Sunday, 31 January 2010

Erosion bundle

Last year I saw some examples on other people's blogs of bundles of 'stuff' left out to take their chances in the elements.   The 'stuff' was mostly textile-based, with some rusty metal, papers, berries, threads - anything you like - thrown in for good measure.   After a while, the bundles had been unwrapped and such delights as nature had produced were turned into small artworks by their talented bundlers.  

So there I was, kicking myself, not having seen the potential in the remains of my scarecrow which had been sitting outside on his French garden chair for over a year.   His vestments would have been perfect for a disintegration project.   An old wool suit waistcoat, a spotty hankie, a thick cotton ticking shirt - all dumped in the compost!

So, when I saw a reference on Carolyn's blog to the Erosion Bundle Project, I just had to have a go.  Unfortunately I was a wee bit late starting (it should have been 1st Jan.) and suddenly had an attack of the timids and didn't ask to add my name to the  list of participants.   But I made up my bundles nonetheless:  one to hang in a greengage tree and one tucked into the edge of the big compost heap in a place I hope the hens don't find it!   The idea is to photograph and share their progress and then on 15th April unwrap the bundles to see what surprises await.   Disintegration and decay are anticipated to produce some inspiration for a new artwork to be completed by the 1st August.   I'm just hoping that my slightly hastily-collected contents have the necessary artistic potential!  

I did put some thought into what the contents might do in the way of merging with each other, marking and staining their neighbours, evolving and decaying.   And then I thought that actually might be cheating a bit, trying to manipulate the results, so I  tried to be a bit more spontaneous with my second bundle.   One thing I did want to do with one of them was to introduce some aromatics.   One of my daily delights is to take the lid off my spice dabba and inhale the wafts of juniper berries, coriander seeds, cardamom pods, cumin.   I don't expect my retrieved bundle to be a sensory joy when I unwrap it after three months, but I did want to discover whether the spices not only marked the cloth, but if they would also impart a far-off exotic memory of their scent.

Then, a couple of days ago when I was huddled in the cold and damp in the orchard, waiting for the hens to retire for the night, I glanced up at my bundle dangling in the branches, pondering the ravages of wind, hail, rain, snow, sun that both it and I had endured during the past few weeks and I decided to be Captain Courageous and ask Kris if I could perhaps still join in the challenge publicly.   Ain't she grand!  She was very welcoming, so now I've got to make sure I take and post my photos and have the excitement of seeing everyone else's.  


Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Blue & White 'china'

Every New Year's Eve for quite a long time, our dear friends Kevin and Charlotte (Charlie) have laid on a wonderful evening's entertainment, magnificent nosh and lashings of ginger beer.   All we have to do is turn up in our best bib-and-tucker and be prepared for lots of laughs.   Well, that's all I have to do, my other half has to stay reasonably sober to play the bagpipes for us all when Big Ben strikes 12 at midnight.  

There are always quite a lot of friends around the table and Charlie is a great cook.   Last year we had lovely puds, as usual.  As Charlie moved around the dining table to serve us with custard and cream from her vintage vessels, Mary said, "Oh, nice jugs Charlotte!".   By this time, we were all inebriated enough to pick up on the unintended double entendre and a lot of schoolboy sniggering ensued.

Well, this little scenario (replayed quite a few times, needless to say) led me to thinking about immortalising it in applique, as you do.   So out came the fabric stash and I roughly cut out some jug shapes in paper and had some fun placing them and chosing what material to use.   I bondawebbed them and then sewed them to some calico and then took my courage in both hands to make the little title label in free machine stitching, yes, free machine stitching!!!   It's wonky and wobbly, but my normal handwriting isn't much better!

Anyway, Charlie and I had a walk and some lunch together today at Mary's restaurant, so that I could hand over the picture (all nicely framed) and we had a laugh all over again.   I think this joke's going to run and run....

Thursday, 14 January 2010

dipping a toe

Trying something new - making a necklace with metal links and loops and silver wire.   I had a vision of roughly what I wanted, but I don't think this is quite it!   I think it's a little bit fussy, don't you?

I'm also worried that the little jump rings introduce an element of weakness into the design - not really used them in anything other than light felted earrings before - so I'll have to see how they stand up to wear-and-tear.  It's quite a long neckace and I have visions of it hooking itself on to passing protuberances and pulling apart.   I'm always getting doorhandles up the sleeve of my cardi as I whoosh by, or trapping my dressing-gown belt in the dishwasher and walking off.   So ....  long necklaces could hold all sorts of unsuspected hazards.   It doesn't stretch my imagination too far to picture me hunched over the kitchen sink, tethered by the neck to the taps ....

Anyway, before RoSPA have me locked away, I just wanted to say that I am pleased with the colours together.   The 'pimpled' beads are volcanic lava beads and I really love their lightness and rough texture.   The little turquoise nuggets and the wooden beads are being 'repurposed', as the saying goes!

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

je t'aime

I never need an excuse to make some hearts,
but with Valentine's Day just a month away

I rustled up some romantic little numbers,

just for fun.

And, after all, a heart isn't just for 14th February now, is it?   Spread the lurve!

Monday, 11 January 2010

Mosaic Monday

Thought it was time to introduce, gently and subtly, some colour into our winter lives here in UK.   The romantic blanket of snowy white is turning to muddy slush, the skies are grey and the trees are dank and drippy.   

If you click here it'll take you to my Flickr page and you will be able to follow the links to the individual photographers.

Hope you have a good week!


Thursday, 7 January 2010

Blowing away the cobwebs

A watchful barn owl points our way Eastwards out of the village,

past the old post-mill, open for visits if you collect the key from the pub, but sadly no longer milling wheat for our daily bread.

Off the road and on to the field track, heading for the sailing club on the banks of the River Great Ouse.

Little boats laid up for the winter.

Right-turn along the river bank, the russet willows the only colour on the scene.

The tree-circle in the old village park, now marooned in the midst of a winter crop.

Distant view of the 'big house' with its snowy lawns sweeping down to the river.

Jack Frost nipping at my nose by now - the sun's gone behind the clouds and lots of wind-chill factor .... but there's the village snuggling into the hillside in the distance

Back past the windmill

heading west as the ploughman wends his weary way

home stretch uphill to the village cross - no picture because the brewer's dray was parked smack-bang in the middle of the road unloading his barrels of ale for the Red Lion.   I'll show you another day.

Job done - cobwebs gone!

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

"you are my sister", in memoriam

For Jacqui, twinkling just as brightly as ever:

You are my sister .......
You seemed to move through the places that I feared
You lived inside my world so softly
Protected only by the kindness of your nature
You are my sister
And I love you
May all of your dreams come true
We felt so differently then
So similar over the years
The way we laugh the way we experience pain
So many memories
But theres nothing left to gain from remembering
Faces and worlds that no one else will ever know
You are my sister
And I love you
May all of your dreams come true
I want this for you
They're gonna come true (gonna come true)
                                   lyrics by Antony & the Johnsons