Monday, 24 May 2010

Interview with a Heckety- Part 2

BIG excitement- one of my quilts is on the MAIN PAGE of this website!
How amazing is this?!

Yesterday some of you were wondering what it was like to interview Heckety? Well I have to say that although she was moderately polite she was also VERY pernickety! She wanted Pimms with strawberries during the interview and it was just impossible keeping her on topic- she's the most frightful waffler, you know!

Anyhow, I persevered and will now bring you the second part of the interview, if you would like to join us in the Studio...

Heckety: Shall we resume where we left off yesterday? What materials do you like to work with? Why do you choose those?
Heckety: I like working with old cottons, I like the feel and the smell and the history of old cloth and I just LOVE receiving the contents of people’s fabric scrap-bags! Why do I choose these? It’s almost as though they choose me! I just like old fabric! Of course I use new fabric too but I think I tend to choose old-fashioned designs, I would seldom go for really bright modern fabrics; I like them but I don’t have any desire to work with them.

Heckety: Is there a special technique or process you use that makes your work unique?
Heckety: When doing Patchwork I work mostly in traditional patchwork patterns and let the fabric sing for its own supper- or that’s the theory. I could do modern or art quilts but I like the old patterns, the history and meaning, the fact that they’ve been sewn by many women in previous times and places before I picked up my needle. I like the social history involved in my sewing. I don't need to break new ground artistically, I just want to make new patchwork from other people’s leftovers and throw outs- partly as an ecological statement, but also because it’s my preferred medium. I like to think of those unwanted fabrics being given a new lease of life and going on for perhaps another sixty or seventy years in their new incarnation! And yes, I don’t just stroke fabric, I talk to it as well…
With dolls I like them to have a fairly traditional appearance, but to be washable and hard-wearing, and to have CHARACTER! I try not to name them before sending them out to make their fortune, but I think I would have a hard time selling one of my dolls to someone who was critical! Dolls have feelings too, you know!

Heckety: What does creating art mean to you?
Heckety: It means turning disparate raw materials into something which didn’t exist before I began! Is that surreal? My husband complains all the time that I cut up perfectly good pieces of fabric and then sew them all back together again...but I tell him that he does the same when he is servicing a bicycle, except that I don’t get covered in oil and grease!

Heckety: Does your work have a theme to it?
Heckety: Generally, no. Even when I use the scraps from one project to begin another the end result is completely different. A while ago I found myself in a ‘blue phase’ but although all the quilts were blue they were utterly different to each other. I usually work from a picture in my head so I have to work fast before the picture dissipates or becomes corrupted with extra ideas, and as I become bored very easily I am always trying out different patterns. Sometimes the dolls are dressed in bits of patchwork left over from a project!

Heckety: What goals do you have for yourself as an artist?
Heckety: I know that my work is well-made and will last for years; there are quilts and rag dolls which I have made dotted around the house which have been in constant use for between 15 and 20 years. I would like to see an appreciation for hard-wearing, useful quilts made from thrifted fabric. I don’t want my quilts, bags, dolls, items to look re-cycled- I want them to be seen as useful and comforting and passed around through a family, loved and re-loved. Ideally they should eventually disintegrate from use!
For myself I would like to be better organised and achieve a greater output. I would like to finish more quilts and learn to quilt more imaginatively. I would like to experiment using a wider variety of colours and I would like to dye more of my own fabric to include in quilts. Also I would like to make more bags, and develop a really wacky/ funky style- the sort I would buy myself if I had the money!
And there’s still the matter of the perfect rag-doll which I have yet to create!

Heckety: And that about winds up our interview. Thank you Heckety for your incredible wisdom and insight into the world of your crafting and we look forward to seeing what you create in the future. I hear that you are travelling to London tomorrow for a few days in order to see the V&A Quilt Exhibition?
Heckety: Ash cloud permitting, that is so. I am really looking forward to it.
Heckety: So we'll see you on your return next week, all fired up with enthusiasm!

Interview with...Myself!!

