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The Great Photography Debate

Stitched paper flowers a la Helen Brownett, Mantlepiece

Stitched paper flowers a la Helen Brownett, 'Mantlepiece'

While I was in Nottingham with my mother over Easter we went to the Living Threads textile group exhibition at Trent College, Long Eaton (www.livingthreadstextileartists.com), open until 30 April (closed for Royal Wedding, 29th April).  It was a great show (as it always is) with an extraordinarily high standard of work and very beautiful pieces, and gorgeous examples of traditional embroidery (who could fail to love pigs done in contemporary blackwork?).  Like all great shows it makes you want to dash out and do something yourself as soon as you can.  But on the way in we were told there was to be no photography.  The reason given was that people ‘can manipulate other people’s designs’.

This is a thorny one, I think, and it’s a discussion that I have had a number of times on a number of committees.  Should we let people take pictures or not?  I understand the argument on both sides.  It’s true that people steal ideas and that for those who make a big chunk of their livelihood from giving workshops or selling, this can be a real problem.  My friend Liz Hewitt invested in some lovely brochures of her work and so didn’t really want people taking photos of their own.  If there are postcards for sale it strikes me as courteous to buy those rather than ‘steal’ photos.  People shouldn’t profit from other people’s ideas, other people’s intellectual property.  I fully accept that.  But being a conscientious academic, I can also see the other side and I wondered why it galled me quite so much not being able to take photos of inspiring things.

I think it was the turn of phrase: ‘manipulate other people’s ideas.’  It led me to wonder what exactly this work was made for.  Clearly a lot of it was for sale.  But there was stuff that was very definitely NFS.  And this was an exhibition, a public showing.   So what then?  Makers love to share.  They love to show what they have done.  Making and showing is communicating.  What do we want to communicate that we don’t want copied?  Surely not just gasps of admiration and approbation.  Don’t we want to circulate ideas and have them increase in strength as they do?  There aren’t that many truly original things to say about landscape or mermaids or crumbling brick walls.  We only have our own spin on it, our own interpretation, and my take on your idea is mine and always will be because work of the hand is always unique.  There is also quite a bit of interest in copying as creativity at the moment – creative swiping, adding to and amplifying.  As I blogged a couple of months ago, I think generosity of spirit is something we should aim for in our work.  I don’t mind who uses pictures of my work.  Take it and do something interesting with it.  Credit me if you have a conscience, but your work with my work won’t diminish what I did in the first place.  You can manipulate my ideas all you like and I would be interested to see the results.  Those continental philosophers would tell us we are all copies of copies anyway…  Modern life is simulacra…

The upshot was that I got out my notebook and (horror) a permanent alcohol-based brown pen which was all I had with me, and made some sketches.  I was taken by two things.  One was very small prints of trees on organza which were then applied in layers to make a landscape, and the other was a panel with punched paper flowers with straight stitches and beads.  I thought I had better go home and have a go before I forgot (give a man a fish and all that).  So I made a version of what I had seen (largely from a pack that I bought from the exhibition sales table) and the result is in this post.  Maybe this is the creative compromise.  Not a straight photo, but my own version.

More paper dogroses

More paper dogroses

Which is pretty and fine and worked and allowed me to experiment and so on.  But what was more interesting to me was that the leftovers, my version of sequin waste, will come in useful for another project that I want to do: guerilla art or aesthetic activism.  So the strips of watercolour paper that are leftover can become bookmarks to be left for people to find and to encourage them to do something:

Potential bookmarks

Potential bookmarks

Being quite so conventional, I am slightly nervous of activism, but I want to have a go as an action research project, and I could easily start with these.  So, manipulating another person’s image has turned out to be generative and to be about doing something new, which is pretty much why I think making is so important.  Making is about connecting not hugging stuff to yourself or delighting in your own skill.

And here are some exquisite cards I bought and hope you enjoy!

Bookbinding in Bristol

Long stitch binding

Long stitch binding

I spent most of yesterday at a bookbinding class at Heart Space Studios in Bristol (www.heartspacestudios.co.uk) with Lori Sauer.  I have been interested in making books for a while, and really like the instant results of the rubber band books which are the absolute simplest to make (just fold over some A4, make a slightly bigger scrap cardboard cover and hold the whole thing together with an upcycled red Post Office rubber band), but I had a hankering to learn how to make ‘proper’ books.  I am also interested in using the book itself to critique academic production (but that’s for another time), and the artisan quality of handbound books seems to me to be a good vehicle to explore this.  So, off I went with trusty companion Mike, and his sister Sarah.

