Friday, 30 March 2012

On the moon

 I know, I know, these are all sideways etc. But I haven't been over the Humber Bridge in quite a few days, weeks even, since D fixed the puncture and I wasn't sure the wheel would stay on. (I don't normally trust the mechanics of my bike to anyone less than an engineer who can mend Tornado aeroplanes.) T'owd man was MOST offended at my initial lack of faith in him, and I must say, the wheel did stay on.

So when I finally got to ride there and back, it was inevitable that I would screeeeech to a halt and have to take a pic. And another screeeeech. And another. Then when I looked at them back at home I thought "I don't remember going to the moon, but I must have done". Like this, the water seems to swirl a bit more, and they seemed to work as abstract pics. One day I'll manage to get there and back without taking a picture. But not yet for a while, I think. You don't have to look at all of these; somehow I just got a bit obsessed with playing with them, cropping etc. Don't blame me if you get dizzy.

Evil Seamstress at work

They say people are contructing false personas for themselves on Facebook; that they are just inventing themselves as anything they want to be. What a good idea! What's not to like about it? Was life ever any different anyway? Sure we'll cope.

Be afraid.
Dr Who is getting a new companion, it says in the Radio Times. Of course, they have not yet trumpetted my own role as the leader of a newly discovered evil empire. I'm going to be the Evil Seamstress, with pincushion punishments lined up for sinners. My army of Facelesss Cats is going to take over the known universe. The Stitch Police will be out there checking to see if anyone does any stitch which is malformed in any way and not properly spaced. No-one will ever be more than 15 feet away from one of the Faceless Cats, who will operate underground. People will come to dread appearing at the Chequered Tablecloth.

I slept about 9 hours last night, after falling alseep twice yesterday. The Evil Seamstress puts a lot of effort into her operations; windsurfing has nothing on it in terms of the energy drained. I'm working on Ps 104, in which Leviathan takes centre stage in a subversive way.  He's a valued part of creation, representing chaos, which has a rightful place in the grand scheme of things (glad to hear that). He is 'God's rubber duckey', there to play. See Arthur Walker-Jones 'The Green Psalter; Resources for an Ecological Spirituality' where these observations are made. The poetry of this psalm, he says, 'portrays a world similar to that described by modern ecology - abundant, diverse, interrelated and independent.' You can see the launch of this book in 2009 here: Green psalter book launch . Even before I read his comments, I had organised a green ground to be the starting point for this effort. Success is not guaranteed, but it will have to do. An embroiderer's life is never easy; there's the hand of God in there, several hands in fact, meant to be holding out some kind of wheaty food, and it has turned out looking like flowers, or perhaps we could think of lemon jellies or custard tarts that God is ready to throw at us. Purple-headed flaming mountains, and creatures of darkness, and destructive flames for sinners are all there.

But there are some writers who can do much better art than I can, getting a picture straight into the brain of the reader with no need for messy paints or anything. Artur Weiser in mid-20thC wrote of Ps 104 that poetically it is ' of the most beautiful in the Psalter. The relation of this nature-hymn to the story of creation in the first chapters of Genesis is like that of a coloured picture to the clear lines of a woodcut.'

It's very dry here, undoubtedly drought has set in - so if you read this, please put out some fresh water every day for the birds, even if you don't put out food for them. It's the least we can do, whatever the cause might be of the world of Ps 104 being a bit messed up now.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Viv's lead role in Dr Who.

I laughed at the idea of a blog post being 'late'; but what time do you call this, Mrs Rowett?? I haven't forgotten; I've just been busy filming with Dr Who, and you can see here how I am playing a lead role as leader of an evil empire, where the precise placing of an embroidery stitch is all that matters. Anyone who gets a stitch a bit to one side, a bit too long/short, or too tight/slack, wrong colour even by a micro-hue, will suffer the consequences. Pull it out and do it again, that is, just like I do. Which is why blogging is a bit infrequent just now.

I'm really busy with this exhibition, and sometimes work a 12 hour day, leaving precious little energy over for saying much here. If I have any readers left, sorreeeeeeeee! I will try to do better. But I need to get to bed now with my book on Kumihimo so that I can get to work on Leviathan asap. But I took a bit of time out to do a day course on felting at the Ropewalk with Wendy Chan. I made this necklace out of Wensleydale. No silly, it did not melt and run down my front - Wensleydale WOOL! But the sheep had obviously been in some dip first.

Friday, 9 March 2012

"De-clutter your life"

This says everything about why my house is a little stuffed. Verbot. Who he?
Currently (for the last few decades anyway) residing on one of our windowsills, In Case One Of The Boys Wants It.

