Tuesday 30 March 2010

The Lighter Side

(This post was going to be a major rant but as its a craft blog I decided to post the rant on My Other Blog to get it out of my system. My other blog started life as a practice blog but has gradually developed a life of its own if you're interested. I shall try to confine my non-textile related posts to that other side. )

The next picture is vaguely related to the rant as I took it on the walk I mention.
My little point and shoot Canon Ixus amazes me at times.
I love the colours in this lichen.

This afternoon I have been making felt. It has been suggested that I make pieces of felt to sell on ETSY. What do you think? What would anyone be prepared to pay? Of course, there would be pinks and reds and patterns, but for today it was shades of grey and though I say it myself they just got better and better.

I have, lately been experiencing a freezing up when confronted with colours and materials and trying to plan things. It was the same before I started today.
I want to make a piece of work reflecting the feelings I had in Ireland and am afraid of failing.
So far this felt is a good start but I am still a bit fearful of disappointment in my own efforts.
This one has silk fibres in it.

I am much more at ease when confronted with some marks already made on felt.
I can do 'free style' embroidery.
I thought I'd try some brooches more like the abstracts in the post before last.

Even these require a certain amount of mark making prior to stitching.

When I did the odd shapes in the last post I used felt with random patterns on it. Thye were a good guide and took me to places I hadn't planned.

Planning those 'random' patterns is another story.

When I came home on Sunday I found this dried hydrangea blowing around in the garden.
I was pleased how nice it looked in this green bottle, also found some time ago in my garden.

Hope you like it too.

Thursday 25 March 2010

Me again

She says she's got nothing to blog about so I'm just dictating a few bits of news.
Well, I've hardly seen her since the last post.
She's been up and down to the post office with those peculiar things she showed .
Only one left now and she won't let me sit on it.
She's been messing about with sparkly fibres for a day teaching, but they both went out for her friends 60th the night before that.
Then she actually managed to get up before I got hungry on Tuesday morning and went off to teach with umpteen bags of lovely comfy looking woolly stuff.
When she came home she didn't even go to sleep like she last time..but got changed and went out with him and his laptop for him to give a talk.

She's spent ages on this thing this week saying she's 'catching up with Google reader, over 700 things'. I say she should reply and leave some more comments but she just buries her head in her hands and says'too many too many'.

She's running around like I would be if I got the cream (Huh..fat chance) telling every one she's the Wingham Wool Featured artist of the month.

She was jumping up and down on Saturday when she got a note to say she was mentioned...well...her blog was mentioned..or will be..in Maggie Greys article in Workbox .

Well this'll put paid to that when they realise she has to get the cat to write it.

She's going to be busy listing some funny shapes on etsy now.

Thursday 18 March 2010

Not Celtic

So I've been to Ireland, been surrounded by soft grey stones and silver sea, so you'd think , wouldn't you , that my work might reflect that?
I sat down at my sewing machine with a bit of patterned felt which I'd used as a sample piece in a class before I went.
I just wanted to limber up, to exercise my stitch muscle.
But it turned into a full blown routine.
Number one:

Number two:

Getting larger -Number three:

and finally: Number four:

Don't ask me....

I have no idea...

have you?

Could you please enlighten me?

I don't know what to do about them.

But they made me smile.

At about 6 inches long, too big for brooches (but you may think differently)too small for wall hangings.
But such fun.

(Well whatever they are number1 and 4 are sold !)

Wednesday 17 March 2010

Last Post on Ireland

And a Happy St Patrick's day to the Irish

I couldn't leave it without mentioning the other side of the week in Ireland. The 'Craic' I suppose we tourists call it. In this little bar which opened at 9pm each night, I learnt to enjoy Irish Whiskey poured by the amazing Margaret, who by day works at a college miles away and by night serves drinks in the family Whiskey bar, behind which is the family farm where there are a number of cows and a very large bull . When we asked her husband how many, he said 'Four more than last year'.

In the picture below are (left) Noel Hill and (right) Seamus Begley, two very revered and skilled exponents of traditional music. I know you can't see them but I promise they were there. Its a tiny bar like someone's front room. On the first night we went in and it was almost empty; on the next night it was shoulder to shoulder with all ages of people; musicians from the concertina course who had come from Russia, Japan, Denmark, Portugal , UK and USA; students from the Burren Art College and some locals.

Later in the week, on two separate occasions, we travelled 15 miles across the Burren to Corofin Festival Concert.
Again it was like someone's front room but with a big extension on the back, and in this little community centre where the health and safety and fire escape instructions were rounded off with ' Anyways, best of luck', we heard some amazing playing.

On the Saturday night after the concert we thought we'd go to the pub to hear more but every bar was so packed we could hardly get in.
The wonderful thing was that it encapsulated the whole of society, young and old musicians as well.
So with that and all the natural beauty , no wonder I felt refreshed.
I leave Ireland with these few pictures.

Two 14 week old jack Russell puppies walking on 'The Flaggy Shore'.

