Californian Nutmeg Tree

Unrelated to the true Nutmeg, this Yew had dropped its needles on the path.

Apparently (from searching the internet) the seeds are purple and the kernel is edible after cooking, tasting somewhat like peanuts. They were highly prized by Native Americans.

Material just asking for a second meandering path

I thought of getting a brush to sweep the line of the path clear, but decided to leave the subtlety of the path left by the rake.

Black Feathers, White Flowers

Continuing my account of the Land Art Course with Dan Lobb at West Dean College:

The walk from the bench, to gather the cut grass, took just over 5 minutes each way. The walking and the raking became a beautifully satisfying daily practice, allowing my body to be well exercised and fully part of the installation.

Dan remarked that seeing me raking and trundling backwards and forwards with my wheelbarrow, reminded him of people raking in Japanese gardens. I realised that the same thought had been at the back of my mind and I was so pleased that he had brought it to the forefront.

As you may know, I love most things Japanese and was lucky enough to spend 15 glorious days on a textile tour in 2015. This photograph from that trip came to mind. (If you type ‘Japan’ into the SEARCH box you can see lots of posts about my trip, but here is a link to the first post about it. )

I found I would take one route to the hay and a different route back. Each day and each time of day, offering new things to notice in the garden

There seemed to be an unusual amount of feathers on the ground.

Were the birds moulting in the heat, or were the feathers more noticeable because the grass was so parched, yellow and short? A couple of us began collecting them.

Walking back past this clump of Annabelle Hydrangeas, I couldn’t resist popping a black feather into a few of the white frothy balls.

A little breeze was blowing and the birds who had gifted the feathers were calling in the trees above:

At the time, this was my favourite ‘installation’, if installation it was.

It felt very Japanese – Dan had pressed the Japan button, and I was off!

The video feels to me like a visual haiku. I went to Google translate.

Seeing the words written and hearing how they are spoken,  the title

‘Black Feathers, White Flowers’

seems like poetry to me

In a Vase on Monday: Surreal?

I grew these Apple Blossom Antirrhinums from seed (a bit late) and some are struggling in the heat, so I have snipped off the flowers to help them out.

So pretty.

Still influenced by the surrealism at West Dean college I made mini topiary with poppy seed heads

Is the heat getting to me too?

Probably!

The little stained glass trees are made by TaylaMadeGlass

Joining Cathy for her wonderful In a Vase on Monday meme.

 

Walking the River

Land Art at West Dean College with Dan Lobb

As I gathered the mown grass, I made a meandering path.

When the wheelbarrow was full, I left a mound of ‘hay’ that needed to be stepped over. These mounds gave the walker an opportunity to pause, rather like the turns in a labyrinth.

These are two of my fellow students who kindly let me video them as they walked.

You can see A’s art on Instagram here: @aprilyasamee

and

T’s art on Instagram here : @aweworks

I had only collected 2 barrow loads at the time this video was taken. By the end of the process, I had gathered 9 barrow loads of ‘hay’.

When the project was finished, I walked the ‘River of Hay’ and at each mound spoke of something I was grateful for, before stepping over it.

Gentle tears were falling as I neared the end.

Spending time in a place where all facets of creativity are deeply and profoundly supported is an experience I wish for everyone. Soul food!

Silly Saturday: Playing with Shadows

New hat – Ta Dah!!

Taken in the early morning at West Dean College.

Joining in with Cee’s Challenge: Shadows and Reflections

A Bench of Gratitude

Working with this bench at West Dean College on a Land Art Course, became a very meaningful process for me. It also led me to make other pieces of Land Art in different locations around the garden.

This is the third post about it, you can see the first here and the second here.

The bench is, under a Lime Tree, in the front of the college and therefore seen by all the garden visitors and college students. Not the sort of place I thought I would have chosen at all – but it chose me.