So I woke this morning full of Intent. Intent to 'declutter my life' and all that. This meant staying in bed way beyond the normal time to do research by laptop. All those websites to trawl through. I'm exhausted. None of them told me the obvious thing - so unhelpful - 'Get out of bed first'.

Compost lurks
But I have not been totally idle. The other day I even decluttered the compost bin, well one of them. Our garden contains many heaps. The compost corner at the far end is larger than most Barrett house gardens. But we have this 'food compost bin' closer to hand to which I trot in mi dressing gown most days, sometimes in the dark hoping I'll find it, as it's slightly hidden behind a bush. Here it is in all its glory - the plastic bin has been lifted off top-wards to reveal about 2 years' worth of potato peelings, and a lot of egg shells which are still intact and make the whole thing very pretty, a better collage than I could ever make. Delving in, I found as usual a lot of very warm and happy little worms. Poor things, I ejected them into the night air. I hope they burrowed down before they caught a chill. The night air? Yes, I have to begin gardening about an hour before nightfall, because I have an addictive personality. That way, I have to stop gardening after a short time, i.e. when it gets dark, instead of starting at 9 am and doing it all day because all of a sudden 'this is all I ever wanted to do with my life.!'

Psalm 65
So I have done other things too, and one of them was to start the day making some Psalm 65 fabric for the 'gateway of the morning'. Then after a few cups of coffee I was able to move on to the 'tumult of the people'. Here are all the fabrics for Ps 65 assembled, and they will be transformed into the secret things I'm making for my exhibition in November in Southwark cathedral teashop. Oooh, I'm nervous! Textiles on display, and all those sticky fingers and 'Oooh, just feel this - it's all knobbly/smooth/velvetty!'

Homage to Klee
The tumult of the peoples
Yes, there is a bit of Klee in there, and here it is in all it's 'ripped-off' glory, a sort of edited version painted onto some stiff cloth prior to cutting out. No, I'm not ripping off, I'm paying homage, it's meant  to look like Klee. Then there is the Tumult in preparation, before it has been calmed by God. Something of the 'can of worms' about it.

Oooh [a word I over-use, I know] - all that activity! I ought to 'get on'.

[What do you mean, "You've done nothing today"? I've done this!]

Friday, 2 March 2012

Hockney, Lincolnshireness and the Psalms.

There are two sorts of woman, those who wash foil and those who don't. That was just a thought that came to me this evening while I was washing up. I'm the sort that washes it in the hope of getting a second and even a third use out of it rather than throwing it away.

Early stages
Hockney cloth complete
This is of no relevance to anything, and Viv is quite weary these days, what with all the effort of lying in bed in a morning and waiting for inspiration to strike. I know, Hockney says 'Inspiration: she does not visit the lazy'. He's a morning person, and I'm sure he'd understand that there are certain states of mind that have to be treated with respect, and that's what I'm doing at such times, and it works for me. I'm not lacking in inspiration just now; it's the putting it down on cloth that really wears me out, and the other day I was busy making clothes for hills - crocheting some pink - (see Psalm 65:12) while watching Andrew Marr talk to David Hockney about his current exhibition The Bigger Picture at the RA. which if you don't already know about, you probably live down a hole and will not be reading this. So I was busy making joy-clothes for hills, when it happened that under the influence of Hockney, the pink clothes turned into the furrows of the hills themselves. This influenced the way the whole thing developed, and I ended up with a multi-coloured piece, and the feeling that Psalm 65 must be Hockney's psalm, so exuberant it is.

I know, what is this 'Hockney cloth' for anyway? It's for my secret project which will be revealed to the world in November, and for which I'm beavering away almost every day.
The abhorred vacuum

But I was seriously knocked off balance earlier that day when I'd leapt out of my mid-morning bath with a sudden Lenten wish to vacuum the whole of the upstairs, and the stairs, etc etc. By the time I'd done this, emptied the thing twice, all shred of creativity had fled, which just goes to show the wisdom of the approach I outline above. The only thing that sustained me was noticing the different colours of the layers of dirt that filled the thankfully see-through vacuum cleaner; a very Hockney thing to do, mmm? The fine silty stuff is from the stairs, second pass with the hand tools.

Anatomically correct, at least.
 Anyway, it struck me what a wonderful thing Hockney has done in putting E Yorks on the map; maybe not totally wonderful, as some of the resulting tourists are inexplicably leaving a nasty mess of rubbish behind in their quest to go see the source of beauty. Odd. But I thought, 'Could I do something for Lincolnshire?' Maybe it has already been done; there are some fine artists around here. So when we went for the once-a-week dose of pure hedonism of walking 12 miles across flat windy featureless terrain on a grey day, I took a few pics in celebration of some of the things that make this place so desirable. So brace yourself for a fest of Lincolnshireness. It wouldn't be normal for me not to end by including something of the muddy bank along which we live too.