Monday, 24 November 2014

Following the Tide.

I really love wandering along the shore and scanning the ground and the sand banks to see what I can find. Of course it reflects the time of year with so many wind blown natural objects all mixed up with the sea treasures. After a high tide I collected a bag of finds. It has taken me a long time to finally complete this in the wide landscape A3 sketch book.

A delicate piece of seaweed and a leaf, my hand armed with a fine sable brush as I slowly strive to capture them. The leaf was totally dry and curled up by the next morning and reminded me of why I am happy to spend the time meticulously recording all the detail.

Then I added the rusty brown seaweed with the fat bubbles and a black sycamore seed. They always fascinate me, how something so delicate can survive this environment.

The second page links in with every red berry I found that day. They were in different states of repair, but I like to record that. No longer the perfect bright red berries they once were. Now damaged, wrinkled, some rotting and with blackened skins. But hopefully the tree has sown the seeds.

The mussel shell with so many tints of pale colours was fun to try and capture. I remember picking it up from the muddy sand, half buried, my finger rubbing and poking the wet sand from out of the shell to see the inside. I am pleased to call it finished, a memory of that day.

Another walk on the shore last Saturday had me once again collecting some bits and pieces. The tide had just gone down, it was very very muddy. My footprints sunk down into the soft squelchy slippery sand. I found pretty pink shells, leaves and seaweeds in tiny pools of water. The sand was covered with rippled patterns and I became a child again, lost in the wonder of this place. It felt like every minute was precious in the fading light.

Collecting treasures from the sand I am not sure what I have until I get home and wash and sort my bag of finds. Look at the colours and patterns of the bright pink feathery seaweed. Tiny pink shells and seeds and leaves scattered on the sand. I found different coloured mermaids purses and a papery thin Honesty seedhead. A piece of Seaweed covered in barnacles, a green twirling species I had not found before and so many blackened leaves.

We watched a fisherman with his young son pull three flukes from a line. The young boy was delighted with his fish, knee deep in mud and oblivious to the state of his clothes, having such a good time. The birds were also finding food from these mud flats. The geese were there and two white Egrets were an added bonus and added interest to the day. I guess I found food for my soul just being there.

And as the sun sets so early in the afternoon we made our way home quietly enjoying the last light of the day.

I washed my finds and sorted them out. It was the green seedweed that gently rocked and moved in the water that caught my eye and I immediately sketched it.

I managed to start the painting of it that same night and added more on Sunday trying to capture what I saw. Almost finished now.

 

The seashore holds such fascination. Every day it changes and we have been lucky to have such mild weather for this time of the year. Beautiful days and amazing coloured sunsets, there for us to gaze at, before we are quickly plunged into darkness around 4pm.

 

I hope you enjoyed visiting and seeing my seashore drawings and photographs. A big thank you for the comments which I love to read. See you soon. Millyx

The lovely Saturday afternoon mud flat images were taken by my husband and the rest by me on my iPad. Thank you for visiting. Hope you are still enjoying some fine sunny days. Anita , seen the weather in Michigan, deep snow! Keep warm.

 

 

Saturday, 8 November 2014

A Sloe Time!

Along the hedgerows in the village I watched for the sloe berries each time we went for a walk. Usually they are few and far between but this year they seem to be the best I have ever seen them. Of course I went picking them with ideas of using them to try out my ink and dye experimenting. I had a little helper who had such a great time helping me. Chloe was on half term.

I used the pressure cooker and cooked them and then added the cotton fabric. Her little five year old face was loving this, adding fabric to the berries. And then we wound some threads and wool and dropped them into the pot and created a pink spoon.

I wanted to show her how it changed from white to pink and so we washed some out and let it dry. The rest was left for a few hours and coloured a deeper shade. Sloe berries are normally used by the locals for sloe gin for the festive season. They are a dry bitter fruit with a large stone, it seemed more exciting to use the coloured juice for this and an exciting little hand helped stir the pot and watch.

I loved it just as much, threads and fabric to be creative with. I am not an expert, I do not know how the colour will last.

I hung it in the garden to dry. And I just kept one little branch to record the sloes in my square book.

I couldn't really paint the fine details, too hard on my eyes. I like it as it is, a detailed pencil study with a couple of coloured berries. My head was full of ideas as I decided on a little project using the fabric.

Oh look at that colour, threads came out gorgeous variegated shades of the colour. And yes I kept some juice, not sure it is ink but I can see how it looks on paper. You can also see the stones and my branch I used for my drawing.

I made a little patchwork, hand sewn with my sloe fabric. It is a miniature quilt for a tiny bed for a little mouse.

