Saturday 28 May 2011


This is my favourite bit of one of my latest pieces in the 'Lake Isle of Innisfree' series. 
The new venue for the exhibition, which starts there in July. is huge and we will need more pieces and I am enjoying myself so here they are.
The line I am working on is 

'Midnight's all a-glimmer'.

I started with lots of very dark pre-felts and composed several backgrounds to work on. 
 This is a small one about 10 inches square. 

I've enjoyed experimenting with lights on dark and trying to make it 'glimmer.'

 Below is a bigger, longer piece with machine and hand stitch.I still have a little bit more finishing to do on this.
 Perhaps its not immediately apparent but I've cut around the shapes on some of the edges. Black is very difficult to photograph. When you look at black felt it draws you into its soft surface, but the camera just sees the light it reflects back.

I've got plenty more felt backgrounds ready for more stitching! Here's a bigger one. 

Can't wait to get 'glimmering'.

It occurred to me the other day when I was looking through my photographs, that I hadn't explained  the origin of 'Low sounds by the shore'

The colours and textures were inspired by this fantastic seaweed on 'The Flaggy Shore'
So colourful and bright.
Just thought I'd show the two together.

I had a recent request for a felt item from a very lovely lady who has bought a lot of my pieces. Remember the Pumpkin?
She writes the etsy feedback the way I wish I could write my descriptions! 
If you've nothing better to do, pop over to my etsy via the link on the right, and peep at my feedback.

Anyway I just thought I'd share the process.

Here's a bit of 'prefelt': that is, some wool that has been partly felted but still has a long way to go.
I cut a piece off and  I added some faint greeny-yellow stripes and felted it all some more.

 Here you can see the difference in size and texture once felted. Its shrunk lots.

 Here it is before being stitched into.........

She loved it!

Thank you for all the kind comments on my last silly post. I am hopelessly out of step with blog reading and everyone is so kind to take time to comment here. 
And for every published comment I have yards of 'anonymouses' offering me everything from dubious surgery to homes in France. Thank goodness for the blogger spam filter.

Tuesday 24 May 2011

Sublime and ridiculous

The wind is having a fun time here. The garden chairs are blowing past the window.
I braved the woods with the dog we are minding for the week, and found this a little bunch of twigs joined at the base. I knew what I had to do.
 I picked three bluebells, a buttercup, some red campion and a bit of cow parsley and wove a wreath.
  I just had to. 

(And wouldn't you just know that as I walked up the road with an albeit miniscule  bunch of illicit wild flowers, I bumped into someone who is a bit of an environmentalist, who I saw last time 6 months ago when I was carrying a big bunch of holly. I haven't picked anything else from the woods in the last twelve months.She must think I do it all the time)

I hung it in different places around the house. I like this one.

So pretty.

 Not so sure about this. 
My husband arrived and I stuck it on my head and asked him to take a picture.
(Don't forget I'd been a walk in the windy wild woods and I am staring 60 in the face)
 He was having a real chuckle as he clicked.

This is why.

Beam me up Scottie.

Thursday 19 May 2011

Cards and Cat and Commerce.

 These cards were made for my son to send as 'thank-yous' after he was best man at a wedding.
He asked me to make them for him to send so I pulled out the stops.
 It was so nice that he asked me. It tells me a lot!
 It was strange to move back to silk paper from felt.

 I enjoyed making them but there's a lot of work in them and they wouldn't be commercially viable.
But when your son just have to don't you?

In other news..we have at last used some of our airmiles to book a flight to Paris to meet with friends for a few days in the summer. After the booking was done I did a dummy 'buy' of the flights to see how much we'd saved: £179. Not bad. But I had been under the mistaken impression that airmiles gave you nice luxurious non-budget airline flights.

