Showing posts with label Nature. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nature. Show all posts

Monday, 28 September 2015

Blood Moon

Did you see the blood moon last night? Ralph and I watched it from my garden at 3am. Living in a city I wasn't expecting there to be much to see due to light pollution but the sky was so clear and I could see all the stars and constellations as well as a beautiful rust coloured moon. So magical!

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Sea side days

 This weekend my family and I are off to Dartmouth which is hosting it's annual regatta. My parents have a flat in Dartmouth so we try and go there whenever we have a spare weekend - especially if the sun is shining! Devon is a beautiful place and something about being by the sea is so calming. The view from the balcony of the flat just never gets old - even when it is raining there will be boats going in and out, fishermen looking for lobsters and crabs. As it happens Dartmouth is an excellent place for crabbing - I once spent the day sitting on the sea front and managed to catch 60 crabs just with a simple crabbing line and some raw bacon! 
I have so many happy memories of days spent in Dartmouth and hopefully the weather will improve for this weekend so that all the scheduled regatta events go ahead and we can sit out in the sun and sea air!

I made and sent the card below to my grandparents who are rather unwell at the moment. I'm sure they would love nothing more than to be able to join us as they also love Dartmouth. Hopefully the card will help them to remember the times we spent there and they can imagine they are sat on the balcony overlooking the river watching all the activities and goings on.

The photographs below were taken by my Mom who could probably fill many albums with her shots of the river and coastline!

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Moving Mountains

Today I have been busy writing an application for an Artist residency in Wales I am interested in. As I was thinking about the kind of work I would make for the residency, I was inspired to start a new personal project that I am really excited about. All I will say for now is that it will involve mountains and share a preview of a quick sketch I did this afternoon. 

Expect more information and progress soon!

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Inspired by... Pomegranates

Technically pomegranates aren't in season at the moment although most supermarkets sell them all year round. They really are the most beautiful fruit - the seeds look like little jewels! I am thinking of creating a few prints and illustrations inspired by pomegranates so watch this space for updates! In the meantime here are some pinterest finds including a recipe for pomegranate ice cream and a pomegranate cocktail. Enjoy!

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Using natural dyes

Whilst creating work for my degree piece I began experimenting dying fabrics using natural pigments and products. Years ago I attended a textile workshop where we used rusty objects to dye and stain fabrics which I was surprised to discover produced some beautiful results. Since my latest project focused on the life and work of honeybees, I was keen to use natural dyes to create the fabric used in my textile work since I felt this would work well with the context of my piece. A quick internet search led me to a whole abundance of blogs and tutorials about using natural dyes. From spices such as turmeric to dandelion roots or red cabbage you would be surprised by how many things that you probably already have at home or in your garden that you can use to produce some really effective dyes.

For my honeybee work I was focusing on the symbolism of the colour yellow, so I stuck to using turmeric, onion skins and dried plant extracts from yellow flowers such as weld and madder. If you want to grow plants specifically to use as dyes there is a great website  was able to find a great UK website which sells many different flowers seeds. If you are impatient to get dyeing and see some results, they also sell dyes, flower/plant extracts and mordants. That particular website was a great resource of information for me when it came to getting started with dyeing - they provide some really useful tips and information on which are the best fabrics to use and how to prepare your fabric so that the colours will last. 

Weld - a great flower to use either dried or fresh to create a yellow dye

For a recent commission I was asked to create an embroidery of a sweet pea so decided to use this as an opportunity to experiment with some purple dyes. A quick trip to the supermarket provided me with some red onion skins, beetroot, red cabbage and black beans and after soaking my fabric in vinegar to mordant it, I soon began to get to work with the dyeing! Each dye produced a different colour - all of which were lovely but it was the red cabbage which created the nicest shade of purple. I also used a couple of different fabrics - thin muslin cotton, silk and a thicker cotton/calico which also led to a lot of variation in the tones and shades of each dye. Bear in mind that it is always best to use natural fibres when dyeing to produce good results. Below is a picture of my finished piece. All the fabric used was dyed using red beetroot then layered up an embroidered onto.

I really loved the process of natural dyeing - it may sound silly but it is so satisfying to see such great results so quickly just by using products that are so simple to attain! It is definitely a process I am keen to learn more about and continue to experiment with. The possibilities If what you can do are endless... 
Below I have left some links to some of the blogs and tutorials that helped me get going, as I said there are so many out there each of which describe different techniques and methods. I have also included the website of artist India Flint. A innovative  textile artist who has really taken things to the next level with her methods and use of natural dyes.

Enjoy exploring and experimenting!

Folk Fibers blog -  yellow and red onion skin tutorial


Friday, 22 March 2013

It's Spring!

Although it's hard to believe when there is snow and cold weather across the UK, but yesterday was actually the first day of Spring! My housemate planted some bulbs in the garden a long time ago but we had completely forgotten about them so it was lovely to see some Crocus flowers emerge and open up in spite of the cold. Fingers crossed the weather will improve soon so we can start enjoying some sunshine!