It is all stuffed and finished. Now I am working on an Elderberry patchwork in the wonderful rich colour I made from the elderberries. Just wish I had made about ten times more, hence the little projects.

This is so nice I wish I was tiny and it could be on my bed. Maybe next year if there is an amazing crop I might be picking buckets full. See the different shades that came out of the pot, just tiny pieces of fabric, but that makes it even more precious.

My lovely drawing of the hare on my pin cushion. I love working like this, things I have made. I collected the berries and dyed the fabric and stitched and made something that means something to me. Things made from my village. The slow and careful way of drawing and making, it makes me feel happy, it feels like me. I will share them again when they are finished.
Testing the sloe juice with a paintbrush straight from the pot. It actually changed to blue more like the skin colour. See below.

Hope you enjoyed seeing a little of what I have been up to. I have some seashore walks to tell you about and some drawings of my found objects. More about that next time. I am enjoying sewing on these cooler days. as we have had our first frosts. The huge bright moon brings the high tides and lots of treasures for me to find on the shore. I have lots to draw, days fly by.

I want to leave you with this early morning sight, a rainbow and the sky the colour of my sloe fabric. I hung out of the bedroom to take it and as I was wearing my pyjamas jumped back into my warm bed.

The products of the day. We had a little Pom Pom making competition and Chloe aged 5 won with her huge yellow one. Mine was the same colour as the sloe dye, so I put it in

Thank you for visiting and I hope you enjoyed seeing my little projects. As always thank you for the lovely comments which I do love to read. Please stop and say hello if you are visiting and tell me what you are making. Bye for now...Millyx

 

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Being Creative with Elderberries

 

I have been collecting some of the last Elderberries from the hedgerows. I wanted to capture them before they were gone. The weather has really taken a turn with many wet days. We have had some heavy showers and windy days which have blown the leaves and berries off their branches. The blackberries are over, red berries seem to be scattered over the ground and everything has started to change colour. Today I picked some blackened rosehips, still many bright red ones but this is how they will all soon end up looking once the cold and the first frosts arrive. The nights are getting chilly we are sitting cosy with a fire. So this is how it started with a bowl of dark glossy bunches of elderberries from the hedgerows.

I love the colour of the tiny elderberries and as they stain your fingers you see their rich purple colour. I remember my Dad making wine, we collected bags full that year, such tiny berries and when he squashed them there was so little and it seemed to me So much effort for so little return.

I started a little drawing in ink and a fine dip in pen. I didn't sketch it , just dipped in my pen and made this drawing by observing the details. I mixed my berry colour and used the brown for the stalks, using acrylic inks. Then I made my own elderflower ink. It all began when Claire left her comment.

After a lovely comment from Claire telling me she had made some ink with Blackberries and she thought I would enjoy doing it, my mind was thinking up lots of ideas. I would try making some ink with the Elderberries.

I squashed, cooked, sieved and made my ink, just a little from all those elderberries. It worked beautifully, see the writing on the pages behind , all done with my elderberry ink. My mind cannot stop there...Now what if I tried to dye a piece of fabric with it too, I had seen the gorgeous colour as I sieved it through a piece of loose weave fabric.

There was no stopping me now, off I went collecting more elderberries and I had such fun experimenting with this. Now I am no expert, I just added lots of salt and heated up the berries and then squashed the berries and added the cotton fabric. It felt really exciting as I saw my fabric soaking up the juices.

I then wound some threads to try too, some white cotton and linen thread.

Pink stained fingers and nails, lots of washing up and mess. I dangled pieces of dyed fabric and threads from the fireplace to dry and was eagerly waiting to see the results of my experiments. I will make a little sewing project and make something with it, I have some ideas. Unable to stop there I have been playing with other berries, some interesting results. I will stitch the lovely coloured fabric with the dyed cotton and linen, all from my elderberries. It felt so creative. Very inspiring and exciting to make something with them.

I kept a lovely branch of elderberries to draw in my square book, a little curled leaf and the berries.

I spent a lot of time drawing and carefully painting this one in my square book. I still have not completed the red berries I am doing but put this first.

I loved how it turned out. Drawing, ink, fabric and thread from the same berries which I picked from my village hedgerows.

 

After the high tides the shore was completely covered in sea water, we did have some grey and stormy days. I was so pleased to see how Saturday turned out and of course we went for a walk to enjoy the day.
High tides covering the estuary on Thursday.
And then yesterday......the beautiful view from my house on Saturday, as we went for our walk. The tide creeping in on this still day, love the colour of the sky, such a wonderful day to wake up to. Hope you all had a great weekend.
Hope you enjoyed seeing what I have been up too. I do love reading your comments, so thank you for taking the time to write. See you soon, Millyx