Saturday 13 June 2020

Backgarden update

The back garden is looking good at the moment. A lot of plants have survived severe neglect over the winter. It has taken a while to reclaim the garden from the rats. It really felt like their domain for a few months. I was sweeping around the back of the bamboo and found two bleached rat skeletons, so feel the trick of a small but continuous top up of poison (in a brick enclosure) has enabled me to claim it back. Half the problem is having watched the families from the back door they were beginning to look pretty cute...massacring them a horrible thought.

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I've featured these very dark tulips 'Queen of the night', as they have been a really stunning sight. I'm not at all into tulips but these look very glamorous. Tulips are in the gladioli camp for me, a lot of gaudy hues, only seeming to work in large scale drifts of all different colours. My tulips have fitted in as the colour scheme is restricted to warm dark purple/reds, whites and all the greens of foliage but the majority being green rather than yellow.

The colour was again different with the sun on them. Wonderful! David jokes I like them because, 'once a Goth always a Goth'.

Wednesday 10 June 2020

Allotment update - May 30th

Working mostly in the evenings as socially distancing from Tony, Terry and co.

Tuesday 19 May 2020

Allotment update

I decided to grow oriental poppies from seed last year. They overwintered very well and are now looking stunning. They are sadly very short lived...the allotment equivalent of the cherry blossom.

Pictured above is the top end of the new flower bed. It originally came into being as a safety measure. Before a handrail was installed there was significant drop from the concrete path to the bed below, the main aim of the raised flower bed was to prevent an accident or at least break someones fall should they trip. It was particularly aimed at Tony who is the main user of the path and allthough spritely is in his late eighties. So, it was left unfinished for about a year and lockdown has enabled me to complete that job and many others besides.

The bed was meant exclusively for cut flowers but has become a 'nursery' bed for anything sickly-looking and potbound. A real success are the three gaint collard plants (right) from Waun Ceilogau, the flea beetles that are chewing their way through all other brassicas on the plot, have left these alone. It is really delicious as well!

A purple theme is developing. Just germinated are climbing beans 'Cosse Violette' and below, Orach, which I'm trying for the first time. This year, lack of shade is a real issue. The orach, spinach and chards are in danger of bolting before they are even in the ground. The 'rubbish dump' section of the allotment alongside the beech hedge is going to have to be cleared out and beds created for these now vulnerable plants or otherwise search out varieties that are specifically grown for bolt resistance.

Lastly, a photo of some teasels procured from the mother plant at Waun Ceilogau. The fascinating reproduction process involves the seeds germinating and tiny plantlets growing high in the teasel heads. I just placed the teasel heads on compost filled  mushroom tubs. The tubs had been on a table out in my backgarden, but, every morning I would wake up to find them strewn about the place with compost everywhere. David and I came to the conclusion the culprit was a blackbird looking for worms. A couple of weeks later I came down to a scene of devastation, every single container had been savaged in the same way. It was an awful mess, I ended up covering everything in fleece and insect netting at night time.

The story has a happy ending though, as we have two, just fledged blackbird chicks, a male and a female taking refuge in the shady corners of the garden. Judging from the dilligence the mother bird is showing feeding and chatting to her two infants, she is the same one that checked every single bleedin pot for worms!

Tuesday 5 May 2020

May 5th 2020

Here is a good picture of my plot in the first few days of arriving after the whole plot became mine. Prior to this I'd been sharing the plot with Owen, and I had been working the beds on the left hand side for about six months. Now some pictures of what it looks like today.

Strawberries front right, herbs to left, behind is kholrabi with sugar snap peas further back.Swiss chard back left.

 Sage from seed. A minor miracle!

My coriander this year for the first time ever, looks like the stuff you buy in the shops. Sewn into a deep bed (they don't like being moved) in the shady area at the back of the green house. Loads of water.

Trying green manures this year. This is red clover. I expect I'll dig it in, in a couple of months time. The soil has had little organic matter added to it over the years so green manure is another way of improving structure and nutrient levels. I am also trying Fodder radish to improve a compacted area alongside a pathway.

Strawberry beds....just been freshened up with dilute sulphur of potash and compost. I'll cover with pine needles as well soon.

Here is the herb bed, chives, lemon balm, rocket and hyssop. There is an echinacea bottom left corner that has survivied the winter. That will be moved to the flower bed soon to make way for parsley.

