Cossacks for Christmas


I can’t imagine that many of you  are interested in my Christmas decorations, but just in case you are, here we go.  This year they are minimalist to say the least.  I have had a lot going on and putting up trimmings seemed way down the list of priorities.  But I did get round to making and putting up these gentlemen.  They are dancing cossacks.  I would like to tell you that they are my design, but they came from a book called Homemade Christmas, (which is very cheap on Amazon):


It doesn’t seem to have an author, but it does have a number of surprisingly nice looking things to make.  The author, whoever it is, as no author is credited, made their cossacks out of old book covers, but I thought it would be a good way of using up gelli-printed papers that I had done myself:



I rather like the way that the printed paper for his face makes him look like he is rather keen on the vodka, or doesn’t use a good enough moisturiser in all that cold weather.

I also used some painted paper:


This one has jewelled brads or paper fasteners on his joints.  Finding paper fasteners, which are those split pin things with the round heads that you push through papers and then open out, turned out to be one of the hardest parts of the project.  I had to go to the internet to find them.  Clearly the paperless office is becoming a reality.

After I had made a couple of cossacks, it occurred to me that this might be a really good use for some notecards the Medieval Historian gave me a couple of years ago.


So I had quite good fun fussy cutting bodies to get a good cover image on the chest:


I also liked picking the most un-Christmas-y titles such as this:


Nothing like a nice Ballardian dystopia to set you up the festive season.  We also have Lady Chatterley’s Lover as a nod to my home town.

Then I remembered that I had bought some Marimekko notecards as I love the graphic designs and clear colours:


Both of these worked brilliantly which makes me thing that you could do it with any postcard:


This one is decorated with washi tape.  This one is fussy cut:


In the book they are strung to work as jumping jacks, but I like them just as posable figures.

In the end I made twenty-five of them and they dance around the room suspended from the picture rail.  So quite a lot of cutting, punching, sticking and stringing, but I think that they make quite a smart decoration, even for people, mentioning no names, Medieval Historian, who claim not to like Christmas.



In which I trim my own bonnet.

This is a blog post from the incredibly talented Tanya which I thought would appeal to those of you who love hats.

Textile at at Southmead Hospital Bristol


I went up to Southmead Hospital in Bristol the other week for a bit more prodding and poking, and in the brand spanking new building they have decided to include a small gallery.  My eye was initially drawn by this painting, which I thought, as I dashed by it to get to my appointment on time, was of quilts on a line, but which is actually pretty patterned aprons.  All a bit modern vintage and sentimental, but I rather liked it.  On the way out I had a bit more leisure, and noticed these rather nice pieces of textile art:



I just wondered which genius had been in charge of hanging, as the three pieces (and I apologise about the terrible phone camera picture) form a continuous wave, decided that it would be brilliant to arrange them thus:


I also wonder a little bit about who framed them as the combination of the white element at the top and the lack of space at the bottom of the frame really does make them look as if they all falling off their mountings.

That aside, they were a lovely surprise.

Two plus two equals four or more



I think I have posted about this before, but, as some of you may know, I am following a series of prompts on the wordpress site as a way of improving my blogging.

Today’s prompt was two plus two equals four. The aim is to write something inspired by the prompt, not about it. Co-incidentally, just after reading it I was looking at a piece of work by a Scandinavian student in which she talks about the Midgard serpent. This is the huge serpent called Jormungand which is so huge that it encircles the earth and grasps it own tail in its mouth. If it ever lets go the world will come to an end.

I include the Midgard serpent in my list of dragons for the project I have been writing about recently. I know it’s a snake, but, well, I like the story and it’s my project.

But the point of the post is that I have been wondering about the project and what we are going to do with it, and why I am devoting a lot of time to something which is not that CV-friendly, but which I enjoy very much but I feel guilty when I do something on it and not a more obviously useful topic and so on.

This feels like a little gift from the universe – a little bit of encouragement to keep going. So, this unknown person is helping me with my work, which is an interesting case of two plus two being more than four.

