Monday, 19 June 2017


I often find myself waking up in the middle of the night  with a great idea's usually a great idea for how to help a student resolve a creative problem. And I love that - for me teaching is a creative act in itself.

But sometimes, in amongst the teaching, I get a longing to just do something of my own.   So, I was delighted when Jenny asked me if I wanted to team up with a charity shop in Cambridge to make something as part of the CirculArt trail.  

I was given a choice of a couple of shops and I chose the  Romsey Mill Shop.  All the charities do fantastic work so that wasn't really one of my criteria.  What I do love about this shop is that it's really packed with stuff and it's totally chaotic. In fact, it's kind of an old style charity shop where you  feel you could discover a great bargain hidden on a rack of jumble.

Some time ago, I was given some lovely old cotton sheets and I've been saving these for a special project.  The cotton has been softened from use but it still has a lot of life left in it.  So I decided to print it up and sew it into a dress.

This photo is by Derek Langley 2017  

I thought that 'cycling' would be an appropriate theme for Cambridge, with a nod to 're-cycling'.

I used a 1950's reissue of a Vogue sewing pattern (1172) and printed each panel with a different version of the same basic set of motifs.

Here's the dress at home, having it's first fitting, propped up on the piano.

Cary set up the window display for me because I was out teaching that day, and a lovely lady, called Claudia,  whom I have never met in person, (though we have been corresponding by email) sent me some photos of the window. The building is being renovated so there's a maze of scaffolding you can see reflected in the glass.

You may be able to see that I also printed a couple of rescued T-shirts and bags that I had lying around in my studio and I dyed a couple of old sheets to use as a backdrop.

This has been fun!   And even more fun going down Mill Rd to see what the other CiculART artists have done in the other charity shops.

The T-shirts and bags will be for sale in the shop after the exhibition is over - all proceeds to Romsey Mill Charity.


Sunday, 11 June 2017

Arbury Carnival

This year was very special because it's 40 years since the very first Arbury Carnival.  The  first Arbury  Carnival was a celebration of the Queen's Silver Jubilee.

This year we did a float as well as the usual costumes and puppets.

On the front of the flatbed, the young people from the  Nunn's Way Pavilion made a commemorative 'coin' with a collage of photographs from carnivals past.

Riding on the back of the truck, were some of the lovely  Carnival Queens from previous years.   See Cambridge Evening News for some pictures.

The Queen and Phillip were keen not to be left out, so they were in attendance, riding on the float!

Ellie and Lilly volunteered their Dad to be the Queen and a very elegant job he did of it too! Cary, who made the puppet heads, was a very energetic Phillip.

And we had to have some princesses and princes.

Yes, some boys made skirts too. But mostly they made princely (is that a word?) tabards.


Then, there was the screen printing, and what better person to emulate than Andy Warhol?

Andy Warhol did his famous portrtait of the Queen in 1977 and she, in fact, bought one of the prints.

Our work on this project is on behalf of the Kettle's Yard Gallery, so we like to make links with modern art in the work we do with them.  

By 'we' I mean CarySandra and myself, although I was away for part of the time, so it was mainly Cary and Sandra this year.

The best thing, for me, about this year's workshops was that some of the young people who first came to make costumes with us 4 years ago, are now helping the little ones to make theirs. It's so lovely to see them growing up and taking resposibility.  

Looking forward to seeing what Carnival 2018 will bring!