Saturday, 31 March 2007

Spring at last

This, to me, is the true sign that Spring has sprung. Little lambs. And about time too, it'll be April in 4 1/2 hrs (UK time). Mr P took the pic for me when he was out walking. These are the sheep that I walked Marley past every day in hopes of seeing lambs. Hopefully I'll be well enough to see them next week instead. Cute cuties.

I always used to wonder why lambs are so skippy and jumpy but sheep just mump around like they can't be bothered. Then I experienced the immense physical and psychological weight of having to walk around in a thick wooly jumper in the rain. No wonder wonder they oomph goes out of them... I mean, look at those legs, they are wearing about 20 thick jumpers on those tiny pin legs! It's a small miracle that they walk at all.

Friday, 30 March 2007

French artists

Paper work by Ghislaine Escande

Painting by Odile Boniface. Her work makes me think of Gracia and Louise, lots of interesting creatures.

Textile sculpture by Michelle Alimi-Kriuthof

Thinking a lot

my one trip out since Marley left,
Mr P is only a few inches taller than me , and is wider, but that shadow has stretched us in opposite directions!

Ok I'll come clean, the stresses of March caught up with me and I've not been well this week, laid up in bed mostly (don't worry, this is an ongoing thing, I'm used to it) which I tend not to let on about here in blogland, but I'm struggling to keep up with my blog reading and my correspondence so I thought I should confess why. It's not all bad though as it does give me time to do a lot of thinking.

Sometimes the thinking is just 'why me' and I get a bit pitiful, but then I watch those programmes on Ch5 on Monday nights which documents the lives of people who've had real difficulties to overcome and I feel humbled and stop winging. I can still walk, I can still eat quite a lot of nice foods, I can see, hear, taste, feel and smell, I have all my limbs, my home is not in a war zone. I have a LOT to be thankful for, and sometimes I just need that little extra reminder.

So my thoughts shift to things more constructive, making mental, or if i'm a little better, actual written lists of what needs done in the next week or month. Not that I get it all done, I mean, so many blogs to read, emails to respond to and ideas to get out of my head and into the sketchbook... not to mention the 1000 photo's a month that I am averaging just now.

Sometimes it's more about where I'm going with my work now that my job has gone. That one is a real roller coaster of wonder and woe. I have all the wonderful wild fantasies about being self employed and selling the things I make and suddenly having the life I really want where I do what I love. Other times I'm more realistic about my utter inability to be business-like, to charge money for my work or to get through a tax return with my scalp intact. Not to mention the fact that I haven't actually got a habitable home from which to work!

So there is a lot of thinking going on right now and I seriously need to practise getting that thinking more balanced so that I can actually choose a path and start to walk in the right direction. Even if it is a long way, and even if it's full of bumps and ruts and prickly bushes, because I know full well that every road of that sort has gems if you pay attention. Little alpine flowers on the verges, or tough but beautiful weeds growing no matter how many people step on them. They are full of ever changing smells and colours and with each season they take on a new appearance. That's a path I want to walk along, instead of standing here at the crossroads being either too optimistic or too harsh about my chances on any given road. All roads will have sun and all will have storms, but hopefully the storms will be few with only light showers to keep those weeds moist and to make the ground smell sweeter as it dries in the sun.

I'm not going to re-read that incase it sounds like bollocks, which it very well may!

PS I still have lots of pre-drafted posts about jewellery and also my own work, but I'm just not in the frame of mind to post them just now. later.

Tangly Tree

Tangly tree, reminds me of my hair, it gets so knotted in at the neck and the rest goes a bit straggly in different directions.

After trying, asking begging and pleading to find out if my blog image allowance was filling too fast, and getting no response, I just saw this written next to my upload button!..

You are currently using 10 MB (0%) of your 1024 MB

I'm nowhere near being full. My blog will last for years!
Now I wish I'd done my images full width, but I was trying to save space so my blog would last longer. AND... even if it fill I can now buy extra space because they store it on Picassa. Hmm, perhaps bigger pics will follow? I'm not sure, I like that I have a year of things being the same size in all my folders etc. but then again, more detail. What do you think? Bigger, or just fine as it is with some white space to the right to help them breath?


I love passionfruit.

I'm not posting much just now as I am wrestling with something for another project which I'll mention next week. If you're not here before then, have a good weekend.

Wednesday, 28 March 2007

Yellow in March

one of my textile repeats, it's a bit blurry

Thanks for the lovely messages about Marley on the blog and by email. I've not even been sending pre-drafted posts cause I'll get drawn in to blogging and won't get any other work done. I have a lot of work to do, details on some of that next week. But for now a little bit of yellow talk cause if I don't do it now the month will be over.

When I was a kid I loved March cause I'm Pisces but also because it was full of daffodils and yellow was my favourite colour.