Before I begin, here's a few photos from yesterday. The weather was just glorious so we camped out in the garden all day! Sos came home before lunch- she has radar when it comes to was lovely to see the girls catching up with each other...Do you like our Summer Kitchen? Wonderful murals on the walls, huh?!
Widow Twankey's Laundry- Sos arrived home with three loads for the machine...typical!
And after such a lovely day I decided to make a new Treasury: Lazy Hazy Summer Dayz!
And now to the business of the day, for which you have waited with bated breath:
Interview with a (Quilting ) Vampire!
Heckety: So then, Heckety, what has inspired you as an artist?
Heckety: I was sewing, crafting and creating long before I ever thought to consider myself an artist, and even now it does seem a little high-faloutin and grandiose to call what I make ‘Art’.
I think I would be more inclined to call it attractive and useful thrifting! A bit like myself, really, attractive and useful, that is...

Heckety: Hmmmm. Matter of opinion. What is the first thing you remember making?
Heckety: Dolls and dolls’ clothes! I used to use Mom’s dress-making scraps to make fashion clothes for my ‘Disco dolls’ (anyone remember them?!), and then I progressed to soft furnishings, with furniture made from cereal boxes! I had nearly a whole house made at one point which drove Mom nuts as it lived on the bedroom floor and I went ballistic if my baby brother got at it whilst I was at school!
Later I began making rag dolls- I was convinced that there was a perfect doll waiting to be created, I still am convinced, and I still haven’t achieved it! Dee’s Annie comes very close though…

Heckety: Are there artists (famous or not) that have influenced your work?
Heckety: I can’t think of any particular artist but I think there are two main influences which have played their part:
Firstly Mom took me to a Quilt Exhibition in London when I was 11 or 12. I was making very rudimentary patchwork by then as a way of using the afore-mentioned dress scraps. I can’t recall where the Exhibition was held but I remember the beauty and richness and history of the Quilts.
Secondly, our parents have always taken us to places of interest:- museums, Art Galleries, Castles, chateaux, caves, beautiful scenery, Carnac, Brittany to see the national costumes, London for State Occasions, the Tower of London, stately homes, Craft shows, flower shows, Gardens of every sort, steam trains, Windsor, the State Apartments in Dublin Castle, Chester Beattie Library, potteries, weavers, artist’s workshops…even if something wasn’t planned, if we drove past, we stopped.
In retrospect I see that we were VERY privileged because even though everything was done on a budget we were given access to an enormous range of experiences and information. (Including the time my sister got stuck in the loo in a French restaurant and with my execrable school French I had to find a waiter and explain (in French ) that my little sister was stuck in the toilet and could he help?)
I firmly believe that EVERYTHING is grist to the mill in our lives: if we look with an open mind and active imagination then everything is ‘input’. As a result I am lucky enough to have a vast pool of experiences and visual memories upon which to draw when I am creating.

Heckety: Are there people in your life that have inspired you or your artwork?
Heckety: My parents encouraged us as children to try out things which interested us- for me it was music, crafts and sewing. Without that I doubt I would have ever started down this road, none of my friends followed an even remotely similar path. As regards the actual skills, I've learned everything out of books!
Heckety: I guess you like books so! Is there a moment in your life when you knew you were supposed to be an artist?
Heckety: Definately not! It was always a hobby, something to do in the evenings, or school holidays, or on Maternity leave…it was only when my health took a downward turn in about ’98 that I began sewing to earn. Since then I have tried on three occasions to return to full-time teaching and each time I’ve been beaten back by poor health. I recall some time ago a doctor asking anxiously would I be bored or unhappy since I could no longer hold down a job and I replied that I was never bored in my life, which is absolutely true! He was most surprised!
Despite all that it is no hardship to me to be turning my sewing into a business…or attempting to do so! I love sewing and creating, knitting and using all the various skills I have acquired to create useful things. I like having the freedom to live in an ethical and ecologically sound way. I like being able to choose the content of my days. And I like not being tied to the rat-race.

Heckety: And that's all for today folks- tomorrow we'll be back with the second half!

Friday, 21 May 2010

Flattened Friday!

Firstly, thank you for the Birthday wishes for Dilly, and get well wishes for meself- it was lovely of yez all to send them!

