Sunday, 23 December 2012

Friday, 7 December 2012

Art Threads

Stitching my landscape
                                 Compton Verney

                                The Workshop at Compton Verney

I have been meaning to blog for quite sometime, firstly about the workshop I ran at Compton Verney which was two weeks ago.
It was a great pleasure to teach in such beautiful surroundings and everyone was inspired to create pieces all of which were individual, different and experimental.
The emphasis was on trying out new techniques while interpreting their own studies from sketch book work.

Last week I visited the  Pre-Raphaelites  exhibition at Tate Britain, a fantastic exhibition which includes many textile works including William Morris's four poster bed.
I admired the painting by William Holman Hunt inspired from verses of the poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson , The Lady of Shalott.

There she weaves by night and day
  A magic web with colours gay.
  She has heard a whisper say,
  A curse is on her if she stay
  To look down to Camelot.
  She knows not what the 'curse' may be,
  And so she weaveth steadily,
  And little other care hath she,
  The Lady of Shalott.
This vivid painting rich in colour, painted like a heavy Victorian tapestry depicts the Lady Of Shallot, tangled in her threads!

Tomorrow I will be joining in with the festive fun at The Herbert Art Gallery for the Making Merry which will have many handmade and vintage stalls.
I will be there to help my Mum on her vintage stall and I will display a few of my small brooches.

Then it will be back to working on larger pieces for my display "British Romantic Landscapes" at Fashion, Embroidery, Stitch in the NEC in March!

Thursday, 22 November 2012

"The Coldest Winter"

"The Coldest Winter" by kayla coo
"The Coldest Winter", a photo by kayla coo on Flickr.

They say we are due a very cold Winter.
So far it's been faily mild, yesterday it rained all day and night which brought flooding to local roads.
Today a gale has been blowing and now the rain is with us again!
I am adding a few more of my art brooches to etsy over the next couple of days.
I think I will be staying in as much as possible!

Monday, 19 November 2012

Inspired By Compton Verney

                      " Life Of Colour" a page from my sketch book.

Last week I spent several days at the art gallery Compton Verney, one day visiting the excellent Tapestry exhibition and then spending a few hours sketching in the beautiful grounds.
The colours of the tapestries struck me most of all; within the many pieces the threads have such a rich density of colour. There are no reflections from glass or oil paints, I relised why I love creating my work with a range of materials.
I admired the weavers craftsmanship combining different textures, weaves and yarns to recreate the artists original paintings and sketches. Some of these works of art which are on display show how closely the weavers interpret a painted surface.
Then on the Saturday I started teaching a two day art and textile workshop at the Compton Verney learning centre, the local landscape and exhibitions provided a wealth of inspiration.
I had the pleasure of meeting a lovely group of people who were very enthusiastic, due to this I am looking foward to next week to see where our creative journey takes us.

Friday, 26 October 2012

A World Within

A World Within by kayla coo
A World Within, a photo by kayla coo on Flickr.

I thought it was about time I added a few items to etsy, I will be listing small items but also a couple of limited edition prints of paintings, which I had on show at The Herbert Art Gallery.
The originals I am hanging onto for my touring exhibition sometime next year.
Last week I did a talk for a group of textile artists which was very interesting and it's not long until my workshops at Compton Verney, so plenty to keep me busy!

The trees here are the most vivid colours, reds, yellows and golds, there is a sharpe nip in the air, a move towards Winter.
The leaves have started to tumble creating the most beautiful rich coloured carpets.
Time to work in the sketch book again.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

A Story Within My Stitches

Untitled by kayla coo
Untitled, a photo by kayla coo on Flickr.

