Friday, 26 April 2013




elder son's discarded eastpak, personalized by and for me, ready for traveling

little Pink Riding Hood is leaving her house for a short holiday in Turkey. Off to the sun where she'll be able to shed the cape, don a bikini, dive into the sea, gaze at the stars and relax.

In this very small piece a lot went on: I have tried split stitch: the pink cape, wrap stitch: the pale green and grey earth/water, without guide lines so they're wobbly; a 'scar' in the red house, running stitch, glue stitch, backstitch; there are also many memories of what I've seen others do in the What If Diaries class: Dee's houses, Grace's sun rays (blue sun) double outline by Kathy d in cape; appliqué with and without tucking and of course All is inspired by Jude.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

the gang

the small gang that has gathered in my studio, starting on the left:
Celia (with the modest bosom) at her feet Stone Cat (who we haven't met before) the old BirdKing and at his side his old pal Tom Cat, Frog on top of his RedBag(to my mind he is known as the rude-one) and then sitting very still we see our cuddly Otter; in front Saumon Rose (still hasn't flown back to France) and shadow dog, who will never leave his master.
There are others, but at this moment in time they are too shy to expose themselves on camera and as I'm not one who is in the habit of forcing others to act against their will, I respect their wishes.
Ghost Bird, dangling in front of the others, always the dare devil

Sunday, 21 April 2013

the Secret of the RedBag

a few days ago, last thursday to be precise, a frog came home with me. A small frog carrying a huge red bag (when I say huge, I mean compared to the frog, of course).
Once we were back I  left him lying in the plastic container (the one we have seen before as a first refuge for the larvae) on the small wooden table under the lean-to next to my studio and forgot about him. I remember saying to myself: don't forget him, check on him later on and see if he still smells. Not that he did, but you never know with animals you meet in the woods, one moment they're fine and smell of roses, the next thing you know they've been swimming in the stagnant water of a 'slootje' followed by some rolling in the mud, not naming names here, by which time you cannot come within 10 metres of them from fear of fainting. I got distracted and did the things one does to pass the time. In short I forgot about frog.
It was only after Bird King mentioned to me he was expecting a visitor and I asked him who. He told me he was expecting Frog. 
Frog, I exclaimed, you know Frog? he's a friend of yours and you were expecting him? o my lord, o my King, I have met him and taken him here and had forgotten all about him. I am so sorry.
Forget Frog, no no, you must be joking, the King replied, you must be confusing him with another frog. No one can overlook Frog.
Hmm, I'm afraid I have done just that; your friend Frog wouldn't happen to be carrying a red bag would he. 
YES!! for he is a messenger and he has 'something important' for me. He carries EverythingImportant with him in his RedBag, don't say you've left him waiting....oh no, moaned the Bird King. Bring Him to Me! he summoned
- for he can be a bit bossy at times, but that is between you and me -
off I hurried to find Frog, as it was indeed Frog, lying patiently in the container, humming a song to himself as if he were lying there without a care in the world, nor did he seem impatient at all. I was starting to feel relieved. 
You Nobody you! he snorted.
I was confused, was he addressing me, alas yes, o dearie me, I have upset him terribly.
You miss so and so, what were you thinking? Leaving me all by myself without food or drink, out here in the open.
Well, not quite in the open, under a roof, I mean we did meet in the woods under the skies.....I mumbled awkwardly.
Enough, so-so, I believe I have a meeting with a mutual friend.
Yes, yes indeed, I will take you to him right away, pronto, quick on the double
miss so-so, there is Nothing Quick about anything you have done for me lately,  Shut Up and take me Now!
Well, I suppose I deserved that, but must he be so rude, I said in my head.
Stop your thoughts, right this instance, he clamoured.
I was so surprised I did. I picked him and the RedBag up and brought him to the King and they greeted each other like long lost friends, which, I suppose is what they are. Old Friends and I had left him waiting for days, how on earth was I going to make up for that?
Bird King kindly requested I leave and asked me to bring them some tea and biscuits and place the tray outside the door and by no means was I to enter without knocking thrice. What they were about to discuss was TopSecret, and I was better off not knowing. Hush hush.
I was dying to ask what was in the Red Bag and I must have been staring at it for too long, for they both glared at me and Frog, as if reading my thoughts yet again, said to me: miss so-so, you have behaved abominably and will have to content yourself with the knowledge that the contents of the RedBag will remain a secret to you! That will be all.
He waved me off.

I was dumbfounded.