Well fancy that



If you saw yesterday’s post, you will remember that I am working on a blog improvement course set up by WordPress.  Today’s exercise was to look at the title of the blog and the tag line.  The title of my blog isn’t very exciting, but it does mean that it is easy to find.  The tag line is also quite dull.  The advice is to make it funny, or punning, or playing with a proverb or common saying, and I can see that would make it a lot more memorable, but my tag line ‘Academic Quilter at the University of Bristol’ more or less sums it up and I don’t want to change it.  But imagine my surprise when I looked at it and it said ‘Academic Quilter at University of Bristol.’  I have been blogging for, what, five years, and never noticed that missing ‘the’.  So, that’s one New Year’s job that I didn’t even know I had sorted.

Happy New Year – and this blog revisited



I have been blogging now for quite a bit, and so to get a bit of a refresher, I have joined WordPress’s Blogging 101 tutorial group.  The first exercise was to introduce yourself and/or to refresh your ‘About’ page.  Just in case you are interested, here is my revised page.


My name is Ann Rippin.  I am a reader at the University of Bristol in the Department of Management.

My research is centred on the role of cloth in society.  This covers everything from how we organise to produce cloth to why we keep certain items of clothing, to how we form our identities through what we wear, to the importance of what I call Hestia crafts in women’s lives.  Hestia crafts are to do with creating a home, after the Greek goddess of home and hearth, Hestia.  There is very little to do with fabric that does not interest me.   And so, to me, it is perfectly natural that as part of my research, I create quilted and embroidered textiles about the companies I research or some of the themes that I am interested in such as organisational excess, or foundation narratives.   I have set up my blog for people who are interested in my work and want to follow my new pieces as they emerge.

My big project at the moment is about Laura Ashley.  This is partly for me to explore narrative approaches to work, but also for me to do a bit of homage to the woman who got so many quilters in this country started.  I am wrestling with whether I should include a photo of my first quilt, which is old and disgraceful, but which was made with some Laura Ashley fabric, which I bought in the 1980s in Cardiff, as well as some Liberty fabric.  Quilters will recognise this pattern!

I have also just taken over as the co-editor of Culture and Organization, which is a scholarly journal for people who study management.  Prior to that I was Chair of SCOS, the Standing Conference on Organizational Symbolism ( which is a scholarly organisation of about 1000 members from all over the world, although mainly Northern Europe, dedicated to exploring the more interesting, unusual and provocative elements of business and management research.


Finger painting 1


I have signed up for an on-line lunchtime course on finger painting.  This is largely because I was so taken by the Richard Long finger print pieces in the exhibition on here in Bristol on his work.


I have enjoyed it so far, although I am way behind, because it has made me do things I don’t normally do like painting flowers.  The point is to do it with your fingers and only your fingers, and to paint them from life.  I suppose it was a bit presumptuous of me to start with sunflowers.  Van Gogh has rather cornered the market.  I bought a small bunch and had a go.  I used very heavy watercolour paper as I knew the substrate was going to get a lot of punishment.  This combined with a light touch trying to get all the wispy bits round the edge of petals led to some frankly uninteresting stuff:



The only interest in these is that they have a faintly fifties textile print charm to them.  As I became my usual heavy-handed self and used a lot more paint, the results got a bit better:


Finally, I painted the whole background first and this allowed the paint to go on more easily and made it a bit more controllable:


I quite like the result here, but it looks like a sunflower rather than this sunflower, the one in front of me.

I don’t think that these are particularly great, but they do show some experiments, and I think it’s good to share your mistakes and false starts as well as your successes and final polished pieces.

Marybeth Stalp’s Visit to the University of Bristol – booking now open


I am very pleased to announce the details of Marybeth Stalp’s visit to my department, and to include details of the events. If you would like to attend any of them, apart from the PhD workshop – which as the title suggests – is for PhD candidates, please contact:


About Marybeth

Marybeth teaches at Northern Iowa University in the US. Her special interest is in women and their leisure activities and the role of making in all our lives. She is the author of Quilting: The Fabric of Everyday Life (2007), as well as a number of articles on quilters and their stash and women and the Red Hat Society. She is a dynamic and engaging speaker and all round good thing.

The dates and venues for the sessions are as follows


30 September

Quilting, making and intimacy

This session will look at the impact of what Stebbins calls ‘serious leisure’ on our intimate, domestic lives. It will begin with four speakers talking about what interests them around this theme and we will then talk about it, while making. You are invited to bring anything you can do by hand with you, or there will be materials available for making on the day.