Another piece of work I finished a few months back.
The landscape is a place of stories, this is from my childhood.
I'm hoping to add a few small items to Etsy soon, I just need to finish another larger work which I will display at the NEC in March.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Autumn Tondo

Autumn Tondo by kayla coo
Autumn Tondo, a photo by kayla coo on Flickr.
Working on a larger Autumn Tondo, see the smaller art work on the bottom right to see the scale. I have a life time of stitching a head! Just a few more stitches and it will be finished.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Working With Threads

Creatively I have never been busier, stitching one day and the next it's trying to get back to the sketch book.
A lot of my energy at the moment is devoted to working on commissions, which include a hospital.
I am delighted that the brief was landscape, bringing the outside in, this work is in progress and I hope to share it with you soon.
The work above is another project which is also in mid flow.

Yesterday I spent a day at a school talking about landscapes in art history and running a workshop.
I shared how I use different materials to create landscapes in my own work.
I get so excited about working with the threads, fibres, using layers of colour, stitching rhythmically into the cloth to form shapes.

Despite my garden being a jungle and my house full of cobwebs I still have to make time to stitch!

Friday, 14 September 2012


 Pages From My Sketch Book

So much has happened in the last few weeks, enough for several blog posts!
I will begin with our holiday and share a few of my sketches I made in and around the beautiful city of Nice.
You can not help but be inspired by the wealth of art, history and culture of the cote d'azur.
I enjoyed visiting The Musee National Marc Chagall, more than 250 works are on show.
The brilliant colours of his vast Biblical works were dramatic, full of energy and immense love.
In one room there was a collection of dream like works entitled le Cantique des Cantiques, meaning Song of Songs.
 Chagalls use of colour is powerful, exciting and combined with his themes of love, immensley uplifting.
My sketches are from my morning spent on Castle hill which seperates the Old Town of Nice from the port.
I will post more of my stitching works soon.
M x

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

My Work Space and New Work.

I am often asked if I have a studio and I wish I could say yes, as it would be a dream to be able to have somewhere big enough to hang all my large textile pieces.
When I'm working it frequently gets cluttered and I rarely have time to stop and sort out my creative mess.
However, last week I purchased an old apothecary chest which has 16 drawers for me to hide all manner of my threads and fabrics in.
I doubt it will stay tidy for long!

I have just about finished my large piece of work " Homage a Mattise", this as the title suggests is developed from a painting of a landscape I did near Nice, I have also incorporated the rhythms I feel when I have studied Matisse's paintings.
Matisse lived in Nice, he too was fascinated by fabrics, which he collected on his many travels, their patterns, colours and designs influenced his work.
I'm looking forward to visiting the Matisse Museum again on holiday soon, this will give me the opportunity to inspire me further in my work.
The Museum is situated in a beautiful villa surrounded by an olive grove, it contains not only his art works but his many collections of furnishings and fabrics.
Bye for now



Tuesday, 14 August 2012


Drawing is as important to me as my stitching, I know I'm trying to capture not only what I see but more importantly what I actually feel.

My themes, colours and mark making have to be in a harmony with me , using my thoughts, moods and feelings, which of course differ daily.
Working on your art work everyday, it will become apparent how our very nature embodies our creative decisions.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Thank You

Thank you to everyone who popped into see me at Warwickshire Open Studios, I really enjoyed meeting so many interesting people and having the opportunity to talk about threads!
I'm still busy stitching my large landscape, I keep lifting it off the machine, spreading it out on the floor and standing on a chair to look down at it.
The work also consists of many small hand stitches, these seed stitches grouped together, forming patterns, run rhythmically through the piece.
This new work, hopefully, will be included in a touring exhibition of Sea's Of Grass and when I get more details I will be sure to share them here!

You will find a couple of pages about me and my work in the August issue of Sewing World Magazine!
Have a good week.

Michala x

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Warwickshire Open Studios


I have been busy at Warwickshire Open Studios the last few days where I am exhibiting prints, paintings, textiles, cards and tree brooches.
 If your near Kenilworth and you want to visit different artists work, come tomorrow as it's the last day of the event.
You will see me stitching my large landscape which I started last year, this piece is for The Herbert Art Gallery.
I'm hoping to finish soon, well maybe in another months time!

