Counting down to Taunton Live 2017!

Just a few weeks to go now before the start of this year’s amazing Taunton Live Arts Festival on 24th July and things are hotting up in more ways than one!  I have created a page on this blog on which you can look at the full festival programme here.

Amid blazing sunshine and soaring temperatures, I am currently putting the finishing touches to all the pieces I am going to be taking to this year’s festival as time ticks rapidly by. It’s hard to imagine that this year’s event could possibly be even more exciting for me than it was in 2016 (see this post which is full of happy memories) – but the signs are looking good indeed!

This year I am going to be exhibiting framed quilled artwork in two different places.  Firstly, I will be participating in the Go Create members’ exhibition at the Winchester Arms which is situated right at the heart of the outdoor festival events on Taunton’s Castle Green. I have decided to take one new piece and two remaining from my church exhibition of 2016 which I hope may yet find buyers in this centrally-situated venue. Here’s the new piece, which is entitled ‘Love the Levels’:

It’s my interpretation of the peat-rich flatlands of the glorious Somerset Levels, featuring quilling strip ‘strata’ and gold/silver edged coils depicting light glinting on the muddy puddles of the moorland which stretches for miles around the iconic mound of Glastonbury Tor. I also added a quilled willow tree and reeds to complete the image which for me captures just a little of the magical essence of Somerset. I hope that visitors will like it.

This year I have once again been fortunate to have been given further exhibition space in Taunton through the Festival’s fabulous ‘Adopt An Artist‘ scheme. My ‘adopter’ this year is Priory Close Veterinary Practice in Canon Street who have generously offered me wall space in their spacious waiting room, plus some shelves which are visible from the street through very attractive arched leaded light windows.  I am going to take a few of my quilled ‘sculptures’ like these for the window space:

… plus the focus of my display of framed pictures on the waiting room wall will be birds. These will include my recently-framed ‘Resplendent Quetzal’ bird of paradise (pictured below), along with my quilled turtle dove, green woodpecker, and ‘murmuration’ of starlings (also below) which I created using Diane Boden’s amazing ‘fairy dust sprinkles’ technique that I learned at the Quilling Guild‘s last International Festival of Quilling in Liverpool in 2013.

Still on the subject of birds, I blogged earlier about the yellow bird I’ve created for the ‘origami wall‘ which is being planned for the Festival, organised by my good friend Fran who currently has people across Taunton folding origami birds by the dozen! I’m a bit concerned that my quilled bird may look a little out of place amongst all the folded ones, whilst Fran is worried that I’ve spent a lot of time working on something that may – sadly – end up being stolen or vandalised (it’s an outdoor installation). However, I’ve said I’ll be happy just as long as my bird flies on the wall long enough for me to get a photo of it. We’ll just have to see how it goes …

On Wednesday 26th July, I’ll be doing a ‘pop-up’ quilling demonstration in Taunton’s main shopping area, the Orchard Centre, alongside other ‘pop-up’ performances by various Go Create Taunton members. I plan to be making some quilled jewellery for the public to watch, and there will be an opportunity for them to have a go at quilling if they want to – I’ll have plenty of starter kits on standby! This event will also provide me with the chance to offer some of my quilled merchandise for sale – I’ve been making quite a few new cards and jewellery items this year.

On the jewellery front, I’ve been developing some new-style quilled pendants which my friends in Taunton are already quite excited about:

Over the months, I’ve progressed from multi-coloured creations based on solid coils to some interlocking hoop designs, inspired by some of the wonderful ideas shared by the eminent Australian paper jewellery-maker Licia Politis in the Quilling Guild’s ‘Quillers Today‘ magazine a few years ago. (Quilling Guild members can access this feature via the Quilling Now! blog).

As for cards … well, I underwent a bit of an ‘epiphany’ this Spring after attending a ‘Collage Creativity’ course at the wonderful Dillington House adult education centre.  Before going on this course, I had already started working on a few ‘mixed media’ designs featuring quilling, typography panels and embossing like this one:

However, after being told in no uncertain terms by the collage tutor to “put that craft knife down!!”, my designs have morphed into a much softer style with torn edges and distress inking along these lines:

I hope that the cards I have made will prove popular in Taunton.

