Saturday, 29 August 2009

Ianthe! you are call'd to cross the sea

Ianthe! you are call'd to cross the sea!
A path forbidden me!
Remember, while the Sun his blessing sheds
Upon the mountain-heads,
How often we have watcht him laying down
His brow, and dropt our own
Against each other's, and how faint and short
And sliding the support!
What will succeed it now? Mine is unblest,
Ianthe! nor will rest
But on the very thought that swells with pain.
O bid me hope again!
O give me back what Earth, what (without you)
Not Heaven itself can do--
One of the golden days that we have past,
And let it be my last!
Or else the gift would be, however sweet,
Fragile and incomplete.
Walter Savage Landor

Drying on the line supported by a bamboo blind

Mostly dried, on the line to air

And again, hung above the lavender, rosemary and thyme, and alongside my rose arch which supports honeysuckle, jasmine, vine and clematis. I wanted nature to lend her best perfumes and aromatherapy for this piece. I like the way the shadow of the honeysuckle and vine reflect upon the felt in this picture.

And here is the finished piece laid out on my bed. The lined effect is a result of most of the wet felting be done on top of bamboo blinds.

Whilst making this piece I was trying to achieve the effects of natural hand made paper. hand made paper can be so beautiful. I have been very influenced by the beautiful works of T whilst making this rug. T has been musing over curves in nature and prefers all things natural, thus using natural dyes where ever she can. Unfortunately the minimal use of colour in this piece, is not from the use of natural dyes however I have been blackberry picking and my next piece will be!

This rug/blanket weighs approximately 0.7kg (I will have to weigh it again before posting it to the 'Art for Trees' appeal. Approximate width 101.6cm (40"). Approximate length 134.6 cm (53"). I have used a combination of natural Merino wool, Shetland, Gotland and Blue faced Leicester wool in this project. the ragged edges that you ca see in the pictures of this blanket hanging on the line are intentional. I wanted a rippled effect to continue throughout this piece. Nature does not hold too many straight edges. I also wanted to create a fleece style shape as the rug/blanket is 100% wool. The project was predominantly wet felted but I have also used needle felting to reinforce the edges, working with the natural flow and direction that the wool has taken. It is my first attempt at needle felting and I am pleased with needle felting as a medium.

I would like to thank the felting forum for all of the tips and techniques it has genrously shared. I have not always left comments but do read. I am also incredibly thankful for the positive response the needle felting forum has given to the Art for Trees appeal. Please visit the felting forum by clicking on the name and here.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Attika SOS - Art for Trees

Last weekend mainland Greece was ravaged by fire. Thousands of homes were evacuated. Agriculture and pasture land was scorched, trees were burned, wildlife and nature were harmed. The tragedy of the situation is that it is probable the fire was man made.

In the immediate aftermath of the destruction Manya and others within her community have worked together to organise an exhibition of arts and crafts to raise funds for the reforestation of the area.

The environmentalists amongst you will be all too aware of the importance of reforestation. Not only for ecological, environmental and economical reasons but also to prevent desertificaton which is becoming a very real threat to European countries.

A blog has been created to document the progress of the 'Art for Trees' campaign and to provide information about how you can help. Press releases will be made this week to advertise the campaign and most importantly appeal to the creative folk of our shared planet asking for donations of arts and crafts which will be exhibited and sold to raise money needed for the reforestation of the afflicted land.

Please help the 'Art for Trees' project. I have listed some ways that you could help below:

  • Donate arts or crafts
  • Follow the blog 'Attika SOS'
  • Forward the blog link to any friends, family or colleagues that you feel may be interested in this project (but please only send the link to those you believe will want to see it)
  • Write a post on your blog informing your readers about this project (never under estimate the word of mouth or power of the metaphorical pen)
  • Write suggestions or messages of support on 'Attica SOS'
  • Post the link to your myspace, facebook, twitter, bebo or other networking site homepage

The picture used at the head of this post is 'Athena' by Gustav Klint. Mythology tells that Athena struck her spear into the earth and an olive tree sprung in its place. The place that the olive tree sprang was named Athens after the Goddess Athena. Olives through the ages have symbolised prosperity, health, wisdom, civilization and peace. Now, when I think of an olive tree, my mind pictures Manya's olive tree full of birds. The green pocket that sheltered the wildlife displaced by fire.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. Thank you to everyone that has already made kind offers of support. I will email you personally over the next few days.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Invoking the Muse

This photo was taken in a Nature Reserve near Stourport. It struck me that the bark was naturally shaped like the tips of asparagus spears, reminding me of strength and love. To me, nature is so divine, beautiful, crucial, inspirational...

