Category Archives: Blog

A walk around Llyn Idwal at nearly six months!

Today, a mere five and a half months after my hip operation, Daf and I set off from the island (Anglesey) and took ourselves deep into Snowdonia for a little adventure.

We parked by Ogwen Cottage and began walking up hill towards Llyn Idwal: the first stop, however was at the bridge over a beautiful waterfall a very short distance from the car park. I just love taking time to gaze at the water rushing between the rocks and under the wooden bridge. From there we carried on up the well maintained stone path until we got to the lake (llyn), where, once again, we paused to gaze at the brown tinted water.

The waterfall at Ogwen Cottage, Snowdonia

The route then takes you either clockwise or anticlockwise round the lake: we chose to go anticlockwise. The path began to climb again, at first gently, then fairly steeply, but my hip behaved really well and we made it round the upper path until we had a clear view of the lake and the surrounding hills. By this time the sun had burned through the clouds and the lake was reflecting blue.

Dorothy just below The Devil's Kitchen above Llyn Idwal in Snowdonia

The descent back to the lake was slightly quicker, and we sat by the water watching a shoal of tiny fish darting about in the sun warmed water close to the shore: we’d seen a heron a couple of times earlier, but these little fish avoided being lunch for another day.

The rest of the descent was straightforward and after another stop to watch the tumbling cascade of the waterfall, we set off for home. What a sense of achievement!

I’m sure there’s a quilt in there somewhere!

Beginners Course about to start Sept 2015

My Beginners’ Course in Patchwork and Quilting is full and all ready to start on Thursday 3rd September. The handouts are all printed and I’m really looking forward to meeting my new group and getting down to some serious fun!

Beginner Quilt with Dorothy Russell

Dorothy

12th August 2015

Notan in Canada – by Phyllis

A Notan by Phyllis in Canada

A Notan in Canada – by Phyllis

It has been an exciting year so far, but, due to my having a brand new hip, I missed out on a teaching visit to Newfoundland, Canada, which I’d been very much looking forward to. However, all was not lost – I sent Jill the class hand-out for the ‘Notan’ workshop, she took it to the group and they have been working from my notes. The image is of a cushion made by Phyllis – she intends to make another one using a different Notan design. I’ll put other images on the blog as they arrive.

Dorothy

2nd July 2015

Silk Painting Workshop at Talgai Hall, Llandygai

Silk painting workshop at Llandygai by Dorothy Russell

Yesterday was a very quiet day at Talgai Hall – sometimes, when I hold a workshop, the concentration is so profound that you could hear a pin drop: Silk Painting produced just that effect and you can see from the images just how much attention was given to the work.

Silk painting workshop at Llandygai by Dorothy Russell

 

Silk painting workshop at Llandygai by Dorothy Russell

It looks like a very serious task, but the funny thing is that it’s actually quite relaxing…

…no that’s not quite right – it takes you away from the cares of the world and deposits you in a quiet place where you can concentrate on just one thing… Goodness, now I’m sounding a bit Zen!

Silk painting workshop at Llandygai by Dorothy Russell

 

Painting on silk gives a beautiful, ethereal result – it is as sensitive as watercolour painting and ideal for delicate subjects like the flower images we worked on.

You can see some of the beautiful results.

Silk painting workshop at Llandygai by Dorothy Russell

 

Silk painting workshop at Llandygai by Dorothy Russell

For my demonstration piece I chose, as a starting point, a photograph I asked my son to take about ten years ago of some black poppies I had grown in pots on our terrace. On one there was a hoverfly with delicate lacy wings. It may have taken ten years to get round to using the image, but now I’ve started, I’ll definitely develop this theme.

Silk painting workshop at Llandygai by Dorothy Russell

 

Two more workshops to go at Llandygai:
‘Boutis’ on Sunday 17th May
and
‘New York Beauty’ on Sunday 24th and 31st May

I also have two at Oriel Ynys Mon in the gallery surrounded by my exhibition:
Folded Paper Applique‘ on Tuesday 12th May
and
Notan‘ on Monday 1st June

Dorothy

Opening of my Exhibition at Oriel Ynys Mon, Anglesey

26th April 2015

I had an absolute ball yesterday.

Dorothy Russell exhibition of Quilt Art. Oriel Ynys Mon Galery

Oriel Ynys Mon gallery. Dorothy Russell Quilt Artist exhibition Apr 25 – Jun 7, 2015

Lots of people came to my exhibition opening, friends, neighbours and many I didn’t know. Between 12:00 and 14:00 I talked to as many as possible and it was wonderful sharing my work and getting positive feedback.

I haven’t read what visitors wrote in the comments book yet but I gather they were all complimentary!

Lots of people are going to come back and I will be popping in from time to time: it’s amazing to see your own work hanging in a beautiful gallery; it gives you a new perspective.

A big thank you to Nicola and all members of staff at Oriel Ynys Mon for giving me the opportunity to show my work in this special gallery and for their lovely comments.

Dorothy

Exhibition Opening

After three days of decision making and hard graft, all the work is on the walls and my exhibition is ready for its official opening!

Dorothy Russell Textile Art Exhibition at Oriel Ynys Mon April-June 2015

See you at Oriel Ynys Mon Saturday 25th April between 12:00 and 14:00. The gallery is open every day from 10:30 – 17:00.

Dorothy

‘Textiles in Transition’ Oriel Ynys Mon (The Anglesey Gallery) 25th April – 7th June 2015

Beyond the Wall 1. Art Quilt by Dorothy Russell

The official opening of my exhibition, ‘Textiles in Transition’, is on Saturday 25th April between 12:00 and 14:00. It will be in the Main Gallery at Oriel Ynys Mon (The Anglesey Gallery) in Llangefni.

