Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Cabinet of curiosities

I have long been inspired by the work and collections of American artist Mark Dion. Having seen his 'Tate Thames dig' at the Tate Modern, beautifully displayed in a Victorian collectors cabinet, I have wanted a similar collection myself. I along with all mudlarks and beach combers have one thing in common, the need to scavenge on a river's edge or along the coast line for curiosities. Looking for the unusual, beautiful or just something useful.

Living by the sea and indeed on a small island, my daily dog walks are always spent scrambling over the rocks (if not in the sea) looking for bits and pieces. The weather is changing and finally in November I think we can say good bye to Summer and are due the first of the winter storms and high winds this week, which should produce some big seas. In turn the big waves should wash up a whole treasure trove of driftwood, shells, stones and all manner of things to be gleaned.
My collection is growing fast and is already taking up too much space on my small shelf. I need to make a special display case (probably out of driftwood) to show them off, all lined up neatly. To add to the bits I have found I have also been given some beautiful and unusual pieces that add interest to the collection.

 I have a whale bone, a dragon fly, sea urchin shells, cowrie shells, stones with holes in, heart shaped stones, egg shells dyed with plant dye, a fossil cockle, a sharks tooth, a mother of pearl fish, a manilla (slave currency  in the form of a bronze bangle) and 3 buddha's, one ivory (old), one jade and one sandlewood.

My textile hanging is coming along. I have been working on it for nearly a month now. Every day I spend a couple of hours sewing. I love it. Very medatative ! I am not rushing to finish. I have now sewn down all the edges and will soon begin to work on the detailing. A little gold silk has crept into the gaps, I guess in the style of  Kintsukuroi - mending with gold-


I have used scraps of vintage linen, embroidered cotton, silk, handmade gozitan lace and many other collected textiles. I love the way there is no order to it, it's very intuitive and very wabi-sabi.

Next project, I have some suitable china to use for this !

Friday, 30 October 2015

It's a boro (ed) thing

I can feel a winter of sewing coming on. I have a desire to make a textile panel using the ancient Japanese folk cloth idea of patching and mending old textiles called boro. You can read a bit about boro here. Shabby textiles became works of art, the more stiched and mended it became the more interesting the fabric. Sashiko stitching on the antique boro fabrics became an art form and in true wabi sabi style these old textiles became precious.
Anyway I am going to have a go myself. The backing is an old fine egyptian cotton sheet and the patches are scraps of linen and cotton. Some with embroidery and old lace pieces made here on Gozo. It may take months to finish but the winter here is just the time to do this.

First day's work

Some of my boro skirts can now be found in my Etsy Shop

I will be adding some of my small paintings on here soon too.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

It's been a while !

It's been a busy few weeks. A change in the weather has brought cooler air, but with that come the flies ! My family and other animals have been out to stay with me. A lovely week catching up on all the news and just generally enjoying some 'old times'. More to come this month !
A day in Malta ended up at Ghar Lapsi, a picturesque cove where the water is as clear as glass and the marine life abundant. A lovely morning's snorkeling.

Petra and I spent some time holding day intuitive painting and collage workshops. Apart from our 'Art holidays' we facilitate individual tuition. A pared down version of our residential weeks and held in our studio. Check out Studio 38 website for details.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Workshop dates

Forthcoming dates for this Autum:
1 week stay hosted in a comfortable traditional 400 year old farmhouse set on the idyllic and inspiring Mediterranean island of Gozo. Four days of art and soul exploration,
October 5th arrive for welcome supper 
Workshop starts 9.30am 6th October
November 9th arrive for welcome supper
Workshop starts 9.30 10th November 

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Self publishing and wet Wales

Whilst investigating self publishing I came accross this charming book featuring the work of Sid Burnard. A sculptor living in Borth - West Wales - a place I used to spend a lot of time as a child. Coincidentally he is married to a second cousin of mine, who I have never met ! I love Sid's use of driftwood and how he can turn not very inspiring peices of flotsom into something truly lovely and often whimsical. 
The photographs are particularly lovely and reminiscent of fabulous holidays spent wrapped in blankets, sheltering  in the dunes on a windy Welsh summer's day. 
You can also watch a video of Sid on youtube.... here
A wonderful story of how to use your eyes and see creative potential in everything. Nice. Very inspiring. 

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Where am I going ?

This question was posed by one of the posts in my blog list (left hand bar),
Good question. Does it matter that I don't know right now ?
My days generally start with an early morning dog walk, If I have anything pressing to be done in the day I like to get it done first thing. The rest of the day is dominated by moving my painting or creative work forward. The day usually culminates in more dog walking or swimming and a catch up with friends. That's it.
I try not to plan too much and like to allow the day to sort itself out, itself. My life to sort itself out. It usually does.

So here we go, a morning of playing arounsd with glazes.

Out to sea

Xwejni bay

Looking to Libya

Under Xlendi Tower

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Chicken memories

Santa Marija, mama mia !    For two weeks in August the whole of Malta is on holiday, 90% (slight exaggeration but you get my drift) of them come to Gozo for the biggest festa of the year. Two weeks of fireworks and celaebration culminates in this weekend. The highlight for me is a small agricultural show. Not quite the Royal Suffolk but a pretty good turn out of all the local breeders and jam makers.
I used to love the shows in the UK, the kids were always very excited about the unusual animals and birds on show. We usually found something to take home. As a result we had many chickens, ducks, ferrets etc on the farm. It was  joy this morning to kind of relive that. My daughter used to keep a diary of the many chickens we had, she called it 'Chicken memories' and it was full of their unusual names, feathers, photos and descriptions. Joy.

 Held in the Villa Rundel gardens in Victoria.

There were prizes for the best jams, fruit, veg, basket making, wine making, traditional tools and all the things you would expect a farming community to produce. There was also an art exhibition with paintings on many different subjects. 
These two caught my eye, first and second prize in what I can only think must be the 'Weird subject matter' category !!

Lots of livestock competitions and much disputing over the prize winners. 
All good fun.