After weaving in the first bunch of grasses, I walked back to the tulip tree to gather more. I counted my steps as I went. It took 150 steps to get from bench to tree.

As I counted out loud, I was reminded of my Welsh maternal Grandfather.

I did not get to sleep easily as a child and he used to pat me whilst counting out loud, very quietly, to help me get to sleep. I could choose how many pats 100, 150 or 200. We had a very close relationship – I had not remembered the patting for years and years. I felt very close to him as I was walking and a feeling of gratitude that I had him in my life, washed over me.

I picked just what I could hold in one hand, walked back and wove the dry grass through the back of the bench. Back for another handful and this time I placed it as a bunch to the left. This referenced sheafs of corn and also flowers left on benches and other places, in memorium.

My intention was to gather more grass to bulk up the sheaf, but after a walk around the garden, I saw some cut grass and decided to gather this to create some sort of spiral or other path, leading to the bench.

As I raked up the cut grass, I made a meandering path, which became my second piece of Land Art.

I came to like the spin off pieces more than what happened around the bench, but if I had not started with the bench the others would not have been created.

Silent Sunday at West Dean

Silly Saturday Shadows

I had such a wonderful week at West Dean and will share more of the process with the bench in another post, but today is Saturday and time for a bit of silliness!

Does my bum look big in this?

I had fun on the last morning (yesterday) walking around the grounds of West Dean College playing with the shadows in the early morning sun.

If you would like to see more of what I got up to you can visit my @rustnfound Instagram page.

Have you had an opportunity to be silly this week?

Choosing a place to Create

Land Art Course with Dan Lobb at West Dean.

As I was thinking about coming on the course I decided that my word for the week would be GRATITUDE. In the past, my life having its turbulent phases, when making and spiral, labyrinth or other ephemeral art in nature, I have often used it as a way of focussing the mind on a question, wish or invocation. Now as  I am in a calm and more peaceful time, it is time to acknowledge that and feel truly grateful.

On the first night here at West Dean, I was walking back to my car and was drawn to this bench. I tried to argue against using this as my focus as I had imagined working out in the gardens or woods in a much more aesthetically pleasing spot.

So I wandered around to find other places. Perhaps the dry stream bed in the ornametal  garden?

I could imagine filling the mud cracks with bright yellow leaves to look like gold in kintsugi art

Or could I be inspired by this fence, which had been altered by a fallen tree. Surely those roots would offer a suitable resting place for some ephemeral art.

(Edit: this is the tree that features in my next Post. the photos were taken on the very last morning, just before I drove home)

Or perhaps I could work in this area where there is a recently planted Tulip Tree

But the bench would not let me go. I realised my head was getting in the way of my intuition – so back to the bench …….

It has a memorial plaque to Jill Causer 1948 –  2017 and Joanna Elizabeth Causer 1980 – 2007. I asked at the college if they had any records Jill Causer but they didn’t. I realised she was 69 when she died – I am 69 and if I make it to November, I will not die aged 69 – something to be grateful for.

Joanna could have been Jill’s daughter, dying at the age of 27. I have not lost a child – another traumatic life experience I have been spared. It was becoming clear to me why this bench had called to me to celebrate Gratitude.

The grasses surrounding the tulip tree were also calling to me so I picked a bunch and took them back to the bench. Finding some feathers on the ground as I went.

As I was cutting the grass, it reminded me of my farming ancestors, making hay or harvesting the corn. I thought too of my Great Great Grandmother, Caroline Canterbury, who was a sailcloth weaver in Dorset in the mid 1800s.

So when I got to the bench, I wove the grasses through the back struts

The process had begun…..

 

 

 

 

Land Art at West Dean College

I am at West Dean College this week doing a Land Art course with Dan Lobb

There are four students including me

Top left is Dan, then C who has been to West Dean many times, bottom right is T an Architect from the US. He has flown over especially for this course and bottom left A, an installation artist.