The whole world should be a nature reserve where nature is respected, loved and cared for by all. I look at this tree and know there is a Dryad, an Elf, a spark of magic connected to the essence of its being.

A little over a week ago I posted this picture under the heading 'Beginnings'. I did not know at the time this piece would be an offering to just that. Beginning's. New life, reforestation, the next chapter. When this piece is complete it shall go to Greece to help spark a new home for wildlife, a legacy of nature for the young and an act of defiance to the monsters who created the fire.

My daughter has been helping. Quite the inventor, she has come up with yet another technique for making felt. She has been rolling old roller skate wheels over the bubble wrap. Its amazing her creativity saves my wrists and fingers from wear and tear.

The obsession of felting has made my mind one tracked. I now see hidden meanings of wool, fleece and felt where they never lived before...

To and fro we leap
And chase the frothy bubbles,
While the world is full of troubles
And anxious in its sleep.
William Butler Yeats

Today, I braved the contrary weather and set up out doors. I think I felted for all of 20 minutes before the clouds loomed in and rain began to drop from the skies. After a couple of hours of rain the sun shows her face, the clouds dispersed and the sky is blue. I look for the rainbow. In England we have so much rain. If only I could share it with Greece so that the tender droplets could gently kiss and sooth the scorched land, lending a natural hand in subduing the remaining flames.

This project has been slow in the making, so many things have crossed my mind. The potent melody of Saul William's has played over and over through the speakers of imagination.

Dear goddess, can you hear me now
Clear the way and prepare me now dear goddess, can you hear me now
Dear goddess, we made this break
Beat just for you as an offering, can you hear us now
Dear goddess, we made this
Break beat just for you as an offering, can you heal us now
Saul Williams ~ Our Father

And as I listen, I hear myself repeating; Dear Goddess, can you hear me now? I make this felt as an offering. Dear Goddess...

For I believe in the Divine Feminine, Mother Nature, The Muse... I make this felt as an offering to Mother Nature in the hope that we can help her heal. Reforestation. Art for trees!

I will post again about the Greek Fire tragedy. Buzzing bees are busily working to present an exhibition of art to be auctioned in Greece. All proceeds will go to the reforestation of the area. The children of the land will plant and name the trees and learn of the importance of connection to nature. If you would like to donate a piece of art please let me know. Manya of mythcolour will keep us updated of where we can send our offerings to. There will be press releases.

Monday, 24 August 2009

Greek Fire Tragedy

Fire has tragically swept through parts of mainland Greece displacing, communities and wildlife. The extent of the damage is yet unknown.

I wish I could help in some way, any way, yet anything I can do is just a drop in the ocean.

I would like to do some kind of fund raiser to help. I don't know how to go about this or where to send the money, gifts whatever is decided upon. So for now, I will make felt. I may set up some etsy shop to auction the work to help our fellow beings. The practicalities of this supportive gesture need to be ironed out.

Would anyone be willing to donate a piece of art, craft, gift for this purpose? Anyone willing to help please contact me or leave a comment.

All suggestions welcome.

Manya, if you are able to read this please let me know if there is a current Aid Relief that you would recommend we send our crafts/arts/donations to.

Sending love, thoughts and well wishes to all affected by this tragedy.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Because we all fall down

We all have grazed a knee
stubbed a toe
chipped a nail
We have all felt the need to hide

Lash out

It is so easy to blame ourself
Hate ourself
Wish to be
Anyone else

The grass is greener
The sun shines brighter
Everywhere else

Can we ever
Like ourselves?
Be good to
Be kind to
Or love ourselves?

Lets take back that black!

Friday, 21 August 2009


Last night Manya of Mythcolour posted about the destructive fire on a piece of land near her home. The land was home to a diversity of wildlife and sounds like a natural temple. The land is also a proposed land fill site.

In my time I have seen or heard of many listed buildings, sites of beauty and places attached to the strings of many hearts being snatched away and destroyed in the names of progress and development. Tactics to achieve this 'progress' and 'development' are often dirty and at times crimes against the laws of the land as well as nature, people and environment. Corruption stinks!

The photo's above are a visual testimony to what will, can and often does happen to further the will, greed and design of the minority. The pictures are not my own and the story is not isolated. If you are interested in the history and/or seeing more pictures of this once magnificent pier please click here. To see the starlings of the West Pier please click here.