These merchandise items will also be on sale at what I regard as my ‘main event’ at the Festival: I am honoured to be hosting a display of the Quilling Guild’s amazing GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ title display of 6,241 quilled flowers at the Temple Church in Upper High Street, on 28th and 29th July from 12 noon – 4.00pm each day.

I’ll be demonstrating quilled flowers at this free event, and I’m hoping that lots of people will come to see the display which is being billed as one of the highlights of the Festival.

So, with all this going on, I’m sure you can imagine my rising sense of excitement as I count the days until the beginning of Taunton Live on 24th July. If you live in, or find yourself in the area during the Festival week, do please come and see me at one of my events, and take in the rest of the Festival which will be packed with spectacular art and performances of every kind. It is my absolute pleasure and privilege to be part of it.

Check out the whole Festival programme here!

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Pictures at an exhibition

Just this once, I am going to let the pictures speak for themselves!

Please check out my previous post for more details …

 

A proper introduction for my ‘Arch’

 

I completed this quilled collage picture last year, but never wrote a blog post about it because, at the time, it was destined to be a competition entry into one of the creative arts categories at Taunton Flower Show 2016 and needed to remain unpublicised to preserve the integrity of judging.

I feel it deserves a proper introduction now, however, since I’m thrilled to say that the piece has just been accepted for inclusion into the CICCIC (Creative Innovation Centre Community Interest Company) Contemporary Art Open Exhibition 2017 after I took the decision to enter it into their recent national competition.

The panel of judges (mainly fine artists, I believe) were looking for “work which considers new ways of exploring media, composition and subject material”, and I guess that my pioneering approach of combining collage with quilled tracery patterns and decorations in the style of a stained glass window managed to ‘tick’ all three of these criteria ‘boxes’.

‘Arch’ was the first, and definitive, collage piece that I created, exploring the possibility of segmenting an arch in the manner of a modern stained glass church window, using shapes derived from intersecting curves.  The various segments in the picture contain carefully-selected pieces of background paper, sourced from magazines, gift wrap, marbled paper off-cuts and even a road atlas.  Quilled shapes (some traditional and others ‘deconstructed’) are used as decorations inside the segments, which are delineated using bundles of crimped black quilling strips.  The tracery arcs were created using specialist silver-edged silver and gold-edged gold quilling strips, while the edges of the arch are multi-strip ‘sandwich’ constructions which I moulded to fit around a pre-embossed outline. Because I always like to be ‘different’, I deliberately positioned the tracery on the inside of the arch.

My creation will be exhibited alongside 19 other selected pieces of innovative multi-media art and sculpture that were selected from what I understand to have been 80 competition entries submitted by artists from across the UK. This means that “many were called, but few were chosen”, as they say, and so the sense of honour and achievement that I feel is truly profound.

The exhibition will run from 4th – 29th April 2017 (opening hours 9.30am – 5pm Tuesday – Saturday) at the CICCIC Gallery, Memorial Hall, Paul Street, Taunton, Somerset, TA1 3PF, UK, with a special preview evening event from 6pm – 9pm on Wednesday 5th April. I am delighted to say that I have managed to resolve (diplomatically!) an unfortunate clash of social commitments in order to be present on that night, when the winners of the competition are to be publicly announced. I would not miss it for the world!!

Introducing my ogees!

yellow-birdFive months since I last posted to my blog!! Time rushes by, and I’m kept so busy with producing the Quilling Guild’s members’ magazine and blog that my own site here remains sadly neglected. Plus to be honest I’ve been seduced by the ease of the ‘quick-fix’ alternatives of ‘micro-blogging’ on Facebook and Twitter which have become my main communications platforms in the meantime. Then there’s Instagram, too – I keep forgetting about that … when it comes to social media, there’s simply too much to keep up with!

