Tag Archives: Mima

ART with big letters…and some owls.

IMAG2637 It’s been hard not to walk around glowing with pride, wishing I had made a t-shirt with “William Tillyer is my daddy” emblazoned across the front, because last week was the long awaited opening of the exhibition at Mima. It was such a special day with so many wonderful people turning out … lovely to see our small family all together in one place and so many of my parent’s friends from their college days in Middlesbrough in the 50’s ( the artist Peter Hicks and former student, Len Tabner amongst them). The mayor, Ray Mallon gave a moving speech as did another college friend Peter Murray OBE ( Director of the Yorkshire Sculpture Park), it felt like a real celebration. Later in the week we travelled to Gateshead’s beautiful  Sage building, where daddy was interviewed by the lovely Sharuna Sagar as part of Radio 3’s “Free Thinking Festival” …I confess I was nervous; seeing your parent performing in front of a crowd is quite odd, particularly when he is known for being ” The Quiet Man of the art world”, hard to separate “Daddy” from “The Artist”.  He was actually pretty good and I can’t wait to hear it when it’s broadcast on November 14th ( I think).

BX6O4Z8IMAAGVVq Away from the glamour and excitement of the Art World I have been working hard at the cafe thing, attempting to express my frustrated creativity through the medium of cakes and pumpkin lanterns. I’ve been so busy that I still haven’t had a chance to look around the gallery to see the new exhibitions but tomorrow I’m going to leave the scones to their own devices for a moment while I visit the Lake District by way of Peter Leeming and Ruth Fairbrother’s new work in the Gallery Within. IMAG2616 It’s been wonderful to spend some time outdoors today, it’s so important to get muddy hands and breathe in some Autumn air before the working week begins again. I’m still trying to work out a way to gain some balance in my life so that I have a little more time to do my own work. After all, there is a danger that this could become a blog about baking and the joys of cafe life but that’s not why you’re here. My determination was strengthened by a wonderful day last week when a couple came in and bought TWO of my pictures, including this owl… DSCF1466 Days like that compensate for the days when the urge to answer back become almost unbearable…                                                                                                        customer:- ” let me educate you on dairy free baking”                                                 me:- ( in my head) “No thanks, I have a degree in design and have been making cakes since I was 10 so would like you like to please stop being so patronising”     customer:- ” I was going to have a scone but those don’t look very inspiring”          me:- ( in my head) ” They don’t inspire me either but I spent all morning making them and they taste bloody good so bugger off somewhere else if you have to be so rude”. Don’t get me wrong, some days are fun and I’m working on my attitude, honest I am. DSCF1465 So, since I last wrote, a terrible thing has happened which is that Guy Garvey’s Finest Hour is now no longer on Sunday nights ( it’s been moved to lunchtime). A little sign post in the week has been turned around leaving me a bit lost, so I have to report that this time I am writing in silence. I could put on a cd I suppose, but I have to be careful; these things have a habit of transporting you back to a certain time or place and the emotional jolt can be a bit much for “over sensitive” types like me! Instead it is time make a pot of tea and watch some Sunday evening comfort tv. about train journeys in Italy… might even have a biscuit. Have a happy week and thank you so much for all your kind comments on my last couple of posts. 1381832582710


Silk and Violets


Another equinox, another year turning into Autumn and it’s 5 years since I started writing this blog. Posts are few and far between these days but it’s like keeping in touch with old friends…I think about it all the time but life seems to be on fast forward and the day to day gets in the way of finding a quiet moment to write and reflect. Today has been hectic from start to finish but unexpectedly I find myself alone in the kitchen with Guy Garvey on the radio and a mug of coffee drunk much too late in the day.


The woodshed is stacked to the rafters with logs, the freezer creaking with beans and the shelves full of jam. I’m feeling an intense urge to build my winter nest and retreat to it with a pile of books, projects new and half finished. I’m ashamed to say I failed to complete my last commission on time due to “circumstances beyond my control” ( it’s nearly done though ) but the sale of one of my bigger framed pieces at the gallery and a request for greetings card images from an agent has given me a little hope that maybe, just maybe I should give a little more time to my own work.

….pauses to dance around the kitchen to “I’m the King of the Swingers”….


So today has been my lovely Mummy’s birthday which gave me the excuse to make a very pretty cake with violet cream icing. It also meant I got  a sneak preview of the gorgeous silk scarves that she is hand finishing, made for the William Tillyer retrospective at Mima next month


They will be a very limited edition (only 15 of each design ) and I’m getting really excited about it all. This Saturday ( the 28th) sees the opening of his “Haven” exhibition at the North York Moors “Inspired by” Gallery and also a 75th birthday celebration.                                                                                                              Meanwhile the Autumn sun makes rainbows on the peeling plaster walls of the kitchen here on the mountain and it’s almost time to make a pot of chamomile tea to counteract the caffeine.


I don’t want to go to bed, I want to sew and draw and listen to music and harvest more beans but tomorrow threatens to arrive all too soon and I may need my wits about me. Then again, I may leave my wits at home and who knows….perhaps I’ll write a story about this person I met last week…he looks like he has a story.


Listening to :-  “Willow’s Song” Paul Giovanni


…the way through the woods?

