The Australian Leg

April helping me hang my exhibition in Gallery76

I moved on to Syndey for the second part of my trip, to be hosted by the Embroiderers Guild of NSW for a pop up exhibition of my work, a lecture, a weekend course and a 1 day masterclass! Busy week !

I had a super group of students who produced some exciting work on my courses in Sydney. They are on my students work page on my website.

Embellishing play day!

I did have some time off in Sydney and my host was kind enough to let me play with her embellishing/felting machine. It was so much fun. This is my first effort and I also satisfied my urges for some therapeutic hand stitching on this piece. Inspired by the NZ bush colours and textures. Watch this space for more embellishing pieces !

I moved on to WA for the final 10 days. First to Perth for a few days off and bizarrely experiencing the coldest October day in Perth in 17 years! I enjoyed exploring Fremantle and also gorgeous gardens with the early summer flowers

I taught a 3 day course in Margaret River midweek, we made 3D lacy winter trees and applied them to silk painted skies. What a beautiful set of work came out of this workshop!

Finally back to Perth for the last bit of teaching, this was for TAAMMI a textile group strongly focused on machine embroidery. We worked on Colourful Landscapes I was very proud of the standard of work achieved.

I always love the enthusiasm of my students when I travel such distances to share my skills and experience

An evening stroll on the beach south of Margaret River

New Zealand adventures

What to do when its raining….write my blog!

I am into my third week away here in New Zealand and I am having an enjoyable and eventful time. I started the trip in Napier with my exhibition at the Boyd Dunlop Gallery. I shared the show “Silk and Glass” with New Zealand glass artist Evelyn Dunstan. Her work is incredible, she is such a talent, intricate natural forms in lead crystal using the lost wax method. ( I was fortunate to visit Evelyns studio when I was in Auckland and see the process.) I was very proud to have my embroideries displayed alongside her work.

The gallery looked amazing, I was thrilled to see my work given such status in a beautiful space. Richard is keeping the unsold pieces in the gallery when the exhibition ends and we are planning a new exhibition for 2020. Looks like I will have to come back again. Hooray!

After a few days enjoying Napier, the Art Deco architecture and the art galleries  I travelled to Auckland for the Quilt Symposium. This was 5 days of teaching, 2 courses and 38 students! We were based at St Cuthberts College and I was one of about 40 tutors from far and wide including New Zealand, Canada, USA, Australia and the UK. The week embraced all things textile!

My students on the Crashing Waves course

My students on the Colourful Landscapes course

There were courses, exhibitions, lectures, shopping opportunities and best of all a chance to meet other tutors who were previously just names I knew well. That networking is invaluable and it is so good to share experiences with like minded people. It was a pleasure to meet Kim Thittichai, Alysn Midgelow-Marsden and Pat Archibald. Oohhh look at me name dropping!

“Our” beach in front of the Airbnb at Ferry Landing

After the Symposium I had booked a place to stay on the Coromandel Peninsula at Ferry Landing, a couple of hours from Auckland. The weather was very kind and we enjoyed sunshine and walks on deserted beaches.

Fresh fish for breakfast with the view from the deck

We visited Hot Water Beach which was huge fun, to see people furiously digging enormous holes up to 6ft deep to create their own mini spa from the natural hot springs under the sand. We took the lazy option and used an abandoned one!

In Waiau Kauri Grove and waterfalls

We explored the peninsula thoroughly with walks in the bush and a climb up and over Shakespeare Cliff to Lonely Bay. We took the passenger ferry over to Witianga for dinner one evening and just relaxed. It was the perfect antidote to the previous week! 

Hot Water Beach fun!

So a few more days in NZ left to enjoy, a wonderful stay with friends in Hastings followed by Lake Taupo and Bay of Plenty. Then John returns home and I head to Syndey for the Aussie bit of this trip.

Work/life balance

The year is racing by and this week the weather is fabulous, especially for February so a little time in the garden was in order.  We have had the snowdrops and now the hellebores, primulas and daffodils are making an appearance, it makes me eager for Spring.

I don’t want to wish away the weeks though as this is the time of year I am busy with new work for Chelsea Flower Show. There never seems to be long enough for all the ideas I have for new pieces. The show will be upon me before I know it!

New work in progress. Foreground to complete with fenceposts, wild flowers and grasses.

I am planning some embroideries based on the photographs of NZ and Australia from last year, also some cherry blossom from Japan which is nearly 12 months ago, where did that year go?

I am mixing in some teaching and a little more travel, but this time it was for a holiday not work. Although there is inspiration everywhere so I did take a lot of photographs!

My husband and I went to South Africa for 2 weeks, starting in Cape Town for a few days and then along the Garden Route to Port Elizabeth and finally a few days in a game reserve for the most amazing experience. And before anyone asks…I have no intentions of adding animals to my range of embroideries!

As usual this the time of year for planning my Australia/NZ trip. This year it’s a month earlier and I will start the trip in NZ at the Quilt Symposium and an exhibition at the Boyd Dunlop Gallery in Napier. I will then travel to Sydney to visit the NSW Embroiderers Guild Headquarters for a lecture, weekend course and a masterclass. The final part of the trip will be a visit to Perth and Margaret River for 3 courses.

New work for Chelsea

Meanwhile it’s time for me to concentrate on the Chelsea Flower Show and all those embroideries I want to make!