However … it’s Sunday afternoon, and I have some time at last to write a proper post for my own blog. So here goes:

It’s February 2017, and this month I was supposed to have been staging an exhibition of my work as a featured artist at a gallery in the village where I live – except it hasn’t happened because, tragically, the gallery was forced to close last summer. There’s a saying here in the UK that “when one door closes, another opens”, however – and that’s certainly been true for me!

Last summer, I was privileged to be asked to get involved in the Taunton Live Arts Festival in Somerset – you can read all about it here. This enabled me to exhibit, and subsequently sell, some of my work – which more than makes up for the lost opportunity of the cancelled gallery show. Plus preparations are now well underway for Taunton Live 2017 in which I am going to be even more deeply involved this year!

This should give me plenty more to be blogging about as the year unfolds – and I’m going to start with this piece, which I finished quilling yesterday:

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One of the festival organisers is going to stage a wall installation in the town centre, featuring an array of origami paper flowers in individual rainbow colours, and she asked if I could produce a yellow bird with quilled decoration to ‘fly’ amongst them.  The bird had to be based on a solid cut-out background shape which can be attached to the wall by means of ‘sticky fixers’ – and it had to be flying from left to right.

I started by cutting out the bird shape from yellow card, and edging it with a crimped border made from two 3mm yellow quilling strips glued together. The border was attached by applying glue to the side edge of the bird shape, working from the back so that any excess ‘blobs’ would not show on the front side. I also started working to develop a format for the tail feathers, based on a central wheatear spine bordered by two alternate side-looped huskings.

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I then made a radical decision regarding the way in which I would ‘feather’ the main body of the bird. In earlier days, I would have set about laboriously filling up the space with closed loose coil marquises or endless ‘beehive’ twists made with a slotted tool – but, do you know, I am just SO bored with these popular methods of quilling infill!! Beehive, to me, is over-done these days and really rather unimaginative. As for interlocking coiled marquises – well, not only do I find them boring to make, but I personally think the end result can be unattractively ‘heavy’ and ‘clumpy’; I badly needed to develop an alternative approach.

So, this year, I’ve started experimenting with simple marquise/teardrop shapes formed from short ‘conditioned’ (i.e. rubbed with a thumbnail) and folded lengths of quilling strip, glued together at their tips. Thanks to their pre-conditioning, these can be gently pressed open to form a shape like a delicate blade of grass:

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OR, they can be pinched and pressed into a shape which I like to call an ‘ogee’ because it echoes the architectural form of an ‘ogee arch‘. I have used these ‘ogees’ as the basis for a composite feather pattern for my bird, incorporating tiny huskings, as you can see here:

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Do you know, I’m really getting into these ogees! I LIKE the fact that they are light, clean-cut shapes, uncluttered by the visual distraction of multiple outward-coiling ‘spiracles’. They can be fitted into awkward spaces and grouped together just like coiled marquises – but the end result is so much more open and, in my humble opinion, more attractive. I’m going to be working on developing the use of this shape in many more projects, like the leaves of this quilled wisteria, for example:

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I’m becoming convinced that making space is sometimes more effective than slavishly filling it. So I’ve used ogees for my bird, which is now flying free, and will be making its public appearance in Taunton in July.

 

 

My moment of glory!

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On Saturday 17th September 2016, I was awarded my Higher Level Accreditation certificate and Fellowship of The Quilling Guild by Josie Jenkins, Chairman of the Guild, following our Annual General Meeting in York.

Needless to say, it was a wonderful occasion for me. I will let the photos speak for themselves …

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I’m delighted to say that I also won First Prize (Masters) for Technical Ability with this piece in the Guild’s annual competitions too:

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One magical summer: a tale of serendipity – Taunton 2016

A dream come true in Taunton … photo by Mike Godleman of Missing A Trick Photography

This year’s summer began for me back in last year’s autumn, when a chance meeting in the Museum of Somerset set an incredible chain of events in motion.

