New Additions and Ancient Faces

I’ve decided that a good use of my blog would be to let folk who have purchased the WOWbook know when we put new workshops and videos on the site. We know that not everyone is able to look at our members’ only group on Facebook. The WOWbook members’ club on has some great recent additions. Articles by Nikki Parmenter, a workshop and review based on watercolours have recently been added. As part of my regular course, I have been making an altered book and having wonderful fun with it.




In the next couple of weeks there will be more on this, including combining water-soluble paper and Tyvek, ironed over a stamp. These can be embedded into the book pages for extra interest.



We recently enjoyed having a stand at Craft4Crafters, at the Exeter show. My goodness, this show has come on in leaps and bounds with some exciting demos going on and lots more for stitchers. We were right opposite West Country Embroiderers, who had a brilliant display, with great work on show. We saw some fabulous examples based on our kozo trees – extended way beyond the article, which is always good to see.



As I mentioned last time, In my own work I have returned to a favourite theme – Ancient Faces. I was inspired by a book of the same name and have been working on variations for many years. I always begin with a pastel drawing and my latest trials have been with Inkjet Printable Silk (after scanning the drawing). Playing with the Embellisher machine, I think I have found a way to ‘paint’ with silk on linen. Great fun – I expect it will turn up as a workshop on the WOWbook site soon. I’ll have a couple of pieces based on this theme at the Ramster Hall Embroidery Exhibition. This always a lovely event and it’s on from Saturday, 16 March 2019 to Saturday, 31 March 2019. More details from the website




Faces, flowers and a dog

One minute it’s Christmas, then you look at the calendar and we are half way through January. How does that happen?

A lot of excitement has been going on here since my last blog – the major event being the launch of WOWbook 3. It was so amazingly busy with sales that I didn’t even get time to blog about it. Every time we say that we won’t be so busy this time – I’m glad to say that once again, we were wrong. The mix of book and ongoing online workshops seems to have great appeal. This pic from the Inspirations section is Party Lurcher by Mrs Bertimus.

We are already seeing the results of the workshop tutors’ inspirational instructions and the Facebook page has been very busy. You can see some of the results on our Gallery page at Just look for the gallery on the top menu – you don’t have to be  member to view it. If you’ve bought the book and you would like us to include your work in the Gallery just send a pic to us The Gallery pic below is a lovely shot of eco-dyed fabrics from Jane Rouse.


The Facebook page is such fun – lots of our members say that it’s the friendliest group on the web and, as it is a closed group, we don’t get any spammy stuff. I love to see the work that results from our online members’ club articles, as well as the book stuff. You may remember that, in a recent article, I wrote about my experiments with turning Brusho paintings into stitch and here is Wendy Burgess’ take on that process.



My last blog was about transferring paper designs to stitch – some techniques, like Brusho, only work well on paper. I’m expanding that to watercolours as part of a workshop I’m writing about Jane Betteridge’s new book. Dynamic Watercolours has some great ideas and not only covers watercolour but techniques such as stamping into your watercolour, using tissue paper and so on, that we use in our stitched work.


We have a fun deal going with Search Press where we pick a book to review and expand it with an interview with the author and then I have a bash with one or two techniques from the book. Now I know I can transfer the results to fabric, I’m even more keen. I used some masking fluid that I thought was the peel-off version and was so disappointed when it was non removable. However I then decided to draw into the painting and found that the mask that I’d splattered over the paper was great when I doodled into it – another technique to be printed on the inkjet fabric. Hooray.


I’ve also used the drawing to fabric technique for transferring some of my ‘Ancient Faces’ drawings to a more forgiving medium. The top one here has been transferred to Craft Vilene by ironing paper onto Bondaweb and then rubbing the top layer away.I am making these for the Ramster Exhibition. More info here





If you are in the south-west of England, do come and see us at C4C (Craft4Crafters) in Exeter. I’ll be demonstrating my Brusho and watercolour ‘splat’ techniques as well as the embellisher machine. In addition, Amo House will be showing some exciting methods of image transfer. Fiona will be keeping us in order (some hope). It would be lovely to see you there.


