The Extraordinarium

“The Extraordinarium, a place, a home for extraodinary little beings to gather and where extraordinary things happen.

Herbert, he is an extraordinary little being, has seen many centuries come and go and has watched his beloved walled garden and the contents therein slowly decline. What was once a thriving country house, slowly fell into disrepair, the sons were called up to fight and never returned, the same went for all workers on the estate and slowly everything came to a halt. The owners died as much of a broken heart as old age and the house fell into total decline. Herbert of course always found something to eat from the rampant grasses, berries and seeds that grew wild everywhere but he yearned for the day when his beloved walled garden could be bought back to life

it came to him in a dream, he didn’t know it then, but this was to be the beginning of something quite extraordinary ! dream trees .”

I have started to put together the books for my little creatures, the characterful beings that are drawn to “The Extraordinarium”

the sketches below are ideas for the dream tree, a very rare specie. I am intending to make one, probably cut paper, shaped and curved to form three dimensional image just like my flowers and shoes, or a moulded paper clay that I can actually model and place in a perspex case. Early stages yet, but all my creatures are made and the individual stories are coming together. These will all be for sale, where I dont know or when, but soon

Inspired

Just back from Pembrokeshire my third visit this year. Just glorious weather, blue skies, rugged coastlines and foxgloves everywhere. So colourful, pink flowers everywhere and when looking closely in the hedgerows up the lane pretty wild orchids. Even bought a magnificent plate by Pembrokeshire ceramicist Jonathon Cox, large 40cms dia, lustre painted design depicting the local flora. Came home just so full of ideas !!

Mind is working overtime as usual, in my head I am creating so many things that my hand cannot write and sketch them down in my book quick enough. I dont know about you all out there, but my sketch book is full of notes, mindmaps as well as the obvious drawing stuff. I have many and variety of sizes and formats, landscape, square and portrait and I find it somewhat chaotic at times because I forget which one I have been working in and spend ages looking for the “right one”

My extraordinary creatures are coming to life, all their characters are beginning to take shape. Right now I have three more made waiting for their clothing, a goat with the most amazing set of horns, more dramatic than his friend the painter, he holds great presence and power. A delicate little whippet, definitely feminine and a seated hare. Talking of seats I purchased a beautiful little chair, you can see below two little friiends looking comfy.

I have also just taken delivery off a stack of vintage and linen off cuts, all 100% natural linen and very pleased with them indeed as some show obvious wear which I love. Have replenished my wool stocks, all natural colours and English and Welsh breads, even some Herdwick, the breed that Beatrix Potter bought back to life in the Lake District back in the early 1900’s, Its all very exciting as there is so much more that I am carrying out on this project, eventually everything will be for sale . These are one off totally handmade art creatures their clothes hand stitched and most have removable clothing, They are collectables suitable as family heirlooms. These are not toys as they delicate, needle felted wool over an aluminium wire armature, but I see them as story telling characters to inspire and ignite imagination and creativity in all ages.

Along side all this each character will eventually have handmade art story books to accompany them. The Narrative contains something really special and this item will be available as a paper sculpture

Please watch this space for further anouncements

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The journey continues

It has been awhile since I posted.  My life has been full and packed with inspiring visits, projects, cliff walks and so on.

North Wales and the Lake district beckoned, visiting friends, coming together on really sacred lands and holding ceremony to visiting Beatrix Potter’s first cottage by Lake Windermere.  This cottage, its warmth and love really resonated with me, my desire to move away from my large spaces and tall ceilings to a simple home, intimate, full of my own creations and a space that will feed my soul and where I can end my days here.

This desire was strengthened yet again when I visited Pembrokeshire, everything just opened up and there was the cottage I have been dreaming in came into real life, after viewing it I came away absolutely blown away with its detail, it was as if I had been walking around it in my dreams and the universe had manifested it for me.

North Pembrokhire is wild and rugged, the flora and fauna excellent and  the views tremendous from the coastal path, lovely sleepy little villages, NO costa, NO Starbucks, NO chains, in fact not much at all but what I love about the farmhouse I stay in Northern Kefalonia is right here in Wales,  I dont like hot sun and I dont go t to greece to roast on the sandy beaches,  so in a way it has everyting.  The only difference is NO swimming Pool.  Guess I will come a fan of wild swimming, should keep me fit and healthy.

So we shall see what transpires, taking my daughter to view the property again after easter.

