Looking at better times ahead

2021 didn't get off to a great start with the whole country in lockdown and gripped by the terrible consequences of the Covid 19 virus. Thankfully, things are starting to look a little more hopeful and we are all cautiously starting to allow ourselves to hope that things can reopen soon and that some level of normality can be realised in our lives again.

Personally, I am particularly looking forward to participating in some of my regular shows like the annual Bucks Art Weeks exhibition at Obsidian Art during June as well as some new ventures. I was really pleased and proud to have been asked to be the featured artist at last year's Wooburn festival in early October. Sadly, like everything else in 2020 it had to be cancelled but I am hopeful that the festival might be able to go ahead this year. It is a great opportunity for me and it will be fantastic to be able to showcase my work to a new audience.

I am still thrilled to be part of the Buckinghamshire Craft Guild and still regularly demonstrate at the guild (see diary section for details). If you haven't visited yet it is a lovely gallery space filled with high quality, beautiful work by over 30 local Buckinghamshire based artists. This year we are already planning several special exhibitions, kicking off with our reopening exhibition called FRESH; from the makers. It will feature some lovely new work from our membership including 5 new members whose work we are excited to share with you.

More details about all these things to come. Keep checking back if you're interested to know more.

Art in Stitch-an exhibition showcasing two approaches to art textiles

Thank to everyone who came along to this exhibition at the Courtyard Art Studio in the beautiful setting of the Claydon Estate, Buckinghamshire where I was showing work alongside Barbara Shaw who produces collaged pieces using fabric like paint.

The exhibition was a great success and Barbara and I thoroughly enjoyed demonstrating our working processes and techniques throughout the show and meeting and chatting to so many lovely, interested visitors.

Exciting Exhibitions

At this time of year I am always looking ahead to what I have booked in the diary and this year is already shaping up to be an exciting one. I already have a very successful Longwick Artshow behind me and I'm starting new work this week for Bucks Artweeks coming up on the horizon. June will be here before we know it and there is a lot to do before then.

Both Longwick and Artweeks are annual commitments in my diary but it's always nice to have something completely new lined up. So I am delighted that The Courtyard Art Studio at Claydon Estate in Buckinghamshire have invited me to share an exhibition with fellow textile artist Barbara Shaw at the end of August. We are already in the planning stages and have decided to call the exhibition "Art in Stitch: Two approaches to Art Textiles"

Barbara creates her pieces by hand stitching small scraps of fabric together in layers to produce unique collages. Her subjects are often based on her impressions of the natural worlds well as local scenes and buildings. As you will see from the image below she has a unique style which is very different to mine yet essentially we are both using very similar materials. The stitch in Barbara's work is mostly functional and sometimes not even seen, allowing the fabric scraps to be the real stars of the show.

We are both excited about bringing this exhibition to Claydon Estate which is the most beautiful setting, with fantastic independent shops and a gallery in the courtyard. There are beautiful gardens to explore and the National Trust property Claydon House adjacent, as well as The Pheonix tea rooms which offer a convenient pit stop for tea and cake or a light meal. There is plenty of parking and the site is wheelchair friendly.

If you love textile Art or if the medium is new to you but you are curious to know more, then put the date in your diary. Barbara and I will be in situ demonstrating our techniques and we will be happy to chat to visitors and answer any questions about our work.

The Sinuous Stitch

Ever since we moved to the area, one of my favourite places to spend time has always been Waterperry Gardens. I particularly love the gallery there which is always beautifully presented, peaceful and filled with inspiring work.

So I am very excited to announce that I will be having an exhibition of my work at the Art in Action Gallery at Waterperry in November/December this year. It is such a privilege to be able to show a collection of pieces in such beautiful setting.

I'm working very hard towards this show which will be un-themed but will feature work inspired by land and seascapes, wildlife and other subjects. The show runs from Nov 17th through until the end of the year and the gallery is open every day 10-5 so if you get the chance please do pop in and see what I have been up to. It's an easy 5 minute drive from junction 8a (Oxford Services) off the M40. OX33 1JZ

The Gallery itself is housed in a restored 18th Century barn and is full of beautiful contemporary art and craft work, so it's well worth a visit and with the wonderful gardens, plant centre, gift barn, farm shop and tearooms all on site, it is a great destination to spend a couple of hours.


