Sunday, 2 December 2012

What a long time it's been, again!

Sorry it's been so long since my last post. This is the time of year when there should be so much to post about, but work has been so full on, it seems that during term time there is never a moment for a teacher to call their own: marking, observations, meetings, 1-1s with students, schemes of work, training days, the list goes on and on. Unfortunatly just when it seems you've worked your way through it, it all starts over again - the courses I teach on in the Foundation Learning department are now due to have external moderation oh and of course there will be parent's evenings next week and the following week.
Anyway I suppose all of these things can make you really appreciate the little or unplanned things and this weekend has had some of those.
My friend Alison texted me on Saturday afternoon inviting me to go to Reading with her for a spot of late night Christmas shopping. Reading's Christmas lights are very beautiful.
My friend Jackie had an open house with crafts on show from her and some friends and from what I saw she was having an amazingly busy time.
My husband surprised me (lovely, as he doesn't do surprises) and gave me this yesterday morning, how better to start the days of December than with some good chocolate.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Oh dear what to do with a bumper harvest?

It's been a pretty rubbish year for our vegetable patch and we have even resorted to the odd veg box which has been lovely.

But one crop which has been abundant is the grapes. We grow our vine purely for the shade it provides and the way it looks. The grapes usually consist of some very small, sparse bunches, however last year we had loads of bunches each made up of very small, extremely sharp grapes. This year though they're getting sweeter and bigger but are full of pips and we just have so many, at least 60 litres, it's such a shame to throw them away, and they look lovely, but can't think of anything to do with them, and they wouldn't make good wine.

Friday, 12 October 2012


Today a very lovely, and extremely busy, colleague gave up a precious hour of her time to share her passion for all things lace with 4 of our textiles students. She bought in a large range of her own work, samples of lace she has collected and images of lace she has acquired. She was a font of knowledge and was able to share facts from smuggling lace, Queen Victoria's wedding dress to how to make lace on a train. She really impressed the students (and me) with her samples of textured lace made from wools and how to use buttonhole stitch to achieve a lacy effect.

Thank you Diana, it was a treat.

Friday, 31 August 2012

As Textiles

Well the summer holidays are almost over and it will be back to work with a bump on Monday so here's the post I meant to add weeks ago showing a little of the work the As group did last year. There's no excuse for this late posting, I've just been enjoying my own time over the holiday too much.
Hand made book project

Bag project

Skirt project
Sketch book pages

Exam pieces


Tuesday, 31 July 2012

end of term treats

What nice students I have! Lots of cards with lovely messages as well as the odd late night texts, maybe after a drink or two, all saying thanks and how nice it's been. I have to admit the A2 and As year have been great this year with a real mix of characters. But what a nice surprise it was to walk into the office just after lunch on what had been an aweful morning on my last day and find this along with a lovely note from 2 of my As students. It's true, it is the little things that count, and this really cheered me up so thank you Jess and Emma.

End of term show

Well, term ended without any time for a breather and I was straight off on holiday which explains the lack of recent posts. The final weeks of term saw mad rushes to complete final units for some students, leaving parties and lots of tears, awards ceremonies, masses of paperwork, trying to keep the As level Textiles group motivated to the end, along with putting up work for A level verification, taking it down again and putting up a display of some of the lovely pieces from this year's textiles groups. So here's some pictures of the work they've been hard at this year.
Sophie's experimental piece
Olivia's re-vamped suitcase and beautiful photoshoot

Allie's dress with delicate stitching and printing

                 typically quirky designs from Polly

sophistication from Lauren and Edie

It's not all about the end pieces though. Here's one of Caitlin's drawings of lighthouses which led to lots of experimentation and ended in designs for skirts and dresses.

        drawing                                                       sewing

        reverse applique                                 illustration  

 Tabitha's hand batiked fabric

Maggie's cute little girl's dress and pinafore

Sunday, 24 June 2012

What's happening this week?

Art Exhibition 2012

I think it's going to be a busy week this week.
Monday - Collect in As Textiles project from last week and grade them.
Encourage Textiles groups to make at least 3 visits to the College Foundation/Btec exhibition and look at all of the work, not just Fashion and Textiles so they can reference their favourites in their research books.
Tuesday - Organise Opps for Learning Information morning.
Private View tonight.
Wednesday - Complete paperwork for Btec Art unit with Entry group.
Dentist in the afternoon.
Thursday - Textiles trip to London to New Designers Exhibition.
Friday - Subject reviews for all of my students.

