Monday, June 27, 2011

Branching Out 2011

Our Summer Exhibition is now on at the National Trust Cafe in York.

The exhibition marks one year since we graduated from York College.

I have created a series of monotone pastel, charcoal, acrylic and mixed media pieces of which 'Through the Trees' is my favourite:

The piece is framed in a pine frame with an ivory mount and measures
40 x 33 cms

This picture does no do it justice!

The following pictures are 'Let there be light', 'Sunlit Forest' and 'Winter Wood'

Further details can be found on my website:

Unfortunately due to recent illness I have not been able to produce as many as I would have liked, and soon I am to have another operation which means another 3 months of not producing - oh well the joys of getting older......

Friday, June 25, 2010


Crumbs I am sooo tired - 2 exhibitions now in full swing:

Light and Reflections, National Trust Cafe, Goodramgate, York (21st June to 20th July)

York College Creative 2010, Sim Balk Lane, York (21st to 30th June)

Here I am pictured with "An Age of Innocence" and "Dream"

I will be at Creative 2010, Thursday, Friday, Sat 10am-noon and Monday - all welcome

Below is my new work "Sepia Mists of Time"

Fellow artists: Susie Hamilton, Lynda Hunter, Marzena Madziag and myself

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

New Work

Working very hard and feel that I am making very slow progress. However, yesterday made a breakthrough with my latest piece which I am very happy with and will now be able to progress and develop this further.

I will be exhibiting this at the National Trust Cafe, Goodramgate, York, from Monday 21st June to Friday 20th July.

Friday, June 04, 2010

New Website

Hi everyone, I am now almost finished my HNC Fine Art and am working hard on some work for 2 exhibitions. One final show at York College and an exhibition with my fellow students at the National Trust Cafe, Goodramgate, York.

As part of my Professional Practice unit I have written my own website in Frontpage 2003 and it is located here:

This is one hell of a journey and as I am being cut loose from studies I am finding it liberating but very hard work at the same time. Trying to get in as much work as possible before I go back to work.

Great to be back.

Mary x

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Journey so far

I started at York College last September with a great deal of trepidation. I found that I was the only mature student out of about 130 students (age ranging from 17 to early 20's) and at 49 I was even older than most of the tutors! Well, my enthusiasm and motivation overcame my worries and I soon found that the majority of students were quite mature and genuinely accepted me as a fellow student. There were also about 10 part time mature students that attended college on Wednesdays and Thurdays so at times I was able to interact with students in similar circumstances as myself.

We started by drawing and painting masks that we had all made over the summer break

For the first term we were set projects in Fine Art, Fashion/Textiles, Graphics and Illustration and 3D. Each project lasted approx. 2 weeks and I was in my element relishing each project and going for it!

Fine Art - we had to plot a weekend in our life
Fashion/Textile - wallpaper or fashion item
Graphics/Illustration - series of words
3D - based on our trip to Barcelona

Friday, June 13, 2008


OK so I have had an horrendous time trying to switch my blog to my googlemail account and that was one of the main reasons why I stopped posting (that and working my socks off on my art course). Well finally Blogger have put the solution on their help pages and tonight I have managed to switch - so now when I log on to my iGoogle then I also have access to my blog without having to go around the houses.

Anyway, my course has now finished (all bar the exhibition) and I will be posting details soon.

It's great to be back.

Friday, October 12, 2007


I'm so busy I feel I do not had time to catch up with myself. I know I promised to keep everyone up to date of my new course but I have been so busy trying to cram so much into my day that when I go home and have cooked tea etc. all I want to do is go to bed early. Since leaving work on the 31st July I have lost one stone in weight and I am not even on a diet! When I was at work I sat in front of the computer and ate when I was stressed, however now I'm so busy there is no need for comfort eating.

However, my carpal tunnel is flaring up again so I am trying not to type or sew. I have now installed ViaVoice on my computer so that I can dictate instead of type, and I have bought a new digital dictation machine for the art history lectures and any notes that I need to do. Anyway, the good news is that the doctor will be able to give me injections to keep me going before hopefully having 2 small operations after the course has finished.