Looking Forward…

I'm very excited about the opportunity to have a small exhibition of my work at  The Art in Action Gallery at Waterperry Gardens this autumn. As I work quite slowly, this is quite an undertaking for me, making and gathering together work for this show which will begin in November and run through into the New Year. Somehow though, I find that I can usually rise to a deadline and although I am slightly terrified, I'm also eager to meet this challenge and looking forward to creating a body of new work for this show. I get asked frequently "Where can I buy your work?". I don't purposely make it difficult but there is only one of me and each piece is time consuming and carefully crafted. This means that pieces are often spoken for before they ever get anywhere near my website. So, this show will be the perfect opportunity to see a body of work which will all be for sale. There is no particular theme to the exhibition which means I can really go where the inspiration takes me.  

Buckinghamshire Craft Guild.

It is now almost 2 years since the newly formed Buckinghamshire Craft Guild  first opened the doors of it's beautiful shop/gallery space at Layby Farm, Stoke Mandeville. The guild shop has grown and developed over that time into a beautifully curated space where the public can come and browse the work of over 30 local artists/makers. What makes it really special though, is that every day there are different artists working at the shop, demonstrating their skills and talking to visitors about their inspirations and processes. It's a unique opportunity to interact with the makers themselves and maybe even to buy something directly from the person who made it. From a personal point of view, I have enjoyed my days stewarding and demonstrating hugely. Most of all, I have loved meeting and getting to know the other guild members and watching them work. There are potters, stone masons, jewellers, printmakers, glass artists and more. Chatting to them and gaining an insight into their backgrounds, working methods, techniques etc has been so interesting and it is a real privilege to eaves drop on them demonstrating their skills to the guild visitors. Some of the members run their own workshops and classes which might tempt you once you've seen a glimpse of them at work. The work in the shop is refreshed regularly so that there are always new things to see. Visitors are welcome whether they are serious buyers or just curious browsers. The guild shop is situated at Layby Farm in Stoke Mandeville, a site which also hosts Obsidian Art, Freya Jones Fibre Craft, Ros Long's 'By Hand Books' and Fabric HQ, making it a great destination for visitors interested in art and crafts. It's open tues-sat 10-4 and Sundays 12-4. For information on which artists will be at the gallery on any given day it's best to check social media where updated rotas will be posted regularly. You can follow the guild on Facebook or Instagram as 'Buckinghamshire Craft Guild' The guild shop is at: Buckinghamshire Craft Guild Shop Layby Farm, Old Risborough Road, Stoke Mandeville, Bucks HP22 5JX 01296 821218   [video width="360" height="360" m4v=""][/video]

Bucks open studios Exhibition 2016

My next exhibition of work is at Obsidian Art  in Stoke Mandeville beginning on June 4th. It's open every day until 3rd July so plenty of opportunity to pop in and have a look. The show is part of Bucks Open studios and will showcase the work of a variety of artists working in various media. Well worth a visit even if I do say so myself!

Through Our Hands

I'm excited to have an article included in the winter edition of Through Our Hands, the online magazine devoted to all things textiles:

I hope you enjoy it.

Rachel Wright article in Through our hands magazine

The devil is in the detail


At the end of the summer holidays, I had to begin work on a commissioned piece which had been sitting in my virtual 'in tray' since the beginning of the year. Luckily my client is patient and was happy to wait.

So with the help of some photographs, I set about the task of sketching an image out onto my calico canvas. It became immediately obvious that this piece was going to be an incredible challenge. After some time, my arm was aching and I began to realise that the success of this piece would be 'all in the detail'. There were so many windows, doorways and characterful details in the buildings and then, there were the reflections in the water.....this was going to be a small embroidery which would take an awfully long time to do.


As I started stitching I became quickly immersed in the piece, concentrating my efforts on small areas at a time, sewing for hours and then pausing to sit back and assess my progress only to find that the piece had hardly grown at all. Although a little disheartened by the painfully slow progress, I did at least feel happy with how it was going. I don't think I have ever changed my top thread or my spool thread quite as much as I did on this piece. People often ask me if there is some trick to getting so many colours in each piece. There is no magical is simply being prepared to change those threads as often as it takes. I'm actually pretty sure that I could thread my machine up with my eyes closed. On this particular embroidery it was vital to capture the many pastel colours of the buildings and the endless reflections in the canal.


