Category Archives: writing

Process moving again…

Nearly three years ago I started a process to restore an old trunk which had been in our attic for years.
https://weaversjournal.wordpress.com/2014/09/09/restoration-process/
Battered and dirty it was not good for much, so I set about painting it and re-lining it. I also managed to recreate a drop in drawer for the inside and finished the interior.

And then everything stopped, and it has been sitting in my conservatory, half painted ever since. This week I had tea with a friend who I hadn’t seen for months. She asked me how my trunk was going. Trunk? I realised it had been forgotten…

But I had been accumulating materials for possible solutions to the outside refurbishment. So spurred on by my friend’s enquiry I started work again. I had been collecting fabrics with a theme of writing and creativity for a while. After some long consideration I decided that collaged and quilted panels using some of my fabric stash would work best to cover the lid, as the trunk will hopefully be a repository for some of my written and textile creations. Selecting appropriate words was quite challenging, given the bitty nature of the fabric. And making the panels the right size and shape was tricky, but I am now creating the last piece.
Some days of torrential rain, followed by an unseasonable head cold has meant I have been largely confined to the house for a few days. I was feeling irritable and frustrated at myself as well as the weather. But frustration was eased by the activity – my head and sinuses may still be blocked, but I feel the process of trunk restoration is moving again…
Still a way to go, I’m determined it won’t be another three years before it’s finished!

Generalising July

Listening to “meet the author” on the Today programme radio four this morning, I was amused at the comment. “you can’t just write about real life, it would be too boring”. It’s true of course, the novels we read are shaped and edited, time is speeded and slowed, the focus is narrowed and widened, but repetitive routines of life are missed out to focus on action and plot.

Today in my real life the rain has fallen nearly all day, and the tomatoes I picked in the rain were muddy and wet. Not much action there.

An online course on reading novels I have been dipping into was suggesting how sometimes these routines and rhythms of life can still be described even in the best plot time line. A moment when the essence of a season, or regular event, can be captured. The description is not of a particular summer, but all summers, not just one family breakfast time, but all…

Generalising and condensing recurring moments into one description can provide the underlying rhythm of story.

So rather than try and invent some action I looked back on my July posts and photos since I started writing this online journal, to find the general themes

July skies, grey, heavy rain,

widening to cloudless blue,

July roads, stone walled in Yorkshire dales,

high mountain views in British Columbia.

July books for holiday reading,

pen meets paper healing through writing,

July fruits, red, ripe for jamming,

stirring creativity, stitching textiles.

 

 

 

 

 

February 2nd – a clover seed

I read these words by American poet Wendell Berry this morning, before I realised the significance of the date. 

On the second day of February forty-nine years ago, he too was feeling the chill and bleakness of the world. And yet, and yet, in the midst of news of war, violence and death, he walked the unpromising land and sowed seeds for the spring. 

A lovely metaphor of hope for this grey, dismal winter morning. 

February 2, 1968
In the dark of the moon, in flying snow, in the dead of winter,

war spreading, families dying, the world in danger,

I walk the rocky hillside, sowing clover.

-Wendell Berry

Not just a pretty face -small stone 31

If I’m honest I have to admit I sliced open this watermelon because I thought it might be good to draw, not because I particularly like water melon. Won as a part of a fruit basket raffle prize, it is not a fruit I would normally buy to eat. 

I was not disappointed with the bright pink flesh hidden inside the green skin, but I didn’t find it easy to capture the shape and colour, and the juiciness of the fruit. In fact after I had finished I realised that the slice was sitting in a little puddle of its own juice, and I had missed that altogether on my picture. 

I have spent a month looking and drawing what (I thought) I could see in front of me. It has been an interesting challenge and changed the way I look at things. I have loved exploring the line and shape of my surroundings, and watercolour is such a quick and delicate way to capture shades and tones. 

But when I took a spoon to the melon I discovered it was much juicier and sweeter than I had expected and distinctly fragrant! There’s more to life than what we can see… 

More senses (and artistic mediums/media) needed. 

‘Twas on a Monday morning – small stone 30

The old nursery rhyme describes the laundry maid as “dashing away with the smoothing iron”, but I have no energy for dashing on this murky grey Monday morning.

However there is something gently soothing about ironing. Although I often procrastinate until the laundry basket is overflowing, the ironing process, the creaking hiss of steam and the warmth of the fabric under my hands, is distinctly pleasurable. And then there is the satisfaction of taking a crumpled, creased garment, and smoothing it. Ironing out the wrinkles and ending up with a flat, evenly pressed material.

I hang my freshly ironed clothes in the wardrobe, and wish that other wrinkles, irritations and frustrations could be as easily ironed out, sorted with just a bit of gentle heat, pressure and steam. But, sadly, life isn’t quite as “neat and nimble-O” as the nursery rhyme might imply…

Family show – small stone 27

I didn’t really want to draw the TV. But I do watch it, and it is a part of my everyday life. So why not acknowledge it as such? Perhaps because it often brings scenarios into my home which I feel are divorced from my every day reality. In my contemplations I want to focus on what is real and tangible in front of me, and I tend to want to avoid difficult or unpleasant aspects of life. 

This last week the TV news has felt more like a film script, and an unpredictable one at that. Executive orders, pronouncements, court rulings, white papers. Protests, prejudice, resignations, anger and fear. The politicians, celebrities and others I see on my TV screen may seem unreal, specious and false. But they are as real as I am, and driven by similar physical, psychological and emotional needs, even though their circumstances may be vastly different. 

Today I watched and sketched a (rather inept!) picture of the TV, as two ordinary human beings met for the first time, watched by millions of other human beings, all with judgements, hopes and needs of their own. And I was reminded that as I watch them and others, I see myself…

I note the obvious differences

between each sort and type,

We are more alike, my friends,

than we are unalike.”

Maya Angelou – Human Family

Mediterranean promise – small stone 26

At this time of year I feel sun starved. We have had some sunshine this month, but the chill factor has not encouraged much outdoor activity. Today the recent blanket of fog has lifted, but the clouds are casting a greyness over everything.

So it is amazing to me how the fruit on the lemon tree in our (unheated) conservatory is slowly and quietly ripening. Inspire of the apparent lack of sun, the small green lemons are gradually swelling and changing colour. Even if I feel stuck in a hibernating stupor, the lemon tree is drawing strength from some unseen source and moving on.

My sketch, of necessity, had to be quick. But despite the physical chill to my body,  I feel warmed by the promise of sunnier times and places.

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