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Thames Valley Contemporary Textiles and Quilt Group presents

Whatever floats your boat…

f o e u g o l a t a C nd a s n o i t a r i p s n i techniques Works listed alphabetically by artist’s first name

Textile artists from around the Thames Valley area have come together to Slough and its Museum to find a spark of an idea that ‘floats their boat ...’ Each has found something personal and relevant which has inspired them to create new pieces of textile art.


Annie Hamilton Slough Town Inspiration I have made a receptacle; a bowl-shaped textile to represent Slough, as I see the town as a receptacle for many different peoples and cultures. The inside of the piece is based, loosely, on a map of part of the town with roads leading in and also the railway. For the outer surface of the receptacle, I have chosen to use fabrics that would be worn by the people of Slough; hence there are African, Asian, European & oriental type fabrics that harmonise together. This choice is one I regard as a visual prayer for harmony between the people of the town.

Techniques This piece uses patchwork techniques. The fabrics on the inside of the sculpture consist of hand made and dyed felts and machine embroidery. The outside is a very traditional technique of hand sewn crazy patchwork. Little mirrors are incorporated within the work – these give a glimpse of another dimension, the supernatural amongst the man-made and natural.


Carol Wilkes Slough Strata Inspiration A brick! Slough always seems to be in the process of re-inventing itself and that usually means building works. Walking through the town you become aware of the layers of development reaching from the past into the future. But beneath all the buildings over the centuries is the land. Slough is surrounded by beautiful countryside, woodlands, farms and open spaces. I wanted to celebrate this curious mix of the natural and the man made.

Techniques The top of the background is pieced from mostly hand dyed fabrics using a mixture of traditional log cabin and more contemporary techniques. The background is layered and machine quilted. The front section was made by cutting squares of synthetic sheer fabrics using a soldering iron to bond the fabrics together. The front was then appliquéed with ‘stones’, ‘bricks’ and ‘tiles’. The stones at the bottom of the front were created by monoprinting with acrylic and fabric paint onto cotton fabric. The bricks in the middle are made from silk with markal stick rubbings.


Chris Day Dream Shoes Inspiration The tiny, pristine doll’s shoes circa 1890 were the initial inspiration for this piece. They show no signs of wear, but as shoes have the potential to be worn. When we walk, the roads and paths we travel, (both physically and metaphorically) leave their mark. I considered the life of Victorian girls, embroidery, and travel in the Victorian era. Also, the life of Isabella Lucy Bird Bishop and the effect her adventures would have had on the imagination of a small girl in 1890. My work shows the dreams of travel that the owner of the doll’s shoes would have had the opportunity to make, inspired by the life of Isabella Lucy Bird Bishop.

Techniques I used my sketchbook extensively to work out my ideas. The following techniques were used in the making of the piece: Pattern design and cutting. Computer aided fabric design. Machine stitching. Hand stitching.


Christine Restall Flat Irons (Grandad’s Kitchen) Inspiration There were many interesting things in the museum, but the ones that I had the strongest reaction to were the Victorian flat irons stacked on their laundry chimney. They reminded me of my Grandfather’s kitchen range, which I knew in the 1950s. My Grandmother died before I was born, and never had an electric iron, and my grandfather left things as they were. The range must have dated from their early married life around 1905, and several flat irons like the museum ones were stacked on it. The names of the irons are deeply evocative of lost industrial confidence – Ilvester’s Patent, Salter, Crane 6, Clark’s Stove Co. And of course irons have great resonance for textile artists. As it happens, my other Grandfather, less well-known to me, died in Slough, and now it is too late to find out why he was there.

Techniques I wanted to draw and paint the irons larger than life. First I made a lot of background pieces of cloth, painting canvas to look like old peeling walls. Then I sketched the irons I liked from my photographs, about A4 size, and took tracings of these sketches, so that I could use them the right way round or in reverse, giving me lots of images. The tracings could then be transferred on to the background cloths to make ink drawings, which I did with artist’s felt pens. Then I coloured the ink drawings with chalk pastels. These needed ‘setting’ with diluted fabric medium, carefully washed over my drawings, which were then heat-set with an iron. Finally I trimmed the pieces, sewed them together, and heavily quilted the whole hanging.


