Friday, June 12, 2009

Janet Bolton at Cowslip

Last weekend I took my annual trip to Cowslip for the Janet Bolton naive applique course. I have attended this course every year for the past 5 years. It has become more than just a sewing course as I meet up with now dear friends who live far away. Pennie is in Sussex and Janet is in Oxford. We met on the course and it is so lovely when we meet up again. It's like no time has passed at all, we just take up where we left off. We sew and chat and catch up with each other's lives. It is always a treat to be at Cowslip as it is the loveliest place on earth to be. Some of you may have seen Jo, who runs Cowslip on the Hand Made Home programme with Kirsty Allsop. She was the lovely lady who made the quilt.

I have sometimes struggled with my pieces over the years and have come away with unfinished pieces, vowing to get them finished before the next course. This has not always happened and so I went along with 3 unfinished pieces and an idea for my next piece. I put my unfinished pieces to one side and my new piece just flowed. I knew what I wanted to do and for once I did not struggle with it, it was a joy. I also finished 2 other pieces from previous years which means I now have 4 finished pieces and one to finish.

Let me show you what I have made so far.

(Click on photos to enlarge)

2004 - I made a piece featuring my two children, Jazz and Alfie who were 14 and 4 at the time. I made them on a beach flying kites, Jazz has lost hers. This piece is framed and hangs in our bathroom.

2006 - By this time I had had another baby, Lizzy and so I made a picture of her, on the beach with me. We have spotted Jazz's kite! This piece has been unfinished until now and is ready for framing.

2007 - I decided to unite my children on the beach. This was not a good year for me, I had things going on in my life that were making me unhappy and to this day this piece remains unfinished. It was twice the size but once I cut it down I could see how it could work. I will finish it.

2008 - I wanted to try making my three bubbas on the beach again and this time it worked. I didn't get to finish it until a few days before I went to Cowslip.

For those of you that know this area they are standing on Instow beach with Appledore across the estuary.

2009 - The final piece was inspired by Albert Lamorisse's film from 1954 called The Red Balloon or Le Balon Rouge. I was asked to source some fabrics for the Royal Opera House's production of The Red Balloon and as research I watched this charming film again. I hadn't seen it in years. If you want to see it, it's not long, watch it on YouTube.

So my final piece features my three chasing the red balloon.

I hadn't realised until now that I always place Jazz first, Lizzy in the middle and Alfie leading. I wonder why?

These pictures are definitely a series and I have used some of the same fabrics in each one to link them. They tell a story and document my children's lives over the past 5 years.

Here's the lovely Janet holding my piece. She really is the most wonderful and inspiring person. I adore her. I have already signed up for next year!

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Hens Teeth said...

I got goose bumps reading your post.
The pieces you have worked are so special in so many dimensions.
Janet's work is incredibly inspirational and she is such a lovely lady that I am a little green with envy that you have such a close bond with her ;-)

THIS'N'THAT said...

Hi, I am really taken with the pieces of work you've done over the years. Thanks for sharing them. Maybe one day I'll take time to do something of the sort. Thanks for the inspiration!
Lesley X

grumpy old woman said...

Lovely, lovely, lovely - works of art for the family to treasure. I can see these pieces getting handed down over the years .......

PG said...

I am SO glad you had a lovely time, and sorted your beautiful pieces out; there is something wonderfully theraputic about finishing abandoned work.

Greedy Nan said...

Didn't we have a lovely time - the day we went to Cowslip ... sing along if you know the tune!
These look great as photos but I've seen them 'in the fabric' so to speak.
See you next year! x

Amy said...

Oh Donna,
These are so lovely. Beautifully sentimental, quirky and so clever x

Olga said...

The patterns and the fabrics are just lovely! Beautiful blog! :) please drop by mine too! :)

claire Maraldo said...

They are wonderful Donna. I love that they tell the story of your life. Very inspiring.

Anonymous said...

i wish i could commission one from you of olivia - but i know you don't have any spare time.

- saff

AnnaVallance said...

How lucky for you to get to meet Janet Bolton. I love her work, have her books but as yet have not attempted any of my own creations. Thanks for the inspiration!

Greedy Nan said...

St Ives really not for me because of joints but extremely beautiful for a younger or more healthy person. Parking not great either. Do your homework first I would suggest. We preferred Penzance and Newlyn areas.

Katie said...

Wonderful pictures! I think they're all fabulous....but your latest creation is definitely my favourite. Happy sewing! xxx

Nelly said...

wonderful pictures, I am booked on a Janet Bolton course in Brighton in November,looking forward to it very much now.

Corinne Phillips said...

What a lovely record of special times for your family. I love Janet Bolton's work and I have to say I too am a little envious! They are absolutely beautiful.

Suzy's Vintage Attic said...

Hello Donna
What a wonderful sounding course and it must be if you keep going back each year. I love those creations!
How satisfying to be able to make those lovely pictures with fabric. Well done, what you have made is truly pretty!
Have a great weekend
Isabelle x

Nostalgia at the Stone House said...

Hi Donna,
I love your artworks and the stories they have made wonderful pieces.
(I have two of Janets books which included calico patterns in a folder in the back of them...sadly I have never been able to start them, but am now inspired...)

Have a lovely weekend,
Niki x

Cowboys and Custard said...

I had the good fortune to meet Janet at the CL fair in the spring.... I would dearly love to attend one of her workshops despite the fact I can't sew for toffee!

I love the fact that your diary of life is depicted in fabric...

Michele x

Storycloth said...

Oh! these are such lovely cloths. I have only recently come across Janet's work and my efforts seem like clumsy donkeys in comparison to yours! How I would love to attend a course with Janet. Gilly

Janet said...

Hi! Lovely story about your time with Janet Bolton. We loved our workshop with her here in the States - in Sisters, Oregon. So neat to see your four finished pieces - they are wonderful. I love that they are about your kids - that is how I like to do things. Thanks for sharing.