This I am proud of...the insect net I fashioned to fit on my raised bed. At the moment it is serving more as shade than anything else. Three types of radish, two of rocket and two beetroot varieties just germinated. I'm looking to find the best for early salad ingredients and a quick turnover rather than using it as a general seed bed.

Sunday 2 June 2019

An Expanded View of Drawing

At the start of 2018 I was invited to take part in 'An Expanded View of Drawing ' at the
The Riverfront Art Gallery, part of the big events and gallery complex in Newport in March 2018.

I was kind of reluctant but received several requests from the curator to show drawings, so eventually I agreed.  The drawings proposed were one or two from the 'Hybrids' series I had made some time ago, the work can be viewed on my website below:-

This is the piece that was finally chosen to be exhibitied. I had packed the work very carefully giving full instructions on how it should be hung, as the shadows cast by the piece is important factor. I checked the work very assiduously even reinforcing the most delicate parts on the reverse.

 At some point during the exhibition or as the work was being taken down it was damaged, in fact torn, in seven places. The yellow paper shows the torn places in the work.

I had collected the work in person from the gallery, it was already boxed up and was passed to me by the curator who said she was responsible for taking down the exhibition. I didn't look at the work until I opened the box some time later. Naturally, I was upset to see the damage.

I contacted the curator and the organiser, both of whom said they were sorry but knew nothing about it. I asked who took the exhibition down and was told it was a technician. I was then told the technician also knew nothing about the damage and the organiser stood behind the technician 100% and had implacable trust in them.

So the three people who handled my work and were responsible for the care of my work denied any knowledge of the damage. They were able to back up each others stories. So, there was absolutely nothing I could do about my work being trashed. The irony is...the organiser bemoaned the 'lack of professionalism' in the arts sector in Wales. Well, I've heard some hypocritical bullshit in my time but that took the biscuit.

Google it, if you want to find out who these people are. If you are an artist, I recommend you steer well clear of these individuals.

Saturday 12 March 2016

I feel a blog challenge coming on!

I've been thinking since the start of 2016 about blog challenges. I really love the idea of daily drawing challenges and there are some amazing people on Pinterest posting every day on 365 or 30 day challenges. Wow, what a great idea but one I baulk at, just on the basis I'm too disorganised. A jewellery tutor of mine did a daily challenge of making simple 3D drawings, they ended up being exhibitied together with her jewellery and it all made perfect sense.

So, it's taken me two and half months to work out a challenge that I can do and one that it not so demanding I end up throwing the towel in. Mine is a leisurely paced (and encorporating a late start!), monthy challenge with the express aim of using the vessels I have collected from various charity shops over the years. As the photo shows, they are a motley crew. I would like also to have a technical side to the challenge too. My sketchbooks are full of ideas that never see the light of day and they often have a technical element that blocks me from following through.

The first one will be around creating a gradient by dyeing the crochet cotton. It will involve measuring and estimating the length of thread per row and then carfeully graduating density of colour. You can see why I've not got round to that particular task ;) Do stick around and see how it works out!

Wednesday 2 March 2016

Stunning feature on mould

I'm delighted to be included in a wonderful article on mould and art in the prestigious 'The creators project', a fascinating blog hosted by Vice magazine.  It's great to be presented as an artist rather than crafter and to be in such illustrious company as Daniele Del Nero and Antoine Bridier-Nahmias, I was admiring Antoine's work just last week! here's a link to the blog article >>

Tuesday 19 January 2016

New year - new skills

Happy new year to everyone! I've promised myself this year I would make tentative steps towards trying out natural dyeing techniques. I've had a book on lichen dyes for a while and am lucky enough to have family living near woodland which hosts some impressive lichens. My first consideration was 'ethical' collecting, a new concept, and as yet (with the lichen pictured above) I have gathered just what has fallen onto pathways and verges.

Serendipitously, I have just discovered Bristol is creating it's own Natural dye garden, how wonderful is that! here is a link to their page >> . I have grabbed a spot on the 'Shibori dyeing with local natural dyes' course, with Flora Arbuthnot, which I am really looking forward to.

Very best of luck with all new ventures and adventures in the coming year!!

Monday 14 December 2015

Another beautiful mould!