But this pier, is an old story, its woeful demise happened a few years ago. The destruction of the natural habitat near Manya's home is happening right now. Please visit Manya to hear her story, lend support and if possible offer practical suggestions on how to save this strip of land from its imminent fate.

Please help.

Monday, 17 August 2009


A larger project. Coming along nicely. This is the final laying out before wet felting. There is still much to do.

When thinking about wet felting and poetry it crossed my mind that this passage from 'The Stolen Child' sums the craft up quite well. When we are creative it is easy to lose ourselves in the task at hand and the mind magically lets go of all that has no connection with the object of our creations.

To and fro we leap
And chase the frothy bubbles,
While the world is full of troubles
And anxious in its sleep.
William Butler Yeats

My daughter is fed up of her room. She has decided that the teenage girl in the house next door is actually a monster. I think this has something to do with 45 minutes of hair drying on the other side of the wall each morning.

To console my daughter that no monster exists and that her room is a good and happy room, we have agreed to make a felt picture together. A bright sunny flower. I think I might test out my felt needles on this piece.

Sunday, 16 August 2009


"The soul becomes dyed with the colour of its thoughts."

Marcus Aurelius - (Roman emperor, best known for his Meditations on Stoic philosophy, AD 121-180)

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Earthtone Rug

This post was inspired by and is dedicated to the artist Susan of Artspark Theatre and Tiny Theatre. A few days ago Susan (aka Artsparker) posted a wonderful picture which was the latest in her Alice series.

Susan's imagination, skill and use of light are fantastic. I've always loved woodland and the magic of Alice. They both hold a special place in my heart. This picture made me want to recreate the forest floor in a felt.

I was running low on wool but decided to experiment with what I had left. I laid out all the natural coloured wool that I had, which was a combination of Blue Faced Leicester, Manx Langton, Blended Jacob, Gotland and Doll Suffolk. I was hoping that if I laid out a wide variation of browns and greys the fibres would all intermingle and some fibres would travel down whilst others traveled up.

Here is the rug laid out to dry on the line supported by the bamboo blind it had been made on. I wish I had take photo's of it whilst it was wet, the Manx Langton wool had such rich fertile earth tones, and at times very cocoa like colour. When wet it made the Blue Faced Leicester layer on the top look black and charcoal coloured naturally separating into what could have been tree root patterns. This is not so noticeable when the rug is dry.

Here is the reverse side of the rug to show you the variations in colours.

The green pattern in the centre is supposed to represent oak leaves from the true flowers of the forest (trees!). The shapes didn't hold so well during the felting process. I may stitch leaf spine and skeleton shapes into the leaves to make them more decorative, but I'm not sure (suggestions welcome). For now I think I will leave it how it is.

The red, I added as it reminded me of autumn and I love autumnal woodland walks, happy days!

The white spirally swirls I added because I was worried that I did not have enough wool to make the rug thick enough (which happened to be the case), so I wanted to make rug a little more decorative in case it ends up on a wall. Whilst laying out the wool for this project the wool naturally weaved in and out, overlapping in places, very similar to woodland trails. I wanted to continue the gentle curved theme and also to keep the pattern simple. It is my first large scale project so did not want to over complicate the project or distract from the beauty of the natural colours.

During the felting process the rug shrank by almost half. It is quite usual to have around 40% shrinkage but it is so much more evident on a larger project. It made me smile.

I'd like to thank Susan for lending me direction for this project. Susan is a generous and supportive blogger, often spotting the subtleties that most others miss. Susan has a wide knowledge of the arts and literature which she quotes with humour and intellect regularly in her blogs. Please visit Susan if you have not already. You can find her at Artspark Theatre and Tiny Theatre.

Monday, 10 August 2009

A Crafty Weekend

This weekend I went to a craft centre. I found this wonderful antique Singer.

At the craft centre there was a falconry centre with these young barn owls.
Next week they will be able to fly.
I didn't take photo's of the adults or stay for the falconry show.
I feel very uncomfortable seeing birds in cages and well, birds of prey are so magnificent, I know it is wrong to keep them this way.

A Robin Redbreast in a Cage Puts all Heaven in a Rage”
William Blake

The ducks seemed happier, although they did have stiff competition for offerings of bread. Look in the water!

Some wonderful flowers.

I love the colours nature offers.
I liked the blown glass ball decorating the cane in the centre picture.
The flowers in the 3rd picture impressed me a lot.
They were easily 10ft tall!

Here is one of the studio-shops at the craft centre.
If you look through the window you will see the Bunsen style flame of the glass blower.