Workshops

During my exhibition I will be teaching two workshops in the gallery, surrounded by my work.

  • ‘Folded Paper Applique’ on Tuesday 12th May 10:00 – 16:00
  • ‘Notan’ on Monday 1st June 10:00 – 16:00. (images)
  • Each workshop costs £30.00 for a place.
  • Contact the gallery for further information and to book.
  •  

    Folded paper applique:  Dorothy Russell Quilt workshop at Oriel Ynys Mon (Anglesey gallery) 2015.

    Folded paper applique

    Notan:  Dorothy Russell Quilt workshop at Oriel Ynys Mon (Anglesey gallery) 2015.

    Notan


    Oriel Ynys Mon is a lovely gallery with good facilities- in addition to the Main Gallery it also has a gallery dedicated to the paintings and drawings of Sir Kyffin Williams, a history gallery which is very child friendly, a shop and a cafe.

    Address:
    Oriel Ynys Môn,
    Rhosmeirch,
    Llangefni,
    Ynys Môn
    LL77 7TQ

    For further information call: 01248 724444

    Opening Hours: Daily 10.30 a.m – 5.00 p.m
    Admission free

    Dorothy

First Workshop After My Hip Operation

Yesterday I taught Machine Quilting at Talgai Hall and it was lovely to get back to work after my hip operation. Everyone worked hard and the room was very quiet: you can see the concentration in every face.

machine Quilting class by Dorothy Russell 2015

Machine quilting is always a tricky workshop as it’s all about the technique, followed by hours of practising and polishing; and not about the piece of fabric you take home with you, but it’s very rewarding to see everyone taking big steps towards learning about their machines and how to control ‘stitch in the ditch’ and following a straight line, avoiding slippage of the quilt layers, while also learning and practising more decorative free-motion filling stitches.

machine Quilting workshop by Dorothy Russell

If you can draw something without taking your pencil off the paper, you can machine quilt it – so there’s a lot of freedom to plan and execute your own ideas once you master the basic technique. It’s fun too.

Talgai Hall was the village primary school and is next door to a very pretty church and well tended churchyard…

Llandegai Church. bangor Gwynedd

…so with the doors open during the workshop, we had the constant sound of birdsong in the background. The village was built to serve Castell Penrhyn, a magnificent National Trust property whose grounds border the hall’s carpark.

It’s a wonderful place to hold workshops.


I still have three workshops left to teach in this series:

  • Silk Painting on Sunday 3rd May
  • Boutis on Sunday 17th May
  • New York Beauty on Sunday 24th and 31st May

  • Dorothy
    20 April 2015

Last day of Beginners 2015

End of the Beginners and Intermediate/Advanced Courses until September.

I missed one Intermediate session completely because I had a hip replacement operation, but managed to make a flying visit to the last Beginners and Intermediate sessions where they were doing very well without me!!!

I thought you might like to see some of the Beginners’ quilts – I think they’re stunning and I’m really proud of all of them. Enjoy.

One month today to my solo exhibition, ‘Textiles in Transition’ opens, at Oriel Ynys Môn on Anglesey.

Dorothy Russell Quilt Courses. last day of Beginners March 2015

Dorothy Russell

25th March 2015

Oriel Ynys Môn ‘What’s On’ Booklet and ‘Follow Your Bliss Café’ Bangor

I picked up a couple of Oriel Ynys Môn (The Anglesey Gallery) booklets for our guests, then one for me: I’m in this one and who can resist a picture of themselves in a publication. My exhibition, ‘Textiles in Transition’, runs from 25th April to 7th June. I’ve nearly finished all the work and I’m making lists and trying to sort out prices (the hard bit!). I’m beginning to get a bit excited – there’s nothing like seeing your own work hanging in a lovely gallery.

Dorothy Russell Quilt Artist

Pick up a booklet and come along to see my exhibition.

Better still, come to one of my One or Two day Workshops and start to learn about Textiles, particularly Patchwork and Quilting – I have to warn you though, it’s addictive!

Today was fun. Daf and I popped out to a new café in Bangor, opened just two days ago by an acquaintance of ours, Lesley Wills – she’s also a personal trainer with much more than a passing interest in nutrition. The big news is that the café is totally gluten-free and serves the best coffee (Poblado – roasted in Groeslon! – really, look it up!) and very tasty, fresh, healthy food. What more could you ask for? Don’t worry if you’re not gluten-free – the food still tastes as good – try it. Crepes with lots of good ingredients and no guilty conscience! What’s not to like?!

Follow your Bliss cafe, Bangor. Gwynedd.

Find them at www.followyourblisspt.com 47 High Street, Bangor. LL57 1NR. 01248 361700

Area Day at Thornton Hough on the Wirral

Quilt Workshop and Talk by Dorothy Russell at Thornton Hough

On Saturday 29th November I was the Speaker at the Wirral and West Cheshire Area Day.

The village where the meeting was held is very special – it gets a mention in the Doomsday Book and received its name in the reign of Edward the Second (1284 – 1327) when a Thorneton married a Hoghe: but it’s personality really began to develop when Joeph Hirst, a Yorkshire mill-owner, decided to develop a small ‘model village’ there.

Quilt Workshop and Talk by Dorothy Russell at Thornton Hough

The work was continued by William Lever, of Port Sunlight fame, who developed the village to house family, estate workers and company staff. It is built on an Elizabethan theme with red stone and black and white half timbered houses which are built round a large village green.