We had a great day and all three of us came home with books that we were proud of (even though we knew we weren’t up there with the tutor whose work was really immaculate), but we had done it all ourselves including cutting every page inside the covers.  We did long stitch binding as in this example of mine:

Self-coloured binding

Self-coloured binding

There was something tremendously satisfying about these books, making them and holding them in the hand.  They have a great weight despite having only strong paper covers, and they stay flat when they are open which makes them possible to work into!

Lori was a great tutor, very informative and good-natured with our ham-fisted attempts, and she held a great balance between helping us out and making sure that we had actually produced the work ourselves.

I am now left wondering how I can use these techniques with fabric, which won’t be quite so easy, but which I don’t think is impossible.  And I went away feeling as though I had mastered something rather than being a dabbler!

Easter in Nottingham

Waed Shawky, Cabaret Crusades, The Horror Show, 2010

Waed Shawky, Cabaret Crusades, The Horror Show, 2010

Sooo, back from Easter in Nottingham with my mother.  It was my first real opportunity to go to Nottingham Contemporary (www.nottinghamcontemporary.org,) which is a brand new gallery for contemporary art.  One of the main things that struck me about it was that you could tell you were oop North (although real Northerners consider Nottingham the smooth south) because there was a very friendly atmosphere about the place; nothing intimidating or superior about it at all.  Service in the cafe was leisurely, but it was very pleasant and my mother, who is most definitely a senior citizen, said she would be happy to go there with her friends, which is not always the case with contemporary art spaces.

The shows were thought-provoking with lots of good stuff to say about diversity and cross-cultural communication, and the tyranny of context and all of that, but the piece that stood out for me was the film of the Crusades from the Muslim point of view done with vintage puppets by Waed Skawky, Cabaret Crusades: The Horror Show, 2010.  Fantastic.  I was amazed how moving it was, particularly given the images of the puppets were not manipulated at all, and the historian husband said it was remarkably historically accurate.  It was a real shame that there was no version available for educational purposes.  Highly recommended should you be passing and on until 26 June.

Also hugely and highly recommended, is The Beetroot Tree (www.thebeetroottree.com).  It is a craft centre/gallery/shop and cafe.  It is also the antithesis of corporate.  Or particularly well-organised, but it was wonderful.  The cafe is vegetarian.  It has a sun-trap courtyard.  The cutlery and crockery are absolutely gorgeous and a joy to handle.  The people are lovely.  And it deserves to succeed.  We waited forever for our coffee and to pay for our lunch and to pay for our purchases in the shop, and the business and management bit of me wanted to gather them round a flipchart and brainstorm ways they could make it easy for people to pay and spend money which is the first rule of retail (after get them through the door).  But, part of the massive charm of the place is that it is so boho.  And they did get us through the door.  When I phoned up to see if the dogs would be welcome there was no hesitation: short lead through the gallery and then sit them in the courtyard.  When we arrived water was instantly produced for them.  People had to wait a bit longer.  But, it was great.  And they do fantastic ice cream.  And they have really interesting things in the shop.  And they do mail order.  And they had a great selection of things from John Gillow.  (see www.sheer-sumptuosity.co.uk/articles/johngillow.pdf).  I loved it and wish them well.

Otherwise, my mother is always a treasure trove of stuff and this trip she gave me a gorgeous sample pack of batiks from a place she knows in Leicester.  Here it is with a piece of shot silk velvet I bought in the Beetroot Tree.  Just sumptuous:

Cotton batik and silk velvet

Cotton batik and silk velvet

The chartreuse colour is the back of the midnight blue velvet.  Here’s a close-up:

Fabric close-up

Fabric close-up

There was something for everyone in this trip, even the historian husband got an expected trip on a restored steam train when we went to Rushcliffe Country Park to walk the dogs on Easter Sunday.  (Sadly I can’t find a workable link to it, but it’s called Nottingham Heritage Transport Centre).  I had my big coat on from Hampstead Bazaar and indulged my Anna Karenina fantasies.  Something for the dogs too, a rally of rescue greyhounds, all looking magnificent and full of life.

