A candle loses nothing by giving its light to another candle

Friday, 1 April 2011

Australian Diary part 2

The three cameleers
Led by cameleer Rebecca, and cameleer Jason riding shotgun, we head off for an hours trek through the forest. The Bibullum trail is one of the most ancient. One used by the Aboriginies for centuries past.

Coogie Beach. The temperatures reached 105deg that day. !!

Night falls
And the next day a storm was brewing...
And after a brief heavy shower of rain, with thunder and lightening...
The storm passed...

How far to London ? The sign reads over 15,000km !!

And of course, no Australian diary and collection of photos would be complete without this little feller eh !

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Australian Diary

I am now back home from my recent trip to Australia, which lasted for six whole weeks.
It was indeed wonderful to see my middle daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren again; since they emigrated last May., (and worth all the apprehension about traveling to the other side of the world on my own !!)
It was somewhat unfortunate that WA, and Australia in general, were experiencing the longest spell of the hottest temperatures for over thirty years. The floods in Queensland contributed to the high humidity; and even those who were born and bred Aussies were feeling the heat ! Temperatures only dipped below 30 deg once for a mere twenty four hours. The rest of the time it varied from 32 to 38deg.
A little bit too warm to be crafting with anything woolly !, but we enjoyed lots of chat time, chill-out days, walkabout days, Bbq evenings and socializing. To those new friends who I made, I'd like to say a big Thank You for your warmth and hospitality. To Lu, Craig, Maisie and Jessie; Thank You All for making my visit truly magical.
Life 'down under', is certainly different in many ways...even the way cans of Tuna are opened ! I had been struggling for about five minutes to open the large can. I'd managed to pierce it in several places, but the opener would not turn. Eventually, in desperation I had to disturb Lu, who was on the phone at the time.  With phone under her chin, she grabbed the can and flipped it upside down to open it ( only in Oz eh ). We both howled with laughter as the piercings I had made rendered the can a watering can ! And since when are 'thongs' worn as footwear ?  Umm.

Welcome to Australia Nanny Purdy

Aussie Magpie

Gumtree bark

The native trees are beautiful. The Gumtree ( or Ghost tree, as it's sometimes called), is not a good one to sit beneath. Apparently folk have perished through branches falling on their heads. As the tree matures, the bark falls away taking the branches with it. The resulting trunk is as smooth as silk.

This was the area that suffered the recent fires. Although the fire was started by accident, and tragic that it was; I later learned on my visit, that some species of plant life need fire to germinate and spread their seeds, ie Banksia.  
Serpentine Falls

taking a dive into the falls
   There has been much to do since arriving home, including updating the blog.
I'll continue to update it with photos, which include the Calamunda Camels,and feeding the wild Kangaroos.
Back soon.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Warp speed ahead

A new toy !
Well, not a toy really; but rather a very special piece of equipment. The Knitter's Loom.
Being a reluctant knitter,  I decided to explore the 'warp n weft ways' of weaving.
However I soon discovered that...the map is not the territory.; I wonder what discoveries lay ahead of me now traveling along 'Weaver Way'... and the map doesn't explain the new language either. Words like 'heddle', 'reed', 'sley', 'shed and counter shed' and abbreviations like dpi and wpi. !!
Just as I was getting my head around 'niddy- noddy's', 'rolag's', 'tpi's', 'length of staple', to name just a few...another set of words and explanations of tools, equipment and techniques, like road signs, loom ( no pun intended) before me.
My new rigid heddle knitter's loom, is however simplicity in itself; not just to warp up, but to weave a whole range of patterns and techniques. I'm keeping it very simple at this stage !

    The colours have not transferred very clearly; but the warp is dark green and the weft is my own hand-spun yarn; slub textured from Portland fleece. The inlays are hand dyed Lincoln LW locks.

The piece above was inspired by some logs laying on the recent blanket of snow. The warp is aran, the weft includes inlays of un- spun Hebredean roving.