By all accounts Dilly had a mad birthday: morning working in the Theater with friends, then a very posh lunch in town courtesy of my sisters, further shenanigans in the course of the afternoon, winding up with a Theater hooley in the evening in which she sang excerpts of 'Oliver!'...would you say that was an enjoyable birthday for a Drama Student???

Secondly I want to thank all of you who commented on my previous query (golly, this is beginning to sound like the Emmys or something!) which I am working on/ thinking on. I found a post on Etsy to help with writing an Artist's statement in which I have to interview myself, which sounds awfully schizophrenic to me...

Heckety: Good morning, I hope I find you well? Take a seat please.
Heckety: Don't mind if I do.
Heckety: You are in the process of composing an Artist's Statement for your Shop Profile, am I correct?
Heckety: That's so.
(Notice; the Irish don't use yes and no in conversation, there's no equivalent in the Gaelige.)
Heckety: Now I'm going to interview you with some very carefully considered leading questions, and from your answers you will compose the Statement.
Heckety: Right so! Fire away!

Hmmmm, is that confusing?
Well I thought on Monday I'd post the first draft for your input...or amusement- if I haven't imploded trying to think about it!!!

Last two days I've been trying to catch up on myself, but still coughing and 'chesty' so when little black spots begin dancing before me I have to stop and rest...or are they bugs?

I re potted some raspberry canes as I can't decide where to plant them out...the tall yellow plant is cress gone to seed. It withstood the entire winter- I was knocking off snow to cut it, quite amazing!
Sorted out the salad bed, hopefully there will be rocket, mixed salad greens, coriander and Swiss Chard...oh, and a pansy!! Its so happy I couldn't bear to move it! The strawberries behind the bed are going to be planted out into...
... tyres. We went and got them before I got sick, the garage let us have them free. I read in the Permaculture Mag that because tyres heat up in the sun and rubber holds the heat, they are a good way to keep plants warmer than just in pots. Its worth a try since a) they were free, and b) I have two compost bins worth of home made compost to use. The people in the garage didn't half laugh at us though!!
I finished the 'Retro Baby' Quilt before I got sick, so yesterday took photos for the shop...I'll be putting it in later today.
And I made two summery handbags, lightweight but useful sizes, I hope...
I had fun trying to photograph them because Bertie-dog seemed to think his big black furry nose ought to be included! Its difficult to keep the camera steady and fend off a large dog simultaneously!!
I've decided I'm into ricrac (rikrak? rickrack? how DO you spell it?) at the moment- its just so cheerful!
While I still had the gardening gloves on last night I picked me some nettle tops to make tea as I've read that its very fortifying. Well that's as may be (thought I don't feel any better armoured than I did before) but its not exactly my cup of tea (ha! ha!), kinda rich and bit odd tasting. Still, I'll try most anything once!! And its free!!

On a sober note, here's a thought-provoking post from Maddy Harland I want to share with you. Regrettably, all too many folk can identify with her.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday once again- and today I've got an especially big Thankful!

1. Thankful that Dilly has survived my mothering so far because today she turns 21!! Exciting or what?! Of course she's not here to celebrate but we'll have a knees-up next month when she comes home. For fun, I dug out the album with her 1st birthday photos- and believe me, at the time I remember being so thankful that she'd survived that long!
...your eyes do not deceive you: she took the candle off her cake and ate the candle...

2. Thankful that after 6 days in bed with a lurgy, and 2 days shuffling around the house, I'm finally on the mend.

3. Thankful for my parents who helped the Hub with the School run and getting BBug to places.

4. Thankful for Permaculture Magazine, which has kept my thoughts occupied whilst lying in the dark feeling rotten, lots of ideas and information to mentally process!

5. I think I've said this before, but every so often it hits me again: Thankful that I live in a place where I have the freedom to choose my way of living, and the freedom of information and knowledge to make informed decisions. I am allowed to have morals and ethics and to demonstrate both in my lifestyle choices, even when they deviate from 'normal'. There's a LOT of people in this world of ours who don't have these freedoms.

Happy Thursday, people!

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Thinking and Wondering...