On to Melbourne and beyond

My trip continued with a stay in Melbourne teaching 2 classes at the weekends with a few days of relaxation in between. I started with a class for Carly Leech in Forest Hill called “Sunshine and Shadows”, exploring the unexpected colours found in shadows and the broad tonal range needed to give the images intensity and impact. There were some super results from the 2 day workshop, they are on the students work page on my website.

Mid week I had the chance to visit The Heide Museum of Modern Art, to see a super exhibition by Mirka Mora “Pas des Deux” Drawings and Dolls.

 It is an extraordinary range of work, I especially loved the colourful fabric dolls she created. It was a great opportunity to see these as they are normally kept in the family home.

One of my favourite activities is garden browsing! My lovely host did not disappoint with a local garden famous for its wisteria arch. Unfortunately too late for that but the poppies were glorious!

Another day out took me to the amazing National Rhododendron Gardens, a visual treat and really inspirational with a laburnam arch in full flower as well as azaleas and rhododendrons.

My second weekend was teaching the Melbourne Guild the detailed flower study course “Up Close and Personal”.  A great group of students in full creative mode produced some super results.

All too soon my time in Australia came to an end and it was time to move on to NZ…

Starting with a few days in Auckland and from there a visit to Piha Beach. A stunning view from the headland above is tantalising and the walk along the beach was fabulous. So much inspiration for my embroideries when I get back home!

It is famous as the location for the film “The Piano”. Powerful waves crashing against the rocks and a great sweeping curve at the waters edge gave me some great photos. My adventures continue with a few days in Hawkes Bay staying near the beautiful town of Napier.  I will tell all in my next blog post!

Australia Trip: Travelling and Teaching

It’s only been a week since I left the UK and it feels more like three. I arrived in Sydney and was met at the airport to be taken to stay with the President of Embroiderers Guild NSW in a calm, spacious house in Breakfast Point. Lucky me and a big thank you to Ron and Wendy.

After a necessary day of rest I went into the Guild headquarters to hang my exhibition of 30 embroideries in their beautiful Gallery76. It’s on the top floor of their custom designed building, with great light and gleaming white walls. I had lots of help from April, their gallery curator and we were very pleased with the end result. They had kindly organised a launch that evening with wine and nibbles and with a little jet lag lingering I hope I made sense to all the people I spoke to!

My course “Crashing Waves” started the next day and I had the weekend with a group of enthusiastic student’s. Their work is on my website. Please take a look, they made some great embroideries. I closed the weekend with a talk in the evening about my inspiration and process. Everyone seemed to enjoy it with many really insightful questions to end the session.

“Autumn Sunshine” part of the Embroiderers Guild NSW Collection

One of the highlights of my week here is the purchase of a piece of my work by the Guild for their Collection.  “Autumn Sunshine” is the piece and it will be housed in the Archive Room and be available for students to study and will be hung in Guild exhibitions. I feel honoured to have an embroidery of mine in their Collection, I am in esteemed company!

I have been invited back to teach for the Guild in 2019, we are planning a weekend course in late October but also an additional Masterclass, I will keep you posted.

I have had a couple of leisure days too. A trip to Bondi Beach for the cliff walk to Tamarama Beach. We thought we were too late for the Sculpture by the Sea but fortunately a few were still in place and they looked amazing in that rugged setting. My trip here next year will be a little earlier and I will be able to see the full exhibition of sculptures, can’t wait!

Only a couple more days for me here in Sydney then on to Melbourne for 2 more courses. I am really looking forward to catching up with friends there.

From the Summer into Autumn!

I really have enjoyed this great summer. I am fortunate to be able to open up the bi fold doors of my studio and keep cool. It feels great to let the garden and my workspace merge into one, especially when I have students there too. We have enjoyed lunches on the lawn and have to drag ourselves back in to the task in hand!

I have been teaching in some lovely locations too. A residential course in deepest Dorset and “Etched in Frost” in sunny Brighton in July. Also several courses at home in Oswestry and the most recent in Harwich at The Old Bank Studios where “Flowers and Foliage” kept everyone busy and happy for 2 days.

Celebrations in the Royal Academy!

I have managed a bit of down time too. A few days in the Lakes was a highlight and a few trips to London. I felt I had to take advantage of my artwork being in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition so went 4 times!! It has been so lovely to share the experience with friends and family.

My next adventure is my annual trip to Australia.  I will be teaching in Melbourne and in Sydney, where I will also give a lecture and  have an exhibition of new embroideries. It will be at Gallery76 which is in the Embroiderers Guild Headquarters NSW. More details of rimes and dates on my courses page. I will also be teaching again in Hastings NZ as part of my trip.

Here is a sneak preview of some of my new work.

So On to New Zealand

This is the second blog of my Aussie/NZ trip.

I spent a great week in Port Macquarie NSW. teaching 2 courses, “Seascapes” and “Up Close and Personal” with Jenny at Stitched ‘n’ Framed. A lovely well lit, spacious workshop room above the colourful fully stocked patchwork and quilting shop. Some students signed up for both courses and really built on their silk and thread painting skills. The work is on the students work page, please take a look!

I had a couple of days off between teaching and explored the area visiting the Koala hospital, a winery or 2, Coffs Harbour, Urunga, Crescent Head and the beautiful Bellingen Valley (Thank you Diane for that recommendation! ) its a beautiful area and I loved the coastline too. 

So after 4 weeks and 5 courses it was time to say goodbye to Australia and be very grateful for such great experiences yet again. Thank you everyone who made it so special, see you next year!