Something else we had to do last week was take 'Mummycat' to the vet. She's white, and she sits in the sun all day and had a wound on her ear that just wouldn't heal. Her ear has been getting smaller, so we had to do the deed.
(The pictures of her have to be taken at a great distance)

On the first day we booked, we failed to catch her and had to cancel. On the second day my husband managed to shove her in the carrier (which had been their dining quarters for two weeks) and shut the door. She is semi feral and after having had her for 11 years she still can't be picked up or handled. They call her feral at the vets.
Feral the peril.. or perhaps we should change it to Beryl?
It took 6 of them to catch her last time the vet tried to examine her.

So the ear tip and a tooth were both removed.
Guess how much?
Go on

Go on..


£178.50 could say we got the cat sorted on 'air miles' with 50p to spare if you don't count the extra £20 baggage costs.

When she got back home I put the carrier on the table. We looked at the poor cat, bleeding from her mouth and her stitched ear tip, half alseep, post operative, and I said 'We have to keep her in for three days, can you lock the cat flap?'

At the very moment I said 'I'm opening the cage', and my husband said 'Im just opening the door to check the flap's locked',  the supposedly sedated cat de-materialised.
I have never seen anything move so fast. Actually I didn't see.

There was much shouting and recrimination.

My husband and I being very different types of people reflected on the event.

Me: She could die of cold outside and we spent all that money .
He: Poor Mummy Cat.. she must be so frightened and might not come back.


She was back bossying about at 7pm and is recovering.

Monday 9 May 2011

Exhibition and an expedition

This is at last the finished final exhibition piece. 
I called it 'Low sounds by the shore'.
The colours are like the seaweed on 'The Flaggy Shore' in Clare.
You can enlarge it by clicking.

I was unsure about the background felt, but enjoyed stitching the motifs onto the felt and embellishing the traditional sense of the word, by handstitch. It was the first bit of sewing I'd done since 'you-know-when.' and it rescued me .

Its about 12 inches wide and 20 inches long. 

Regular readers will know I have spent a long time deliberating on the mode of presentation of my work. I initially wanted to use perspex and have them look as though they were floating, but that presented many problems so I settled for unpainted blank white artists canvas. 

Now I know this is not a conventional way to display work and I hoped it wouldn't be read as me being clueless choosing the first thing that came to hand and not realising it should be painted. 
Rather, I wanted the canvases being brilliant white,  the same colour as the gallery wall to make the work seem unattached.

So, we went on sunday to the Gallery and put up our work.
Its a super duper curved gallery space , very classy and very sharp looking. Its upstairs in Booths Supermarket (..the north's very own Waitrose) and there is a Booths "Artisan" cafe opposite so even more reason to visit!
The work looks great, very professional and  I must say I am  pleased with mine. 

I like it better than all the work I've done for a long time.
However when I read the first comment in the visitors' book my heart sank.

"Not keen on the white canvas....."

Well at first I felt sick.
However I have decided that its my choice, I like it and I'm sticking with it .
I'll try not to dither.

The Fylde Gallery, Booths Store, Haven Road, Lytham, Lancashire
Until 5th June

I dithered a bit last Thursday.
He:Well are you coming with me or not?
Me: hmmmmm ..can't decide
He: well I'm only going straight there, dropping the files off and coming back
me: Ok I won't come
He: well you can, we could at Gales on the way home
Me:But I have to get my pictures ready for hanging and clean up a bit.
He:Ok then
Me: But its a nice day ...
He: Well come
Me:Oh go on then..but I have to have a shower and wash my hair.
He :I'll wait.

So at 11 am we set off for Powis castle.
We arrived at 2.
My husband has worked there on and off for so long that he takes the beauty of for granted.
I have visited a few times but have never been round the house or the garden. We enjoyed the delights of the National trust tearoom and then he went to discuss things and I went round the gardens. I'll just show you. yew.
Its all built on terraces.
The yew hedges are spectacular and some have arches with seats cut into them.
But just look at this wisteria! I have never seen such such er missus.

(I racked my brains for that word..even asked someone in the garden who thought about it too. Then how funny...thank you Jeanette Mistress of Longears for assuring me with your comment about the  lilac. But if these are panicles, what are racemes?)
Anyway whatever they are , they were BIG. And fragrant.
When I got back to the courtyard there was another treat in store.