The Glories of Brusho

In the latest lesson of the multi-media course that I run for the WOWbook members’ club we are looking at techniques for backgrounds We do like to be a little on the messy side so I’ve been playing with Brusho. Everyone loves a good splodgy play with this versatile powdery colouring medium. Especially the black, which separates into many colours when sprinkled on a wet surface.

One inevitably winds up with a very messy page and it’s best to cut it into individual areas. I like to keep them in a sketch book and find that they often provide ideas for stitch.


This large messy page divided into many small cut-outs – I call them Brusho studies and I reproduce them on fabric to stitch.

Here you can see two ‘study’ pieces, taken from the pic above. Both of them look like landscapes to me. These small selected areas can be enhanced with drawing tools or a fine pen.









The next pics show the Brusho painting and the stitched piece that I made from it. These little studies are fun to produce and to stitch. I can see them as Christmas cards.



A Productive Getaway

I write in praise of the idea of a retreat. Three times a year I go away, with a group of friends to eat, drink and be merry but, most of all, to work uninterrupted on ideas or just to stitch. The place we have found is Kingcombe  in deepest Dorset and is run by the Dorset Wildlife Trust. The wildlife is useful, feathers being a case in point. From the design potential of a hen’s feathers to the donation of cast off bits of the resident Guinea Fowl’s tail, which featured in a recent piece of my work. Here, the work in progress with the gratefully accepted feathers, bottom right.






















Apart from comfortable accommodation (and amazing food, thanks to Andy, the chef), wandering around the grounds with your camera is very rewarding.













I found it interesting to note the difference that the light makes. You can see that the fungi here look quite different when the shot is taken from another angle, so that the top of the ‘pile’ catches the light. I couldn’t help wondering what Marion Jazmik would make of these. Her wonderful work, based on all forms of fungus. featured in the last WOWbook.





















A new boardwalk had been built since our last visit and the design was spectacular. What appeared to be randomly placed pieces of wood as you walked past, resolved onto a pattern as you looked back – now that is so clever.































The boardwalk ends at the stream and the base of this tree trunk really caught my eye. I loved the ‘verdigris’ streak running down the trunk.


With a little jiggle in an imaging program it turned into a workable design.















Did I get any work done? Well I made a start on some ‘leaves’, using the embellisher machine – inspired by the sunflower photograph. I’ll be talking about the technique in the next WOWbook.



























Show and Tell

I can’t believe that it has been so long since I posted. I have two excuses. The main one is that we are deep in the busiest part of producing the next WOWbook and that is always frantic. Particularly so when I am writing a section of it, as I always get carried away and find myself with too many exciting paths to follow. While demonstrating the embellisher machine at the Dorset Arts and Crafts exhibition, I discovered a new idea that I hadn’t tried before and was delighted when I managed to replicate it using hand needle-felting tools. That’s the great thing about demos: time to play, usually with no particular outcome in mind



The exhibition was a retrospective and I ‘performed’ it as a life story, beginning with the first embroidery I ever did (a kit) and my City and Guilds work – see pic below.



I included our time racing round the world teaching and how the Batsford books began. It’s been a wonderful experience but I don’t think I could do all the travelling now. Below you can see a piece that was exhibited in an exhibition in the USA. The exhibition was about the joys of the internet so this piece, entitled Binary Humanity, was all about the fact that there are hands and faces involved in web interaction. I included comments from my blog around the edge of the work. Workshop on the Web and D4Daisy Books have probably been my best endeavours so it’s great to see them combined in the WOWbook.



It was lovely to see so many people, many of whom had come a long way to visit me and I am  humbled by that fact. The DACA summer show is a super event, with all branches of art and craft represented. The photography exhibition was excellent this year and there was also everything from textiles, painting and model-making on show. The ceramics of Rosemarie James are always a big draw for me. I managed to resist this delicious work of art but plan to get another of her pieces for my collection at the DACA Christmas fair.