The word 'roving'....does that mean 'to wander', go 'walk about' ?
And 'spinning'...does that conjure up visions of turning ones body furiously round and round ?. ..

Sharing laughter in the chip shop....
Last week....picture this..I'm in the chip shop and the young assistant asked me if I'd had a good day. I replied with a yes thank you, and that I had indeed had a very productive fun filled day. He further enquired what I'd been doing.
"Spinning", I replied.
"Swimming", he questioned.
"No, spinning", I answered.
"What ?, as in exercises and dance", he further questioned.
"NO", I laughed, "Spinning yarn".
"Oh", he exclaimed, "You tell stories ?".
"No", I answered, (I was in hysterics at this point)..."I spin yarn from sheep fleece"
His jaw was almost down to his chest at this point of the conversation, and as he said "Wow", and wrapped up my fish supper, added."That sounds fab. I didn't know that people still did that kind of thing" !!

Ah bless. Yes we do eh.       
As he handed me my supper, he asked if I would be spinning that evening.
I replied with a giggle,  "No, not this evening because I've got some 'sleying' to do."
I noticed the inquisitive look in his eye, so quickly added " Don't worry, this kind of sleying has nothing to do with what you 're probably imagining !.

Beam me up Scotty.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

                                                          The Story of The Rose

Sun : A Seed.; vibrant in its completeness, solid in its identity and purpose, all knowing and all being, yet restless.  So the seed takes on nutrients and water, and seeks to go beyond its shell.
Moon : The seed sends out tendrils, both up and down. Down to consolidate roots, and up to explore posible futures. A little green shoot breaks the surface.
Mercury : The shoot accelerates into rapid skyward growth, the adolescence of the plant.
Venus : The bud forms at the top of the plant, with the protective leaves revealing just the first sign of the luscious leaves inside.
Mars : The rose explodes into a fiery, vibrant, pungent ball of sensation.
Jupiter : The flower expands, and becomes overly showy.
Saturn : The rose loses its petals, naturally or through pruning.
Chiron : The plant knows that in one way it is dying, so prepares for metamorphosis.
Uranus : The rose bush crumbles into winter.
Neptune : The body of the plant dissolves into dust.
Pluto : Somewhere the seed lives on, burying itself in the dark until the return and light of next year's sun; and the whole cycle starting again.
Wonderful thing, nature.

Author unknown

 I first read the following when it was pinned on the wall at college. I have been searching for it ever since. Then last week it popped into my e mail in-box via an artist friend who lives on the other side of the world !
She had no idea that I had searched for it for years.

As in all things truly worthwhile in life;  love is an art; sketched and painted atop a canvas of mutual respect. Such foundation allows only for the occasional brush stroke to cover a mixed message or misunderstanding, and thus avoiding the use of a paint roller. Take life and love one day at a time, valuing all things with such an openness as to provide not only the proper balance, but to allow for proper action when needed.   

Author unknown

Monday, 3 January 2011

Happy New Year

As we say goodbye to 2010, and welcome in  2011, I'm sure I'm not alone in recalling the year that has gone by, and asking myself   'What did I learn'  from last year (on any  single or several layers of being.)
On a creative level , this time last year I was up to my elbows in cold wet clay.   I had received some lovely and inspiring books that Christmas in 2009. All about sculpting, and the various techniques that individual ceramic artists use, i.e. pinch, coil, slab; and sometimes a combination to build their sculptural forms.
I remember feeling not happy with what my hands were creating. I remember leaving my sculptures on the table and going into a quiet space with my drum. Beating a slow and steady rhythm, because I felt as though I'd lost my own personal rhythm. It was a while later that I returned to the works in progress, but they were not worked on. Instead I took up a fresh handful of clay and just held it in my hands...and asked what it wanted to be. (I also remember chuckling quietly to myself as I realised that I was talking to a lump of clay !)
I had a vague idea in my head that I wanted to build some sort of head that would include facial features. That was it. Nothing else.
This was the result... 


