Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Spring and Fertility

During March I gave two workshops at Fantasia Textiles Studio run by Norah Stocker near Coggeshall.  The two workshops were based on the fertility figure I designed some years ago and which has proved very popular over the years.  It all started when I was asked to design a workshop based around beading techniques and at that time I had bought "Beadwork - A World Guide" by Caroline Crabtree and Pam Stallebrass.  This lovely book covers the history of beadwork very thoroughly and is beautifully illustrated, you cannot fail to be inspired.  When reading through this book I realised most countries had fertility figures that were usually beaded, varying from being simply wrapped with beads to more complicated patterns and in some countries the beads were not only decorative but added status and power.  

Although inspired by fertility figures I have given the figures that I designed another function which is that of an etui, i.e. they are designed to hold either needles, a thimble, a pair of scissors or a pin cushion.  Below is a picture of the figure I completed this week - the beaded tube held by the figure is a needle holder.  The fabric I have used has been rust dyed using an old spade - I added tea to the salt water which gives a darker result.

Also during the last couple of weeks I have started on the garden, seeing which plants have survived, which I have lost, which pots have been damaged by frost, etc. and to my delight I found that the frost had completely cracked an old pot just leaving the bottom - an instant piece of garden art!

And to complete that spring feeling below is a picture of my beautiful black vase full of daffodils - this gorgeous pot is from Made in Cley, a gallery in Cley-next-the Sea.   All the products are made on the premises by a group of craftspeople.  If you are in north Norfolk you must visit this little gem but if not their website is www.madeincley.co.uk


Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Much Hadham Walk

After a busy weekend with the Dover girls I again went walking with Lynne and Gill in the lovely countryside around Much Hadham.  We started and finished at Hopley Nursery, Garden and Cafe, a very good place to visit even if you are not going for a walk - www.hopleys.co.uk.   We met for coffee but saved ourselves for the delicious delights of the cafe until after the walk.  There are lots of lovely walks in this area as Henry Moore Foundation is not far away.  The particular walk we did I found on www.walkingbraitain.co.uk - Walk 2110 - Circular Walk in Ash Valley - about 5.5 miles in length.   There was a cold nip in the air but we didn't notice this once we got going.  My husband had put a box of chocolates in my rucksack which the three of us sat and scoffed on a pile of old hay bales while Lynne was picking out all the different birds in the sky with her laser sharp eyesight.   Gill tried to take a selfie of all three of us while eating chocolates but like a true friend did not put the picture on her blog as we all looked so terrible. 

I always like to photograph a particular tree when on these walks - I chose this one as it is just how I stitch trees using fly stitch - and then I did some sketches from memory (or maybe it's what I think I remember!!)   

Fly stitch tree.

I like the combination of greys and pinky browns.

I like to paint in my sketchbook and then add bits of fabric like the tree painted on organza below.  It is only attached at the bottom so I can still view the picture without the tree if I want to.