My other piece of news is that I have a website again. It took me ages to realise that when the old Workshop on the Web site went, so did my bit of it! Clive has made me another one – a bit of a work in progress but I’ve unearthed some new photos for the pic clicks and it’s good to be back in the pack again. The piece below, which is described on the website, was made with the embellisher machine – told you I was having a bit of a thing with it! My triumph was embellishing paper from my dropcloth (or drop paper in this case). Do have a look; the addy is



The next WOWbook is coming along a treat. Our interview is with Cas Holmes and our Sam (Packer) has asked some searching questions. The really difficult part is choosing which of the great photos we use. At least with the WOWbook set up, we can overflow onto the website with a bonus extra. You can see some of the pics below.





Cas has a new book, ‘Textile Landscape’ and it is really good. I have just reviewed it for the WOWbook site.


However it’s not been all hard work – I took a whole weekend off and had a lovely time in Portsmouth with my cousins. As you can see it was a bit giggly – I wonder why?  We also had a surprise visit yesterday from granddaughter Lauren and her lovely cuddly rugby player. What a great guy.




Art and Eating

We’ve just been on a bit of an art safari in Devon and had a wonderful time. Started in our home county of Dorset, with a quick pop in to the Artwave Gallery in Morecombelake. They had a great mixed exhibition. We were very taken with the work of Rebecca Fontaine-Wolf and you can see an example below. The fantasy element was enriched by her use of colour and you felt that you needed to hear the story of this mysterious figure.


We were also taken with the lovely paintings of Donna Goold who uses oil bars on paper to wonderful effect in her dreamy landscapes. Her husband Martin had a way with pastels, working with  a geometric precision that brought to mind Kaffe Fassett’s needlepoint work.

Our art fix the next day was at the wonderful Devon Guild of Craftsmen’s gallery at Bovey Tracey. We were so lucky to find that the big exhibition space had been given over entirely to Anita Reynolds’ work and I have long been a fan of hers. The work was based on a year in Datmoor and her monoytpe prints portrayed this in a sensitive way that still managed to convey the massive and lovely tors and boulders. Here is a general view of the exhibition which was also a masterclass in hanging as it really made the most of the big space. The dynamic between large pieces and the smaller rectangles of her lovely concertina books worked very well.

Clive and I were unanimous in choosing the piece below, ‘Super Moon at Greator Rocks’, a monotype print (where the plate is cleared after printing, ensuring that only one copy is produced) as our ‘standout’ favourite. The technique used was monotype print with chine collé.

As I am very into concertina books at the moment having just produced one for the WOWclub members (coming next week, folk), I loved these books and there were quite a few in the exhibition.

There was a lot of extra information about the artist and her working methods and one idea that I loved was the ‘Bus Prints’ idea. These are made on her mobile press on location  – in the camper van on Dartmoor. Instant impressions – so immediate and satisfying. Must try that with the die cutter used as a press.


Finally, to show that it’s not all about colour, these monotone trees presented a powerful reminder that colour is not everything. Stark, yet flowing, they delighted the eye.


A final view of the gallery and then it was time for a lovely lunch in the gallery upstairs. Art watching makes you hungry and they do wonderful food!


Of course we did some silly holiday things, too. On the Golden Hind replica at Brixham, I made Clive walk the plank.


The ship was very interesting – much more than I expected. We had a lovely break.



WOW. What a week

We’ve had an amazing d4daisy week with the new book. We told ourselves that WOWbook 02 would be a quiet launch, as it’s summer-time and we didn’t think that we would match the Christmas launch of the first WOWbook. But it has overtaken it and it has been a frantic, yet wonderful week. Thank you everyone who has said such lovely things on our Facebook page. In addition to all the goodies in the book we have already got some offerings on the Members’ web site and one of them is this Kozo bark treescape that I made. I had such fun and Fiona is already responding to requests for a materials kit. Out very soon, folks.


