More gardens of the heart

In the end I decided on, ‘each footstep mutes a cricket’ to embroider as my line, line 3 of a poem yet to be completed by adding to two other lines by other embroiderers. See more about this in my last post. Since that post, I have changed the first word. My first idea was ‘every footstep mutes a cricket’ but ‘each’ sounds so much more like a footstep, doesn’t it?

The embroidery is done by machine. And the colouring with dye made from acrylic paint with the addition of a medium. I’m not really a fabric worker, obviously. But, also obviously, that hardly matters. Now I am looking forward to the show.

Gardens of the heart

everywhere, the flowers of grief

in the darkness of eyelids

an unfurling leaf

the pale day-time moon

a newborn on the old man’s chest

a sapling in a pool of light

on the ancient earth under stars

the slow deep song of stone

a half-forgotten lightness of being

dreaming of ancient footprints

it’s not as if the sun or moon mentioned you

every footstep mutes a cricket

autumn wind disentangling thoughts

dry reeds shuffle moonlight

dark trees toss the cold end of day

this moment, this moment

Looking to create a single line of poetry, (or find one of my existing ones) to be the last line of a three line poem, the first two lines of which will be written by other people who also don’t know what the other lines will be.

These are some of the possibilities that I’m contemplating. But don’t they look great as a group? I keep rearranging them. If I’m not careful, they will become an actual fee verse poem. Just now they feel like a number of small poems, but I really only need one line.

I am preparing to produce an embroidery of the line as part of a collaborative exhibition, called Gardens of the Heart, a brainchild of India Flint. I’m not sure how many people are involved but lots and from all around the world.

The participants have been allocated a line (one, two or three) and are asked to embroider dots at the beginning of their line to denote that. Once they have all arrived they will be sewn together into three lines and each poem will be hung in  space on clothes lines or some such (in March 2019, at the Lobethal Mill). Flowers will also be hung in the space.

Here is a link to the Facebook page. India is contemplating closing it soon, as the embroideries have to be posted by 22 December, but at the moment it’s still open to join in. And here is India’s website. Her work is wonderful in the full meaning of the word.

(The embroidery above is by my mum. At least that’s what she told me. My older sister said, ‘Surely not! She never showed the slightest interest in embroidery.’ I told her how I was forced to hand-stitch a pair of underpants (read bloomers) when I was at school while the boys did woodwork, something I am still sore about to this day. Perhaps this beautiful thing cured my mum of the desire to ever embroider again?)

I’d better decide on a line and get onto it! If you had to choose one of my lines above, which would it be?


Ink and mess-making demonstration

So. Did my Artist in Residence spot yesterday. What does one demonstrate? It needs to be something that you can do and talk at the same time and that is not necessarily easy because while one is using the spacial areas of the brain it is really hard to talk. That’s why, while driving, if someone cuts you off or does something funny, you have to stop talking.

So I decided to play around with ink. Abstracts and mark making, what it does well and what different types of ink, blotters and paper can do.

And then of course is the masterpiece that is the blotting paper. Sometimes more interesting than the intended things.

but this, actually, sums up the idea behind the day:

and that’s not a complaint. I love being a performing seal. (Thanks Warick, per kind favour Rose, for the wording)

What Fun! Big Draw Lobethal

What a day, what a weekend! The opening of our Big Draw Lobethal drawing festival was today. Here is Veronica Osborn-Jefferis’s beautiful hands as she draws on fabric with a sewing machine.

And some of her display pieces:

Meanwhile everyone got into wall drawing, charcoal in this case:

Here are some of Joshua Lamborn’s drawings in metal:

And Barbara Millward’s drawing of a hand in wire:

What wonderful line.

Melinda Rankin, who is the new director of the art and heritage space, was our opening speaker. She talked (among other things) of how we draw naturally when we are children, and often lose our confidence somehow. But that it is an innate urge, that kids will do it with whatever is at hand: textas, ‘flour-covered hands’. Here in Melinda in full swing, urging us all to, ‘ Go play!’

There will be four more weekends, different Artists in Residence each week. Demonstrations of blacksmithing next weekend (22nd and 23rd Sept) and again two weekends later. And various workshops. Yesterday I did Tammy Pahl’s workshop that combines drawing with yoga. So much fun, I can’t stop smiling when I think about it. We got seriously and hilariously grubby.

She will have a workshop for kids and their adults later. Next week Anne Griffiths will run one for kids where they can all dance and draw to music. I want to do that one but apparently I am not a kid!

The workshops are not all for kids though, Julia Wakefield will hold two for adults, a life drawing class and one that she calls, ‘Drawing for the Terrified’. And Zinia King will enable participants to draw their ‘Anthropomorphic Australian Animal’. She is holding a class for adults and one for children.

And there is lots to see and do, everyday of each weekend.

Links to workshops here

And other info here

the pointy end

After many years of drawing, one’s marks get very clever, swish, known, predictable. I want them to be raw, vital, primal, with the character of something coming into the world for the first time, as if they were innocent, exploratory, finding themselves. I want them to brim with vital life force.

So many contradictions in this aim. They are, of course, coming into the world for the first time. They are not reproductions. Also, surely, if you are striving for innocence, it can be nothing but contrived?
Well yes, but you can work in some new way, exceptionally slowly, or fast, or use an implement that, by its very nature, cannot produce a known result. That’s why I make silly brushes out of reeds and dogs’ hair, and feathers that are too oily to hold ink. Also why I love accidental mark, blind mark, and mark made with the whole body, the marks of a nervous system.

I began the 30 Days of drawing with no particular aim, but hoped that this concerted period of time drawing would help me define a direction of interest for my art, so it would be more focused and less diverse. I hoped I would find something (a theme or method) that I could focus on. A direction. That hasn’t worked. I want to do a different thing every day, every moment, even! But there are a lot more figurative works and less non representational abstracts in the mix than I expected. (More figurative not in this photo)

I have discovered that I hate drawing from a subject unless I find it interesting. It needs to be fun, loved, unusual or macabre.

Drawing is a good way to pass time and it calms anxiety. It is like a mindful retreat.

You learn a lot about a subject by drawing it. There is a sort of intimacy in the act. Also I respect the subject more afterwards. Drawing is like an act of worship.


We are at the pointy end of this process. I need to have my work ready to submit at the end of the week, named and catalogued, artist statement etc. I seriously dislike business.

Brain oozing out

A bit inundated lately. I feel like the guy on the right; my brain oozing out.

Still, I’m enjoying this notebook that I’ve been keeping for the 30 days of drawing. It’s longer than thirty days now. Usually I go through a notebook in less than thirty days but this one is mostly drawing. It will be on display. That’s new. My notebooks are usually quite private.

The one in the left was done while watching TV. Right hand one is from Kasia Tons’ wonderful embroidered masks. Have a look at her work on Amazing stuff.

Ink and handmade brushes and nibs. Very yummy fun.

We’re getting to the pointy end of this process. I can’t wait to see everyone’s work on the walls.

If you’re a Facebooker (and even if you aren’t) look up Big Draw Lobethal. Some of the other participants work is up there.