Wednesday 19 August 2015

Lots of Stitching with Through Our Hands part 1 !

My Sea Picture

Laura Kemshall

Bobby Britnell
Alicia Merrett
Annabel Rainbow

Clare Smith

Mirjam Pet-Jacobs
Quilt on wall by Bente Vold Klausen
Bethan Ash

Eszter Bornemisza
Susan Lenz
Quilt on the floor by Linda Kemshall,  back wall Elizabeth Barton , hanging work Els van Baarle

Apologies for a great delay in updating my blog, due to my problems logging in again ( hopefully sorted now) and just a lot of things happening, stitching, exhibitions, holidays etc...
I have also been using Facebook and instagram as an immediate way of updating news.
My blog missed out on an event I had in June / July at The Bilston Craft Gallery with the  international textile group Through Our Hands.
Here are a few images of the exhibition, which had some fantastic work from textile artists from all over the world, sorry I have not got all the artists here, but you will find more on the Through Our Hands website.
This group also came together to exhibit at The Festival of Quilts and you may be pleased to know that there is now a portfolio publication available to purchase ( from the Through Our Hands website ) with information on all the artists and their work.
We have recently had two brilliant new artists join our group, Jenni Dutton and Sue Stone who exhibited with us at The Festival of Quilts, blog post to follow!
I am at this very moment, in the midst of stitching and organising my exhibition "Enchanted Landscapes" for The Knitting and Stitching Shows, opening October 7th at Alexandra Palace London and then on to Dublin and Harrogate.
This is my first opportunity to show all my large textiles together including my latest work and a range of my sketchbooks.
I hope to see you there!
Michala x



Thursday 14 May 2015

Inspired By India & Exhibition News

My sketch book " India"


Elephant Ride at The Amer Fort

Sundar Rang
I thought I would share more of my time spent in India, an immensely inspiring place, particularly to me, as country which has a strong cultural identity through its crafts and textiles.
After a few days spent in Bangalore I had a surprise journey to Rajasthan to visit the "pink city” Jaipur and then a five hour drive to the "blue city" of Jodhpur.
In Jaipur we visited the stunning Amer Fort a short tuk tuk ride from the city centre.
On route you can see a serene floating palace on a large lake where you can stop and take photos.
We rode on the back of colourfully painted elephants up to the gates of the Amer fort.
This imposing building is covered in beautiful paintings and glass mosaics. 
Our driver took us to a spectacular white marble temple with ornate carvings; an abundance of wild life greeted us, hundreds of wild monkeys leaping along the walls of the ancient monuments.

 The next day we drove from Jaipur to Jodhpur, which although a long journey, was fascinating because of the changing landscape, the small towns we passed through and the cows and camels in the middle of the road!

We stayed in the small village of Chandelao in the elegant 18th century Rajput style hotel Chandelao Garh .
We watched wild peacocks and flocks of squawking, emerald green parrots on the roof top terrace as the sun went down. 

In the village we bought handicrafts made by the women, they told us that the aim of the project named Sundar Rang, is to support the local craft skills and develop high quality products with unique Rajasthan designs, thus creating a sustainable source of income for the women in Chandelao village.
The women took pride in showing us how they stitched the great range of textile goods and they were delighted to learn that I too worked in threads!
In the morning we left and drove on, visiting the Imposing  Merangarh Fort perched high above a wave of blue and turquoise painted buildings; the city of Jodhpur.

It was a fantastic experience; the fort houses exquisite paintings, textiles, sculpture, glass and      mosaics. The architecture is spectacular, as is the walled gardens, with many different exotic plants and trees.
Chandelao Garh

Jodhpur " The Blue City"
Next week I will tell you about my trip to the desert and my time spent exploring the textile markets in Bangalore, heaven for thread lovers!

As you may know, I'm a member of the international textile group Through Our Hands and we have an exhibition opening called "The Liberated Quilt" on Saturday15th May at The Bilston Craft Galley in Wolverhampton.

