Saturday 31 August 2013

Sandra Brownlee - tactile journals and the written word

this week i had the great pleasure of being a student in a class led by my friend Sandra Brownlee

she surprised us each with a gift of paper
together with a candle and a box of matches
and an exquisitely bound stone heart

after asking us to talk about the relevance of the notebook to our practice
[i had to admit i begin a notebook with exquisite attention to detail
arranging things as though the pages were a secret chamber in a wunderkammer...
which doesn't last as within a short space of time those pristine pages
resemble nothing so much as a piece of sticky flypaper
hanging in some grungy ktichen]

her first instructions were
"cover your notebook so that you want to hold it"
i did.
i think i'll cover all of my notebooks with padding and cloth 
from now on
it makes them good to hold
having cloth inside the back cover is rather useful for wiping messy fingers.
+  +  +
each morning began with a ritual drawing session
to focus mind and body on the task at hand
Sandra presented us with an abundance of things to read and gaze at
pegged out nicely on a clothesline

we worked with letters and words
and i overcame an inherent mistrust of embroidery hoops
there may be more of them in my future
+  +  +
at the end of today
i farewelled the view
the dog
and the river
and friends from near and far 
but not for too long
i will be back in June next year
to take Michel Garcia's indigo class
and work on a shared exhibition project with a local sculptor

Wednesday 28 August 2013

in which the river strengthens its spell

work from my residency by the river shows no sign of slackening
during the day i am a happy participant in Sandra Brownlee's class
working on Tactile Notebooks

my personal therapist sleeping next to me on the stoop

before and after class hours
[besides a spot of cooking]
i sort fragments, draw and write.
some of the drawing takes place in mud

i have been working on a short film together with Tracey McConnell-Wood
that is to say, Tracey is actually doing the real work [of filming]
and recording sound
i wander in and out of shot.

last night i stitched and dyed until late
so that this evening
we had something to unbundle by the water

the sky was absolutely fabulous
[and the dress that came out of the dyepot fits me]
this beautiful object is a steel drum
made by Jason Shearer here in Newburgh.
the dress was bundled around it in the dyepot
[if you'd like to buy a drum like that, please send a message with your contact details via the contact page on my website and i shall forward it to him]

Saturday 24 August 2013

the weaver of grass

since coming to Newburgh i've hardly been able to tear myself away from the river
but i went to Perth for a day
to see an exhibition at the Perth Museum and Gallery

'the weaver of grass'

the work of Angus McPhee
whose sad history can be read here

the works speak for themselves


there was a "touchable" sample at the exhibition
made by Joanne B Kaar
whose own work is also fascinating

i'd also like to add a virtual bouquet for the kind gentleman on the desk at the museum who, when i tottered in and inquired about the exhibition practically took me by the hand to lead me thither. what a sweetie.

Thursday 22 August 2013


i love tidal rivers
they have a magic all their own
things are hidden and revealed
muddied one day, squeaky clean the next

in + by the river
what is lost can be found
the whole become broken
+ the broken whole
troubles + sorrows washed away
messages entrusted to the mud + tides
faith replenished + spirits lifted
while the river mumbles + murmurs by
rising + falling
going in + drifting out

and just as it is with life
you can never step into the same river twice

Saturday 17 August 2013

paper colour

now on day two of class two
working on the wayfarer's windfall book
Denmark, Belgium and Germany have left us
Sweden, Italy, Scotland, England and California have stayed on
and we have been joined by Switzerland
and even some folk from this area!

the colours are [dare i say it]
are even more delightful on paper
than they were on cloth