Emily Notman workshop

Emily Notman workshop

I’ve admired Emily Notman’s work for ages, so when I saw she was teaching at the gorgeous Make at Monteray I booked myself a place.  Emily uses mixed media and embroidery to build up her beautiful landscapes.  It’s a different style to anything I’ve done before, so I was excited (and a bit nervous) to give it a go.

We spent the first part of the morning printing on white cotton fabric with ink, paint and bleach, using household and found objects.  I was surprised to find I loved doing this!


Then we made mini landscapes, to practice the techniques.  Which are secret – shh!


In the afternoon we assembled our main pieces using our printed fabric, combined with lace and other fabrics.  And we began to embroider the landscapes – I’ve got a long way to go with this one.


Those little green chips are sequin trimmings!  Joy!

It was a lovely day.  Karen provides such a great experience – with delicious biscuits and cake too.  I always come away feeling like I’ve had such a relaxing day, as well as learning new techniques. 

Make at Monteray is near Exeter in Devon.  Workshops always get booked up very quickly and a long time ahead, so if you see something you like, go for it!

Sketchbook workshop with Cas Holmes

Sketchbook workshop with Cas Holmes


I’ve admired Cas Holmes’ beautiful work for ages, and I’ve often wondered if I could make something inspired by her techniques.  I didn’t know where to start – her books are lovely, but I needed some help.  Then I saw Cas was running a workshop at Thimblestitch in Honiton (about half an hour from me).  It was fully booked (curses), but I put my name on the waiting list anyway.  A few days before the date Zoe rang with news that she’d had a cancellation and I was in!

I absolutely loved it.  Cas is such a good teacher and guided us through a series of exercises – drawing outside, making rubbings, hammering flowers and looking at found objects in different ways.

Below is my first sketch of some grass, and rubbings of twisted wire and waste plastic.


I’d taken along some photographs of the river and fields where I walk Hetty.  This is the piece I worked on for most of the day –


And this one of a hare which I finished later –


I feel so much more comfortable with ‘playing’ in my sketchbook now.  Cas gave me some very good advice, which was to draw or do something in my sketchbook every day.  I’m going to start when I’ve finished my 100 day project, which ends on 12 July.  Nearly there!

If you’d like to keep up with my progress, I’m dottie_doodle on Instagram.




Screenprinting with Jane Foster

Screenprinting with Jane Foster

I’ve been thinking about printing my own fabric for a while, and came across Jane Foster’s courses while googling one day.  I love Jane’s work, and the chance to learn from her – too good to miss!


Jane is based in Kingsbridge – about an hour from me – so I drove down there on the most beautiful day.  There were four of us, and I think we were all a bit nervous!

It was fascinating to hear from Jane about her career and life as an artist.  And I fell in love with screenprinting on my first try.  I’m not very good at drawing, but the process makes  simple designs look great, so it’s ideal for me.


I designed a flower using paper cut outs and round stickers, and struck with that for my one and two colour prints.


We printed three bags, some scraps of fabric, and paper.  I also made tiny niece Greta a bag.


She was a bit confused there was nothing in it (she had a very good look to make sure!), but soon came round when we showed her how to put toys in there.  (Also, she’s wearing the smocked dress I made – my sister knows how to make me happy).

Whenever I go on courses I am amazed by the variety of work produced – here is one bag from each of us.  Could they be more different?!


You can find out more about Jane and her work at www.janefoster.co.uk – course details are in the Shop section.

Ten go baking at River Cottage

Ten go baking at River Cottage


This year we are celebrating Mr D’s 50th birthday and nephew James is 21.  So on Good Friday we took a group of family and friends to River Cottage for a Baking Bread course.

I haven’t made bread before, mainly because I thought it involved lots of kneading – which looked like hard work!  But we didn’t have to knead anything for longer than 5 minutes.


James with the foccacia dough – sometimes a bowl just isn’t big enough!


We made pizzas to go in the wood fired oven – this is Hugh’s kitchen on the TV.  Mr D looks very proud of his pizza – he says it was just a small snack.


We made Hot Cross buns for Easter.  These are mine!


Most of the day we were in this wonderful barn, each with our own cooking station.


It was a fantastic day and Joe, our teacher, was excellent.   We were given masses of information, but lots of breaks and snacks too.


We all came home with three breads – foccacia, a basic loaf, soda bread and four Hot Cross Buns.  So when those are gone (they’re mostly in the freezer) I feel confident I can make some more!