Friday, 28 February 2014

In my childhood sparrows were one of the commonest small birds. Their easy companionable chatter just a part of everyday life. Some ten years ago or so I began to notice that I hardly ever saw one and their demise as a family has been noted by various wildlife groups. 
So it gives me great satisfaction to have a small flock using the hedge that borders my front garden as one of their flock sites. This morning as the sun was shining a male and female were gently chirruping to each other in the elder tree on the opposite side. Things like this make me feel like life is more than well worth living.    

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

I'm only going to mention the books I really enjoy on my blog but it seems a good place for me to make note of them. And if anyone looks at my blog who isn't me they might be inspired to read them. So the latest is Life of Pi by Yann Martel (pub Cannongate) which won the man booker prize some years ago and was turned into a film which I saw at the beginning of last year. I really loved the film, but the book is even better. 
I thought I'd jot down a brief excerpt and a sentence, just a couple of the many lines and ideas that resonated with me and gave me pause for thought.

"All living things contain a measure of madness that moves them in strange, sometimes inexplicable ways. This madness can be a saving; it is part and parcel of the ability to adapt. Without it, no species would survive." - page 41

"What a terrible thing it is to botch a farewell" - page 285 

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

I couldn't wait to look at my bottled cloth. I think if I'd been more patient the eucalyptus leaves would have made clearer darker imprints and that could have been nice. However, I do have a pretty piece of  roughly blotched and lined nude-pink and grey silk which is quite pretty. And certainly interesting enough for me to want to have another try. Below are some pictures. The linen ties took on some colour and were just tight enough to leave wavy lines on the cloth that look a little like arashi shibori, particularly at the top.


Sunday, 16 February 2014

Another book. I think I may be documenting my good reads on my blog. High River by Colin Oliver (pub Downstream Press) is a slim volume of poetry. It resonates with me because it seems to be set in Suffolk, and much of the landscape feels familiar from some many years I spent walking the highways and byways and river paths around Bungay. The poems feel like rippling memories. They call me to a home that held me well for a while, and that once I loved. It is sweet to recognise my feelings, my being, my noticings, in someone else's words.   

Thursday, 13 February 2014

My garden, my solace, my source and my sanctuary, is beginning to flower a little more everyday. There are lots of snowdrops and violets. The primroses and daffodils are in bud. I have a few clumps of hellebore and aconites. And the first blossom on the early cherry plum is opening in today's sunshine. Flowers are balm for the heart. And year in year out they follow a similar cycle from which I get a sense of the infinite, of the on and on, and round and round, of the smallness of being and the greatness of being, of a continuum in which I am as important and unimportant as any other being, flora or fauna. I like that thought very much. 

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Another book recommendation - The Testament of Mary by Colm Toibin - it is visceral and not for the faint hearted but each word counts. And the spaces between the words, the gaps, the words unsaid also count. It is a dark and lonely story that recounts the familiar tale of jesus christ's life through his mother's eyes. It is told with a brutal honesty that is compelling and bears witness to hard things with an integrity that fits a modern need for stripped down truth. Five out of five stars. 

Friday, 7 February 2014

I just watched the ted talk with this guy. At the end he spoke this piece and it made me cry. Sometimes if I come across something on video that is unutterably beautiful I put it on my blog so I can find it if I want, or need, to see it again. Or if I think that the odd person who drops into my blog, which is a kind of journal I guess, might like it. I think this is one of those films that changes lives. Big love to Shane Koyczan for putting it out there.  

Monday, 3 February 2014

So I put a jar in India Flint's Pantry If you check out the blog, you can see she has created a place for all the people who have been inspired by her work to put their jars of fabric, fruit and leaves and whatever else. I get emails telling me when someone has put something in the store-cupboard and it's fascinating to see what folks are doing. I kept mine quite basic  as it's the first one I've done, but other people have made up much more exotic concoctions. I do recommend taking a look, it's great to observe how differently each person responds to one small, simple original idea. Thankyou India Flint. 

Saturday, 1 February 2014

On wednesday, I walked to the local university and the surrounding park to drop off a piece of work I'd made for the SIFA fundraising auction It was bitterly cold but I like walking and I took the opportunity to look at the regular collection at the SCVA- Sainsbury Centre - while I was there. 
I have a tendency to be too intense and introspective so it was a real tonic to look at the amazing work which is displayed there and is so easily accessible. It's a collection with real soul. I realised how important it is to look for inspiration outside of myself. I came home with new ideas and notions for making, and feeling really glad to have such a great resource on my doorstep.
The UEA is a building I have loved since I was a child. My father used to work here in the biochemistry department. I remember several visits to his office, I liked the labyrinth of walkways and the feeling of being lost but safe. So for old times sake I took a photo from the bridge that links the University to the SCVA which was built some 20 years later.