Once I have mastered ViaVoice hopefully I will be able to update my blog more often.

It is very late now however, I will try to do an update of my progress to date, with piccies over this weekend.

Sunday, May 13, 2007


Yes I am still here - it has been very slow but my hands are on the mend, I just have some residue pain in my fingers so I am still being very careful. Unfortunately I have had to abandon my stitching and have not been able to keep up with Sharon B's TAST .

I have however been very busy at work training for the handover of my job which is partly being offshored to Sri Lanka. I have included a picture here of Julian who flew home to Sri Lanka on Friday. It has been a pleasure to be able to meet people from a country which is so far away and whose culture is different. We have made many friends and myself, Neil and John have even decided to go on holiday in June to see more of Sri Lanka that we have heard so much about.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Doctors Orders

Some of you may have noticed that I have not participated in TAST for a couple of weeks that is because my CTS (Carpel Tunnel Syndrome) has come back, possibly made worse by a recent virus that I had.

Anyway, I had an injection today in my left wrist (goodness it hurts) and am being forced to rest. My right is not as bad but must rest that as well - typing this one handed is not easy...

The good news is that if the injection does not work then there is a simple op to cure it, which means my pending career change to a full-time artist is still on schedule. I should be back up and running soon, but in the meantime will keep an eye on Sharon's Blog and everyones progress on Flickr.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Crocus flower print

We have a had a beautiful spring like day here and I took the opportunity at lunch time to take my new camera to the Museum Gardens here in York. I have published a few photos on Flickr, but then decided to play with a picture of some crocus's.

I love just using a cut effect and one colour, the colour was taken from the crocus and I think is lovely. Perhaps I could try to print these on fabric but they would probably lose the intensity of the colour. Oh well that is for another day.
Anyway it is getting very late and I have a full day tomorrow as it is our monthly Embroiderers Guild meeting.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007


Kay Susan posted her TAST Fly sample last week and I was quite pleased to see that it isn't only me who keeps snippings, Kay has used some to great effect in her sample and Patchworkgandalf admits to keeping all the bits as well!

Here is my current pile which are in a small tray next to my chair. I think they make quite a nice photo, anyway they will get used eventually, maybe in a TAST challenge soon.

I think we creative types tend to be like Wombles (little furry creatures that collect and utilise items that humans discard). Luckily for me I live in quite a large house for the moment, but in a few years time we will have to downsize. Goodness knows what I will do then?

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Breaking in!

I am sure that it is not only me, but I just love new things that are just too good to break into.

Here are some pastels that I bought last week and as soon as I took the wrapper off I just thought "no way can I start using them!"

It is also the same with a new pad of paper - what do I do, I procrastinate for so long that I end up loosing my nerve and do something else.

Here are some scrummy threads that I recently got off e-bay, its the same I just have to hang onto them and drool.

Oh well it is one of those nights when nothing gets done.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Embroidery: TAST Fly Stitch #2

Further to my previous blog on TAST Fly Stitch, I have now completed my idea of dandelion seed heads to fabric.

I used a single strand of white stranded embroidery thread and 3 strands for the stem stitch.

I am extremely pleased with the result and will definitely use this again in future creations.

Anyone reading this who does not know what TAST is then you can read about it here on Sharon B's In a Minute Ago blog or see the links on the right hand side to Flickr and to the Webring. Join in and enjoy!


Bought some cleaning cloths (16 in pack) in Poundland that look like fine synthetic felt. So I thought I would give them a try.

I have used one as a backing to an embroidery and this appears to have been a success. As you can see I have also painted on one with fabric dye and I am quite please with the result. Obviously I do not think that they will retain their shape with washing but could be useful for those embroideries that are for decoration and not for everyday use.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Embroidery: TAST Fly Stitch

I cannot remember ever doing Fly stitch before, but I am finding this simple stitch facinating.

I have found that the more I doodle on paper the more patterns I keep finding. I have
posted a couple of pages (at the bottom of this blog) and am quite excited with the Kalidescope approach, but it does involve counting stitches and I do prefer freestyle.

