Making Scarves

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Making Scarves

November is always a hectic month as I’m making scarves for shop outlets and fairs. There’s also marketing and updating my online shop to be done. It’s looking depleted so I need to photograph some new scarves. I try to choose the very best scarves for online as I want 100% customer satisfaction. I also need the best for my outlets. In fact I need the best all round and I’m a hard taskmaster to myself! What do I do with rejects? Well, I wear them myself or I cut them up for wrapping round bangles. I’ve got quite a wardrobe full of scarves.

Bangles wrapped with strips of silk from reject scarves.


The bangles make good stocking fillers and It’s good to be recycling by using plastic bangles from charity shops.

In my Autumn newsletter I wrote briefly about a new shop in West Derby. It’s owned by poet and writer Georgina Moore and called the Liverpool Gift Gallery. The shop is in an affluent part of Liverpool and I’m sure Georgie is going to be successful. While I was there two local ladies were peering through the door and she opened it to chat. They said they were very pleased that a gift shop was opening in the village and would spread the word. It opens on Monday.

New Liverpool shop
Looking across the shop from behind the counter where I had my scarves. I roll them around tissue for carriage.


I’ve created a new design of the Liver Bird carrying a gift in its beak that will be exclusive to the shop. I first of all draw the birds with washable pen and then wax their outlines. I paint inside the motifs ( quite fiddly to do) and paint the background. I take them off the frames when dry and then it’s a case of getting down on the floor ( creak, creak!) to wrap these and others in paper for the steamer.

Liver Bird scarf
One of my ‘Liver Bird’ scarves exclusive to the Liverpool Gift Gallery.


New Outlet

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New outlet for my scarves

I’m pleased to have a new outlet for my scarves. They are for sale in the shop at The Atkinson, Southport. They have been displayed well in this lovely modern shop housed within a building built in 1878. This also contains a theatre, cafe, exhibitions space, library and museum. The theatre attracts some good music and plays- I wish it was nearer to where I live! However I shouldn’t complain as my bus pass takes me all the way to Southport for free and there are some interesting shops along Lord Street.

The Atkinson


Atkinson Shop
The shop seen from the entrance.



New Scarves

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New Designs, New Techniques.

I love thinking of new designs to draw on my scarves and mixing colours that ‘zing’ together. A few weeks ago I got down to working on a batch of crepe de chine scarves loosely inspired by the lovely blue geranium flowers in my garden that bloom for a short while in summer, and the purple ones that go on into the autumn. They are wonderful ground cover and stop the weeds growing. I spend a lot of time gardening – thank goodness for the winter!

I have quite a few scarf blanks that don’t do very well in the steamer. I find the heavier weight crepe de chine becomes obviously ‘crepey’ in patches, so is unfit for sale. I’ve been experimenting with ice dyeing and shibori and I’m quite pleased with the results. I’m using Procion dyes for this technique and I was a bit heavy handed when I scattered the dye onto the ice, so they’re very garish. In ice dyeing the soda soaked fabric is laid in a colander resting in a bucket, then covered with ice cubes. The powder dyes go next and are left to soak through onto the fabric for 12 hours. The most amazing patterns are formed this way. I cant wait to do some more.

new scarf with flower design
New scarf 40 x 150 cms size with flower design drying on the frame.
Ice Dyed Scarf
Ice Dyed Twill Scarf

Williamson Exhibition

posted in: Acrylics, Art Work, Exhibition | 2

Williamson Exhibition

The Williamson Art Gallery in Birkenhead has a fascinating exhibition on at present and I’m pleased to be a part of it as a member of ‘Two Rivers’ Art Group. The exhibition is called ‘Wirral Villages Revisited’ and depicts original works of local scenes painted mostly by artists in the early 20th century. (The artist Harold Hopps has many of his works stored by the gallery). They are now getting ‘an airing’ on the walls alongside the same scenes painted by artists today. The new works will be kept by the Williamson but there are prints for sale at only 15,00.

There is historical information to accompany each pair of paintings and it’s enjoyable for young and old alike to play a game of ‘Spot the Difference’ around the gallery walls. When I painted Birkenhead Priory I became interested in how the trees had matured and also how the priory has a modern extension built in the ruins. The cranes tell their own story about the growth, near closure and rebirth of shipbuilding at Cammell Laird.

Birkenhead Priory
Birkenhead Priory painted by Harold Hopps about 1900.


The Priory today
Birkenhead Priory today painted in acrylics from a photo with some artistic license.

New Shop Opens

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Jo’s New Shop

February began with an exciting start for Jo Smith who runs Seagrass Studio as she moved to a larger premises in Acacia Grove, West Kirby. For many years she has sold my scarves in her shop in Hoylake, so I’m pleased she’s displaying a bigger selection. There’s a lovely array of local artist’s work, both 2D and 3D. Jo has her own paintings for sale around the gallery and she is running workshops in one of the rooms.