On Friday evening we gathered for a presentation by Dan, of his work and examples from other ephemeral artists working with natural elememts, like Andy Goldsworthy and Chris Drury.

This is the view from the window where the group meets

As you can see, we are currently experiencing a drought in the UK

West Dean was established by Edward James, a friend of Salvador Dali, and is a fascinating, enriching place to be.

Note the carpet: Edward James’s wife was a ballet dancer and as she ran from the bathroom with wet feet, Edward noticed her footprints and wanted them immortalised in carpet design

The gardens are glorious

and there are so many fascinating details to notice

It promises to be a spectacularly creative week on so many levels – I am in heaven!

Mandalas on Display

One of my daughter’s friends creates the window displays for this local Optician and I offered her my mandalas. She has created a wonderful display, don’t you think? She has given me permission to use her photo at the top of this post. The rest of the photos are mine.


A few little spiders have been added as if they have been working away at their intricate webs.

The window looks especially lovely lit up at night, although I haven’t managed to get a photo.

It is a thrill to see them so beautifully displayed.

The mission to create 50 white mandalas continues; 32 are finished and 7 more await the final touches.  The three below are all in Rico Essentials cotton thread, my favourite so far.

I am making Zoya Matyushenko’s Agnes in three different sizes by varying the hook size. They then need to be washed and attached to hoops.

The most common question I am asked, is “how long do they take?”

I really find this difficult to answer as time taken is the least important aspect to me. I did try to time myself but there are so many interruptions to the process, it was impossible. I make mandalas because I enjoy making mandalas. Crochet relaxes me and resettles my mind. I do it whilst doing other things, it fills pockets of time. It is part of maintaining my sense of ok-ness or well-being, it gets me through stressful times.

So I want to say – they don’t take time, they take attention, concentration, love and joy. They are a connection with my Mum and my Grandmother who taught me and all other crafting women now and through the ages.

But that answer would most likely be more than the person bargained for!

So my answer usually is:

Some take a couple of days, some take a week, depending on the thickness of the thread and the complexity of the pattern. Some sit waiting to be finished for months.

But that doesn’t tell you how many actual hours are spent making stitches. I often feel neither the questioner or I feel satisfied with the answer.

Any ideas?

If anyone in the UK would like to borrow the mandalas for an event, let’s have a chat. I would love to see them displayed in other settings.

Blooming bollard

Look!!! Such a splendid use for some of my abandoned floral experiments!

The Snail of Happiness

My Welsh dragon crochet is proving very popular, so I wanted to quickly produce a cover for the second bollard outside the shop. The “sock” is pretty straightforward now I have created a pattern and I managed to find some suitable leftover yarn in fairly neutral colours. However, embellishments take much longer. Fortunately, my appeal a few months ago for items with which to decorate the shop meant that I had a bag of crochet flowers from Sandra (Wild Daffodil) just waiting to be used. Small amounts of scrap green yarn were all I needed for the chain stitch stems and here it is:

I will probably make a snail to go on top of it eventually, but I’m pretty happy with it for now. So, big thanks to Sandra, without whom I would still be crocheting flowers.

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Scrap Happy Wild Wool

I spent a few days in Seaton, Devon, near the wetlands, last month.

There are some beautiful walks and tranquil places to sit and ponder

When I saw all that wool on the fence, I just had to gather some

I washed it and then decided to felt some

by making layers of vertical and horizontal strands – about 7 layers

Then adding soapy water, I put the layers between bubble wrap and rolled it this way and that with a rolling pin.

Now to add some rusty bits

using some rust dyed thread

and framing the result in a acrylic box frame

And another one with old rusty sheep wire

I rubbed acrylic wax into the rusty wire to halt the rusting process, but have left these nails to continue to rust into the wool

Felting takes ages and is physical work so I started just to make soft little balls, just rolling them lightly in my hands – this is a work in progresson some corrugated iron. Not sure where it is going yet.

