Wednesday, 22 May 2013


Today I received my birthday present and I am thrilled with it. It is the very latest Sony Bridge Camera, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX200V. It has 18.2 Mega Pixels, 30x Optical Zoom (up to 60x Clear Image Zoom), 3.0 Xtra Fine LCD and full HD movie - etc. etc. I fell in love with it when I had my tutoring. I am so amazed that my husband remembered. I never took my SLR with me - too cumbersome, too heavy, too big with the lenses. I hadn't thought that a bridge was the answer but I am thrilled and can't wait to PLAY!!! More technology to master but it is the camera I wanted.


Photography was my supporting study on my B.A.(Hons) in Textile Design at Farnham and I have loved it ever since then.  It was also an important part of my recent M.A.  However, frustration reigns in the taking of professional photographs of my work.  I have tried several 'props' - next step - a model I guess!  Everything is so important.  Lighting, background, settings of the camera, skill, knowledge, practice.  I have had a couple of professional photo-shoots done and to be honest, they were awful.

Recently I attended a photography hour long lesson.  I was impressed.  My old Panasonic bridge camera has facilities I didn't know about.  How do fellow designers take these professional looking photos with a pure white background?  Richard of J & S Cameras, Barnstaple enlightened me.  White balance!  Working in aperture priority, click through the settings, click on white balance and set.  Place a piece of white paper in front of the camera - take a pic and hey presto.  Your camera sets a pure white background and colour accuracy.  No more yellow.  In Photoshop, levels, there are three little ticks at the bottom right.  I hadn't even noticed them!  The right hand one is white balance.  (The left hand one is used to click on your black).  Take your yellow pics, click on the supposed-to-be white background with the right tick and wow.  White background and much more accurate colour and professional looking pics. It takes a bit of practice.  I still have a lot to learn and am still not satisfied with my efforts but I am getting there, hopefully.

I had abandoned this photograph of 'Swirls', a pure silk
                     scarf, a powerful design with strong colours from my series, 'The 'Zen' of Road Tankers'.  Not a good pic.  Really dark and disappointing.  The colour is inacurate. and background a dirty yellow.  One for the bin!  I just couldn't improve it.
'Swirls' A pure silk crepe de chine scarf 90 cms sqare.  After my instruction on 'white balance', I am impressed that the colour is correct and although I have not removed all of the background, it is still much better.  I have decided that I rather like a bit of 'base' for the scarf to sit on, otherwise, it looks as if it is floating.  This is just to give those who, like me, don't know about this wonderful facility, an idea of what it does.  Magic!  It just gives an ordinary photo a professional edge.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013


What a great feeling it is to be working in my wonderful studio, lambs bleating at the door and puppy playing with her bone.  Spending time screen printing is a joy, despite its splodges and idiosyncrasies.  The ceilings are high so to work in there in the freezing year we have had has been impossible.  Is summer coming.  We think of holidays, shorts and the beach and we are cheered. 

It is so easy to become a digital designer.  To create the digital designs, I have imported amazing 'Zen' drawings painted directly on to the silk in meditation. The images are unique, often looking like birds or angels.  Now I need more drawing, more photography, more exploration.  Whilst digital designing is magical, who wants to spend their life at a computer screen?  I don't.  How much time do we have for 'Social Media'?  Sometimes I just want to switch it all off and delete myself.  But today, one needs the 'net' to promote our designs, to find the right market place.

In the British Manufacturing field, does anyone have a team who will hand-roll luscious silk scarves????  I really hate the idea of machine hemming them.

Anyway, here are pictures of some of my designs catagorised as collectable by the Antiques and Collectors Guide.  They are very rare and unique.

'MOON' a limited edition print scarf on Crepe de Chine Silk.
'ZEDAR' and 'MOON' 90 cm scarves now collectables.


Studio tomorrow!
I love working in my wonderful studio with my pet sheep crowding around my doors which open onto the field.  I am planning to work hands-on.  Oh Joy!!!  I am up to my ears in digital designing and long to feel the silk, to get lost in the process, to be happy at what I do.  As I said the other day, 'I love working from the Soul and not for profit'.
I am planning to start
1. A large art piece for an exhibition
2.  A prototype for my 'Opera Capes'
So do watch this space for pictures of development.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013


I have connected with two new manufacturers who I am hoping will make ties for me.  Early days yet.  Another decision I must make is to hand-roll edges or to hem.  Nowadays, so few people hand-roll.  Is it still exclusive.  I had a comment recently that the hand-rolled edge did my design no favours.  When I asked what she was comparing it to, she said a machine hem.  Is this now the norm?  Can I bring myself to machine finish my scarves?  Watch this space.  Hand rolling is an art, a love and it has to be beautiful.  I have had huge hems with something like blanket stitch overlapping the edge.  I have had scarves returned with paw prints, blood, grease, all irremovable stains.