Bristol by Billboard – Zoe Gibbons

I like :

old bill board posters peeling, printed digitised images

Layers and stitching

So going to see Zoe Gibbons work (at the Bristol Framing Factory and Art Warehouse on Wapping Wharf in Bristol) was interesting today. I saw the flyer at the tourist information office and thought ooooo.

The images are made up of lots of different old bill board posters so you see the digitised image patterns within the designs

The work is freehand machine stitched sometimes with plain fabric and she uses black cotton for small details. Zoe has an has a eye for perspective and picked images and landmarks from around Bristol.

‘but not used the most obvious view points’ – (according to the lady at the wharf side gallery) . It made me think about doing something similar using hand stitching, and my tea bags for buildings around Edinburgh.

My favourite piece was

I love the circle ( no? You don’t believe me?)

The exhibition is on from 20th July to 31August 2018. You can see more of Zoe’s work on her Instagram page zoegibbonsstudio and she has an Etsy shop and website the pictures are from Zoe’s Instagram account

The exhibition is well worth a visit


‘Home sweet home’ teabag quilt

I have been enjoying hand sewing very much recently, so I decided to make another tea bag quilt. A few people have asked how I made my first one so I thought I would do a step by step. My friend Fran Halperin and I have been experimenting with joining techniques. Fran has been using her sewing machine.

On the left zigzag stitch, on the right she has straight line stitched along the edge of the teabag and then jumped over the gaps.

On the left I used blanket stitch on the right for my new quilt – I back stitched the tea bag onto material. NB try and use something with very little ‘give’ – I used an old linen nappy and it’s very difficult to sew neatly on top of.

I decided to make my ‘ Home sweet home’ quilt have a more quilt like feel- the last one was a bit abstract. I printed some tea bags blue/ purple and others pale blue/ white. With my doors and window hand carved stamps .

The tea bags were a bit higgledy piggildy on the linen so I decided to add some strips of kitchen towel ( dyed with tea during the drying of teabags process) with writing on between the rows and buttons at corners. This stitching held on the back piece which is a white tea towel

I am edging the quilt with a sheet of used colour run paper/ fabric that goes in the washing machine. It needed 3 rows of running stitch to keep it flat. I used white sewing cotton throughout. I think I will print over this again when it’s stitched all around

Nearly finished. It needs a few more buttons and I haven’t stitched the edging all the way round but you get the idea.

I wanted this quilt to be a bit more obvious that it was teabags. I haven’t used any glue on the joints so that it feels much more like fabric

I think I need to do a bigger one ……

Finishing off my tea and home mini journal

Tea bags with white acrylic paint ready for stamping

Trial stamping of my cup and saucer stamps

Added the poem

I decided to add teacups to the two blank pages.

When the glue has dry- fold the joints and glue the two strips together only attaching the first and last panels. I use gel medium.

When storing you will need to add grease proof paper between layers. For some reason the gel medium stays slightly sticky on tea bags.


In 2013 Jon and I were both writing about what ‘home’ meant to us after we moved up from Oxfordshire to Edinburgh after 25 years in the same house.

We merged our writing and added some photos because Jon had been asked to write an article

We are now going to deliver a paper at a conference …… I decided it would be interesting to look at what ‘Home’ meant now in 2018.

I have been enjoying making zine fold mini art journals and thought it would be fun to make a ‘Home now’ series

I am very influenced by the Georgian architecture of Edinburgh’s New town where we have a lower ground and basement flat.

This is the view out of my kitchen window – through white pained windows, the railings onto the street opposite

As you know I draw mandalas all the time so I decided to use these as a basis for my ideas. They have become a part of my daily practice on Edinburgh. At the moment I am still using water soluble ink and sprays to release the inks afterwards

The other day I made a series of notes to print out and use as text about what ‘home’ means at this present time.