When I moved to LA aged 10, where yellow is everywhere all the time, I started to prefer greens and blues, grass and ocean colours. Well, not LA grass, but Scottish grass, which I missed immensely. I've never really been liked bright yellow since then, though I still love more muted yellows, mustards, ochres....

or anything verging more towards orange...

This was the butternut squash I ate at the start of the month. I bought it in November and scraped some patterns into the top, then I couldn't bear to use it because I was enjoying watching the patterns develop and widen as it aged.

Even when I used it I still played with it swirling it on the plate before pan roasting the chunks in obscene quantities of olive oil with onions and maple syrup for about 20mins. I then put a lid over it all so it would start to get steamy and create juices, into which I added quinoa (leftovers from the day before), pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds...lots of sunflower seeds. Very tasty. Tastes good cold the next day too.

I had forgotten about these photo's till I read the March butternut squash and risotto post over at
Living Gorgeously. Have you got any yellow images or yellow recipes to share before the month is over?

Friday, 23 March 2007

And they call it, puppy love...

Not up for chatting today, missing my blonde boy.
Cat & kitten sitting at a friend's house tonight so some cute distraction to be had.


Sometimes you're so tired you could sleep on your own nose!

Thank you all for your comments about Marley, it was comforting to feel like the outside world noticed something changed. I know it's not the same as someone dying, I know we'd only had him 3 months, but he was like a part of me that had been missing for a long time and his going was so sudden, I wasn't ready for it at all. I just wish I had a photo of us together.

A cat can't stop onion tears, but he can be quite helpful regarding the other kind.

He's Mr P's cat, really, but he doesn't know that, since he I mostly look after him. He knows that if I'm not in the house, his house, I may be in mine, so he mews outside my door (no flap...yet)

I had to just sleep, mostly. And this little fellow came to keep me company and never expected me to talk, though I whispered cuddley words in his ear. Never asked me to explain anything, though I did anyways through slow tears.. Never tried to get me to make him feel better, but then he was pretty damn happy getting his tummy tickled and his ears rubbed. Not the same as a dog, but comforting in so many of the right ways. If only he knew how to bake cakes.

Did I ever mention that he has an incredible long tail, which is mostly held upright in a quetion mark? Here he i nibbling cat buscuits on the floor, tail straight back...

Back to bed now.

Thursday, 22 March 2007

Miriam Verbeek + Marley

Sorry, I can't remember where I originally got this link for this wool necklace and detail by Miriam Verbeek

Today is a sad day. My brain can't work well when I'm this sad.
I feel heartbroken. Don't worry, no-one has died, but after a truly horrible day yesterday, and no sleep last night due to hideously gruesome night terrors so I was really looking forward to the fresh air and fields on my morning walk with Marley.

When I arrived at L's house to get him she was there (a work from home day) and was in tears. He had become just too much for her, and instead of walking him we had to take him back to the cat and dog home. It was awful.

I didn't get a last walk up the hill (and it was so sunny). I never got to take him to the beach. I never even got a last cuddle cause a girl came and put him on a lead and then just went. You know how you don't think straight in these situations. Too damn British to say 'Hey Lady, that's my dog I'm never going to see him again, I'd like to say goodbye'. Not that he cared, trotted of wagging his tail and never looked back. He's like that.

To be fair to L, he was a difficult lad, so much energy, very challenging for someone living on their own and who is not confident with dogs. He just overwhelmed her. She
will get another dog in future, and I will still share him with her. She was really upset thinking I'd hate her and never speak to her again.

It's been weird, to share in a dog in this way but to be dependent on another person being willing to keep him. I found him hard going at times too, but mostly he was a blessing to me in this bizarre year that I seem to be having. I don't need a man to complete me, but a dog helps. I'm more myself when I have a dog.

Next time she will look for an older female dog, and my walking will begin again. The hills and beaches aren't going anywhere. But I will miss Marley terribly, his blonde furrowed brow, his ginger eyelashes, his warm smell and his utter daftness. I hate that I'll never know what happens to him, who he ends up with, if he gets a good home. More tears tonight I think.

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Eugenio Recuenco

It's always worth delving into the portfolio/archives of Eugenio Recuenco who I 1st blogged here last May. I think his work is amazing and I'm really loving these historically influenced ones (I'm glossing over the fact that they appear to be advertising Lucky Strike cigarettes), just look at those fabrics! Make sure you visit his site to see the full set from his 2003 Luck Strike series, and to delve his other amazing works. Turns out he did the Nina Ricci Ad (film of it here) that I liked the look of over the hols.

Terhi Tolvanen

I've blogged Terhi Tolvanen's more recent organic looking work here but I also these older pieces 'Amber Sea' 2002. This website is a mix of juicy colour and wonderous naturals. Here is watery one called 'Drops' also from 2002 ...

