Friday, September 06, 2013

... changes ...

... are taking place.

This week saw my hair tamed, just in time for the weather to cool down.

Haircut on Wednesday; so the weather changed to cool and damp on Friday via some warm weather on Thursday that saw too much sweat trickling down my back for comfort.

But much more importantly, thanks to the NHS I had a change of hearing aids yesterday.
I'd had my Spirit 3 aids since June 2006, although over the years separately both had failed and been replaced.

The new aids, Spirit Zest are purple once more, and even smaller than before.
This time you can't see the innards, so not quite as exciting to look at.

So far, after just over a day the sound seems to be better.
It was not only drizzling as I cycled in to town, but a bit windy, so now I have some idea what the wind blowing on the microphones will be like.

Otherwise, there is a definite cooling in the air today, and I needed to wear a jacket to cycle to the shops this afternoon.
Looking at the forecast we may  be in for temperatures in the teens from now on.


Monday, June 24, 2013

An hour's drawing distilled

A last minute decision on the morning of May 30th had me cycling over to Elvaston Castle to join in a drawing workshop.
I hadn't cycled that way for years, and was glad of the map facility on my phone. 
It was a cool somewhat damp day, which made the journey easier. 
3/4 hour after leaving home I arrived and was very glad that I was wearing multiple layers as I could strip down to cool off.

I settled down with my favourite fine drawing pen and a sheet of A4 paper, and looked around at the various natural items laid out for inspiration.
The gall on the windowsill above was one of the first to catch my eye.

Later on as I cooled off I roamed the room seeking inspiration, and found this great seedcase, possibly from a verbascum or eremurus.

Towards the end of the hour this was my sheet.
Next I needed to apply the scissors and censor my work.

A handy square of black paper helped in this matter. 
I selected items that could be cut out without losing their integrity, and came up with this arrangement.
The images were a hotchpotch of different scales and both from birds and plant material.
(I have no idea how, if at all, my drawings might get used in the inspiration for archways in a garden there.)

I enjoyed myself on the way home taking more time on my journey, stopping off in Draycott to visit the Beetroot Tree gallery. 

My only regret of the day was that two days later I was told of an app that I could have used to track my journey on my phone.

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Saturday, June 08, 2013

This week's garden favourites

A few minutes ago I was inspired to go round the garden with a camera. I am waiting for some laundry to finish, and this was a fun way to pass the time.
Firstly, right at the back door, and now fortunately elsewhere, a hardy geranium. I think that this is Geranium oxonianum thurstonianum.
Then one that I haven't been able to identify yet. We call it "small white", although it is slightly off white. It grows like mad and seeds itself everywhere, but is easy to identify at a young stage.

This allium is nearly through with flowering, but has been looking splendid for the past couple of weeks.

Phacelia gets sown as a green manure in our raised vegetable beds, and I always try to keep it growing until it flowers. The form of the flowers and the scent make it one of my favourites.

I think that this is a Tiarella. It is an unassuming plant that has spread to a few locations over the year. The tiny flowers start off cream and turn red with time/pollination? 
We have finally established flag irises in the margins of our pond.

The small maple tree we moved in 1995 has more flowers on it than ever.

The first few of these poppies are out, and as you can see a snail has climbed into the centre. That doesn't worry me as then it isn't eating my salad leaves.

Our viburnam is just getting going.

We have aquilegias all over the place, and frequently pull them up.

Blue flowers don't photograph well for me, but the form shows even if the colour is distorted.

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Thursday, June 06, 2013

What a weekend!

Way back at the beginning of the year I put in my entry as an individual artist in Derbyshire Open Arts. 
Knowing that I would be showing both knitted wire and porcelain, I combined the two in an image. 
This was fun, as it is hard to tell the scale of the work from the image.

Towards the end of March the brochures were delivered to the studio, and I could start handing them out.

The entries for Long Eaton Art Room looked good together.

In the meantime, at the Art Room much organising was going on to showcase the various activities we provide.