Talking to someone in the museum about how I was looking for opportunities to demonstrate and run workshops on quilling (the art of paper filigree), I was overheard by Jenny Keogh, CEO of GoCreate Taunton, and co-organiser of Taunton Live, the town’s annual arts festival. “Would I be interested in demonstrating at next year’s festival?” she asked. Would I?? “Absolutely … tell me more!” I replied.

A couple of weeks later, I found myself meeting with Jenny and her colleague Diane Burnell in the Foyer of Taunton’s Castle Hotel, explaining how I stage ‘make and take’ sessions for adults and children at public events, teaching them to create flowers, butterflies and other colourful creatures out of paper strips. This proved to be of great interest to them, as it was exactly the kind of drop-in public workshop they were planning to offer at Taunton Live 2016.

Following this meeting, I became a member of GoCreate Taunton and attended a Creatives Club meeting in early January in order to show my commitment and learn more about the plans for this year’s festival.

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Taunton Live poster

It was inspiring! The week-long event, I learned, was to encompass creativity in all its forms, focusing variously on two-dimensional art; comedy and street performance; dance, movement and fashion; three-dimensional art; poetry literature and drama plus music, all being represented on different days and centred on an open area in the town centre. Supporting this would be exhibitions, performances and ‘Adopt An Artist’ events throughout the town, with colourful and quirky yarnbombing very much in evidence on Taunton’s historic streets.

Initially I was asked to stage a ‘make and take’ quilling workshop, open to all-comers, in the Orchard Centre – Taunton’s main pedestrianised shopping area – on Thursday 21st July. With Thursday being the town’s busiest shopping day due to an adjacent open-air food market, this was an exciting opportunity to spread the word about quilling, and I was delighted to accept the invitation.

As winter turned to spring, however, further opportunities arose – to my great delight!  The first of these was an invitation to quill the Taunton Live logo which I have already described in a previous post.  Diane also asked if I would be willing to stage a three-hour quilling class in Taunton Library, putting me in touch with staff there to make the necessary arrangements. I was duly booked to run the class on the morning of Friday 22nd July, supported by excellent pre-event publicity.

Perhaps most exciting of all, however, was the invitation I received to display some of my quilled collage pictures at the festival as part of the ‘Adopt An Artist’ scheme. Having seen my work online, and noting the way in which I was developing my quilled tracery (echoing the architectural features of gothic church buildings and stained glass windows), Diane approached the Vicar of Taunton’s magnificent parish church, St Mary Magdalene, to see if he and his team of church wardens would be willing to ‘adopt’ me as an exhibiting artist there.

I visited Taunton in early May, and kept an appointment to meet the Vicar, Reverend Rod Corke, in the vicarage. I showed him pictures of my work on my iPad, and he was sufficiently impressed to propose my ‘adoption’ at a subsequent parish meeting. After an anxious wait, I received news in June that I would be permitted to mount a display of my pictures in the church. From that point on, the stage was set!

Adopt an Artist 2016

It took a great deal of planning and list-writing to prepare myself for the festival, as in addition to my pictures I had all my workshop materials and equipment to bring to the various venues, and I would be travelling to Taunton by train!

In the build-up to the festival, I contributed as actively as possible to the on-going publicity machine which, I discovered, was centred mainly on Twitter. Soon I was tweeting, re-tweeting and being re-tweeted with the best of them, picking up followers in Taunton’s vibrant cultural and arts community along the way.  (You can find a link to my Twitter feed in the right-hand side panel.)

The festival officially ran from 18th – 24th July 2016, but I had the opportunity to set up my display in the church on the 16th, and leave it there until 6th August when I would be attending the Taunton Flower Show – of which more later.

On Saturday 16th July, I excitedly boarded the train for Taunton with six framed pictures and all my library workshop materials packed into one substantial suitcase! On arrival, I headed straight for the church, where I had been allocated a display table in a prime position right in the foyer, next to the cafe and bookshop. The Vicar had warned me that he could not absolutely guarantee the safety of the pieces due to the fact that all sorts of people wander in and out of this town centre church at different times and it was impossible for his team of helpers to monitor activity at every single moment. I considered all this carefully, but concluded that it was such a wonderful opportunity that I was prepared to take the risk.