The next stage of my trip was to fly to New Zealand. Driving out of Auckland I could see the difference in the colours of the landscape immediately, lush bright greens and a more European feel to the scenery. Absolutely beautiful.

We travelled north to stay in the Bay of Islands for a few days. A wonderfully inspiring area, so lots of photography opportunities and a wealth of ideas for new embroideries. We found waterfalls and an amazing coastline with dramatic surf and empty beaches. We were fortunate with the weather too and had sunny days to explore a lot of the area.

The highlight of the week was a helicopter ride from Paihia out to the Hole in the Rock, one of the 144 islands, which has a distinctive hole in it large enough for boats to go through. It was a stunning visual treat and landing on the Rock was exhilarating. We had the chance to walk into the bush on the top to experience the lush vegetation first hand. It was a fantastic experience, memories are made of this!

It was soon time to get back to work so that meant heading south to Hastings for the weekend and meeting up with Georgina Campbell and her lovely family. We had a “Flowers and Foliage” course organised and 16 eager students to meet! It all ran smoothly and we had a lot of fun, what a great weekend. For my first teaching experience in NZ I couldn’t have asked for more.

Napier is a charming town near Hastings, it has lots of Art Deco architecture, outdoor cafes, a long promenade and pier and was a delightful place to visit on my day off.

The final stay in NZ was in Wellington, in Lyall Bay, south of the city, morning walks on the beach and an easy bus ride into the centre of Wellington meant we had the best of both worlds. We enjoyed the Cable Car and Botanical Gardens, exploring the beaches and seeing 2 blue penguins!

Finally it was time to leave NZ and head home. A stop over in Hong Kong was great fun. It’s a busy frenetic city with lots to see. We experienced excellent food in bustling street markets, a trip up to the Peak for the incredible views and a ride on the Star Ferry over to Kowloon to see all the city lit up with Christmas lights.

I arrived home to face the biggest snow fall for years. Minus 16 degrees in parts of Shropshire, what a shock to the system! However it’s great to be home, to see friends and family and plan a quiet Christmas. That’s enough excitement for me…well until next year!

Australian Adventures

This is the first of 2 blog posts, for this, my 5th trip to Australia. I have completed the first leg of the journey with my stay in WA. 3 courses taught so far, lots of lovely enthusiastic ladies eager to learn. Much to my delight some familiar faces from my previous trip had signed up for another course, some travelling from out of state to join me in Perth. This has been the busiest spell out of the 6 weeks, with 7 days teaching in 10 days. ( No sympathy needed but it was full on!) The weather has been over 30 degrees each day since I arrived, a sharp contrast to the weather I left behind in the UK. I have been fed and watered very well in each place I have stayed. Great hosts, thank you! It’s a bonding experience organising courses and the logistics so a glass or two of wine in the evening is a great way to ponder on the successes of the day! The students work is posted on the website and I am thrilled with the standard of work. A team effort on each occasion as the students listen attentively and work hard on their projects to achieve such great results.

Here is a piece by Jill, a student on the “Up Close and Personal” course in Margaret River.

Wendy demonstrates the sound proofed folding doors between the 2 classrooms on the top floor, making it into 1 large room.

While in Sydney I was invited to the headquarters of the Embroiderers’ Guild NSW to see the rebuild. I had an exciting tour with President Wendy Schmid as the building was being signed off by the architect and building inspectors. Wow! What an amazing custom built space. Several beautifully lit workshop rooms. A library and archive room. 4 gallery spaces, meeting rooms and shop. Over 3 floors this new place is fabulous. The details are lovely, especially the cross stitch inspired patterns of the tiles!

I am currently enjoying a few days in the Blue Mountains. The scenery and gardens are wonderful and I am feeling inspired for some new work when I get back in my studio.

Next stage is to drive on to Port Macquarie for my next couple of courses.

Heading Down Under!

I am about to leave on my 5th trip to Australia. It has become an autumn ritual for me heading ‘down under’ to teach a range of courses just as the temperature drops here in the UK! Great timing!

My bags are packed with clothes, embroidery samples, threads, course notes and hopefully everything else I will need for the 6 week trip. I start in Perth and after a couple of days to recover from the flight I will teach ‘Colourful Landscapes’

I then move down to Margaret River for the second course, which is called ‘Up Close and Personal’, the detailed study of flowers.

I head north again back to Perth for the third course ‘Sunlight and Shadows’ looking at broad tonal ranges in the landscape. It is a varied range of courses to start the trip.

So after 2 weeks in WA I fly to Sydney and from there will spend a few days in the Blue Mountains. A well earned rest to recharge my batteries I think!

My final destination in Australia is Port Macquarie, on the coast north of Sydney, I will teach 2 more courses at Stitched n Framed, ‘Seascapes’ and ‘Up Close and Personal’ for the second time.


The final leg of the journey, and a new experience for me is New Zealand. I will be on North Island for 2 weeks. Starting in the Bay of Islands then on to Hastings for my final course ‘Flowers and Foliage’ and finally a few days in Wellington. Phew!

Quite an adventure to look forward to, seeing old friends and hopefully making some new ones too! I plan to post more photos and updates each week.

Australian adventures

I really intended to write a blog for each city/location I visited during my trip to Australia this autumn. Each place was rich with sight seeing, great students and good times. You will probably have noticed it didnt happen! So here is my tale of the whole 6 week trip.