Have you seen Ulla's 'Stash-Busting' Project? She's been at it a couple of months now and it got me thinking about using things up and being eco-friendly. I'll try to present this in a sense-ish way:
1. Every time I sew I use up 'stash' because, as I've mentioned before a) I don't throw away fabric scraps, and b) I accept everyone else's scraps gratefully and gleefully!!
2. I was brought up to be thrifty, which is how my patch working began when I was 15ish, but now I choose to work in this way because I figure its my small contribution to keeping unnecessary waste out of landfill.
3. When I sew items to sell I make it clear that as much as possible of the fabric and materials is recycled/ up cycled/ re purposed...or whatever you like to call it. a) I wish to be honest and b) I want to help people stop and think.
(The odd thing about this is the fact that whereas in the past you tried to hide the fact that your crafting was from scraps, now people aren't even trying to hide it, but revelling in their ingenuity! A real turnabout!)

Which brings me to the issue I've been pondering:
How green is green?
How ecologically sound is an individual item?
And how do I explain this- or don't I?
What sort of footprint does my sewing have?
In wishing to 'live lightly' this must extent to EVERY aspect of my living.

Remember ages ago I was considering the question: 'When people purchase an item you've made what do you expect them to get from it?'
Well I finally got the answer to that one: I'd like a person to understand that an item can be well-made, useful, long-lasting, and not have used up too much in the way of earth resources.

For example- everything in the 'Retro Baby' Quilt was recycled- all it cost the planet was electricity for the sewing machine and the iron, oh and the washing machine as I wash each quilt when its finished.
Is this relevant to the shop? Not? If so, how do I say it in the write-up?

Any ideas? Opinions?

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

The Lane and SUSPENSE!!

Last night we walked the dogs down the Lane by us. It connects two other lanes, but only a daring tractor would try to drive it, mostly its used by horses and walkers, and not many of those. Its a useful way to get around the countryside, there a lot of these old 'boreens' although many are sunk deep into the land through centuries of use, and inaccessible.
Sorry the photos are a bit dark, we were at the bottom of the valley and it was that in between light when the camera doesn't know whether to use flash or not (and I don't either!)
This is the Lane, with two puffed dogs- its neither wide nor surfaced!
...our house from the Lane, its actually built on the level and not about to slide down the hill!
Think this is an old 'sweat house', 9th to 15th C use, and since then used as huts and livestock shelters. There are a lot dotted around the west, another one is directly beside our house which led to the archaeologists' suspicion that our house was actually built in a 'rath', the second level of a Stone Age Fort. Not proved mind!
Does anyone know what these little flowers are? The bells are less than half an inch big.
Wild orchid! Isn't it a beaut!
This is one of the water manhole covers from town- they are all over the place, I've always thought the design was lovely! Nothing like a camera-mad woman on the loose!!
When Mount St Helens erupted in the '80s we had fantastic sunsets- I'm wondering whether the same will happen with the unpronounceable Iceland one? This sunset was over the weekend.
So many lovely comments yesterday- thank you so much! Its comforting to know other folks have yuck-awful weeks too: Here's to a GREAT week for ALL of us!!

As to what Sos was making with that disgusting mess- I didn't realise I'd forgotten to say...but since you've pointed it out I'm going to leave you in suspense until Thursday now when I'm going to her College end of term Exhibition! I'll take photos then and show you, I think you'll be wowed and agree the mess was worth it!!

Monday, 10 May 2010


Before I begin I would just like to say that I did start another post since Thursday but the Hub needed the computer to do Church Accounts so I had to give way gracefully. He reckons Church Accounts have priority over a mere hobby, like blogging, but....well....I think we'll agree to differ on that one!

It was a sort of messy week altogether.
Some weeks gobble you up and spit you out,
some weeks seem to get stuck in a time warp and take forever,
some rare weeks are productive,
and some weeks run you down, jump on you and then keep going without you.
Last week was of the last variety. I don't think I achieved anything at all!
Sos came home for a few days, which was lovely, and proceeded to take up the whole kitchen floor with painting fabric and plastic:
...and the range with drying the fabric; how many times did I forget those weren't tea towels and go to wipe my hands???
Of course the dogs walked over wet paint so now I've to clean up reptile-wing-coloured paw-prints. Ho hum...Then she threw me out of the sewing room to sew things together and 'experiment'.
Thursday evening I went out with the dogs so they could run with the wind and so I could poke around in the hedgerows to see what was coming up. Lots, is the answer!
...more wild violets than I've ever seen:
...bluebells, at last!

