Thursday, 14 December 2017

Christmas Textiles

I found some lovely Christmassy fabric, so obviously, I had to do something with it! 😃

Here's the fabric:

I love the snowflakes, the hearts and reindeer. As if I haven't got enough Christmas decorations, I decided to make Christmassy bunting.

Here's more of a close up.

It was fairly easy to make and is now up on the wall. I've got some fabric left over so now I'm wondering what to do with it but I don't know if I'll have enough time before Christmas to make anything else.

I hope you're not too cold and you're enjoying the run up to Christmas. Don't get too stressed! Just enjoy the lights and the colour. 😊🎄🎅 

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Supermoon & Mythology

I took some photos of the supermoon at the weekend. I know it was a few days ago, but I wanted to give you a bit more than just images of it. I wanted to give you something you might find interesting, so that’s why I haven’t written about it till now.

The moon was associated with Arianrhod in Celtic mythology. She was a moon goddess and appears in the Mabinogion as the mother of Lleu Llaw Gyffes. Her name means “Silver Wheel” and although this has obvious connotations with the moon, it has also been suggested that Arianrhod was connected with the Milky Way, as it is seen as a wide arch curving over the night sky.

Her fort, Caer Sidi, is thought to be either in the Milky Way, the Aurora Borealis or an island off North Wales, depending on what you read.

I’ve read that Cerridwen, another Welsh mythological woman and Celtic goddess associated with knowledge, is also connected with the moon, but that was the waning crescent moon, whereas Arianrhod is associated with the full moon.

Apparently, her festival is on 2nd December, so the supermoon occurred on the right date!

The moon is associated with female energy and for the Celts, the new day began with nightfall rather than at midnight as we now reckon days. The dark always came before the light. They also measured their months, and therefore their calendar, by the moon and the full moon in the month we now call December was apparently called the Cold Moon by the Celts. (It was called Snow Moon by the Cherokees and Oak Moon in Medieval England. There are more names for it in different cultures.)

As I’ve written before, I love the moon. Looking at her silver light shining from the depths of the deep blue sky with clouds skirting over her gives me a sense of mystery, magic and the smallness of the Earth in an enormous universe.

A lot of other people seem to have felt the magic of the moon because there are so many creatures and myths connected with the moon and the night. Werewolves, witches, cats, owls, ghosts, vampires; the stories and folklore go back thousands of years.


Thursday, 30 November 2017

Autumn Leaves 2

As we come to the start of winter, here are some more autumnal pictures!

I found lovely red berries on this bush when I was on a walk recently. I don't know what bush it is, so if you do, let me know.

On the same walk, I found these mushrooms growing out of a tree stump.

I've collected yet more leaves! Cherry blossom leaves which fell from the tree. I've now pressed them. I also found a bunch of sycamore seeds.

While I had a moment, I did a little doodle of...guess what? Yes, leaves. Do you think I'm slightly obsessed? 😉😊

I've been forgetting to tell you that you can now also follow me on Instagram. I joined back in the summer, so it's only taken me about five months to tell you. 😃 You can find me at @rusty_and_boots

Have a lovely weekend!

Friday, 24 November 2017

Autumn Leaves

As Autumn is coming to an end and Christmas is only around the corner, I thought I'd share some more Autumnal photos from a walk I went on.

Some lovely morning sunshine on some trees.

A leafy path.

And here are some leaves I collected. Maple leaves from my walk, cherry blossom leaves and Japanese maple leaves from my parents' garden and a few conker shells I found with their spikes.

It's getting colder here and I think I need the shawl I crocheted a while ago! I'm off to get it before I start sewing on my next piece of work.

Have a lovely weekend. 😊

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Barn Owl Embroidery

I've finished my barn owl wall hanging so here are the pictures of it. First of all, to remind you, this is the original painting I did:

Here's the painting printed onto fabric and the tea-dyed fabric I used for the background:

This was the work in progress when I was sewing the wheat on the bottom:

This was the finished wheat:

And here's the finished thing all together:

As you can see, I added a hedgerow in the background and did some machine embroidery in the sky with blue and lilac thread to try to convey a look of cloud and dusk as that's when barn owls become active. I've also hand sewn the pattern on the owl's back, around his head and machine stitched along the wings, which you can see better in this close up:

This was intended to be an experiment to see how my idea might work out and I'm quite happy with it. There are a few little things that can be improved, though that might be me being hard on myself!