The following weekend, the church was due to stage its annual fayre which would take up space in the foyer, so I agreed to relocate my display beforehand to a new position deeper inside the church.

My next port of call on that first Saturday was the library where a storage room was made available for me to leave my workshop materials in readiness for Friday’s class.

The following Wednesday saw me returning to Taunton in readiness for my two workshops, laden once again with everything I needed for the shopping centre ‘make and take’.

DSCF7503Thursday morning dawned, and I checked in at the Orchard Centre’s security desk to receive my pass before finding my way to my tables which had already been set in place for use by other artists who had done demonstrations there earlier in the week. I had quilling samples, literature and workshop materials to lay out in addition to my own merchandise (some small quilled items and paper bead jewellery) and, once this was in place, I settled back to rolling a few coils and waiting for the public to notice me.

The first hour was very quiet, but suddenly a family of three came over and asked to try some quilling – after that, I found myself busy for the rest of the day! One of the yarnbombers had been allocated to me as a helper so that I could take a break when necessary, and time seemed to fly by as more and more people (mainly children with their parents) sat down to create quilled flowers, butterflies and other sundry creatures for their takeaway gift tags and cards.

Marcia’s photo of me in action at the Orchard Centre

 

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I was delighted, during the course of the day, to receive visits from some of the contacts I had made on Twitter, including Marcia, Taunton’s former Mayor (who greeted me like an old friend!) and a professional photographer, Mike Godleman, who asked if I would be interested in commissioning a photoshoot of my display in the church. This came to fruition a couple of weeks later, as I will describe later on.

It was a fulfilling and fun day, and so good to be playing an active role in the festival … with more excitement to come!

Library workshop posterThe following morning, I walked to the library ready for my three-hour class. One of the ladies who had booked failed to turn up, which was a little disappointing, but the others more than made up for her absence with their eager enthusiasm! I gave my standard introduction to quilling, describing its history, showing samples, demonstrating the way in which quilled shapes can be put together to form pictures etc – and very soon my ladies were successfully rolling coils for themselves (without the aid of a tool, I might add!). All expressed an interest in attending further classes, several were keen to leave me their contact details, and one has subsequently become a member of The Quilling Guild. Taking all this into consideration, I feel it was a great success. The library is an excellent venue, with loads of room, large tables and a cafe on site – well worth bearing in mind for the future. Watch this space!!

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On Friday afternoon, I returned to the church in order to move my display as previously agreed, making way in the foyer for the parish fayre. The new site was a beautiful area of the church known as the Soldiers’ Corner, where stunning stained glass windows (depicting famous military men) cast beautiful coloured light from both sides. The table allocated to me in this area was much bigger, too, and I had a lot more room in which to set out my pictures (see photo below). Meanwhile, I received numerous very appreciative comments from people working in and visiting the church, and more than half of the leaflets I had left describing my exhibits had already been taken.

Soldiers' Corner shot

Saturday dawned, and my aim was to take some time to enjoy the penultimate day of the festival with free time on my hands. First I followed a marching jazz band through the shopping centre and into the main festival square, somehow ending up carrying a banner and being photographed with the musicians as we arrived on Castle Green.

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I decided to return to the church where the fayre was in full swing, as there was an opportunity on that day to go up its iconic Somerset tower. I was told that people would be taken up in small groups, so I had to wait for some more to arrive in order to complete our party – and who should they turn out to be but the current Mayor of Taunton Deane, Vivienne Stock-Williams and her husband?! As we ascended the 160-odd very steep and narrow steps to the roof of the tower, we fell into conversation, and the Mayor was very interested to hear that I had a display of quilled pictures down in the church below. After admiring the view and having our photo taken on the tower roof, we gingerly made our descent, and Mrs Stock-Williams asked to see my display before we all sat down for tea in the cafe at the Vicar’s invitation.

