The Owl and The Pussy Cat

The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea In a beautiful 'red and white'(!) boat, They took some honey, and plenty of money, Wrapped up in a five pound note. The Owl looked up to the stars above, And sang to a small guitar, 'O lovely Pussy! O Pussy my love, What a beautiful Pussy you are, You are, You are!What a beautiful Pussy you are!'

Edward Lear

Monday, 22 August 2011

Lots of wooly stuff

So, I have lots of things I should be doing for Open Studios, but instead I'm gadding about at Fibrefest, which was at Bicton College over the weekend and was utter heaven for a fibreaholic. Luckily I didn't take too much money so only bought some shetland wool, some alpaca, and a  knitted mermaid, and came home with lots of inspiration.
peg loom weaving

more peg loom weaving
 And the most amazing knitted thing I've ever seen. A huge inside and out sculpture of the Devonshire coastline...all knitted, with cliffs, water, seagulls, fishermen, pebbles, everything. It is a project that was devised by Alison Murray (link to her blog when I've got more time..), and I was in a hurry to get to a talk,so almost ran round! I'd love to see it again. They were raising money for the RNLI, a charity we are keen to support in view of our future sailing plans (er..nothing much happening there at the moment but we live in hope)
Above and below the Waves

not a brilliant photo, but you get the idea

Fishy bunting

RNLI boat, this pic's forthe lovely Peter
 who collects for them regularly
And so the next exciting thing is..
oooh...what's this..


lots of bits..

Some help from Vince..

and I have my own spinning wheel..
I borrowed a wheel from my mum and then she said she had this one in a box in the loft, so it's my early birthday present...or maybe a late wedding present? And now I have to resist it for a few weeks while I work on my patchwork garden, my patchwork cloth, my books, and my 'proper' job of looking after peoples gardens. Oooh but can't I just spin a little bit of the shetland wool...or try dying some and then spinning it?! And have I got time to make a peg loom?!

Saturday, 20 August 2011

'Art', (and a bit of sewing)

I did an art degree a few years ago, but I'm always more comfortable calling myself a craftsperson. Part of me would like to have the confidence to say that some of what I do is art, or should that be 'Art'. People tell me I'm 'creative', which always feels slightly closer to the 'Art' thing.
For several years I've been involved with West Town Farm near Exeter. It's a working farm that produces beef and pork. On the farm are the offices of Organic Arts which promotes the arts and rural issues. I help out on open days, teach book workshops, show school children round the farm and help with playdays and playgroup visits in other locations, some paid, some unpaid.
Organic Arts takes part in the Devon Open Studios event each year, and artists are invited to exhibit at the farm. Last year I bottled out and just made some nice farm related books and displayed them, staying safely in the 'craft' zone. This year the theme is growth, and I'm doing something more wacky, that I'm going to have to call 'Art' even though it will only fit into what people think of as art if they've been to art college because it's not conventional painting or sculpture. So, having made all my excuses I'll show you some pictures of the 'Art' in progress.
It's based around the ideas of patchwork, as a symbol of the patchwork of our lives, patchworks of fields, gardens, lah de dah and all that lovely artspeak stuff...

................a patchwork garden and some patchwork flowers

my choice of site at the farm


and sowing

bags of soil and compost

the start of my patchwork garden

the start of my patchwork flowers

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Dartmoor Arts and Folk Festivals

Weeks ago (3 in fact) we had Liz and Antony staying, from Glasgow and Liverpool respectively. They were taking part in 'Dartmoor Arts Week' which is a whole week of art classes including printing, storytelling, photography and others and is all centered around a village just down the road from us. Antony and Liz were doing the drawing class, which was a different tutor each day and involved doing challenging stuff like drawing shadows, drawing with thread and mimicking each others drawing styles. I've been considering treating myself to the course one year, but it sounds too much for me, especially when there's a talk or event on every evening as well. I went to the storytelling and song evening on  the Wednesday which was absolutely wonderful.
They were both very lovely to have around for the week.

Vince, Me, Antony and John, our lodger.

Antony not only bought us a bunch of flowers when he left, he also let me keep this wonderful picture that he did.

Antony's pin and thread picture of a barn
We've also been doing festivals again..
Folk festivals to be specific, lots of music, singing, dancing, drinking....and strange costumes!
First a day out at Sidmouth Folk Festival on 4th August..

Buskers in Sidmouth doing really great jazzy stuff

Morris dancers everywhere

Vince having a beer and a chat with a statue!
image courtesy of our friend David
Then a long weekend (6th & 7th) stewarding at the Dartmoor Folk Festival , which is only half an hours drive from us.

'Mariners Away' our local sea shanty group

South Zeal high street with bunting galore

a visit from Padstow Hobby Horse (or 'obby 'oss)

Vince on stewarding duty,
cold enough to have to wear my new hat!

and finally we came home
and camped in our field for a few days and the sun shone
And now I think I'm almost up to date with holiday stuff, just a bit of 'ART' to deal with next....eeek

Sunday, 14 August 2011


Just a couple of little things, while I work on gathering together some images and writings on other stuff that we've been up to.
Here's me (with very short hair) in a pair of crazy patchwork trousers I made some time ago. I'm pretty fond of crazy patchwork.. what does that say about me?

Crazy patchwork trousers
And here's some less crazy sewing I've been doing
A bit of embroidery on one of my HAND MADE BOOKS banners

And some less crazy patchwork that's part of a bigger project..
Grandmothers flower garden

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Lots of sewing

So, lots of exciting things been happening, where do I start?
Vince was away for a whole day and evening last week, so I took the opportunity to make a terrible mess in the sitting room

assisted by the cat of course
 I pretty well tipped most of the contents of my textile collection on the floor and had a bit of a sewing spree. I've always wanted a 'Welcome' banner over the door. You can see the beginnings in the above picture, and it currently looks like this

do you like the toes..for a sense of scale?!
 It's a bit dull at the moment, needs more flowers/colour somewhere...into the 'Work In Progress' box with it...
I hung up my 'handmade books' banner to think about it

Hmm, I think I'll put scalloped trim on it...but I didn't get any further than this...more W.I.P.
And in case you think I didn't get anything finished I finally put the zip in the patchwork skirt, which was easier than I thought AND I replaced the broken zip in Vince's fleece jacket with a 'reclaimed' one from another fleece which I picked up cheap and didn't like much.
I think I'll put zips in more things now...thank you again Ren for nagging me!,

fleece and skirt with new zips

Then I went completely mad and made a hat. I'm not a great hat wearer and I don't know what came over me, I just saw the pattern in an old magazine and I was away

I crazy patchworked the pattern pieces with the sew...

...and flip, technique. This is the band of the hat

Top and band ready to sew together

It's a bit 'tall' at this stage!

brim ready to sew on

lined and finished the following day

and it's reversible too!

As I say, I'm not much of a hat wearer, I'll probably give it to someone who likes it one day. If anyone would like the pattern and instructions I could share them with you sometime. Might have to put them in the snail mail as I 'm not sure my technological skills are up to putting that sort of thing on 'tinternet yet.
Last week we had two students staying who were taking part in 'Dartmoor Arts' week,
....and my mum has lent me a spinning wheel
....and I'm working on a website for Vince with images of all the lovely carpentry and building work he does..
so much to tell you about..
and finally....
 I think I may be suffering from a little bit of 'caravan envy', look at this

I belongs to Ren and it makes ours look a bit dull
Go here to see them transforming it..