End of October I arrived in Canberra, a new place for me to visit. Before I started teaching I had a couple of days to get over the journey spent looking around the surrounding countryside and the downtown area. My hosts were very generous with their time and I enjoyed seeing a lot of the spacious green city. Built around a huge man made lake there are fantastic vistas of the ANZAC Parade with Government House one end and the Australian War Memorial at the other. I love the story about both Melbourne and Sydney wanting to be the Capital as as neither would give in to the other they built Canberra!

I taught 2 courses, “Dramatic Skies” and “Seascapes” so I was there for a week in total. Thank you Leonie and Lorna for taking great care of me.

I moved on to Melbourne next for 2 weekend courses, “Up Close and Personal” and “Textures in Nature”.

My painting demonstration for ” Up Close”

This meant I had 5 days off in between the 2 weekends in such a great city with so much to see and do. Fortunately I coincided with the last few days of the Australian textile artist Annemeike Miens exhibition and the first day of the David Hockney! What a lovely way to spend time off. There was a Banksy exhibition on too so it was a visual feast for me.

Hockney giant landscape

I always meet new students keen to learn my techniques but also several who I have taught before. As the number of my visits increase the friendships grow, we keep in touch and I look forward catching up with them. At the Annemeike Mien exhibition I bumped into 2 women I knew, that’s a strange but lovely situation to be in the other side of the world!

There is a large selection of the work by my Australian students on the website courses page. There were 6 courses in total so a wide range of work and a lot of talent to see.

Sad to leave Melbourne but with more places to go, I flew to Syndey for a few days, staying in Manly and travelling into the CBT on the ferry each day. Its such an iconic sight, as the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge come into view. I hand delivered an embroidery that was bought at the Chelsea Flower Show in May earlier this year. Can’t promise everyone that service but it just worked out I could do that! I enjoyed the Rocks and The Botanical Gardens were fabulous, 2 days were spent there taking photographs, lots of inspiration!

Next venue was Harrington, a 3 hour drive north of Sydney on the coast. 2 more courses here for Jen at Love Patchwork. “Landscapes” and “Flowers and Foliage”. Jen and her friend Cecily had been to Margaret River on my Seascapes course in 2015 so it was really good to meet up with them both again.

View from my teaching room!

I had a wonderful room to teach in, overlooking an estuary and warm sunny weather too. It was a great week, exploring the area and meeting all the neighbours.

The trip ended with a few days in Queensland on Hamilton Island.

Hamilton Island

Sunset over the Marina on Hamilton Island

Time to unwind, sit in the sun and think about what a great experience it all was. I am often asked why I keep returning to Australia. It’s an extraordinary country with warm hearted generous people. I hope my plans for a trip in 2017 work out so I can enjoy even more of the same.

A visit to Gardens by the Bay in Singapore on the way home

Teaching through the summer

The year is flying by and the variety of my activities certainly speed it along!

I am enjoying teaching a few embroidery courses this summer in beautiful locations, Brighton, Dorset and of course at my home studio in Shropshire.

My silk painting of a white poppy in the Chelsea Physic Garden

A range of subject matter as always, to keep me fresh and enthusiastic. Rivers and waterfalls, flowers and reflections in water are the themes. I am inspired again by another trip to the Chelsea Physic Garden where some close ups shots of their colourful borders gave me some great source material for the “Up Close and Personal” course in my Garden Studio this month.

Lots of colour and inspiration from the Chelsea Physic garden

During the course in Brighton I started a waterfall embroidery of the Liffey Falls in Tasmania. It is an amazing place and I have wanted to make an embroidery for some time based on my visit there. The students work from all my summer courses are posted on my students work page

My trip to London was filled with visits to galleries and gardens, it was a great few days break. The RA Summer Exhibition was a wonderful eclectic mix as usual and a return trip to the RA to see the Hockney – 82 Portraits and a Still Life completed the visit in style. Lunch in the National Portrait Gallery gave us great views over London!

Teaching and preparing for Chelsea

The months are flying by as they usually do when there is lots going on. I am trying to get all my embroideries ready to exhibit them at Chelsea in May as well as fit in my teaching. Always a balancing act, but for someone who thrives on variety it’s all good!

I find it interesting that the demand for me to devise new courses leads me to produce work which illustrates and supports them. I taught ‘Up Close and Personal’ for the first this year and in preparation I looked at some of the roses in my garden for inspiration. This is the painting of a climbing white rose I produced to inspire my students. Quite a departure for me, but something I really enjoyed exploring.The course was a great success and I was very pleased with how everyone tackled the subject matter. Here are the students in my studio at the end of the course…still smiling! 

I also had a great weekend at Plas Tan Y Bwlch this month with the North Wales Embroiderers Guild, a lovely group of students at a super venue. The wonderful work both sets of students produced is on my website

My own embroideries continue to develop, especially with exhibiting at the Chelsea Flower Show as motivation to create a body of work. I have produced a new large landscape for centre stage as I sold the piece from last years show. I have aimed for variety in the work but flowers, gardens and woodlands feature heavily. Here are a couple, the rest of the new work can be seen on the embroideries page and of course at Chelsea. I hope to see you there!

Teaching in my Garden Studio

I have been organising my studio with teaching in mind and recently took delivery of some very smart tables and chairs! All part of the preparation for the 2 courses I will be running in there in March.I will be teaching 2 courses in March. The first one is “Up Close and Personal” when we will be learning to stitch the fine detail in close ups of flowers and leaves. Learning how to blend in stitch to create a smooth transition through colour and tonal ranges, plus interesting stitch techniques for petals, stamens etc.