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Expressive Threads


I thought you may like to know that I will be running a two day workshop at a beautiful art gallery in Warwickshire called Compton Verney.
The workshop entitled "Expressive Threads" is over two days, Saturday the 17th of November and 24th of November 2012.
The gallery which is in a Georgian house is set in the most beautiful grounds designed by Capability Brown.
We will make sketches of the grounds and take inspiration from the artworks which you will then use to create your own textile landscape.
You can find out more about my workshop and booking details on the Compton Verney website here.
The courses and workshop tickets include collections, grounds and exhibition admission.
My workshop co insides with a very exciting tapestry exhibition Tapestry: Weaving the century at Dovecot Studios 1912-2012.
You will be able to see work by artist's such as Paul Gauguin, David Hockney,Elizabeth Blackadder, Sir Peter Blake, Edward Wadsworth, Cecil Beaton and Graham Sutherland to name a few.
There are over 60 tapestries and rugs on loan from major museums and private collections in America and Britain.
The exhibition will also have an interactive element:the Stratford upon Avon Guild of Weavers Spinners and Dyers will be setting up a studio within the exhibition space, demonstrating weaving techniques as well as running hands-on workshops for visitors.
This is the most exciting exhibition for anyone interested in both art and textiles.

It's going to be a few hectic weeks a head as I'm helping set up a school art exhibition and also I will be taking part In Warwickshire Open Studios for the first time.
My event is opening on the Wednesday 11th of July until the Sunday 15th of July at the Media Gallery Kenilworth with Sarah Hill of Gecko photograpy who will be displaying fine art prints.
I will be demonstrating my stitching and will have print, cards and textile works for sale, refreshments too!
It would be lovely if you could pop in and visit.
There are lots of other artists In Kenilworth who will also be displaying work so there is plenty to see.
You will find out more about my event here.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

June Landscapes

Stitching Summer

My Sketch Book

Under The Trees

Oak Tree
I can't believe we are in June already, Summer, or at least it felt like that last week, I have some photo's to prove that we had the most idyllic weather.
Early June is one of my favourite times of year, everything feels so fresh and new.
The heavy rain we had in April brought us an abundance of growth, wild flowers and new green shoots.
Its difficult to imagine that I spent a day sketching outside, amongst the long grass, now that we have grey skies and the return of heavy rain, in time for the Jubilee bank holiday!
With the rain it's easier to return inside to my threads and continue with my stitching, trying to capture the memory of a warm Summer morning.

Monday, 7 May 2012

"It Feels Like Autumn"

I have been working on many different pieces of work the last few weeks, some painting and stitching smaller pieces for University Hospital in Coventry.
I have been asked to display some of my paintings in the hospital which is part of a healing arts programme.
It's a great way to showcase my work and of course it makes the hospital environment less clinical, creating areas of interest where normally there are endless corridors of blank walls.

The weather here has been unseasonably cold, with a feel of Autumn ,which has led to me stitching this piece.
Have a good week.
M x

Thursday, 26 April 2012

"Searching For Spring"

"A Walk Through The Fields"

"Searching For Spring"

I have been busy stitching a few of my smaller pieces which came about after sketches I made during a long walk through the fields.
Two weeks ago it felt like Spring but now we have a return of cold wet weather, the rain is welcome but not the cold!
Last week I had a machine embroidery workshop, it was great to meet some very enthusiastic stitchers and everyone worked so diligently, producing some lovely work.
My next is on Saturday, with hopefully another one sometime in June, which I will share details here on my blog.
In the mean time I have to keep up with some commissions and other large pieces.
Before I go, you must visit Tracy from Ballistic Owl who is a very talented designer and kindly wrote about my work.

Friday, 13 April 2012

A Day Out & New Stitching

" Dawn"

" Crimson Tree"

The William Morris Tea Room

St Mary's Church Bibury

This week I went out for the day with my sister and Mum, we visited a small village not far from Cirencester called Bibury.
It was once described by William Morris (1834-96) as "the most beautiful village in England".
We stopped off  at a quaint tea room named The William Morris and enjoyed a delicious cream tea.