I would like to bring all the designs to life with the introduction of fabric, thread, colour and arrangement, however, as per usual I do not currently have the time. So by having transferred my ideas to paper and some to my sampler I will be able to refer to them at a future date.

My first doodle was that this stitch reminded me of a floating seed head from a dandelion or similar plant (OK yes you may have realised by now that I love flowers and plants!) - so I started there and added the dandelions (design not shown), if I have time this will be my design submission to TAST

However, I am now racking my brain to find another non plant application!

I think I am coming to the conclusion that patterns or plants/foliage are the best interpretaion of this stitch. Early days! who knows something may come to me when I least expect it.

Anyone reading this who does not know what TAST is then you can read about it here on Sharon B's In a Minute Ago blog or see the links on the right hand side to Flickr and to the Webring. Join in and enjoy!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Embroidery: TAST Feather Stitch

Here we are week 7 and this weeks challenge from Sharon is Feather Stitch.

I started by drawing a selection of flowing patterns and decided on this design, I then dyed some fabric by painting it, using Koh-I-Noor Brilliant Waterbased Dyes (as described in Week 2 Buttonhole)

I used 3 threads, one was an Anchor stranded thread (1216) which is shaded - pale to a dark green, another thread was a cotton perle thread by House of Embroidery (8B Bush) which is green, brown and beige. This is quite a fine perle for me as I usually use a 5 but this is an 8. The third thread was a bulk standard stranded dark green that I had in stock. With the stranded thread I only used 3 strands. The lighter shades I used to represent new growth at the top and the browns on the outside and below.

The finished sample is 13 by 9.5 inches (33 by 23 cms).

I think this could do with some flecks of colour - maybe reds, purple or pinks so I will put it to one side and perhaps add some as flowers for a later challenge.

Anyone reading this who does not know what TAST is then you can read about it here on Sharon B's In a Minute Ago blog or see the links on the right hand side to Flickr and to the Webring. Join in and enjoy!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

'Woolly Bully' in the Wolds

It has been a beautiful winter day here in sunny East Yorkshire and we took this opportunity to travel through the Wolds. We stopped at a beautiful part called Millington Pastures where there were Scottish Red Highlander cattle all sunning themselves. They looked wonderful with their coats of lovely rusty hues.

Here I applied an effect using colours taken first from the grass then the second from the coat:

This picture shows how lovely and tranquil this area is.

And this is a picture taken of a gate with the same effect I used for the cows, again taking the main colour from the surrounding greenery.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Brand New Camera

For my birthday last week I got a Digital SLR camera - Canon EOS 400D - wow! Well it is one of my treats for giving up work this year, and I will need it for my new chosen career. Anyway it is the business!
Last Sunday we went out to the coast at Scarborough, well we were off to Robin Hoods Bay but the road was closed, so we ended up in Scarborough. The day was very cold but quite sunny, as you will see the sun is quite low. I took loads of pickies and this week have been manipulating a few using Adobe photoshop.

The first is of Scarborough harbour looking inland - I just love the seagull.

This one is fishermen fishing off the pier - goodness it was cold...One caught a small flat fish whilst we were watching.

The rest are studies of Lobster Pots

I will be publishing a few more on my Flickr site soon.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Embroidery: TAST Eyelet

Week 6 of the TAST challenge I decided to do a freestyle (as per usual) Eyelet stitch.

I started by painting the fabric with light diagonal strokes in yellow, using Koh-I-Noor Brilliant Waterbased Dyes (as described in Week 2 Buttonhole)

The main threads are Anchor Perle, and I did not plan this but went with the flow.

Below you will see that I did some digital drawing in Excel for Algerian Eye stitch which could be a useful tool for times when you do not have any canvas or want to plan ahead.

I started with a row of full stitch, then gradually went down the page reducing stitches. Now I have a basic sample I could rearrange them into a design.
(Click on picture to see better view)

Anyone reading this who does not know what TAST is then you can read about it here on Sharon B's In a Minute Ago blog or see the links on the right hand side to Flickr and to the Webring. Join in and enjoy!