Cult of Beauty at the V&A revisited

Millais, 'Esther'

Millais, 'Esther', 1863-5

I forgot to include this magnificent thing in the previous post, but I thought it was the most glorious thing in a sumptuous exhibition, and I hadn’t seen it before.  The slash of yellow is really something with the ikat weave of the gown glowing against it.  Just gorgeous.  I seldom want to take things home with me from big exhibitions, but this one was just stunning.  And I am a sucker for anything on a yellow background.

The Aesthetic Movement at the V&A

'Bocca Baciata' Dante Gabriel Rossetti, London, 1859.

Bocca Baciata Dante Gabriel Rossetti, London, 1859.

On Tuesday, I went with my fabulous friend, Beatriz (www.beatrizacevedo.com) to the wonderful new exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, The Cult of Beauty: The Aesthetic Movement, 1860-1900 (www.vam.ac.uk/collections/periods_styles/cult-of-beauty/index.html ) which is on until 17 July 2011.  The exhibition contained just about every artist who had an influence on me during my formative years: Beardsley, Morris, Rossetti, Millais, Kate Greenaway, Albert Moore, Burne-Jones, Edward Lord Leighton, Whistler, Julia Cameron, Walter Crane, William de Morgan…..  The only word for it was sumptuous.  All those languorous Pre-Raphaelite beauties, all those peacock feathers and lilies and sunflowers.  Fantastic.

I did my PhD on the 1890s, and so it has a very special place in my affections and I was really delighted that they included a reading of a poem by the person I did my doctoral work on, Arthur Symons,

Arthur Symons, 1865-1945

Arthur Symons, 1865-1945

I don’t want to go into a full lecture here, but he was an extraordinary man, who really ‘got’ the French Symbolist poets in the 1890s when no-one else had any real idea what they were about.  He was a critic and a translator, although I always thought that his poems in the style of were better than his straight translations.  He was an interesting character because although he was in the centre of the Decadent Movement – he knew Aubrey Beardsley and Ernest Dowson and Oscar Wilde, I don’t think he was really all that decadent himself.  He came from good Welsh non-conformist stock, although he always wanted to be identified as Cornish.  He also had a very sad life.  The love of his life, Lydia, came to see him to tell him she was getting married, not to him, the following day, and he had no children with his wife, Rhoda, instead they had canine child substitutes.  He had a terrible breakdown in Italy  in 1908 and had to be rescued by his friends.  I remember going to the British Library and reading the excited letters he sent to friends on the eve of the trip knowing that he was going to personal disaster.  He never really recovered.

I think this is my favourite of his poems:

ON THE BEACH.

NIGHT, a grey sky, a ghostly sea,
The soft beginning of the rain:
Black on the horizon, sails that wane
Into the distance mistily.

The tide is rising, I can hear
The soft roar broadening far along;
It cries and murmurs in my car
A sleepy old forgotten song.

Softly the stealthy night descends,
The black sails fade into the sky:
Is this not, where the sea-line ends,
The shore-line of infinity?

I cannot think or dream: the grey
Unending waste of sea and night,
Dull, impotently infinite,
Blots out the very hope of day.

(From Silhouettes, 1896)

I love ‘the soft beginning of the rain’.

This is the one included in the V&A exhibition, also from Silhouettes:

MORBIDEZZA.

WHITE girl, your flesh is lilies
Grown ‘neath a frozen moon,
So still is
The rapture of your swoon
Of whiteness, snow or lilies.

The virginal revealment,
Your bosom’s wavering slope,
Concealment,
‘Neath fainting heliotrope,
Of whitest white’s revealment,

Is like a bed of lilies,
A jealous-guarded row,
Whose will is
Simply chaste dreams:—but oh,
The alluring scent of lilies!

All this made me think of the two elements that I thought were missing from the V&A show: the profound influence of Walter Pater, and that of the French poets, Baudelaire and Gautier, and the prose of J K Huysmans.  But, I suppose they had to limit the exhibition somehow.