Here is a quick study I did of the flowers in our garden which I made into a card for my Grandparents.

Monday, 18 February 2013

The Life of a Bowerbird

A little while ago whilst having a browse in Waterstones, I stumbled across this book and have since dithered many times on Amazon nearly buying it. I've decided to ask for it for my birthday now so roll on April! 
A bower-bird may be a fairly ordinary looking bird but their mating rituals and behaviour are so interesting! The males  will build a nest or structure and then collect and decorate it with sticks and colourful objects to attract his mate.

Sibella Court's book encourages readers to take a similar approach when creating a home - collecting miscellaneous trinkets and treasures and organising so they become a precious and vital part of your home. 

Sibella Court is am interior stylist, creative director and author who has also worked for Anthropologie as a stylist. I actually visited an Anthropologie shop in Sloane Sq last week and had a hard job leaving without buying anything as all the products were so lovely!

Anyway I am looking forward to owning this book as I am a bit of a Bowerbird myself so I can pick up a few tips on how to arrange and transform my collections so they don't just end up stashed away in boxes and drawers of my bedroom.


Whilst looking for photographs of Court's book I also found a good review on it over at Decor8 blog so be sure to check that out for more photos and information about the author.

I also remember that David Attenborough did a feature on the Bower bird in one of his documentaries for anyone wanting a bit more information on the curious and unique creatures.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Mosaic Woodpecker

I am creative because I have an equally creative Mother. She made this in just one day! She has been going to mosaic courses for a while and has made some amazing creations. Anyone who assumes that mosaics are tacky should see some of the beautiful things that have been created by my Mom, her class mates and tutor - they are works of art.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013


Today I am craving lavender and all things purple... I wish Spring would hurry up and arrive!

Picture credits - Clockwise from top left:

1, 2, 3, 4, 5 6, 7, 8, 9

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Pin of the week

How beautiful is this little chap? His feathers look a bit ruffled though..

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Wild Cockatoos - Leila Jeffreys

I stumbled across this project by photographer Leila Jeffreys today and fell in love with these cockatoos. They all have such character and personality! Their names are perfect too! Now I want a cockatoo for Christmas as well as a kitten and a whippet... Here are a few of my favourites:




Commander Skyring


For more cockatoo photos and other work visit

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Beasts Of The Southern Wild

Last night my friends and I went to see the film of the moment 'Beasts Of The Southern Wild'. I had been really excited to see this film as I had read so many good reviews about it and the advert looked so magical and imaginative. It really lived up to and exceeded my expectations and was just so moving and different from any other film I have seen. The acting of Quvenzhane Wallis who was only around 6 when the film was made was absolutely breathtaking... at points I was wondering if the film was acted at all or just an incredible documentary because the emotions portrayed by her and the rest of the cast were so raw and real - it seemed that it would be impossible to stage such a thing. 

The film made me laugh, smile and cry but mostly it just left me in a state of complete awe. There is so much to say about the love and devotion shown by the characters in the film to their homes and each other and the world around them. In other films their flaws would be really played upon to create stereotypical characters that we see time and time again, but here they are real humans whose strengths and flaws don't dominate the story or define them. They live as people do - with anger, pride, devotion and a deep love which aren't just cleverly crafted into a scene to create drama.

Below are some screen shots and a link to the official website where you can listen to the amazing soundtrack that accompanies the film.

If you feel disconnected to the world around you, this is the perfect example of how to truly embrace your environment and world with passion and defiance.

"I see that I am a little piece of a big, big universe, and that makes it right."

Saturday, 21 July 2012

A Reflective Walk

Today I heard some sad news that the hospital where I received treatment as an inpatient for a year is shutting down due to a lack of funding. On an evening walk I reflected on my time there and thought in particular how the level of kindness and warmth shown to me by all the staff members were unlike anything I have ever encountered at other treatment centres since. Their friendly approach and dedication to the job was so admirable - I really felt throughout my time there that the staff were genuinely 100% interested and committed to helping me recover, and that they weren't just there because they were being paid to be - which sadly is the case with a lot of the staff at other hospitals. 

Although following my discharge from the hospital, I was re admitted to other hospitals on several occasions - I will never, ever consider my time there to be a waste. I learnt so much from the staff and other patients, and I know for certain that some of the progress I have made over the last few years is a result of the help and support given to me there. 

It is with a heavy heart that on Monday I will be facing my 5th admission. Right now it is difficult to feel positive as it is so hard to imagine or believe that I will ever be able to make a full recovery. However with the love and support of my family and friends (and their belief in me) I hope that I will continue to make progress to the point that this illness will have less of a hold over me and I will be able to manage it better.

This blog post is a little more melancholy and personal than usual and perhaps is not much of an interest to anyone else so sorry if that is the case! To finish with here are some photographs that I took on my walk which really helped to lift my spirits and appreciate the little things like a sunny evening, a cute cat and pretty flowers.