My mother loves owls, especially barn owls, so she's claimed this for herself to put on the wall! I'll be making another one soon, so you'll see the process here when it comes.

Have a lovely day. 😊

Friday, 17 November 2017

Lillith the Lynx

I don’t know if you’ve heard about the lynx which escaped from a zoo in West Wales a few weeks ago, but when I heard about her and saw her picture in a newspaper, I had to draw her. She was beautiful. The problem was, after I began to draw her, it was announced that she had been killed because she had strayed too close to human habitation.

They had tried to find her for days and had caught her on camera, the ones they use to photograph animals which take a photo when they detect movement, but she didn’t go in to the traps that they’d set for her.

I hope you won’t mind me writing about this instead of my usual art or nature. I did wonder whether to post this or not but I feel so angry and depressed at what happened that I had to.

Why is it always animals who suffer when humans are to blame for the situation they’re in? It was human error that she escaped and human error that they couldn’t catch her. She had apparently wandered into a caravan park so that was why they killed her, but I really think that was the wrong thing to do. If there were people there at this time of year, all they had to do was tell those people to stay inside while the experts darted her. I know it takes a few minutes for an animal to be knocked out once they’re darted, but as long as the marksman was far enough away, this would have been a better choice.

I doubt anyone would have been in much danger anyway because lynx are just twice the size of domestic cats, which isn’t that big. They’re hardly a proper ‘big’ cat. Also, there hasn’t been a reported attack on a human by a lynx in the countries where they are still roaming freely.

As I say, it’s always animals that suffer. Elephants and rhinos in Africa, orangutans in Borneo, fish and dolphins and sea birds because of the plastic in our oceans….. Why do humans think we have the right to do whatever we want with animals and nature?

I finished drawing the lynx even though I was really upset about what had happened to her. Her name was Lillith and she was only 17 months old.  

I will probably turn this into a piece of art or textile art one day. I feel like I want to remember her and have her as a symbol of everything that humans do to the world. 

I don’t want to leave you depressed, so I’ll finish by telling you this:

I showed my drawing to my father and said it was a lynx. He replied, ‘Oh, draw a few more and you’ll have a chain.’

Have a lovely weekend!

Friday, 3 November 2017

Late Halloween

I’m back after a slightly enforced internet break. It’s a long story that I won’t bother you with, but I ran out of data to use and had to wait till this week before I could get online again. Who knew I used so much data? I think it was the podcasts for creative people that I discovered last month. Downloading them took more gigabytes than I thought. I must be more aware of that! I found myself missing the internet a bit, but I just about coped. I don’t think I had any withdrawal symptoms apart from the sleepless nights, fidgety hands, nervous tremors…..

So, because of my break, I’m late for Halloween, or Samhain as it’s called in Ireland, which comes from the Celtic name for the time that they celebrated the end of summer, the end of the year and the beginning of winter. The spirit world was very close at that time of year and people could easily wander into it, never to be seen again – or at least until Beltane (May Day) the following year. The spirits could also pass through into our world as well of course.

I had a couple of photos ready to go for Halloween, so although I know it’s a few days late, here they are.

This is my drawing of a lovely black cat with a pumpkin.

And here’s a spooky photo I’ve digitally altered of a graveyard.

I went for a walk here looking for conkers because they’re meant to keep spiders away (you should have seen the three huge ones I found over two weeks in September – eek! They were so big, I named them Goliath 1, 2 and 3. I caught them in a jam jar and put them outside.) But there weren’t any conkers. Plenty of shells laying around but no conkers. The squirrels must have had a good feast on them and stashed a lot for the winter.

While there, I found this hole in a tree.

What do you think lived in it? A small bird? A fairy? I’d love to know, but at the same time, it’s nice to have a mystery. If you have any thoughts – real or imaginary - I’d love to hear them.

Have a great weekend!