Update- just heard Terhi will be part of a glass exhibition at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York, dates to be decided.

Just a 'live' addition to this post...
I am reading your lovely comments, thank you all, but I won't be doing replies to Q's or any reciprocal visits this week while things are busy. We all, finally, watched Little Miss Sunshine last night and I enjoyed it as much as I knew I would :0) For anyone new to my blog this was like a little peek into my childhood when we drove across the States in a yellow Dormobile, photo here.

While I was looking for that link which I though was in April and spotted (for those who are new) that this post had more of my ceramics and metalwork. Hope you are all having a good week (Liz and Kate, especially thinking of you two).

Tuesday, 20 March 2007

Andy Goldsworthy

originally uploaded by thom watson

Ok I'm meant to off my blog this week and only sending pre-drafted posts but I HAD to do this one while Mr P and the visitors go off to rent Little Miss Sunshine for our viewing pleasure tonight.

Thanks to
Shari for this link to an article about one of the biggest influences in my artistic life - Andy Goldsworthy, who is doing a retrospective at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park! Installation slideshow here.

When I first saw Andy's work at his 'Hand to Earth' exhibition in Edinburgh's Botanic Gardens in 1990. I was blown away by what I saw. I found it so amazing and so beautiful that I was, literally, nearly sick. I still get like that about a few things, if they are totally visually new and exciting to me.

originally uploaded by sfsweetness

I loved all his pieces and later found out about land artist Richard Long ( and others) who had been doing similar work for decades. But the pieces that most amazed me were ones I've never seen the like of before or since, leaf horns and a twig wall based on the same techniques as this one over water...

originally uploaded by quanticmove

Had had created this curtain of twigs right across the gallery, held together only with thorns. It was more random and delicate than the one shown above and the twigs were smaller. To this day I still can hardly believe it stayed in place. I was utterly in awe. It was the year before I started art College and it blew my mind and I'm sure contributed to my not following the 'rules' of making when I started college. He is recreating a version of that wall for his retrospective, this one uses over 10,000 thorns to hold the twigs in place. Now that is dedication to your art.

I actually got the chance to work with him in '93. He was in my final dissertation 'Art and the Environment' and when I wrote to ask him some questions for it I mentioned I'd love to work with him (he has an army of willing workers, paid and volunteers). He wrote back answering my questions and inviting me to come down in person! Unfortunately the timing was impossible, but I REALLY would have loved it. I think he was working at Grizedale Forest at the time, he has some really nice pieces there as do many other's like Richard Harris and Kees Bierman. I will try and find my photo's (all pre digital).

Because he worked so much in Scotland I'm lucky to have access to many of his permanent works in places I visit regularly, even where I walk Marley . This piece is at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh...

Originaly uploaded by Happy Dave

Karin Kortenhorst

Challenging my often wild creations that I make for fancy dress costumes is the designer Karen Kortenhorst. Show above a 'headpiece' and an 'air ornament'. Splendid.

Monday, 19 March 2007

Katja Prins

I rather liked the sculptural qualities in the 2003 work of Katja Prins. Such rich colours and again, someone working with historical links, of which there are good description on her site. She uses things like glass and sealing wax. Her 2002 work was interesting too - strange little white porcelain pieces.

Sunday, 18 March 2007

Doris Betz + Donna Keay

I thought Imelda might like the intricate detail on this 2005 neckpiece by Doris Betz, I know I do.

I'm always drawn to darker pieces with historically influenced pattern on them, like the work of Marianne Anderson and this work by
Donna Keay...

I was so surprised when I emailed Donna to ask if I could show her work (thanks) she already knew my blog! Donna was a graduate of Glasgow School of Art in 2003 and is inspired by historical jewellery.

Saturday, 17 March 2007

Truike Verdegaal

Totally new to me is Truike Verdegaal a jeweller who lives and works in Amsterdam.
She graduated in '92 and is clearly having great success with some really strange and unusual work since then including her more recent 'bird' range which I particularly like (above right & below).

Now speaking of strange and unusual, I suddenly became aware of a habit of mine. When I'm home alone I sing a lot. Not strange, but... I often sing in a different accent all day. I never thought about this till just now when I was singing 'if you'd like to swing on a star' with a very 1920's, gangsters Moll (spelling?) New York accent. Try it, it's fun.

I only noticed because the cat looked round, unimpressed, and walked off to sleep in a different room. Other fave singing accents are an old deep south chain gang voice, chewy farmery English accents, soft North East Coast Scottish and various Irish. There are plenty more, but those, I think, are the regulars. I've no idea why.

Ted Noten

A friend is having a Bond/Casino themed birthday party tonight which reminded me of the 'Lady K bag' by Ted Noten. I'll be doing going in gold, more on that if it's a success, I am dubious as really I am way too exhausted and may conk out after an hour. Plus I'm hopeless at cards. I'm hoping I can just shimmer around topping up folks drinks and taking photo's of them :0)

Here's a piece of Ted's work that I really like - his 'Everyday' ring...