Joining Kate for Scrap Happy July

Scrap Happy Wrapping

The blanket I gave to my neice as a wedding present needed a large cardboard box for wrapping.

I did not want to buy masses of wrapping paper, especially when I have a massive stash of fabric. I have an old dress of my Mum’s, (my niece’s Granny) so I cut off the skirt and wrapped the box in that.

Furoshiki style.

TheYou Tube clip below shows two pieces of fabric sewn together – I didn’t do that, I just used the one piece – the whole of the skirt. As it was see-through material there was not an obvious right and wrong side.

I then tucked in some fabric flowers that I had left over from making my Frida Kahlo headband

I loved the way it turned out.

Scrap Happy Bookcover

Some progress has been made on the book cover started last month.

It has fabric from old clothes and curtains, some from the 1970s.

The white lacy daisy is from a dress I had when I was 17, the stars are from holey old jeans that Miss E (14) has grown out of. I love them sitting close to each other in this piece.

This project is a lot of fun.

The inspiration comes from “The Magpie’s Nest”

a course by Aimee Irel Bishop

I have started another, which I have made in a different way.

This time, instead of cutting slits in the base fabric, I have laid strips on top of a piece of fabric to act as the ‘warp’. I tacked then down along the top edge and started weaving.

There is more to do.

Joining Kate and her happy band of Scrap Happy contributors.

Sacred Space for a Wedding Present

At last I can post photos of Sacred Space – a free pattern by Helen Shrimpton, which comes with a video tutorial.

I made it as a Wedding Present for my niece.

In 2017 I made Lucy’s Moorland Blanket for her.

Sacred Space is made with a 4.5mm hook in Stylecraft Special DK in Sage, Storm, Duck Egg, Cream, Petrol

Part One

Round 1,2: Sage

3, 4. Storm.        5,6, 7. Sage

8, 9, 10, 11 Duck Egg

12, 13 Cream

14, 15, 16 Sage

17, Storm

18 Sage ; 19 Storm ; 20 Sage ; 21 Storm

22 Sage ; 23 Storm ; 24 Sage ; 25 Storm

26 Sage

27, 28, 29, 30, Storm

Part Two

31, 32 Sage.           33, 34 Storm

35 Duck Egg.       36, 37, 38 Cream

39, 40, 41 Sage

42, 43, 44 Storm

45 Sage

Part 3

46, 47, 48 Petrol       49, 50 Sage

51 Duck Egg.            52, 53 Storm

54, 55 Sage

Part 4

56 – 63 Petrol

64 Storm ; 65 Sage ; 66 Storm

Part 5

67 Sage        68, 69 Storm

70 Duck Egg

71, 72, 73 Storm

74 Petrol

75, 76, 77 Cream

Part 6

78 – 82 Storm

83 Sage ; 84 Storm ; 85 Sage ; 86 Storm ; 87 Sage ; 88 Storm

89, 90 Duck Egg

Part 7

91, 92, 93 Sage

94, 95 Duck Egg

96 Sage        97, 98, 99 Storm

100 Sage

Part 8

101, 102 Storm

103, 104 Petrol

105 Duck Egg

106, 107 Storm

108 Sage

Part 9

109 Cream

110, 111, Sage

112 Petrol

113 Storm

114 Sage

It certainly was a joy to make.

You can rely on Helen Shrimpton’s patterns to work out well.

Get Well Soon Card

Look what arrived in the post yesterday!

A lovely homemade, get-well-soon card from Cathy. I absolutely love anything handmade and this really cheered me up. Do you think she knows how much I love pink!

I have Covid, Cathy has had Covid so it has been lovely to have someone of my vintage to compare notes with.

I have not been too bad, mainly lacking in energy. I am pretty sure I caught the virus at a family wedding, as my son, son-in-law, daughter-in-law and several other guests all got it at the same time. And it was SUCH a magical day!