‘Feeling torn watching the common wealth games – wanting Scotland to win

Diagonal crossing at junctions as a pedestrian

Walking up Dundas st to George st

Looking at the world from my lower ground and basement

The weather

Edinburgh airport

The grey sofa

The sound of a bus

Variety of independent coffee shops

Smell of coffee’

I have also been playing with layering handwriting, asemic writing

And street maps

I also made a couple of carved rubber stamps of Georgian doors ( they are not fine enough to be used on their own but are ok as another layer)

I had fun cutting out the doors so that they opened and then I made a whole street

My latest few are a bit more abstract and reflect the light and the frames of the windows/ railings l. I used a geometric stencil and white paint

A few more designs with Maps and text

I need to get cutting and folding these ……

Manipulating Edinburgh with my IPhone 

The last couple of weeks  manipulations in my iphone apps, I’ve been experimenting digitally with ideas for paintings- I haven’t worked like this before. Usually the digital images are a end product in them selves. 

Interesting window at my gym – Edinburgh , waste pipes , Georgian window , light through a room, shutters , trees out the other side ( it ticked lots of boxes …..) 

I always sell a few pictures in my exhibitions that are Edinburgh based, so I like to manipulate what ever I am working on in that direction for a few pieces – shameless marketing? It pays for the framing and nibbles at the private view 

Heisenberg filter applied – I could do a whole graphic novel just using that filter 

Add a bit of dramatic colour – to see if it could work over the top of one of my mandalas – Nope 

Well we could use the trees reflected in the door at the gym or some stairs on the way to the market? 

Below I image bleneded the Heisenberg steps with the coloured gym window – which is a bit more interesting , but can I be bothered to draw all those railings? It’s always a problem wether to draw or whether just to leave it as a photo. 

Earlier this week  Edinburgh chimneys worked really well 

They inspired me to add a sky and a silhouette to a canvas I keep adding layers to – but, wasn’t going anywhere. I like the blue against my red wall

And I’ve gone off at a tangent….

Suddenly – just like that, it’s all about chimneys and architecture ……

And then – I am spending ages on my iPhone layering and fiddling in my apps – making my self bug eyed and just a bit obsessed (again)  if you ask me ….

At least some of these are  taken and played with outside,  wandering Edinburgh getting some fresh air (lol) – anyone watching me must have thought I was doing a window or door survey ……..

And I notice I am doing a bit of painting – though still architecturally based 

And then there are those that I deleted 

Apps I love using :  

Image blender, where you can layer two images , mask , arrange and change filters

Prisma – adds arty filters to your work , my favourite is ‘Heisenberg’ – which has an image of Richard Cranston in role, as its logo ( so I get to break bad and change my art into stylised cartoons , with the press of a button) 

The filters on the iPhone camera – particularly  ‘Exposure’ ( my phone never uses the correct exposure automatically? ) and some thing called ‘black point’ which are  part of the ‘light’ menus  

Layout – inside IG which puts my pictures into nice grids 


Feb 11th 

We visited Brussels today to wander , and visit the Magritte museum. Jon and I liked the humour in Magritte’ s surrealist paintings , particularly how he named the images for example 

Two coffins sitting on a walk  – a beautiful late afternoon 

The Breast – a pile of houses 

A stroke of luck – a pug in a suit looking over its shoulder 

I must give my paintings more interesting names 

 Jon also  noticed that he has a particular penchant for 3D balls 

For example 

Voice of space

The Memory

There are Magritte motifs around Brussels 

Museum shop , station panels and an advert 

After the museum we visited a trip advisor recommended coffee shop  Kaffa Bar which had 8/10 coffee and 9/10 hot chocolate and a resident bulldog called Marcel. 

Later we wandered around looking at shops and architecture 

Grote Markt 

Shops in the Galeries Royals Saint Huber designed by Jean Pierre Cluysenaer


When we got to the cathedral I was very struck by a modern building  near by that echoed the the cathedral architecture .  When we approached the area there were lots of tree branches obscuring the view – the modern building had glass etched panels of branches , steel structures repeating the steeple and concrete  buttresses . 

