Friday, 23 January 2015

An Angel to Watch Over Me

Last Friday, 16th January, I went walking with friends Gill and Lynne - this time Gill chose the walk which was in and around Sawbridgeworth.  The walk wasn't very long but was a good start after a few weeks of overeating and lack of exercise over the Christmas period.  As usual, we ended the walk with coffee and cake and one place I remembered from my days working in the area, was the antique centre by the railway station in Sawbridgeworth.  www.herts-essex-antiques.co.uk  My companions were equally enthusiastic to visit and so we politely removed our muddy boots before reviving ourselves in the coffee shop upstairs, after which each of us set to with eagerness to find a treasure we could not live without.  Needless to say we all found something.

Below is the treasure that I found - I presume a piece of architectural salvage, it is a moulded plaster angel.  It is damaged but I absolutely love it and it is now standing on my sideboard in the dining room.  I didn't want to hang it using the two rings just in case they were not quite securely fixed into the plaster but I found that it actually stood on its own anyway.  It seems like it might have been a shelf but on the other hand perhaps it was meant to be placed higher up on the wall as the angel is looking down.  



My companions Lynne and Gill bought a pair of antique spectacles and a small pot and brooch - Gill is hoping the stones prove to be diamonds!!!

The next two days after our walk I decided to prepare fabrics for a workshop I am giving at Chelmsford Embroiderers' Guild in Chelmsford on Rolling Landscapes at the end of January.  I try to dye lots of natural fabrics - I use mainly lightweight calico, silk habutai and silk organza - using Procion dyes and Manutex (a thickener which can be used either as a resist or, if you add the dye to the Manutex, will allow you to have more control over the placement of the dye).   In the picture below I have overlaid fabrics and collaged them to form the beginning of a landscape.  The composition will continue to form a long, thin landscape strip and stitching/embroidery added to secure and add detail. 




Monday, 12 January 2015

Happy New Year - Pink to drive away the January Blues


In an attempt to keep away the January blues after Christmas and the New Year festivities I have finished the little sketchbook and the rolling landscape I had been working on late last year.  The images in my sketchbook have moved with the seasons from autumn to winter and the rolling landscape has taken on a morning frost with a shaft of sunlight.  I find that as time rolls by my mood is influenced more and more by light or the lack of it, especially this time of year.  I have always had a natural preference for paler colours and find that I can work in the browns and greys as long as there is plenty of white to lighten the mood.



Along with my sketchbook and rolling landscape, I have included a small wooden house made by Kirsty Elson, another artist I discovered when visiting the Devon Guild of Craftsmen in Bovey Tracy -  kirstyelson.co.uk  - I just love the simplicity and little touches like the bent tack for the light by the front door and the nails in the roof for the chimney pots. The photographs were taken on the windowsill of the back bedroom - I like that you see the window and roof of the house behind and the tree top reflecting what is on the windowsill.



Photographs below were taken this afternoon while out walking at Marks Hall Gardens and Arboretum in Coggeshall, Essex - www.markshall.org.uk - 200 acres of historic landscape.  One of my favourite places to walk, the gardens are beautiful and walking is relatively easy when the weather has been wet. 






And finally for the last part of my first blog of 2015, a reminder that the “Between the Lines” exhibition opened yesterday at Braintree District Museum.  This is the exhibition by EAST which is a response to the centenary of WW1 and is on in Braintree until the 14th March, 2015. www.braintreemuseum.co.uk/whatson/exhibitions/