Tag Archives: foxes

Making a Scene

The cat and I have curled up in my little room under the orange, woollen blanket to keep warm and think about things. We’re not complaining about the damp and rain because for a while this month it seemed as though we were living in another country, one with endless cerulean blue skies, arid hillsides smelling of coconuty gorse flowers and heady bluebells; things even started to wilt in the shady part of the garden so the rain has been welcome ( for now). I’m not fond of daffodils, May is the month for more subtle and delicate flowers, so I was happy when the acid yellow was replaced by carpets of  bluebells (why didn’t Wordsworth write about them instead?) and now the Hawthorn and Cow Parsley frothing along the hedgerows. As ever my walks are slowed by the need to  sniff May Blossom and discover that it does NOT taste like “bread and cheese” or examine, on hands and knees, like a Hemulen, the  Dog Violets and Heartsease hiding amongst the grass. For the first time I realised that Wild Garlic flowers actually smell of sweet honey unlike their delicious leaves which I’ve been using to make pesto.

It’s been a slow month in some ways ( financial ways of course!) and rather than panic I tried to make myself take the advice from the last blog post and draw more. Draw anything, for no reason other than to be doing something constructive rather than procrastinating. Even though it is the hardest thing to begin an empty page and to mute the negative inner voice that is mumbling “stop it, go and find a real job, you’re not good enough, it’s all been done before…”. Isn’t it sad how we measure our “success” and  relative happiness in monetary terms so that even on a day when I’ve made loads of  ok artwork and baked a good loaf of bread and marvelled at the clouds and the light on the mountains,  I can still feel like the day was a disaster because I didn’t sell anything. Someone asked me this week what I would do if I was suddenly rich and I really couldn’t think of a thing I would want to change – except of course to be secure in my home rather than at the mercy of landlords – so why the discontent?

Anyway, the pages of doodles gave me lots play with in Photoshop and it really was playing, because I discovered I could build little worlds to endlessly rearrange ( using the layers ), like my beloved model farm or dollhouse from childhood, I could design my own indoor garden. Rupert likes to tease me about my love of creating “little scenes” on windowsills… a few found objects and a miniature bear in a doll’s chair perhaps, or glass bottles with tiny flowers. I made some virtual shelves to display my virtual pot plants and then got engrossed in the great excitement of making a moving GIF with Spirit Bear (who is usually a card or a wooden necklace) . I may get completely carried away with this idea now – about 25 years too late to become an animation legend!

The blue prints continue and a story seems to be emerging- although I think Coralie Bickford-Smith already cornered the market on foxes and stars… I haven’t read her beautiful book but I was aware of it so I wonder whether I was unconsciously remembering the link or whether  it was genuinely totally random that I found the star sequin on the floor just as I was setting up the print…

Well it’s nearly time for some more coffee and some more drawing before an evening in Grasmere for Polly Atkin’s poetry book launch. Last weekend we went to a Royal Geographical Society lecture about Indian Shadow Puppets so living in the Lakes is definitely making my social life more cultured, or maybe I’m just growing up…good grief!

If I was good at arguing persuasively  I’d tell you how important it was to vote those mean old Tories out next month but instead I’ll just leave these two pictures here. PR gurus tell us not to mix politics with business and sometimes I worry in case someone is put off buying my work because I’m a bit of a Lefty (I guess this sticker would be earthy brown if I mixed in a hearty dose of Green policy too ) …but I reckon if Rob Ryan is prepared to nail his colours to the mast then it’s better to live fearlessly and keep believing in a better world. The picture below was taken after an evening swim in Rydal Water, where all the sad and cynical people, all the greedy, fighty, selfish people, should be dipped in the crystal water and made to breath in the bluebell air until they see that we only have one world and it’s beautiful and it’s time we stopped pissing about and looked after it- and each other. x

Reading:-  ” Work and Love” Tuula Karjalainen ( About Tove Jansson)  Listening to:- Skylarks and UPDATE! since the evening in Grasmere I’m listening to Jenn Grant who played a lovely live set amongst the Pre School toys and Brownie notices and almost me me cry. http://www.jenngrant.com


“Looking into the heart of light.”

Yesterday I listened to The Waste Land on the radio and though I’d studied it at school and hated it, not understanding or not wanting to, I was moved to tears.

 “April is the cruellest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing Memory and desire, stirring Dull roots with spring rain. Winter kept us warm, covering Earth in forgetful snow, feeding A little life with dried tubers. “

Feeling over sensitive and brooding on the passing years, I can’t claim to understand it now but certain phrases give me a little jolt; as music often does. Anyway, tomorrow is April and the month in which I turn 45, this is a surprise to me as I have never stopped being 20 in my own mind(what a cliche but so true), I don’t know who that strange woman is I keep seeing in shop windows? March has been blissful and boiling and I’ve been lucky enough to spend my days drawing and sewing ( with both thread and seed packets) in the garden, with the air full of daffodil scent and willow pollen.

It was so good to actually do some designing and I realised again how much I prefer this side of my work to the “making” side. I love making things but I still haven’t quite worked out how to do this in a way that is economically viable. You can see here the whole process from initial drawing to printable design (adjusted and coloured in Photoshop) to a finished pair of baby slippers with hand embroidery and beads.

The elves refused to help me so altogether it took me 2 days to make one pair… Still, it beats working in an office and you never know, someone from Next or Monsoon may just see the design and offer to buy it and all my troubles will be over!Meanwhile I have spent this morning e-mailing the National Park with outline plans and ideas for my shed.Everyone in the world seems to be running workshops  and selling coffee and cakes so I don’t see why I shouldn’t try too.

So, yesterday was the last of the hot sunny days and I was given a real treat by Rupert… a forest adventure in the beautiful Faceby Plantation. To be honest I was feeling a bit under the weather and moaned quite alot, especially when asked to crawl through the “Bear Pit” and cross the “Swamp of Death” ( a stinking pit of mud) on a wobbly rope; but making tea in a forest clearing with the Kelly Kettle and searching for Easter chicks and chocolates hidden in the trees, really cheered me up. The silver birch forest was so beautiful and I can’t wait to go back when the bluebells are out. This is the kind of thing Rupert does every week with kids at Carlton Outdoor Education Center and I must say I think its such an important and valuable opportunity for children to learn and have fun at the same time. I learned that squirrels have dining tables but I can’t confirm this with any certainty.

Just time for a couple of links before I dash out to see if my seeds have grown yet. Firstly this post by my brother about his photography and the importance of respecting the photographer or artist when sharing images ( particularly important in the current Pinterest craze) . The second is a beautiful piece by my friend Bridget about the North East coast, fossil hunting and ramshackle fishermens huts. Some really lovely images. A very happy April Fools Day to you tomorrow!