Thursday 4 July 2019

Sunshine and flowers

Hello.  It is beautiful weather here and we  are enjoying being outside and  going for walks around the village. The verges and  hedgerows are full of wild flowers, it is so lovely to see so many wild flowers thriving in this changeable weather we have experienced over the last few months. It is hot and we are not used to it!   Then  it can turn so cool and oh dear, can it rain here in the English  Lake district!  So as it is now officially Summer,  it is lovely to have some sunshine.

eco printing with flowers from my garden  by Eileen Postlethwaite
I have been capturing colours with different flowers  from my garden.  I did this last year and experimented with different coloured flowers.  It was trial and error, as I sat and rubbed different flower heads and squeezed the colours to create an image.

Lace capped primula  on paper by Eileen Postlethwaite
 I tried whatever flowers were in my garden, some worked beautifully and others not so well. I used a pebble to roll across the flowers,  and I  become more aware of  what techniques worked.  How much  pressure to apply and more aware of the different types of  paper to use to  create a better image. First I used a watercolour paper then tried  other various papers, the best way is to just experiment and play to discover what you can use.

Now its time to try the process on fabric by Eileen Postlethwaite
    After a lot of  different coloured flowers and many skills learnt I  felt like I was capable of moving on to fabric and chose a cotton handkerchief which was new and unused.  I placed the cotton between two sheets of paper and decided to use a metal soup spoon to rub these delicate flower heads.

peeling back the top layer of paper was really exciting, by Eileen Postlethwaite
    It was a slow careful process as I rubbed a single flower at a time, sitting at the table. I had to be careful not to move or brush across the flower heads.  It actually took about four hours to complete but the moment I peeled back the paper was really exciting.  These were all done last summer so I had to try again this year.  I  decided to go bigger and not just small flowers but try the whole plant, so here we go.  A hammer was used to carefully bash the stalks and leaves and flowers, a small headed hammer and the same techniques.  It all takes time and patience to achieve a good result.  It is exciting to try diffrerent plants and discover what works well.  Have a go and see.

eco printing by Eileen Postlethwaite 
  I really love using nature for creative work. I have also been making natural dyes and  my own nature inks to draw with.  I am drawing with my home made inks and again it so exciting to discover colours using my own garden plants,  hedgerow  berries and seeds.

elderberry dyed fabric by Eileen Postlethwaite

The dyed fabrics will be made into something.  Do you remember my little miniature quilt from Elderberries? sadly it faded to a paler version, as many natural dyes do.  I  still enjoy dyeing and discovering colours and sewing them.  My lovely hare drawing on the pincushion,  watching me as I sew. 

using my own homemade inks to draw with by Eileen Postlethwaite
  I am using my own  homemade inks and have been working  on some new  drawings using only my new colours of  ink.   It  feels so me,  using my local colours,  from picking berries, making inks and  using them recording natural objects  I have found on my walks. In this fast world it is good to slow down and use a dip pen and  quietly work at my drawings,  slowly and carefully, no rush just take my time recording my found objects. 
 Can you imagine the feeling of  using your own inks to draw with?  Here I used my Elderberry, and Walnut made in 2016,  the sycamore is from an elderberry made back in 2015.  I am always  full of ideas and inspired by where I live.  When a peacock butterfly appears on your curtain one morning.

a visitor delighted us with her beauty on the living room curtain.  Eileen Postlethwaite
Last Friday evening we walked on  the shore and my daughter took this photograph just before the sun went down. I think it speaks for itself.  We have had such beautiful sunsets.  It is nice to share.  

photograph  by my daughter Jane Postlethwaite 30 June 2019 

I hope you enjoy seeing what I have been doing.  Let me know what your project is and if you have been creative, I would love to hear.  
Bye for now  Milly.x
Eileen Postlethwaite

