Labels, leaves and love by Julie Turner


The materials for this nest were brought back half made from my recent holiday abroad. I used the individual leaves from a fallen palm tree. After taking the individual leaves from the plant I first split them down the centre of the leaf but left them joined at the bottom. Two of these split leaves were interlinked and then folded over each other to create a more solid base for the nest.


This technique reminded me of some recent shibori work I had done. Shibori is a Japanese technique for folding fabric using resists, folds and wrapping and then dyeing the fabric. In the western world we have tie dyeing which is similar. I brought back several of these folded leaves and have waited until recently to finish the nest as I was unsure how to complete it.

In the end I used sewing cotton to wrap tightly around the ends once they had been gathered together. This made them firm but flexible. Threading more cotton back and forth between the gathered strands enabled me to form the nest shape and created a hanging loop.


I have been gathering the plastic nets from wrapped fruit and vegetables from supermarkets purchases. These are usually red, orange and yellow tones and come in a variety of textures.


Firstly I cut off the labels. I cut slits in the wide parts and wove the long thinner parts through them to create a base. I left the ends long and tied them to create a hanging nest.


By cutting the plastic mesh parts into smaller pieces and layering them, I was able to intermingle the fibres which formed a compact sturdy nest shape. I was able to do this by using my embellishing machine.


By ensuring the more fabric-like mesh was on the top and bottom the 12 needles of the embellishing machine were able to interlink the fibres in the same way needle felting does with wool.


When both my son and daughter got married recently 2015 and 2016 I had asked for any spare fabric from their outfits and commissioned a local artisan friend to craft them each a memory bear from the fabric which included the names of the couple and wedding date sewn on the feet. I retained the small remaining pieces. I know you’re not surprised. I had no idea what I would do with it but this project gave me a reason to use some of it.


Using the small pieces I sewed them together to create a nest from each of the materials. Ivory coloured wedding gown fabric from my daughter and 100% wool from my son’s wedding suit.
I decided to cover them in ‘kisses’. I used a cross stitch to sew the pieces together. On the wool suiting I used a complimentary cotton thread in a different colour which allowed the ‘kisses’ to be seen. On the bridal gown fabric I chose a thread in the same colour so the ‘kisses’ can only be seen close up onto which I also included a lace detail from the dress.


On the wool nest I decided to leave the edges raw as I felt this rugged appearance complimented the tweedy style of the fabric. Whereas on the wedding dress nest I turned over the edge and sewed it on the inside so the edge has a smooth finished appearance which suits the elegance of the wedding dress more.



Pottery pieces and paper circles by Julie Turner

As you know from my last post about the electric fencing I have a horse. Where he is kept I have to walk over what was an area where the previous owners many years ago had tipped rubbish. Looking at the fields today you wouldn’t know as they are fully grassed over and look like the rest of the fields. But occasionally and usually after it’s been raining I find small pieces of broken pottery and glass which I always remove. I have been collection the pottery pieces and some bits of nice looking glass. You’re not surprised are you! Through this project I have found a use for some of them. First I soaked them in water and gave them a good clean.


I wanted to recreate my version of the Japanese art of Kintsugi also known as Kintsukuroi which is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. As a philosophy, it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise. I decided to use some of the plainer pieces in this nest as I felt my method would brighten them up enough and I would save the more colourful and unusual pieces for other things I have planned. First I wrapped the individual pieces of pottery with some medium weight gold coloured wire.


Next I joined these wrapped pieces by threading thin gold coloured wire through the medium weight wire to pull it all together.



While I threaded the thin wire I used it to shape the carefully selected pieces so that they created a nest shape. This was quite fiddly to do but I hope you agree the result looks stunning.

The next nest was one inspired and made whilst on my holiday earlier this year. We visited the local zoo and I wanted to make a nest out of the colourful brochure.

First I tore the pages on the folds and then again down the centre of each piece which produced roughly square pieces. I rolled them corner to corner in a tight roll and then thought about how I wanted to proceed. Glue is often used to secure paper but I had none so thought about other options. I started to coil the rolls of paper carefully slotting the new one into the end of the previous one so they were securely joined. After I got a nice circle my next thought went to how to secure it. I decided to use thread as I had some readily available. Using a needle and thread I took the thread through the centre of the coiled circle and looped it around and under the circle and back through the centre. Doing this several times on each circle secured them well.

I made 5 circles and started to join them together. Attaching the 4 sides to the base with thread meant they just fell flat.