I wanted to go particularly, because I am becoming really interested in William Morris and his ideas about craft.  But that’s for another time.  Meanwhile, Beatriz and I went on a Pre-Raphaelite walk in Chelsea which took us into Maharani (www.maharanitrading.com) which had the most beautiful embroidered silk jackets.  Beatriz couldn’t resist, and here is a picture of the rack:

Embroidered Indian Silk Jackets in Maharani

Embroidered Indian Silk Jackets in Maharani

And all shall be well

The Bernina 1020

The Bernina 1020

I posted a couple of weeks ago about how my beloved Bernina has ceased to function after a mere twenty years of ceaseless battering.  Well, eventually I got round to phoning the sewing machine repair man recommended by my most excellent quilting friend, Alison.  He was out, of course, mending sewing machines, but good as his word he phoned back after 8.30.  He is a busy man.  It turns out that he can’t fit me in until 10 May.  Could I manage until then?  It’s a bit like being asked if your need to see a doctor is an emergency.  Not really, but it seems very important at the time.  Anyway, we had a chat to diagnose the problem which may well be a tiny broken screw.  He might be able to fix it at home or it might have to go into the shop.  The whole conversation was like taking the dog to the vets.  Please be gentle with it; please be kind to it; you don’t realise how much it means to me; please don’t hurt it.  He was far more reassuring than any vet I have encountered, though.  He’s seen thousands of Berninas over the years, and never lost one.  Never lost one.  How could I resist a man with that attitude?  And, he uttered the immortal words, ‘Really good machines, the 1020s,’ which I translate as, ‘You are clearly a woman of great insight and wisdom and, like buying thoroughbred horses, you know quality when you see it.’  So, I came away with a rosy glow, and vastly relieved that my Bernina will pull through.

The photo at the top, by the way, is not, alas, my workroom, but a picture taken from another blog (craftingmomof1.blogspot.com/2009_06_01_archive.html) in which the lucky finder of a very cheap secondhand 1020 celebrates her good fortune and approaches the machine with the sort of reverence I admire!

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Threads of Identity 2 – finished

Threads of Identity 2

Threads of Identity 2

So this is the second piece in the Laura Ashley series based on the scraps of textiles in the Foundling Museum in Bloomsbury ( www.foundlingmuseum.org.uk).  This one started with the mauvey-purpley piece in the top-left-hand corner.  I added the large black, yellow and purple piece on the right because the two bits of mauve just seemed to make each other zing when I was trying out elements.

Threads of Identity 2 - detail

Threads of Identity 2 - detail

It’s made on my embellisher and then heavily stitched and beaded by hand.

This is a piece which I let make itself a bit.  I started with the plain cream fabric which I had intended to use for all the pieces, but which turned out to be too fine to take all the heavy stitching and embellishment I wanted to use, so in subsequent pieces I switched to a much more robust unbleached calico.  I gradually laid down pieces and built up a collage type of piece.  This piece was quite greedy, though.  To make it ‘look anything’ I had to spend hours beading it and stitching into it.  I took it with me to my sewing group and spent an entire evening stitching on tiny black seed beads while we chatted, and I spent a couple of nights in front of the television sewing on more yellow beads and stitching down the organza.  It really demanded attention.  I had to add the large elements fairly early in the process as I wanted to bead up to and round them rather than sit them on top of a heavily worked background.  But the problem was that it just never felt finished.  I kept on adding stitching – a lot of cream on cream quilting which gives it a crunchy texture, but it still wasn’t complete.  There was a gap between the left and right hand sides of the piece.

Threads of Identity 2 - almost complete

Threads of Identity 2 - almost complete

In the end, I decided to paint the cream on cream machine quilting of the very traditional feather design.  I had really liked this as cream and whole cloth-y, but I thought it made too stark a break between the two sides of the design.  So, initially I thought about painting it black as the other side is so dark, but in the end I decided on a bronzey-gold, which worked really well.  I used my favourite Golden fluid acrylics, but this time wet the brush really thoroughly before I started.  A surprise effect resulted:

Threads of Identity 2 - detail

Threads of Identity 2 - detail

The green carrier in the paint ran out and made it look like I hadn’t bothered to wash away the blue water soluble fabric marker pen – which ironically, I hadn’t used.  I did the quilting free-hand.  So, a moment’s panic, but then I decided that I quite liked the verdigris effect it gave and left it.