Clare Williams Wings Inspiration I was inspired by a stained window in St Lawrence’s church, Upton-cum-Chalvey; particularly by the blue wings of the angel. I had been given a pair of wooden wings as a present and decided to make a panel to fit in the negative space between the wings. Inspiration for the bright colours and the use of beads came from the colourful fabrics and saris in Slough fabric shops.

Techniques I used appliqué to attach various fabrics, some pieces were applied over wadding and some were ruched whilst being applied. I couched down 2 different colours of goldfingering thread over string. I couched Jap (gold) thread on top of some of the appliquéed fabric. I added beads to other pieces of appliquéed fabric. I made a collograph stamp to impress a pattern into pieces of gold foil and then attached these. The finished piece was laced over wadding and mount board.


Delia Salter Modern Samplers Inspiration Inspired by the samplers in the handling collections made by young girls in Victorian times. I thought I would practise my own embroidery skills. I think I may need to practise some more. The four framed pieces comprise stitching an alphabet in a modern font, darning, a buttonhole and decorative embroidery stitches.

Techniques The background is a cotton loose-weave fabric which I have painted and printed on. The embroidery stitches provide decoration and contrast.


Elaine Green Images of Horlicks Inspiration Mars was well known in the area and one of the products made at the factory was Horlicks. I was fascinated by the idea of Horlicks being a complete food as well as being supplied to the Ministry of Defence in a 24 hour ration pack. During my research I realised that Horlicks was a global product used for women, men and children and as we have become more health conscious a version with less calories was also produced.

Techniques A base of calico was used to appliqué hand drawn images that I had found of Horlicks on to and I also used fabric paints which is a new medium to me. When I had the design, colour and scale that I thought appropriate I sandwiched the front to another piece of calico with a piece of wadding being sandwiched in the middle. Embellishment with stitch and beads completed my ‘Images of Horlicks’.


Gaynor Lloyd Washday Liberation Inspiration When I visited the Museum, I picked the Mangle from the 40’s kitchen as my inspiration as it reminded me of my Grandma’s kitchen in Cardiff, and of the time I caught my fingers in her mangle. Then I researched the History of the washing machine, and decided to use the mangle as a symbol of past women’s drudgery. I then found reference to an article from the Vatican newspaper which suggested that Womens’ liberation was due to the advent of the washing machine & not contraception or work outside the home etc. I found this amusing & challenging & it gave me my theme.

Techniques I took photographs of the Slough Museum mangle and a vintage one I found in Warwick castle. I found other images on the internet of washing machines and washday paraphernalia. Using my printer I transferred these images onto fabric and incorporated them into my design. I used a ‘Chop and Go’ Log cabin technique to frame the images. I used green dyed fabric in a similar colour to the mangle and mixed this with commercial fabric of similar hues. The images were a bit lost in the green colours so I framed them in fabric in shades of brown. I put a copy of some of the Vatican article in the centre and tea dyed it to make it look more antique.


Geraldine Bridges The People’s Cathedral Inspiration I was inspired by the diversity of cultures and spirituality, so I incorporated Indian shisha wok and Indian edge stitch and kantha stitch together with space dyed English wool tops hinting at the stained glass windows of English cathedrals. Also the wool fringe hints of the Amer-Indian head-dresses and the freedom of their worship.

Techniques Hand quilting and kantha; Jacobean stitches. Using wool, wool tops, silk and backed with cotton.


Heather Brand Follow the Sun The inspiration The paving floorscape in Slough town square designed by Bhajan Hunjan, was the inspiration for this piece. Separating the main elements of Bhajan’s design reminded me of dream catchers or sun catchers. A dream catcher seemed significant as it symbolizes hopes and expectations, which is what enhancing the community space also encompasses. Additionally, I wanted to focus on the bright colours and fine fabrics which reflected the ethnic diversity of Slough. This brightness is the inspiration for my visualization of a sun catcher.

Techniques Circle: Woven strips of sari silk secured with fusible thread which has been hot foiled. The circle has been outlined with metallic cord and big stitches and the whole central element attached to the backing using an embellishing machine. Floating pieces: Created by outlining the dianthus design with fusible bias binding and ‘hot ribbon’ onto crystal organza, then trapping this between two sheets of acetate secured together with big stitches.


Jane Edmonds Comets Inspiration The history of Sir William Herschel, Astronomer Royal, living in Slough. His sister, Karoline, helped him with his work and discovered 8 comets herself. The main image is taken from the internet with 7 others added.

