Thursday, 28 August 2014

Finding bricks

The herringbone stencil I used on this page reminded me of bricks, which set me thinking about building.

All across England there are buildings and walls built out of the local stone. In Sussex there is a lot of flint used. In some places sandstone is the preferred material, and you can see the weathering on the older buildings where that soft stone is being worn away. Further north you start to see drystone walls. Things are built from what is available locally.

Moving from one church to another, I'm starting to think about what will change and how the 'materials' will be different. I'll still be building the same wall, but it will look different because the bricks will be made of different stuff.

Monday, 25 August 2014


Five years after uprooting from everything we knew and relocating halfway around the round to take up a post at a new church, we had our last Sunday with that congregation yesterday. Now we have four weeks before we start with a new set of people, a new church culture, a new home just across the city.

This is my time of contemplation; of looking back over these five years and assessing the fruit.

Although the move is a short one this time, still it involves an emotional wrench. We have joined a set of people on a journey, and now it is our time to break off and take a slightly different route with a new set of travellers. But we will take with us the marks of that part of our journey, as we hope they will, too. We cannot truly interact with each other without leaving marks. We hope they will be laughter lines rather than scars.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Planning a garden

One of the fun things about moving is planning a new garden. I like to grow things that I can eat. I like to be able to walk out of the kitchen and gather the herbs I need to make a meal. I'm pretty sure I won't grow all of these things this year, but I plan on adding to the garden each season, growing some things in pots, some in beds, and making the most of the space.

What do you like to grow?

Tuesday, 19 August 2014


Still working on the spreads in my pianola book. I'd been working on this spread on and off, just adding bits and pieces. It already had the picture of the nest on it when I completed the other side on memorials.

As it lay open on my desk, and with my thoughts being on transition, I thought about the promise held in eggs, in green leaves, in spring, which is on its way here in the southern hemisphere. The pages seemed to go together well - a memorial for the things learned, and the promise of things to come.

Monday, 18 August 2014

One Little Word - Lost

Over at One Little Word, the word for the month is lost. I can fully embrace this word at the moment,  being in a transition period between one church and another. We are only moving across the city, but being a ministry family, when there is a new post, there is a new house, new church, new set of people.

Everything changes.

And there is a period in between when you are detaching from one place but haven't yet moved on to the next.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Remember, remember

A package of gorgeous papers arrived for me yesterday from a friend I met in A Colourful Playground. Thank you, Becky Wentworth! The cairn is made from some papers made by using Citra-solv on National Geographic magazine photos. As I haven't tracked down any Citra-solv for myself, Becky kindly sent some of the papers she had made to me. They have great patterns that remind me of natural objects such as stones and wood. Hence the cairn in my journal.

If you haven't found the google+ community A Colourful Playground yet, I recommend you go and have a look. It's a great place to meet new arty friends, do swaps, share your art, learn new techniques, and give and receive encouragement.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Playing with wire

On Sunday afternoon I felt the urge to make some earrings. I took some silver wire and bent it before hammering with a jeweller's hammer to give it texture. They lasted in my ears for about half an hour before my teenage daughter saw them. Now they are in her jewellery box...

Sunday, 10 August 2014


Anyone who plants a seed - of any kind - has hope. Hope that it will germinate, grow, and prove fruitful.

Whether that seed is mustard and cress, producing a crop in a few days, or a tree that doesn't reach maturity for decades, there is hope in the planter. No-one plants a seed and rejoices if it doesn't grow.

So what sort of seeds are you planting, both literal and metaphorical? Do they all anticipate a quick yield, or are you planting things that you hope will prove fruitful way in the future? Are you prepared to nurture the seedlings for as long as it takes?

Thursday, 7 August 2014

The effects of the past

This page was a long time in the making. It went through an awful lot of layers before ending up like this. Whatever I did, I didn't like it. It was looking messy, bitty, not of a piece. So I gessoed over the whole lot, but the colours were showing through and I just wasn't happy with it.

Enter the gelli-print. I stuck this in the middle and that covered most of the problems. A little stamping to blend the edges and I was starting to feel better about it.

A spray of red ink and it looked wounded.

Oh dear.

But as I thought about the page and what it had been through, it started to come together. The blue border peeking through, the 'bloodstain', the transfer of paint from one part of the print to another, all spoke to me about the past leaking through to the present.

No matter how much you paper over something, the effects of the past will show up in your life, even if you have been fully healed. There is a residue that has affected your thinking, your habits, your way of dealing with situations. Everything you have lived through has left its mark. The person you are today is because of what happened to you in the past and how you dealt with it.

All the frustration I had with this page resulted in something that I am actually pleased with now.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

How many boxes?

As our move looms closer, we are getting quotes for removals. People are moving through our home and working out how much space will be needed to move all of our belongings, totting up how many boxes will be needed to pack up our life and move it across the city.

It's strange to think that five years ago we packed everything into a sea container and moved it halfway round the world. When everything you have is packed into one compact space you realise just how small a life is if you only count it in terms of possessions.

But I am thankful for all those things in my life that cannot be put into a box - love, faith, hope, grace, mercy. These things cannot be contained.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Pianola book

Several months ago my husband bought a couple of pianola rolls for me. They have sat in my art room since then while I have thought about how I wanted to use them. This week I decided to turn them into a book. 

I wanted to make a square book as I find that format pleasing. So I cut the pianola rolls into double-page lengths. As you can imagine, the pieces immediately curled up into tight rolls, having been rolled up for I don't know how long. To combat this, I stuck the lengths together in pairs, back-to-back, which had the added advantage of covering most of the holes, too, and strengthening the fragile paper.

Now I'm having fun working on backgrounds, gelli-printing, stamping, and sticking however the whim takes me.

Friday, 1 August 2014

Having fun

I spent yesterday afternoon having fun just playing. I was carving some stamps for Becky Wentworth, who I met in the Colourful Playground google+ community set up by Carolyn Dube. She's going to swap me some papers made from National Geographic magazine images manipulated with Citra-solv. Anyway, after I'd finished stamps for Becky, I was on a roll, so I did the ones above for myself. The circle was inspired by a bubble-wrap print.

One of the great things about moving is that you have a jolly good clear-out. I found some glossy black card and some Lumiere paints tucked away in a drawer. So I pulled them out to play with as well. I did a couple where I just mushed two pieces of card together and then pulled them apart, and then some with clingfilm (plastic wrap/ saran wrap). When I peeled off the clingfilm there was still a lot of paint on it, so I printed off it on to some more card. Such fun!

I'm thinking that I might turn some of them into tags.

And here are some close-ups:

The one above was a print off the clingfilm from the one below.