Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Just what the Dr ordered!

They arrived on Christmas day as a treasured gift, a boot shaped box, could it be? Yes it was a pair of the most beautiful red Dr Martens complete with red satin laces, flowery insides and they are heavenly and I love them ! 
Dr Martens have always had cult status and with each new youth culture their allegiance has changed and fitted into that particular way of thinking.
I love that you can wear them with jeans, combats, flowery dresses, pin striped suits or on site with your work gear. There is always the great debate over form verses fashion but here they meet in equal measure, perfectly integrated a modern design classic recognized all over the world.
Some may say who know me well, that my feet are rarely touching the ground but now I have the perfect excuse in my Dr Martens air walkers

Tuesday, 20 December 2011


This is always the time of year to reflect on the year’s happenings and all I can say it has been full to bursting with family, friends, laughter, inspiration, opportunities, journey’s, people, stories, nonsense, sad bits and without doubt a year full of love. My home is my haven from an ever crazy world, to share, to garden, to clutter, to make, to inspire and most importantly to just be! This is a snapshot of my home over the last year through my images, Salvo Toscano's and Bs. To see my gallery of home. patchworkbutterflys home

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

silky things

I have just taken delivery of a parcel full of the most beautiful Cambodian raw silk in the most wonderful jewel like colours. The whole process from start to finish is like a wonderful load of magic, and whilst I was out there this year I was lucky enough to be invited to have a go. I am legendary for my granny knots which if in doubt, about the knots security tie another one, so the thought of been in charge of a loom was off the scale. Nevertheless I had a go and wove enough silk to make a belt for a fairy. It was so difficult and your co-ordination needs to be second to none. The Cambodian women were so generous with their time and sharing their skills. I am afraid I will just use the silk at the end of their process which becomes the start of my design process. The making of silk is fascinating and I spent a day working and learning with them form the start to the end. I have long been using Cambodian silk, I love the texture of it, colour and am fascinated by lying textures next to one another, like the silk and wool or with loosely woven tweed, makes my heart skip a beat! Hope you enjoy the images from silk worms munching on mulberry leaves to my finished work using the silk

Monday, 12 December 2011

hatching up a plan

Nothing makes me happier than planning journey's. Well not so much planned but loose arrangements, well this simply means flights there and then see what unfolds. So I am in just under 3 weeks approaching my 40th year of living this life and don't really have the time or inclination for a mid- life crisis. So I am hatching up a plan to do 40 journeys in my 40th year. My hope is to travel to places near and far to photograph, write, sketch, paint and then to maybe do something with my gatherings. I have been thinking about this for a while and these journeys I want to share with family, friends and strangers. So I have bought my world map to put up in my bedroom and red pins to stab into countries I dream of, and let's see what happens.

Friday, 9 December 2011


Christmassing has already started at at the butterfly's home !
Christmassing is one of our family words conjured up by my great grandad who at this time of the year started Christmassing I think that meant sherry in real terms !

Friday, 2 December 2011


I have just finished these grumpy budgie chairs they have both been stripped back to their natural wood after hours of sanding to get off the very very thick dark brown varnish. They have both been re - upholstered using the most beautiful Italian cotton and both come with their hand embroidered budgie cushions with pom pom details. You can find them both in my shop later today. 

Monday, 21 November 2011


Pages from my sketchbook - The night shift
To see more in this series, visit my exhibition at patchworkbutterfly 

Friday, 11 November 2011

b's evening stories

I am very excited to share my dear friend b's evening stories - "the stories i write come knocking on my door during the day but i only let them in in the evening, when the sunlight fades and i am willing to listen. sometimes they come as pictures first. the ones that stay always leave me with a sense of wonder. i don't believe in the word 'the end' 
You can find three of her wonderful stories and photos in my exhibition space. Have a peek , they are just heavenly . b's evening stories

Friday, 4 November 2011


This last 2 weeks I have been working on a couple of arts projects within schools and the children are always brilliant, work hard, laugh lots, and have fun. So why is it that schools leave me with a shiver? A prime example this week was an art teacher using some kind of crowd control techniques that wouldn't have been out of place in a riot situations. Blowing a whistle to crowd control. that whistle was blown 55 times in a 45 minute lesson. So what did those children learn and why were they so unhappy in that class?  I came away feeling very sad. So was it the content of lesson, teacher, the way the lesson was delivered, sterile environment, the hospital green or sick bay yellow paint the awful smell of classrooms. I don't know. Maybe one maybe all. It made me think of the classrooms in a very poor rural province in Cambodia where a school has been built with government  funding. They learn in mother nature's classrooms open rooms created outside to learn. I spent some lovely days there working, with some children who had never encountered paint, brushes, and glitter things, working with teachers who were as excited as the children to be learning about new things. The children were very happy to learn, well behaved and full of fun. So does the space in which children learn effect their want to learn? I know for me personally those classrooms in Cambodia were richer in learning  than a lesson delivered by a smartboard over here.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Never judge a box by its cover