He even had the impertinence to speak before the King could. I can only assume they know each other well and long enough, for the King didn't seem upset at all, quite the opposite he had a rather amused look on his face as I was forced to make my humiliated exit by a frog, pardon me Frog.
I could swear I heard them laughing behind my back as I walked indoors to make them tea. Well I never.
And I still don't know what's in the bag!


gazing up at sky yesterday

looking through 'grace does(n't) do white', revised version
personally I like how the white weave tilts to the left

absentmindedly sewing, thereby sewing bottom bit to top bit and realizing, hey this is wrong, looking again and thinking to oneself, actually this is very right; so add a thin layer of white square and deliberately fold back bottom bit, and now the back is a small landscape and a huge white sky and the sun/moon is still shining through
small square cut out of white weave, backed by pale, grey linen and latest addition of white, on the front a kind of curtain, off-white very thin cotton. A safe place, sometimes that is what you need.

Friday, 19 April 2013

the heart of the matter

Ghost Bird's feet up close, Grace made me aware of his feet in particular, their erotic quality. Just now I noticed the left foot is pinkish, sensuous, perhaps even erotic. Noticeable. I love how it complements the goat's wool and bird feathers. Ghost Bird has managed to twist himself into such a position as to be able to look outwards, standing guard and at the same time checking out his immediate surroundings; on his right is a small basket with what remains of the childrens creativity equipment, gathering dust: they don't hang out with me anymore in the studio. Not like they used to. We'ld spend hours together; I'd made a low bench for them and had a different table and we would sit and draw and paint and tell each other stories. When you're in those moments you have no grasp of how soon it will all pass and be gone forever. 

Our eldest used to walk with his fingers all over the place, the fingers were beings and they'ld get up to all sorts. Storytelling. The youngest loved to draw, from the age of two he'ld wander off in the early mornings to the studio, sit at the table and sketch and sketch and make whole drawings full of warriors and animals and strongholds, endless storytelling all by himself. They both were imagining their world. We have books full of their worlds, stacks of drawings, precious.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

poor dog

What a difference a day makes. The photo above was taken last evening: T is in the water feeling fine. This morning I came downstairs and he didn't come to greet me as is his habit. Instead he lay panting on his couch and didn't want to eat, he had a fever, couldn't get up, nor could he put any weight on his left front paw; in short he was ill, he still is. An hour later, by now it was 7am, I rang the vet, described the symptoms and she told I could drive him over (normally she opens in the afternoon) so she could check him out. I got dressed, D carried him into my car, he couldn't come with us as he had several business appointments. The vet did her examinations: an infection of sorts, all kinds of medication, lots of pills to take home with us. I rang my office to let them know I'ld be late. We lifted the dog back into the car, I drove back home. Now I had to lift T out of the car again and carry him back all by myself, I had to stop halfway from car to house as he was almost too heavy for me. We managed. I lay him on the rug in the living room, he fell asleep. I listened for a while, his breathing became calmer and his temperature dropped slightly. I changed for the office and went to work. D checked on him later in the day, we spoke on the phone: T. was still resting but wagged his tail at him, okay. 
The boys each stayed with him once they got back from school and when I arrived he looked more awake, more alive. I fed him his pills wrapped in bits of bacon, and miracle of miracles: he ate them all! I fed him his dog food which he seemd to enjoy. He manged to get up and limp towards the door, we let him out and helped him off the verandah. He much prefers walking himself to being carried about. So he has been up, has eaten, has been out of the house for a few minutes, okay. He's now sleeping on his couch again, bless him.
lonely walk in the woods this evening

Sunday, 14 April 2013

song thrush

 one of the sadder events in spring is the death of animals, sad because to me spring is the promise of new life, death belongs to late autumn and winter. 
Our house is situated in the middle of our garden surrounded by tall trees, offering shade and protection and nesting possibilities for our bird friends. The windows of the house however are treacherous: at certain moments they offer a delusional vision of continuing sky to the birds, to them it would seem they can fly through. So every now and then you hear a kadoonk against a window pane and I rush to see where the poor animal is. Usually they're only stunned and after a bit they get up, hop about for a bit and then take off again, no doubt wondering what it was that hit them.
Sometimes the bird isn't so lucky and when s-he's flying really fast, their speed kills them. The sound of the kadoonk is hard and followed by the thud of the animal dropping onto the tiles around the house. 

yesterday was such an unfortunate event, I heard the dreaded noise, the first this year. Initially I couldn't find the bird and was relieved. This morning however, whilst opening the blind in my son's bedroom, I noticed the bird in the gutter; so it had been him. I got out the ladder to climb up to him and carried him down in the sieve.
he weighs 50 grammes, the measuring tape is in centimetres

here he lies with blackbird, I found him a few weeks ago by the roadside

under water, what does the larva see?