Quilt Workshop and Talk by Dorothy Russell at Thornton Hough

The hall used for the meeting was spacious with a separate ‘cafe’ area and was ideally suited to giving a talk in the morning and a mini-workshop in the afternoon.

I had a lovely welcome from the group, led by Fiona, and the talk was warmly received, with lots of interesting questions at the end – what a lovely audience. Fiona gave Daf and I a really good lunch – thank you, Fiona.

Folderd Paper Applique workshop at Thornton Hough by Dorothy Russell

In the afternoon I taught ‘Folded Paper Applique’ – in which no paper is folded! – a method I came up with based on the doilies or rows of figures holding hands I used to cut out of folded paper as a child: that was where the ‘folded paper’ bit of the title came from – see!

Folderd Paper Applique workshop at Thornton Hough by Dorothy Russell

Everyone worked really conscientiously and by the end of the afternoon lots of pieces were fixed to their backing fabrics ready for layering and and quilting at home.

Folderd Paper Applique workshop at Thornton Hough by Dorothy Russell

I always love to see how everyone’s work develops its own personality through different colour/pattern combinations. A few people worked with the basic design at an ‘unintended angle’ (there’s no such thing as a mistake!) and the results were great: experiment, you never know what the results will be.

Folderd Paper Applique workshop at Thornton Hough by Dorothy Russell

I had a really enjoyable day and I hope everyone else did too.

Thanks to you all and especially to Fiona for inviting me along. Good luck to the two ladies who are taking over from her. And thank you very much to Dot Sherlock for the Geckos!

Dorothy

1st December 2014

Busy Busy

A lot has happened since my last blog.

The 2013-14 Beginners’ and Intermediate/Advanced Courses have finished and I have taught my annual ‘One and Two Day Workshops’.

Intermediate classes 2014 Intermediate classes 2014 Intermediate classes 2014 Intermediate classes 2014

On top of this I have given talks and workshops to a number of quilt groups around the UK, which has been great fun – I have met some really lovely people, and been made most welcome.

Quilters everywhere are special people and in 2015 I’m likely to prove this internationally, as I have invitations to teach in Doha, Qatar and Newfoundland in Canada. I can’t wait.

Also, 2015 is an exciting prospect because I have a one-woman exhibition, from 25th April to 7th June, in Oriel Ynys Mon, the wonderful gallery in the heart of the Isle of Anglesey, which holds a major collection of work by Sir Kyffin Williams RA.

Meanwhile, a group of quilt artists, of which I am a member, Cwilt Cymru, have a travelling exhibition, ‘Connection': it will next appear at Minerva, in Llanidloes, featured in their annual ‘Summer Exhibition’. We have a ‘Meet the Artists’ day on Sunday 20th July from 11:00-15:00 where a few of us (including me) will be demonstrating. I’d love to meet you if you’re in the area.

Back at home at Coed y Berclas, our self-catering Cottage and Apartment are keeping me on my toes, but I managed to enjoyed a relaxed ‘Mad Quilters’ Tea Party’ with some of my very special quilters: it’s lovely to chat over a cup of tea and homemade ‘munchies’ then see how some of the work they have started with me has developed.

Student work Student work Student work Student work

I really enjoy these occasions.

Now I need to get out and begin recruiting new ‘beginners’, so, if you think you might be interested, give me a call or send an email – I’m really very friendly!

June 28th 2014 Beginners quilts

Dorothy 28th June 2014

Intermediate classes 2014 alt=

‘We Stand Surrounded by the Work of Thieves’ and ‘Autumn – A Dirge’

I have finished two pieces of work, ‘We Stand Surrounded by the Work of Thieves’ and ‘Autumn – A Dirge’, as well as their handling samples and Artist’s Statements, all before Christmas – it’s good to have a deadline!

They will form part of a travelling exhibition, ‘Connection’ by a group I belong to called Cwilt Cymru.

‘Autumn – A Dirge’ – Percy Bysshe Shelley’

aut-dirg-detail02-7108

Leafing through a book of poetry by Percy Bysshe Shelley, I discovered one poem written in 1820, which appealed to me: it began to conjure up images in my head as I read it.

For me the darkness of this poem, relating to the end of the year, is strangely comforting. The imagery is tragic and melancholy but beautiful and I was inspired to take the opening lines and incorporate them into my hanging. I have used colours and imagery suggested both by the poem and my own observations of the changing seasons. I have also incorporated crows because of their dark associations, and because we have crows, jackdaws and ravens living on our land, and their calls, and something about their visual aspect somehow feel appropriate to this season and this piece of work.

The hanging is in three sections: the wholecloth centre is painted, printed, stencilled, and machine quilted with appliquéd letters. It is divided from the first border by couched threads. This border is created in a similar way but the colours are lighter and less intense and I have used a simplified lithographic process to print the birds on the upper and lower sections. The final border is a commercial fabric which is machine quilted, with the addition of two skeletal leaves which unite the two borders.

Cotton fabric, cotton, silk and metallic threads, painted transfer adhesive lettering, lithography, machine quilting, appliqué leaves.

‘We stand Surrounded by the Work of Thieves’

I was naïve enough to be horrified by the greed and corruption exposed during the financial ‘crash’ within the banking sector. What makes it worse is that although massive sections of society have suffered because of the banking crisis, the people at the centre seem to be undisturbed as though at the ‘eye of the storm’, still wealthy, still greedy and still in control.

