Wednesday, 11 September 2013

busy busy busy

I'm trying to get lots done at the moment, but have really been having fun researching my chosen topic for the City and Guilds summer sketchbook exercise. I chose insects, so have been doing all sorts, including two visits to the V&A, but am so busy I've not had time to photograph a lot of what I've been doing, so I can't show you just now. Must try harder!! I'm also really busy at work; working a full week, rather than my usual three and a half days so I'm quite tried and achy by the end of the week, but we've got our first City and Guilds meeting on Saturday. I'm really looking forward to seeing what everyone else has been doing over the summer break. Other topics included fleur de lis, chestnut trees, , snakes, circles .... and I forget the rest! It will be great fun.

As part of my research we went to Ellen Terry's house, Smallythe Place, where we saw the restored beetle wing dress that she wore as Lady Macbeth on the London Stage.

Real beetle wing cases attached to a crocheted sort of net in green over a deep green under dress. I ordered some via e-bay, or rather got Jen to order them. they arrived today and will be attached to a little trial piece inspired by this.

We also went to one of our favourite places, Great Dixter, where I hunted insects from plant to plant!

We have the pleasure of our yearly holiday in the Lakes appearing on the horizon as well. The year starts turning, trees begin to flush after the heat of the summer, the robins starts that plaintive "tick, tick" and there's a fluttery chill in the air. As that starts to happen, I get little moments of thinking, "here it comes"

Before that I've got an intensive week of training at work, then several intensive weeks delivering training when I get back. I may be a trifled wrung out by the end of it, but it's really interesting and better that taking up fretwork.

In the meantime, have a look at the resources on the V&A website - I just put in a search for "insects and embroidery". An amazing place to spend several hours researching - and then you come home and find that there's all these wonderful, and in some cases, quite high resolution images at the click of a button. Among my favourite were this wonderful little casket, a book cover with a triumphant butterfly, a cushion with squiggly caterpillars, another caterpillar in amongst the pin cushion pinks and an Art Nouveau table cover by Phoebe Anna Traquair.


Sunday, 1 September 2013

Very excited

I'm sorry, I've been silent for a while, and seem to have lost my blogging mojo. Partly I've been very busy at work, so really tired when I get home, partly just too much to do in general. I've been trying to keep up with the City and Guilds and my textile classes with Christine. have enjoyed every minute of what I've done, but it's left me a bit drained of commentary. However, this week has been so good that I have to report.

My daughter Jen came back from University last year emotionally battered and bruised, having finally found that a combination of dyslexia and dyspraxia were just too big an obstacle to getting through her finals. She found the last exams just too much and came home feeling an utter failure, as well as physically exhausted. I was really proud of her when finally, after much deliberation the University awarded her a degree on the basis of the work she'd done whilst there, but she was very low for a long time. She started job hunting pretty quickly, filled in lots of on line applications, heard back from some, was ignored by many, had a number of interviews, some of them quite gruelling, but not a glimmer of a job could be found for most of last year and this. Eventually she did get a Saturday job which she's really enjoyed, and began helping out on a plant stall belonging to some friends of ours, but it's been a hard time for her. However much love and encouragement you give, however often you remind someone that they are in the same boat as thousands of others, this constant drip of rejection tarnishes the spirit. She has had a lot of support and encouragement from Jonathan, her boyfriend through this past year, and has been very stoic but it has been pretty glum at times and my heart has gone out to her.

However, this week, her life has suddenly come together in such a wonderful way. On Tuesday Jon took her out for a meal to celebrate their year's anniversary and, at the end of the meal, in true romantic style, he got down on one knee and asked her to marry him, much to her absolute surprise and delight. She, of course, said yes. Then the following day, she had the second of two interviews for a job that had come about through pure happenstance, and was offered it on the spot, with one day off a week to study for an accountancy qualification!! So now she is sorting out her accountancy course, glancing repeatedly down at the rather lovely ring on her finger and generally bouncing about the place in a state of dreamy excitement - if one can combine those two qualities.

You might guess, I am beyond words pleased for her on both counts - and now have to get used to the idea of thinking of Jon as my future son in law, which is no hardship at all.