Sunday, 26 July 2015

a whole week poured into one post

 How overwhelming the blogging becomes if you don't keep at it and feel there is so much one wants to share, for although I've been home for the most part of this week (just two short trips into town) I feel a lot has been happening; thanks to the absolutely lovely summer weather, not too hot, warm enough to prance about in a bikini whilst being very active. As a result we, meaning myself and our youngest son, managed to get loads of odd jobs in the garden done (I made a list lest we forget what I felt was imperative)
We cleared out a very messy border at the back, just outside the north facing kitchen window, where I intend to sow a mixture of grasses and meadow flowers, 'easy to maintain' she optimistically said to self; we pruned the hazel bushes along the entrance path to a reasonable height, letting so much more light shine upon the cars and of course those entering the garden! we started cutting back the ivy along the east facing fence, still a long way to go there; we cut away all the superfluous ivy on the entrance bower, now looking very trim and proper; we tidied up the paths by pulling up the plants I don't want growing between the cracks; furthermore there was endless sweeping of leaves, sweet chestnut (Castanea Sativa) catkins, linden (Tilia) fruit and the gathering of poppy seed heads for yet another Interesting Project; we also kept the areas where we had done our whacking tidy by throwing the green stuff onto the compost heap and driving the other junk over to the council's recycle-station; I even vacuumed the porch all over, yes you read it right, more or less dust free now; cleaned the down stairs windows, indoors and outside (in fact, did quite a lot of house cleaning).....ah the glorious feeling as the sun shines through once satisfied one feels with all the chores accomplished, for a while at least

 despite all the horticultural activities I also went for walks with Django, dyed and over-dyed several items, looked at, admired & smelled the blooming roses and thistles, rubbed-for-scent and nibbled many herbal leaves, enjoyed both shade and sun, read a marvelous novel 'Music and Silence' by Rose Tremain a gift from my mother, who being Danish must have thoroughly enjoyed this particular book as it is mainly situated at the Royal Danish Court round 1629, I certainly did; I then started reading 'the Seed Collectors' by Scarlet Thomas - with wonderful cover - another book I bought in the lovely bookshop in Biggar; cooked easy food: summer stew

rediscovered this poor bird who had managed to fall to his death in the heart shaped tray

in amongst the uprooted plants from the border was this strange root ball, what is it?

one bed done...

....another one still awaiting a face-lift

yesterday (Saturday) we had a storm raging over the country, it had blown in from France, to be fair it wasn't nearly as bad has had been predicted, 't was supposed to be the worst since 1901 or some such year

this morning in the woods we noticed just this one huge willow branch had succumbed to the winds, for the rest mainly leaves and twigs were strewn about 

a light and airy result: bundle from the copper pot with onion skins and avocado peels, coin&washer clamped; it had been in the red dirt dye, however all of the reds disappeared, even with a soy mordant no luck, will have to do more research in that field.

this is surely 'the landscape' cloth (it reminds me of Japanese water colours), it's the piece in top pic wrapped around the copper pan, which had been left wicking whilst we were in Scotland and then the bottom half was steeped in same pot for a couple of days for an over-dye as it hadn't had enough I felt; the images don't do it justice I'm sorry to say

here a tiny piece, sewn this week in the evenings sitting next to himself as he watches the telly, with between the layers curly wool gathered on our hike along Hadrian's wall

I have a habit of wrapping delicate stuff I find, in this case birds' eggshells, in leaves, here the drying leaf has shrunk and folded itself so completely you can see the outline of the egg and it is just so beautiful I will leave it as is (bird drawing btw was made by eldest son 11 years ago)

river-clay vessel turned out to be a useful receptacle for the collection of egg shells 

'landscape no.2'
I was going to make 4 of these, one for each family member on our travels in the U.K; it consists of two layers with stitched 'pockets' created by following the shibori demarcations, filled with stuff I found on our journey, such as the aforementioned wool, and a yellow flower from Hadrian's Wall - which left a yellow stain on the 'back' -  and clematis leaves I took from the walled garden in Argrennan and pressed and sewed in top row; however as I got to stitching I lost the desire to make four of the same and ended up with one; I haven't washed this piece as there is also a trickle of the Red Dirt and I'm not going to wear this or incorporate it into anything that needs washing

lovely shop in Edinburgh where I chose (and he paid for) this necklace by Stephanie Cole (blog in sidebar)

....and still it feels as if most of what has happened remains untold

Monday, 20 July 2015


and all of a sudden we find ourselves driving along our dike, almost home, almost back home and the long week we were away is like a distant memory; after a hasty unpacking I unfold the treasures (I share only a couple in this post) I bought and found on the island: the Merchant & Mills workbook I bought in Dovecot Studios in Edinburgh; it contains a collection of basic, versatile sewing patterns I'm hoping to be able to put to good use: the home-dyed fabrics will become home-sewn items of clothing

I particularly fancy the Curlew dress and the Heron wrap top - isn't it absolutely wonderful the items are all named after birds

bought in lovely bookshop Atkinson Pryce Books in Biggar on our way to Edinburgh; the young woman helping me in the store mentioned she had studied this poet, however I wasn't paying proper attention to what she was saying exactly, excited as I was upon finding a poet who had written such lovely poems on Toad, Frog and many other creatures I so love, so I don't quite know what it was she had to say about him, other than that she admired his writing a lot.
from the book:

Stop looking like a purse. How could a purse
squeeze under the rickety door and sit,
full of satisfaction, in a man's house?

You clamber towards me on your four corners-
right hand, left foot, left hand, right foot.

I love you for being a toad,
for crawling like a Japanese wrestler,
and for not being frightened

I put you in my purse hand, not shutting it,
and set you down outside directly under
every star.

A jewel in your head? Toad,
you've put one in mine,
a tiny radiance in a dark place.

Summer weather here is very similar to what we've been exposed to in Scotland, the day begins grey, blue bursts of sky between the clouds, drizzle and then all of a sudden the sun comes shining through and the day ends softly with a moisture rich air 
I was thinking this fabric could be used for the dress making; it's cotton, avocado dye, metal washer/coin clamping in copper pot, been left to soak up the juices for the past 10 days and revealed itself today
 this is a pot of red earth I collected in the field below, proof of me holding same pot in said field, the exact location of which is a Secret! At Glen House we met another artist Viv and we got to talking about herman de vries a Dutch artist representing the Netherlands at the Venice Biennale this year and I told her how fascinated I am by this man, whom I had not heard of until I read about the Biennale and Viv mentioned that she had actually met him years ago at a gallery in Edinburgh, 1990 to be precise; at the time she'd promised him a jar of red earth, as this is what he collects from all over the world and uses in his art (read more about him here)

so now I was even more excited, for if one could paint with the earth, surely one could dye with it as well! Viv very generously gave us instructions on how to get to this field with the Red Earth and she wrote it all down for us and a few days later we were on our quest, found the field, where I jumped out of the car and ran along the tractor grooves, scooping up the red dirt into the jar, whilst the three men waited patiently for me to finish my happy dance; I felt content at having accomplished the small and at the same time big thing at this exact spot - secretly thinking, maybe this is why we came here -