New Designers 2012, Part 1: 27-30 June, Part 2: 4-7 July, Business Design centre, London UK

Chelsea College of Art and Design show

Went to London on Friday with the plan for a bit of a mooch around Westfield in Shepherd's Bush then to meet up with Alex and John. However their plans changed and I managed to catch a train which didn't stop at Clapham and so arrived at Waterloo. But it had a bright side as I love standing at Waterloo waiting to meet someone under the clock and it's an especial bonus when it's Ascot - all those women wearing beautiful creations on their heads and men in top hat and tails, fabulous.
Anyway we then had to decide what we wanted to do to fill a couple of hours, so as always, when I go to London, it started with a stroll around a bit of the Southbank but then for a change we turned left and headed down towards Tate Britain and Chelsea College of Art and Design.
Although we were starving by now, we had a quick look around the graduate show, wandering in to find some of the work, but to my shame hunger did take over and we left before we'd seen much of the fine art. However I did get a peek at some of the textiles and picked up a few postcards (which I now seem to have lost) so I've had to visit the website to find reminders of some of the students who really impressed me: 
Sophie Jones                and               Katherine Lawson

There were others I saw whose work I liked, but they aren't on the Showcase, but while flicking through I saw the work of Catherine Frere-Smith who has produced some lovely prints for clothes, but when you get tired of the clothes they can be cut up and transformed into stuffed birds!. I love it.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Somebody that I used to know

I know my last post was a musical one, but after catching a couple of minutes of The Voice last night I had to make sure you all watched these videos of Somebody that I used to know.
or this cover from Walk off the Earth

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Damian Wilson

Last week I managed to drag Dean out to see Damian Wilson. 
Dean was the one who knew he was playing a freebie gig in a Guildford pub and is the main music fan in our household, but of course because it was in the week he would have been quite content to miss it, being too tired after work! How old does he think he is? 
I of course had forgotten I liked Damian Wilson's voice so much as the last time I saw him play was about 5 years ago.
This was very different though as he was solo (for some of the evening) and because, as it turned out, this was his local pub Dean and I felt we were the only people there who didn't know him. He was later joined on stage by one of his brother's and the finale saw another brother, his dad and a couple more audience members join in too. It made for a really good nights music with an intimate and insightful atmosphere as Damian recounted stories about his life as well as singing some of his own material

He usually sings with a number of bands and has been voted 'best vocalist' 7 times at the Classic Rock Society UK Annual Awards. But that isn't the whole story of his musical career; between 1998 and 2000 he played the role of Jean Valjean in the Les Miserables UK national tour. So this is a man with an eclectic musical career.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Clothkits and Liberty fabrics

Work is extremely hectic at the moment what with looking after the As and A2 Textiles exams, trying to ensure all of the students are fully prepared and calming down meltdowns as and when they happen. Plus IVing the Personal Progress course and 2 more courses to finalise the paperwork for and that's before we've even started to mark the Textile exams and coursework for the year. Is this why I became a teacher? Well lets just say it's not my favourite part of the job.
But it does mean I genuinely have a reason to develop new projects, hunt out lovely fabrics and places to buy them. When I was last in London I went to Liberty to buy some of their printed tana lawn but became totally befuddled and just gave up. However while checking my emails on Friday I found an offer from Clothkits, who have opened a shop in Chichester, which gave me 20% off all their fabrics. So my very kind husband braved the torrential rain, took me down to Chichester and sat in the fabric shop, filled with ladies on a sewing course and customers choosing fabrics while I spent ages hunting for my fabrics. He even joined in with helping me find exactly the right things and encouraging me to try on clothes!

 My fabrics

I will definitely be visiting Clothkits again. I've long been a fan of their products but it's always lovely to see the products for real and the assistants were so friendly and helpful. The only problem with the place is how to leave without spending lots of money. As well as all the Liberty fabrics they have there were Marimekko prints, Amy Butler fabrics, MiniModerns, Kokka Echino, Michael Miller and Jane Foster, etc.
Marimekko Pieni Unikko II Cotton Fabric in Red (MEDIUM)Amy Butler Trumpet Flower Fabric in Emerald Nana Jigsaw Print Cotton by MiniModerns (per metre)Camera design Kokka Echino Fabric (turquoise)Echino Birds and Flowers Linen Cotton (Brown)Birdcage Printed CottonMelody Miller Geo Circles Cotton Linen BlendCitrus Bright Cotton PrintsEiffel Tower Print by Michael MillerClothkits Print Fabric - Birds and Apples
But its not only the fabrics, the trims and kits are lovely too. I may have to invest in both their bustle skirt and 50s dress along with some diddy pom poms and sherbet pips pom poms oh and perhaps some Liberty print bias binding.
Sherbert Pips Cotton Pom Pom Trim LargeLiberty Print Bias Binding, 3m small wooden bobbin