SURR-THIEVES-detail01-7099

Greed and corruption, of course, are not only evident in one sector of society, and stung by these thoughts and feeling impotent in the face of them, I set about responding through my work.

The work is blue and understated, hiding its serpentine message in intertwining words which are subtle and need to be searched for in the same way that the manoeuvrings of the powerful are disguised and secretive. There are also words which appear in the background machine quilting, though many are difficult to decipher or simply illegible.

Falling through the image are appliqué silver discs suggestive of coins. There are flashes of red in the painted/printed background and around the lettering. Red is used to symbolise danger or threat.

The border is foundation pieced but with no apparent pattern or regimentation and separating it from the centre is a confusion of couched threads, distracting the eye from the message within.

Cotton fabric with used with small amounts of metallic net, cotton, silk and metallic threads.

The wholecloth centre was painted, stencilled, printed, appliquéd, couched and machine quilted.

The border was pieced, machine quilted and couched.

Dorothy

2013 Pot Luck Lunch with the Intermediate/Advanced Class

Thursday 12th was the last class before Christmas for my Intermediate/Advanced class, so, in time honoured fashion, everyone who could make it brought a contribution to the midday meal. It’s a pleasant way to end the term and we took the opportunity to toast ‘the New Year, sewing and ourselves!’ (in apple/raspberry juice and carbonated water since we were all driving home).

Intermediate Advanced students Xmas lunch

Thank you to everyone for the lovely food you brought in …

Intermediate Advanced students Xmas lunch

I have an apology too – Sally, I can’t believe we allowed you to take your beautiful ‘coffee cake’ home without even tasting it! We were supposed to have it with our cuppa in the afternoon, but everyone was too busy to stop for a drink: we missed out!

This year is mostly about finishing off work which otherwise was beginning to pile up for everyone. It can be dispiriting to have too many pieces ‘on the go’ and be faced with yet another project before anything is completed, so this year is dedicated to reducing the pile of UFOs (unfinished objects).

Next September I won’t be so lenient – we will be working on ‘Textures’, using lots of different techniques, some traditional and some contemporary/experimental. I hope everyone will find something to suit them and which they will want to take further.

In two of the photos you can see bed quilts made by Karen and Sally: they are both working from the same basic layout, but, as you can see, their pieces are totally different.

Intermediate Advanced students Xmas. Karen's Quilt

Karen’s Quilt

Karen has made a fresh Spring-like quilt top by choosing gentle, light colours and has used fairly traditional piecing methods.

Intermediate Advanced students Xmas. Sally's Quilt

Sally’s Quilt

The focal areas on Sally’s quilt are foundation pieced and she has really pushed the technique to dramatic affect. It is always a delight to me to see where people take an idea, putting their own personal stamp on what they create. It’s also great for the group to see each other’s work and share ideas.

Intermediate Advanced students Xmas lunch

Despite the fact that this was the end of term, everyone was determined to get on with their work but the question is – will anyone manage to get any further on despite the demands of the Christmas break?

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone – keep sewing!.

Dorothy
15 December 2013

2013 Beginners’ end of term lunch

Today is my birthday ( I’m not counting!)

As Christmas approaches, we finish the term with a Pot Luck Lunch, at the last class.

2013 Beginners group Pot luck lunch

To make the day really exciting, my Beginners are at the stage of putting their quilt tops together and they are looking gorgeous (quilt tops and quilters!). I always love this session and the current group are just brilliant. Being a teacher is a real privilege, I love watching people developing skills and understanding, then pushing the boundaries: that’s the best bit, when students stretch their wings and fly off in their own artistic directions.

2013 Beginners group Pot luck lunch

Just look at the beautiful array of colours and shapes in the Beginners’ quilts this year. I know some of them have surprised themselves with what they have achieved and there are still plenty of stages left, layering, quilting, binding – each brings a new skill and more joy.

2013 Beginners group Pot luck lunch

I love all the quilts, but Paula’s boats, drawn for her by her daughter Imogen, and Anita’s cockerel have drawn a lot of interest in the group – and you can see why. 2013 Beginners. Anita's applique Christmas is great fun (usually!) but I’m looking forward to the new term and getting on with these lovely quilts!

For anyone who suffers from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) I prescribe joining a Patchwork and Quilting Course (or group) – it will get you out of the house, into good company and doing something exciting and creative! What better way of dealing with the winter blues? If you’re looking at the beautiful colours in your quilt, you aren’t aware of chilly grey days. I think a lot of qulters sew through late Autumn, Winter and early Spring, then become gardeners during the warmer months. Balance and symmetry!

2013 Beginners group Pot luck lunch

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone – keep sewing!.

Dorothy

7th December 2013

Spirit of the Celts opens in Greenock 30th November 2013

McLeans Art gallery Greenock

McLeans Art gallery Greenock

There will be a formal opening ceremony, with wine, at McLeans Art Gallery in Greenock,15 Kelly St, Greenock PA16 8JX. 01475 715624, and we are excited that the ‘celebrity’ officiating will be Baroness Liddell of Coatdyke, the most successful Scottish female politician ever, former Secretary of State for Scotland and former British High Commissioner to Australia.

She just happens to be a neighbour of Jan’s (one of the Scottish group members). I think this is wonderful and I wish I could be there!

 

If you’re anywhere near Greenock, go to the gallery and enjoy the work – comments from the Anglesey gallery were brilliant – our egos were well massaged!