I sewed some thread between the upright circles hoping they would stay up but they fell inwards. Next I sewed the back of each circle to the base and this worked as it braced them as I pulled the threads tight.


Finally I wove in between the two lines of thread attaching each circle.


This isn’t the best looking nest but after all the effort I put into making a ‘nest’ shape I am including it in the final project.

The Story Unfolding by Jane Pugh

I have continued in the vein of recording ideas, telling stories of family, friends and others, and I have at last completed my initial sheet of 24 paintings. This has taken a year, and it is with some relief I now feel that I am moved forward to the final stages of the project, which will still involve quite a substantial amount of work.
For the last three spaces on my sheet I have developed three paintings; one is autobiographical, and two are from an outsider’s perspective. These include people, places and objects – facets of lives, in the same vein as in the embroidery which I have been studying.
Two close friends have an interesting background in relation to the current European situation. One was born in, with parents from outside, the UK. The other was born in Croatia but has lived, worked and contributed to the UK for the most part of her life. I have included symbolic elements from Croatian and British culture in the painting.
Blog 12 Image 1
Two other friends have suffered a huge loss in their lives and I wanted to record this in some way. I decided to paint the whole family all together as you will see. As these paintings are on a very small scale, I have struggled to get a likeness at times, so the animation of the early drawings shows how I dealt with this. In retrospect I would have taken more photographs to show this process more completely.
Blog 12 Image 2
I have linked together the photographs of these two paintings to demonstrate the drawing and painting processes. Using Photoshop, My Movie and by adding music, I have produced two short animations.
In my research for the music for the second animation I have discovered an amazing Spanish opera singer who is perhaps most widely known for singing with Queen in Barcelona. The beautiful fragment I chose is from La Boheme, and the final words are Amor! Amor! Amor!, or Love! Love! Love!, which seemed just right.
Montserrat Caballe
The animation from my third and final small painting is taking much more time than I anticipated due to my imperfect Photoshop skills, so you will have to wait until my next blog to see that!

Suzana link

‘Shocking’ nests by Julie Turner

I am using a mix of everyday materials and unusual ones to make my nests. The ‘shocking’ nests in this post were made from an everyday material to me but I am aware for most people it would not be something they encountered regularly and for some never in their life.  Well, now you are intrigued right?

What is this material I hear you say.  Electric fencing. That’s what it is. Why do I use it daily? You ask.


I have a horse his name is Harvey and Harvey is regularly moved around our fields. The electric fencing creates a great temporary barrier which enables us to cordon off any areas we want or don’t want him in. The fencing comes in a variety of different forms and styles. We have two different types of fencing one is like a tape which is also a more visible barrier too and a string type one. Both work exactly the same. They are made of plastic and have thin metal wire running through them which conducts the electricity provided by a 12volt battery.


I collected some used pieces of fencing from the shed and gave them a wash. When the tape is new it is a brilliant white colour and I wanted it to look used. I decided to weave the tape type first. Because it has wire in it I found it bent and kept its shape easily. I found it hard to start the weaving as I felt I needed more hands to hold all the ends. But with patience and perseverance I soon overcome the difficulty and went on to create a great little nest.


I decided to crochet the string style fencing. I was pleasantly surprised as it was quite easy to crochet. The most difficult part was that the string is made up of several narrow strings of plastic and wire which if I didn’t concentrate enough could be easily spread out and stop the crochet hook going through all of them and so messing up the crochet. These two styles of fencing are very easy to join and can be done so with a simple knot. As I was making these nests from already used pieces there was a knot in the string type one which I decided to leave in and work around. I think it makes a very nice design feature. What do you think?


Display boards and Exhibition Opening date by Karen Alderson

All my work, complete with fixings, is now mounted, wrapped in bubble wrap and stored somewhere safe. Anything more to do? You bet. All the stuff they didn’t teach me on my Fine Art degree like how to arrange work in a gallery and all the other information needed by the gallery for the viewer.

Firstly, the space. It’s small and enclosed so there’s not enough room for all the pieces.  Decisions will have to be made during installation about what will go up.  A large free standing hinged display board is needed to cover a door way.  These are expensive to buy so once I had done some research on how to make it secure I decided to make one myself.

Here’s what I did: I bought two large sheets of MDF half an inch thick, salvaged some 2X1 and other bits of wood from my shed then got my tools for the job: a chop saw,IMG_5020

a drill,


drill bits and screws


ruler, set square, pencil.


