Blog Archive

Friday, 30 July 2021

Moving on with new inks and new secateurs

The above photos are of the natural inks I was given as a leaving present*.  The colours are just lovely!  I am looking forward to using these next week when I spend a week in Northumberland.  Fingers crossed it doesn't rain continuously! (I was also given a pair of Niwake secateurs. If you like Japanese engineering, have a look at that website!!). 

Well, it's been a strange couple of weeks.  I left my job after 5 years*, because I'm leaving the Smoke and moving North. It's always been a vague plan, but here we are, probably only weeks away from the reality.  All a bit daunting but very exciting too, of course.  So it's back to Bradford!  I'm so looking forward to being closer to the beautiful countryside of West Yorkshire and being that much closer to the rolling hills and moors of North Yorkshire and the North Yorkshire coast.  Looking forward to redesigning the tiny garden as well.  If it all goes through without any hitches, I will be 5 minutes walk away from Heaton Woods and a beautiful view over Baildon Moor.  So excited!!

So not much work in my studio recently.  I have started packing it up.  I have been there for so long, it's proving quite stressful.  However, once you start you have to finish so, next week I will mainly be in my studio covered in dust.  

Here is a leaving photo of the wall of gelli prints.  I usually start these prints when I am feeling uninspired and it's a way of getting my eye back in and sometimes they make interesting backgrounds to my drawings.  I wonder how much my work will change when I am living in a completely different environment?  The lower prints are of a burdock leaf that I watched being eaten over a couple of days. They eat away at the leaf, so  only the veins remain, leaving a beautiful bit of lace.


Monday, 10 May 2021

Supernature No 2 is fast approaching.

Common Mallow, that cheered up the summer of 2020.  

I am exhibiting at this art fair on the weekend on May 22nd and 23rd. I would love to see friendly faces and would love it if you would come. It's been miserable and I think we should grasp every opportunity to socialise now! There's a great cafe on site and the gardens are lovely at this time of the year. The Constance Spry exhibition looks nice too. There is an opening, on the Friday night, although I can only invite 8 people. You can book for the PV and pay £6.00. 

Click on this link to book.  

I have made some new work.

Thursday, 22 April 2021

Works in progress and upcoming shows

 Spring is here and the sun is shining.  I've been busy in my studio.  Here are a few pics of some works in progress and some finished works.  I won't write much today, other than to say that I am again appearing at Supernature at the Garden Museum in May.  Hopefully this will be a jolly and sunny event to bring us out of the doldrums of the last year.   I will also be putting some work into the Lewisham Arthouse grand re-opening member's show.  Typically at the same time! It's called Resolution/Revolution

Friday, 19 February 2021

Golden Samphire - beautiful, yellow and summery.

Golden Samphire (Limbarda crithmoides)

On our many trips to the Thames Estuary, this is a plant I have taken many photos of.   It's bright yellow with yellow green succulent leaves and grows in large tufted clumps all over the area.  

Wikipedia says that it only grows on the Isle of Sheppey in the UK.  This isn't right, as when you google it, you find it grows in Wales and Dorset at least.  However, that said, it is prolific on Sheppey but also on the other side of the Thames Estuary around All Hallows and on the Isle of Grain.  

It's beautifully yellow and summery.  Apparently it can fertilise itself, but bees love it and help pollinate it too.  Great for when it's feeling lazy I suppose.  (OK that's not scientific).   

Like marsh samphire, which you can now buy in supermarkets and posh fishmongers, it can be eaten.  Obviously it's salty.  I have tried picking the leaves and eating them, and as you would imagine, it is like marsh samphire.  Next time I go to the Thames Estuary, which I hope won't be too long, I am going to pick some.  I might have to wait for summer, I suppose.  I will also ask permission and say thank you. (See previous post).  

I have been drawing this plant too.  And I am going to draw it some more.  It loves the muddy estuary and grows in marvellous large clumps - it has a tufted habitat!  It can grow up to 1 metre tall. 

Wednesday, 17 February 2021

When you pick blackberries, ask for permission and say thank you.

