Saturday, 31 December 2011

happy new year

As the last day of 2011 draws to a close, some pictures from a moist Sussex garden to greet the New Year
rainfall captured on fallen leaves, decay amidst the green 
tiny cyclamen, bright spots of colour in the dark, damp soil

walnut tree, ghostly at the end of the garden, its silvery branches netting the sparse winter light

lingering remnants of autumn colour, the hazel leaves, touched by the fire of the sun, waiting to feed life in the coming year.
and a tiny little slug, not my favourite of garden guests, but with a part to play in the rich web of decay that brings new things in to being

Winter Solstice, Christmas, New Year, times of darkness, reflection and review, long chill nights for reminiscence, short days to scurry through, wrapped against the rain and wind. They bring to us an awareness of our own mortality, the bright lights of our decorations a ward against the darkness, our hope that the wheel of the year will turn and summer's brightness will be ours again.

Monday, 19 December 2011

while I was sleeping

the frost came and transformed the view from my window that I love so much. This doesn't really do justice to the soft yet rich palette of morning colours. Most of the leaves have been carried off by recent winds; those that are left are wonderful shades of maroon and gold, a symphony of harmonious singing shades, softened by early mist.

Sadly, while I was sleeping the previous night, my back seems to have fallen out! I was woken in the dark early hours by what I can only describe as a sense that something inside was gradually opening, like a dark night flower, and spilling pain in a radiant glow from the centre of my spine. Planetary rings, hot and flowing around my core. It took my breath away, I had to brace myself while it ebbed and seeped through me. I managed to turn onto my back as that is usually the best way to help the pain subside. It was dark outside, and cold inside, so I lay until dawn came, holding myself against the discomfort, longing to move yet dreading it. I was staying with my very dear, but memory deprived Aunt, and didn't want to wake her. Eventually it was late enough to crawl out of bed and be made a cup of tea amidst many protestations and offers of help, repeated many, many times!

I managed the two hour drive home, not always within the speed limit I have to confess, but longing to lie down before the pain killers wore out. So now I am putting life on hold until things improve - not sure how long it will take!

If anyone happens to be passing Kidmore End and finds a stray bit of back lying around, could they send it to me poste haste please? Meanwhile I'll practice my mindfulness.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

and some stitching

I'm still stitching away on the City and Guild projects, each a little exercise in a group of stitches.  The latest piece is taking it's time, and mine, in between visits to York and the Quilt Museum, which was delightful as always.

This was the source - from one of our splash and splosh days at Barbara's

And this the work in progress. The colours aren't quite as disparate, but one was taken by lamplight and one by daylight. Fabric, a zingy recycled shirt found in the Lakes in a charity shop.

The idea in this one is to use composite stitches like raised chain band, guilloche, pekinese, amongst others and interpret the splishes and sploshes in the collage. It is slow but fun, and should be followed by three exercises in counted thread work, - canvas, cross and blackwork.

However I need to get the inspiration and the preparatory stitchings together for my final piece, which is based on this lovely pot that you can find here
She's a goddess of creatures, mistress of the animals, and dates from about 680 BC, called Potnia Theron. From this I got to this, with apologies for the poor reproduction of the drawn image
Again, a bit of splish and splosh as we were encouraged to explore our image, hence the collage, which could translate in to an interesting applique at some stage. The gold of the fabric, which will be quieter in the final piece, is one of the hankies I dyed here.  It seems fitting that a  little goddess cloth should have one of Mum's myriad of hankies as its base - with a  muslin backing to give it some substance. In the hemmed edge of the hankie there is a little row of three birds who will be her animal representatives. I want to use toning, quiet colours that fit with the original image, which is black on terracotta. I have to get this "idea" in by next weekend, which means this week as I have to go up country to visit my Aunt Cecil next weekend and get her settled down for Christmas.

garden as meditation

The garden, just here, just now

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