At the top

 

Philippa Reid, Quilling artist

 

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Now, I can’t say too much at the moment because discussions are still ongoing, but suffice it to say that in the space of 15 minutes two very interesting propositions were made by those present in terms of future opportunities for me and my quilling art. If there are further developments, I will of course report them here on the blog. Even if nothing further comes of them, however, the delight I felt on that particular morning will remain with me as a truly wonderful memory … serendipity indeed!!

The festival ended the following day, and my thoughts now turned to the next exciting event – Taunton Flower Show – which was held this year on 5th and 6th August. I have written about the Flower Show here on the blog before – it’s a major competitive event and visitor attraction in this part of England, sometimes referred to as “The Chelsea of the West”! Last year, I managed to win two prizes in the competitions marquee, and I hoped to repeat that achievement once again by entering two of this year’s craft classes.

I removed one of my quilled collage pictures from the church display as one of my entries, and also brought a card that I had crafted for the class entitled ‘Hand-made Ruby Wedding card using no commercial embellishments’. Next morning dawned, and – two prizes once again!!

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My card entry used lots of different techniques, instead of just quilling, because I discovered last year that the judges sometimes like to see a range of skills on display (although this doesn’t actually seem to have been the case with 2016’s First Prize winner! ) Nevertheless, my effort involving iris folding, heat-gun embossing, decoupage and stencilling alongside some quilled numerals and interlocking rings, earned praise from the judges for the “variety of skills” shown.

Just when I thought all the excitement was over, the Parish Secretary from St Mary Magdalene church made me an offer to purchase my prize-winning card, as it was her sister’s Ruby Wedding anniversary later that week! So, quite unexpectedly, I ended up selling the card – a very satisfying end to a brilliant few weeks.

Meanwhile, in between all of these wonderful events, my new friend Mike from Missing A Trick Photography had visited the church to do his photoshoot of my display – and the results are absolutely stunning! Since all of the pictures were behind glass, I feared that he would struggle with difficult reflections in the church environment, but he told me afterwards that he contorted himself into all sorts of uncomfortable positions in order to obtain some brilliant shots! I’ve included a couple of his lovely pictures in this post, but you can see the full set in ‘sample mode’ online via this link.

So ends the story of my magical summer in Taunton  … the start of something very special indeed for me!

 

Taunton here I come!!

The programme for the Taunton Live 2016 arts festival has just been published – and I’m so delighted that my name is on it in three different places!

Here’s a summary of the events I’ll be involved in:

Taunton Live 2016 poster

And here are the two sections of the programme in which my name appears:

Adopt an Artist 2016 Taunton Live supporting programme

You can download a complete copy of the festival programme here.

If you scroll back through the recent posts on this blog, you can also see the quilled tracery collage pictures which I will be putting into my church exhibition.

My involvement in Taunton Live all springs from a chance meeting that I had with one of the festival organisers last October – and what a serendipitous meeting that proved to be! I introduced Go Create Taunton‘s Jenny Keogh and Diane Burnell to the art of quilling a couple of weeks later, and before I knew it I had two workshops booked, an exhibition arranged, and two Taunton Live logos to quill!

I was privileged to be present at the local Creative Club meeting back in January when several of the events on the programme were first discussed: the yarn bombing (even bigger and better this year!); the decorating of the fabulous copper beech tree outside Taunton Castle (can’t wait to see that!); the rounding-up of the town’s numerous buskers for the Music Day etc. etc. It’s so exciting to see it all coming to fruition at long last!

If you can make it to Taunton Live, do try to come along to one or more of my events – I’d love to see you there!

And the best news of all? My husband and I are now seriously discussing a move to the Taunton area in the not-too-distant future … something I’ve wanted so, so much for such a long time. Taunton Live is just the beginning … I’m coming back home where I belong.

It’s all happening in Taunton!

There are now just six weeks to go until the Taunton Live Arts Festival 2016, and from my point of view things are really starting to come together!

