Saturday, 5 March 2022


We've just returned from our winter holiday to Tenerife where we stayed at Puerto de la Cruz.
I made a new sketchbook in preparation using one of my little weavings as the cover.  I took a small watercolour tin and collapsible brushes in a pen case with various pens and pencils with the intention of keeping things simple.

We had an apartment on the third floor of a block built into the hillside of the town with fabulous views towards Mount Teide and the sea if we craned our necks over the edge of the balcony. This meant that we were level with the treetops and had a ringside view of the parakeets as they came to feed on the nectar produced by the flowers of the coast coral trees.

They arrived in gangs and spent a lot of time squawking to each other as they fed then suddenly one would give a big shout and off they all went to find some more juicy flowers elsewhere.

The garden was filled with wonderful plants and trees and as this one was directly in my line of vision from my sunbed it was easy to draw as I listened to the birds singing in the afternoons.

Looking beyond the tree I could see an apartment complex across the road with fascinating architecture.

When we walked around the town I found lots of different seed pods to gather to draw on my return, luckily I always carry a plastic bag to put them in.  These large pods are incredibly hard, almost like wood and the pink peppers are fragile but very tasty!

We visited the botanic gardens one day and I was able to sit and draw this interesting specimen, tucked among the other plants which were much too complicated to add.

I took plenty of photos of the trees and the barks in particular as I want to make some textile art pieces inspired by the textures which are very varied.

Everywhere you go on Tenerife there are Bougainvillea plants in all shades of red through pink to purple and I just had to pick a few to include in my journal.  I learnt that the coloured part is a bract and the actual flower is the tiny white frill on the stem in the middle.

Mount Teide was ever present in the distance though often shrouded in clouds in the afternoon.  The best time to see it was morning when the sun shone and you could see the greens of the hillside in front and a few wispy clouds floating by.  At dawn the snow reflected the pink of the rising sun.

I started to use my multicoloured pencils in the third week and it's surprising how a change of medium can loosen up my drawing.  I had a lot of fun capturing the palm trees in the nearby park as well in the hotel garden.
We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Tigaiga suites and have already booked to return next year when I'm hoping to find more interesting things to draw in the hotel gardens .


Saturday, 4 December 2021


It's been about 6 months since I wrote a blog so I thought it was time to get together some of this year's weaving exploits.
I spent the summer being inspired by nature and the beach in particular, gathering shells and discarded fishing ropes and scraps of net after stormy weather.  I found a way to attach shells to cotton yarns with a hot glue gun so that I could incorporate them into the weaving which includes coloured nylon net from shower scrunchies and vegetable bags along with the washed fishing threads.

The second one is based on orange acrylic yarns and has more shells and a string of beads from old christmas garlands.  These two pieces are suspended on pieces of recycled curtain bars.

The shells also found their way into small tapestries.

These particular shells are small scallops I bought at the port and cooked for our lunch one day.

The seashells also got woven into strips wrapped around small tea tins to be used for gifts or pen pots.

The success of the shells inspired me to try adding scraps of tree bark into weavings.  It was quite fragile and bits kept breaking off but in the end it worked.

I bought a book about tapestry weaving and wove these tiny practice pieces as I read through the book.

More woven birthday presents for my family and here's my granddaighter's bag inspired by tree bark.

The front features the odd shapes that occur on silver beeches.

I made Sarah a mixed media birthday card incorporating rust dyed and eco printed fabric with real autumn leaves.

My nieces's cushion cover is woven in shades of teal and burgundy at her request in the saori style of ramdom weaving and backed with a gorgeous forest green velour fabric.

This is Esther's birthday card made with an eco printed leaf.

My imagination never seems to stop coming up with new ideas for textile art and now I've found another process to try out, eco printing which I'll tell you all about on my next blog.


Saturday, 29 May 2021


It's more than a year since I reported on my weaving exploits so I thought it was time for a catch up.

Weaving has become a passion for me and I spend a lot of time thinking about how I can interpret the things I see into woven textiles. 
This cushion for my granddaughter Steph's birthday last year was inspired by her geological slides of rock formations which I have already drawn and machine embroidered in previous years.

Kirsty, my eldest granddaughter, was setting up home with her partner Barney so I decided to make them some special place mats for her birthday. The words are their Instagram hashtags and they loved them!

Youngest granddaughter Sarah is a nature lover so her cushion depicts her beloved trees.

My sister Juliet came to live in France last year so her birthday cushion was designed to go with her new red rocking chair.

I have a subscription to the Weavers, spinners and dyers journal and some of the articles are very inspiring, the one about Saori weaving in particular caught my eye.  For this process the idea is to weave using a variety of different textures and making it up as you go along.  I used the colours of my garden as inspiration for this cushion starting at the bottom in winter and going through the seasons right to the walnuts near the top.

