Friday, 29 July 2011

Ancient Floors

While visiting Cyprus back in the 90's
Mother came across the 
mosaic floors of the ancient city of Soli.

Thinking they would inspire me,
she took snapshots galore. 

And she was right...they still inspire me.

Imagine the feet that have trod these floors for 2,500 years
give or take a few.

Apparently the artisans of the time started with geometric patterns.

And as their skills grew, the moved on to flora and fauna.

The swan and the vines edging him.....just glorious.

But my favourite would be the pup
perhaps guarding the entrance to somewhere.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Disappearing Act

As you know Crow started off with solid conkers underfoot.
Didn't fit my vision of the story.
A few days ago I removed the appliqué and left the black outline stitching.
Now it looks like portholes...that's no good.

So poof......gone.....much better.
Now that organic cave wall effect has taken the spotlight.

Meanwhile stitchings...

or scratchings....


with gay abandon.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Yellow Bookends

Outside yellow unfurls in the garden.

On the deck fuchsia scraps make a cosy upscale nest.

A purplish sea to cool things down on a summer's day.

Speckles in a sea of........chaos perhaps.

And back to the garden where yellow abounds.

Monday, 25 July 2011


"Family Ties"
An intuitive painting about family
caring for and gaining strength from one another.
No more words today
just thoughts of families around this world of ours.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

One Thing Leads To another

Didn't know what to blog about.
Summer's heat is slowing things down.

Found this unfinished piece in my huge box of unfinished pieces.
I save every thread remnant.
Here they are caught beneath sheers.
Quite lumpy and bumpy.
Then stitched into....

...roots perhaps.
Brought to mind photos taken back in Dorset many years ago.

Roots travelling over an old stone wall
eagerly seeking nourishment somewhere.
This made me think of the even older hedgerows
in that part of the world.

Had to photograph a a reflection...but I like it.
The hedgerows in Dorset are ancient and surprisingly.
Deep within them and below the level of the surrounding fields you will find pathways 
worn down through the centuries by deer and badgers perhaps travelling from one
clearing or field to another.

So that's what you get when one thing leads to another!

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Sometimes I Lead Myself Astray

Sometimes it takes a few tries to work out how the story should be told.
Sometimes you get led down the wrong garden path.
Sometimes the story changes.

Celtic crow is on a wonderfully organic piece of wool blanket with a primitive feel to it.
Which by the way is a pleasure to stitch.
Left brain voice told me he should be grounded with some weight beneath him.
A row of conkers/pebbles were duly stitched along the bottom.
Looks too contrived to me...not the look I want...they will be removed.

So where to go next?

The wool makes me think of an ancient rock face.

As a participant in Jude's Magic Diaries class,
I am thinking a lot about stitch as marks from a moment in a lifetime.

Ancient rock faces are covered in markings recording
fleeting moments of the long life of this planet earth. 

The very DNA of birds such as Crow is marked with memories
that give them the instincts necessary for survival. 

I think he needs to be surrounded with stitched scratchings!

While typing this post, I suddenly noticed
the hint of another crow in the markings on the wool
and Celtic Crow is looking right at it!
Do you see it?

Gosh I love this process!
Sorry to be so wordy today.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

A Day of Memories

Hard to believe I wrote my first post one year ago today.
My soaring eagle cloth had just been started.
Steven was the eagle in our family.
We lost him 17 years ago today.
He was 21.

We love you and miss you oh so much.
Wishing we could all soar together again.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

A Patchwork of Stitchings

.....Oh, and a speckled feather too.

Been thinking of diaries
and how each entry records a moment in a lifetime.
A whole gathering of diary pages
would tell of the ebb and flow of a life...
the rhythm of a life.

There is a rhythm to stitching.
A much slower tempo than writing in a diary.
How to record a moment in a day in stitch
without it becoming a month-long project?
Perhaps there would be no capturing of images
just daily spontaneous stitching on cloth.
The type of stitch and colour of thread
might be enough to record the day.

Would each day be assigned a square of patchwork?
Or would all my days be jumbled together in a whole-cloth?

More questions than answers at the moment.

Friday, 15 July 2011

The setting sun lit up angry looking clouds last night.
I held my breath...
thinking it must be hard to breathe in those 
red, red clouds.

Talking of red...