Here are a few image of what I have been getting up to and the last one, homage to my lovely mum, 27 years ago she passed on to the next life. Happy Mother’s Day

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A lot has happened since my last post

the last months since November have been packed full with all manner of things,  visit to Wales.  Fabulous lunch at The Greenhouse.   London museums and gallery visits, the Oceania exhibition at the Royal Academy being one of the most inspirational I have seen in a long while.  Firle church and an evening of music, words, dance and ceremony with Carolyn Hilllyer to see in the solstiice, and on the solstice a wonderful evening organised by a good friend Ali, journeying to sounds of a Mongolian throat singer and gong bath.   Then of course Christmas and the handmade presents I usually do, this year it was books, hand made and hand bound.  A new skill learnt which I love the precision of the bindings themselves.  Sourdough breadmaking course at the Bicycle Bakery, which I made many tasty loaves   Then it was needle felting families of dreaming mice, each one had a prayer for manifesting peace and serenity in all areas of life and then a fabulous sleepy dreaming bunny, this has now grown into a rabbit figure which has conjured up clothes, characters and a book.  A fabulous christmas lunch of Haunch of Venison cooked to perfection by my daughter and an illuminated walk at Bedgebury which was quite spectacular All the while though there has been my daily practice, patterns and watercolour and collage.

Oh and of course it was my 70th birthday last Friday.  I had a fabulous couple of days, so many lovely cards, flowers and messages.  A gift from daughter and her partner, one for  for each decade, so seven beautiful gifts including a poem that bought tears to my eyes.  I also spent a lovely evening and breakfast walk along the seafront at Hastings after a night at The Laindons which I thoroughly recommend.

What it is like being 70?  the best feeling in the world, freedom to do and be who you like, fabulous.

Here are a few glimpses of the past weeks

the way forward

Since my days have become my own to choose what i do, I have been experiencing elation !!  I just cannot believe why I continued to work for so long !!  as always I am trying to build a daily practice, but consistancy is not my forte and although I am managing to keep a flow of writing my daily pages and trying something creative most days, my oil painting seems to have diminished.  Think I am trying to do so many things including downsizing all my posessions, that in itself has been overwhelming.  “one room at a time ” is my motto and I am slowly getting thought it all.

At the moment the easiest thing to do is reach for my watercolours and gouache as I can just sit down and do something quickly without too much fuss.  Here are some of the outpouring.

Hopefully a more consistent approach from now on

I am now on a new journey, a journey where I can devote my time to a creative daily practice of my own.

My days of designing interiors are now over, cannot believe I ran my own successful company for so long.  My only sadness it that my mother died just weeks before it all began, she never saw me put my creative skills to good use,  I know she would have been so very happy for me.   There are many challenges in starting a business and the first few years were extremely tough, many times I was close to giving up but thankfully that strong will of  mine saw me through. My mums words “where there is a will there is way” constantly rang through my head.  I also also lived through the dawning of the digital age, apple mac was my first computer in the early 90’s with my first mobile phone and over the years the working practice of a designer became totally computer driven.  Out went the drawing boards  and the source library an in came drawing packages, illustrator, Cad and so on.  Together with a great team we have designed, procured and installed projects the length and breadth of the country.

Will I miss it all?  Right in this moment in time, I would say no definitely not, interior design sounds great but it comes with massive pressure, constant deadlines and right now I am so happy to leave it al behind.  Will I miss it in the future, who knows, possibly, but I know that my own creative skills have taken a back seat for so long thats its time now for this to be the main part of my day.

just a few of the ways I have been expressing myself of late.

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feeling free

 

Another large project (day job)  has at last come to fruition and with that comes the release of feeling I can breathe again, no pressure……..  and even closer to  my goal of giving it all up for good.

today in my studio I tried out mono printing for the first time.    What a great way to work, I love it and cannot wait to get back down there again today.  Experimenting with inks, acrylics, alcohol, cutting stencils and the excitement of pulling the print, revealing such unexpected results.  I am ,looking out for some good printmaking weekend courses, if anyone knows of any please let me know.

I am also working on a large piece, acrylic underpainting and now layering in oils.  Intertwined shapes, at first large and as each subsequent layer they are becoming smaller and more defined, colours changing all the time.  Sometimes clashing  and full of vigour, sometimes much quieter and more sombre.  Almost like a weather gauge of emotions.   A journey I am enjoying

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