Techniques AppliquĂŠ, machine quilting, embellishment.


Jane Edmonds Olympic Contrast Inspiration Inspired by the 1948 Olympic Flame holder in the Museum and a book – The Austerity Olympics by Janie Hampton, in which my husband Malcolm Tappin features. I have depicted the contrast between 1948 and 2012 Games by using contrasting monochrome and colour respectively.

Techniques Computer generated images, hand embroidery, machine stitching, appliquĂŠ and embellishments.


Jane Glennie Embrocation 1 to 5 Inspiration I love the eclectic nature of the Museum collection and am particularly drawn to old products, packaging, advertising and the way in which it represents social history. Eventually I decided on Elliman’s Embrocation, a medicine originally formulated and manufactured in Slough. I was interested that it was manufactured identically for both humans and animals but marketed and sold in different packaging. And though it appears like a patent medicine that we assume would be of no use, it is still in production today. I found a copy of the Elliman’s sponsored first aid book ‘REP’ (first published 1902) and some original advertising from Victorian magazines (1896 and 1897) on E-bay and used these to make a series of pieces that draw attention to the way in which Elliman’s was marketed – from the man who falls off his bike when shocked by the wearing of bloomers, to the crazy sport of horse fencing, to the blatant sponsorship of a first aid book that also gives a highly dubious proof that Elliman’s is not poisonous if ingested.

Techniques Wallpaper, black and white print on paper, two layers of loose muslin, free machine stitching.


Jenny Jones The Blue Planet Inspiration Inspired by heraldry and the coat of arms of Slough, past and present, as well as the arms of William Herschel. One features the symbol for the planet, Uranus, whilst Herschel’s arms shows it and the telescope he made for his astronomy experiments. Herschel discovered Uranus and lived in Slough after he moved from Bath. The work is also based on comets as his sister who was also an amateur astronomer discovered eight of these.

Techniques The cover is made from hand-dyed strips machined onto Pelmet Vilene whilst the inside cover is disperse dye printed to resemble streaks made by comets. Both are decorated with Suffolk Puffs which suggest the comets’ nuclei. The book comprises an imaginary contemporary newspaper article written about Herschel’s discovery as well as some facts about the planet. These are printed onto cotton and embellished. The papers in the book are made from a repeat design based on the symbol for Uranus using blue for the heavens and gold which is the planet’s symbol.


Jenny Jones Cygnus Inspiration This book is inspired by my interest in heraldry and the coat of arms of Slough past and present. Each features a swan holding a flower in its beak. It is also influenced by the fact that a dianthus flower, known as Mrs Sinkins, has associations with the town. It seemed appropriate to link the swan and the flower. I chose a patchwork block called ‘Storm at sea’ as the background for the swan as it seemed relevant. The swan motif was taken from Indian folk art whilst the many dianthus on the cover came from my own drawings.

Techniques The cover is painted Pelmet Vilene whilst the dianthus are painted onto cotton, free machine embroidered, edged with crochet cords, and the outside edge finished with hand buttonhole stitch. The inside cover is painted card in a random design on which the ‘sea’ and swan sit. The swan is made from painted Lutradur and embellished with free machine embroidery. The ‘Storm at sea’ block is disperse dye printed and also embroidered. The swan and block have been designed to come out in relief from the card background. The side panels are my variation on the patchwork block. The title is from a swan picture in a Medieval Bestiary with my interpretation.


Joanna O’Neill Apples and Pinks Apples and Bricks Apples and Stars Apples and Pigs Inspiration My research into Slough’s history revealed that the Cox’s Orange Pippin apple was first grown in Colnbrook near Slough in 1825. My four panels therefore feature an apple tree alongside other elements from Slough’s past. Pinks: The dianthus ‘Mrs Sinkins Pink’ was first raised in the 19th century by John Sinkins, the master of the Eton Union Workhouse in Slough. Bricks: Brickfields were prominent in the economy of Slough until the 19th century. Stars: Herschel Grammar School in Slough is named after the astronomer, Sir Frederick William Herschel, who died in Slough in 1822. Pigs: The Domesday Survey of 1086 refers to Upton, now part of Slough, as “a wood for two hundred pigs”.