The top work is one I have written on.  I want to make into a book, as I have probably mentioned before.  I completed it the year before last.  The other pieces are waiting to be put together to make a whole.  Older works that I will use to create a bigger piece.  

The studio will be warming up now.  It's been warmer for about 3 days now!!  It was fridge temperature last week.  

So I've been thinking about our relationship with nature and have been reading this afternoon.  This blog doesn't make much sense, probably, it's a train of thought, and I have now found I need more                                               books and to do more reading.  Of course.  

I read this somewhere the other day.  I think somebody posted it on instagram.  Thought it was lovely.  It is by Nicolette Sowder.

May we raise children 

who love the unloved

things – the dandelion, the

worms and spiderlings.
Children who sense
the rose needs the thorn

& run into rainswept days
the same way they
turn towards sun…

And when they’re grown &
someone has to speak for those
who have no voice

may they draw upon that
wilder bond, those days of
tending tender things

and be the ones.

Have been listening to Robert McFarlane talking about language and the importance of how we speak about things, how words can under-value and disregard because of the language we use.  

I have mentioned this linguistic imperialism before after reading Robin Wall Kimmerer in Braiding Sweetgrass: "In English you are either a human or a thing. .... Where are our words for the simple existence of another living being?"   

Whilst reading about ecology and nature and the Anthropocene (an era in which humans have begun leaving a permanent imprint on the geologic record),  I have come across the word reciprocity again and again.  At first I couldn't even say it.  Even though I know what it means by looking at it, and as a human being, I like to think that I go through life with a reciprocal attitude, I hadn't thought of it in relation to the natural world. Always say thanks and give back in return for what you have taken.  To quote Robin Wall Kimmerer again: 

"Though the Earth provides us with all that we need, we have created a consumption-driven economy that asks, “What more can we take from the Earth?” and almost never “What does the Earth ask of us in return?”

 The premise of Earth asking something of me—of me!—makes my heart swell. I celebrate the implicit recognition of the Earth’s animacy, that the living planet has the capacity to ask something of us and that we have the capacity to respond. We are not passive recipients of her gifts, but active participants in her well-being. We are honored by the request. It lets us know that we belong."

This blog is me trying to get my head around where my work is going, I need some words for my prints.    We should be grateful to the world that gives to us daily.  

Climate chaos shows that we are not grateful, that we haven't given back but that we have taken and taken and taken.  Our lives depend on the gifts that the earth gives us. We need to clean up after ourselves and look after the world.  To restore what we have ruined.  The recent pandemic is a direct result of human beings eating stuff that shouldn't be eaten, thinking we are cleverer than nature and because our relationship to the land is broken.  We think we are exceptional as humans and are more deserving than other species and so we consume too much.  

Robin Wall Kimmerer suggests we make a linguistic switch and that we refer to other beings by name and by not using 'it'.  Might we adopt a grammar where we say he or she or kin? Kin is the plural word for our relatives. Kinship with every being.   Do not use 'it' unless it's for bulldozers!  

I have found some interesting stuff about language and nature.

Emergence Magazine is on line and worth a look at.  Lots of great stuff to read to listen to whilst you are doing your thing.

Other links I need to remember:

Thursday, 21 January 2021

Cutting out and re-arranging. Sharing work and making connections.


Back in the studio.  I always struggle with January, but of course this year, it's been even worse.  I have been reticent to go out into the continuous rain and sit in a dark cold studio.  However! Today the sun came out.  What a difference it makes.  I know I'm stating the bleeding obvious here. I was really happy to be there and was excited looking at work and realising that it was worth carrying on with.

Anyway, the whole world is in the same state, so I won't bang on about the terrible situation.  I'll just pour another glass of wine!!

I have mostly been sitting at home drawing hyacinths this month.  Today I went and tidied the studio and looked at what I have been doing and moved a few things about a bit.  Before Christmas I started another collage.  I enjoy using up prints that I don't think have worked, as I have said before, and have spent a couple of lovely hours cutting out wild geraniums (Meadow cranesbill) to use again in another way.  I love cutting out, using a scalpel and I have bought a new cutting mat too.  

