Sunday, December 29, 2013


Saturday was spent quietly in the studio - avoiding the 38 degree heat and making, preparing and planning.
 It was warm enough for me to gesso an entire notebook over the afternoon.
In between gessoing pages I made a card for a sick friend,
 finally finished my contribution to Cas Holmes' project,
 stitched some paper experiments, 
 looked at old maps,
and made an amulet.

The planning included an indigo vat, a new biggish piece, marking out the year ahead and thinking about Portugal.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

reading in real life

When we came back from Europe in October I realised how much of my life has become centred on electronic devices, hooked up to Ye Olde Internette.  And perhaps this was becoming a substitute for living in the real world - reading blogs and online journals instead of books. I thought that as well as interrupting my sleeping patterns and shortening my attention span, it was distracting me from deep reading and deep thinking and maybe even dulling the sparky creative parts of my mind.

So I wrote a list. I am a great list-writer and find them a comforting thing in a chaotic world: there are few things more satisfying and convincing of achievement than ticking things off a list.  This is not as military and efficient as it sounds as my lists can be quite elastic - things I don't like doing such as making appointments and talking to real people tend to get moved from one week's list to the next.

So here is my November list of intentions:
 Apart from the usual 'drink more water', the list is really about achieving the last thing - clearing the noise jam in my head. Too much short spiky stuff is being thrust in at all angles. And an excellent cure for that is to read fiction - something I hadn't really done for ages. Between reading for uni and trawling around the internet, I wasn't getting lost in another separate world and getting caught up in lovely rolling sentences. And I used to do that a lot - I made myself sick one weekend by gorging on Jane Austen.

So, apart from uni reading, this is what I read in November and early December:
Four of the Elizabeth Jane Howards were a bit of a cheat as I had read them before but the others were new reads. I'm ambivalent about the Kate Atkinson - the writing was excellent but there was something that didn't quite captivate me. The groundhog day trope didn't quite work for me - perhaps because it seemed so purposeless?

The new Howard (All Change) was greedily devoured in one go - I read until 4.30am as I wanted to find out what happened next all the way through. A very good way of unjamming the head.

As I'm reading Gwen Raverat's account of her Victorian Cambridge childhood, Period Piece, I might have a Victorian novel phase next. And I feel the need to read the Divine Comedy again - once every decade seems about right and this time I'll make more of an effort to read Purgatory and Paradise as well as the Inferno.

And I'll finish with a gratuitous Toby Cat photo.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

the lacuna begins

The lovely lacuna between Boxing Day and the New Year - that becalmed space without obligations or expectations. Last year, of course, we had our wedding blessing with our very special English family. This year is a millpond - we are both recovering from our illnesses and will be doing very little over the next week.

I do intend to spend some pottering time in the studio - I have a list of things I want to try from sun-printing to making cerecloth.  And we will both be doing much reading - here are our Christmas books.

Monday, December 16, 2013

and a finished object

Silk and cotton threads, including some silk indigo-dyed by me last autumn.
French knots and bullions on velvet
I'm really enjoying making these little brooches - they are an inch an a half across and very satisfying to stitch.  The velvet looks black in this photo but is actually a deep inky, purpley-blue.

Friday, December 13, 2013

the latest wips

a 'what's happening in the studio' post
 All on their way to being something.

blogoversary giveaway winner!

Thank you everyone for entering the blogoversary giveaway - 40 comments was amazing! So this morning I cut up all the comments, screwed them up tight and put them in the fruit and veg delivery box,
then enlisted the help of my son - you can trust him as he a) is an ethics student and b) doesn't know any of you.

Here he is being impartial (and a little bemused).
 and drumroll.... the winner is
catsmum!!! yayayayayay! Kermit cheering!!

Send me your address catsmum and the book (that I'm in...) will be yours - and maybe a few extra Christmas goodies....

Monday, December 09, 2013

Making / re-making

Making is a process, which in terms of the finished thing, is no longer available. Yet 'making' is how things come to be; the 'thing' once finished, is in-process, on the other side; at the moment of its finish it begins and begins without destination, this is its object-ive. This thing touches, stokes, destroys, sets in motion other things, which in turn press it on, free it, make it, and undo it. The thing - thought does the same, and it is made, made and re-made in the same manner.
Jean-Luc Nancy
The Heart of things in The Birth to Presence. Stanford University Press 1993

I found this quote serendipitously on Katherine Bowman's blog  - she is the Melbourne artist who made our wedding rings :)
We particularly liked the lack of perfection in Katherine's work - you can see and feel the marks of making. And the little diamonds in my ring are loosely based on the Pleiades - my favourite constellation that usually appears somewhere in my work. Work full of resonances, referencing the process and continually remaking itself.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

le weekend

It has been a quiet weekend here - Kind Dog and I have been quite unwell this spring with gout and asthma respectively. So we have been pottering around tending to the animals and the garden - I'll do a separate post on Betty and Vera - everyone is growing and settling in wonderfully.

I spent some time in the studio quietly embroidering some Christmas presents - silk and cotton thread on velvet.
 And this evening we will have a little champagne to celebrate our special day - we met on 8 December 2010. We met for coffee, talked for seven hours straight and have been blissfully happy ever since.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

blogoversary giveaway!

On 5 December 2005 I started textile seahorse in the usual faltering style of the novice blogger.  Blogging has been a salvation during the dark times, and a bit of a drag when I couldn't think of anything to say but said it anyway.  It has definitely made me a better artist - blogging a project kept me up to the mark in trying to do my best work, experimenting and connecting with so many people across the vast interwebby oceans. There are people I now count as dear friends who found me through my blog. For a while the blog felt like it had run its course and I nearly gave up on it, but everything seems to be working again now and the blogging momentum is back.

So, to celebrate 8 years of wittering I am going to give away a copy of Seth Apter's new book (have I mentioned it before??) The Mixed Media Artist  Art Tips, Tricks, Secrets and Dreams From Over 40 Amazing Artists.
Apart from the fact that I'm in it (did I tell you?), the book features the work and techniques of a bunch of mixed media artists and is a really good read. Seth has crammed as much as he possibly could into 143 pages while still making it a beautiful object in itself.

So, leave a comment and there will be a random drawing of the lucky winner next week.