Dorothy

Beginners’ group had got to Foundation Piecing – and met Dodie

12 November 2013

Last Thursday my Beginners’ group had got to Foundation Piecing – it’s a great technique which allows you to get precise, fine points without too much hassle. I really enjoy this technique and find it very useful.

Beginners 2013-14

During the session I had twice mentioned Dodie, who had done both the Beginners’ and Intermediate Courses with me, when she walked into the hall. She had brought with her a beautiful textile hanging which she has been working on, based on the Alhambra Palace, Granada.

Dodie's Alhambra Quilt

Her work took the group by storm – they were very impressed, and rightly so, it is a stunning piece of work.

Dodie and her Alhambra Quilt

Dodie with her wonderful Alhambra Quilt

Thank you, Dodie.

Yesterday, I went to Llandegai Patchers meeting – I’m a member but am often unable to get to meetings. This time there was no way I could miss it: it was the AGM (and 21st birthday of the group) and the title of the talk was ‘Dorothy’s Girls’ with three of my past students, Elaine, Debbie and Dawn, showing and talking about their work.

It can be a bit nerve-racking standing up in front of a large group and speaking, but they all did really well: the work was lovely and very much appreciated. Ann, sitting next to me in the audience, said: “You must be really proud of them” – of course I am!

Now I need to rush off to my workroom to get on with the two wall hangings I’m working on for the next Cwilt Cymru travelling exhibition ‘Connection’ – they need to be finished by 1st December.

I can do it!

Dorothy

382

A Quilter in Cumbria

Dorothy Russell by Derwentwater

A Quilter in Cumbria.. Dorothy Russell

‘Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher’. I gazed over Derwent water to Catbells and contemplated the lines of Wordsworth. An October weekend in Cumbria found me at Braithwaite village hall at the foot of Skiddaw, delivering a version of my ‘Butterfly Has two Wings’ talk for Region 15W of the Quilters’ Guild.

Braithwaite Village Hall

Braithwaite Village Hall

The sun shone, picking out features in the landscape and making the beauty of the Lake District even more captivating.
To be back in the Lakes after so many years

North Lakes hills looking south towards Thilmere

My talk, ‘The Butterfly has Two Wings’ is about me and my work, and is an ever changing thing – it has never been the same twice! I suspect I will have to adapt it to ‘…Three Wings’ soon, as my work evolves and wanders down new paths.

I always enjoy visiting groups and meeting new people and we had a lovely welcome in Cumbria, meeting some very interesting quilters.

Seaking helicopter landed at Keswick

After the talk we spent a little time in Keswick, a busy place even though it was well into October. We wandered along the shores of Derwent Water – the beautiful lake which has Keswick nestling at its head and while we were there one of the RAF’s yellow Sea King rescue helicopters landed on a nearby grassy knoll, scattering sheep and drawing the attention of a little hoard of visitors. The crew had been involved in a mountain rescue and popped into The Theatre by the Lake for a cuppa before flying all the way back to their base at Leconfield, near Hull. Although we often see the helicopters from Valley flying past our kitchen window, this is the closest we have been to a wonderful Sea King. We’ll miss them when they go out of service.

Back to quilting, a very special ‘thank you’ goes to Pat for looking after us so splendidly – we stayed in her lovely home in Threlkeld which she and her husband built in the footsteps of the arts and crafts movement. The care and attention to detail is wonderful to see. Pat, with members of the committee, entertained us to a lovely supper – we thought we’d be tired after a long day but in such good company we enjoyed a very convivial evening.

just sew shop at Penrith

www.justsewpenrith.co.uk

On Sunday we headed for Penrith, to a wonderful shop in Penrith’s ‘Poets walk’ which is well worth ‘discovering’ if you’re in the area – ‘Just Sew’ – website: www.justsewpenrith.co.uk.
Pat, who owns and runs Just Sew, was very welcoming and we soon settled into her very organised workshop and got down to ‘Machine Quilting’. The group worked hard and did very well – I suspect they all slept well that night. I hope they are all much more comfortable with the idea of machine quilting now – it seems to intimidate a lot of quilters, but there are ways of making it easier.

Machine Quilting workshop at region 15W. Penrith

Machine Quilting workshop at region 15W. Penrith

We spent only a very short time in the Lakes but a very pleasant one. We’ll be back soon.

Thank you to everyone for making us feel so very welcome.

Dorothy

New Beginner’s Course Starts

The new Beginners’ Course will start on Thursday 17th October
at Talgai Hall in Llandygai Village, nr Bangor, N Wales.

Dates and times are on the calendar below.

The course will run over eight sessions with strategically placed breaks to give sufficient preparaton time for the next stage, especially when we arrive at hand quilting.

A section from the 2013 Beginner's Quilt

The finished quilt measures 38”(96cm) x 50”(126cm)

The image above shows just one of the possible blocks which form the quilt design everyone will be working on, but each finished piece will be very different once individual fabric/colour choice and block selection is taken into account. I love to see how much variety there can be on each course.

I’m really looking forward to getting down to work and seeing the skills developing – with each new block bringing another system for piecing/layering/quilting and finishing.

I look forward to meeting everyone on Thursday 17th.

Dorothy

Beginners Course

  • 9:30 – 16:30
  • Thursday 17th October 2013
  • Thursday 24th October 2013
  • Thursday 7th November 2013
  • Thursday 21st November 2013
  • Thursday 5th December 2013
  • *Christmas break to make sure all the blocks, sashing and borders are ready.
  • Thursday 9th January 2014
  • Thursday 23rd January 2014
  • *Break to give time for hand quilting to be complete enough to bind/label and add hanger.
  • Thursday 27th February 2014

“…how quickly the year is going…”

It’s hard to believe how quickly the year is going: already the Intermediate/Advanced Course is well under way. It’s always lovely to see everyone again after the summer break.

