Thursday, 18 December 2014

Residing in the Still Place……a Solstice Blog.

From Samhain until Dec 25th is my favourite time for celebrating. For me it is a creatively inspiring time of withdrawing, embracing the decent into darkness, filling sketchbooks and reading novels infront of the fire.

Whilst society would have it other.

The growing frenzy around Christmas unwittingly being driven by the rising tide of darkness, serging towards solstice, suspending us in a few days of ‘flat water’ until the suns ascent is clearly seen and the year has well and truly begun anew.

This year I am have been trying to be really organised with Christmas stuff, getting all my orders and stuff done early this week and although I have managed it, I am finding it hard not to be swept along with the pushing tide.

Just to keep me on my toes, or rather ‘off ‘ my toes. I got a hoofty slap for not listening and put my back out! This enabled me a rather luxurious afternoon of reading (a gift I had bought, so very careful not to bend the pages! She’ll never know lol) and still rather a lot of hobbling about.

I have, however managed to squeeze in making myself a solstice ring! The copper base was made for me years ago so after a bit of hammering and additions, the oak and the ivy ring was born. It just needs a bit of cleaning up now.

Solstice ring

So today, I am going to tidy up a few last items, shut up shop and attempt to find the currently elusive calm within and spend the next week Residing In The Still Place.
Happy Solstice one and all. Seasons blessings and see you on the other side. 
Quite recently I attended a poetry and sound workshop with Jackie Juno and Rachel Miller, It was super fun, we wrote pages of words, chopped them up, swapped them about and then plucked poems out of them.  This is mine. It seems pertinent to share it now.

Death Cums

Immerse fully,
The deep dive of love being made.
The breath
The pulse
The wait
The Fall.
A death which must come,
Dark forever.
This soil body of mine,

P.S.......ok, so i'm not actually going to do nothing! I've got parties to go to, marzipan fancies to make, mulled wine to drink AND I have to turn my niece into a snow queen on sunday, to parade with fairies,elves and other things typical of village life!
  Winter Solstice Goddess painting by Emily Balivet.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

The Spirit of the Whale….introducing Jonah and his Brothers!

Finally today I have finished a piece that I have been working on for months.
The Spirit of the Whale has been calling to me for months, appearing often when I open my computer and up pops another Whale related post.
It has led me on a journey to make, by far, my biggest(and most expensive!) item yet.

It was first inspired by a poem by Ted Hughes, from the book Moon Whales. It's a wonderful book with fabulous illustrations by Leonard Baskin.
I LOVE Ted Hughes and it was a real joy when I found this book in our fab local recycling centre
  Proper Job

Moon Whales

They plough through the moon stuff
Just under the surface
Lifting the moon’s skin
Like a muscle
But so slowly it seems like a lasting mountain
Breathing so rarely it seems like a volcano
Leaving a hole blasted in the moon’s skin

Sometimes they plunge deep
Under the moon’s plains
Make their magnetic way
Through the moon’s interior metals
Sending the astronaut’s instruments scatty

Their music is immense
Each note hundreds of years long
Each complete tune a moon-age

So they sing to each other unending songs
As unmoving they move their immovable masses

Their eyes closed ecstatic

So I began drawing and designing, and inspiration kept coming my way. Here I am sharing some of it with you.

This amazing video clip from the documentary 'Chasing Ice'. It is beautiful and sad in equal measures. It is of ice calving (interestingly the same term used for whales giving birth). It really is worth a watch.

To me when I watch it, it is full of whales. At one point I thought I was watching a whale breaking through the ice and then it showed Manhatten Island as a size comparison! 
It would have to be the size of a mythological beast. A whale constellation fallen from the stars. THE spirit of the whale. Amazing.

The next is called Lament for whales - a shaman's song by Tom Kenyon. I can't find a way to make it play in blogger so here is the the link. Lament for whales - A Shaman's song

The Sperm Whale Sculpt

The HumpbackWhale sculpt

The Grey Whale sculpt

These are sculpted in Super sculpey, then fired, then moulded in silicone, made in silver and finally pieced together with a whole bunch more fiddle fading along the way! I also found myself exploring the story of Jonah and the Whale, whom very kindly gave his name to this piece!

Jonah and his Brothers

It isn't really pink, just my notebook reflecting in it's silver shine!


