Saturday, 31 May 2014

evidence of a hare-eating wild snail

remember I left several cards for the snail to set his/her teeth into: the snail has eaten the hare! the dog is highly amused...the birds have survived the assault, by that I mean the printed cards are only damaged in the white areas, maybe the snail doesn't really like the taste of ink 

still lots to do here (sigh) feel kind of stuck

  I got impatient: after three weeks of solar-dyeing I unfolded the three strips of fabric, that held the rose petals and stems I brought back with us from Morocco (a farewell token on our last evening in the resort, so instead of chucking the roses in the bin where I imagine most of them ended up, I wrapped mine in a tissue and they traveled back home in my toilet bag); the rose petals were frozen before being wrapped in the cotton: India Flint's ice-flower technique. The blues in the middle piece are from the stems and leaves, there was nothing else in the water apart from the elastic bands holding the bundle together (or if there was I cannot remember) all fabrics were soy-mordanted

 growing and already so elegant, I love his shiny black fur; he is a curious dog, playful and very cuddly

 another good result from the solar dyes: a strip of coin clamped moons, again started off with cold water and here of course the metal of the coins and the clamp produce colour together with time; I might have added old tea or an avocado peel to the water, again I forget, ugh the dyeing process is an intuitive thing for me, rather than an organised pursuit...I do like that about India Flint's book (not that her work isn't organised, structured and far better researched! but it has an amazing intuitive quality to it as well, an openness to all kinds of experiments)

we've had a lot of rain this past week, the days were grey and drab, the result of which can be seen and enjoyed on a sunny day like today: a kind of miniature rain forest has sprung in the flower bed; here we see the 'grote kaardebol' or common teasel (Dipsacus fullonum or Dipsacus sylvestris) which is I suppose an invasive weed (aren't they all) but I find it such a magnificent plant plus it attracts gold finches and bull finches

July 23: now that they are blooming, they have shown themselves in fact to be small teasels/kleine kaardebol = Dipsacus pilosus;
Dipsacus from the Greek dipsao (I am thirsty), as the leaves catch the water; pilosus meaning hairy.
Dipsacus komt van het Griekse dipsao (ik heb dorst), hetgeen slaat op het verzamelen van regenwater in de bekkens, die door de stengelbladen gevormd worden. Pilosus betekent "harig of behaard".
the photo's below were added after having read and commented on Marti's and Grace's comments

 I saw the puddle, clear water, why did I notice? and then decide to take a picture, from being stuck I became unstuck on this walk; vague ideas of what I wanted to do became distinct images and I could suddenly see where I was heading, Grace.......
 I stood at a particular point where I often just stop and look at the fields; this evening I took 4 photo's: of the fields to the north, the path facing west and east and the bridge, which takes me across a 'vliet' back into the trees, along another route back home - I like to imagine I was standing there as Marti placed her comment 

I guess I owe these woods and fields a great deal

Saturday, 24 May 2014

addendum, sort of

 a new home-made hazelwood gate in our back garden, on the dike, looks like it belongs here

 from the dike we walk down towards the back of the house; the north facing wall is an excellent spot for the Hydrangea anomala ssp. petiolaris (link) (I googled the name)
our wild-flower flowerbeds

every year a bird nests here, usually it's a wren; I have seen the nest but am not sure it is a wren's nest this year, will keep an eye out

looking from the back of the house towards the back garden, sweet chestnut on the left, an old baking pear on the right
the shed on the left (can you actually see it?) covered in hop, wheel barrow and lawn mower evidence of garden activities in weeks gone by, eldest son has promised to mow the grass tomorrow - otherwise it'll be up to me

 we then wander past the west-facing side of the house to the front garden, towards the blue studio aka the bird hut, where the close observer might notice the cracks between the paving stones have been cleaned (on my knees, by hand - it's quite meditative once you'get started and also slightly obsessive as you spot more and more bits that need to be removed, when is enough enough? some plants are really pretty and pulling them out feels so controlling, that in a nut shell is my whole issue with gardening, or at least I think it is)
 back on track: on the verandah 