Then came an unexpected bonus. 
I was mentioned in the Artsbeat May issue article about Derbyshire Open Arts. 
During the weekend I know that at least two people not from our area were prompted to visit as a result of seeing this mention.

I tweaked my studio to show off my latest work, and added a vase full of flowers from our garden. 
Knitted wire was shown at the window so that it glistened in the sunshine from around three in the afternoon.
 Porcelain was laid out rather in the manner of archaeological finds elsewhere in the studio.
Several people mentioned this. Maybe the couple of summers I spent in Cyprus on a dig are showing their influence.

Over the course of the three days I didn't venture far from my studio, mainly popping in to see the other studio spaces upstairs.
On Sunday the Henna Fairy was plying her art, and I was quick to take advantage.
Here is how it looked four days later, but today you'd have to use a lot of imagination to trace the remains of the design.

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Friday, May 24, 2013

Open Studios preview ....

New fun pieces knitted with 0.20 mm coloured wire and 0.20 fishing line which I then overdyed.

 These are hanging in the studio window showing off their sparkling colour in the early evening sunshine.

It had rained off and on all afternoon, and I was beginning to think that I wouldn't have the chance to take these snaps.

This time tomorrow we will be open to all as part of Derbyshire Open Arts 2013.

If you are anywhere nearby, do drop in to see me and the other artists at Long Eaton Art Room, 29 - 31 Lime Grove, Long Eaton, NG10 4LD.

We will all be there from 10.00 to 17.00 Saturday, Sunday and Monday 25th - 27th May

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Monday, May 20, 2013

Entranced ....!

A couple of  weeks ago I watched "Later with Jools Holland" on TV.
Not certain whether I would stay awake for the whole programme I recorded it.

There was a great lineup, but the track that stuck with me was "Step" by Vampire Weekend.
I watched the recording a few times the next day, then found their website which included the lyrics.

This has now haunted me in the most pleasant way ever since.
I can be weeding in the garden, or dropping off to sleep all at the same measured pace.
I can't remember when the last time was when that happened.

No doubt I am missing some aspects of the lyrics, but the melody and rhythm are just right for me now.

A couple of days later just as it was getting dark the garden took on a magical quality.
All the white blossom jumped out at me, and I took my phone out to try to capture it.

This image is now part and parcel of the song for me.

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Friday, March 29, 2013

Too busy to post?

I have these great intentions about blogging, mentally writing posts when out walking or gardening.
I know, I've said it before, and had good intentions of posting more often.

So, all urgent things dealt with, here I am at the computer, putting off going out to do some tidying up in the garden.

The only thing that should be done this weekend is going in to Derby to continue viewing the Format festival of photography.

Last week, when we had visitors we took in the displays at the museum and some outlying venues.
This time we intend to concentrate on the chocolate factory.

And now back to some recent activities:
The Online Guild January 2013 workshop was on UFO's. 
Rather than finishing off items already started I decided to tidy up the house and re-assign yarn that had been knitted or crocheted as samples and then been abandoned. 
I do masses of sampling before making anything, and when I have sufficient yarn often rip it off the needles once I have tried out the stitch or colour variation. 
Consequently I was able to find many bits and pieces to use in a couple of projects.

I undertook to gather up loads of samples I no longer needed to preserve, and use them.
Going around the house I found small amounts of handspun which I then knitted up into a small scarf.
I did not sort the snippets, unravelling and using them as I came across them.
The central line is loosely cast on, and stitches are picked up on both sides.
The curious shaping is made by increasing at each corner on each row.
The scarf itself is knit in a k2 , p2 moving rib which gently blends the colours.

The samples I have found so far in commercial yarn were unravelled and crocheted into a giant granny square.
It has currently reached 1.2 m (nearly 4 foot) square, and weighs 650 gm (1 lb. 7 oz.), and I am still finding suitable yarn.
The colour scheme in both was taken as it comes, the exception being the cast-off yarn on the handspun scarf.
This was not a neglected sample, but part of the sampling process for a spinning project.
I had to be sure I had enough to effectively finish it off.
All in all a fun on-going project showing how much yarn gets left effectively useless when I am designing items!

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