Inside Seagrass Studio
Inside Seagrass Studio

January News

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January News

Pre – Christmas was a busy time at fairs and with a few online sales. This month I’ve taken art work into the Open Exhibition at the Royal Cambrian, Conwy (an hours’ car journey one way) and the students exhibition at Staacks gallery, West Kirby. I attend classes in oils there and really enjoy working in a different medium, though it’s challenging at times. Some of my oil paintings are in a newly created gallery on this site.

An artist friend came to do one of my batik workshops and after applying wax, used acrylic paints rather than dyes. She then collaged on pieces of waxed tissutex and rewaxed over them. With a window card there were some interesting selections that could inspire new full scale work. My next workshops are in early February.








Conwy exhibition

Craft Fairs

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 Forthcoming Craft Fairs

Hoylake Craft Fair

I have a stall at this evening craft fair in Hoylake, that will have excellent quality crafts and gifts, free entry and refreshments. I always enjoy selling directly to the public and without added costs, my scarves will be very reasonably priced. I’ll also have scarf clips, brooches, bangles and ties on my table.

Birkenhead craft fair

North Wales craft fairI’m also looking forward to having a stall at the Birkenhead Visitor Centre inside Birkenhead Park grounds. There are two rooms of stalls this year, with quality work from some well-known local artists and designer makers. Although it takes place on the same weekend as the nearby Oxton Art Fair, many people do a tour!

A new venue for me is the Rhydymwyn Valley Nature Reserve. I attended an excellent art course there in the summer and found out about this fair which attracts some good quality crafts. The reserve, a former WWII secret chemical weapons factory, is a fascinating area of biodiversity in the Alyn Valley. Residents of the local community have been working hard on various projects including the creation of a wildflower meadow and an orchard. The site is situated two miles outside Mold heading towards Denbigh. The address is 17 Nant Alyn Road, CH7 5HQ. If you are looking for an interesting day out, perhaps combining it with a walk at nearby Cilcain, it can be recommended.


Old buildings on reserve
Some of the old buildings on the reserve untouched since WWII and home to bats etc.


New Scarves

posted in: Art Work | 2

New Scarves

I’ve been busy painting new scarves for the season as there’s a couple of craft fairs coming up. The steamer is gently steaming away as I write this. Inside there’s a batch of seven crepe de chine scarves and it will be on the go for nearly four hours. The colours become more vibrant and the wax is removed, but more importantly the paint is fixed during the process. I took some photos of the whole process, from painting to steaming, but of course there’s more after that – washing out the excess dye (lots of rinsing) and ironing, then attaching the care instruction cards.

Half painted scarf

The scarf is suspended  above the frame with headed pins that are inserted into a soft pad made of foam rubber and carpet tape.So there is a gap between this frame and the scarf, avoiding paint roll-back. After each painting the frame is wiped down and the pins washed.



I keep a record of the paint colours I use, as I might want to paint the same ones again. Any paint left over from doing a batch (usually five scarves with small changes in each) is kept in little jars to use again.


Rolling in a cloth for steaming

This where my lounge rug comes in useful! The scarves are rolled in lengths of cotton cloth. During steaming all the wax goes into the cloth. In the past I used the ends of rolls from newspaper printing for wrapping the scarves, but the printers all recycle these now so I can’t get them. It means I have to boil out the wax from the cotton cloths before each steaming.


Steamer for the scarves

Inside the steamer the metal bar is suspended above the simmering water with a foil cap placed over the roll to catch any drips from the lid. My electricity bill goes up at these times!

New Work at Birkenhead

posted in: Art Work, Batik, Workshop | 0

Applying waxThere’s some lovely work being produced on the batik course at Bee Wirral (Birkenhead Centre for Early Excellence). Pauline has worked on a batik inspired by her experience of seeing a lovely sunrise at Birkenhead docks with the cranes silhouetted against the sky. She worked from one of her photos, painting the sunset colours first then very skilfully waxing the sky and between the crane structure.Lastly she painted the unwaxed areas to bring the silhouette to life.

Kath is working on a picture of some trees in the park. Both works are being done on tissutex paper





Trees Picture


Batik Course in Birkenhead

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Batik Course Work

Yesterday I started tutoring a batik course for Bee Wirral (Birkenhead Centre for Early Excellence) It will run for 5 weeks on Tuesday afternoons for adults living in the area. The work produced during the course will be exhibited in February in Birkenhead Park as part of a project called ‘Beautiful Birkenhead’. We are working on paper and cotton and themes will include trees, flowers, Bidston Hill windmill and the Chinese Pagoda in the park. A good start was made in the first session, even though some people couldn’t attend. In the picture Pauline is using the tjanting to add more wax lines before painting on dye the second time.