Lots has been happening over our summer – it was very busy, and not a break at all!

First there was my exhibition, ‘Chocolates and Emotions’ at Ucheldre, in Holyhead; then the Region 13 quilt exhibition at Bangor Cathedral; finally we were very involved with the traveling exhibition ‘Spirit of the Celts‘ which came to Oriel Ynys Mon, where it opened on Saturday 3rd August and had its final day on Sunday 15th September. Spirit of the Celts exhibition at Oriel Ynys Mon Aug/Sept 2013 It got wonderful reviews and visitor comments. ‘Spirit’ is now in Scotland and will open at the McLean Art Gallery and Museum, Greenock (on the River Clyde) on St Andrew’s Day, Saturday 30th November. I hope the people of Scotland get as much from our exhibition as residents and visitors to Anglesey did. I spoke to some lovely people in the gallery and some of them made two, three or even four visits, which is wonderful!

Spirit of the Celts exhibition at Oriel Ynys Mon Aug/Sept 2013

Great to see no age barrier!

Thank you to everyone who came and a big thank you for all your lovely comments. The textile work in the exhibition was produced by 27 artists belonging to three different groups: Loose Threads from Northern Ireland, Turning Point from Scotland and last, but not least, the new kids on the block, Cwilt Cymru from Wales.

Members of Cwilt Cymru are well spread across Wales, living in Cardiff in the south, Anglesey in the north, Aberystwyth in the west, Ruthin in the east, and several points in between. I’m the member who lives on Anglesey. Currently we are preparing work, with guest artists, for our next touring exhibition which has the theme ‘Connection’.

 

I’m also working towards a one-woman-show at Oriel Ynys Mon (the Anglesey Gallery) in 2015 and there don’t seem to be enough hours in the day to get everything done. It’s good to have a deadline. I’m really enjoying experimenting with new approaches to my work.

This weekend, 5th and 6th October, I’ll be giving a talk and workshop to Region 15W of the Quilters’ Guild in Cumbria: the talk is ‘The Butterfly has Two Wings’ (I know they have four!) and I’ll be teaching Free Machine Quilting in the workshop. I’m really looking forward to it – I love meeting people, especially quilters, and it’s ages since I was in the Lake District – always a treat!

Dorothy

Spirit of the Celts Exhibition. 3rd August to 15th September at Oriel Ynys Mon, Llangefni.

Branwen1 exhibited as part of Spirit of the Celts at Oriel Ynys Mon Llangefni Aug/Sept 2013

Branwen1 exhibited as part of Spirit of the Celts at Oriel Ynys Mon Llangefni Aug/Sept 2013

An exhibition of textiles by:

Cwilt Cymru (Wales)

Turning point (Scotland)

Loose Thread Quilters (Northern Ireland)

These three textile groups have taken the folklore and history of the Celtic lands as their inspiration. They celebrate their quilting traditions with fabrics such as cotton, silk, or wool, but also explore new media such as paper, metal, plastic or paint. Stitching by machine or hand may be accompanied by beading, burning, and drawing. This is quilting as an exciting contemporary art form.

We would love to see you at the exhibition opening on Saturday 3rd August, 12 noon to 2pm where you will be able to meet one of the artists, Dorothy Russell, a member of Cwilt Cymru.

Oriel Ynys Mon is open every day from 10:30 – 5:00
Admission is free.
There’s plenty of parking and a very good cafe.

Coffee Morning and Show and Tell at Coed y Berclas

Coffee Morning and Show and Tell at Coed y Berclas

On Sunday 14th July I had a coffee morning with all of the members of my quilt groups who could make it. I had a wonderful morning and from the feedback I have received in emails and comments, I wasn’t alone. It’s great to be able to relax together and enjoy each others’ company without the pressure of deadlines for work to be done.

Now that Daf and I have gone gluten free, I have taken a new look at baking. On the internet I chose three recipes to try: Carrot Cake, Lemon Drizzle Cake and Pear and Chocolate Cake: they all feature ground almonds and eggs, with no flour, although one has mashed potato in place of it! They were easy to make, and to eat – I think, on balance my favourite was the Pear and Chocolate Cake which I made with 90% Lindt!

I cut the cakes into small slices to encourage everyone to try all three without embarassment – you know how sensitive we women are about being seen tucking into huge wedges of cake, let alone coming back for more!

Luckily, there are no photos of any of us eating – much kinder that way.

But there are images of our ‘show and tell’.It’s always wonderful to see what everyone has made and even though I see everyone in one group or another, I can still see new or unknown work.

Rachel's Quilt from Intermediate Class.

We don’t only produce textile work either – Anneli, one of the younger generation of quilters produces beautiful work both in textiles and wood, but I think her next production will be her best yet. Anneli’s baby was due to be born on the very day of the coffee morning but she made it to the end without going intcident. There were plenty of volunteers to hold her hand and we even had a midwife, Rachel, on hand, but her skills were not required. It would have brought a different meaning to ‘show and tell’ though, wouldn’t it!

Anneli

I musn’t be too long arranging another coffee morning, quite a lot of people couldn’t come to this one and we all love informal ‘get togethers’ – and an excuse to find new cake recipes. Perhaps we’ll have our youngest ever member at the next one.

