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02 August 2013

Walking aware and making

On a very hot day I led an exploration in the grounds of Anglesey Abbey. We walked and listened, lay on the ground looking at the effect of wind. It was so hot that the air seemed thicker and things felt heavier, sounds seemed quieter or maybe there was less moving around. In warm weather it is easy to experience materiality in the created world, when the air is blood temperature the body relaxes and senses are heightened.

It is the same in the studio, in heat materials become softer and more pliable, spaces in between seem easier to manipulate. Initiated by new storage space, shelving and for the allotment studio a delivery of this years white willow I have recently spent time organising spaces that have not been touched for months.
The visual distraction of debris from previous projects or work have to be cleared so they don't interrupt thinking about new and developing work. Drawers are tidy and table top and floor areas clean ready for a new phase of making.

08 July 2013

A Basket Maker, sometimes

I have always denied being a basket maker. That probably has to change as I have refined the bark basket I invented in 2008 and I am able to make multiples of similar sizes. This is the first using white willow and will feature at Open Studios this Saturday. It is very strong and light, not yet tested how much it can hold but it is at least 2 kilos.

04 July 2013

Sorting and some shadows

Showing work in Little Ouse with Riverside Arts as part of Cambridge Open Studios is a only week away so I spent today sorting out what to take and how to display it.
Shadows, and the taste, of fresh picked strawberries in one of the baskets helped make some decisions.

28 June 2013

Holding Everything Slowly

Its International Mud Day on June 29th. Holding a handful of mud connects me to so much more than just my own making, or living. Tiny elements of plants, rocks and creatures, possibly thousands of years old. A good way to consider Slow Making.

27 June 2013

Slow in no time

Slow Making continues but the making seems to be done in very limited time between other demands and expectations.

Make the making take more time: so the demands become part of the made form.

Bark baskets fit this category, the bark comes from a tree about 3 or 4 years old. After stripping the bark, soaking it for several weeks the basket takes about 1 hour to make.

21 June 2013


Now that the shed is a working space and not just a storage space makes me want to be there more. I completed a simple chain of willow hoops for a project this week, to do that I had to hook them onto some of the many nails strategically placed for work in progress.
Always amazing how a small rearrangement transforms a space and changes how I react to it.
Heading towards mid summer I should be making for Open Studios but keep getting distracted by materials preparations or archiving information for other projects.

The changing light at the end of a sunny day makes really simple forms look extraordinary. This may be the theme for Open Studios

willow hoop chain

willow ties for no known purpose

willow and flax form

11 June 2013

A number of things

The shed and I were interviewed today by Gill Heriz and photographed by Nicolette Hallett for a book called 'Women's Sheds'. Interesting experience, I had to rearrange things and tidy in the shed so it looks the same as in my head.
Re-arranging in the shed I began to look at collections of things and part made things again. In late afternoon sun the shadows of very small items created new and intriguing shapes. Ideas develop and may turn into new making things.

31 May 2013

Growing. sorting and making thoughts

A long gap in this blog, due to life and seasons. Slow Making in so many ways.

When does sorting and preparing material become making? Today I spent almost the whole day cutting willow trees that have been growing for up to eight years. The rising sap in May means the bark can be stripped off for white willow. I discovered a few years ago the wonderful properties of willow bark, it can be used fresh or dried and resoaked to use when needed.
The sorting process incudes preparation and storage of materials in appropriate conditions. 
Looking 'right' it always helps with the making process.