Embroidery, poetry, photography

Maria Wigley combines embroidered handwriting with poetry and photography.  If the thought of that excites you half as much as it thrills me, then don’t miss her website

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© Maria Wigley

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© Maria Wigley


As an arts college tutor, Maria has thought much about her art and is able to pull out of her bag the quote:

“Painting is silent poetry and poetry is painting that speaks”


Also, she is refreshingly honest about how her art received a new influx of life when she was balancing artwork with looking after her young daughter – seeing her joy with mixing the colour and putting it onto paper, without trying to make a particular representation.  Maria joined in.

Now, although her work is different, it still resonates from that place of sitting on the kitchen floor with her daughter, markmaking together, and becoming drawn into embroidering.

The art I produce now focuses on the connection between writing, stories, people and places, particularly the relationship between place and memory. Poetry and songs have a huge influence over my work, as well as listening to anecdotes about other peoples’ lives. The use of photography and drawing, features heavily in my work as it helps builds the relationship between the visual and the text. 

Excitingly, when you look at the list of her c.v. and recent projects, Maria’s embroidery text work is being used in book jackets, film, group exhibitions, artwork for a Paris hotel, handmade books….. there is a sense of her being on the cusp of about to be better known and even more sought-out.  In other words, if you like her work, seek it out now.


Creative Takeaways

Do you have a favourite photo, a place to remember, a favourite family quote or few lines of poetry which never go away, but keep resurfacing and still ‘speak’ to you?

How about combining them in a picture, then framing it?


Featured Artist: Lori Reed

Lori Reed‘s vibrant striated photo collages caught my eye recently, especially this one:

photo collage by Lori Reed

Sippin’ on sunshine

Lori described it thus: This 12″ x 12″ piece features a happy bee sipping his supper. I made one filtered version of the photo in Photoshop and 3 in Prisma. I cut them into irregular shapes and combined to reform the image, and added in some handmade papers, too.”

Having buzzed around the photos on her website, I knew that I wanted to show her work to a wider audience (that’s you) – and asked permission, delightfully, she granted it.  So here are a few more stunning photos, together with insights from the artist herself.


Humorist, Photographer, Earthling

Terry Border describes himself as “Humorist, Photographer, Earthling” on his website.

As well as the photo series of books with wiry limbs (see featured photo above this article) he is also a punning facial hair model:

moose+stache – this is part of a series if you have a friend with facial hair which you would like to gently mock.

And a series of imaginative reconceptions of Paint Chips – yes, paint chips – that ordinary,


Collage! Photography, bit by bit

I like the way this guy approaches what he does – takes a photo then collages pieces of magazine to recreate the photo: large.

Giles Davies began doing collage after a career working as a graphic artist and in publishing – he made some pictures for a small group exhibition and found that they sold instantly – to the first person who came in through the door.  A new career emerged.

Watching him at work, it becomes clear that this is no easy way out of drawing.  It is incredScreen shot 2017-09-12 at 18.38.39ibly painstaking.  It’s like putting together an immense jigsaw with many pieces…. and you have to make the pieces first, to begin with.

However, it is clearly absorbing.

And if you’d like to learn, how to, Giles gives lessons from his studio in Derbyshire, England.  Details on his website:

I can’t wait – I want to start now – what do I do?

The first stage for Giles is to take a superb photograph of landscape – some of it obviously involves high hill challenging walks – then he draws it out roughly.

Next, he gathers pieces of coloured images from a pile of magazines, and arranges them like an artist’s portfolio, to give him the ranges of colours and tones in the photograph.

Gluing down can be a messy process for collagists – Giles does this really cleanly and simply through sheets of contact adhesive – similar to double-sided sticky tape but available in full page size, in rolls (this is a tool he used in graphic design days).

There is obviously huge skill in cutting the right shade of each paper to be in just the right place.


Two pictures in one

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The beauty of this technique is that Giles gets to enjoy peoples seeing his landscapes from a distance, appreciating it, then going in closer and suddenly discovering to their astonishment that it’s made up of fragments of unexpected elements.

Creative Ideas to takeaway

For those of us with some visual ideas, but a lack of confidence in drawing skills…. collage can be a good starting point.  You can use someone else’s images – either cutting and pasting (quite literally) or copying part of them – maybe the colour or simplified shape.

Also, on a day when you lack that starting spark for the brain cells – you can randomly pool together cutout elements from magazines and see which random pairings start a new idea.  This is also a way to produce wild and whacky results by chance, if you set yourself the constraint of working with a certain set of elements.

Poetry is everywhere – Instagram

For practicing but unpublished poets out there – a new way to build an audience, get your work seen and possibly get a book offer from a publisher….


According to an article in the Boston Globe (by Michael Brodeur)

“Amazon’s top 10 bestsellers in poetry is filled with works by poets who post their works via Instagram photos.”

article: “In a land of selfies and shots of lunch, poetry thrives” April 19, 2017