Batik after dyebath
The batik held up to light to show the colours well


The batik was finished the following week with a further dye and wax application and immersion in a navy blue dyebath. This brought everything together in a brilliant way! Pauline ironed out the wax and the piece will be framed for the exhibition.

New Paintings

posted in: Acrylics, Art Work, Exhibition | 0

New Paintings

Hilbre Path
Hilbre Path

I’ve enjoyed painting three small acrylics of local scenes that I’ll put into an exhibition at the Coach House, Royden Park, Frankby, It runs from Friday 21st to Monday 31st August. It’s good to have a change of medium occasionally, so I sometimes take work that hasn’t sold out of frames to make a fresh start, changing composition or colours.The three are called ‘Hilbre Path’, ‘Ebb Tide, Hilbre Islands’ and ‘High Tide Roost’.

I found out that the thousands of seabirds that congregate off the promenade at Hoylake in winter are known as a ‘roost’. The knot, sanderlings and others are driven in by the incoming tide and feed together in huge groups on a narrow strip of sand. It’s a marvellous sight watching them rise and fall, even for a non-birder like me. It occurs from Autumn onwards and is most dramatic at the highest tides.

I did a much larger batik on paper of ‘High Tide Roost’ a few years ago and also had cards made with the picture.


Ebb Tide Hilbre Islands
Ebb Tide Hilbre Islands


High Tide Roost
High Tide Roost

Summer Exhibitions

posted in: Art Work, Events, Exhibition, Mixed Media | 0

Sea LochI have work in two local exhibitions this summer. They are Deeside Art Group (known as DAG) from 20th – 27th June at Westbourne Hall, West Kirby and the ‘Two Rivers’ group exhibition from 4th July – 12th July at Parade Community Centre, Hoylake.

This is a new piece of work that was created using batiked and dyed papers and soft pastel. It’s called ‘Sea Loch’ although it’s looking towards Plockton in the Highlands,across the sea. ‘Sea Loch’ says it’s in Scotland in a more interesting way! The photo doesn’t do it justice as the camera changed the sea and far mountain colours to a blue rather than the deep greeny blue. All my photoshop skills won’t help!.

Exhibition at Williamson Art Gallery

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Exhibition wall
My work is on the right next to the door.
‘The Two Rivers’ group is busy this summer! We are on to our second exhibition at the Williamson Art Gallery, Birkenhead. It lasts until 8 June and covers the walls of the community gallery. There is a cafe, shop and seating area so it should see a lot of people come and go during the month. I’m hoping they stay to buy!

Exhibition at Ness Gardens

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It’s only a week now to the exhibition I’ve been working towards at Ness Botanic Gardens, South Wirral. It runs from 29 April to 6 May in the Visitors Centre and is open from 10am to 4pm. I’m part of the ‘Two Rivers’ group and for this selling exhibition there are 12 local artists participating. There’s a wide variety of interesting work, and each day artists will be in attendance to talk about the work displayed.

More New Work

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Estuary Light

I was inspired by the late evening light on the sea and shadows on the sand of the estuary at Ullapool. I visited that lovely place last summer and was lucky to have some some glorious weather. I would have liked to sketch but was driven indoors soon after taking the photograph of this scene, by the clouds of biting midges that descended all around.

New Work

posted in: Art Work, Exhibition, Mixed Media | 0


Storm over the hillsI’m just framing some new work for the forthcoming ‘Two Rivers’ exhibition. This selling exhibition is at Ness Botanical Gardens, South Wirral from Wednesday 29 April to Wednesday 6 May. 12 local artists are showing their paintings and sculpture in the visitor centre of this lovely gardens that stretches down towards the Dee Estuary. The Azaleas, Laburnum Arch and Rhododendrons will all be starting to bloom.

Most of my pictures are done in mixed media and they are mounted behind glass. There’s hours of fun making sure the glass is free from dust before enclosing the back and stringing up. Sometimes the air is rather blue! In fact it takes longer to frame than paint. However, I’m looking forward to being ‘on duty’ at the exhibition on Sunday 3rd and answering any questions people may have.

Starting Batiks

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In my StudioI took this picture while I was waiting for the wax to heat up, having painted the first colour. I’m using the silk paints on the paper rather than procion dyes as some of the mixed dyes separate and that’s no good for painting a sky. It’s only after they dry that this becomes obvious, and I didn’t want a green sky! The picture on the window ledge also had its first application of colour, and was soon ready for the first wax. The colours are very light to start, and the next ones will be more intense.

New Painting

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'Mountain' Oil PaintingAs well as being busy with designing this new site I’ve been working in oils for a change and I think I’ll get this framed. It’s based on a view of Snowdon from Dinorwig above Llanberis. I took a photograph of the mountain when I was on my way back from a walk in the old slate quarries. Snow had just fallen on the peak and the afternoon light shone briefly on the land, lighting it with a warm glow.

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