Monday, 20 March 2017


These days, I don't follow many blogs, unless they appear in my Facebook feed!  There are a few non-Facebook ones, however, that I do make the effort to dip into occasionally. I use the word 'dip' on purpose, because these particular blog sites are like a balm of cool water that I can immerse myself in & come out feeling refreshed, calm & energized.

One of those sites is Tanglewood Threads ( where textile artist Penny Berens shares her work & process.  Over the past few years she has completed some INCREDIBLY beautiful pieces to a consistent repetitive  theme. Last year she produced daily/weekly cruciform patches from her fabric scraps.  This year she is stitching stones...stones that mean something to her, that have caught her eye, have been a catalyst to thought & contemplation.

Using fabric & hand-stitch she is producing an exquisite body of work, that is truly a visual meditation. It is also a very clever way of recording those little treasures, like feathers, stones, & leaves, that we arty types tend to collect on our walks & adventures in the big wide world.

My collection of 'stones-that-grabbed-me' cluster around pot plants.

This one was my muse for this week's art project!

Using watercolour pencils & a water brush, I started the process of discovery with some colour sketches of both sides of this stone.

Whilst I would also choose stitch as the means of portraying this stone, if I were engaged in a project like Penny's, for this weekly art project however, I am determined to stick to contemporary reverse applique.  Therefore, I needed to break the image down into lines.

From there, I worked up a design & chose some fabrics that closely matched my small painting.  Not having a clue as to what background I was going to use, I decided to create the stone as a single entity & attach it to a background later.  After stitching a complete outline, I used my design to guide me as I cut back each layer.

This was how my little stone looked when all the cutting back was completed.  Now I needed to choose a background & believe me....this was a difficult task!  Here are some of the options...

That was the shortlist!

I finally made a decision based on the fact that it was interesting fabric without over powering the stone in the foreground, and each colour coordinated with those in the stone.  Having said still needed something more.  Out came the stencils & I chose this one as it was the closest resembling bricks. Bricks, because my stone sits on bricks!  Using a fabric pen I traced the pattern randomly leaving out some of the crosses.

I then put the whole lot under the sewing machine needle again & attached the two.  It still wasn't quite right though!

So out came the paints & I started painting in some of the crosses...

...until it looked like this.  This is looking much better, but is still lacking....SOMETHING!

Perhaps a horizontal line????

By this stage, this small 15cm squared piece of weekly art project had taken a few more hours...yes, HOURS...than my guiltometer was happy with!  Therefore I left it at this point.

As with some of the other unexpected contributions to this weekly discipline focused on my garden, I am SO glad to have the stone there in the mix.  It reminds me that there is a lot more to a garden than plants.  It reminds me that, whilst I don't very often really focus on the stones when I walk past them, if they were removed...I would miss them.  It reminds me that even the smallest things we so often take for granted, are worthy of our undivided attention once in a while...even if it takes hours!


  1. Oh, Joy, I love your stone! Up here on tge east coast you might have noticed ours are usually grey. Thank you for the honour of being included in this great post. Your reverse appliques are always so beautiful.

    1. That's such an affirmation. Thank you so much Penny. xx