There were many studio's. Potters, hat makers, stained glass windows, photographers, jewelry makers, a chocolate delicatessen!

My favourite was the felt makers. Such treasures and delights.
I bought a felt needle.

I didn't get the opportunity to visit all of the studio's or take photo's of the occupants skills.
3 year olds tire easily and are much more amused by animals and flowers.

The following day I started on this rug. I used up all of my natural rare breed wool.
The beautiful soft greys and browns.
I spent the entire day felting, such hard work!
My daughter helped a lot.
She danced,jumped and stepped all over the rug.
We developed our own technique.
I bounced on my gym ball and Naomi bounced across the rug on her space hopper.

There is still much to do, alas I feel it must wait until the sun comes back out to play!

The design and colours of the rug were inspired by a recent post of one of the most generous bloggers I know. I will tell more when I have a completed project to show you :)

Friday, 7 August 2009

Myth and Magic - Bowerman's Nose

Of late my reality has been unpleasant so I have allowed myself to dream. Many years ago I did my native American Indian medicine wheel and learned all about my spirit guides. One of the wonderful creatures that lends me its medicine and at times guides my path is Lizard. Lizard has one eye closed and one eye open. This allows the Lizard to keep one eye on the present and one eye in the dreamworld. The Lizard teaches that without our dreams we cannot make our desires a reality. Without dreaming we cannot know what to reach for, which direction to take or how to achieve our goals. One eye is fixed on our present, our reality and keeps us grounded allowing the practical self to draw up plans and manifest our dreams in the future.

I have known I have wanted change for a long time. I have wanted out of this rat race, this corporate self interested consumerist way. I've sought the peace and beauty of the rural life, to surround myself with nature. I've allowed my self to dream, to draw up plans and to figure a way of making it happen. I don't know how to do it yet and am under no false illusions that it will be easy, the life I long for involves hard work.

My dream is to homestead. To have a little plot of land. To go off the grid. To create my own sustainable sources of energy, step out of the financial shackles of the utility giants. To ask nature to bestow me with the gifts of sun, water and wind and channel those gifts through wind/water mills and solar panels. I would grow my own food, raise sheep for wool practice crafts, always giving back as much if not more than I receive. I dream of environmental stewardship, creating wildlife havens and planting trees. It is my dream and I've allowed myself to dream it.

Occasionally I surf the web checking out the prices of land, the availability, the locations. On my most recent search I came across a piece of land in Devon. The land reaches onto Dartmoor and is surrounded by The National Trust. It is beyond my means and more than I need but the treasure it uncovered made my lips mischievously curl.

The land includes the landmark of Bowerman's Nose. I had not heard of it before or the myth that accompanies it, but when I did I know I had to share it with Manya of Mythcolour. Manya shares wonderful insights into her life in Greece, story telling and felt making. Manya I am sharing this myth in response to your wonderful post about the crone. This post is dedicated to you. Please visit Manya at her lovely blog Mythcolour.


The story goes that Bowerman was a rich and powerful man. He was physically strong and imposing in character. Bowermn loved to hunt with hounds and to relentlessly pursue his quarry.

It is rumoured that there were witches in the locale. These witches were powerful and feared by all except Bowerman who loudly and publicly ridiculed these 'hags' and their alleged powers. This angered the witches but they too were afraid of Bowerman and his hounds so kept out of his way for a peaceful life.

One day, the witches were gathered around a cauldron sharing and making magic when Bowerman and his hounds caught the scent of a hare. In hot pursuit of the hare, Bowerman ran through the witches, upsetting the cauldron, causing commotion and disarray.

The witches had had enough and felt they had to act. Knowing the lay of the land, the witches knew Bowerman and his hounds would have to return the way he had came. One of the witches had the power of assuming the shape of any animal she chose. She quickly transformed herself into a hare and waited for Bowerman to return. When he did, she revealed herself in her hare form and lured Bowerman into a trap. The legend goes that Bowerman and his hounds followed the hare and were ambushed by the witches who promptly turned him and his hounds into rocks which stand on the Dartmoor to this day. Sometimes the night winds can be heard carrying the hunting cries of Bowerman and his hounds.


This story paticularly tickled me as I have spent many a season sabotaging the hunts and campaigning for the legal ban of hunting with hounds. I have been a hunt saboteur and will always be so in my heart.

Reading between the lines I doubt that the witches wished to be feared. Instead I feel that they must have been feared as their herbal knowledge and educated ways made them curious and unknown to those that are not familiar with these customs. Historically, man has always demonised that which he cannot understand, that which is different.