...gorse, whin or furze, depending on which part of the country you hail from- here its whin. Have you ever noticed that the flowers have a very delicate coconut scent?

...and finally, as promised, the MAY! You really know winter is past when the May blossoms, although it does look like a dusting of snow on the hedgerows from a distance!

So, everywhere out is looking just lovely!

Also as promised, here's the 'Retro Baby' quilt in progress:It has borders now and is waiting to be fleece backed, which I've not done before, but thought I'd try.

On Friday the new Permaculture Magazine came through the letterbox, which is always disastrous as it gives me so many IDEAS! This is particularly inspiring issue- the Hub is not a happy camper!

And yesterday I played for Morning Service and then took myself and a stuffed-with-cold-BBug over to a cafe to wait while the Hub went off and took another Service, which is what happens when you only have one car. However, this is the view of the day we sat before:Not much of a hardship really, huh?!

Before I finish, a 'funny' for you:

Heckety, looking at computer screen with Google logo: Did you know it's Tchaikowsky's birthday today? He's 170!

Sos: That's nice.

Heckety: He's dead.

Sos: Shame.

Now to me that implies that a) I'm very boring, or b) someone's listening skills are a bit off...

Hmmmm....Have an attentive day folks!!

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Thankful Thursday

I don't know what happened to Thursday of last week...perhaps it never arrived here? However since I do believe that today is another chance at a Thursday, here be my Thankfuls!

1. Thankful that Dilly continues with her cheerful outlook, despite walking slap into a lamp-post and then tumbling down the theater staircase yesterday. Bruises on bruises, she says!

2. Thankful for an enjoyable morning's teaching yesterday. The children were ummm, interesting, but I think we all enjoyed ourselves.

3. Thankful for more bright, sunny weather- cold enough, but things are really growing and the May is out. (I'll take some photos later to show you.)

4. Thankful for a sale in my Etsy shop yesterday! Yippee! (Does one sale every six months make me a viable business woman???!) Its so nice when it happens.

5. Thankful for Coca-Cola when you just gotta keepa goinga but are feeling like a five-day-old-bowl-of-cold-sloppy-mouldy-porridge...

I think I'll take the dogs and the camera for a bit of a walk and see what I can see now, the wind is rising and they love running with the wind in their ears!

Tuesday, 4 May 2010


Ladies and Gentlemen,

Umbrellas and Walking sticks,

I would like to inform you that yours truly here has been invited to write a guest post over at Everyday Bliss! Yes, yes, all applause welcome and I'll be giving signed copies of the text of my article at the theater door after the reading.

(Actually, the link is just to Kathy's blog, I'll put the link to the actual piece up later, but since I'm about to leave the house for the day I just had to get in a blast on my bugle before I went!!)

Note- fixed now!

Ta Rah!!!

Saturday, 1 May 2010


Yoo hoo! I'm back!

Did you miss me? Was it very quiet in cyberspace????

Being worn out is a nuisance, being sick is worse, but as I probably brought it on myself least said, soonest mended!

I was going to go finish putting a baby quilt together, but I've just heard the strimmer start up outside the kitchen window so I think the morning would be better spent defending my shrubs and plants from the Hub's 'Tidying' mission. I've lost several tree saplings and a LOT of plants over the last year. Which bit of 'DON'T TOUCH THIS' does he not understand? Now where's my old hockey stick...?

I was trying to make a quilt with squares on point, something I've not achieved before, but with too many wobbly triangles, I gave up the Warp Core! and have gone for all squares- I'm thinking of calling it 'Retro Baby', you'll see why later!

Bank Holiday Monday- yippee!! No wrestling BBug into her school uniform for one day! She fell off something in the Church Playground last Sunday night and banjaxed her wrist, so has had it in a splint since then. Dilly is back in Dublin doing exams and Light Design jobs, and trying to sort arrangements and subject choices for next year's studies.

My sisters have gone to Copenhagen, Denmark, for the weekend and would you believe it but the Little Mermaid is on holiday in China? How thoughtless!...or not...?


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