Saturday, 13 April 2013

the island

number one in plain view, number two's tail is visible from underneath top leaf
 the larvae have moved in to a larger dwelling. I was thinking the biscuit container might soon be too small and decided they needed more room to live in and develop. I had a scare: when I stirred the water and found two larvae, they seemed smaller and didn't move, they looked dead to my inexperienced eye; I was worried that instead of saving them I had driven them to commiting suicide by drowning! What a relief when I came back and they had moved back into the water. Confident they were alive and well, I started wondering about where to move them to and remembered I have this glass bowl in the cellar and thought this would be an ideal container for the larvae: more space, more water, more food, more everything. I placed a brick and on top of that a small rock and a chunk of wood propped up next to it, thinking I have no idea what they'll become and whether they can fly or not, so there have to be several ways for them to leave their nest.  The bowl was filled with muddy dye water and leaves et cetera and some clean tap water: 
 here's a film of numbers one and two moving in:

hi Patricia 


Friday, 12 April 2013


soft water

 thread through eye of needle, make a small knot, push needle point into cloth, pull needle pulling thread through....stitching fabric onto fabric, regular small motion of push pull turn look up and back again, seeing how the burns relate to old Danish duvet cover from my youth, sets me off thinking back to summer holidays spent in Denmark, the tree-trace cloth reminding me of the sea at the summer houses in Kulhuse and Hundested, the burnt edges resemble seashore, hole on right could be moon, could be sun a white sun why not. The piece is saying to me: I am a summerhouse, and because the summerhouses in my life are in Denmark it has to be 'Sommer Hus'.
The sommer hus needs to be surrounded by Space, linen creamy linen like rich Danish flode we had with strawberries surrounding sommer hus, adding weight to the incredibly light piece. Now it is a heavier more material presence: sommer hus, yes this is the first map of the journey

having added creamy linen to sommer hus made me look at Grace does(n't) do White with different eyes: needed weight as well! But not the heavy linen, much too rich, no a very light pale silver greyish bit and a strip of slightly heavier linen mix(?) with a dash of pink and it hangs proudly, almost able to carry it's own weight and then I think: why not let it just dangle from one point; Grace has been dangling a bit these past days over a gap

note: all the white/cream fabrics in this post are from the Mia stash; you can read more about her by clicking on 'Mia' label

Thursday, 11 April 2013

owl revisited

ghost bird wearing a neck warmer, a naturally felted gift from owl
bowl full of the dried left over felted remains of owl, there are feathers in there, tiny bits of bone, leaves and who knows

 up close you can see skeletal leaves and feathers and bones all felted together in the bucket this past year; the felted cluster looks like a bird here with a long narrow beak:

 on the bottom left here you can see two red spiders and a larva possibly from the crane fly/langpootmug? although they don't have the long tail. I haven't been able to find pics of larvae or grubs with these long tails, so I don't really know what they are. If it has been in the bucket full of water this past year, it'll probably need water; so I pour some of the dye water and a couple of mushy leaves into this biscuit container and place the larva on a leaf and let it decide whether it wants to dive into the water or not and whilst I was observing number one, the cluster moved and there was larva number two, an even bigger one and I let that one slide onto a wet leaf as well and they both slid in and under water! later on two more appeared I have let them join the others in the mini swimming pool; I've no idea what I'm saving here

another insect, a black ladybird with yellow spot


the collection 

 another beast: this piece started life as a house and transformed itself into a cat; cats have been creeping into my work lately; why I wonder? I've been doing some 'research' on the symbolism of the cat; they come to us when they feel like it, joining us on their terms, so independence could be a message here; they could represent domesticity, freedom and cruelty (because of their hunting instincts, which strikes me as odd, for we all must hunt/kill in order to survive); I think the cat here, as she was conceived as a house, most likely belongs to a friendly tribe, the positive kind that warns us of rain as they are sensitive to water, and guess what: after weeks of cold and no rain, today the temperature has risen and it has been raining slightly all day!

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

more What If Whites

the burnt bits and the tree-trace pieces, together the starting point I think for maps into my world, or at least an attempt at placing markers along the way