Afterwards we walked towards the church, through the grave yard and down to the banks of the river.
This was a magical place, the water crystal clear, reflecting the many trees reaching out above.
Luckily we had sunshine which created wonderful streams of light between the over hanging branches.
I can't wait to capture the ethereal tranquillity of this landscape in threads.
Above I have added a few more of my stitched trees to etsy.
I hope you have a great weekend.
M x

Saturday, 7 April 2012

" Yearning For Spring"

"Yearning For Spring"

"Autumn Trees"

I hope you are enjoying your Easter break despite the inclement weather, a return to Winter here with sleet showers and a cold blustery wind.
I did manage to make drawings of our Magnolia tree, in glorious, fleeting, full bloom, before the frost caught, browning the edges of the petals, which are now carpeting our lawn.

I have been busy stitching smaller pieces again, I need a break from the huge textile I was working on at the NEC.
So here they are and I am listing again on Etsy today, "Autumn Trees", " Willow" and " Yearning for Spring".
Wishing you a Happy Easter.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

My Time Spent At Fashion, Embroidery,Stitch

Here I am busy demonstrating!

A display of my smaller art pieces
Jen Goodwin's beautiful hand embroidery

My work kept me warm while I was stitching!

A selection of my sketch books and small textile pieces
It's been exactly a week since the Fashion, Embroidery, Stitch opened at the NEC Birmingham which I can't quite believe!
I was lucky to be able to show my work and demonstrate for Madeira threads.
As I had never participated in a show like this before, I was slightly nervous, but I was lucky to have lots of support and help from Maderia, as well as Jen Goodwin who was also demonstrating her embroidery.
Jen trained at The Royal School Of Needle Work, she told me about the embroidery she had done on the royal wedding dress last year, which was very interesting.
It was lovely to meet so many people and I was amazed at how far many had travelled.
Thank you if you came to say hello, blog friends, flickr friends and anyone who took the time to watch me stitch!
I hope to be exhibiting again next year which means I need to finish the very large piece I was working on, at least it gives me a deadline to work towards!

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Fashion, Embroidery, Stitch Show

I am in a state of chaos, organising and sorting a whole range of work which I will be exhibiting next week at the Fashion , Embroidery, Stitch show at the NEC.
You will find me on the Madeira threads stand with my sewing machine and sketch books amongst piles of threads.

Hope to see you there!

Monday, 5 March 2012

More Workshops Planned!

If you are interested in translating your paintings, drawings or photograph's into textiles I am running the following additional workshops, encouraged by filling my first machine embroidery one!

The first one will be on Saturday 14th of April 2012, 10am until 3.30 pm  Sketchbook, Needle felting & Embroidery
You will learn how to develop your landscape ideas in your sketchbook using mixed media techniques, paint, ink, tissue paper, pastels etc..
From these sketches you will experiment with needle felting and hand stitching.
Cost £45.00 materials  £5
You will need to bring a sketchbook, needles and scissors and some images to work from.

Saturday 28th of April I will be running Freehand Machining with Needle Felting
This workshop will focus on needle felting and free hand machine embroidery to create a landscape.
You will play with beautiful fibres and threads!
Please bring your own images to work from.
Cost £45.00 materials £5.00
You will need to bring a working sewing machine which will adapt to freehand machine stitching, also scissors, needles & spare bobbins
The great news is that if you don't have a sewing machine, there will be the option to hire one for £5 a day. (please let me know as there is a limited number of machines available)

The workshops include tea and coffee.
We will take a half an hour break for lunch ( please bring your own lunch  )

Spaces are limited to 6 to 8 people per course
If you are interested in booking a workshop or require anymore details please email me.

I'm still busy stitching away as I'm trying to get work organised for the Fashion, Embroidery Stich show at the NEC which opens on the 22nd of March.
I hope to see you there if you can make it!
M x

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

From Stitching To Painting

I thought I would get back to some painting this week, again working from studies I made around Kenilworth in my sketch book.
This is quite large, A1 size, so I used a big brush with plenty of inks and water colour.