Triple Writing



I was at a meeting yesterday where we were discussing our research and various ways of getting it out beyond a narrow academic audience, when my colleague, Deborah Wilson, introduced me to a new term: ‘triple writing’.  This means taking anything you write and writing it up three times for three different audience.  My first thought was, not more requirements – I have to be a great teacher, researcher, administrator, and now I have to address the community and change policy and ideally be on television like the bright young things with some sort of gimmick.  But as I thought about it, I do already ‘publish’ my work.  I put it in academic journals and do presentations at academic conferences, but I also do presentations to local groups, and sometimes further afield, I exhibit my work and I blog.  I am convinced more people read my blog than ever look at the more academic versions!  I suppose I could start writing for the quilting press.  any suggestions gratefully received!



Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – January 2015

I will be back to blogging about my own work shortly. In the meantime, here is a lovely post on a blog I follow which has some fabulous leaves which might provide inspiration.

2014 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 18,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 7 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

How I came to make my husband an Anna Calvi doll for Christmas


Oh dear, it’s nearly a month since my last post.  This was the result of a lot of travel and a lot of work before I packed up work for Christmas.

I am writing today about a doll that I made for the Medieval Historian for Christmas.  In the middle of December we went to see his favourite singer in the entire world, Anna Calvi, at St John’s, Hackney.  It really isn’t my sort of thing, but he is totally besotted with her.



We stayed in a really ludicrously trendy hotel in Shoreditch and I bought the MH a bar of the hotel chocolate as a souvenir, but it didn’t look like much of a Christmas present as it stood, so I initially thought that I would make him a Shoreditch hipster to hold it.



Then I suddenly had a brainwave and decided that it would be a better idea to make an Anna Calvi doll.  So, I made one of my usual rag dolls and dressed her in the same sort of thing that Anna was wearing at the concert:



I made her a top with embellishments down the sleeves:


And put the red flowers in her hair:


Finally, I made her a rather smart bag to live in, out of a remnant of fancy furnishing fabric:


I also gave him the toile that I made for cutting the silk blouse, but for some reason he didn’t want to get into playing dress up dolls:



In the end, I think it was his favourite Christmas present.

Allen Jones doesn’t know what’s happening* – the women Pop artists do!

This is a new blog from a good friend of mine, an art historian from UWE. I know her posts are going to be well-informed as well as fascinating, and would encourage you to have a look.


Am I the only person not to have found this blog? If you are a quilter it is a really brilliant resource – a kind of encyclopedia of just useful things. Fantastic.

What I did this weekend


I spent the weekend at my mother’s, and decided to go up into the loft to see if I could find my old Barbie dolls.  They seem to have disappeared without trace for the time being, but I did find a little cache of fabric from the fifties and sixties as well as some pieces of Laura Ashley fabric.  I love these prints.  They would have been better if I had ironed them, but perfection, as we know, is the enemy of getting things done.

First, this pretty print which is slightly different in the blue and the pink:


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And on the charming folkloric theme, I found one tiny piece of this print featuring a folk art type horse:


Then there were some great fifties style florals:

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And a happy sixties-looking version, which is a great design for sunflowers:


And this lovely print which I think might have been curtains:

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Then some very bold prints which have a very modern feel to me:

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As well as a quintessential vintage:


And finally, a really stunning photo print which could have been made earlier today:

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Not quite sure what that waffle thing is in the background, but the glassy cherries are irresistible, as is the blueprint quality.

And very lastly, a large chunk of one of my very favourite dresses when I was a teenager:


I can’t wait to see what this lot end up in, and I will keep you posted.

Gelli-printed notebooks


As part of the Thinking Futures day on 5 November 2014, I made participants a little notebook to write things down from the academic talks in the morning.  I made very simple pamphlet books with stitched covers.

I made the covers using a gelli plate, which is a way of monoprinting.  I really love the gelli plate.  It’s a clear sheet of jelly, about a centimetre thick, and it can be used over and over again.  It’s very easy to use.  I brayer on some fluid acrylic and then pull the print.  You get the customary veined effect if you use the paint fairly generously:


Sometimes I just use paint rollered onto the plate:


Or use them to stencil onto:


Or stamp and use embossing powder:


Or you can great effects with plastic stencils used as a mask:


The last one uses sequin waste as a mask.

If you take a print after lifting off the stencil you can get really nice embossed effects:




Seriously easy, and although the plates aren’t cheap, it is very straightforward to get excellent results.  My next step is to try it out on fabric.

A big 400th thank you



Amazingly this is my 400th post.  So rather than writing about my work, I wanted to say thanks to everyone who reads it regularly – and visitors, too.  It means a great deal to me when people come up and say that they read it and enjoy it.  I really do want to publicise my research with people outside universities and thereby show you want is happening with at least some of your tax.  I also want to share things that I love and pass on suggestions and contacts.   I enjoy making e-friends, some of whom go on to be friends in ‘real life’.  My blog is part of my life and work now, and I am very grateful for your continuing support.

Happy 400th posting.