Wednesday, 20 May 2015

The Drowned and the Saved

With all that is in the news at the moment about migrants and whether they should be saved from sinking boats, I have been thinking once more responses to great need.  It seems to me that the only question that should be asked is

"Are we both human?"

The only decent answer is

"Then I will accord you the honour and respect that your value as a human being demands; because I have not surrendered my human-ness to ideology, nationalism or self-interest"

I have such a picture in my head for my 'Being Human' series!  The trick will be to close the gap between my vision and the contents of  my sketchbook; that only happens with disciplined and sustained drawing.  As the vision calls for pastels, I am going to have to have a foray to acquire some from the local art shop at the weekend; at some point I have loaned mine out and they have not been returned.

I am treating this time of recuperation as a sabbatical; the reading and reflecting that I am able to do now can only be of benefit as it feeds into my future creative practice.

Right now, the sun is shining and the skies are blue, so I am going to take the doglet out to my favourite fallen tree under the oaks and think nice thoughts…...

Friday, 15 May 2015

New Book Joy!

Inspired by reading 'Syllabus' (Lynda Barry) I ordered this, which arrived this morning. I have allowed myself to read the introduction, but am employing my inner Boarding School Matron (she who proves very useful with troublesome customers!) to make myself do some drawing and writing before I read anymore. I am perfectly capable, at the best of times, of becoming completely engrossed in a book to the exclusion of all else (except tea; I will always make time for tea): at present, with my brain now back to normal (The Boy may beg to differ; he thinks I am eccentric beyond words) but my body still in need of lots of rest, reading is my main occupation, though I also have my art bag next to me and a small sheet of MDF as a drawing / painting surface; when I cannot sit at loom or desk I can work in my bed :-))

I have been weaving, but have found that 20 minutes is the most that I can manage at one go. I have gone back to 'Derrière', the life study piece with embedded copper wire. Photo to follow........

Thursday, 30 April 2015


The first cathedral handling sample as it was before I went into hospital.  I added a centimetre of the sunshine yellow to this on Tuesday and intend to do some more today.  I am somewhat ashamed about the slope on the foundation edge and intend to do something about it if I can beat hard enough!!

This is a detail from the Anglo-German tapestry in the Cathedral; I have the sample piece hanging above my workspace as inspiration.  The handling samples are being made for the Dementia Friendly tours which the Education Department are piloting. They currently have some of my sampling pieces but I thought it would be good to have some specially made ones which relate to a work within the Cathedral.

Flowers from my Friend

Beautiful, aren't they?

Friday, 24 April 2015

Time to Come Clean.....

....about my absence from the blog.

Unfortunately, the day surgery was not the end of it all; the biopsy showed some abnormalities which led to an MRI and blood tests which led in turn to a gynae-oncology consultant and finally to surgery.

On Tuesday I had a total hysterectomy, the wonderfully titled 'bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy' and biopsy.

Yesterday (Thursday) I was discharged with a HUGE bag of drugs - sixteen pills and one injection per day (I was somewhat apprehensive about doing it myself, but it was OK), a bit tired and sore. Every single member of staff that I encountered was kind, efficient and lovely. I cannot fault the care I received in any way. The NHS is a marvellous thing and we are very fortunate to have access to such excellent care without the worry of how to pay for it.

Today I managed to make a cup of tea for myself, though The Boy is being a splendid nurse in every way. I also swatted a moth with a rolled up magazine (fellow wool workers will understand the pathological hatred of wool moths, who are getting frisky at this time of year). Said swatting did cause some alarm to The Boy as he was in the other room and only heard the thud and victory cry of 'hahaa!!'.

The excellent news is that my physio has said that it is fine to try weaving as soon as Monday.  I can do 45 mins and see how I feel on Tuesday. If OK then can gradually increase the time, in short stretches. Very happy beaming face to be told that, especially as I will be off work for some weeks and not allowed to drive for a few. If I can weave then I will be content. I have a piece already started on the loom as well as a frame with the handling samples for the Cathedral. Warping would be out of bounds! I have also been stashing some good books for my recuperation time, so I will not get bored.

Friends,family and colleagues are being very supportive.

I feel very blessed.

Monday, 16 February 2015

Experiments (or, 'why my home smells like a chip shop')

Sample strip woven on a raw silk / unbleached linen warp. The weft is spun silk, raw silk, linen and wool. Wires are either embedded or wrapped. Now soaking to see what happens when the verdigris and rust form on the wires and leach through........

I can now reveal that the 'large pointy building' mentioned in the previous post is Chichester Cathedral. The first of three textile art workshops for beginners and intermediates will be on June 13th; subsequent ones in September and November. Flyers are going out in the next newsletter mailing. Nurturing creativity in others is one of my passions, so I am very happy :-))


Sunday, 15 February 2015

Tired, Feeble and Otherwise Lacklustre...

.....I had really begun to think that I had lost my creative mojo. Not a nice feeling! At the beginning of December I found out that there was a reason for this - I am quite badly anaemic. I have been having some tests and there is some investigative surgery to come at the beginning of March; the results of that will determine whether further surgery is required (am hoping not, obviously!) Nothing life threatening, thankfully, just a (mal)function of my age and gender. By dint of chewing iron bars (or the dietary / pharmaceutical equivalent) I seem to be gradually coming back to life and the enthusiasm for it, a HUGE relief. Cue much smiling:-

Smile One: I have started doing some small experimental weavings as planned earlier, and, depending on the results, expect to revisit some past drawings as cartoons for small tapestries. Verdigris and rust are brewing in my kitchen, yarn bundles are wound, the loom is tightened, HOORAH!

Smile Two: planning some paintings-as-cartoons for some exposed coloured warp tapestries for a joint exhibition in November with my painting friend CJ. I shall be getting a parcel of coloured 16/2 linen from Sweden, HOORAH!

Smile Three: designing and delivering some Adult Ed creative workshops at a certain large pointy building to the east of here. Nurturing creativity n others is one of my favourite things, HOORAH!

Smile Four: the possibility of some dedicated studio space to share with another painter friend, SM. HOORAH in waiting.

Smile Five: attending a symposium at Goldsmiths on 'Threads and Codes' which sounds most interesting. HOORAH!

And the sun is shining outside, I have made some changes to my son's bedroom which I commandeered the studio, and have a full day available for weaving tomorrow. HOORAH!


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