A Tisket A Tasket – Festive Basket Making by Jane Pugh

We three are all running a workshop at Bankfield Museum on Saturday 2nd December, although Julie is the expert and Karen and I are supporting. The course is now full but you could make a basket at home – I have tried to describe the steps for success.

I have not tried this method of basket making before but am having great fun getting a few samples ready. You can use a flan tray or cut circles of card (use two pieces with the corrugations running in different directions to give it strength).

If you use a flan tray you may have to manage with an even number of warp threads, which will mean that each time round you will have to miss a thread to keep to the under and over pattern. If you are using card, mark out an odd number of evenly spaced sections (like the segments of a chocolate orange.) Then you could indent the marks with a pair of sturdy scissors or a blunt knife.

Next you wrap the warp thread around the card or flan tray; the last one will have to be double – you will find out why as you do this, but fasten the loose ends off at the back, securely.

Start weaving your chosen weft (thread, wool or fancy ribbon) in and out, around and around. If you are making a very small basket, you might need to use a bodkin to thread and pull the yarn under and over. You can change the yarn when you have more confidence, just weave the new yarn in and continue.

Work loosely to begin with then when you are about half way through, gradually pull the yarn tighter until the last few round are quite tight. This will pull the weaving towards the centre, but will also act to give the basket shape when you have finished.

When you have finished weaving, cut the warp from the card or flan tray – I suggest cutting at the back to leave long threads which will give you options! You can gently encourage the basket shape by easing the sides up.


To finish your basket you can tie the pairs of threads off (you will have one set of 3 threads due to the odd number), or you can sew them in, or use another thread to sew them securely, leaving shorter ends loose.

I am going to use mine to put tiny presents in – perhaps in boxes!


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.
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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.
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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

Storytime by Jane Pugh

As my ideas sheet of paintings nears completion I am finding a structure to my work. The images that I have produced most recently reflect the story told in the embroidery, of objects, creatures and places important to the people. This is somewhat of an assumption as no words link the objects; rather, it is a conjecture using the visual clues in the embroidery.

Using friends and family as a starting point, I am going back to basics, and drawing and painting ideas for larger compositions. I am documenting the method of my practice, and using my photographs to animate the production of certain paintings.

Some inspiration was taken from this watercolour by William Blake, a copy of which has been lying around in my studio for some time. I feel sure, but have no proof, that Marc Chagall must have seen this image as it is so evocative of his work.


This painting is an example including members of my family as well as important moments past and present. I have taken a series of photographs showing the progression of the painting.


I decided to investigate the connection between Blake and Chagall further and found this section in the book William Blake and the Productions of Time*

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William Blake’s painting Visions of the Daughters of Albion

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Marc Chagall’s painting The Birthday

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I also recognized that it could just be a fact that people come up with the same idea. This is called ‘Multiple Discovery’. The first image I I found when researching this was of a mandala, on this website** Inspiration: Where Do Artists Get Their Ideas? This was meaningful to me as I recently came across the word ‘mandala’ when I was looking at flags for one of my paintings. Not being familiar with the word, I had found its meaning on Wikipedia***:

Mandala (lit, circle) is a spiritual and ritual symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism, representing the universe. In common use, “mandala” has become a generic term for any diagram, chart or geometric pattern that represents the cosmos metaphysically or symbolically; a microcosm of the universe.

The psychiatrist Carl Jung wrote:

I sketched every morning in a notebook a small circular drawing… which seemed to correspond to my inner situation at the time… Only gradually did I discover what the mandala really is… the Self, the wholeness of the personality, which if all goes well is harmonious.

Jung recognized that the urge to make mandalas emerges during moments of intense personal growth. Their appearance indicates a profound re-balancing process is underway in the psyche. The result of the process is a more complex and better integrated personality. — Carl Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, pp. 195–196.

So, in accordance with Jung, I have decided to use the mandala structure in a textile piece inspired by the painting of the basket. To be continued…

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** https://www.sophia.org/tutorials/inspiration-in-visual-art-where-do-artists-get-the ***https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandala

Dark and Light by Jane Pugh

During this journey I have had to make reference to events in the world and close to home. I have found the last year very unsettling, as have many, and am still finding myself quite depressed by it all at times, especially by the referendum result.

I know that I don’t have serious depression, but I have found these comments on a question and answer site called Quora, and they help to explain why I have produced my next piece of work:

Depression is a sense of hopelessness and helplessness. When everything you believe in is crushed. When your strongly held beliefs are shown to be useless, one can certainly fall into depression. You can fall into depression about anything you feel strongly about when you feel helpless to change it. Running out of hope and losing the ability to affect change can profoundly affect one’s mental health. However, the world will go on with or without us and our worries. We can sacrifice ourselves to the bad choices of others, or we can create the best possible life we can and be the best possible influence we can within our actual sphere of influence.

I have used a quote from Richard III as part of the DNA of our country being split. The DNA strands were particularly challenging to draw.

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On Newsnight on BBC 1, I saw a graphic image showing the United Kingdom as a pool of blood and I decided to use this as an element of my painting. I have had to research the difference between the use of the terms Great Britain, the United Kingdom, and The British Isles, in order to include the parts that voted in the referendum on June 23rd. This was interesting in itself, and I learned new facts, or perhaps remembered ones from my past.

Great Britain

Great Britain is an island that consists of three somewhat autonomous regions that include England, Scotland, and Wales. It is located east of Ireland and northwest of France in the Atlantic Ocean.