While Fiona has been busy trundling her wheelbarrow to the post office, I have been slaving over my sewing machine making a concertina book. Some of you will recall that I had been moaning about the fact that my workroom has recently shrunk. This is, in fact, a well known phenomenon and several others have experienced shrinking workroom syndrome. Clive, in panic mode because he feared that his study (known as the growlery as he sits at his desk and growls at politicians on the radio) might be in danger, suggested that we get a new desk and set my machine up in the conservatory. It is lovely not to keep having to put the machine away and the light is so good in there – although it is a trifle warm, sometimes.

In fact, having finished the book, I got my embroidery unit out and found some designs on a USB stick. So that is tomorrow’s excitement. I’m not sure that any of our computers will run the old software so I might look out for an update. Watch this space.



Finally I just had to show you this piece by Lorraine Fitches. She made it from Angie Hughes’ instructions in the first WOWbook. Isn’t it wonderful? Our private Facebook Group is such fun and so inspiring.



Further along the art trail

A lovely day, so off on another Dorset Art Weeks trail. Our favourite art couple,  Irene Burgoyne and David Marl,  had moved to Sherborne – the other side of the county , but we didn’t let that stand in our way.

Their new house was lovely and David now has a much bigger studio (see below) while Irene has a suite of rooms for her patchwork. You may have followed my recent Facebook posts bemoaning the fact that my workroom has shrunk, so will understand my twinge of envy. However, they both produce such wonderful art that they can be forgiven anything.


David’s acrylics have a lyrical, mystical feeling, often based on biblical events or spiritual awakenings. Some new tryptychs allowed the stories to unfold.


The one below was my absolute favourite and, if my premium bonds are generous, I may be returning to purchase the one below.

Irene makes my kind of patchwork: colourful, beautifully stitched work but with less than precise patterning. She told me the story of one quilt that she tacked together, decided it was just too regular, threw the pieces up in the air and pieced them where they landed. The work shown below is comprised of perfect hexagons but the fabrics are chosen so that the shapes all but disappear into the overall design. Clever stuff.



It was good to see them settled in their lovely new house and we both felt moved by the experience. On to Sturminster Newton, where we had hoped to find lunch but nowhere was open. However we then had a somewhat unexpected experience as we walked past a park. It was packed with loads to do for children and adults. It was apparently part of a nationwide event called The Big Lunch – to encourage neighbours to meet and mingle. We were not neighbours but we bought sandwiches, duly mingled and had fun.


















We then moved on to see Rose Hatcher and Kate Osman in The Workhouse Chapel, Sturminster Newton. If you think this sounds grim, you couldn’t be more wrong – opening the door was like going through the back of the wardrobe into Narnia. It was a light-filled space with the vibrant colours of Rose’s felt and silk paper pieces providing a contrast to the ethereal glass of Kate. Impossible to believe that many of her pieces were recycled greenhouses.


The display was wonderful with glass mingling with wood and pebbles and the maximum use made of the wonderful space. Loved it.


Finally, on the recommendation of Irene, we went a little way down the road to visit Imogen Bittner. She works with printed and painted fabrics using wonderful old sewing machines and producing masterpieces. Her mixed media work is also flawless. I am not going to tell you any more than that as I am determined to get her in the next WOWbook and she will this be a lovely surprise for you all.

We arrived home worn out and with our minds full of wonderful art. Whoever invented artweeks needs to be toasted with fine wine, so I prop0se to do that right now.


On the Art Trail

What could be better than an art-week outing? Well, I think the answer is a series of art-week outings which Clive and I have planned for the next two weeks. We’ve made a good start with visits to Amo House and Karren Burkett in deepest Dorset – down among the Gussages in Gussage All Saints Church. These lovely Dorset villages always sound like something out of Midsomer Murders. Was it Amo House with a craft knife? Certainly not. Amo was exhibiting with Karren Burkett and it was inspiring but not at all scary.


I love seeing churches used for art exhibitions, although it has to said that the light is not always great. All Saints is quite good in this respect and the eye catching paintings of co-exhibitor Karren Burkett made for a colourful welcome. Her paintings are so textural, often with little lines that resemble Kantha stitching, which add shape as well as the aforementioned texture.


