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!