Techniques The design was hand-drawn onto freezer paper and cut to form a stencil. Markal oil paint was applied in layers through the stencil onto space-dyed cotton. After removing the stencil and fixing the oil paint, the fabric was layered with cotton wadding (also called batting) and a plain cotton backing, and the piece was quilted using free machining, with the feed dogs down.


Kate Findlay Herschel’s Nightmare Inspiration I was inspired by the scale model of Herschel’s telescope in the Museum. I have been doing artwork related to astrophysics and atomic structures, so it seemed relevant. I was particularly struck by the triangular construction of the telescope and the repeating motifs of triangles and ladders. Having tried to do something very geometric and regular, my designs only seemed to work when everything became more chaotic and random – which is why it became Herschel’s Nightmare rather than Herschel’s dream!

Techniques Appliqué using mixed fabrics and sheers, with 3d elements added.


Kate Murrell ‘20’ Inspiration The design for this piece in inspired by the pattern in glass from an entrance to office buildings in the town centre of Slough.

Techniques Traditional quilt construction consisting of three layers of backing, wadding in the middle and a pieced front. The panels and strips on the front are pieced and the lines that straddle the quilt are appliquéed on by hand. The hanging is machine quilted. The binding is machine stitched and then hand finished.


Linda Seward Prehistoric Mammoth Tooth Inspiration The prehistoric mammoth tooth in the Slough Museum’s collection was the inspiration for this wall hanging. I have a degree in anthropology and have always been interested in palaeontology as well, so this tooth really fascinated me. I wanted to portray images of the tooth on roughly-woven fabric in natural colours and fibres, creating an ethnic, rustic feel with lots of texture. The African fabrics in my collection (and my daughter’s old pair of trousers!) seemed perfect for this quilt. I machine quilted the piece to echo the diagonal lines on the tooth and used buttons and beads that had a prehistoric quality for embellishment.

Techniques I used hand-woven and tie-dyed African fabrics and recycled trousers for this quilt. I printed images of the mammoth tooth in various sizes onto fabric using my ink-jet printer, then cut out the images and Bond-a-web appliquĂŠed them to other fabrics. The piece is machine-quilted, hand embroidered and embellished with buttons, silk rings, Swarovski crystals and coins.


Margaret Cooter The Flocks of Sky Birds Inspiration The flocks of sky birds arrive as dusk falls, wheeling and swooping in the failing light, then disappear to their roosting place and settle for the night. Watching them is mesmerising, and you anticipate their daily return; but at the season they must fly off to their winter territory. The feeling of seeing them is captured in the poem, which is engraved on a black stone in the town centre.

Techniques Screen printing is the main technique used, on mull and on silk. The mull is held in shape with applied florists wire. The mirrored background folds into a box; its base extends to reveal the machine-stitched words of the poem.


Margaret Ramsay Taplow Vase Reconstruction Inspiration ‘The Taplow Vase’ – Large portion of a 1st Century AD Roman Vessel from Taplow Cricket ground excavations. Influenced by the potential in Cubist paintings (Braque, Picasso and Villon) of combining multiple viewpoints of an object to reveal new shapes.

Techniques Different viewpoints of the Taplow Vase drawn on stiff cotton organdie with Sharpie marker pen (4 images per A4 or A3 sized piece of fabric). Fabric cut and folded in ‘secret book’ format. Organdie ‘books’ sewn onto framework made of metal lampshade rings and wreath frames joined with ribbon to make a vase shape.


Marion Michell First sketch for girl-ghost dress Inspiration Object Number: 1985.027.001D Description: Bowyer Collection of Needlework and Textiles – 19th century doll’s under skirt So even dolls wore underskirts in the 19th century! I never saw it for real, was never able to inspect the seams, the waistband, those stains, but was very much attracted by the quality of the image, its melancholy feel. The object might not be real after all! This could be the lightest of pencil drawings, or a picture of a skirt come loose from its wearer like a kite from its string, floating across a twilight sky in search of her… I also liked that the image doesn’t give a clear indication of size, it might be a doll’s, a girl’s, a woman’s underskirt, delicate, hand-sewn, ever so delicate. Unfortunately I had to pull out of the project in the early stages, but my idea was to focus on lightness, the threshold between thereness and not-thereness. A lot of my work is to do with memories, their fragility and elusiveness, the point where a memory becomes a story becomes a memory. Due to the material used (nylon-thread) this dress has a rather more durable air and I thought I’d play with it outside, in the snow. Just then the cold winter-weather disappeared overnight – I’ll try again next year.