Sunday, February 04, 2007


Yesterday we had our guild meeting and it was manic for me as I had so much to see and people to meet – I am going to have to start going earlier.

Anyway, the big surprise was for Elizabet whom I met via Sharon B’s blog ‘In a minute ago’ and to those of you who do not know, Sharon is based in Canberra, Australia and myself and Elizabet are based in York, UK. As a surprise for Elizabet I bought 2 of Sharon B’s excellent mugs that are available on Sharon’s CafePress retail site.

Elizabet was certainly surprised. Thank you Sharon for your excellent Blog that brings like minded people together from across the globe.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Embroidery: TAST Chevron

It's a beautiful sunny day here and it's my Birthday! and if you want to calculate my age I was born "The day the music died!". But I am very much alive and raring to go - York Embroiderers Guild meeting this afternoon and I am really looking forward to it. There is to be a surprize and I will blog about that later.

Chevron - not sure if I like this stitch much as I found I kept catching the thread when coming back through to the mid point on the final part.

I used some linen fabric, which I doubled over. The design is based on a sunray, from my favourite period of design - Art Deco. On reflection I think I should have filled in the yellow rays with another stitch - who knows I may use the design again for another TAST challenge. The sun is detatched chain edged with buttonhole and I just couched some thread to frame the edge. The main threads are from Oliver Twist One-Offs no. 013 that I got off E-bay, where I get most of my threads cos we are short of good suppliers here. I also used some yellow and orange DMC Perle for the sun and yellow rays - again from E-bay.

Anyone reading this who does not know what TAST is then you can read about it here on Sharon B's In a Minute Ago blog or see the links on the right hand side to Flickr and to the Webring. Join in and enjoy!

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

My Journey

I have decided to put my other blog (Mary's Journey) on hold until I either leave work, which hopefully will be in June or start my Art and Design Foundation Course in September.

As explained in the blog I am taking redundancy this year as much of our work is being outsourced to Sri Lanka. I am not quite 50 yet but I feel it is time to take a new direction in my life whilst I am still young enough and able to do so.

Luckily I have a wonderful, supportive husband who as explained in my profile, "lets me witter on", but also does take a certain amount of interest and is encouraging me to take this journey into "finding myself!". I know that sounds like a cliche but that is what the Art and Design foundation will enable me to do, by exploring many mediums, techniques and studying other artists. So hopefully at the end of the year I should be in a better position to see in which direction my Art/Textiles will take me.

I really cannot wait.......but meanwhile I am very busy doing my full time job which does not leave a lot of time for the creative me, so my journey blog is on hold and all postings will now be directed here and/or to my my Flickr account.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Embroidery: TAST Cretan Stitch Background

Laura Lea asked me if I marked my leaves first on my Cretan leaves picture posted on Flickr

Well I started by doing the 2 large leaves freehand, but I was not happy with the outcome. So I sketched (in pencil) a stem on the back then added leaves as per the sketch here.

I then found that I could not see through the fabric, so I then went around the outline in black biro and on holding it up to the light I could then see the outline. The use of pencil or biro is not ideal as some of this could come through to the front with the stitches. If you look closely on the final version you will see that at the top I started to do a cretan stitch for the stem and after I unpicked it, as well as pin holes marks were left!

As yet I have not investigated fabric markers but if anyone out there has experience of these and could recommend one or two that would be appreciated.

Below is the back so that you can see where I stitched.
(click on either images to see detail)

Friday, January 26, 2007

Embroidery: TAST Cretan Stitch

Well here is my first attempt at Cretan stitch for TAST week 4 and I have found that I really like this stitch, but I do need to some more linear samples. I have taken this photo at night with a flash so I will look at it again tomorrow to see if a more natural will show the colours better and repost the picture if necessary.

The fabric was the other half to the piece I used for Week 2: Buttonhole, so if you want to know how I dyed the fabric please see blog below.

Some of you may wonder why I have managed to do so much in the last couple of days, well I have been off work with a streaming cold and unfortunately it has gone to my chest, and as I am an asthmatic that is not good news. Oh well hopefully I should be out and about very soon, in the meantime it is extremely late and I am shattered, so Good Night all.