Eileen’s Magic Tile Quilt – a ‘one to one’ workshop

Magic Tile one to one workshop. Dorothy Russell

For three days this week I have had company in my workroom. Eileen, her husband, Lee and their son Eoin (or Eoghan – pronounced like Owen) stayed in our holiday cottage here at Coed y Berclas. As a birthday present from Lee, Eileen had three days of patchwork and quilting tuition with me.

She had selected ‘Magic Tile’ which is fairly complex and requires a number of different techniques – a very good choice, because over the three days we covered – fabric use for her fuscia design, ‘bondawebbing’, cutting to design lines, re-assembling using joining strips, machine quilting ‘in the ditch’ and applique stitch (a blanket stitch on the machine).

Eileen will finish quilting, beading and binding her hanging in her own time and has promised to send me an image of the finished quilt which will appear in a subsequent blog. It was a delight working with her while her husband and son discovered some of the pleasant ways to pass the time on Anglesey and North Wales. They had fun too.

I Must Remain Calm for the NEC

Contemporary Quilt Exhibition for Festival of Quilts

Horizons

I Must Remain Calm. Art Quilt. Dorothy Russell

Well, I believe I work well to deadlines, but this time I think I took it to the wire…

I had been intent on making a piece of work for the ‘Horizons’ exhibition at the NEC but getting everything ready for my own exhibition ‘Emotions and Chocolates’ at Ucheldre Holyhead took priority as I watched the deadline getting closer and closer.

Once my Ucheldre exhibition opened, I mentioned ‘Horizons’ to Daf… he said “just do it” – so I started – with just four days to the deadline!

Well, it took three days – and I got to eat and sleep.

The name of the hanging – ‘I Must Remain Calm’!

Dorothy
29th June 2013

Romsey Quilters and the Opening of My Exhibition at Ucheldre in Holyhead, Anglesey

Notan Quilt workshop at Romsey Quilters. Dorothy Russell

A big thank you to Romsey Quilters who were so enthusiastic and made Daf and I feel very welcome. What a lively, organised group, it was a delight talking to you and the results from the ‘Notan’ workshop were lovely both in paper and when translated into fabric

Notan Quilt workshop at Romsey Quilters. Dorothy Russell

Many thanks to Lin Arnold for these two photos.

I’d love to see more images of some quilted and finished pieces. It’s a long drive from Anglesey to Romsey but you made it all worthwhile.

We were struck by the lovely architecture which has been retained and looked after in Romsey and particularly enjoyed our walk round the Abbey – which is not only special architecturally but also contains some beautifully worked textiles, including the altar cloth which, we found out, was one of a set made by a founder member of Romsey Quilters. We also managed a short drive in the New Forest, which we thoroughly enjoyed – we especially loved a newly re-thatched roof which looked just perfect and some stunning pargetting. It all added to the joy of our visit. A long drive home, but we made it, safe and sound, if a little tired.

This Thursday, at 6:00pm is the opening of my exhibition ‘Emotions and Chocolates’ at Canolfan Ucheldre, Holyhead, so if you’re in the area, please come along.

Dorothy Russell Quilt exhibition at Ucheldre Centre, Anglesey

The exhibition runs from Friday 21st June – Wednesday 17th July and the Centre is open every day. It’s a great venue and there’s always something going on there, including live stage performances of drama and music; films, exhibitions and recently they started showing ‘live from’ operas and ballets – these are proving very popular around the country.

I hope that even if you can’t get to the opening of my exhibition, you’ll be able to see it before the 17th July.

Dorothy

17th June 2013

Free-cut curves workshop. May 2013.

Free-cut curves workshop. may 2013. Dorothy Russell

Yesterday I taught Free-cut Curves to a slightly disorientated group – they thought I had thrown away the rule book. I’m usually very fussy about safety and the correct use of rotary cutters. I’m prone to hissing ‘blade!’ at poor unsuspecting quilters who wave about or put down bare bladed cutters – with good reason, they are potentially very dangerous. However to do free-cut curves, you don’t use a ruler, just the cutter and mat. It tends to raise everyone’s caution levels but it gives some very interesting results.

Free-cut curves workshop. may 2013. Dorothy Russell

I feel tempted to say ‘Don’t try this at home’ but I’ll resist and say try it by all means but be very careful – I think the best approach would be to remember when you were a child doing lino printing and you were told never to cut towards your fingers. The same approach applies to free-cut curves. Most adults are used to using sharp knives in the kitchen, so give it a go!

Free-cut curves workshop. may 2013. Dorothy Russell

The curves can’t be too tight or they’d become very difficult to stitch together. You don’t actually need pins to line up the seams but I do still advise using a quarter inch foot when sewing them. You can’t get the same results from a conventional approach, so perhaps the group were right – we had thrown at least some of the rule book away.

Free-cut curves workshop. may 2013. Dorothy Russell

 

 

 

When I looked at everyone elses fabrics, I thought they were all much more interesting than the ones I had brought for demonstrating – how many times has that been heard at a workshop!

 

 

 

A few people brought work from earlier workshops or completed work from one of the courses.

fabric dyeing workshop. Summer 2013. Dorothy Russell

A week ago I taught ‘Fabric Dyeing’ which was agreed by everyone to be great fun, and some of the results very exciting – it probably helps that you have to wait at least three hours (I usually leave them overnight) before you can see the results of your experiments. It’s like Christmas Day for quilters, but instead of presents we open surprise packages of multicoloured fabrics and enjoy the patterns and colours which have formed. Margaret Harrison and Marion Gash brought their dyed pieces for us to see and they both had lovely fabrics which could be cut up and used or layered and quilted as wholecloth.