Last week I received confirmation that permission has been granted for my exhibition of quilled collage pictures in St Mary Magdalene church to go ahead, and so now I am busy sourcing the necessary display stands and designing the flyer leaflets that will accompany the pieces. I have written before about the breathtaking beauty and atmosphere of this wonderful church – see this previous post – and I cannot tell you how privileged I feel to be able to display some of my work in the very place that has inspired several of my quilled tracery patterns. Although I have now completed the six pieces that will be on show (from 18th July – 6th August), my brain is buzzing with more ideas after visiting the church again last week – hopefully I will find some time to explore some of them in the weeks ahead.

Just as the exhibition had been confirmed, I also received word from Taunton Library that the poster for my pre-bookable quilling workshop on 22nd July 2016 is now ready – here it is:

Library workshop poster

I have limited the places at this workshop to a maximum of 10 so that I can give each of the participants plenty of individual attention. If there is sufficient interest, however, I have agreed to stage a second workshop at a later date, so that anyone who misses out on this one will not be disappointed. Watch this space!

Now I am just waiting to confirm the details of the drop-in ‘make and take’ workshop that I will be running in the Orchard Shopping Centre, Taunton, on Thursday 21st July 2016. Hopefully there will soon be a poster available for that event too.

During my visit last week, I also delivered the two quilled festival logos that I had made at the organisers’ request, and I was delighted to learn that these are to be awarded as prizes to people who produce outstanding creative work after attending one of the many workshops included in the festival programme – what an honour!

I cannot describe how much it means to me to be so deeply involved in a festival of the arts in the place that I love beyond all others. One day I hope to be able to make my home in the Taunton area once again, but until then this is unquestionably the next best thing!!

 

Magdalificence!

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Here’s the final creation in my series of Somerset-related quilled collages which I hope to exhibit at the forthcoming Taunton Live 2016 arts festival in July.

I’ve called this one ‘Magdalificence’, since it features (and was inspired by) Taunton’s truly magnificent parish church of St Mary Magdalene.

This is such a beautiful church that it is hard to know where to begin when trying to describe it. At the top of my collage, you’ll see a picture of its iconic Somerset tower which is very much a local landmark. When you enter the church through its main doors, it really does feel as though you are entering into the company of angels! There are two herald angels engraved on to a wonderful pair of inner glass doors, and – once inside – you can see many more fabulously painted carved angels looking down at you along the nave from the church’s lofty ceiling. The stained glass windows in the church are gorgeous, casting rich colours across the beautifully carved pews, which have previously inspired me with some of their tracery patterns.

The basis of this collage is an arch shape cut from cardboard, which I have decorated using decoupage. I wanted the colours of the arch to echo the richness and brilliance of the stained glass windows in an abstract way, which prompted me to try a little experimentation! I tore some colourful glossy magazine pages into tiny pieces and stuck these down all over the arch with ‘Decopatch’ glue, quite randomly and overlapping. This type of glue is also a varnish, drying to give a glossy surface which I have ‘toned down’ using pieces of semi-opaque tissue and pieces torn from the inner ply layers of paper napkins. I’ve only recently discovered that the thin layers which make up paper napkins, kitchen towel, toilet tissue and such like are loosely joined together using an embossing process – and the embossing comes in some amazing raised patterns! By gently applying torn pieces on top of a collage with the embossed side facing upwards, it’s possible to add some very interesting textures over and above the colours underneath.

In homage to the angels of St Mary Magdalene, I have included a pair of quilled sparkly white ‘angel wings’ above the apex of the arch, made by shaping eccentric closed loose coils – yes, it was a challenge getting them to match!

The arch is delineated with a multiple ‘sandwich’ of silver-edged quilling strips (with crimped ones in the centre) as used in my other pieces. I then decorated the inside of the arch with clusters of ring coils in sparkly white and gold-edged gold.

I like to think that this is an extra-special piece, with a bright, uplifting and refreshing feel to it, rather like the church itself.

Magdalificence will be placed on public display at various locations (including Taunton) in the coming months. Should you be interested in purchasing something similar (custom-made), please contact me by emailing quilliancemail@gmail.com or leave a comment below.

 

 

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