Flaming June has arrived in Cumbria, complete with snow covered tents on Blencathra and me wearing three jumpers as I write. I’m looking out at the newly emerged greenery … yellow Welsh poppies, soft, half spiraled ferns , nettles and bluebells leaning almost flat; as the wind races down the valley the end of the house is the first obstacle on its way down from the mountains. In a small shelter sits a mother hen and two tiny chicks… I’ve had to put them in isolation because there was some dispute about maternity rights with three dozy bantams sitting on the eggs until they hatched. Now it’s fingers crossed that the stoat prefers eggs to chicks….
I’m all alone again after a week of adventures; settling down to make a plan for next year’s BCTF and working out if I can use any of the doodles and splodges I’ve been doing recently. If you follow me on Facebook you’ll know that I had some silk printed and have been doing battle with a new rolled hemming foot to try and make silk scarves… much much more practice needed but what I’m hoping for is that eventually, 7 years after leaving college, I will be able to come up with a product that provides me with a methodical pattern to the day… something that is both financially worthwhile, creatively satisfying and stops me spending long parts of the day feeling directionless and self indulgent. Too much to ask?!
I’ve been enjoying playing with watercolour, ink and a little digital magic and was so excited to receive a special parcel from my dad last week which contained a little tube of “Caput Mortuum Violet” watercolour… following our musings on the colour of the fells a few weeks ago… now I just have to learn how to use it. Every day here in the Lake District I’m bombarded with little moments of wonder… the perfect colour palette of moss, violet and rock next to a waterfall, the grey Herdwicks looking like swiss army blankets with their red dye markings. Who cares if it’s a bit damp and chilly ( actually this waterfall picture was taken on a very sunny day last week and I’m still itching from the sunburn).
Yesterday we walked around Rannerdale where we spotted many wild creatures amongst the bluebells ( mostly photographers rolling around in the blue looking for the perfect “capture”) The previous day I had re-enacted a scene from Rogue Herries where the old witch is drowned below Grange Bridge… Canoeing from Rosthwaite to Keswick I tipped our boat over while trying to avoid being smacked in the face by a branch just near the bridge. I’ve never fallen in a river before and I’m not the bravest of swimmers so I’m actually feeling quite surprised today that I’m still here ( I floated so what does that mean…. )
Another adventure involved clambering ( my particular style of mountain activity… a cross between climbing, rambling and scrambling) up High Crag above Buttermere. Eating a sandwich perched high up in the rocks and emerging on to the summit like the first men on the moon. I’m throwing myself in to this new place while the daily battle against homesickness continues. In the end I didn’t take part in Art In the Shed for the first time in 5 years because I couldn’t face going back. Its easier to pretend this is an island and I’m not too great at water crossings!
Now, I’m going to research mugs and cards and how to roll corners on silk with loads of thanks to Emma from Temporary Measure who is a mine of information and helpfulness as usual. This bear and his friend appeared one day after watching the umbrellas in the street when I was at work in the gallery.
Reading: I just finished ” The Gracekeepers” by Kirsty Logan … read it, its perfect. Currently indulging myself with my new copy of “Oh Comely” and the lovely box subscription which included the bottle of drizzle shown above”
Listening to: Elbow ” Asleep in the Back” , Real World 25 and John Metcalf “Kites and Echoes” ( which has a William Tillyer etching on the cover)