The United Kingdom The United Kingdom is a country that includes England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Its official name is “United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.” England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland are often mistaken as names of countries, but they are only a part of the United Kingdom.

The British Isles

The British Isles is another term altogether and encompasses Great Britain, the island of Ireland, and several other smaller islands, such as the Isle of Man. The Isle of Man is not a part of the United Kingdom or the European Union, even though its Lord is the Monarch of the United Kingdom.Image 2. Blog 10


I added parts of the flags of the EU, Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and the Union Jack to form a backdrop, to illustrate the pain of the situation. The flag of Wales, including the Welsh dragon, does not appear on the flag because when the first Union Flag was created in 1606, Wales was already united with England from the 13th century. This meant that Wales a Principality instead of a Kingdom and as such could not be included.

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On a lighter, happier note, I painted ideas for a textile piece related to the embroidered tea cosy, but using imagery from my son’s childhood (Mario and Toad from the Mario Brothers computer games) as well as imagery from the early embroidery. I began by making drawings in my sketchbook then planning out the painting.

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I added some colour as well as masking fluid before and after the layers of paint, letting the both dry thoroughly before the next layer.

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Then I added stronger washes to build the colour intensity, and added more areas of masking fluid.

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Removing the masking fluid at the end revealed lighter ‘beads’ of contrasting colours.

I have almost completed my ideas sheet of 24 images, which has become more detailed and complex than I imagined. My next aim is to plan a number of larger works using some of these ideas to facilitate my paintings and textiles.

After Chagall by Jane Pugh

After my last blog, I continued to think about my niece and her family and I decided to base one of my paintings on ‘Woman with a Bouquet’ by Chagall. I love the way he includes memories and objects and uses colour and texture to give a visual feast. I find that his paintings evoke memories of my own, and many of them are emotionally charged. I visited his work at the major exhibition Chagall: Modern Master at Tate Liverpool in 2013 several times. On one occasion I visited on my own, then with friends, and later with a group of adults on a coach trip that I organised. The experience was very influential, and those, in my art classes, who attended the exhibition, afterwards discussed their own amazing memories and produced some very thoughtful work.

But now it is my turn, and I am starting to focus on the idea of paintings which include objects with meaning, sometimes buried or secret, but of great relevance to the individual. The unfinished figures, the creatures and objects of the embroidery are a part of this.

Image 1. woman-with-a-bouquet-1910‘Woman with a Bouquet’ by Chagall

I sketched this and then drafted a design for my own painting. I then worked on a more finished one on my ideas sheet.

Image 2. Sketchbook


Image 3 Figures


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Image 6 FiguresLife is quite hectic at the moment. Sometimes you seem to have a quiet time and then suddenly you are rushing around in response to the various demands of life. So our regular Ellipsis meetings with our updates and plans, as well as the regular blog entries, are important to keep me focussed and developing my work. I am finding it helpful to work in my studio at The Artworks where it is quiet and away from my domestic obligations! I usually photograph what I have done after each visit but one day took more photographs than I intended, and which have now, via Movie Maker, become my third animation. This, as you might imagine, is very time consuming but the outcome is fun, and gives me a great sense of achievement.


I Got Lost Here Too by Jane Pugh

In the middle of IKEA, in the children’s section, I found this note, and felt that it was worthy of attention.

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At this point I returned to the embroidery to examine more details from it, and felt that as I tried to research these elements, I was becoming lost too, like the child in the store.

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It was about then that the power of the Cockatrice and it’s fatal gaze brought to my mind the parlous state of the world at present, and of one character who might benefit from it’s attention.

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But as I mentioned before, I have continued to scrutinize elements from the embroidery, turning my attention to, first of all,

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and then,

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I have noticed the reoccurrence of headgear references running through my research and I have referred to this in my very short animation. It was inspired by the tulip in the young woman’s hand as well as by my four-year old great-neice who is astounding all her family and friends against all the odds.


The Unfinished by Jane Pugh

The Unfinished

I have continued to explore the idea of The Unfinished as I started to describe in my last blog; thoughts set in motion by the unfinished figures in the embroidery then moving on to my own unfinished projects. I have discovered a few facts about unfinished projects including the Zeigarnik effect. Bluma Wulfovna Zeigarnik (1900 –1988) was a Soviet psychologist and psychiatrist, who conducted a study on memory, in which she compared memory in relation to incomplete and complete tasks. She had found that incomplete tasks are easier to remember than successful ones. This is now known as the Zeigarnik effect.

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Thinking more about my unfinished patchwork quilt led me to add to my collection-of-ideas page. I am recording ideas as small paintings, sketches and collages using watercolours and mixed media and have included some of these in my previous blogs.

I began the patchwork quilt during the 1970’s and I have returned to it during different stages of my life. I began to wonder if it could be hanging around, unfinished, ‘to infinity and beyond’.

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Relating it to other objects from Bankfield, could I use it to make a basket based on the small painting which continues to intrigue me?

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Or a cloak of many colours…

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The eight pointed star which I used in the patchwork is also used in the collaged tea cosy, on one side only, so I took this and used it as a basis for another idea. Using masking fluid at different stages in the painting, and experimenting with methods of application, I explored the idea of it becoming alive and magical.

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References to the work of Karen and Julie keep occurring to me, affecting my own work. Fences and baler twine spoke to me as I was fixing a fence at the allotment, and a friend showed me a beautiful nest she had found in her garden.