These small quilts are supposed to be narrative pieces.  They tell the story of their imaginary owners.  I have two theories about this one.  First that she was an anthropologist, possibly one of the early feminist anthropologists who would probably have worn Laura Ashley dresses, but very much in the Marija Gimbutas mould that I blogged about earlier, with her work on the Ancient European goddess figures.  The strata in the black embellisher produced piece suggest layers of earth in an excavation.  The beads look like some sort of flint finds that you might get at a prehistoric site, and the little gold figures look like they could have come from a number of cultures.  So this might be a Gimbutas associate.  Or, it could have been a goddess consciousness feminist inspired by Gimbutas’ work.  Living fairly near Glastonbury I have seen quite a lot of these elemental feminists.  In my experience they are quite hard work and rather demanding, which would make sense of this attention devouring piece.  Either way, I’ll finish the post with an image of the goddess figure’s rather lovely bottom:

Goddess figure - DAS clay - detail

Goddess figure - DAS clay - detail

Matthew Harris, Cloth Fragment 2

Matthew Harris, Cloth Fragment 2

Matthew Harris, Cloth Fragment 2

On Saturday we went to the Victoria Gallery to pick up my lovely piece, Cloth Fragment 2, by Matthew Harris.  I blogged about the show last month, so won’t say much here, except that I really like his work, which is meticulously planned, always very elegant, so I was delighted to be able to afford to buy a piece.

It was lovely to be able to touch it, as in galleries you are hardly ever allowed to touch textile exhibits – for good reason, but it is still frustrating.  I am fascinated by the way that he constructs his folded pieces of painted and dyed and printed dust cloth, and so it was great to be able to look at the stitching up close:

Matthew Harris, Cloth Fragment 2, detail

Matthew Harris, Cloth Fragment 2, detail

The other thing which didn’t occur to me when we bought it, was that it is more or less reversible.  It clearly has a front, but it also has a lovely reverse:

Matthew Harris, Cloth Fragment 2, reverse

Matthew Harris, Cloth Fragment 2, reverse

So, I will have to think carefully about how to frame it.  Hanging it in a perspex box would be one way, but that will probably be as expensive as the piece itself.  So, something to ponder.

The main thing for me, though, was that it did not disappoint when I came to take it out of its tissue paper.  It feels lovely in the hand, and I really love it.  I love the fact that a piece of textile art can feel quite so solid.  And I really love the subdued palette.  It is a lovely thing to have.

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The Body Shop Quilt: Nottingham panel

Body Shop Quilt: Nottingham panel, 2010

Body Shop Quilt: Nottingham panel, 2010

 

I was talking to my mother on the phone yesterday and she was asking me about the piece I had made about my home town.  I can only think that she was referring to this panel, made as part of the autobiographical and geographical element of the Body Shop quilt.  The whole piece is about geographies, and what I have rather pretentiously called geographies of the heart. My argument in the work is that organisations have no objective, material existence.  They exist through other things: structures, people, documents, information, brand, culture, all sorts of things, but nothing is an organisation.  Therefore it is possible for an organisation to exist in its customers and for its customers to have a ‘truer’ version of it than the company itself.  Of course. things move on, nothing remains the same, the company is whatever it is in the now, but it is also the case that there was an Ur-company, the original company set up by the founder which has been lost and which exists only in the hearts and minds of its customers.  Again, this is a bit sticky for me as I am not really a customer of the Body Shop anymore, as I have more or less defected to Eve Lom, the glamorous, sophisticated Hungarian.  But, as a young woman growing up in Nottingham, I fully bought into Anita Roddick’s vision of trade not aid, recycle, refill, reuse, against animal testing and so on.  All those radical values.  So this panel is about those early years when I fell in love with her and the company and the products and the shops.  And I was living at the time in my home town, Nottingham.

In making the panel I knew that I wanted to use lace as that is the industry probably still most associated with Nottingham, machine-made lace.  And I knew that I wanted to use the oak leaves for the Major Oak associated with Sherwood Forest and Robin Hood (I think I am about to start a piece of work on Robin Hood, narrative and geographical specificity and embodiedness, but that remains to be seen!).  That was all I knew: lace and oak leaves.  The oak leaves were already stitched onto a really gorgeous piece of silk furnishing fabric which had come via my mother from Graham, who has already been mentioned in this blog, but, who, new readers start here, makes very expensive curtain treatments and gives away the off-cuts.  The fabric is always top of the range like the crisp, heavy cream silk with the oak leaves that features in this quilt.