Saturday 1 June 2019


So happy to be writing a post . I hope you enjoy reading it.
  Hello.  I walked to the bottom of my garden to see what was growing and I was delighted to find my foxgloves flowering. I have scattered wild flower seeds and Woodland plants and letting it become even  more of a wild garden. This is going to be an exciting year watching what happens and seeing how many different varieties grow. The garden has been full of butterflies on sunny days. the birds sing each morning and it is so lovely to know we have birds nesting in our garden, two blackbird nests with eggs all safely hatched and playing in the shrubs and hedges.  Our bird box has also attracted a great tit nesting and raising a family,  We were delighted after hanging the box  three years ago, we have seen the two adults busy feeding the young.  One day as I was hanging the washing out I saw a little head peep out !

natural colours from my eco dyeing. Eileen Postlethwaite
My washing line has also been used to hang up my experiments with natural dyeing. These are some of the lovely colours from plants hanging out to dry, from last summer.  I have also been using lots of different  berries and plants to make my homemade inks. 

One of my favourites Blackberry.Eileen Postlethwaite
I really love working like this, collecting the berries and making the ink and then drawing with my homemade colours.  It is so exciting drawing blackberries with ink made from my own village hedgerows.  I will share some other colours and drawings using my inks over the year. 

found acorns in ink and dip in pen. Eileen Postlethwaite
During the last few months I have been recording some of my finds.  I have been drawing leaves and acorns and my favourite Magpie moth. the moth was painted on a recycled box, our porridge box which has lovely parchment coloured card once you turn it inside out!  I can't think of a better way to recycle than use it to paint a beautiful Magpie Moth. 

Some of my finds...A recycled box adorned with My favourite Magpie Moth. Eileen Postlethwaite

Last year I contributed to a wonderful project by printing over a hundred Moths for the " Moth Migration Project" by  Hilary Lorenz , you can read about it HERE  .I carved and printed my designs and posted them to the USA .  We  received a certificate and personal thank you from Hilary Lorenz from the USA, who is exhibiting over 20,000 Moths.  I was just one person along with so many others from around the world who contributed,  so pleased I did.

collecting shells at the beach .  Eileen Postlethwaite
Walks on the beaches have been blustery and cold during the winter months.  Just the thought of going to the sea inspires me.   I always find so many natural objects, then I arrive back home and  get out my big box of coloured pencils to record the pretty pastel shades.  A rainbow of colours on a winters day. they are tiny simple shells but I love collecting them and drawing them.  Of course I never  stop at shells....feathers, seaweed, mermaids purses, oak leaves, pieces of blue china, sea glass......all sit in dishes waiting! 

Amazing sunsets, evening sky in the  Duddon Estuary, 

Waiting and dreaming of Springtime and the thought of my beautiful Snakehead Fritillaries filling the garden.  And once again the snowdrops push through, then the daffodils and primroses and violets.
violets in my path make me smile
 And then they arrive, fragile and so beautiful, hundreds of tiny chequered heads, the Snake head Fritillaries,   everyone planted over the years from tiny white bulbs. I wander down just to sit and look at them and then choose one to draw.

my beautiful fritillary garden
  A study of one of the flowers,  each one seems to have different patterns.  I had pink shades and lots of white ones too and even some with double heads.  I love their elegant shapes and the way they droop their heads and the leaves create movement.

drawings by Eileen Postlethwaite

beautiful patterns on my favourite flower

Time seems to pass so quickly,  but gladly it seems a slower pace here in our little village.  The  other weekend we were reminded of a different time when things were slower and handsome steam powered trains travelled along the railway lines and passed through villages and people waved at the train and the passengers waved back with smiles from one to another. I think everyone would agree for a few moments we captured the spirit of  that age, as I also captured some photographs to share with you. I  hope my blog makes you smile and you find the time to send a little message back, it would be lovely to hear from you wherever you are.

The Steam train approaching our village station. they always pull the hooter and spit out the steam to delight us all.

Train whistle blowing. 

And I will leave you with another beautiful sky...the colours of my pink foxgloves.

Have a wonderful weekend.
see you soon

Milly x

Eileen Postlethwaite