Monday 18 March 2013


This week Jenn's challenge on Artist's Play Room is 'WHAT DO YOU OVERLOOK?' 


I find the challenges Jenn sets really get my brain working hard to come up with a relevant idea, and some artwork that will hopefully be an original take on the topic.

As someone who by nature is rather forgetful I have always had to try hard to keep my brain organised about what needs doing by keeping 'to-do' lists.  

In the last decade or so the 'to-do' lists still exist, supported by bits of card scattered round the place with reminders like 'Get petrol', 'Order repeat prescription', or 'Post Ruthie's birthday card'.  So I don't actually overlook too many things.

Then I glanced up from my computer and looked straight at a textile wall hanging I made about 20 years ago, and the answer came to me. 

I'm always intending to blog about creative things I've made, drawn or painted in earlier years, but the intention floats into the dim recesses of my mind.  I decided this piece of textile art is definitely one of the things I tend to overlook.

Here's the wall-hanging I glanced up and saw on the studio wall:


I used to be very much into quilting and textile work of various kinds, as well as drawing and painting.  No surprise really because needlecrafts have always been strong elements through my family - my mother, my grandma, and my great-grandma who - family tradition says - made the velvet suit for the painting 'Bubbles' by Sir John Everett Millais, which later became a famous advert for Pears Soap.

I  bought the brown leafy material in a market in Nigeria about ten years before I used it, and it was collaged onto the brown 'window' fabric with very close machine satin stitch.

It was a labour of love, and I would never sell it.  I still love it so much that it always hangs on our studio wall.  Many people who have seen it, particularly in exhibitions, find it disturbing because they say the eyes follow them around the room.

The hanging is completely machine stitched, and the whole face quilted with machine stitching.  I mention this because sometimes people who have seen a print-out or a digital image of it think it is simply drawn on.  And yes, it did take a long time and a lot of patience.

In this close-up of the eye, you can see the stitching more clearly and the effect of the quilting on the fabric and wadding below.

I watch him every day ..... and he watches, or "overlooks" me,
a benign influence on our workroom.


  1. wow. That is awesome. I was a serial needlework kit purchaser for a long time (and non-finisher) and I wish I could figure out quilting. I think it's a huge compliment when people say that the eyes in artwork follow them. And it speaks to the amount of detail it took to render the eyes. I can't even imagine how you could accomplish that with stitching!! The detail is fantastic!!!

  2. Jez you are a genius. This is brilliant!!

  3. so well done with just lines. you captured depth and personality so well.

  4. Visiting from the APR - WOW wow wow!!! That is utterly fabulous to me. Incredibly beautiful, creative and very WOW!! :0) Mo

  5. WOW!! This is incredibly beautiful! You are so talented.

  6. Wow...this is amazing! Love it!

  7. It's an amazing piece, I'm glad you showed it to us.

  8. amazing and remarkable and beautiful. I could go on and on. I'm awestruck.

  9. :) So happy your beautiful piece is being shared with the world Jez. It really deserves it.

  10. This is exceptional, Jez! A real WOW!

  11. As everyone says WOW! I am glad you have shared it as it is so wonderful. Those eyes certainly seem to looking at me!

  12. really, WOW does it for me, too!! love the eyes and, well, ummmmmm, great thoughty post, Jez!!

  13. As someone who has trouble just sewing in a straight line - this is one of those things my brain struggles to comprehend. It is stunning, just stunning.


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