Monday, 25 August 2014

Busy playing.

I finished the rune book cover with a rub of copper gilding wax and was very relieved when the pages went in fairly evenly.
I now have to decide what to do with the spine.  Shall I leave it alone or do something decorative with it?

I am going on another of Frances Pickering's weekend courses shortly, and to get myself in the mood for the approaching one I folded a long strip of paper and made this tiny accordian book with a doodled sketch along it's length and a couple of lines from a poem by William Wordsworth.  The theme for the workshop is the written word and we are to work in black and white, though they can be mixed to produce grey, and we are allowed one accent colour.
I am hoping to work with lines from John Clare's works as I love the countryside and trees in particular.
But I do have a terrible tendency to change my mind at the last minute and do something completely different.   I shall find out on the day!

I look round at my overstuffed workroom and decided that I either need to throw a lot more stuff away or start using it all.   As I can't bear to part with any more I have made a start.  Here are the first pages of an altered book.  The book was 50p from a charity shop and I gessoed the pages before spraying them with coloured inks and when dry I stuck the torn top layers of paper serviettes on top.  I used gel medium as the glue because it doesn't tear the tissue as easily as ordinary glue.


I am not used to working in this way and haven't decided quite what to do next.   It's a nice project to have on hand to go back to when I've nothing else in the pipeline.

I also looked at my collection of fabric, lace and bits, and took pity on my daughters who will have to clear my workroom out one day if I become incapable of doing it myself.   As I seem to keep wanting to make fabric books and love these old illustrations from another charity shop book.  (I also have ideas for at least two more books and plenty of old sheeting for pages).
Some of the pages are made from fabrics I bundled up and left out in the garden for weeks last year.  They have lovely discolourations, some from the plant material I included in the bundles.
Not all the fabric pieces are the same size so I have added strips of lace to make them wider and/or deeper.
I must just decline the next offer of fabric and threads when someone says to me 'You sew don't you?  Would you like my mother-in-law's sewing threads/tapestry wools/rag-bag?'  

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Nearly Done.

The front cover of my rune book with the word 'runes' spelt out in runic lettering made from Friendly Plastic.  I may bring up the texture with a little copper gilding cream.   
This is the back cover.   The runes included in the book are Anglo Saxon ones taken from a sword found in the River Thames in the 19th Century.   The cover is made from pelmet vilene and has scraps of lace and muslin randomly stitched in place, then gesso painted on top and sprayed with Quink ink with a further spray of blue Glimmer Mist and copper Moon Shadow Mist.   I lined it with a buff mottled cotton fabric and bound the edges with copper ribbon.

Each label carries the name of the rune, it's meaning and the letter it represents but unfortunately the book I was using had incomplete information for two or three of them and I can find nothing about them so far in any other books so I have left a blank space to be filled later.
I had great fun thinking up the various heads, tails and feet for each character.   Originally I wanted to make them more sinuous but in doing so I lost the true shape of the rune, so I tried to keep the shape and just add the heads and tails. 

This is the Mother Rune from which all the others can be made.   There is no other meaning offered for this one.

I now have to bind each group of pages into the cover and am waiting for courage to arrive to make a start.  I have measured and marked where the stitching should be placed and will be interested to see whether the pages will all lie together evenly when I have done it!   Wish me luck.

Friday, 8 August 2014

Medieval splendour.

Our travels yesterday took us to Tewkesbury where we visited the Abbey and I had actually remembered to take my camera.  I make no apologies for the number of photos and could have taken dozens more!  Above is the view towards the choir and altar beyond.
A closer look at the wonderful painted ceiling.

There are dozens of ceiling bosses in almost every part of the Abbey - when I saw one on the ground which had been moved for repair, I was amazed at it's size.

Looking in the opposite direction back through the open door.

These banners hang on either side of the doorway - not a very good picture, sorry.

Similar ones hang from most of the buildings lining the main road into and through the town.  They are put up at the beginning of May in preparation for the Medieval Fayre which is an annual event over 2 or 3 days and commemorates the Battle of Tewkesbury in 1461.  (I hope that is the right date).  The Fayre is held on fields just outside the town, one of which was the actual battlefield.  The banners seem to be left up throughout the summer months - each one is different and they make the most humdrum shops front more interesting.

There were many of these lovely canvaswork kneelers each with a different design.

The tiles in the choir area and up to the altar really took my fancy.   I wanted to photograph each one!  There were so many different patterns.


They were in such good condition I am sure they are not the genuine article and probably replaced the original ones in Victorian times.  Nonetheless they are beautiful.

The altar cloth is a beautiful piece of ecclesiastical embroidery.  I couldn't get a close look as the area was roped off but it looks as if it is appliqued.

I loved this tiny side chapel with the remnant of a wallpainting still visible.

As well as some original and later stained glass windows, these two modern ones are very striking.  I have lost a lot of the vibrant colour in my photo - they are so rich and deep in reality.

It was only when I looked at my photos back at home that I realised how much the light must have changed while I was in the Abbey.   This view, similar to my earlier one, is so much lighter.  You can just pick out the two banners right at the end there.

This is a bit out of focus but I spotted that lovely almost triangular window at the end.

A clearer view of it.

This arch looks quite impressive for such a small and modest doorway.  Signs of alterations in the past I think.

On the way back to the carpark is this magnificent copper beech tree.  I have taken many photos of it down the years.

At present it is smothered with an enormous crop of beech nuts.

It's branches sweep down almost onto the ground.

The trunk is massive and every spring it sits encircled by a beautiful carpet of purple and white crocuses.

On our way home we stopped to pick some blackberries.   They seem to be very early this year and I didn't want to miss them.   We found we had nearly 4lbs - that's 2kgs to you youngsters!  I must get some more while they are still so good, then we can have blackberry and apple crumbles as well as a few pots of jam this winter.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

This and that.

I came out of hibernation for a couple of hours this morning and before the sun appeared over the tops of the trees I did quite a bit of tidying around the pond.  It amazes me how the thugs of the plant life flourish and take over, sometimes choking favourite plants or growing right up through them.   They are relentless and should come with a warning sticker so that unwary customers at garden centres don't introduce them to small gardens.  There were many evictions and I rediscovered the glass 'waterfall' my daughter made for me many years ago.  She me gave the large glass bottle which had been an indoor garden in her flat and we laid a little stream of glass pebbles from it toward the pond.   I daresay by this time next year it will have all but disappeared again.  Some of the plants in the pond are just as thuggish and cutting them in half, or smaller, seems to encourage them even more.

I am hibernating indoors once more until it cools outside, and have been busy working on pages for my fabric book.   Machining this afternoon and looking forward to relaxing with hand sewing this evening.   I am so lucky - it's not a bad life.