The other night I took myself for a walk in the rain, remembering another walk not so long ago and trying to work out where exactly my head is at this spring. The woods were beautiful in the rain, still with just emerging oak leaves and uncurling ferns; tiny mosses and soft new pine shoots.I walked until I could feel the rain through my hair, running down my scalp and slightly cursed my glasses which became like a windscreen with no wipers!

What worried me a little was the fact that even in the depths of despair last year I was still drawing and making, whereas now I’m not…( not creating and maybe not as deep in the depths, although its a pretty slippy climb at times)

Having said that, I have just taken a load of things down to Jane’s shed ready for tomorrow’s Bank Holiday exhibition; maybe I’ll sell something and get inspired again?

( These ferns remind me of the Soup Dragon from The Clangers for some reason!)

Yesterday I was in Middlesbrough and visited Mima again. Tom Hutchinson was there guarding the exhibits, it was lovely to bump in to him and the mind-bending Anish Kapoor work wasn’t bad either!

Well, for now the sun is shining so I should be outside. Please come by the shed tomorrow if you’re in Osmotherley…


Thats just the way the cookie crumbles…

Here I am sitting on a bench at Mima, reading and thinking.What I have been thinking is “what’s it all about then, this thing called creativity?”,” Is it wrong to bare your soul on the internet?….Yes?….even if the information might be useful to others?” I have an ongoing “discussion” with friends and family about the nature of blogging/Facebook etc.; in other words , should you wear your heart on your sleeve or just post pretty pictures and maintain your privacy and the myths surrounding it?

It is almost 2 years since I left CCAD and as yet another group approaches the final hectic few weeks of their course I wonder how many of us have continued to try to live creatively,has anyone “made it” ? in the present economic climate, how many of us actually have jobs?!! I would love to hear any past or present student’s hopes,fears, dreams and …realities.( and wish this years group Good Luck)

So, today I managed to make some peanut butter biscuits, pick a few daffodils to brighten up the kitchen and order a couple of books designed to “re-ignite my creativity” (“The Heart and the Bottle”Oliver Jeffers; “The Creative License: Giving Yourself Permission to be the Artist You Truly Are”Danny Gregory;”Art Journals and Creative Healing: Restoring the Spirit Through Self-Expression”Sharon Soneff…..all sounds a bit cheesy doesn’t it!) I really hope something does because otherwise I will have to re-train as a baker ‘coz those cookies are the best thing I’ve done all week!

Now, I must go and try to reset my body clock which is malfunctioning to the extent that I think I may have some Sloth DNA, if I don’t sort it out soon I will start to grow moss. Happy April…hope you don’t get fooled :0)

“Kitchen Confidential”

Mmm, the kitchen smells of baking bread and coffee, two of the best smells in the world.Its raining like mad and I still haven’t heard a Curlew so it’s officially not spring, therefore ,officially I can stay indoors and not feel guilty!

On Wednesday I went down to Middlesbrough for my day at We Are Open. It was a bit quiet, but nice to catch up with Leanne , Rachel and Helen ( ooooh!!!! something weird just happened, when I put in that last link my trusty old Mac just burst into song, I nearly jumped out of my skin, I’ve put a different link for Helen just in case some of you have sleeping children or nervous pets!!!)

Anyway, Middlesbrough was fun and surprisingly scenic in the amazing March sunlight. Lunch in the Mima cafe was a nice treat ,despite the randomly opening and closing electric doors ( ghosts?) and the fact that there wasn’t masses to look at, apart from a wall of magnetic poetry which I could have played with for hours ( on the theme of dreaming).Next week I’ll be in the shop again and there is an embroidery workshop planned ,as well as others on natural dyes, weaving and knitting.I wish it was a permanent thing…but since it isn’t, make sure you visit soon before its gone!

Aaghhhh! the bread, I almost forgot…

(Reading: “The Cat” by Colette Listening to: the wind rattling the kitchen air vent and that random music that came from nowhere!)

Leaves,Flowers and Giant Bugs

So, next week is the big week with the Degree Show opening night on Thursday. We get Monday and Tuesday to put it all together, I haven’t seen my space yet but I hope its not too big because I’m worried I haven’t got that much to hang! I will have to go for the minimal look.

Its taken me ages to get around to posting this because for some reason “Safari” kept “unexpectedly quitting “whenever I tried to use WordPress. It let me do everything else though so maybe it was a hint! Anyway I just had to dash into the village to download Firefox instead and it seems to work miles better.

These pictures are from various projects, first, second and third year, with the little jacket being one of my favorite pieces from Minor Project. It’s a combination of techniques on recycled woolen blanket,including heat transfer printing and appliqué using heavy wool dyed with Elderberries.The design still on the hoop is part of a dress for Final Major Project,you can’t really tell in the picture but the flower is screen printed devoré cotton so it is actually transparent.

I’ve been getting some nice comments on “Stitchin Fingers” which have been cheering me up alot but I still need a plan of action for finding work. We had an Enterprise Day at college yesterday. The most exciting thing about that was hearing about Platform Arts who are converting part of Middlesbrough train station into studio space for artists. Middlesbrough has had a pretty grotty image so this project, as well as Mima and Cleveland College of Art and Design ought to help make it a bit more vibrant and cultured…hopefully.

Meanwhile, its all wonderful in the garden. We spent yesterday making improvements to the willow house which now almost has a door, thanks to Jake, and no thanks to a HUGE BUG which made us all scream like fools ( I think it was a Cockchafer, can that be right?!!).