The second course is “Texture in Nature” celebrating and exploring the colours, texture and detail of trees, concentrating on stitch techniques for tree bark. Some smooth, others craggy and covered in lichen and moss.

I had an email this week from a picture researcher at Quarto Publishing in London to say they love my work and would like to publish it in a new edition of the Encyclopedia of Embroidery Techniques. They told me they plan to update the book with some more contemporary embroidery examples in the gallery section and are looking for beautiful finished embroideries in a range of styles and stitches that reflecting different themes including landscapes, flowers etc. They chose several from the website and I have sent 10 examples of my work so they can print as many as they like! I am looking forward to seeing it.


As busy as ever!

Finally the days are getting longer and I have snowdrops and hellebores flowering outside my studio door, with daffodils in hot pursuit! I am enjoying spending time in my studio teaching and creating, watching the seasons change and the garden wake up, it’s wonderful being so close to my garden but warm in my studio! Its a busy time, lots of organising for the year ahead going on, with lots of forms to fill in for various exhibitions and opportunities as the year falls into place.

I have been invited to exhibit in the Capability Brown Festival with the Embroiderers Guild and my piece is on its way to Guild Headquarters this week.

My embroidery “Amongst the Snowdrops” inspired by the snowdrop walk at Chirk Castle will be on display at 3 of the venues throughout the year. The Fashion, Embroidery and Stitch show at the NEC in March, then in the exhibition “Landscapes and Gardens” at  Chirk Castle and on to the Knitting and Stitching Show later in the year, more details here

Preparations for the Chelsea Flower Show are underway too with lots of embroideries planned and some already completed. I do enjoy the pressure of a deadline, it focuses the creative juices!

Following on from my week at Chelsea will be my Open Studios event in Oswestry, a chance to visit me, see my studio, garden and embroideries. We have 33 artists working and displaying their artwork in 16 studios in and around Oswestry. It will be a great event and we are expecting lots of visitors over the 2 weekends, June 11th,12th and 18th,19th.

My flights to Australia at the end of October are all booked, it will be 10 flights in total and a total of 5 weeks away! I will be teaching 6 courses in total. I am excited to visit Canberra this trip, as a new venue, then on to Melbourne to see some familiar faces, finally to Harrington, north of Sydney to run the last 2 courses of the trip, more details on this page


A week in Prague

Old Town Square lit up with the Christmas tree and market

What a beautiful city. Being invited to exhibit and teach there was a great incentive to go to a city I had been meaning to visit for a long time. I was not disappointed, the architecture, food, sculptures, museums and the people combine to create a wonderful atmosphere. It was also the start of the Christmas markets so everywhere looked really festive.

The Astronomical Clock in Old Town Square

208 steps down from the Cathedral

I was exhibiting at Textile Prague held in the beautiful building Slovansky dum over the weekend. On the Saturday I held a Masterclass for students from Russia and the Czech Republic. I had an interpreter, Helene, who was wonderful. She had printed diagrams of a sewing machine with all the parts named in Russian and Czech, how organised is that! It was a new experience for me and the day went really well, due to enthusiastic students and a love of machine embroidery by all concerned!

My books in Russian!

Inside Slovansky dum exhibition space

Fellow exhibitors Elena Tkachenko and Galina Domakha from Russia

I had a few days to explore the city after the exhibition ended. I had researched a sort of sculpture trail and we set off each day to find 1 or 2 or more. Its such a great place to walk around, so much to see, lots of places for a coffee or lunch or a beer or 2!

It was a wonderful week in a city of great culture.

Entrance to Municipal House designed by Mucha

Heading Home

My Australian trip for 2015 is coming to a close. For those of us that like the stats, I have taken 11 flights, adjusted to 5 different time zones, held 6 courses, taught 87 students, visited 8 different locations over 42 days, enjoying every experience along the way.

The rose arch at the Voyager Estate winery, Margaret River

The delightful blue wren

The highlights have been many,  the wildlife and the stunning scenery that I have been fortunate to see include whales (a mother and calf ) and quokkas at Rottnest, blue wrens and wineries in Margaret River, devils in Tasmania and a helicopter ride over Uluru and Kata Tjuta.

I had an even bigger smile after the flight!

Uluru from the air

I have stayed with some great people who I can now consider friends, I have been wined and dined and generally spoilt. People at home are often suprised to hear I am planning to return for another trip, they only have to read this and see these photos to understand why it will be a great pleasure to come back!

Sunrise breakfast at Uluru

Up close to the rock

The biggest reason to return is the students I meet. To spend time with people who share my enthusiasm for textiles is a joy. To show them the techniques I have discovered, to watch them develop their artwork and often suprise themselves with what they achieve makes me very happy. Their work is on my students page, I am proud to display it on my website.

I will be home for a couple of weeks, taking a short break after all the traveling. My next adventure is Prague at the end of November for Textile Prague. I will be teaching and exhibiting there.

Teaching in Melbourne and Tasmania and Melbourne…

The trip continues and I have reached a busy spell. 3 x 2 day courses in 9 days, phew! Not a lot of downtime but that’s OK. First of all I ran a “Waterfalls” course in Melbourne for Sue and Carly. We learnt all about the texture and movement of fast moving water, a few mossy rocks and ferns, I was thrilled with the results and so were my students. They were such a talented group. The work is on the courses page of the website, please take a look. Here we all are at the end of the course.

I then moved on to Tasmania for 5 days to teach a “Reflections” course for Cindy at Elemental Artspace, in Deloraine. So lovely to go back to where my first Australian trip began! Cindy now has a great new gallery and studio space, where we held the course.

