too (OK, sorry, that must be the first mention ever of Christmas 2014 - hangs head in shame.)

I'm working with Laura on this one so you'll know the quality of the fabrics and prints already.

Life 11 - Trolls. Finished

Life 11 - Trolls
Approximate size 59" x 48" (has to be framed yet)

Stitched cloth, acrylic paint.

The Story: Women outperform men at GCSE, A levels, Undergrad, and Postgrad qualifications to the ratio of 1 to 1.6.  The current UK gender pay gap stands at 15%. Why? Lots of reasons, but one surely has to be discrimination.  Discrimination is a form of mysogyny.

So the glass ceiling is in place, partly kept there by mysogyny and we stay below. Do we unsettle you? Are you frightened of us?  Are we the trolls under your bridge?

The words on this quilt are:

The Glass Ceiling (across the central band)

Leg 1 "Silly Girl, Silly Girl, you're only good for one thing" My God says that it is a woman's place to have babies and look after them and obey her husband. It's the mans job to protect woman by marrying her. In 10 countries around the world women are legally bound to obey their husbands. 99.3% of women and girls in Egypt have been subjected to sexual harassment. 38% of all murders of women worldwide are committed by a woman's intimate partner.
Leg 2 Misogyny is the hatred or dislike of women or girls. Misogyny can be manifested in numerous ways, including sexual discrimination, denigration of women, violence against women and sexual objectification of women.
Leg 3 In the UK the gender pay gap is 15 percent  On average women earn £5,000 less a year than their male colleagues. For part time work it rises to 35 per cent. Globally only 24 percent of senior management roles are filled by women. In 1997 9 out of 10 senior civil servants in Northern Ireland were men.
Leg 4 The Equalities and Human Rights Commission have said it will take at least 70 years at the current rate of progress to see an equal number of male and female directors in the FTSE 100 companies. Closing the gender gap in agriculture and using the skills of women, we could reduce the worlds hungry by 12 to 17 percent.
Leg 5 There are as many men in the cabinet who went to Eton as there are women MPs in the whole of Westminster, which is 147 female MP's  out of 650 or approximately 24%.
Leg 6 If the skills and qualifications of those women currently out of work in the UK were fully utilised the UK would have an extra £15 to 20 BILLION, which is double the value of the UK exports to China.  Females out perform males at 0 level and A level, and undergrad and post grad qualifications by approximately 1.6 to 1.0. There are 1705 male and 1090 female staff in higher education establishments.
Leg 7 73% of the Police force are male and 82% are male above the rank of Chief Inspector.  There are 10,100 male barristers and 5,300 female.  77% of UK parochial clergy are male and 89% of senior clergy are male. The UK is rated at 59th in the world for numbers of women in Parliament under Rwanda, Andorra, Cuba, Senegal and Nicaragua.  SHAME on the UK.