Not waving but drowning

It suddenly became May and my birthday in the Lakes seems so long ago. May has been all about the important men in my life; with birthdays for my son, brother and lover all within a few days of each other, while my famous artist daddy had a new exhibition opening this last weekend (more on this later). Its  been a tough month so far, apart from these celebrations. The harsh reality of  a precarious financial situation has really started to hit home,along with a blanket of grim weather smothering most of England and a nasty attack by the “Black Dog” who refuses to become a nicely trained ,cute, curly puppy and will insist on whispering in my ear ( in a nasty dog-breathy kind of way) ” stop it, nobody wants your stuff, why bother, why not give up..”. Naughty dog!

It all came to a head when I discovered that the beautiful nest of tiny blue eggs I’d seen in the old clematis had been abandoned, probably before I’d even found it. And still it rained.And there seemed to be no break in the clouds.

But, I’m quite stubborn once roused and I decided to make the best of things,like Pollyanna. I  wrote to Mr Flint ,who runs HSBC bank, and sent him a little print along with a suggestion that he may like to buy one of my fabulous, unique cushions if he couldn’t give me an overdraft. He hasn’t replied yet but it made me feel better. Then I went to work one day and was shown a huge portfolio of these beautiful Japanese “Katagami” which reminded me how much I love textiles, design and amazing craftsmanship.

Each paper stencil is hand cut and these were collected in the late 1800s so there were no lasers or computers to make the job easy. The designs are all done in repeat, with pin hole registration marks so that long lengths can be printed to make kimonos. the detail is incredible and I was lucky enough to be loaned two katagami sheets to experiment with. The results on cyanotype fabric were wonderful but I was nervous of damaging them with any wet media ,or heat during heat transfer.

Since I last wrote I have also been to the “Print Club” at CCAD where I made silk screens and once again wished I had the luxury of another three years to re-do my degree with all that I now know! It would be wonderful to really experiment with print, colour and technique without the restrictions of time, money and the need to sell, sell, sell.

So, yes, I have been lying low and maybe you wondered where I’d gone…or maybe not, its a big world. I just thought I’d write and let you know that I’m still quietly “making stuff” and enjoying the process while trying to remove it from the need to make a living;in fact, I accidentally got a part time job as a pony treking leader last week which is hilarious (only don’t make me laugh because I’m still aching all over and in unmentionable places!).However, I’m working on this orange and dusty green cushion square tonight while eating violet cremes and watching the swallows against the egg blue sky.

Just a little final bit about the Inspired Landscape exhibition to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of the North York Moors National Park which opened on Friday. My dad had chosen to show a set of photographs from “The Furnished Landscape” which I can remember him taking in the 1970s, not knowing at the time that these would document a lost way of life … who can remember the days when milk came in churns not tankers? There were also screen prints and etchings from that time inspired ,variously,by my grandparent’s garden, the big skies of the moors and the miscellaneous structures that have become part of the landscape such as stiles, gates and garden trellises. The exhibition runs until July so if you’re in the North it really is not to be missed; the work, by the 6 artists involved is all so different and yet so evocative of this wonderful place. Oh, and if you would like a signed copy of the re-published book “The Furnished Landscape” I think they are about £13.50 + postage so let me know and I’ll see if I can get you one.

I hope May is full of sunshine and the scent of bluebells wherever you are. Here is a blog I’m really enjoying at the moment…a little sunshine from the rainy city!



8 responses to “Not waving but drowning

  1. awwww, so sorry things have been hard for you. I was wandering through the woods today looking at bluebells and violets and anemones and thinking of the Black Dog and also the photos you would have taken if you’d been there too. Hope things improve soon! ❤ x x x

  2. You made me smile with the comment you made about wishing you could have the luxury of the 3 years of your degree again, knowing everything that you know now! I’m in the final few weeks of mine and I was just thinking the other day that I’ve learnt enough now to be really good at doing the First Year! Hey Ho…..
    Don’t lose heart, your work is lovely and so beautifully reflects all that you write about and take inspiration from (not to mention inspiring others),

    warmest wishes, wendy

  3. Karen (Kettle of Fish)

    Your work is beautiful and very distinctive. I really hope your bank manager sees sense! That’s such a great thing to have done.
    I know what you mean about the ‘Black Dog’ attacking. I suffer too and have many days where I just feel so despondent. On good days I’ll have a flurry of working and networking, but then I’ll sink back down and don’t know how I managed to do it or have any confidence in what I do. It’s hard.

    I really like the look of your Dad’s photos. I don’t know if you’ve walked in Teessdale at all? The parish boundary markers along the river from Barnard Castle are sculptures by Richard Wentworth that are based on those old churns. They are cast in iron with the parish name carved into them and are really lovely. If you need your spirits lifting I can recommend any of the walks along that beautiful stretch of the Tees…..or just keep watching the swallows! x

  4. Thank you so much for my parcel of wonderful things that make me smile. Your little canvas picture is on my lounge windowsill and just looks perfect. Keep going, you inspire me (but stiiill haven’t got up off my bottom) Think of something good everyday and surround yourself with all of the lovely creative people and things that make you happy.

    Keep smiling.

  5. Recommended your site on mine. mine got an award, I don’t think I really did it justice, but with blogs one has to experience them! But love it anyway. Ann

  6. your creative mind is amazing! glummy weather is hard to deal with in itself.. we have noticed that here .. we are 5 minutes from the southern tip of Puget Sound .. Olympia sits in a hole and the clouds create “the Lid” as it is coined… when we were in Alaska a gal from Ketchikan (about 200 inches of rain a year) told me “to appreciate the shades of gray” .. hum .. easier said than done.

    know that you are an inspiration to those on the other side of this little blue spinning orb… I love your photos and treks to areas I have a deep longing to visit. your wit. your imagination and passion for the work that you do. bravo!

    ps… does it help to be mid 40s .. I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around that one ~:o) .. and this past week end was our 23 anniversary.. I have now been married as long as single.. kind of made me grumpy…. ♦

  7. Witchmountain

    Thank you for all these lovely comments, you are all so kind and precious. Lisa…mid 40s are not easy to get my head around either; I heard this quote…” the trouble with being middle aged is that you know you’ll grow out of it”! Big hugs from this side of the planet! xxx

    • ha . ha . that’s what they tell my honey about his thinning hair ..

      I like Lady Bracknell in Importance of Being Earnest .. 35 is a very attractive age. London society is full of women of the very highest birth who have, of their own free choice, remained 35 for years. InDeed!!!

      xx back at ya

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