 

Body Shop Quilt, filler panel, 2010

Body Shop Quilt, filler panel, 2010

 

The oak leaf fabric can be seen in the top left-hand corner of this panel.  But I was a bit surprised that the lace element turned out quite so much like the standing stones somewhere like Avebury.  Avebury is a stone circle in Wiltshire, not as well-known as Stonehenge, but definitely the site that I prefer.  I think it’s interesting that these stone circles should insinuate themselves into the work.  Living in the West Country we come into contact with stone circles and burial chambers quite a bit and I have always been fascinated by them.  So even in thinking about my adolescence, my grown-up life in Bristol can’t be left behind.  You can’t ever totally go back.

The megaliths were all made of Nottingham lace, that is, machine made, synthetic fibre lace.  In this case, it is lace from the hosiery or lingerie industry, which is also a large part of Nottingham’s industrial heritage.  My mother gave me the white lace which is elastic and used to keep up hold-up stockings.  I really like it because it takes transfer dye quite so well.  I loved the moody grey piece in the background.

 

Nottingham panel, detail

Nottingham panel, detail

 

This final detail photograph doesn’t tell us much at all about Nottingham.  It was made on my embellisher, and the only connection with Nottingham is that I had my first go on an embellisher at my mother’s, who still lives there.  I have a love-hate relationship with my embellisher, and regularly break the expensive needles.  I also find it rather deskilling, as absolutely anyone can get fantastic results on it, so you no longer need any skill to produce something stunning.  Which, in a funny way, does bring me back to Nottingham and another part of my cultural heritage, the Luddites.

 

Nottingham panel, detail

Nottingham panel, detail

 

The Luddites were a 19C movement of workers who rebelled against the introduction of new textile machines which would put them out of work by replacing their skilled labour.  They have become a term of abuse for people who are considered to be anti-technology in general, but originally they wanted to protect their skills and their livelihood, and I would be proud to call myself a luddite.

 

Engraving of the leader of the Luddites

Engraving of the leader of the Luddites

 

So, possibly this panel is even more soaked in the spirit of Nottingham than I thought!

Janet Clare at Bristol Quilters

Janet Clare, Hugo Babygro, from www.janetclare.co.uk

Janet Clare, Hugo Babygro, from www.janetclare.co.uk

Last night at Bristol Quilters we had another fantastic talk, this month from Janet Clare.  I warmly recommend her website  www.janetclare.co.uk, which is lovely in itself but also has some links to other gorgeous sites which would be perfect for a bit of time to yourself surfing.

Her talk was great, refreshingly honest and modest.   I liked her approach to quilting, ‘I enjoy myself and I get it done.’  Finishing things and not feeling guilty about turfing out stuff that hasn’t worked was a strong theme, as was the idea that the best way to finish things is to finish them.  So, she works on pieces as she is waiting for the pasta to cook, for example.  This comes from her Irish mother who can’t bear to see anyone sitting idle.  This is challenged with the colourful inquiry, ‘Why have you got your two arms the same length?’  I might try that out at some point.

I liked the practicality of her approach.  She starts with the face on her embroideries, because she likes to start with the hardest part, so that if it goes wrong she hasn’t wasted much time.  She works with polyester thread because it is less likely to snap, but also because that’s what the shop near the children’s school stocks.  She said she didn’t do anything she didn’t enjoy, and is not keen on machine quilting because of all that manhandling the quilt under the machine, and she never unpicks because she finds that boring.  She did counsel changing machine needles every five hours, which sounds like sensible advice.

 

Janet Clare, 'Fishing Cottage', from www.janetclare.co.uk

Janet Clare, 'Fishing Cottage', from www.janetclare.co.uk

 

I also liked her comments about selling work, which she doesn’t do – only patterns which were available from her Etsy shop.  She said:

 

If you don’t sew you don’t know what you’re looking at.  If you do sew you know you could do it yourself.

Janet Clare

 

Which I think is very true.

I really liked the fact that she brought us all a small present – a pattern for a dog applique with movable legs so that it would work in a number of positions and was therefore very versatile.  I love dogs, so I loved that.

Janet Clare, 'Hugo' from www.janetclare.co.uk

Janet Clare, 'Hugo' from www.janetclare.co.uk

 

She runs an email club where she gives away patterns periodically.  I like that kind of generosity which doesn’t cost much but makes people feel good.  And Hugo looks like a very splendid dog.