Living by the sea is wonderful and every time we walk on the beach I come home with a head full of ideas and this method of weaving lends itself perfectly to these wavy lines.  This was daughter Joanna's cushion this year.

Last year I made Jo a cushion to go with the new sofa she planned to buy for her renovated kitchen.

Just for a change I had the idea of making covers for the cute tins our tea comes in that are far too nice to throw away.  I had a lot of fun working in the strings of beads I acquired in a charity shop at Christmas.  The make lovely pots for pens and crochet hooks too!

This year I made Kirsty a cushion cover inspired by a sunset at sea.  She had taken me on a virtual tour of their new apartment and I spotted that her bedroom was decorated in burgundy and gold colours so I came up with this design.
I knitted the throw in the background using more of my yarn stash, lots of fun working diagonally and knitting in each square as I went along.  It's very cosy with a black velour backing.

I made myself a new shoulder bag from an old plain one with a weaving using some of the lovely blue yarns in my collection for the front.

Steph asked for a bag as well to use for her shopping trips to the local farm shop and I was delighted to make this using some fabulous wax print fabric for the lining.

This wall hanging was inspired by the ripples left on the beach when the tide goes out and I have incorporated some shells gathered on the shoreline.  They are attached to the yarns using a hot glue gun.
Well that's all the weaving so far but I have been experimenting with tapestry after buying an instruction book a couple of months ago.  I'll share what I've learned with you next time.
By the way, apparently Blogger is changing how you get notified about my blogs and in future I think there won't be any email notifications so you'll have to keep an eye out on Colours in the Breizh on Facebook instead. 
A bientot!


Saturday, 27 February 2021


My latest wall hanging is a felted and hand embroidered depiction of the three silver birches growing in our garden.  We planted them about 16 years ago and as they are visible from my kitchen window I'm always observing the changes through the seasons and over the years.  I've sketched and painted them many times as they have grown but this is their first incarnation in stitch.

I started with a base made of coloured wool tops which I had bought a few years ago when I thought I would try my hand at felting.

 I built up the layers using appropriate colours and pulling the wisps apart to make the shapes I required and added some chopped up pieces of mohair and silk yarn for the twiggy bits at the top of the branches At this stage the image is very loose and fluffy.

 I then began the felting process which involves wetting the piece, rubbing soap all over, covering it with nylon net curtain, wrapping in bubble wrap and then spending about 15 minutes massaging and turning the piece around until all the wool has begun to blend together.

Then I rolled it up in a bamboo place mat and rolled it in all directions till the felting process was complete, another 15 minutes of rolling and rinsing in hot water to remove the soap and I ended up with a piece of felt quite a bit smaller than I had started with.  I put it in a warm place to dry ready for the next step.

I started to hand stitch the details on the trunks, shrubs and distant trees.

I decided to extend the piece with another piece of felt which I prepared and then attached by extending the branches beyond the edge of the first part.

This picture shows some of the equipment necessary to do the felting, the original photo of the trees and the work in process.

A close up of the felted on yarns of the extension ready to be joined to the bottom part of the picture.

It's nearly finished and now all I had to do was add some extra long branches to use to tie to the twig I cut from a fallen branch of the tree to make the wall hanging you can see at the top of this story.
I hope you've enjoyed reading this description of my work and maybe you'll think of having a go at felting too, just remember the yarns must be wool to be sure they blend together in the felting process.


Wednesday, 10 February 2021


This month has been rather wet and there are many flooded areas all over the country.  We are fortunate to live at the top of the hill and don't see much standing water so when I spotted this view in the woods on our regular Saturday walk I had to stop and take a photo.

The sky looked wonderful reflected in the pool and I knew this could be the inspiration for a textile art piece.

The first thing I always do is to make a sketch to try and understand the layout of the elements of the picture and to think about how to set about portraying it in fabric and stitch.

I had a handful of fabrics treated with matt acrylic medium already painted with a home made mixture of natural ochre pigments from Roussillon and acrylic medium, just waiting for their chance to be used.
I discovered the treated fabrics adhered to each other with the application of heat so first I ironed the base layer of crinkly cotton fabric to some plain white cotton using a sheet of baking parchment to protect my iron.

I then built up the picture with an assortment of scraps cut from the remains of other recent projects.  
I should say here that nothing is ever thrown away in my workroom where I have a big bag under my table where everything is put to wait for re-purposing.

I machine embroidered the first layer of trees and grasses, then cut some more trees out of a lighter brown for the foreground tree trunk.

Lots more machining to give texture and complete the picture.

The back looked rather interesting too so I decided to use a translucent iron on interfacing for the title.

I edged the trimmed picture with brown overlocking stitch then went round again stitching on a length of brown woollen yarn.

The finished picture, photographed on my pine desk, measures 28 x 20 cms.