an artists' view

an artists' view

Friday, 24 December 2010

So This Is Christmas

In just over a month, I will be having a solo exhibition at Chantry Chapel in Wakefield, as part of the January Artwalk on Wednesday 26th January.

Got to complete a number of things for it, so it will be a very busy New Year!

The photo above, is from the stained glass at Chantry Chapel. The Chapel is one of only 3 remaining, standing as it does on a bridge above the River Calder, and dates back to medieval times.

Christmas Eve; the tree is up; shopping is done; nothing left now but to sit back and enjoy.

Happy Christmas!

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Bee House

This is photo of a Bee House, one that I've bought as a Xmas present.

I'm hoping to make something like this with the youth group I work with. Am going to get some patterns for birdboxes and bee houses and take them into work next year.
You can create bee houses very simply by drilling the right sized holes into blocks of wood. I'll explore how to make those, too.
Well, we're almost at Xmas.
Tomorrow is Xmas Eve. It's cold, cold, cold here. Keeps trying to snow, but has held off so far.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Winter Solstice 2010

I got up in the early hours yesterday to see the Lunar Eclipse. Put my alarm on for 6am, and had a cup of tea (thoughtfully made by Jon, thank you!) watching the shadow of the earth moving slowly across the Moon's surface, as I stood nice and warm in my living room.
Had a perfect view; the Moon was placed in between 2 of the houses opposite, so I could see the silver being steadily eaten away by the rusty, browned stain. Against the inky blackness of the sky, the Moon really stood out. I finished my cuppa, then put on my outside gear and walked out into the cold morning to see the rest of the Eclipse.
There was a tiny sliver of Moon left by the time I reached the top of the hill. And the sun was starting to come out on my left, which lightened the sky to a very washed out pale blue. That earlier blackness had gone.
The cold has given us some beautiful clear mornings; this one wasn't a dark and murky sunrise. It was a sky of colours.
The sky had gorgeous pale pink washes amongst the blue-turquoise and pale greys. Small clouds were lit up with more solid pinks, standing out against the pale water-colours of the rest of the sky.
As the sun rose the Moon began to fade into the greys and blues of the sky. It lost that red-ness, and the Eclipse shadow shifted into pink tones, before taking up the blue of the sky surrounding it.
I had to look really hard to make out the smudge of the Moon, as it faded away, eventually becoming invisible.
It was like a 'ghost-moon'.
Around me the world was waking up.
The central heating of houses down the hill were beginning to crank up, with steam coming from their boilers. Trains were running on the railway line; known as 'ghost-trains', without passengers, to keep the rails clear of ice. Very fitting companions for the ghost-moon!
The sunrise was firing up the sky with brighter yellows and reds, in the east, whilst in the west, I could see a band of pale grey on the horizon. These clouds prevented me seeing the Moon emerge from it's totality, as it set behind them.
I didn't get another view of the Moon until it rose again, on the evening of the 21st.
Because everything is covered with a dusting of snow, and a hard, hard frost, there was an incredible light around me. It didn't seem to be 'the darkest night' of the longest night!
It was a beautiful morning. A perfect winter morning. I didn't take my camera, as I knew I wouldn't be able to capture it. Only Turner would have done justice to the light and the subtle colours and tones in the sky.

Monday, 20 December 2010


Tonight I've lit some candles in the garden. This one has icey-frost on the glass, which gives it a look of crackled glass.
I woke up this morning at 2am, and peeped out of the window to see what the weather was up to. It was a freezing fog outside, illuminated by the streetlight. Everything was covered with a glittering white frost; a very thick frost.
It was very still, and silent. The darkness, the silence, the white filigree of frozen tree branches made the scene extremely eerie. I felt as though it was forever winter, but never Xmas, just like in 'The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe'.
And here comes the Winter Solstice.
With it is a Lunar Eclipse.
The Moon will be completely in the shadow of the Earth, and we here in the UK will be able to see it between 6.33a.m. and 7.41a.m. tomorrow morning. The Moon may be coloured, a copper colour, or brown-ish.
The last time there was a lunar eclipse on the Winter Solstice was in 1638.
The next one will be in 2094 (presumably visible from the UK?).
I shall get up early and go see what there is to see. Hope the sky is clear enough. We've been having very clear mornings and evenings, with this bitter cold weather. I'm hopeful!

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Winter Sunset

This was the sun setting near my house a couple of weeks ago. The snow was still deep when I took the photo, but until last night, it had all melted away. I woke up this morning to find it had snowed once more.
I suppose you can tell you're getting old, when you want the snow to disappear! At least now I'm on holiday I don't have to worry about travelling around in it; but seeing people struggling to stand upright, and wobbling as they walk, brings home what a problem the snow can be.
This Christmas I've been concentrating on making presents and cards; trying to cut down on the costs, but also trying to be more creative about it. I decided not to make my mum a nightie though......I thought she might not appreciate my attempts at clothesmaking!
So I have bought some things; but I've asked for presents for myself, that I can 'use up'; food, drink, smellies; though I haven't said no to books and music! There's always room for those!
The presents Jon has asked for includes the books 'The Moneyless Man' and 'Through the Eye of A Needle', about a man who makes his own clothes. Looking at the latter book, I was struck by the quote;
'The cost of home-made product was 20% - 30% lower than the price of factory-made merchandise', and he discovers this is due to increased distribution costs.
The more centralised production becomes, the further these products have to travel to us, the market. This therefore increases the costs of distribution. So while oil/petrol costs are low, distribution costs can be covered. But in the future, post peak-oil, these distribution costs will probably become exhorbitant.
Reason, if needed, to concentrate on locally produced goods, and more seasonal produce. Hmmmmm.
Another quote said;
'Our most important task is to consider of what kinds of labour are good for us, raise us up and make us happy; and to forego such convenience, or beauty, or cheapness as is to be got only by the degradation of the workman.'
The author mentions his inspiration of the the writings of Ruskin, and also how Gandhi was influenced by Ruskin; something I wasn't aware of!
The quest to live 'a good life' continues.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Winter Garden