I loved her triptych, ‘Stormy Sky’ which caught the exact moment that a storm rolls in on a sunny afternoon and seems to heighten all the colour around it. Karren had caught that contrast between sunshine and threatening sky.



Amo’s wall pieces included her lovely quilts from the ‘Rolling Hills’ series. Such a lot of colour and movement and they were beautifully displayed here..


In contrast to that was the highly textured embroidery ‘Earth Treasures’ which combined canvas work with rich stitching and beading. The Snowdrop depicted below this piece won the ‘Peoples’ Choice’ award at a recent exhibition.

However, I think where Amo excels is with her decorative three-dimensional work. This casket, with its rich colours and textures, just makes me want to take it home – but she is not ready to part with it yet, she says.

Beaded brooches with convoluted wire work were reminiscent of Anglo-Saxon cloak clasps. Such beautiful work – we will have to get her to write a workshop on those, I think.



After the Gussages, we took in some paintings and lovely ceramics at the Garden Centre in Cranborne. Needless to say, it was not possible to leave without coffee and a scone for Clive.

Next on the list was a visit to Rosemary Jarvis in her delightful garden studio. Rosemary has been using the embellisher machine for recent work based on the Northern Lights and this has proved a rich creative seam for her with many of her pieces selling. They were all glazed so she has promised to send me a pic of an unglazed one and I’ll pop it on d4daisy’s Facebook page.



On one wall of her studio is an inspiration board for her work based on Indian themes. I think this would stand alone as a resolved artwork.


The exhibition continued in the house and Iwas taken with the floral embroideries here. I think we will be returning to Cranborne very soon as there is an Open Gardens event in a couple of weeks’ time and Rosemary certainly has the garden in peak condition. I was so envious of her cat-mint. Every time I try to grow it, Smudge destroys by eating, rolling or digging. I’ve now given up.

So, a lovely way to spend a day and there’s lots more to see. Dorset is so beautiful and next week we are off to the west of the county to do an ‘art and fossil’ crawl. I’ll take pics.



More Memories and a Great Artist

We had a great time at Brockenhurst Show. For a small village, in the heart of the New Forest in Hampshire,  Brock really draws the crowds. The village hall is enormous and having a train station helps to bring in the crowds. We had great artists this year – Adele Thomas, Margaret Beal and Anne Hellyer among them. Big names in traders too, with the likes of Art Van Go and Mulberry Silks. The WOWbook stand did very well and it was great to see so many members. There was an exhibition by the Gathering Memories team. They are raising money for the Alzheimers Society by asking people to produce small, stitched works which will be auctioned at the Willis Museum from 30th June to 4th August and Southampton Art Gallery, 12th to 30th September.  Or you can bid on the website  You can see some of the entries in this blog – the standard was very high.

My piece was called Memory Tree, Fractured – see below.  The finished piece  shows a figure trying to straighten the tree while all the memories fall down and collect as flotsam below it. I stamped some text on it and then reversed it as my mum had a friend with this horrible disease. Poor Daisy, previously an avid reader, was unable to make sense of the text as she said it was all going backwards. So this piece is for her.





















The exhibition had some lovely pieces so do please support them.


My Multicoloured WOWbook online course  has been going great guns and we are now on Texture – having had a whale of a time with colour. These little strips are some of my own texture experiments. Flotsam and Jetsam  were great fun to make and use up all kinds of bits and pieces. The lower one was used in my Alzheimers piece.




We are about to return the wonderful work of Diane Bates, who is featured in the next WOWbook. Diane is hoping to show her Painted Lady collection in her new house at some stage and I can tell you it is well worth seeing. The house itself is lovely and Fiona has insisted on coming with me to return the work to Diane. So we are off on a WOW jolly, leaving Clive in charge of the cat – or is it the other way round? You can see some of the collection below.



It is not just the stitching that is top class – Diane’s drawing skills are awesome.





This is her workroom – full of wonders. We’ll take more photos on our trip and it won’t be long before the book is out with a big interview and lots of lovely photos. Can’t wait.