"The Liberated Quilt provides a showcase for 23 international artists working mainly with stitched textile techniques, including quilt-making and embroidery. Their work challenges and expands the boundaries of textiles, showing how innovative ideas can evolve from a traditional art form. Strong narratives, bold visions, and raw emotional response are key features of the work on show. Curated by Through Our Hands, this exhibition offers the opportunity to experience work by textile artists considered to be amongst the best in the world. - See more at:

I'm looking forward to seeing a fantastic range of textile art in this wonderful spacious gallery. 
I will be there at the opening in the afternoon, with some of the other members of  Through Our Hands.
I do hope that you may get chance to visit.



Friday 17 April 2015

My Images Of India

A page from my sketch book

 It was a very lucky Friday 13th of February I arrived in India, to spend two sun filled weeks, with my sister Nicola and her family in Bangalore. They arrived here from Warwickshire in the UK on “their adventure" two years ago.

My sister’s life changing experience has impacted on my life of art.

I am an artist and I work not only with paint but with textiles, about five years ago, I went through a very stressful time and in order to cope I found comfort in stitching onto old woollen blankets. 

My subjects are landscapes and figures developed from intense periods of drawing and painting. I layer my experience into the landscape so that it becomes psychologically charged with my own memories, emotions, narratives, dreams, and poems.

The passion and freedom encountered in the immediacy of sketching is developed and channelled through paintings, and then consolidated into textile pieces. Labour and repetition are central to this process and depending on the scale the finished embroidered textile can take many months to complete.

My sister had organised a hectic itinerary, to share as much of Indian culture as possible during my short stay.
On my first morning I learnt about the fascinating art of Indian block printing under the shade of mango trees. This was with Poonam in Whitefield’s on the Nallur Halli main road in Bangalore.
We printed, intricate repeating designs with hand carved wooden blocks onto white cotton cloths.

The next day we walked through glades of patterned palm trees in Palm Meadows, then through the chaos of the city, to reach the small multi-coloured painted villages.
Animals such as cows, goats and dogs were in abundance, amongst buildings, temples and swarming traffic, so integrated that they weaved with man amongst the tirade of vehicles.
The intensity of colour is intoxicating and exhilarating, everywhere I turned colour and pattern overwhelmed me, even coloured washing, hanging against the bright walls became exciting!

I was amazed by the fruits, vegetables and flowers piled high on rickety wooden carts by the side of the red dusty roads.
I loved the petals and flowers arranged artfully floating in water bowls, the chalk patterns drawn on the pavements, the kaleidoscope of colourful clothing, saris and textiles.

In my sketch book I worked with pastels on different coloured papers to record not only what I could see but how this new environment made me feel.
My drawing started to change, I altered my colour combinations, and the rhythm of my mark making became more intense and complicated.
Working instinctively I found my landscapes were becoming more exotic, taking on an eastern appearance.
I will share more of my experiences  and drawings of India in my next blog post.

Tuesday 3 February 2015

Interview About My Work

 Photo courtesy of Rob Tysall of Tysall’s Photography


Here is a link to a recent article about me and my work in b-c-ing-u online magazine, many thanks to the writer Ann Evans .
The photo was taken a couple of years ago at the opening of my exhibition!

Sunday 1 February 2015

Still Drawing & Stitching in 2015!

I have recently had problems logging into my blog, in fact I thought perhaps all was lost, but thankfully and miraculously I am now back to blogging!
So much has changed with social media since my tentative steps into sharing my work on my blog.
Facebook, Flickr, instagram to name a few and I have only recently acquired an iphone!
This year I have been using instagram as it's so easy and quick to upload my photos , if you use it you can find me here
I have been stitching more than drawing during our cold Winter months, at the moment I'm trying to finish my very large landscape based on the poem by Stephane Mallarme L'après-midi d'un faune and this inspired Claude Debussy's  music of the same name.
I find the music incredibly inspiring, the flute mysterious, it takes me on a journey through a deep colourful, enchanted  Summer forest.