The picture at the head of this post is used with the permission of the artist Paul Hopkinson who has his own website which displays more of his artwork and provides a generous tutorial in the techniques of water colour. Please visit this link to see more Of Paul Hopkinson's work.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Anglesey Wool Necklace

The Gathering of Natures Wisdom

To see the world in a grain of sand, and to see heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hands, and eternity in an hour. William Blake

This piece is inspired by and therefore dedicated to the lovely Assayya of 'Gathering of Natures Wisdom'. My mind often wanders to wildflower meadows, saplings and the canopies of ancient magical trees with secrets untold. These places bestow me with natures gifts of beauty, wilderness, healing, inspiration and so much more.

After the stillbirth of my daughter I found peace in such places. They symbolised the resting place of my dearly missed daughter. The past few days however, since the missed-miscarraige of my 3rd pregnancy I had started to despair of such images, feeling almost resentful of their existence.

Assayya's posts reminded me of the healing powers and bountiful gifts of natures basket and snapped me out of my misdirected anger. Assayya reminded me of all that I love and hold dear about the very nature of nature. That is a more precious gift than anyone could knowingly give. I would like to thank you Assayya for your wonderful posts and sharing your magical insights.

Please visit Assayya at Gathering of Natures Wisdom for visual treats and a herbalist education. The blog is written in dutch but there is a google translator function on the top right hand corner that works quite well.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

The Circle of Friends Award

A few days ago Sharon of Wildflower House pleasantly surprised me with The Circle of Friends Award. It had been an exceptionally difficult week for me so the compliment was very well timed. Thank you Sharon.

Traditionally, I'm not very good at accepting compliments, but that is something I'm working on. Likewise, I'm particularly bad at following rules, I don't think that will ever change! So I was unsure how to respond to this award.

For a start I think I follow in the region of 90 blogs and display half of those on my blog roll, so narrowing down a list of 5 blogs to pass this award on to is nigh on impossible.

The events of the last few days has reminded me that I began blogging as a way of distracting attention away from stillbirth and the broken heart that accompanies baby loss. Along the way I have managed to channel these raw emotions into a creative energy and with the help and encouragement of the blogging community I have developed some skills, became inspired and learned new things. If I visit your blog and post comments then that is my way of saying thank you for the distractions, for sharing your knowledge, your art, your verse, the magic of your eyes and insightfulness of your mind. I appreciate you!

I am also aware that many of the blogs I follow have so many awards they do not know what to do with, they don't have the time to respond to awards, and/or they have chosen not to participate in award giving and receiving as wish to step away from facebook style tags.

For this reason I have chosen to respect the views of the bloggers that feel this way and have decided to respond to this compliment by passing on the compliment in a less formal way. I will be dedicating posts to the blog friends that have inspired the piece of art, prose, writing or photography that I am posting by way of introducing the blog to others and showing thanks for the work they produce and the support they lend. The posts will be delivered randomly in tune with the inspirational prompts and direction the blogger has lent me and not in order of favouritism or appreciation.

This way, no one feels they have to reciprocate if they do not wish to and I shan't be offended if they don't. For those that like awards, consider any posts I dedicate to you as the Circle of Friends Award. This way I get to acknowledge and thank as many blogs as I choose.

Sharon, I hope you don't mind my customising the award? Please visit Sharon at Wildflower House.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

The Black Rabbit

Long ago, the great Frith made the world. He made all the stars and the world lived among the stars. Frith made all the animals and birds and, at first, made them all the same. Now, among the animals was El-Ahrairah, the Prince of Rabbits. He had many friends and they all ate grass together. But after a time, the rabbits wandered everywhere, multiplying and eating as they went. Then Frith said to El-Ahrairah, "Prince Rabbit, if you cannot control your people, I shall find ways to control them." But El-Ahrairah would not listen and said to Frith, "My people are the strongest in the world." This angered Frith, so he determined to get the better of El-Ahrairah. He gave a present to every animal and bird, making each one different from the rest. When the fox came and others, like the dog and cat, hawk and weasel, to each of them, Frith gave a fierce desire to hunt and slay the children of El-Ahrairah.

"El-ahrairah, your people cannot rule the world, for I will not have it so. All the world will be your enemy, Prince with a Thousand Enemies, and whenever they catch you, they will kill you. But first they must catch you, digger, listener, runner, prince with the swift warning. Be cunning and full of tricks and your people shall never be destroyed."
- Richard Adams, Watership Down

Wool laid out ready o felt

With a sprinkle of water ready for wet felting

Wet Felted