Techniques The dress was crocheted from nylon-thread.


Mary Parry Trading Estate Inspiration The Museum display about the early days of the Slough Trading Estate sent me off on a journey of discovery. I had hoped to find the original, decorative entrance but this has long gone. Instead I found myself attracted to the industrial buildings, especially the old ones with their asymmetrical roofs and interesting pipes and grills. The power station, is the real heart of the estate, governing the circulation of heat and power. As a geographer I can appreciate the pivotal role the estate plays in the local economy and the fact that it is still expanding and growing keeps Slough afloat. The shapes, colours and textures of these buildings and the impact of the green landscaping have given me a challenge and have certainly ‘Floated my boat’.

Techniques I have hand-dyed most of the fabrics for this piece. Many of the textured surfaces have been created using twin needles on the sewing machine. The metallic surfaces are either made from various metallic textiles or foil. The reflective window is made from transparent PVC with Angelina fibre behind. The vegetation has been made using small pieces of dyed fabric trapped by machine embroidery between layers of dissolvable film. Quilting has been done using hand and machine techniques.


Merete Hawkins My M&Ms Inspiration The Mars Chocolate has for many years been produced on Slough Trading Estate. In the Museum there are several old posters advertising Mars Bars. They stress both the enjoyment and the health benefits, after all a Mars Bar contains milk! I started looking at the variety of chocolate bars and sweets produced by Mars and how they are advertised to appeal to all our senses. I was intrigued to find a website dedicated to one type of sweet – www.mymms.com – and further to discover that I can order my personalised M&Ms. Designing my own M&Ms I considered what would appeal to my senses and make me feel good. As always, they had to reflect sand, sea and sky. My M&Ms became S&Ss.

Techniques The fabric is made by building up layers of colours by screen printing, direct dyeing, batik and stencilling. The fabric is a lightweight cotton, Scolatta. The work is machine quilted, using invisible as well as coloured thread.


Ros Crouch Aid Inspiration A Band Aid tin which had cost 2 shillings was in the museum boxed collections. Thinking of the body as a metaphor for the world, I imagined plasters patching up the evils released from Pandora’s Box. Suffering is brought to our attentions daily via the media. We want to respond but are often helpless when faced with the enormity of the problems. AID is my response to these thoughts and questions whether aid is the most effective means of addressing poverty, conflict and vulnerability.

Techniques Found tin altered with gesso and acrylic paint. Paper label created in PaintshopPro. Assorted commercial plasters stamped or stencilled with text then hand stitched.


Ros Crouch Polish Inspiration I liked the tin from the Cedar Mop Company holding a mop head. The smell of polish was very evocative of my childhood. A bright orange polish was part of the kit. It claimed to clean and polish just about every surface – floors, cars & furniture. An all-purpose product! It made me think of superficial shine, making something look more attractive, covering up the unappealing. So I decided POLISH would focus on political spin.

Techniques Found tin altered with gesso and acrylic paint. Paper label created in PaintshopPro. Text on duster created in Bernina software and embroidered in polyester thread with an embroidery unit.


Ros Crouch Universal salve Inspiration In the museum boxed collections a tin of Mentholatum appealed. This healing cream could be used for all sorts of ailments. I liked the idea of a cure-all, an understandable human desire despite the scepticism it can arouse. Thinking of conditions the cream might treat, words such as ‘cuts’ reminded me of the current economic climate. Mentholatum was manufactured in Slough 1900s-1940s a period that also included hard times. From these associations came my idea for a Universal Salve for times of austerity which could treat the painful consequences of our current situation and government policies.

Techniques Found tin altered with gesso and acrylic paint. Paper label created in PaintshopPro. Text and manipulated coin scans printed on inkjet fabric sheets. Circles were stiffened with Lutradur and interfacing and linked with woven ribbon. Layers were adhered with Bondaweb, Steam-A-Seam 2 lite and machine button-hole stitch.