Never judge a box by its cover ! This is an opportunity to win a box of handmade treasure from patchworkbutterfly. To see more of what you just might find, go to patchworkbutterfly
All you need to do become a friend of patchwork butterfly on my  Facebook page and leave a comment on this post saying who you would most like to jump out of a box and why? Closing date is Friday 24th November. Those already friends are very welcome, to take part. Please feel free to invite new ones !!!! Good luck !l

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Art junction

In my last post I talked about the people of Art junction. So here is some of their work.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

By the blue wall

Art Junction by The Blue Wall is a collaboration between Art junction and the photographer Salvo Toscano
Ten years ago I was asked as an artist to see if I was interested in setting up a space for people to come and create, individuals whose lives have been disrupted by mental health issue. The gang became known as Art Junction and over the last few years the group has grown beyond anything I could ever imagined exhibiting work both locally and nationally. It is a place to inspire, be inspired, laugh lots, find friends and understanding, just sometimes a place to be and feel safe in crisis
The purpose of the art junction group is to provide opportunities for expression to further personal fulfillment, to give opportunities to acquire and develop new skills, to develop self confidence and self esteem through participation in the arts. Art Junction helps to develop and nurture the artistic and creative potential of our members, and; increase their access to the benefits of the arts, as an integral part of individuals' care and recovery
 Whilst drinking coffee and gossiping, this is when I find all the best plans happen the collaboration between Art junction and Salvo Toscano came about it. Salvo spent a few weeks meeting our artists and shot them wherever they wanted to be photographed, some at our space, in their favourite places or just out in the street. We are really very lucky to have had this opportunity to work with Salvo and the resulting images are without doubt amazing. These photos were exhibited alongside the work of Art junction and many other happenings this last weekend as part of Nuit Blanche in Reading

Friday, 7 October 2011

cheers Karl

Throughout your life you meet people, some stay some go, some are just chance meetings on a train where you share your world and never to meet again. And then there are some people, the people you meet who tilt the balance of your life and show you another way of seeing, doing, being. One of those people was Karl  a free spirit who packed his bags and went on a journey. The journey took him to Cambodia at the back end of Polpots regime a very different place now, to back then when the infrastructure was shot to pieces. Literally! He stayed and never looked back. This is where my story begins when I went out to Cambodia on my own not knowing where I was going to stay. I was pointed into the direction of The Ivy guesthouse of which Karl was the owner married to his beautiful Cambodian wife Vann. Our friendship started at the back end of the day in Cambodia sitting in the bar at The Ivy drinking Angkor beer and sharing our world's. Often I would come back from my days in the villages working on projects crying in disbelief at what I had seen and the pain people were suffering. He sat there listened as he knew  had seen it all and was able to make sense of it. I am thankful for this as some days I didn't think I would be able to deal with another heartbreaking day. Karl welcomed me into his world and he shared the real Cambodia he opened his big heart and a bit of me changed forever. I will be eternally thankful for knowing you and I am scared that when I return soon it won't be the same because you are not there! Your death untimely and so unfair. Thankyou for being part of my world the journey was amazing !

Monday, 26 September 2011


I have managed to find a flower merchant who was able to get me some lotus flowers.They have just arrived and i am so excited to be able to practise my lotus folding and to see if I can remember how. Pove with her great patience and many many lotus later taught me how, on many a balmy Cambodian evening whilst having an Angkor beer. These are made as offerings to take to the temples. They are just so beautiful !

Thursday, 15 September 2011

The tired garden

My garden is starting to feel tired after a wonderful few months with out sleep. All the flowers have entertained us on a daily basis with their wonderful dramas that unfold all around you. The last of the lily's unfurling their wonderful heady perfumes, the roses with their petals dancing around in the wind along with the fading flowers of the verbena. And just when you think the garden is so tired, and it can give no more the Japanese anemones, cyclamen, crab apple tree with it's beautiful jewelled fruits and sedum take centre stage. Heaven !!!

Friday, 9 September 2011

The writing on the wall

I have just come back from the cafe, sitting watching the world go by where the graffiti team were trying to remove a beautiful image from one of the council buildings. I love these pieces of art that appear in the dead of night and reveal themselves as the sunrises. I am always saddened when so much time effort and money is spent in removing them. Whether they are political statements cheeky little thoughts or as simple as the beautiful eyes in the photos above I love them. These are some of my favourite from my journey to Milan this year. They always brighten my day and it is on my list of things to do before I leave this life !!!

Saturday, 20 August 2011

dreaming of summer

Dreaming of balmy summer nights in my garden, this was earlier in the year. Where are you summer?

Friday, 5 August 2011

Threads of my studio

My studio, millions of threads and Archie the cat who lazes most of his days in my studio lying on something or other that is important. He just doesn't care that he sleeps on 100 year old dresses or some of the most beautiful silk from Cambodia!