Topics we are likely to discuss include:

  • What happens at home when quilting ‘intrudes’
  • What happens to our relationships with work when we want to sell it?
  • How do textiles impact on ideas of home or safety or wellness?

Speakers will include: Marybeth Stalp, Mwenza Blell (University of Bristol), Debbie Bird (Bristol Artist), and me.

Venue room 2E2. This is part of the Social Sciences complex on Priory Road, Bristol. The easiest way in is through the double doors on the right hand side of the building on the corner of Priory Road and Woodland Road. You need a swipe card for the main door, but to the right is an automatic door. Go through that, turn left, through a fire door and the room is in front of you. There is a porter’s lodge in the foyer if you get lost.

Warning: Parking is horrible.

Time: 2.00-5.00

Capacity: 25

Please note that we would like to use the discussions as part of an academic project, so please be prepared to consider what we do as data, and be prepared to give what we call ‘informed consent’ to our using it in our research.


03 October

Bristol Quilters Event: Stashes, scraps and patches

This day is designed to be informative but also to be fun and inspirational. We will be looking at quilters’ love affairs with their fabric. Anyone who has ever lovingly stroked and folded cloth with be among kindred spirits at this event.

In the morning, Marybeth will talk about women and their stashes, based on her research. Janet Haigh from Heartspace Studios in Bristol will talk about crazy patchwork, one of her life-long passions and a time-honoured way to use exquisite and often tiny fabric scraps. Janet will bring along copies of her new book project with Kaffe Fassett.

In the afternoon we will have an extended show and tell. You are invited to bring along anything you would like to show Marybeth, possibly with the emphasis on scrap quilts, stashbusters (!), crazy quilts.

We will also have a sewing bee making small items for June Hall’s Christmas bazaar for Saint Peter’s Hospice in Bristol. You are also welcome to bring anything you are working on (no sewing machines please!) or something for another charity entirely.

Last year, magnificent volunteers provided home-made cakes and biscuits for the session. If anyone were minded to make a traybake, or similar, they would be warmly received.

Please note that we would like to use the discussions as part of an academic project, so please be prepared to consider what we do as data, and be prepared to give what we call ‘informed consent’ to our using it in our research.

Venue: Friends Meeting House, Main Hall, Hampton Road, Bristol.

Time: 10.00-4.00.

Please bring packed lunch. Tea and coffee provided.

Capacity: 100

Non-Bristol Quilters also welcome.


07 October

Quilting Cradle to Grave Session

This session will be about the way that quilting marks our paths through life from baby quilts to lap quilts in old age. We will consider this in its historical context, and will look at how current technological processes are using textiles to help us at all stages of our lives.

Speakers will include:

  • Tom Keating (Geography, University of Bristol) on textiles and infant anxiety
  • Val Dixon (Bristol Quilter) on the Bristol Quilters support for the premature babies unit at Southmead Hospital, Bristol
  • Marybeth Stalp on quilts as life markers
  • Helen Manchester, University of Bristol, on textiles and end of life/dementia.

I will give a brief historical overview.

Venue: Verdon Smith Room, Royal Fort, Bristol. This is one of the University’s finest buildings. To reach it you need to be at the crossroads of Woodland Road and Elton Road with Senate House and the Hawthorns behind

you. Go past the security office on your right and follow the path. The Royal Fort is up a short path and has some rather nice gardens around it. The Verdon Smith room is on the first floor and is not wheel chair accessible. It is worth a look at the ornamental plaster work in the building…

Warning: Parking is still horrible.

Time: 2.00-5.00

Capacity: 25




15 October PhD session: Researching Making: Co-production and its implications

This session is aimed at PhD students who are interesting in making and in the material object in their work.

The afternoon will begin with a masterclass on interviewing makers lead by Marybeth Stalp, in which people will be invited to bring along objects to form the basis of a interview with a maker.

The second element will be a discussion about what co-production of research with groups entails, what are the ethical issues of negotiating research themes and outputs with co-researchers? What does the impact agenda actually involve?   Anyone doing action research, or working with community or other stakeholder groups is likely to be interested in this workshop.

Venue: G15, University of Bristol.

Time: 1.00-5.00

Sandwich lunch


To register for any or all of these events, please contact:

In A Vase On Monday—Snapdragons

This is a blog I follow, and I had to share the glorious reds in this post. It is always a lovely thing to see first thing on a Monday morning.