Students work from workshops. Dorothy Russell

Previously, I had taught ‘Reverse Applique’ and Sue Turnbull brought the piece she had started at that workshop. Her arrangement is formal, but fun, and the jewel colours glow like the glass in a stained-glass window against the black of the top fabric. She has choices now about how to finish off her little quilt: she could have it framed as it is: do further quilting, perhaps on the black fabric: add decorative stitches and/or beading to the coloured sections or make lots more and join them together. (I can hear Sue’s response to the last suggestion as I write!)

Students work from workshops. Dorothy Russell

 

 

 

 

As part of her Intermediate Course, Ann Hill took Matisse’s cutouts as her starting point and allied his approach and colours to looking at women in sport – an allusion to last summer’s Opympic Games. The boat depicted in the lowest section is a Drascombe Lugger which once belonged to Ann and her husband. Ann’s husband is currently involved in a cycle ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats. (Good luck to him – I hope the weather’s kind.)

 

 

 

 

Students work from workshops. Dorothy Russell

 

As part of the same project, Ann Davies, influenced by the work of a local artist, used a photograph she had taken of the foamy ripples of a wave on an Anglesey beach as the starting point from which she built this textile piece. She used a fascinating little hand drill to put the stitching holes in the shells and employed a lot of techniques, which were new to her, to very good effect.

 

Dorothy

Canadian Quilters at Coed y Berclas. 19th May 2013.

Presentation to Canadian Quilters at Coed y Beclas

I’ve just had another really lovely day.

Liz and Peter Cox of Quilters Travel brought a group of absolutely delightful Canadian quilters to Coed y Berclas to see my work.

They were on a fairly tight schedule: they arrived at 09:45, took in the amazing view from our house, my talk lasted an hour (10:00 – 11:00, very tightly controlled!) then we had coffee/tea and homemade Welsh cakes while we chatted about the quilts. At 11:45 (precisely!) they drove away in their coach for lunch at The Bull in Beaumaris.

It felt like a bit of a whirlwind visit but I truly enjoyed every minute – they were so interested and so very pleasant to spend time with. I’d love to be invited over to Canada to do some workshops.

After a very brief lunch I whizzed off to the dress rehearsal for the dance show I’ll be appearing in (very briefly!) next Saturday, at Venue Cymru in Llandudno. There’s a fair bit of waiting around at a dress rehearsal, but in the best of company!!! Roll on the show!! We’re Rubic’s Cubes …………….!

Dorothy

Reverse Applique Workshop. 16th May 2013.

Reverse Applique Workshop. Dorothy Russell

I had a really lovely day teaching Reverse Applique today. I saw lots of people I hadn’t seen for weeks – I hadn’t realised how much I’d missed them until they started arriving. We’ve got to have a get-together soon; a coffee morning or something similar, where we aren’t working on anything more serious than relaxing together.

Reverse Applique Workshop. Dorothy Russell

The atmosphere in the room was great – a blend of ‘busy-busy’ and Liz’s amazingly ‘mucky’ laugh: I could do with her in every workshop to keep the group smiling.

Reverse Applique Workshop. Dorothy Russell

Everyone brought an individual approach to her work and, as this session is really about learning a new technique, I look forward to see how everyone applies it to future textile pieces.

Reverse Applique Workshop. Dorothy Russell

The results were really good and I have it on good authority that everyone enjoyed the workshop – they told me so!

Reverse Applique Workshop. Dorothy Russell

Next week it’s Fabric Dyeing which is always fun and great to see the results. Like Reverse Applique, there are always unexpected outcomes – part of the enjoyment is in the ‘serendipity’ effect.

Fabric Dyeing Workshop. Dorothy Russell

I had a phone call from Roy at the Anderson Gallery to say he has finished framing the small quilts for my exhibition at Ucheldre, which opens at the end of June, so now I can relax a bit and look forward to that!

Dorothy

Wholecloth and Machine Quilting Workshops

9th May 2013

Wholecloth and Machine Quilting are now completed – both busy workshops. I look forward to seeing some of the completed wholecloth quilts when they’re finished: the designs, drawn out on fabric and partly quilted, already look really good and once the magic of stitch brings them to life, I know they’ll more than live up to that promise.

Dorothy Russell machine Quilting Workshop

Machine Quilting is more about learning a technique, which can then be practised and practised and applied wherever it’s required. I love the fact that people leave the class more relaxed and confident with the though of using this technique in their quilts.

Dorothy Russell machine Quilting Workshop

Next Thursday I’ll be teaching Reverse Applique (link the words ‘reverse applique’ to the it’s page in the ‘workshops section) which is a great technique with an element of surprise in it every time: I’m looking forward to seeing the results.

Dorothy

Breila

I recently handed over the ‘Breila’ quilt to its new owner, Sharon.

Breila means rose in old Welsh and the quilt is based on the historical character Siwan (Joan/Joanna), daughter of King John, who was married to Llewelyn ap Iorwerth (Llewelyn the Great), Prince of Gwynedd. They lived in various courts around their principality, travelling from one to another. When Siwan died, Llewelyn founded a friary in Llanfaes, near Beaumaris, to her memory; she was buried there, but now her sarcophagus is in the porch of St Mary’s Church in Beaumaris. Llewelyn’s name for Siwan is believed to have been Breila.

Breila. Pieced contemporary by Dorothy Russell

Sharon is very happy with her quilt.

Click here to see the Breila quilt in my portfolio.

 

Dorothy