Sunday, 8 January 2012

Another week bites the dust.

Where does the time go? At least I have managed two short spells of gardening this weekend and tidied up a little. Today's efforts were spent on trying to eradicate the oh-so-pretty-sounding little white alliums that I planted a few years ago. They should come with a warning! For the past two years I have thoroughly dug over various parts of the garden and thought each time I had seen the last of them but each year, up they pop again, and usually in the middle of a lovely clump of something precious. I shifted another bucketful this morning. I daresay I'll find more as the year progresses.

I haven't been able to enrol for the next module of the Creative Sketchbooks course yet, owing to a computer glitch, so I have been amusing myself with a bit more hopefully creative recycling.

I recently read a fascinating little book by Karen Cater called the Ogham Sketchbook and thought it would be nice to make a much simplified fabric version of my own.

Karen writes: 'In ancient times, our Celtic Druid ancestors devised a system, part alphabet, part calendar/zodiac, which could be carved using simple notches onto wood or stone. Each character was a number and a letter. The consonants were time periods - mostly Lunar months - and the vowels were the soltices and equinoxes. Each symbol represented a tree or shrub, around which grew an extensive mythology. To the Celts, the whole landscape was alive with meaning and wisdom - the wisdom of the trees.'

Below is the first page of my book, the background of which was to have been a backing for another piece of work, and the other fabric components also started life being prepared for something else. B in the Ogham alphabet, stands for Beithe or Birch and represents the first Lunar month - 24th Dec - 20th Jan. It represents 'new beginnings' and the number 1.
I plan to add either a drawing of a birch leaf and catkin(s) or fabric and stitch versions to the right hand side of the page and there will be some kind of narrow border round each page. As usual, with all the handling, the pages get rather crumpled and will need a good press when they are completely finished.

The second letter of the Ogham alphabet is L for Luis or Rowan whose dates are 21st Jan - 17th Feb. It's meaning is 'quickening' or 'magic'. I have found several variations among the various books I have used to research this project, which can be confusing, but I shall try to stick to just one source for my information.
There are twenty letters in all as the vowels represent only one day each and not an entire month.
I played around with various ways of making the letters as I wanted each page to have it's own identity and not look like all the others. These below didn't make the grade although the shapes are alright. I like the B and M but the thread I used to create them didn't look right against their pages.

I wanted each letter to be more or less the same size, so cut a piece of cereal box into 2" squares and drew them on those. Having a template for each one makes life much easier as I can draw round it on the back of a piece of fabric with no lines showing on the front, or mark out my area on a piece of soluble fabric before machine embroidering the shape.

Plenty more to get on with! Eighteen more to do plus the leaves, fruit, catkins or whatever, to think about.

And I haven't given a thought to the cover yet.


The Weaver of Grass said...

You should definitely market your little books Heather - if you do then please put me first on the list of purchasers.

Carol Q said...

ooh Heather another lovely little book. love the ideas behind this. you've certainly been busy getting it together and very patient to cut out all those alphabet templates.

DIAN said...

What a fascinating project and thanks for the explanations and reasons behind the various letters.

It is going to be a beautiful book.

sharon young said...

What a lovely project, I love the start you've made, look forward to seeing more.
Good luck with the gardening.

Julie said...

Thank you for writing such an informative post, I shall have to have a look for that book. Your book is going to be super.

Linda Vincent said...

You embark on such wonderful projects Heather...I love all the stories and the history you incorporate into your work. This is going to be very special...
(PS So sorry I've been missing)

Robin Mac said...

I tried to leave a comment yesterday but had computer problems. Your projects are always so wonderful, I love following your processes and the end result of this one should be spectacular. Hope you can get your instructions for your next module soon. Cheers

Jane said...

This is fascinating, Heather - look forward to seeing it.

BT said...

Wow, of course you have lost none of your wonderful talent. What a great little project this will be. Weaver hit the nail on the head when she says you should market them. I'd buy one!

Val said...

Fantastic idea Heather - love the fact that it is all tied in with nature - and you've nurtured this all from reading a book. Amazing! Lovely to see the progress too - it all looks very special, with wonderful meanings - I just love it!