Embroidery: TAST Detatched Chain

TAST Week 3 - Detached Chain

I decided to plan this design, and during one lunchtime (when it was very cold and snowy so I did not go out) I sketched a brief outline - quite easy really as I am always doodling flowers.

I used a natural linen fabric and DMC Perle No5 thread and every single stitch is Detached Chain

I really enjoyed doing this and will be a good edition to my book of stitches.

So onward with Week 4 which is Cretan Stitch
which is a stitch that I have never used so will be exciting challenge!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Embroidery: TAST Buttonhole

Only just onto week2 of Sharon B's Take a Stitch Tuesday (TAST) - well here it is a very freestyle buttonhole.

First I lightly dyed my fabric, bargain curtain lining from Dumelm (or Dullelm as my 15 year old son calls it!). I have a palette of Koh-I-Noor Brilliant Waterbased Dyes that I got from Art Van Go at the last Harrogate knitting and stitching show and I just use them like watercolours. I lined the fabric with some medium vilene, and put the fabric into a frame.

All the stitches are a variation of buttonhole, and are all what I would call freestyle, that is just going with the flow.

I have an idea for TAST week3 detatched chain stitchso I had better get a shimmy on!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Embroidery: TAST Herringbone

Well here is my Herringbone sampler for week1 of SharonB's Take a Stitch Tuesday challenge.

I have had great fun. Top row is a double herringbone stitch (DMC 5 perle) interlaced with some Twilley's silver crochet thread. The middle was a fishy free font that I found on then infilled using a freeform herringbone stitch, and the last row was just a closer stitch over a hand dyed silk ribbon.

I still have loads of ideas to further explore this stitch but I am also eager to get going on week 2 - buttonhole stitch.

I am sure Sharon is delighted by the amount of people who are joining in with this challenge and I would recommend any readers to take a look at all the exciting variations being created either on Sharons blog In A Minute Ago or on the Flickr Take a Stitch Tuesday Group

Monday, January 08, 2007

Embroidery: Beaded Mini Tote

Sorry I have been out of circulation for a while. The winter season does take me a lot of effort to keep up with the festivities, work etc.

Anyway, here I am making my first post of 2007, although it is a small token of some work I finished last year.

Onward and upward I am now working on some art work for my Journey about my major career change in 2007.

However, tonight we commence a new term at the sewing club so hopefully with this kick start I will be able to finish some UFO's or maybe have a new project to get our teeth into.

Sunday, November 19, 2006


Just a quicky blog - here are an evening version of the Christmas tree earrings


Yesterday I went to a workshop held by my good friend Ann Pearson. There were about 13 attendees and we set to to create Christmas beadwork ornaments including: stars, Father Christmas's, trees and earrings. Many of the attendees were new to beadwork and found it fiddly to begin with. Even though Ann was run ragged trying to keep up with the demands at the beginning, great fun was had by all and the outcome was fantastic, everyone went home happy with the treasures they had created - me included. Here are the earrings I created using fine wire taken from an old electric flex.

Whilst I had my beadwork box I also mended a necklace I made over a year ago - the trouble was I kept fiddling with the lovely dangly beads and eventually one broke. I must not fiddle...I must not fiddle...I must not fiddle...

I also finished a victorian style drop lace necklace that I had bought at a show last year. The reason I did not finish it was that I did not like the clasp that came with the kit, preferring instead magnetic clasps.

So all in all yesterday was a good day for learning new tricks and finishing UFO's

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Digital Fun

It is half term and I am having a rare day off from work, and after a morally acceptable amount of house work - well minimum - I have set to and had some fun with one of my digital photos that I took on holiday.

This one looks like viewing the fern through a drop of water. I kept most of the border as I thought it looked better with the green to frame the image.

The second one I had fun with converting the colours to negative, applying a mystic effect then polarising the finished picture. I especially love the inky blue colours.

The final one after doing a few effects then I created a mirror image, which looks like one of those pictures that are made using blobs of colour on a piece of paper then folding it over - what do you see?