Elemental Artspace Gallery, Deloraine, Tasmanian


I had a free day at the beginning of the week to explore Tasmania a little. We went for a walk and then visited the wildlife park where they have a breeding programme for Tasmanian Devils. They are so different from anything else. They are marsupials but look like a cross between a tiny bear and hairy piglet! Apolgies to all devil fans but I did think they were amazing. Whilst walking in the wildlife park a mob of about 30 kangaroos thundered past us. Then they stopped a few feet away and just looked at us! What a fun experience!

A mob of kangaroos!

The course midweek was “Reflections”, which involves a lot of painted detail, they can all be seen on the students page on my website, it is really super work.

So on Friday I got back on a plane to Melbourne for another weekend course, for the Embroiderers Guild. The theme was “Seascapes” and we were in the beautiful Guild House. It was certainly a busy spell but I have a few days off next week to relax…before the next one!


Fibres West and beyond

I feel like I have been in Australia for ages, its actually only 14 days into my trip but I have packed in a lot so far!

After a couple of days to get over the journey I started my first teaching post for this trip at Fibres West, in Muresk, a 5 day residential course. It was an an amazing experience.

The Homestead, Muresk

I was 1 of 10 textile art tutors from all over Australia and further afield. It was an action packed week with classes, presentations, an artist in residence, wearable art show and pop up exhibitions. I had 13 students who were learning how to paint with stitches and I was thrilled with their results. They worked hard, learnt a lot and have the embroideries to prove it. Their work is on display on my Courses page on the Students Work page, please take a look.

Pretty countryside around Muresk

All good things come to an end and it was time to head back to Perth for a few days off. A lovely mixture of quiet days to relax and a bit of sight seeing. The highlight has been a trip to Rottnest Island with Jill and Diane, 2 of my students who have become good friends and have taken such great care of me.

Yes that is wine… it’s a day off!

The sun was shining and the sea flat calm for our crossing on the ferry. Halfway across the boat slowed down for us to see migrating whales, what a thrill to see them so close. First of all there was an adult with her calf clearly visible next to the boat and soon after a pair of adults repeatedly breaking the surface and then diving. It was a magical start to our day.

I will be moving on to Melbourne tomorrow for the next stage of the trip, I am looking forward to seeing friends and teaching enthusiastic students!

This is me meeting a quokka. They are like miniature kangaroos, very cute, really tame and are only found on Rottnest.

A Busy Summer…

I like lots of variety to make life interesting and this summer has certainly given me that

I have been busy with a range of activities, such as placing new work into galleries, trips away teaching, a 3 day course in my new studio and even some time for some stitching!

After exhibiting at Chelsea I was approached by the M1 Gallery in London. they wanted me to put my embroideries into their Summer Show and likewise the Willow Gallery in Oswestry. Both ventures have resulted in sales which is lovely

It was great to finally welcome students for a new course ‘Texture in Nature’ held in my new studio. We had 3 days of painting and stitching the texture in tree bark and the woodland floor. The work can be seen here. We even had lunch in the garden between the showers!It is getting close to my next trip to Australia so I am knee deep in preparation, a work visa to apply for, course notes to complete and materials to organise. I will be away for 6 weeks and be traveling all over the country. I start by teaching at Fibres West, a 5 residential course in Muresk near Perth, then I visit Melbourne, Tasmania, Uluru, and Margaret River before I head home. I will be posting my progress here!


Teaching in Devon and Cornwall

I have just returned from a wonderful teaching trip around Devon and Cornwall, 5 different courses over 8 days! I enjoyed teaching a range of silk painting and stitching to lots of enthusiastic students, in some lovely locations. The weather was very kind too, its a very pretty part of the world but the sunshine really makes it sparkle

I enjoyed great hospitality from everyone who was kind enough to have me to stay. I was greeted with everything from glasses of wine, fresh flowers in my room, beautifully cooked evening meals and even a hot water bottle if required…and they call it work! Thank you everyone. I have posted a selection of the student work from each course on the website. I was so pleased with the results and so were they.

I eventually made the journey home to Shropshire to find great progress had been made on my studio build. The doors had been fitted, they fold back beautifully to give lots of light and access either end of the room, we also have freshly plastered walls ready to paint. It looks great, I just have to decide where to put my sewing machine for the best view!

It’s a busy time ahead for me now with my first show of the year in the RHS garden at Wisley at the end of the month, April 30th to May 4th over the Bank Holiday weekend. The bluebells will be out and the gardens will look wonderful as always. I am looking forward to exhibiting all my new embroideries there.

The final leg of the journey

What an amazing time this has been. I managed to see so much more of Tasmania this year. The Wall, an incredible 100 metre wood carving, Hobart and MONA. The Bass Forest and the Bay of Fires to mention a few of the highlights.

Saying goodbye until next year I moved back to Melbourne for the 7th and final course of the trip. 2 lovely days with Carly, Sue and an enthusiastic class, we learnt how to paint reflections. The results are on the students work page. I was so pleased with how well everyone did with challenging subject matter.

Then it was time for a few days break visiting friends made last year. It was great fun staying with Anna in Torquay and catching up with some of my lovely students from the Geelong Guild. Then on to Port Campbell along the Great Ocean Road. What an amazing place, one for the bucket list, as they say!

The final leg was a few days in Dubai on the way home to a very cold England and a very warm family!