This is one of the lanterns in our garden; wearing it's wrap of snow.
Candle lanterns lighting up the snowy world, cast a beautiful yellow light. It's been too cold to go out and light them though; the snow too deep and icy to keep the wicks alight, sadly.
I'm looking forward to being able to light up the darkness of the midwinter in a couple of weeks time when the Solstice arrives.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Morning Glory Give Away

This morning I've spent time on the pooter, printing out the pages for the Morning Glory Give-Away artist's book. They're all printed out, and ready to be cut and bound.
Above is one of the photos I took for the cover of the book; though it isn't the one I've finally decided to use.
It feels good to be at the end of this project; it's taken eight and a half months, since the seedlings first came up. Now it's coming to an end, there's the usual concern that their future owners won't like their finished books!

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Snow blind!

This eucalyptus tree in my neighbour's garden looked lovely viewed through the latticework of iced washing-line!
I looked up to the sky, and there it was.

The snow is beginning to thaw now; turning to slush, but still freezing overnight. Today we went for a walk up towards Wrenthorpe. It was hard walking, in the deep snow; felt like a good workout! I had to cry off walking to our intended destination; but it will still be there for next time. I began to flag, feeling very tired. We decided better preparation was in order in future; take a banana, maybe an energy bar, so I don't get this draining of energy. Especially in winter...even more so in the snow...there's nowhere to sit and get your breath. So, like arctic explorers, I shall be prepared in the future! Or, more like a boy scout?

Batley Open Exhibition, Jewelled Serpent

This is a piece of work I've had accepted into the Batley Open Exhibition. Titled 'Jewelled Serpent', it comes from a series I made a couple of years ago, under the overall title '13Moons'.
This piece is made with pencils and gel-pens, and uses rock art as the starting point. For good measure, once I realised there would be a serpent involved, I included a real snakeskin tucked in the little box below the main image.
I alsways tell people, the snakeskin is 'shed, not dead'! Just in case people think otherwise! It came from a friend of mine who kept snakes. When one shed, I asked for the skin, and saved it; waiting for the art work that it would fit.
Sometimes my house and studio is just full of this 'stuff', awaiting re-incarnation in an art work!

Friday, 3 December 2010

'Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow......'

Another day of everything grinding (or sliding?) to a halt.
I walked into work yesterday; a lovely quiet, crunchy, snowy walk, with very little traffic about, and the few people I met all friendly, and chatty, and smiley, and saying hello.

The snow has made people talk to one another; we all make comments about the cold, the slippery-ness, the effort of walking, the lack of rocksalt.........
Those people with dogs talk about hypothermia, and towelling them down after their frolics in the snow.....the dogs that is!

The sound of people shovelling snow from their drives and pavements, brought back childhood memories of when the coal would be delivered.
A ton would be landed outside our house, creating a 'mini-mountain' of black carbon. This would then have to be transported from the pavement to the coal-house in the back garden. Large and small shovels would be brandished; a bucket (for little ole me) and wheelbarrow (for my dad) would be filled, then taken down the path to the coal-house.
Of course coal is black; the snow white. 'Polar' (?) opposites.

Once I got home, I managed to get out into my garden and take some photos. Once I've got them made smaller, I'll upload them here.
The snow has created beautiful sculpted folds laying sparkling over everything. I wish I could capture it with my camera. But all I can do is try to capture details, patterns, and shapes. It's strange snow; because the weather is so cold, it's remaining crisp and powdery. Usually the snow round here gets very wet and slushy, and is quite fugitive.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Snow, Snow, quick quick snow!

The winter's here.
It's been snowing since Saturday; today it's continued snowing...and snowing...and snowing...Deep snow, and cold with it.
I've had to cancel one of the courses I teach, for today. So a good opportunity to write here.
Today is the first day of Advent, the lead up to Christmas. If I had an Advent Calendar, I'd be opening the first window!

I took lots of photos in January and February this year of the snowfall we experienced then. Haven't been out to take photos yet of this recent white-out. Am making sure I keep warm, and enjoying the time spent at home; it feels a bit like a holiday! Nice! Feeling quite Christmassy already.

Am trying to work at home on one of my knitted pieces. It's something I've been working on for the last 18 months. Initially I intended it to be attached to a larger textile piece I'm working on. I realised that to sew it onto the calico would cause the calico to buckle had to think again. My friend Berenice suggested 'stretching' the knitted 'pelt' on a frame. Great idea!
I got some sticks from my garden, and have made up a frame, which the pelt will hang from. It's now at the stage of working out the 'engineering'.
Working on it, it has become obvious that it's growing in size. Becoming a free-standing piece, seperate from the larger textile work. This means that I have to re-think the textile piece, as an integral part of it will now be missing! Blimey! An unexpected effect.
But this is the beauty of making art. You think you've got something worked out; then just when it's at a stage of nearing completion, the art throws up a different path!
Problem-solving; a crucial part of art making.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...