Monday, 17 December 2018

Build your own (BBC) Victorian Puppet Theatre

Looking for a little old fashioned activity for the Christmas hols? Well here is a great share from the BBC, full instructions and printables for making your own Victorian Puppet Theatre.

I discovered it whilst researching construction methods to design the Wincle Sisters Concert Hall at the Bottom of the Garden (part of the Laid to Rest Project).

Check it out HERE! In fact check out all 25 activites and learn about the history of Christmas. Have fun.

Saturday, 1 December 2018

Constance Thimbleton a new Commission

I was recently approached with regards to Angelic Frankle to see if she was for sale. As the central character in the on-going Laid to Rest project (a dedicated website and podcast for which will be launched in the new year!), I explained that she was not for sale. However, I could create "sister" characters complete with their own stories.

With a little further correspondence from the client, I was sent some beautiful pictures and insight into a favourite grandmother, a seamstress no less.

And so Constance Thimbleton was born, a dear friend of said grandmother during their time working together in their youth, all invented of course but perfectly 'plausible'. Connie's story unfolds in the form of a letter to Angelica Frankle from her "dear friend and favourite old soul" Betrum.

The full tale and images will be available on the new website. Join my mailing list to be kept updated. and do contact me if you wish to discuss a commission of your own.

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Arthur and Mary's trip to Leicester

Wednesday 17th October see the opening of an exhibition at Bishop Street Methodist Church in Leicester. The exhibition will be varied and unusual because each piece has been made from a part of the old pipe organ. 

Earlier this year there was an open invitation for artists to deposit £10 in exchange for a pipe or circuit boar, which they could take away and keep or make something with. Work could but did not have to relate to the title of the exhibition Venite’. Although many of the pieces will no doubt be prophetic in nature or based around the makers spiritual belief this was not a requirement either. 

And so Arthur and Mary Crumphorn were born or should I say deceased? Chapter one in the 'Laid to Rest' project the piece reflects the vital role pipe organs played in the couple's tragically ordinary love story. 

The work comes with a memory-zine to take away and the full obituary as written by Angelica Frankle in her unpublished manuscript 'The Artful Obituary'. Later this month I will post up a little video flick through the book of memories and treasure's that Mary kept and a copy of the said obituary on the 'Laid to Rest' page. For now you will have to make do with a couple of little pictures and planning a trip to Bishop Street Methodist Church.  


Monday, 15 October 2018

All a flutter for Angels

New Angels are going up in the shop on a regular basis (well the ones that aren't sold before they can even get there of course).

AND I have velvet!!! So there will be a whole range of sumptuous little winged characters arriving for your delight towards the end of the month. 

Saturday, 6 October 2018

Just a few shots

(and not of the tequila kind).

Thought I would share a couple of pics of the Laid to Rest project as it is not live (if you pardon the pun).

View this post on Instagram

The Wincle Sisters looking most serene. #LTRartdolls #wip

A post shared by Jane (@pollywhistle) on

Friday, 5 October 2018

The day I ran away to join the (Marvelous Mechanical) circus

Well not quite a circus although there was plenty of circus type action too. No, I actually went to Compton Verney and to see the permanent British Folk Art exhibition and the Marvelous Mechanical Museum display.  (MMM)

In such a beautiful setting, it's a must for British Folk Art fanciers like myself. I even got to see a pieces by a few of my heros: Elizabeth Allen; George Smart and in the MMM display Paul Spooner and Sam Smith .

It was an enlightening day out partly because I had been so desperate to go for so long and partly because of what wasn't there are as much as what was. I can say I will be going again but I can't say it is the folk art mecca I had hope it might be. Perhaps that is a good thing.

Elizabeth Allen Population Explosion

Saturday, 22 September 2018

Presenting Angelica Frankle

Social butterfly Angelica Frankle has died aged 38 as a result of accidental hanging due to a spider bite. Her full obituary including details of why she was so interested in stranger's funerals can be found at #LTRartdolls #pollywhistle #artdoll #mixedmedia #textileart #contemporaryfolkart

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Laid to Rest: A Memoriam of Art Dolls

Presenting a new body of work by PollyWhistle based around the contents of a recently discovered draft manuscript entitled 'Laid to Rest - The Artful Obituary' by social butterfly Angelica Frankle. 

Starting with the sweet yet bawdy "Wincle Sisters" and the tragic yet ordinary love story of "Arthur and Mary Crumphorn" presented at two separate exhibitions in October 2018, Laid to Rest is a long term project with thirteen and a half chapters. Click here for more info and see Events page for dates and venues details.

“It’s like finding a chest in the attic and pulling out the beautiful frocks, photos and letters that peppered a person’s life without ever meeting them!” Angelica Frankle 

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

New Angels coming soon.

I know it is far to early to mention the festive period to pretty much anyone but I'm already booking up my craft fairs and finishing new Angels, trees and other textile treats in readiness.

Monday, 13 August 2018

Patching things back together with day trips

Last week I got another chance to get away from all the chaos and enjoy a day out to the Festival of Quilts at the NEC in Birmingham (UK). There were several reasons for going but first and foremost was to see the 1718 Coverlet "the oldest surviving dated Patchwork Coverlet in Britain". 

I was rather taken by surprise in that I got a little emotional when I saw it. It was beautiful, faded and worn yet fascinating. The exhibition surrounding it did it justice too with reinterpretations by other quilters using basically the same blocks and plenty of details about the research behind it. Definitely worth the visit for that alone.  

Other than have a good nose about at all the exhibitor's stands I was also pretty keen to see the new Ruth Singer exhibition Criminal Quilts. I enjoyed the work very much but as I was already pretty shattered by the time I got to that particular section I am planning to go when it is shown at the Brewhouse in Burton on Trent and take my time over it. For more info and a fab video about the project visit Ruth's website here

Friday, 22 June 2018

A little bit of much needed magic

It's been one heck of year, mostly revolving around the illness and subsequent death of my father a last month and house move. Needless to say most of my making activity has been on halt but this time has given me the chance to rethink my plans, get focused and be really clear about what matters to me. So when the chance came to go to the opening night of an exhibition of new work by one of my textile art heros I jumped at the chance. 

Mister Finch's The Wishing Post at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park was everything I could have hoped for and indeed needed to restore my fretful mind after such as tough time. The work was beautiful, magical and fun, the atmosphere buzzing with excitement and I had two joyful travelling companions for the entire adventure.   

I cannot recommend the exhibition and accompanying book enough. The story is wistfully happy and the menagerie of characters created by Mr Finch from reclaiming vintage and antique fabrics and treasures is delightful. 

Go see it. Now!!! (It's on until 23rd September) 

Monday, 8 January 2018

Welcome 2018!

Although there were still lots of ups and downs, 2017 was one of my best years in a very long time and I have left it excited and hopeful for what 2018 will bring. There was a lot of growth, personal and in both my creative practice and business and I was so privileged to be commissioned to make some wonderfully personal pieces for people to give to love ones. There is not doubt I'll be sharing more of these as the early weeks of this year roll along and I spend my time behind the scenes tidying the studio and updating my admin systems (yawn).

I hope you have lots to feel hopeful about for the coming year too. Happy 2018 folks. xx