Plans are already underway for my return to Australia in October 2015

Return to Tasmania

I had a wonderful time in Melbourne teaching for Sue and Carly. The first course was “Dancing in the Breeze” and the students impressive work is on my website courses page. The time with them seemed to fly by so quickly and then I was on my way to the next location, Tasmania

Leaving Melbourne

It was great to fly over to Tasmania and see the familiar green fields and Western Tiers. I have 12 days here in total, teaching 2 courses for Cindy in Deloraine at the Elemental Artspace Gallery. I have had some spare time to explore and see more of this beautiful state.

So soon it’s back to Melbourne for the last weekend in November for my final course of the trip!

Moving on to Melbourne

The first leg of my trip is coming to close. Its been a terrific time for me. A very busy 12 days, with 3 courses, all in different locations. The first course was in Perth at the Bernina Shop in Cannington then I broke up my stay in Perth with a midweek trip down to Margaret River.

Redgate Bay

 It is a beautiful part of WA and my hosts Helen and Maureen took great care of me, showing me some great places to get a flavour of the area. The coastline at Redgate Bay, Swallows Welcome Winery, where I had the pleasure of meeting watercolour artist Pat Negus and the Margaret River Silk Road, where they produce mulberry trees and therefore silk worms all year round.

I headed back to Perth, staying again with my host Jill, for the last weekend where I taught the WA Embroiderers Guild at their headquarters in the city. Its been a super time meeting all these enthusiastic students and sharing my passion for textiles with them. 

I saw the sun go down over the Indian Ocean and my last day was spent looking around Perth at the Jacaranda trees and black swans on the Swan River! Its a beautiful place. Thanks to Jill and Diane for a special day

Next stop Melbourne!

Let the adventure begin…in Perth!

Isn’t it wonderful when a plan comes together! Arrived in Perth on time, sailed through the airport to be met by Helen and Jill my hosts for this leg of the trip. We drove through Perth to Kings Park for the best view of the city. The botanical gardens were wonderful and afternoon tea finished a great first day in Australia.

Today we took a drive to Fremantle for some inspiration for my first course “Seascapes” which starts tomorrow at Burnells in Cannington. The colours here are so rich, blue skies and turquoise water, just wonderful

Fibres West Australia 2015

Before I can set off on my travels next week for my 2014 trip to Australia plans are revealed for next year!

I have been invited to be a tutor at Fibres West 2015, a national textile and fibre art conference in Western Australia taking place at Muresk Institute October 4-10, 2015

Sworn to secrecy until they officially launched the program in Australia this evening, when they revealed all 10 classes and the tutors. They received a lot of positive feedback about the calibre of the 2015 program, and enrollments have started to come in already!

My course will be

In this intensive workshop students will explore landscapes in the broadest sense, with detailed, colourful, textured drawing on a sewing machine.

The new website Fibres West 2015 is ‘live’ and students can enroll on-line. Take a look at the amazing range of courses on offer and I hope to see you there!

A New Gallery

I have traveled home today after a busy weekend teaching the Blackmore Vale EG in Dorset. A  2 day course on Seascapes with a talented and enthusiastic group of ladies. I will post their work on my students work gallery very soon
 I called at a new gallery on my way back to Shropshire to delivery 8 of my embroideries to the TIMOTHY HAWKINS GALLERY in Bartestree, near Hereford

So from now on I have a selection of my work on display alongside Timothy Hawkins beautiful handmade furniture

Its a beautiful space filled with amazing furniture and a selection of hand picked pieces from a small group of artisans. I am very pleased to be in their company

My travels here and away…

Recently home from a relaxing trip to Sorrento. An actual holiday…no teaching or exhibiting! Just a week enjoying some wonderful Italian food, wine, scenery and sunshine. A beautiful place, it was an opportunity to take a break from everything and recharge the batteries.

Its only 5 weeks until I travel to Australia. Its getting close now and I am getting excited! It will be wonderful to see old friends there and make some new ones. This time my trip takes me to Perth, Margaret River, Melbourne and Tasmania. I will be teaching 7 courses in total so it will be a a busy time.

I heard this week I have won second prize (visitors choice) at the Summer Exhibition at the Heritage Centre, Oswestry with my Hidden Depths embroidery. Thanks to everyone who voted for me!

I have some teaching lined up over the next few weeks. Looking forward to revisiting Stitchcraft in Grantham, The Cotswold EG in Gloucester and taking my first trip to the Blackmore Vale Embroiderers Guild in Dorset


Lots of lovely teaching…

I seem to have hit a rich seam of teaching…I shouldn’t be surprised, I did book it all into my diary! Sometimes when all the commitments come together I realise how many times I said yes, I would love to come and teach for you!

Derby, Melton Mowbray, Grantham, Leicester and Gloucester to mention a few, a tour of some lovely parts of the UK. I do enjoy meeting students and sharing my skills. Its great to spend time with like minded people.

I am also preparing for my trip ‘down under’ in the autumn. I am due in Australia at the end of October, visiting Perth, Margaret River, Melbourne and Tassie. I wont be able to throw something in the back of the car in case I need it when I go there! I had a practice run last year so should be able to manage. I am really looking forward to going again

I have put a selection of recent student work on my website here


Busy teaching my embroidery courses

Its that time of year again and springtime means lots of teaching for me. I have travelled to some beautiful areas around the UK. This year up to North Wales and the Wirral. Also down to Malmesbury, Bideford, Devon, Bridport, Dorset and of course at home at Highfield in Oswestry. A range of courses on various themes but the most popular has been “Dancing in the Breeze” inspired by my embroidery above.

