an artists' view

an artists' view

Monday, 31 October 2011


greetings from the place where the veil between the worlds is thin!

The night of All Soul's, or Samhain in the Celtic year.

We've carved our pumpkins, and frightened the local children who've called round 'trick or treating'. I've been acting like Tom Waits! With a big top hat, full of sweets and chocolate, which I doff with a flourish, and offer to let the children take a piece of 'magic' chocolate! Some of the teenagers were in hysterics. So were we!

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

'The Big Draw'

As October rolls round once more, the Big Draw is upon us.

A couple of years ago I went into a local primary school and did a few afternoons with a class to publicise 'The Big Draw'.We used big sticks, and pots/saucers of ink. Deliberately, so that there would be no worries about 'getting it right'. There were lots of blobs and blotches, which all added to the effects.

I took in lots of feathers too, so the children could have a go with ink and quill pens. It made quite a change using such ancient technology!

Friday, 21 October 2011

Living in the Material World

Last night I went to Bradford Media Museum to see the Martin Scorsese film about George Harrison, 'Living in the Material World'. It's a long one; including the interval, it lasts 4 hours. Scorsese has form for making films about musicians, there's his famous 'The Last Waltz', about the final concert of The Band, and of course he did the Bob Dylan Anthology film, plus the Rolling Stones film.

Scorcese films are always worth a looksee, whatever the subject; but as a Beatles fan from decades ago, I had a particular interest in this one. I wasn't disappointed. It's as though George has just popped out the room, and he's still present.

The interview with his wife, Olivia, telling us about the night they were invaded by a man who attacked George with a knife, was particularly chilling. I found myself shifting uncomfortably in my seat; it was so visceral. Olivia did well to hit the assailant hard enough that he didn't kill George. She saved his life.

A film with lots of dark shadows, as well as the light and excitement of 'the sixties'.

George was described by Ringo as having 'a bag of love, and a bag of anger'; but the final words that stayed with me, were from Jackie Stewart, the racing driver, who George befriended through his love of fast cars and motor racing.

Jackie said that it was the most intense bereavement he'd ever had, and he felt the loss more that any others. Despite the fact that he didn't think he knew George that well, and didn't feel that he was particularly close to him. It's a testament to how George made people feel.

Went home and put on a George Harrison cd that my brother bought me when George died.

And in the end, the love you take, is equal to the love you make.

Sunday, 16 October 2011


A few weeks ago Jon brought this wasp nest home from his allotment. It's now rotted away sadly; but the nest was beautiful to look at. A creamy ball of feathery 'paper'.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Herb Robert Dyed Fabric

This is the result of my experiments using Herb Robert to dye linen fabric. It's come out a very pale, washed out grey-pink colour. The black marks come from the small bull-dog clips I used to hold together the folded cloth.

Quite nice effects I think.

Here is a close up of the pattern from the clips.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Cotton Dyed with Onionskins

My first experiment with eco-dyeing.
A bundle wrapped in onion skins, and steeped in the 'dyepot' for weeks and weeks!
The darker patches are where the cotton has taken up the pattern and colour of the onions.
A modest success I'd say; now to think about how to use it?

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Home Grown

Some rather eccentrically coloured purple potatoes, that Jon grew this year. They were very small, but gorgeous to look at. Unfortunately the colour drained away once I'd cooked them. Shame.

More home grown produce. And apples, apples, apples! We have a surfeit of apples this year, both in our garden at home, and at Jon's garden. We're eating apple crumble, and Jon's wrapping them up in newspaper, for storage.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Sheep Fleece & Felt

On holiday on the Isle Of Islay, back in August, I collected some sheep fleece from Finlaggan.....which is the site of where the Lords of The Isles had their headquarters.

I'm currently reading a book I got whilst on Islay, by Alistair Moffat called 'The Sea Kingdoms; The History of Celtic Britain & Ireland'. It's giving me a fantastic background on Welsh and Scots history.

The creative textiles course has begun again, and I'm 3 weeks into it. So taking on some of Christine's suggestions, I went and bought 2 metal toothed dog-brushes. They are a pretty good imitation carding combs!

And so have started to 'card' the fleece from Islay, using said dog-brushes! I've got quite a nice little pile so far, but there's a LOT of fleece left! It was lovely last Saturday, sitting in the hot sun in my garden, carding through the fleece. I did think though, it was a good job I wasn't doing it on piecework rates! I'd never make a living at it.

Funnily enough, I did once work in a wool factory, decades back, in the 1970's. Not in the carding shop though; I worked on the wool-spinning machines. Very noisy, and dust-full.

Saturday was quite a different experience from the wool-factory.
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