Meadow cranesbill is one of my favourite early summer wildflowers.  The violet-blue flowers waving in the summer sun and wind are one of the best sights, as I am sure I have mentioned many times on this intermittent blog.  The bees love them and each year they come out in the wildlife garden at work and are covered in solitary bees that have come out of the little holes provided for them.  I always like to make a pilgrimage to Brockley and Ladywell Cemetery to find the clumps that grow there.  Talking about them now helps me realise that Spring is coming and we will get through this and out the other side.  

As with most wild flowers, Meadow Cranesbill has a medicinal use. It has antiseptic properties and was used to staunch bleeding wounds.  It was also used to relieve diarrhoea and dysentery.  I am disappointed that it doesn't seem to help with snake bites at all.  The Geranium oil that I love to use in the bath actually comes from the Pelargonium, I find. 

So now I am re-arranging prints and cut outs and I'd like some words to fit in there somehow.  

I have also re-arranged the work on the walls of my studio.  I have framed a piece (Golden Samphire, although this might not be the title ultimately) because we are going to have an in-house show at the arthouse, as the gallery is empty.  We were going to have a group show open to the public, but you know the score.   

We will put work on the walls and show other people what we are working on and see what others are up to.  We will try to make connections with each other and start conversations, visually or otherwise. 


Wednesday, 28 October 2020

Marmalade and my treasures from the Thames.

 Just been to Southwark Cathedral to see Treasures from the Thames.  Lots of lovely mudlarking finds on display, going back to medieval times.  It's amazing what the River Thames washes up.  You can see some of the treasures at this exhibition.

Enjoyed my morning out with Ruth and Rosey and how nice to visit an exhibition and we were very excited to eat delicious cake and drink tea in the cafe. Recommended!

 As I am drawing and researching estuaries and things, I was inspired to find out why I have found James Kieller Dundee Marmalade jar bits in the Thames Estuary.  Of course, googling provided the answer.  After starting in Dundee, the firm started a factory in Guernsey to avoid the sugar tax and when that was abolished they moved to Silvertown on the River Thames.  I found my bits right up near Grain so they had travelled a while.  Mind you they have had since 1888 to make their way there.  I also have a whole jar. This wasn't found by me, but was a Christmas present from Rosey Prince.  Lovely!

Below is a picture of Golden Samphire growing out of the mudflats of the Thames Estuary, up by All Hallows.  Might put this into the Arthouse group show.  Just off to arthouse to photograph and think on!

Monday, 5 October 2020

About my work. Pictures, packed and ready for Supernature


Most of the flowers I have drawn have been seen on various visits to lovely places around Britain. The lupins at the RSPB Minsmere were a sight to behold, the sanfoin from a little meadow (Hutchinson's Bank) I discovered near Croydon, of all places.  The blue geraniums are from the wildflower garden at work, the mallow, well from everywhere.  During August there wasn’t a place I visited that didn’t have mallow.  The Sweet William is a cheat.  I do have it in my garden, but I’ve also had it in a vase.  I’ve never seen White rosebay in the wild, but my friend Juliet has a marvellous display of it in her rather beautiful garden in Hampshire.  The crocuses come up every year in my garden.  The first bit of colour after the dark days.  They come up haphazardly all over the garden, I think the squirrels have replanted them and they are always a welcome sight. The promise of spring. 

 Each flower has a use and a story. They are food to us, the bees, butterflies and insects, or have healing properties that have been used for centuries.

 I cannot draw the plants without thinking about their survival.  They need pollinators. The solitary bee homes are there to remind us of this. 

 My work is a celebration of the relationship of the bees and the plants and of the sanctuary that gardens and meadows have provided to help these pollinators survive.

Thursday, 1 October 2020

This time I have included the useful website with phone number to book! 

Click on the above link to book tickets for this events.  Because of the boring apocalypse, you need a time slot.  No more the 'shall we just'..... or 'maybe we'll?'

Who you calling common?

Who you calling common?

starling sketches

starling sketches
Ongoing work...waiting for a breakthrough!

The Waters of March

The Waters of March

It's the joy in my heart.

It's the joy in my heart.

Collected Items

Collected Items
the broken, the wrinkled and the uneven