I think I might have entered a more settled phase of making. I am keen to wrap as many twigs as I can with the suitable fabric I have to hand… I really don’t want to buy, although I think I may have to take a trip to the charity shops if I want to keep the majority of them cream or white… which I do… I try very hard to not buy new fabric. There’s plenty out in the world and plenty getting sent to landfill without me adding to it. Occasionally though, I can’t find something that functions the way I want it to, in the quantity I need, so I relent. But I don’t like it. Hence the impending charity shop haul.

The last few days in the studio I have sat with a tray of twigs to the left, a basket of fabric strips to the front, and a box of completed, wrapped twigs to my right. I then spend the day being the conveyor belt, select twig from left, wrap, add to the box to the right. Each evening I go home satisfied that I have added to my selection.

Now I have lots of twigs, several hundred I think, possibly not into the four figures quite yet, I have enough to start playing with them. 

I have plain cream silk (wedding dress remnants) some muslin (old curtain and baby cloths) some scrim (hospital loose-weave swabs) some cotton lawn (Liberty and otherwise, old clothes, reclaimed) linen, blue and green (old table linens) and plain white frayed cotton (old pillow cases)

I have to say, aesthetically, the silk are the best, they are a creamy ivory colour, they hug the contours of the twigs beautifully and together they look like old bleached bones. But each “family” have their own character… the pinkish lawn ones look like sweeties, rock sucked until the colour fades and shape distorts… the muslin looks like bandages… so of course now I have loads I can play with how to display them to convey different narratives, and make some decisions.

I have in my head a sound piece to go with this, but I need to think and play a bit more before I start on that in earnest. I am not quite sure what I want it to say yet.

But these twigs, these children, have personality, they have a life beyond what I am doing with them, I feel it in my bones.



I have had a wonderful, non-monarch-related afternoon in the studio with my friend and fellow artist Helen Garbett, otherwise known on Instagram as @LimpetWoman. We sat alongside each other, each doing our own thing, mindlessly, while we talked. It was lovely, heartwarming, relaxing and fun. And I got quite a few twigs wrapped.

In some ways, this part of the cycle of work is my favourite. Because I have made certain decisions and made some experiments, I have the materials in front of me to just get on with it. I have plenty of twigs to wrap, I know how to do do it and can just get on, either listening to the radio, to music, or chatting.

I think I enjoyed this afternoon because although I’m not doing the same sort of work as Helen, there is a camaraderie between two women working together as there might have been if we were sat around the same quilt, stitching. I feel a history of generations of women before us, just getting on with stuff.

The twigs have become part of a larger more wide-ranging project, (more of which later when it’s sorted out) and in order for it to work how I want it to, I need hundreds of them, possibly thousands? But for now and the foreseeable future, I will be found either picking up sticks, or laying them straight. And wrapping them. Then playing with them, and with a variety of boxes, or hanging methods. Each iteration holds them in a different light… at some point I will need to make more decisions.

But not yet.


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Restriction > Dilemma > Problem Solving > Development?

I’ve occasionally pondered what my work would be like (or even if I’d make anything) if money was no object. I’d have a bigger studio for sure. I’d exhibit in “posh” galleries. I’d possibly employ someone young to trot up ladders and hang paper… 

Dream on! Haha! 

What actually happens is that restriction and limitation are the prompts for development. I have on my table at the moment a large drawing on the very last piece of expensive paper. I really enjoy working on this scale, and given the studio and the ladder-trotting assistant, I would probably go even bigger. (There are ways I can do this… so maybe I should explore those. But there would still be an inherent cost that at the moment I can’t afford.)

The knock-on dilemma with large drawings is what the hell do I do with them when they are finished? Pile them up in the corner until I’ve fallen out of love with them and chop them up to make a book? Possibly. Get them mounted or framed to exhibit? Costs an absolute fortune and then takes up space to store. In thinking about a price for these two drawings, I’m probably, for the first time, breaking into four figure sums. Which is completely hypothetical because who on earth would buy them? I’ve yet to sell any of these drawings larger than about A3 size. But then I do feel I should feel free to make without the pressure of having to make work that sells. This thinking is problematic as I know that I don’t have to make a living from this. I have the luxury of alternative income. That’s a whole different argument and blog post. Maybe I’ll tackle that one when I’m feeling a bit more robust.

So what happens then when I’ve finished this drawing? I’m probably a couple of sessions away from finishing this one… but my mind is already looking to the next, and alternative strategies.

The answer lies I think in drawing on alternative surfaces. If I drew on prepared board I wouldn’t need to frame… I could varnish and screw it straight to the wall… maybe that’s the answer…

… in terms of material, there’s a physical link to the work with twigs, possibly a surface for them to be mounted on and with. Food for thought, brought about by necessity that wouldn’t exist without financial restrictions..


I don’t know who that person in the USA is, or how they are choosing random blog posts, but I have taken to looking at what they have chosen, and re-reading what I wrote… sometimes it’s last month, sometimes it is six years ago, but they are choosing well! Thank you, whoever you are (I’d love to know if you would like to leave a comment)




These two provide the rationale behind why I turned back to drawing after years of working with textiles, and why I have stuck with it. I have no idea if I will have another change in a few years time, but for now, THIS is why I draw…

I am still enamoured with the texture of the paper and how it feels under my fingers. I love how it responds to the graphite, or more recently the old fashioned dip pens, that don’t always deliver a pure line, and the nibs that react to small flaws or the texture of the paper. This exploration of materials and equipment, the connection of my brain through my hands to the surface is kind of exquisite. The using of old inks and watercolour is soft, responsive. It has a delicacy, but can also be bold and strong. It follows my mood, and also my physical state… it picks up on who and how I am at every given moment I am connected to the paper. I come to love the moments when I move from not being happy with a blotchy scratchy bit, to seeing that it is part of me. Without knowing it, my state of being has transferred itself to the paper. 

Sometimes I am seduced by the aesthetics, which is absolutely fine… but for me, the thing that takes it further and deeper are the times when it’s not that perfect execution of line… I needed to remember that at this very moment as I return to the studio after a busy time away from the work.

Thank you for the reminder, mystery reader!


I’m glad the experiment is over, so I can get back to what I do best.

It was useful to focus on some sound, it was interesting to explore my relationship with the music part of songwriting. It was humbling to accept I’m not very good at it, while trying to explore how it works.

I no longer feel “I have to” do this. I like collecting sounds, and I like manipulating them to make rhythms and create an ambience, a mood, a root for something else… but that’s it. I don’t have the education, or the time to get the education and experience, and possibly just don’t have it in my old brain to get where I would want to be if I did it.

So in terms of a personal research period, it was successful. I no longer need to go there again if I don’t want to. And I feel ok about that. But up until now, because I hadn’t dedicated any real time to it, I always had this nagging feeling that I should. 

So tomorrow I shall rope my husband into helping me shuffle all the furniture round, set everything back up how it needs to be to enable me to get on with the twigs work. That was a jolly little tangent, but I’m back on my main road now.

Things are happening with the twigs, I need to concentrate on that, and getting it all seen. When I am a little further forward with it I’ll let you know how it is going. At the moment it’s not much more than felt pen on big paper, and a few interesting conversations.