Tuesday, 26 April 2022

echoes of the shore

This is my latest completed tapestry, "echoes of the shore." I started working on it in December last year, following on from "shoreline circles" last October. 

 echoes of the shore

size: approx. 5ft square

materials: cotton, linen, rayon and wool, woven on 8 warps per inch on cotton warp.

"Echoes of the shore" is a collection of memories from walks along local beaches, mostly the Sand O' Wright beach in Hoxa, exploring repeated shapes and patterns which echo one another: limpet shells, pebbles, circular marks found on pebbles, sand blisters and scattered edges of waves before they disperse over wet sand. The tapestry is based on and developed from a small watercolour painting in my sketchbook. In the photograph below you can see the sketchbook painting along with the pebble which inspired the main concentric circles in the painting and tapestry. It's tiny but packs a visual punch.

On first impression the colours in this tapestry look predominantly grey but there are actually lots of shimmering blues and warm sandy colours running all the way through it. The tonal background allows for subtle shifts in colour and surface texture. 

As a naturally very colour-driven person, creating something so "grey" at such a large scale felt potentially boring(!) but that's what the piece needed to be to feel right and to create the effects I wanted. Also wet sand is, after all, wet sand! I found myself longing to reach the blue, tufted circles for a burst of something different. 

I think there's an expectation to feel elated after finishing something large which has taken months to complete (in this case 3-4 months weaving, not including research and development) but I just feel zapped, both physically and mentally. I am pleased to be done as the idea is out my system and into the physical world, but as usual I need some distance before I can look at the work again with more objective eyes. On the whole it was a fun piece to work on; I enjoyed experimenting with varying tufting depths and weft thickness and it was a good exercise in weaving circles.

As I completely neglected to post any work in progress photographs here earlier in the year I'll add them now at the end.

January 2022

February 2022

March 2022

April 2022
After catching up with general business admin I'm back to the beginning of the creative cycle again:  walking, thinking, sketching and painting. I can never decide whether it's daunting or exciting to start afresh. Hopefully exciting!

Friday, 29 October 2021

shoreline circles

My latest tapestry "shoreline circles" is now winging its way to the Bonhoga gallery in Shetland to take part in their "An Island Christmas" exhibition which runs from 4th November - 24th December 2021. Mum and I have been invited to take part along with three other Orkney creative makers so if you happen to be in Shetland over the next two months you can pop along to see my tapestry and some prints of both our artwork in person.

"Shoreline circles" is an exploration of circular repetition found on the Sand O' Wright beach in Hoxa: pebbles, limpets and scattered edges of waves.


"Shoreline circles"

size: approx. 60cm square/ 2ft square (not inc. painted wooden frame)

materials: cotton, linen, rayon and wool, woven on 8 warps per inch on cotton warp.

This tapestry follows on from my "found on the shore" sewn drawing series which I created a couple of years ago. I don't believe I'll ever tire of working from the Sand O' Wright beach; I am forever fascinated by repeating marks and shapes found within the shoreline.

The original drawing for "shoreline circles", seen in the first photoraph and also the foreground below, is acrylic paint and oil pastel on paper, 13.5cm square.

This tapestry was a completely different type of weaving compared to my previous piece, "Eynhallow, disappearing island" as it focussed more on quality of line and playing with surface texture rather than translating a multitude of subtle, painterly marks and colour blending. It tested different technical skills but the simplicity of the composition allowed me to work much quicker. After a run of more intricate, complicated tapestries it felt lovely to complete something within a few weeks rather than a few months.

Monday, 6 September 2021

new prints: Eynhallow, disappearing island

I am delighted to announce that I now have photographic prints of my latest tapestry "Eynhallow, disappearing island."

Small and medium sized prints are available to purchase online through the gallery website. They can be found in "jo art prints" in the "shop" drop down menu on the homepage, here's a direct link.

Small, medium and large prints are available, framed and unframed, at the gallery.

Wednesday, 1 September 2021

blog update: subscribing by e-mail

Just a quick note to say that I've updated the "follow by e-mail" button in the right hand sidebar of my site this week. The e-mail subscription service I previously used through Google was scrapped in July which meant those who previously followed by e-mail stopped getting updates on new blog posts.

Before the service closed I managed to download my list of followers and I have now (hopefully) transferred them to a new mailing list service. Those who previously subscribed by e-mail shouldn't need to do anything to receive future blog posts, you should get notified by e-mail as normal with a link to my latest post (best check your spam filter in case it heads there though.) If you no longer want to receive my blog updates you can opt to unsubscribe from the mailing list at the bottom of the e-mail.

Fingers crossed this has all worked. I am a not a techy person!

In other news I have been working on making photographic prints of my latest tapestry, "Eynhallow, disappearing island". They will be available for sale through the gallery and gallery website within the next week. I'll be back with an update when that's live.

Monday, 9 August 2021

Eynhallow, disappearing island


"Eynhallow, disappearing island"

Size: 170 x 76cm (67" x 30")

Materials: cotton, linen, rayon and wool. Woven at 8 warps per inch on cotton warp. 



Handwoven tapestry based on an acrylic painting in my sketchbook (size 20.5 x 9.5cm) of the view looking across to the uninhabited island of Eynhallow from Aikerness beach in Evie, Orkney. 

Eynhallow, also known as Holy Island, is known within local folklore as a disappearing island due to the surrounding turbulent tides. It was also the summer home of the mythical "Finfolk": fearsome, amphibious, human-formed creatures with webbed fingers and toes and scaley skin. They were known to be great swimmers and equally at home on land or under the sea.

A selection of detail photographs below:

Monday, 2 August 2021

cutting down

I finished my tapestry and cut it off the loom last week. It was an exciting day.

I don't think I was prepared for just how tired I'd feel after finishing, I felt like I'd completed a marathon! Granted it is my biggest piece to date and I put in a huge effort over the last month as I was determined to be finished by the end of July. Post-completion mental and physical fatigue was therefore inevitable. I'll be back with "finished" photos and more coherent sentences soon.

Trimming all the long end on the back. There were a lot of colour blends, therefore a lot of ends!


Friday, 23 July 2021


I'm on the home straight, just lots of subtle colour blending until I reach the top.

I say "just", but obviously creating a seamless, subtle blend has its own difficulties, but at least I'm not weaving lots of interconnecting shapes whilst blending, like the lower half of the tapestry.

This tapestry is proving to be a classic example of why it's difficult to answer the often asked question, "how long does it take to weave a tapestry?" I managed to weave 1ft last week (1ft x 30" wide) whereas a similar sized area in the lower half of this tapestry took around a month to complete. It really does depend on the complexity of the composition/drawing and how you're choosing to weave it.

I'll be finished next week. Watch this space!

 Photograph taken this time last week. I am now less than 3 inches away from the top.