The finished article, with Aquamarine and frosted sean glass bead, on a silver bar chain

The joy of this piece is that you can move it around depending on what you like your whale doing! 

Elegant back detail, Aquamarine. I love the finishing details  and think the back is  as important as the front :)

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Autumn Days

Much has been afoot……………
I feel that I have been a relatively frequent visitor to Wales this year! We recently returned from a week of weather and mountains, sea and sky.
The colours and the light at this time of year in North Wales are out of this world. For me it is a rare place where the land still breathes it's slow and heaving breath.The veil is constantly thin and the slate feeds my soul like no other stones.

It is also an awesome opportunity to indulge in my love of stones, or rather should I say, our love of stones. As a family our idea of a holiday involves collecting stones treasures and then spending many hours admiring them, creating with and just generally enjoying our bounty, usually over a large glass of red wine.
for the love of stones…..

assorted slates

the finished thing.
This year I actually decided to make something from them, the girls and I found these masks blanks in a craft shop and had hrs of fun decorating them.

Wales is such a magical place I could bore you for hours with photos of castles, mountains and valleys but here is just a few, as small as I could get the collection! Count yourselves lucky you are escaping me reading the kids the Mabinogion in my best welsh accent……..

Brown skies at dawn
Mountains with their head in the clouds and feet in sea.
Long deep valleys
Ruined towers
Autumnal bubble.
Ancient views with modern editions!

Guardian trees.     

Those that came before……..

emerging from the fleshy belly of the mountain opposite Dinas Emrys
Fire and Brimstone.

The copper birth of the Dragons breath.

A pause at the waterfall in golden light.

In Arthur's footsteps.

Permission to Enter!

Samhain sunset.

Atop Dinas Emrys
The long shadowed watchman.
A well earned rest!
fun on the beach.

Taking Flight….

Quite literally! My cousin making the most of clear skies at dawn!

Wales has more castles than you can shake a stick at, much to the joy of at least one small boy. 
As usual I took a bucket full of work with me and did none! Well I did a little reading of a book lent to me by fellow artist Rima Staines about amulets. 

I have been busy in the jewellery designing and making department. Sculpting, casting and firing in silver and also collaborating with Miriam of Silver and Moor.
Here are some of our first ventures………
Dragonfly pendant.

Bee and Skep earings

Bee and Skep solid silver earrings

Running Hare and pearl moon pendant

Sunset Hare; Copper and silver with solid silver beads.

 These are some that I have done also. I am looking at doing more totemic native animals.
They also come with a hand painted honeycomb box.

The Honey Pot
Solid Silver Skep with glass beads and Honey Jade.

hand painted comb box

Flying Owl with Starry sky.
Solid silver and sunstone pendant.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Goodbye summer

It has been a busy couple of month. 

Enjoying the endless days of glorious warm autumn, Every minute has been spent outside knowing that it cannot last.
Here is a snapshot of what we have been up to!
There has been surf.

There has been sunsets.

Scarab impressions!

Shadow Shiva!

(boob) Shells….


and stitches :)

Not all play and no work………...
We have had open studios………….

and then a bit more silliness. It was our local carnival…… and we also spent a day prancing about in fancy garb on the back of a trailer being filmed for our friends crowd funding project, which is an extravaganza yet to come in the next couple of weeks.

Then there be Goblins…….
We also had a local film festival, where we had a Froud day!…
which involved talks, book signings and much more including screenings of Labyrinth.
It was great fun. In preparation for Wendy, Brian and Toby Frouds workshop with Puppeteer Todd Jones I spent a (very gluey!) afternoon, with Wendy,Todd, Danielle Barlow and another friend Philippa making all the blank heads and opening mouths. 
We then got to go along and play at one of the workshops….here's what I made!
You can see more about the workshops here

It's now back to the grindstone. I have been busy working away in the studio, working on the website and making samples of the jewellery that has been on the back burner for the last couple of years. It's very exciting and i'm finding it hard to put down the sculpting tools and do much else.

I have also been starting a new blog here .
Currently it is me wearing my more serious face! It is words and witterings, works and wonderings. Please feel free to have a look and let me know what you think. It has a couple of articles I've moved over and some more writing about a recent piece of work I have done. I am thinking about merging the two blogs together soon maybe?