Friday, 16 March 2007

Old Stools

On the subject of stools (last post) I like this product photo for Louise Body's cushions. (Hey Lisa, she makes wallpaper and has cute little samples, if I had money I'd have bought you a set.)

The cushions are shown on a stool that's the same as the stools I saved from a school in Edinburgh. It still amazes me that they throw out stuff like this, crazy. Some of the stools have little slots in the top so it's easy to carry them... or maybe it's an air vent so you don't get a sweaty bottom during exams!

Made - hybrid stool

The ultimate in creative recycling, this is the Hybrid stool by MADE as seen on Emma's blogg. Seems it was part of an exhibit called 'Come Up to My Room' that showed at the Toronto Interior Design Show MADE.

Hella Jorgensen

Look at these nifty crochet sea creatures by Hella Jorgensen at Gooseflesh (via Whipup). Hella makes all manner of great things from yarn as well as from plastic bags. Hella needs more colourful bags to make her recycled yarns with, so if you have bags of bags in your cupboards, particularly if you live in Australia, she'd love to hear from you.
Apparently there is a vortex of them swirling in the Pacific Ocean which is the size of Texas!

I am horrified by that. We really need to stop using those bags in the first place, take your own bag. Mr P is very guilty with bags so I make him take them to the 2nd hand shops, the ones that don't have their own bags made. And if you don't have a suitable bag for shopping - make one. A good way to show off those lovely thrifted fabrics you've been hoarding, and if your skills or time don't allow for that then god knows there is no shortage of amazing crafters out there who will make you an incredible, fun, stylish or kooky bag of your own. And you'd be suporting individual makers. I love the thought of everyone at the supermarket having different bags.

I remember making one for my mum when I was about 16. We lived in a town with a lot of small minded people and my mum used to get hacked off with their attitudes at times, so I made here a duffle bag which had some funky (well, it was the 80's) pattern painted on it. But... if you slung it at a certain angle revealed the words 'what have you and this bag got in common? you're both full of shit'. Ok, a bit rude, but bear in mind this was a place where the post office wouldn't let her have 10 stamps because there were only 10 left. Confused? Well, if they let her have them there'd be none for anyone else. Made sense to the woman behind the counter who got nasty when my mum pointed out she was obliged to sell them. I think she got 2 stamps.

Thursday, 15 March 2007

Illustrated folk tales

For 15, maybe 20 years, I've been trying to find 2 beautifully illustrated books that I had when I was younger, books which had a huge influence on my work in later years. My mother has a bad habit of throwing out my treasures but keeping my crap.

Today the mystery was solved by a look into Ulla's gatherings for March. She was showing the illustrations of Ivan Bilibin and there they were, two of the images from one of my books! The one she was showing was The Tale of Tsar Saltan by Alexander Pushkin. Here's one, left and right pages are split so you can see the detail in the costumes... gives you a hint as to why I went into printed textiles when I 'grew up', and why I still love to make patterns, isn't it gorgeous...

After further searches I found an online version of the entire book. Here is a tater...

Three fair maidens, late one night,
Sat and spun by candlelight.
"Were our tsar to marry me,"
Said the eldest of the three,
"I would cook and I would bake -
Oh, what royal feasts I'd make."
Said the second of the three:
"Were our tsar to marry me,
I would weave a cloth of gold
Fair and wondrous to behold."
But the youngest of the three
Murmured: "If he married me -
I would give our tsar an heir
Handsome, brave, beyond compare."

It's nice to have the tale there, but online reading is never as good as having the real thing with full sized illustrations in proper rich colour, and the lovely smell of the pages. I will be hunting for the original so I can fill the hole that has been missing in my bookcase, my childhood memories and my heart. I was going to buy online but Edinburgh has so many wonderful old 2nd hand bookshops I think I'd enjoy searching for it locally and supporting them.

Margaret Evans Price illustration, 1921

Wow ( a few hours have passed, food has been cooked and eaten), I just found a fantastic site called Sur La Lune Fairy Tales with my other book in it, as well as lots of other folk/fairly tales from around the world! You can search the tales themselves or delve into the various illustrators who have worked on them over the years here.

I'm thrilled, they have lots of Ivan Bilibin plus a host of other incredible illustrators who inspired me as a child such as Arthur Rackham, Warwick Goble, Walter Crane, Edmund Dulac, H.J.Ford, Kay Neilsen, Margaret Evans Price,

The inkwork of Arthur Rakham was another big influence on me. I love his full colour work but could never work like that myself so, as a child of 7, it was pieces like this which I used to try and draw, and later, do as papercuts...

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