On the doorstep of the castle, displaying and rattling his plumage at
Mrs Peacock.
He didn't even move when we walked past him into the castle so we could see my husbands handiwork close to.
I have only seen photographs so it was good to see the coats of arms in context in the Long Gallery.
Back to the outside:
Whats not to love about a place with a shield like this? Look  at the chubby little silver chappie on the right.

And of course the meal at Gales Wine Bar of Llangollen was just usual.

Wednesday 4 May 2011


 Once I'm on a roll there's no stopping me. 
 Al the lovely comments from the last post encouraged me into production.
 'Noon a purple glow' is done.
 Does it work?
Click and click again to view large.
Its certainly different to 'Veils of Morning' but a suitable companion piece for an exhibition.
I really feel as if I've stepped up a notch with these because they are not like any piece I've done before but at the same time small motifs are what I'm used to. 
To have allowed the small to become the large has been a bit of a leap if not of faith, then of hope. 
 Its like 'take care of the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves' ...or 'Many a mickle makes a muckle'. 
Well I hope my muckle has been made. 
 I enjoyed making these little seaweedy pieces, making the purple glow but still keeping the lime and aqua.
 Another piece that I have shown in progress is finished too. Its on the same sized canvas, but is all one piece of felt made first with prefelts, then stitched and not cut out!
 This is 'Where the cricket sings'. 
 It has a 1950s look. I like that. I got very excited by the leaf shape in the left of centre when I'd done it, and also if you look in the top left you can see where the seaweed began. 
This is how it happens for me. Accident, serendipity ..whatever.

We had an afternoon out on monday. We found what we called, when we were little, 'The Cows Mouth'. 
Since no one we ask has ever heard of it I can only think it was a name my dad made up. We went there on many a sunday afternoon when we were little, and played in the streams here and on the bridges.  Here's my mum having a bittersweet moment, remembering happy times.
My parents also took our children there and my Mum showed me where she found the younger son  hanging by his fingertips from the bridge over deep fast flowing water when he was about 6. 
(He always came home from walks soaking wet.)
On the way home we stopped in a very pretty village called Scorton where they were having a bicycle and barrow event, and there were lots of bikes and wheelbarrows about, decorated in various ways.
The village was so pretty but  the white noise of the adjacent M6  spoilt it for me.

My own gardening efforts have taken a turn for the worse. 
I saw a beautiful red beetle so pretty I just couldn't stand on it. On further research I find its a scarlet lily beetle...right next to my fritillaries. No wonder there were only three flowers this year. I have taken the GQT advice given to Clarrie Grundy and squished the eggs.
I got all the snails off the hostas and threw them in the electricity substation land at the back of our house...but not until I'd painted them  each with a yellow spot. 
I'm looking to see if they have homing tendencies. 

Sunday 1 May 2011

Then to the Maypole Haste away.....

Thank you for all your encouragement with the last piece. Its given me a shove so here's the start of 'Noon a purple glow' with a seaweed feel I think. 
I heard a recording of  Yeats reading the poem where he says it refers to the glow of the heather in the water, well mine's the sea and not a lake, and its the purpleness of the Burren Limestone  reflecting in the there!
 Sorry about the blurry picture, its quicker to e mail it to myself from my iphone than sit and wait for iphoto to upload from my camera. I'm sure there's an easier way but I need to get a 'one to one' sorted out at the Apple store and I really don't fancy a trek into Manchester in this lovely weather.
Talking of which....
Yes there are parts of my garden which flourish because I leave them alone. I took the clippers to this lilac three years ago and its the first time its flowered since. But isn't it a beauty? 
Ooh..the scent from this vase of loveliness!
(Another phone photo so a bit flarey but the colour is better than my camera)

About 9 years ago we arrived in Paris in time for 1st May and were delighted to find the custom of carrying and giving Lilies of the Valley in little bunches. 
Les Muguets also grow in my untended garden. 
I have a National trust Lily of the Valley soap on my bedside table just for the scent.
Happy Mayday.

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

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