In "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn"
Betty Smith
writes about six year old Francie learning to do "stitching" with
red embroidery cotton.

"Women passing would stop and cluck in pitying admiration at the tiny girl...pushing the needle in and out of the taut material while Neeley (her 3 year old brother) hung over her to watch the bright sliver of steel disappear like magic and then come back up again through the cloth........You were supposed to stitch a hundred or so of these squares and then sew them together to make a bedspread.  Francie heard that some ladies had actually made a bedspread that way and that was Francie's great ambition.  But though she worked intermittently on the square all summer, autumn found it only half done.  The bedspread had to be saved for the future."

Just made me smile.
The three year old boy noticing the steel not the thread.
Describing is as being magic....I'm participating in Jude's Magic Diaries...
where there is lots of talk about magic.
And last but not least Francie's bold ambition to make a bedspread.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Dressing a Crow

A friendly crow has strutted onto
a piece of wool blanket
that recently spent a few days wrapped around tree bark and tea bags.

He is in the process of telling me his story.
As far as I can tell
he has wandered under a huge chestnut tree
and someone is showering him with
horse chestnuts (conkers to some of us).

This will be for a show on spoonerisms.
The original phrase is "crushing blow"
which as a spoonerism is "blushing crow".

At the moment I'm dressing him.
The spirals and reddish thread were a surprise...
but he's supposed to be blushing and 
perhaps he has some Celtic blood in him.

The background will be covered in stitches that haven't identified themselves yet.
I'm working out how to make the teabag stains
look like conkers.
At least one of the conkers will be a spiral to match the handsome fellah.
Don't want to be too literal.
Right now I have to sit back
and listen to what the cloth wants done next.

This is going to be fun!

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Another Completion Ahead of the Deadline

If you know me you know how much I dislike enforced themes and deadlines!
This piece is to fit in a show called Pentimento way over there in BC.
In my mind it is not me at all...completely out of character.
No story of the natural world around me
just a collection of techniques trying to demonstrate layers.
I have called it "Under Construction".
It looks like a building site doesn't it!

Snippets of colour were caught under a sheer scarf.
Then layers of grids in various proportions were couched and stitched on top.

And a woven sample from years back offered another form of grid
to complete the piece.

Talking of things hidden under layers....
Do you see my rusty guardian of the strawberry patch
hiding beyond the poppies.
He might keep the birds away
but the chipmunks have no fear. 
They snatch about half the strawberries from right under the guardian's nose!

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Grasses Swaying in Summer Breezes

The grasses on the dike are as high as an elephant's eye...
well over 6ft.
And tall enough for rusty pups to disappear in and ambush
any unsuspecting human who might walk by.

Stitched fall grasses from around the pond.
I've stitched summer grasses too.
Couldn't find them to photograph.
Just remember they're wandering around galleries in Ontario at the moment!

Because we live in a watery place
marshland grasses grow on the edges of
Handy Hubby's manicured lawn.
This one's called porcupine sedge....very prickly.

Grasses like this spikerush grow around the pond.

At the moment a halo of white flowers is working
it's way up their heads.

Monday, 11 July 2011

A Story Complete

 Finally finished in plenty of time for the deadline.
To be called "Sandbank".

 Any self respecting sandbank would surely have driftwood...

 ...among it's flotsam & jetsam.

 About 21 x 24"
Hand dyed and rusted cotton.
It was the fabric that inspired this piece.
Machine and hand stitched.
Inspired by the blue

Friday, 8 July 2011

A Sunshiny Day

Sand under foot.
Water wrapped around ankles.
Waves lined up row upon row
waiting their turn to bask on sun-warmed sand.
Sea breezes clearing the mind.
Tidal rhythms matching the ebb and flow of our lives.


Thursday, 7 July 2011

Art in the Gardens

 Nestled in amongst the plantings at the gardens
was this "Fungus Tree" 
by ceramic artist  Alexis Doiron

 Surely this one would have been called a cabbage flower.

 My favourite was "Adam and Eve in the Gardens of Annapolis Royal"
by Dawn McNutt

But really nothing can beat Mother Nature and her burls!

No time for stitching with a house full of visitors.
I snatch time to post but apologies for not responding  to your much appreciated comments.
We are off to cool  down on the Fundy shore today.
Funny....last week I was snuggling in warm sweaters!