I have searched for about 10 mins on the Internet ( Google fail) but I can’t find any thing about the architect 

Segway warning 
It snowed lightly all through our trip – I was wearing boots, gloves , hat and a scarf – anyone who knows me ( I wear flip flops in November) will realise how cold it was . I noticed a woman in her twenties on the station platform – she must have had very cold wet feet 


Leuven Part 2 

Thursday 9th Feb 

It wasn’t raining to day so I felt like exploring a bit more. A feed on Instagram liked one of my Leuven photos, so I checked  theirs out  -@aboutsomethingaround- They had some photos of Leuven and some interesting descriptions for Goot Bergijnhof and Mussenstraat. These areas are slightly off the beaten track and looked interesting


I quote : ‘The Mussenstraat is by far the cosiest neighbourhood you can find in Leuven and a place of peace and quiet in the sprawling student city. The narrow cobblestone streets with small colourful houses and plants is an absolute delight to walk around in. You can also find one of the murals of the street artist Bisset’ 

There are not many plants awake in February but it was quiet and the scale of the buildings is startling after all the shops and buildings in this area. Apparently Leuven was extensively bombed in the WW1 – which accounts for the variety of different architecture 

Groot Bergijnhof

More from @somethingaround ‘The Groot Bergijnhof or Grand Beguinage in Leuven looks like a small medieval town with its narrow streets and small squares. The beguinage served as a community for unmarried religious women: the beguinage has a long history that dates back to the 13th century…..Today it is one of the largest still in existence. It is currently owned by Leuven Uni and serves as student and guest housing’ 

One of the thing that struck me the most apart from the beauty of it was the medieval buildings  structures had serious double glazing and that there was a wall all around the circumference . 

On my way back to town I walked along one of the out side walls and was amused to see a series of round holes – who was looking at whom? 

Botanical Garden

On my way back into town I stumbled across the botanical garden – this is relatively small and manicured but very pretty. ‘De Kruidtuin in Dutch and officially the Hortus Botanicus Lovaniensis – is the oldest botanical garden of Belgium.’

I went inside the palm house 

Other photos from today: 

Textures- bricks and the wooden stairwell from the Airbnb 

Visiting Leuven, Belgium

Tuesday 6th Feb We are staying in Leuven, Belgium for a few days. Jon booked an Airbnb apartment. The layout and proportions of which are almost the same as where we stayed in New York about 18 months ago. I suppose there are limited alternatives for designs of studio flats. This one is a bit unnerving when they have a shower upstairs, it sounds like it is pouring with rain inside our room. 

At the train station last night all the announcements were in English, French and Flemish, which was interesting in terms of the length of time it took to make announcements. 

After visiting France regularly over the years I was expecting to be able to understand menus and road signs , but we are in the old Flemish capital so everything appears to be in Dutch which I recognise but don’t really understand .

 According to Wikipedia Flemish ‘is one of the three national languages of Belgium, together with French and German, and is the only official language of the Flemish Region. The various Dutch dialects spoken in Belgium contain a number of lexical and a few grammatical features which distinguish them from the standard Dutch’ .

When we got off the train last night and into a taxi the architecture felt familiar, my birth Father lived in Holland for 15 years. He moved around a lot and stayed in a variety of houses. One was a tall maisonette in Den Haag. These were the buildings that I recognised

Last night when we ate out, everybody spoke English and they had English translated menus…..  

Wednesday 7th Feb 

I have braved the murk and the drizzle walking in an almost straight line from the house back to the station to get a Starbucks and what I hoped was free wifi – 

The shops in the centre are very chain store biased – but I saw some pretty smaller house ones 

And lots of half mandala drain covers – I seem to have managed to take 9 different designs –

Bikes and pedestrians appear to  have the same rights on the paved areas, I haven’t managed to kill any one yet lol 

Also please note if you are visiting Leuven and reading this blog , the main museum isn’t open on Wednesdays – it feels a bit like visiting Japan for one day and all the museums and art galleries being shut that day of the week – well at least I am here another few days lol. 

Archtecural details that caught my eye today 

The town hall-  the building of which began in 1439

A window from St Peter’s Church 

Demolition showing tiles and wall paper from the old rooms 

New Street Central station and the Ikon gallery 

After the library I decided to visit the Central Station – which I noticed was very reflection  friendly when arrived in Birmingham last night . The outside of the building  is covered in metal panels that break up the reflections of buildings etc in the surrounding area. Sunlight  also reflects off the metal and it dances on building across the way. 

The ceiling of the station 

Out side the building I came across some lovely reflected light that I could not stop taking pictures of 

I looked up – unfortunately I didn’t realise that I wasn’t quite in focus until later 

I tried to do a panorama round a corner – it doesn’t quite work but you get the idea 

The Ikon gallery is a white space inside a converted Neo- Goethic building ( I had to look it up ) I was fascinated by the stairwell