Little Miss M was a bridemaid and here we are comparing headdresses

and footwear

She had smarter shoes for the formal bit.

My daughter also loves pink!

I was so pleased to be able to wear the same jacket, skirt and fascinator that I wore to her wedding 16 years ago.

The decorations in the marquee were spectacular

so was the cake

Which I was glad to be able to taste at the time.

With Covid, I briefly lost my sense of taste, which was very strange.

I could taste salt, sweetness, bitterness and spicyness in curry and mustard, but all with no flavour. The colours, texture, and temperature became very noticeable.

Milky is silky. Bananas were the weirdest, crisps were luxury!

My taste is gradually returning but I still can’t smell anything (especially not something burning!).

How are you all?

Take care.

 

Scrap Happy: Textile Book Cover

Joining Kate and her band of Happy Scrappers

This is going to be a bookcover.

The black and white ticking is from some old kitchen curtains circa 1989.

I am using some bits of rust dyed fabric that weren’t beautifully rust-marked, and other bits and pieces. I have yet to weave in a lot more scrappiness.

The book cover method is one being taught in a online course I am following called ‘The Magpie’s Nest’, on Jean Oliver’s ‘Creativity is Calling’ website.

I discovered this site via Instagram, during lockdown, and have followed a couple of courses. Every so often there are special offers and that is how I came to sign up for The Magpies Nest, which is my favourite so far.

You can see lots of examples from this course on Instagram #themagpiesnestworkshop

Attic24: Harbour Blanket

Each year in January, Lucy of Attic24, has a Crochet Along and I love to join in.

This year Lucy took the colours of a harbour as her inspiration. Although I liked Lucy’s colour choices, I was making this for Miss P, who absolutely LOVES bright colours, so I had to go BRIGHT.

Kingston Lacy Christmas lights

Well – maybe not quite that bright.

Starting row of Chain 150, I have made a Lap Blanket

In Stylecraft Special Double Knit (SSDK) and a 4.5mm hook

In Lucy’s Easy Eyelet Ripple

My colour order is:

Lapis, Bright Pink, Clementine, Empire, Fondant, Sunshine, Cornish Blue,

Spice, Turquoise, Matador, Bright Pink, Aqua, Lapis, Clementine,

Sunshine, Aster, Fondant, Spice, Empire, Matador, Aqua,

Turquoise, Lapis, Fondant, Aster, Bright Pink, Sunshine, Aqua,

Clementine, Empire, (a random blue yarn from my stash, but this could be Cornish Blue is sticking to SSDK), Spice, Matador, Fondant, Lapis,

Bright Pink, Turquoise, Clementine, Aqua, Empire, Matador, Fondant,

Aqua, Sunshine, Aster, Spice, Bright Pink, Turquoise, Lapis

49 colour stripes, each of two rows.

Border:

First row to fill in the ripples – Cornish Blue.

1 row of double crochet (US) – Empire – I love that colour!

One row of Single Crochet (US) – Bright Pink

Final row of Half-double crochet – Turquoise

The final measurements are 50″ x 40″ or 127cm x 103cm

In March I spent a glorious day with friends at Sculpture by the Lakes, we hired a private space there, The Pavilion, it was glorious.

and I took the blanket out and about for its own little photo shoot

I hope Miss P will like the blanket. I think her sister might want one as well, I wonder what colours she will choose.

Mothers Day Exhibition

It is Mothers Day here in the UK.

Helen Birmingham of Untangled Threads is having an online Mothers Day exhibition.

There are some very moving pieces in the exhibition and well worth a look.

These are the two pieces of work I entered

‘Why Cross?’

I had a difficult relationship with my Mother, which improved when I had children. She was a lovely Granny (Mamgu) to them.

My second piece:

‘Secrets and Lies’

If you would like to read the story behind the pieces, please go to the online exhibition:

MOTHERING SUNDAY ONLINE EXHIBITION

 

❤ May your day be happy