Half sheep / half human ?  Bit weird !...but hey...all in the name of art !

 It was also this time last January that one of my friends showed me a book about handmade felt. I remember getting a little buzz from seeing the vibrant coloured textiles, (such vibrant colours that I struggled to get into my ceramic work ). However, I needed to remain focused on ceramic slip-castings for a craft market in March.
The felting book was put on the shelf.
It was one evening in mid January that I eventually looked at the book properly. Later that month I was sent an invitation to attend a 2hour felting workshop.  The month of February, whilst searching google for sculptures,  an on-line demo for needle felted sculpture popped up!
I haven't touched any clay since. !
March brought the craft market; which  was a financial disaster, but I returned home at the end of the day richer in so many other ways. I met the local spinning group who were (and are) a wealth of knowledge and good hearted ladies. I asked my friend Mo 'What shall I make with this fleece fibre ?'.  'Listen to it', she replied. 'It will tell you what it wants to be'.
I remembered the ceramic sheep sculpture.
Ah it was so comforting to hear her say those words. Perhaps I'm not the only crazy one then !
It's amazing what we can achieve when we get out of our own way.  
Wow what a year. My ceramic kiln and all things clay have been replaced by spinning wheel, peg loom, felting equipment and mountains of fleece.  It's been an amazing journey into the world of all things woolly. I accept that this is just the beginning of a wonderful adventure....and so for 2011... Never mind the destination...just enjoy the journey.  

Happy New Year everyone

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Weaving amidst the winter's chill

As we in the UK shiver in freezing temperatures; those of us who have fleeces stashed away...have been making the most of working with them, and keeping warm in the process !!

However, just before the cold really began to bite....
Mo and I braved the November fog to attend the craft fair held at the Manor House School.
The stalls of the farmer's market were outside, amidst the historic ruins of the castle at Ashby De La Zouch.

Castle ruins
Bird sculptures

 This craft fair at Bedworth Folk Festival became the last one of the season for me. Sadly the cold weather and dangerous travelling conditions affected many planned events that were cancelled ( which had included two more for me) but....
 I have found time to play with some new toys...


A work in progress on the peg loom, using the Lincoln Longwool locks that I washed and prepared back in the summer, and more recently Mo kindly hand dyed for me. These locks have not been carded or spun, but have been teased apart and woven. Just the pastime for a chilly winter's day.

Hoar frosted Willow

Bbrrrr...Season's Greetings everyone

Thursday, 11 November 2010

All Change....again

I know.... it's been ages since I wrote in my blog.
There have been many happenings (and not happenings) since September.
Just a couple of weeks after collecting my spinning wheel; symptoms of frozen shoulder returned with avengence. My physiotherapist advised me to do as little crafting as possible. No spinning, weaving, knitting, felting. No computer work, no housework ( I can cope with the latter).
She doesn't seem to think it's freezing up this time; but just grinding and grumbling through overuse...probably all that stabbing with the needle felt, and rolling the wet felt, and spin, spin spinning !
It's all a bit of a 'b' really, especially as the seasonal craft shows season is upon us.

I managed to spin a few skeins of BFL / Silk ..... 

 And although I'm rather a reluctant knitter; I did conquer the art of knitting on a circular needle....

 ....This is the 'Meobius'. test swatch. One continuous ring with one twist. It has one edge and one side.
Mind boggling ! However, I still have the silver ring that I designed and made whilst at college; and had no idea at the time that it was a Meobius; which I could have sold several times over. The ring of infinity. No beginning, no end. 

Change is the watchword of Progression,
When we tire of well-worn ways, we seek for new.
This restless craving in the souls of men;
Spurs them to climb, and seek the mountain view.

(from 'The Year Outgrows the Spring' by Ella Wheeler Wilcox)