Sandy Snowden Destriction Inspiration The small doll corsets in the handling collection caught my eye since they fit in with my previous work inspired by antique corsets. I wanted to express the opposite of the small constricting corsets which were made to shape soft doll bodies. These were most likely played with by little girls of long ago, whose families could afford up-to-date fashion for the dolls. So the resulting work is larger-than-life, flexible and made of inexpensive materials stitched with irregular stitches by hand. Although there is still a sense of containment; the wooden dowel structure refers to the reed boning in one of the doll corsets, the work is tempered with openness and light. The colours of the thread were chosen to represent the range of children of all ethnic groups who have the privilege to play with fashionable toys in these days.

Techniques Layers of distressed muslin and Lutrador have been handstitched together with rayon embroidery thread, small muslin scraps are added randomly to the inner layer of the corset. Hardwood dowels are inserted into the main boring channels supporting the stitched work. The base is upholstery foam covered with muslin and hessian mesh. Dowels are inserted and secured with glue.


Sheena Hughes Economy Inspiration Inspired by the Slough Trading Estate, the heart of the economy of Slough. I was inspired by the history of the trading estate when doing background research on the internet and most impressed by the trading estate on my visit.

Techniques Writing on fabric with fabric dye. Trapunto quilting. Free machine quilting. AppliquĂŠ labels. Hand stitching. Photo transfer.


Sheila Dunscombe Patchwork Shoes Inspiration Inspired by the museum’s dolls clothes (especially the shoes), as I have some from my Great-Grandmother ‘Gran Alice’. I linked the little shoes with her hand-sewn patchwork pram-coverlet, also passed down to me. I’d love to know if she actually made it. I decided to hand-sew it all, with a size 4 shoe based on my elder daughter’s first pair (still in the loft), and add a pincushion to link with Alice possibly sewing the coverlet. The shoe is made from a photograph/sun-print of the coverlet, and the background from one of the family – parents and two sons. The child with Alice is my grandfather.

Techniques Sun-prints/Cyanotypes – also called ‘Blueprints’ – on treated and dried cotton/sateen. I made up light-sensitive solution with two chemicals (bought as a pack from Ruth Brown, plus her book ‘Cyanotypes on Fabric’). Sun-print made using enlarged digital negatives. Pincushion stuffed with gathered sheeps wool.


Sue Sheriff Slough Makes Its Mark Inspiration This piece was inspired by Anne Smyth’s ‘Teardrop’, inset into the paved area of Slough High Street. Although the original was executed in granite, it looked like features, marks and embroidery from ethnic textiles. When I contacted her, Anne told me that was where she did get her original inspiration. I took three marks from it – the teardrop shape, circles and strings – and constructed a piece of very traditional textile, based on an old simple pattern called Nine Patch’. The three colours –red, blue and yellow – are taken from the Slough coat of arms.

Techniques Almost all the pieces started as white cotton fabric. They were firstly given a mottled granite appearance with dye applied with a nylon pot scourer. Then using soya wax as a resist, or bondaweb to apply shapes, or monoprinting using washers, cotton reels and polystyrene circles each of the squares was printed and coloured. The embroidered squares were from a white cotton kaftan and were procion dyed. The backing fabric was a commercial fabric that was overdyed. The wadding is cotton. The piece is machine quilted using Madeira cotton thread.


Vicki Chambers Salvaged (1 and 2) Inspiration I am often inspired by and fascinated with nostalgic, personal items that may be well-used and weathered, particularly those that may hold a potential story, and was therefore interested in the image of The Salvage Kid taken during a collection rally in Slough in 1942. Wasting paper was a criminal offence at this time so the campaign was iconic of the times so I was amazed to discover an old 1940s newspaper had survived in the lining of an old desk at home. It led me to consider what had happened to all the letters rescued by salvage squads from bombed post boxes that were beyond identification and how this loss of communication would have affected the potential recipients. The burnt letter sit will all the other paper salvage, typical of the times. The second letter, complete and intact, contains only simple words and signifies the fragile yet precious threads of contact during such difficult times and how our life connections can be dictated by the random twists and turns of a moment in time.

Techniques Mixed media. Silk fibre fusion (hand made layers from Mulberry and Tussah fibres and silk handkerchiefs). Hand stitched free embroidery using original 1940s silk. Paper bonding using original 1940 local newspaper, silk medium and quilting. Hand dyed silk sheets, burnt away with a heat gun.


Whatever floats your boat ... catalogue