Saturday, 30 April 2016

Layers of Meaning

I can't believe it is the last day of April already -  with the weather taking so long to warm up I have felt a bit like the garden - held back.  But I'm sure that once the warmth comes things will probably be all the better for it.  I love this time of year with the promise of what is to come - a bit like the prospect of opening ones presents.

Anyway, even though things have been a bit hectic on the home front, it is always good to find a little space to do some stitching.  This week I have completed four pages of my Emily Dickinson book - it is really starting to fill up now.  

I decided in the end to align the lines of the poem vertically with the flower stems.  The poem is embroidered by hand on organza but the flower stems are part of the pattern tissue applied beneath and I have drawn on the leaves.  The flowers are taken from an old piece of cutwork. 

The daisy like flowers on the left are printed with a wooden print block, the embroidered piece on the right is a collage of scraps fabric and old lace layered up - the final layer is a piece of organza with daubs of blue and embroidery added.

These four pages are about the herbarium that Emily kept and the poem I have selected to partly illustrated the fourth page -

The Daisy follows soft the Sun –
And when his golden walk is done –
Sits shyly at his feet –
He – waking – finds the flower there –
Wherefore – Marauder – art thou here?
Because, Sir, love is sweet!

We are the Flower – Thou the Sun!
Forgive us, if as days decline –
We nearer steal to Thee!
Enamoured of the parting West –
The peace – the flight – the Amethyst –
Night's possibility!

leads nicely into the next part of Emily's life I am going to look into as it is thought this poem is, in fact, a love poem to Samuel Bowles.  Samuel Bowles was the central love interest in her life, although there were others men with whom she corresponded.  Also Emily in many poems and letters, referred to herself as a daisy or as Daisy.  She never married.  

The room I work in is a real mess at the moment, stuff everywhere - on the floor, every surface covered and amongst all this I found a discarded dust jacket on the floor from an old Georgette Heyer book.  On the back is an image of two gentlemen - their dress is probably not right for the time and place in which Emily lived but, along with the Daisy poem, it popped the idea into my head that this is where I would go next with Emily's life.  I really like that ideas are not forced but just evolve.  I will probably put some pattern tissue over it with a thin wash of acrylic.

Friday, 22 April 2016

W is for Walking and Workshops

April has been an extremely busy month but I still managed to fit in a walk with friends Gill and Lynne.  One of our favourite haunts is Much Hadham - Henry Moore country - and we always begin at Hopley's Garden Centre with coffee and a slice of delicious cake.  The day turned out to be perfect weatherise for walking - and the photo of the blue bells which were such an intense blue were the best I have every managed to snap.  Mind you on the drive home the weather turned and Lynne's camper van was pelted with hail stones so hard I am amazed it didn't sustain damage.

Whilst we were enjoying our coffee at Hopley's, Gill showed us her lovely altered book which she started at the workshop I ran at Romford Embroiderers' Guild - sometimes I find that in the flurry of clearing up there is no time to take photographs so this was a perfect photo opportunity.  Gill has used an old embroidered table clothe mounted on linen - just perfect - and she is going to use the book to record her garden and garden plants -  I'm looking forward to seeing the pages evolve.  

Continuing on the subject of altered books, I have also started a new page in my Emily Dickinson altered book - Emily kept a herbarium in which she recorded over 400 plants.  The close observation of plants was a life long passion - Emily used her garden flowers as emblems in her poetry and correspondence.  I found some damaged cutwork flowers which I have laid on old pattern tissue and have started to embroider one of Emily poems - "A sepal, petal and a thorn" - on the opposite page on the back of an old envelope is the dictionary definition of herbarium.

Another talk and workshop I ran at Norwich Embroiderers' Guild was on Rolling Landscapes and this time I managed to snap some of the results - I always love the variety in results - the different colour combinations and moods created.

Finally the Rolling Landscape that I have been working on and which I photoed in the previous post, after some adjustments, is slowly coming together.