We had noticed that the leaves of the squash plants in The Three Sisters bed, move and turn with the sun and heat. Today I set up our 'scouting camera' in the veg patch and set it to take a photograph every 10 minutes. I've put together all 123 photos to make this movie.
A few weeks ago I received an email from someone who wanted to buy some of my prints and cards; I noticed that her email was from "SalixArts" and she noticed that my studio was only a few miles from hers! When we met a few days later we came up with an idea – a skill-swap :-D
SKILL-SWAP round one – Weaving a willow plant support
Two weeks ago, on a very very wet day, I went to Debbie Hall's workshop to learn some willow weaving techniques that would enable me to make my own plant supports (I was quite excited!)
Debbie grows her own materials and it was fascinating to learn how the different varieties of willow are suited to making different structures; weather conditions at different seasons also affect the willow's growth – for instance a late frost can kill the top bud and this results in growth being twiggy instead of long and straight
So, to work . . . Debbie showed me each stage, then I copied.
It was huge fun! I even forgot that it was chilly and tipping down with rain. By lunchtime I was two-thirds up my willow obelisk plant support. The design cleverly includes a range of techniques which can be used to make up all sorts of garden structures, supports and small fences.
In the afternoon I finished off the obelisk and learned how to fasten the top tightly with a clever Japanese basketry knot.
I was sent home with two big bundles of soaked willow and advice to make another before I had time to forget what I'd learnt. So the next day I spent a few hours creating this . . . which I'm very very pleased with!
SKILL-SWAP round two – Cutting a lino block and printing it by hand
Yesterday was my turn to teach Debbie how to cut and print a linocut, we had chatted about possible designs and she arrived with a sketchbook full of ideas. She selected a sketch of three floating feathers with the outline of a hedgerow silhouetted behind them – it had negative and positive shapes and textures.
We both spent the morning carving lino, I found it interesting to have to analyse exactly how I held the cutting tool and how I used my other hand to steady the block. There was a lot of discussion about using just the right amount of pressure. Of course we were so busy no photos got taken!
After lunch we moved on to mixing ink, rolling just the right amount of ink onto the block and hand burnishing the paper to make a print. I found lots of different paper – so Debbie could see how they all take the ink differently.
Here are some of Debbie's finished prints hanging up to dry . . .
And I learned some teaching tips too, because you never know – they may come in useful.
And although is was tempting to watch more of the London 2012 Olympics on TV, we decided to get out in the fresh air – Cliff is leading another 15 mile walk for the local walking group at the end of the month and we had paths to check out.
The weather fore cast was correct and soon we were hurrying to shelter in a wood while the storm passed over (luckily we had some very nice Sausage and Mustard crisps with us, to munch while we waited).
Decisions about which way to go had to be made!
We met some magnificent trees in the woods . . .
. . . and stumbled upon this ornately exuberant gravestone in a churchyard.
Yet another storm cloud passed in the distance over the valleys thick with ripe wheat.
We finished our walk in bright sunshine along field headlands spangled with purple Knapweed and mauve Scabious, although sadly lacking in butterflies.
We arrived home to see the final five minutes of the Olympic Tennis Men's Singles Final - Hurrah!!!!
My collection of Scented-leaf Geraniums (OK to be accurate they are 'pelargoniums') is now on display next to our back door. I'd been hunting around for something for them to sit on and then had a brain wave :-)
Two very long and cold winters had left me with just a couple of my collection of Scented-leaf Geraniums and I missed all those lovely leaves to touch and sniff; so at the end of June when I saw a special offer from a specialist nursery, I just couldn't resist! A few days later I received a package of little plants . . .
I had fun planting them in some old terracotta flowerpots (I retrieved these from next to a neighbour's bin, many years ago). And the wooden seed trays were from a another neighbour who was throwing them out!
The little plants are growing well, one needed repotting into a larger pot already, but the others can grow a little bigger first.
Now that they are on display they needed some nice labels, so I made some . . .
. . . did you guess that they are old venetian blind slats painted with acrylic paint? I wrote the names with a fine-tip silver marker pen.
There's just one little snag . . . someone says it's his favourite step-ladder. I'll let him have it back when the Scented-leaf Geraniums need bigger pots.
Gabriella has thrown down the gauntlet – to do a drawing every day during August and post it on twitter/blog/facebook for everyone to see. You can read more about it on her blog, here.
Here are the rules :
"Draw something – anything – from life…
an observational drawing, whether your style is realistic, fluid,
abstract; and then post it somewhere on social media either on your
blog, facebook page, instagram, where ever you usually post things! I’ll
be posting mine here daily but will also set up a hache tag column on
twitter so that we …assuming anyone joins in .. can all see what we’re
I've decided to link this with my 'Drawing Trees in Summer' project – I've been enjoying doing watercolour studies of trees, so this challenge to do line drawings will be interesting and useful for my plan to eventually do woodcuts based on my sketches from life.
Here is my drawing for day 1: Corsican Pine in our garden.
You can follow all the sketches on Twitter by using the hashtag #ippdailydraw; I'll post all my sketches on Flickr, here.
If you'd like to join in, pop over to tell Gabs where you'll be posting your sketches, if you use Twitter the tweet your sketch with the hashtag #ippdailydraw.
It will be an interesting challenge, thank you Gabs for getting me drawing (hopefully) every day!