If you want to see a selection of students work from the courses this year I have posted some on my courses page

Plans for 2014

I am working on new pieces and enjoying it enormously. I am revisiting an idea of using torn and layered paper collage then adding stitching for detail and definition. Its feels like an interesting diversion and I have an exhibition opportunity locally in Oswestry in mind for the work. I am also working on a series of embroideries based on my trip to Maine. The year is stretching out in front of me with exhibitions and teaching commitments to look forward to.

I will be at Chelsea Flower Show in May again this year and June will be Open Studios time at home in Oswestry but before then I am at a Craft in Focus show at RHS Wisley . So lots of my work needed to fill the walls. There is no better motivation!

I am busy planning another teaching trip to Australia in November. The dates and details are slowly coming together. So far it looks as if I will be starting in Perth and then moving on to Melbourne and Tasmania. I will put all the details on my courses page when the course content and dates are finalised

I do like this time of year (apart from cold, wet, windy weather!) with plenty of time in my studio to develop ideas and the prospect of lots of events and trips to look forward to

Home again

Old Dubai and spice market

I am finally home again and I have had time to reflect on my trip to Australia and Dubai – what a wonderful time it was. There cannot be a better way to visit a country for the first time than to be treated so well by everyone.

I was made so welcome everywhere I went, hosted by kind, generous people and accommodated in lovely B&B’s, one with a personal chef! My 4 week trip was memorable for many reasons, the amazing range of wildlife I got to see in the wild, determined hosts made sure I saw wombats, kangaroos, whales, koalas and a duck billed platypus. Thanks to Maree, Laura, Joanne and Cindy I was shown the amazing scenery of Tasmania, empty white beaches, limestone caves and rain forests. When I was in Geelong, I had a fabulous day out along the Great Ocean Road with Gillian and Anna.

The people I met made it memorable, my course organisers, the Rotarians in Deloraine, the enthusiastic students on all my courses and fellow artists in Tassie, Geelong and Sydney.

In Tasmania I met Cindy Watkins a very talented textile artist, Ken Smith, a machine embroiderer of repute and Bill Flowers, a painter of snakes, just 3 artists out of a huge group at the Deloraine Craft Fair where the quality of craft and art was very high.
In Geelong I was very pleased to catch up with Dijanne Cevaal especially as she was so busy with organising the Geelong Patchworkers and Quilters Exhibition. On to Sydney, where I visited ( twice !) the Craft Gallery of NSW. Meeting Jude Skeers who was so helpful and informative about all things textiles in Australia. I had the pleasure of Julie Haddrick on my course, take a look at her website

I was away for a total of 38 days, I took 7 flights, stayed in 8 different locations, taught 6 courses and I met 76 students. A few of them came on 2 courses and many of them flew many miles to join me. I have made a lot of friends and look forward to seeing them all when I go back in 2014. Thank you everyone – it was amazing!

Teaching in Australia

I am having such an adventure. I have been looking forward to this trip for a long time and it has exceeded all my expectations! So far I have met students in Deloraine and Geelong. Between my teaching commitments I have been taken on some wonderful day trips. Whale watching, rain forests and amazing caves in Tassie followed by The Great Ocean Road when I was in Geelong. Inspirational photos have been taken at every opportunity. Thank you to all my tour guides!

With Cindy Watkins in Deloraine. Thanks for a great opportunity. Looking forward to next year!

I have taught 4 courses so far and the students have been great fun to teach and they have all shared my enthusiasm for machine embroidery. Who could ask for more.


Too Busy to Blog!

I started this blog to keep people up to date with all my activities but the last 3 weeks have been so hectic I haven’t had time to write anything!
I have been teaching an Etched in Frost course in Dorset with Dennie Rose and then in Devon for the West Country Embroiderers where we did a 2 day Seascapes course. Then 2 days at home before off to France for the Quilt Expo en Beaujoais . This was an amazing 4 day Art Textiles show Nr Lyon with some very talented textile artists and quilters there who I really enjoyed meeting. I am home again now and preparing for the show in Kent which starts next week at Penshurst Place nr Tonbridge. This is one of the new pieces I will being taking with me

Hidden Depths

Reflections in Water

Reflections Of Autumn by Alison Holt

Reflections Of Autumn by Alison Holt: A walk beside the lake in Ellesmere, Shropshire was the inspiration for this embroidery

I recently taught a course on Reflections at my house in Oswestry. We had a very productive 3 days and all the students produced lovely pieces on this theme. Its a course that has more emphasis on silk painting than some of the courses I teach. All the students were very happy with the results. Take a look on the courses page to see all the embroideries, some are complete and others work in progress

Etched in Frost

This is a new embroidery, I am enjoying exploring the limited palette and texture of winter.
I recently held a 3 day Etched in Frost course at my house in Oswestry, Shropshire. The students painted on silk and experimented with freehand machine stitching to create their pictures.

Along the Lane

I am really impressed with their results, if you would like to see my students work its here on my website



My visit to the North Wales Embroiderers Guild

Talking about the Cliff Top Walk embroidery

I was fortunate to be invited to share the NW Embroiderers Guild Christmas Lunch near Abergele on Saturday. It was a super day, I was made to feel very welcome by such a friendly group of enthusiastic ladies. We all had a lovely time and very few fell asleep when I gave my slide talk after a lunch. After a large lunch, a glass or 2 of wine if someone puts the lights out its the most natural thing to want a little nap!