After many hours of head ache inducing concentration I finally finished and gratefully collapsed into the nearest armchair. There is no doubt that this piece was incredibly challenging and also in many ways a lot of fun. Above all though I came to truly appreciate and understand that old expression we all use 'the devil is in the detail'.



Allow me to introduce my new fox. I'm rather relieved to have finally got the end of this one as there were several hiccups along the way. The fox himself, though he should have been the trickiest part, came trotting along very easily. I was very lucky to come across the photographs of Richard Bowler who kindly allowed me to work from his brilliant photograph of this fox. Not being a very good photographer myself I am always grateful that others are skilled in this department and Richard's photos are exceptional. 20150427-202951-73791844.jpg So with this as my inspiration I began to draw the fox and to try to capture it's wonderful gait. 20150427-203149-73909872.jpg As I said the fox developed quickly and without any real issues and I was soon at a point where I needed to begin to consider the background. This is where the real problems began. 20150427-203459-74099696.jpg I worked very hard on the background but I just wasn't happy with how it looked. I always like to sit back from the work for a while and live with it. Usually if anything is going to bother me it will show itself quite quickly and sure enough after a couple of days I was sure I wanted to change the background. 20150427-204002-74402951.jpg In the end I felt the colours in the background should be more muted, softer and in harmony with the fox itself. I'm much happier with this final version. I'm sure not everyone will agree with me but I know I would never have been happy with the first version. Final Fox

T-weet to whoo?


So this is the embroidery I've been working on the last couple of weeks. It's not particularly big but the detail involved has meant it has been slow going at times. The faces of the owls were particularly tricky. I always think facial expressions and especially eyes are vital to the birds looking right and being convincingly real.

I love Barn owls. They're a subject matter I've tackled before and no doubt I will again. They're so elegant, statesmanlike, beautiful and graceful.

This piece was inspired by a photo on twitter (hence the awful blog title...sorry!) I never thought I was the kind if person to enjoy social media. In fact I still haven't been tempted by Facebook (am I the last?) However twitter has sucked me in and I have found there, a community of artists, creatives and people who simply just enjoy art. I find that I get a buzz from sharing my progress as I work, through twitter and that the response is warm, encouraging and supportive.

Unexpectedly I've come to the conclusion that I would really miss my twitter community and that I'm actually very lucky to have them.

It was a great delight to me to be told by a National trust Ranger on twitter that I she really loved my barn owls embroidery and since she works closely with them, I felt particularly encouraged by her comment. It's interactions such as this that I find really valuable. As an artist working at home alone most of the time it is helpful to have an audience to share and discuss with and I'm am honoured to be asked my opinion of other people's work too.

This piece began with twitter and now it is finished, I've been seeking help with a title for it from my twitter friends too. So it also ends with twitter and the chosen title 'Do you see what I see?'

The joy of little red dots I know what you are thinking...'she's gone completely mad'.
Well, you could be right but little red dots are a joyous thing believe me! When you are an artist, there is a great buzz of excitement to be had when a little red dot appears on your work at an exhibition or show.

This weekend was one such time for me. It was Longwick Artshow, a local primary school event run by a parent and fellow artist, where artists from all over the local area are invited to submit work and sell it with a percentage of the profits going to the school.

It's a show I've taken part in for about the last five years and having missed the private view on Friday night I was keen to get along there on Saturday to see the show for myself.

To my delight I arrived to discover that all 4 of the embroideries I had submitted had little red dots adorning them. It's such a great feeling to sell work at any time but it was particularly satisfying to sell everything!

To know that people are parting with their hard earned cash to buy something I've made makes me very happy.

A good friend of mine is always telling me that I need to remember all the years of training and experience I have done when I decide on prices for my work. She tells me that every hour at college, every sketchbook page, every discarded piece which didn't quite make the grade...all of that has helped to make me the artist I am today and it is time and experience that just cannot be calculated when pricing work. She is right of course but until I become super famous and can charge whatever I like for my work I'll happily settle for the thrill of the little red dots.

If this blog was of interest and you would like to ask me a question, or to discuss a commission get in touch