Wild swans on the lake by The Flaggy Shore'

'And some time make the time to drive out west
Into County Clare, along the Flaggy Shore,
In September or October, when the wind
And the light are working off each other
So that the ocean on one side is wild
With foam and glitter, and inland among stones
The surface of a slate-grey lake is lit
By the earthed lightening of flock of swans,
Their feathers roughed and ruffling, white on white,
Their fully-grown headstrong-looking heads
Tucked or cresting or busy underwater.
Useless to think you'll park or capture it
More thoroughly.  You are neither here nor there,
A hurry through which known and strange things pass
As big soft buffetings come at the car sideways
And catch the heart off guard and blow it open'

Seamus Heaney

Some amazing lichen in the same area...I zoomed in to view the structure.

Thank you for reading along with me.

Saturday 13 March 2010

Life and Death

Up on the limestone pavement above Ballyvaughan stands this amazing construction..Poulnabrone Portal tomb.

(There is a lovely textile piece based on this on Paddy's daughter's blog here)
Its incredible to think that thousands of years ago the dead were laid here.

The fissures in the limestone make beautiful patterns and we were told that in the Spring there are hundreds of species of flowers growing in them.

Just over the edge of the site we found this deep pond teeming with mating frogs.

Look at their little heads popping up out of the water.
The noise was amazing.You can hear it as vibrating hum in this video.( I think the other clicking sound is something to do with me trying unsuccessfully to zoom in )

How fortunate we were to be there on that particular day.

Thursday 11 March 2010

Soft weather

Yes there was 'Soft weather', no rain at all, but partial cloud ..all the better to view the purple beauty of the Burren limestone.

To wander through ruined chapels found by chance along the road.

The Bishop's Quarter.

To marvel at the extreme silence.

To take the cliche photograph of Ireland..it would have been just wrong to have a blue sky here!

I love the inscription on this more modern gravestone.

A good motto for life I think.

It seems that a few people are enjoying my Irish holiday along with me.
Don't forget all the pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them.
Thank you for your comments.
(I am slowly working through reading the 600+ posts I missed while I was away.)

Wednesday 10 March 2010

Another walk

A walk around Ballyvaughan via The Wood loop on day 2. The wood in question was a moss and ivy covered trail through hazel groves.
Deep in the wood we passed by a deserted cottage and took a look inside.

It was rather poignant to see the trappings of someones life abandoned and overgrown.

There were letters there from 1985 .

The address on the envelopes was 'The Wood'
Further on we met another sad sight.
I have not seen a badger at such close quarters before dead or alive so forgive me for the photographs.

In a place like this I understand why the myth and literature of Ireland is so rich.

Its the silence that makes it so special and other worldly.
The Burren is a mysterious and magical place,

the hazel woods were vibrant with catkins and the roads were long and almost deserted,

as were the beaches.

When I was a child I read all the books by Patricia Lynch without really knowing anything about her.
Many of them were full of characters and beings from Irish Mythology.
What does it tell you about me that I cycled a mile each way to the library and came home with two books..always one of them a Patricia Lynch and usually a CS Lewis?
Later my Irish Literature was supplied by WB Yeats. I learnt the whole of 'The Death of Cuchulain' for my English O level.
Poem ahead...(indulge me)...I liked this by Yeats years ago when I was young but I realise now how sad it is. The woods made me think about the 'faeries', not cutesy little winged creatures but beings living secret and sometimes malevolent lives alongside the farmers and country people.

WHERE dips the rocky highland
Of Sleuth Wood in the lake,
There lies a leafy island
Where flapping herons wake
The drowsy water rats;
There we've hid our faery vats,
Full of berrys
And of reddest stolen cherries.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

Where the wave of moonlight glosses
The dim gray sands with light,
Far off by furthest Rosses
We foot it all the night,
Weaving olden dances
Mingling hands and mingling glances
Till the moon has taken flight;
To and fro we leap
And chase the frothy bubbles,
While the world is full of troubles
And anxious in its sleep.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

Where the wandering water gushes
From the hills above Glen-Car,
In pools among the rushes
That scarce could bathe a star,
We seek for slumbering trout
And whispering in their ears
Give them unquiet dreams;
Leaning softly out
From ferns that drop their tears
Over the young streams.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

Away with us he's going,
The solemn-eyed:
He'll hear no more the lowing
Of the calves on the warm hillside
Or the kettle on the hob
Sing peace into his breast,
Or see the brown mice bob
Round and round the oatmeal chest.
For he comes, the human child,
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than he can understand.

The Stolen Child.

Monday 8 March 2010

Peace comes dropping slow....

It wasn't the Lake Isle of Innisfree but I did find some peace there.

(Do click the above picture for the large version)
I heard the water 'Lapping with low sounds by the shore.'

This time last year I was writing about my trip to Marrakech.

Last week I was in Ballyvaughan, County Clare in the West of Ireland.
I hadn't wanted to go.
Reluctant was not a big enough word.

But I am so pleased I did.
My husband was brushing up on his concertina skills so I went along for the ride.
My friend came along for the first few days.

We walked along the coast road which follows the Burren down to the sea.
The bare hedges revealed many jewels.
A lane off to the right leads unceremoniously and surprisingly to a tower from the 16th Century

In the field close by is a sacred well.

I found more than peace.
I am renewed, refreshed, inspired, calm, and full of memories.

And I am going to bore you rigid with them.
Isn't it great to be a blogger?
Its like having your friends round to show them all your holiday snaps.

You don't have to read it if you don't want to.
But I can whenever I want to be reminded of a beautiful week.
The last picture is a drain cover....Celtic of course.

st of my pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Dear Anonymous.....

....don't waste your time...I have a spam filter.