Firstly I chopped some right angled triangles and some short pieces of 2×1 wood. I drilled through the triangles onto the MDF then screwed the triangles to the bottom of the MDF. Once the triangles were in place on both sides I screwed the 2X1 to the bottom. Now the moment of truth.  Would it stand?


Yes! Next a couple of coats of paint and it’s all finished. (I want an electric screwdriver for Christmas)

Second, the film. Where will the monitor be situated? Where will the wiring go? What about the sound? Will viewers need headphones? Will the position of the monitor detract from the wall mounted pieces? Decisions, decisions.

Next, the viewer: What information is required for the labels for each piece of work and how big should these be? Different galleries have different protocols. I have already written my Artist statement and the “Group Interpretive Text” and found it really useful to clarify my practice.

And…….the posters and flyers are done!


If you can make it to the opening, and we would be really pleased if you could, there will be refreshments and nibbles.  The Calderdale Open Exhibition is taking place simultaneously so we are recommending that you get to Bankfield Museum earlier (12:30pm onwards) in order to get a parking space.

Should we have postcards or business cards? We decide on postcards. Will these be individual or collaborative? How many? How will they be displayed? Where do I get postcard holders? So many important discussions to reach agreements. I begin to research retail display merchandise, this is a whole new world and far removed from my rural studio. It’s fascinating.

Lastly, marketing and publicity:  The internet seems to be awash with “Social Media for Artists” webinars and courses that recommend I need a PLAN but given that I have drastically reduced my engagement with social media its going to be rather tentative one. Any marketing wizards out there who want to wave their magic wand at me?

Packaging and video tape by Julie Turner

As you know by now I have a tendency to collect potentially useful or arty things. This first nest came from one of these collections.

Parcel packaging comes in all sorts of forms. I know, I have a few in my collection including scrunched up brown paper (I flatten it for saving) polystyrene balls and shapes, different sorts and colours of shredded paper. I also have some shredded wood which is what this latest nest was made out of .


Firtsly I made a rough circle nest shape which I flattened slightly in the middle.


Then using a single strand of ordinary sewing thread I began sewing loops over the outside rim of the nest in the hope of making the nest .


I didnt know how this was going to look and had chosen a complimentary coloured thread to have a minimalistic look. The nest held together very well and I liked the look of the delicate stitching but wanted more of it. This was easily remedied by adding much more stitching.


I finally found a video tape in a charity shop which I could use for the next nest. I expected the tape to pull out easily from the video as the cassette recorder tape had, but it didn’t. This meant I had to take the video apart to access the tape. Once it was out it unwound easily and was ready to use.



I decided to hand knit the  tape. I chose medium sized needles and cast on 12 stitches. I knit garter stitch (all knit) for this nest. I increased 1 stitch at each end of alternate rows and continued in this way until I felt that I had enough knit material to make a nest.


Through the knitting I had noticed there was a hole where I had split the tape with the needles. I decided to carry on and leave the hole as it was.


I used the tape to sew up the seam as it would then be invisible. As the nest took shape I realised it was forming a conicle shape and decided to include a hanging loop within the structure for easy hanging. I like this nest and think that a larger version of this would make a nice wrist purse too.


Icecream and sauce by Julie Turner

I have been keeping objects which I feel would make good nests. Sometimes I have an idea for them and sometimes I don’t. I wait until the inspiration hits me. The latter was the case for these two nests.

I had collected a paper ice cream tub (the rum and raisin ice cream was delicious and also my favourite) and an unused paper sauce holder from McDonalds.

icecream 1icecream1a

Inspired by the idea of the old Spirograph toys I had as a child. I liked the way moving a pen from one point to another within a shape created a lacy look design. I wanted to create a similar effect by using thread.
First I made holes around the rims using a needle. The holes were a similar distance apart.
Using a metallic thread I did the small one first. I doubled the thread and managed to use two pieces of thread only which meant I only had to join the thread once. It worked well although a bit fiddly. For the second larger one I followed the same format to begin with, but quickly realised I was going to have a lot of ends to tie as the longer I made the threads the more tangled they got and I soon decided it was too difficult. I decided to use the thread single which meant I was able to have a longer thread without tangling and consequently less ends to join.

icecream 3

This worked well and gives a wonderful lacy look to the design. I’m really pleased with how these turned out and I am glad I used the metallic thread.

icecream 4