solar (over)dyeing: avocado peels and pits

 jars and tins full of mysterious liquids

meanwhile another kind of riddle in the studio: I'm quite sure I know what has been eating India Flint's book: a snail, but although we have spotted it's glistening trail for weeks now, we haven't actually seen him/her (they can be hermaphrodite) I would never have believed a snail capable of this (the book eating I mean) but as I have recently finished reading Elizabeth Tove Bailey's 'The sound of a wild snail eating' I not only know they do eat paper, they are also nocturnal creatures and so it makes sense I don't see them during the day when I'm busy in the studio
By the way: the book is fantastic reading if your into snails (which I am) and if you're not you will definitely look at them in  whole new light.
In order to preserve it, I have removed India Flint's book from the work bench and placed several of my bird cards in it's stead, hoping something will tempt the snail and who knows what might happen?!

 I will leave you all guessing what I'm up to here as I myself don't exactly know the outcome, the gel medium was a birthday present from son D. and I'm experimenting.....
enormous thistle next to roof-tile bed, I'm going to let it grow as long as it doesn't interfere too much with the other plants and is getting quite big!

of course I cannot leave out the most important being in our midst, it's difficult taking pics of a small black dog: either he's moving, or the person's hand is moving, or he's asleep in a dark corner and you can't see him....anyway he's a delight and has stolen all our hearts

reasons for celebrating

Django arrived yesterday: gorgeous?! yes, loveable, soft, endearing, all of this and more; he sleeps a lot, had forgotten how much they do that
here he is on eldest son's lap; we like the name for several reasons, to name just a few: we like the sound of it, we're fans of Django Reinhardt's music, the fact that he's a gypsy musician only adds to my romantic notion of representing a free spirit; the men here enjoyed the movie Django unchained (I have to confess to not yet having seen it)

turned 51 last Monday; have been kept busy in the office these past couple of weeks and am now officially a coach, have joined the modern-day league of fashionable jobs, who would have guessed, not me that's for sure;  guess I'm never too old to learn a new trick or two.....
It's partly why I haven't been very active in blogland, but I feel I am back now and looking forward to class over at Jude's in June; we'll be staying here for the summer because of Django's arrival, we all need to get used to life-with-a-young-dog once more and want to spend as much time as we can with him at home; ah, the promise of long walks in the woods with a dog!

Friday, 16 May 2014

a black dog

our next dog is in there somewhere......we will take him home with us next all we have to do is decide on a name....

Saturday, 10 May 2014

trying to remember....and looking forward

this was our view from the balcony, it's where I found this tiny bird skeleton; at first I thought it was dust gathered in a bundle, after closer inspection however I was delighted to discover it was in fact a creature, or rather had been and then felt sad because it no longer was; he traveled back with us wrapped in tissue paper, the delicate package was then placed in my body cream container (during our stay there I generously applied the cream making sure the container was empty just in time for our homeward journey)
He still sleeps on his bed of tissues and already feels at home; here you see him kissing this sint jacobsvlinder or cinnabar moth we found on our walk last Thursday; I have to admit being confused about the insect as we claim it's a nighttime butterfly active during the day (sic) and in English it has become a moth, anyway what does it matter what it's called, these two seem to like each other

fruits from an unidentified tree, brought back home for dye experiments; I almost managed to finish reading and studying India Flint's Eco Colour (thank you Julie) during our stay in Marrakech and looked forward to trying out different dye techniques once I got back home; I also learned I could dye anywhere I wanted to as long as you have the right utensils with you, snap-lock bags for instance and fabrics, although you could of course start dyeing your clothes if you feel desperate.....I didn't dye btw, saved it for the home turf

down stairs loo smells of musk now thanks to this block -on the left- and we have a small bottle of huile d'Argan, why I didn't buy a larger bottle is beyond me; also bought this very nice handbag; I claim to not enjoy shopping, but somehow managed to buy quite a few things in the souk, they present it all so temptingly is my excuse

strange berries just before they are going to be wrapped in a bit of cotton fabric that has been previously dyed in ?I forget? anyway from what I understand from India Flint's book: overdyeing is good as the already dyed fabric has been mordanted by previous dyeing, are you still following me, so no need for extra mordants, we live in hope!

my row of promise: using ice-flower dye technique and solar dyeing, what we need is Time, Patience and Sun please