Monday, May 26, 2014

moving on

This is my last post here. I've been blogging as clarabella for a long time, the name originally a childhood nickname, later the brand name when I made and sold small textile objects as my main job. There have been many changes in my life and work since then, so for consistency and ease I've decided to move my blog alongside my new website. I'll still be sharing images and news over there, with recent projects and exhibition details too. Thank you all so much for reading and encouraging me over the last few years. I hope you'll visit me here soon.

Sunday, May 11, 2014


I've had an unplanned break from the blog due to a difficult month: the loss of a dear friend, illness in the family and deadlines everywhere I look. A couple of quiet days in the studio last week making mordant-printed samples helped me to get back into some sort of rhythm.

:: I'll be moving shortly from this space to a self-hosted website. More details soon.

:: Inspiring read here, thanks Judy.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Boro at Somerset House

I was lucky to catch the Boro exhibition at Somerset House earlier this week on a quick visit to London. A rare opportunity to see a large number of pieces from one collection. Sitting quietly surrounded by this work I was struck strongly by the time and care that had gone into their survival. Generation after generation layering, piecing and mending with family need at the centre of the work. All those narratives of use running through these domestic wrapping cloths, clothing, floor cloths - every last stitch used to conserve and continue the useful life of the textile.  Of course, the aesthetics of the work moved me too, though the display (mainly on stretcher frames) didn't appeal at all. It is so unusual to see 'poor' textiles primarily because so few survive, but also because of the way that heritage is so often collected and displayed in museums and galleries. We often only get to view the 'best', the most ornate, the rarest.

:: There is a catalogue with some very good photography. 'Boro' continues until 26th April. I would also recommend reading 'Boro: Rags and tatters from the far north of Japan' for more detail about the social and economic context of these textiles.

:: Helen has written an excellent review of the exhibition here.

Friday, March 14, 2014


It's all been a bit quiet in this space recently. Some big deadlines and end-of-winter blues had left me a little wrung out. 

Now we have lighter days and signs of green again, I'm feeling brighter and ready for this happily busy season. 

:: I've been adding to my collection of old unfinished patchwork. See herehere, and here for more examples of this obsession. These scraps have some very interesting text hidden inside, more of which another time.

:: I've scheduled a couple of summer dyeing workshops at my home studio including another indigo day. Details here.

:: I've been using instagram much more of late. Say hello if you're there too.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Monday, February 17, 2014


Photographs taken this weekend in my studio, backyard and allotment. 

There was just a slight shift in the air today that made me think of Spring. The cycles of growth and renewal and all the repetitions that accompany them are about to start again. Sowing, planting, nurturing, processing, dyeing and stitching.

'Repetition changes nothing in the object repeated, but does change something in the mind which contemplates it.' Gilles Deleuze