an artists' view

an artists' view

Sunday, 27 October 2013


Ivy growing up the ash tree in my garden. The flowers are an important food source for bees in the autumn.
The ash tree where said ivy grew. The ash tree that is gone. It had got way too tall, and I'm hopeless with heights, so couldn't get up a ladder to saw it back. So, very sadly, I had to get someone to come and take it down. I really hate chopping down trees! I've spent so many years planting trees; growing saplings from seeds. It breaks my heart to lose one. Especially when ash trees are now under threat from ash die-back. But; it was too big; and blocking out the light coming into my garden; so I had to take steps.
The bonus is for those of my friends who have stoves or open fires! They've been given a 'windfall' of ash logs. As ash wood burns green, and doesn't need drying before putting on the fire, I've been a very popular person! We've been raising glasses and toasting the ash tree; and they've been toasting themselves!
Sadly not home-grown produce; but gifts given from people at the textile group I go to. Buy pumpkin tomorrow for Hallowe'en. Seasonal produce; celebrating the season.
And we have gales forecast tonight and tomorrow. The wind's been blowing the leaves from the trees creating golden confetti. Me and Pauline took puppy Minnie out to Nostell Priory yesterday, and blew our cobwebs away.
I'm indoors now sweeping cobwebs away on ceilings and walls, as I decorate. The nearest I've got to using a paintbrush for months! I'm getting ready to hibernate; hunkering down in response to the diminishing light, and entering the darkness. Samhain on Thursday. Celtic new year; I'll be glad to see the back of this year; it's been a tough one. First, there's this darkness to travel through. One foot in front of another is my mantra.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

sliced slate

wall? bridge?
a line of slate slices, delineating space
The slices of slate create the boundary wall that encloses this garden. Undulating.
The garden is up near the council buildings in Wakefield. It was made for the Chelsea Flower Show (not this year) then subsequently re-created as part of the urban renewal of Wakefield and the surrounding District. The rusting metal question mark on the right, was, when installed at Chelsea, a sculpture by Barbara Hepworth, who was born in Wakefield.
 Some of the late greenery and poppies of this civic garden.

Sunday, 20 October 2013


Wakefield Cathedral has had a refurbishment.
Within the structure of the building is now a labyrinth set out on the floor, in stone. Two different colours, to mark the path. 
Of course churches and cathedrals have a long tradition of using labyrinths as part of their christian practice. Chartres, in France, is perhaps the most famous. 

 The view of the labyrinth in Wakefield Cathedral.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

maze for yorkshire; loose threads

A maze for Yorkshire; a bright red one. Made of MDF.
By the artist Richard Wood.
A maze for summer. Gone now, like the migrating birds.
Only here for the sunny, summer weather.
 But fun while it was here!
The maze; the Georgian building of the Orangery; the flags flapping beyond; and the backdrop of newbuild flats and offices.
A maze is not a labyrinth.
Why? Because you cannot get lost in a labyrinth; there is one way in, and one way out. It's unicursal. But a maze is something where you can take wrong turnings, and get lost. Ariadne didn't need to leave a trail of thread in the labyrinth to find her way back from the minotaur in Crete.
She would have if it was a maze. 
Even labyrinths and mazes lead to loose threads.

Monday, 14 October 2013

20:20 Print Exchange

Last week was the final date to hand in the prints for the 20:20 Print Exchange. Despite all the upheaval I've experienced with mum's death, then Ann dying, both happening suddenly and unexpectedly, I managed to complete this.
The prints were collographs; done in my home studio; I got them to the Arthouse. Before the final hand-in date. I surprised myself. I did wonder at more than one point, if I was going to make it. But I did.
The prints are on paper. And they have each got a small stitch, and a length of thread, within the print.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

walnut dyed

My washing line of dyed fabric; last week when the sun shone. Today is cloudy, rainy, and dreach, as the scots say. Nearest is a piece of silk from a child's silk bridesmaid dress, that I got in a charity shop in Eyemouth in the summer. It's dyed in the woad dye-pot I've been using recently.
Here is the same silk, this time dyed using walnut husks. It's beautifully mottled.
 Here is the same silk dyed from walnuts.
And here are the walnuts! They were really easy to peel, though I did take the precaution of wearing rubber gloves. Boiled 'em up, and dunked in the silk. I managed to pop a couple of pieces of cotton in too, but I do admit that the silk has taken the dye so much better. I then went into a frenzy of walnut dye-ing; and put another piece of silk in the pot. And some more silk into what remains of the woad. I think the dress is about used up now, so I'm going to have to be on the lookout in charity shops for more second hand silk clothes.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Saturday, 5 October 2013

more woad

Here's the silk from the child's bridesmaid dress, dunked into the woad dye-bath. Bought the dress in Eyemouth back in August. The silk is a 'slub' silk; which means it's uneven on the surface; the spin of the silk is uneven, creating thick and thin lengths of thread. Tiny imperfect weaves. Gives the fabric a lovely texture. I'm expecting the woad to exaggerate this texture, when I take it out, wash, and dry it.
The results I'm getting with the woad, are a very uneven colouration. Maybe that's because I'm using such a small dye-bath? I do like that effect actually, so it doesn't bother me.
This is a cotton top Jill gave me; me wearing it. The details of the string I tied around the cotton reveal a lovely pattern; hardly touched by the blue woad dye, it's remained white. As I took this photo myself, it was hit & miss getting an image that was anything like!

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

dye-ing with rust & woad

This picture above was the result of wrapping fabric around a very rusted pole that's in the garden. It's not fit for anything, so I thought I'd experiment with putting a piece of old sheet around it. I also put some leaves on the inside, to see if that would make any difference. You can see the black marks on the fabric, from the rotting leaves!
I've been trying to keep the fabric damp/wet, by pouring water from the rain buttes over it, but it has had long periods of completely drying out; especially in this exceptionally dry, and sunny summer. One of the results of this wetting and drying, is that the fabric is pretty fragile in parts; there are some holes, and it's susceptible to ripping easily. I'll see how that works once I begin using it.
The fabric wrapped around the rusty pole.
And yesterday I popped the fabric into the remnants of the Woad dye-bath. It's not very active, as the weather is cooling, and I've put a few pieces in now, so the blue is coming out paler and paler. Still getting something though. I've left it dripping (and stinking!) in the garden. Then to dry it, and rinse it out, to see the result. I could simply pop it into the dye-bath again!
I got a small child's bridesmaid dress from a second-hand shop whilst in Eyemouth, back in August. It's silk; second-hand; pale peach colour. And a piece has gone into the woad dye-bath. See what happens there.
AND! -  my call-out for WALNUTS has 'borne fruit'
I've started going to an informal textile group on Mondays. Feel it's time for me to start getting out and socialising, and being out in the world more. One of the women from the group has just phoned me, and offered me a bag of walnuts! So; the alchemical kitchen will crank up soon, once more!
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