A tree seen while paddling my kayak on our lake.
A tree seen while paddling my kayak on our lake.
I’ve been making these little double-zipper pouches for the last month or so, every time I have a chance. I love combining the different pieces of leather. Each pouch is lined with water-resistant fabric and has a separate zippered front compartment. I think they would be great for travel for phone, passport and cards. I love the bright flash of colour on them. Pictured below is one example so you can see the interior and the reverse side. There are a few more! It’s a great way to use the small pieces of leather I’ve liked best. And they will all be in the on-line shop at the weekend. Write using the contact info on the left if you are interested.
Here are a few sketches from my final days in Limoux in June. These sketches were unfinished, so I’ve been finishing them up and reliving the quality of the light in this lovely town. One of my favourite spots was the terrace of Le Monastère where we stayed. The first is taken from the balcony and the second in the courtyard. The last is a square just a block away.
My sketchbook by the end of a trip starts to be pretty grubby as you can see.
It’s been a week since I arrived home from my sketching trip in the south of France. I am gradually scanning my sketches and finishing the half-done ones. Here is the last sketch I did, one of my favourite streets in Limoux, narrow and winding as they all are, but this one with its own arch. It’s just off La Place de la Republique and on the way to the Vieux Pont, a well travelled route. I stood leaning against a wall and sketched the view, paint added later.
And here is the first sketch done the day after we arrived. Again a narrow, winding street but his time I had a bench to sit on. I was working on perspective the whole time I was there, so I hope you can see some improvement from this one to the top sketch. 🙂
I find that it is the small sketches, done quickly as I am sharing a cafe table or leaning against a wall that are the most memorable. This one in La Caunette, a tiny village with a great outdoor café.
I loved this red door alongside the town square in Camon.
A finally the view from the hills above the town of Puivert.
This week’s New Yorker has a great cover. You can check out the story behind it here. Cartoonist Roz Chast has done a brilliant piece of work, a neat play on the phrase motherboard, just in time for Mother’s Day. And as you can see, the image is dynamic, depicting the evolution of the piece from the near blank canvas, to the finished cover. She has even included her needle. Those of us who work on projects like this know we are a bit crazy about documenting the stages!
But what is most intriguing to me is the video imbedded in the article describing the cover. In it, Chast reflects on the development of her style and then shows a large rug which is she is currently hooking as a tribute to her father. We see her sitting at her hooking frame working on it. I love the connection of drawing and other forms of handwork. And who couldn’t be delighted that handwork has been elevated to its rightful position in the Innovator Issue of the New Yorker?
Maybe it’s because I was in Orkney and the Hebrides in September. Or maybe it’s because I read four Peter May novels this year with his dark, broody plots and settings. Or maybe it’s because today is Charles MacIntosh’s birthday, the brilliant chemist who is best known for his invention to protect us from the rain and cold. Or maybe it’s because the moon is hiding these nights and the days are dark and bone-chilling. Or maybe it’s because we lost so many bright lights in 2016. I’m sure it’s a combination of all of the above which have brought me to listen to this wonderful poem by Liz Lochhead over and over today. You can listen here (which I heartily recommend) and read the full text below.
At midday on the year’s midnight
into my mind came
I saw the new moon late yestreen
wi the auld moon in her airms though, no,
there is no moon of course,
there’s nothing very much of anything to speak of
in the sky except a gey dreich greyness
rain-laden over Glasgow and today
there is the very least of even this for us to get
the light comes back
the light always comes back
and this begins tomorrow with however many minutes more of sun and serotonin.
there will be the winter moon for us to love the longest,
fat in the frosty sky among the sharpest stars,
and lines of old songs we can’t remember
why we know
or when first we heard them
will aye come back
once in a blue moon to us
bless us with their long-travelled light.
Merry Christmas to all Birdbrain followers. Here are a couple of Christmas images for you. I’ve already told you how I am going to miss my Page-a-Day New Yorker Cover calendar. This one is from one of my favourite cover artists, Charles E. Martin. Martin died in 1995 and many of his covers were on the magazine in the 60’s and 70’s. I love his buildings and his views of the east coast, and this colorful tree which just might inspire a new Christmas mat! Great texture and composition.
And from closer to home, here is another Christmas stocking, this one for Grandchild #3. I was able to use the last of the Scottish teddy bear sweater which you saw here and here. I wish you all the very best of the season.
Very early this morning, as I drove on a slushy, dark highway, I told myself the days are getting longer. We’ve turned the corner. Although it didn’t feel like it this morning, from here on in I know we will have more daylight each day. This is a reason alone to celebrate, not to mention having the family together again.
Below are a few of our Christmas things. We love to get these apples every year from a nearby orchard. They say local and seasonal in the best way.
I don’t think I’ve shared this adorable Santa hooked by my mother many years ago. Each year when I set him on the hall table, he makes me smile.
And here are a few of the Christmas cards I sent this year, pictured with my new favourite brush, a #10 Da Vinci sable.
When I completed the whipping on my 5’x7′ rug, Annie, it was only two days before it was to be on display in our local gallery. My husband had made a frame to hang the rug on and that is where ‘she’ has been for the last month–on show. Yesterday I did two things. I bought rubber carpet underlay and then went to collect Annie from the gallery. Now the rug is happily in our front room with the Dillard quotation and the 65 houses that span a big part of a lifetime. I hope to enjoy living with ‘her’ for a good while to come.
Here is another trivet with night sky and colour blocks. I’m working out a plan for a bigger rug and I find it helpful to do these little pieces to see how value, shape and direction of hooking come together. I then sew a square of recycled wool on the back of the piece to make a trivet which is both functional and a splash of colour on the table.