The Four Seasons

The Four Seasons

I don’t know how relevant the four seasons are any more. Our climate is changing and maybe we won’t feel the difference between the seasons quite so much as we did when we were young. I’m writing this watching snow fall outside my window and with layers of clothes on as our gas central heating is broken once again this year! Well it feels like winter to me, but the signs in the garden are of spring, and who can say they haven’t seen fruit trees in blossom this year already? It all seems a bit of a mess now, one day warm the next cold, rain, rain, rain, and then oh good a little sunshine, nature is confused while the earth is trying to find equilibrium.

There was never a time that William Blake’s poem “The Sick Rose” was so significant.

But enough of my bemoaning as I am really here to give you a little joy and hope. Even if it means thinking about how it was, should have been, should be. Perfect seasons. Celebrating them for what they sometimes are, what they were, should be and maybe could be once again.

"Spring"

“Spring”

 

"Summer"

“Summer”

"Autumn"

“Autumn”

"Winter"

“Winter”

Click the links to buy these and see more.

ūüôā

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The Three Trees

I have been playing with my jigsaw again and made¬† four new pieces of work for¬† “Six”¬† – an¬†¬†¬†¬† exhibition showcasing six local makers – at the Hawthorn Gallery, Blandford Forum, Dorset.

The exhibition began on 14th January and runs until 22nd March 2014.
The series is called “The Three Trees” and illustrates the four seasons.

This is “When The World Was Young” (Spring)

When The World Was Young

When The World Was Young

This is “In The Midst Of It” (summer)

In The Midst Of It

In The Midst Of It

This is “Blown Away” (autumn)

Blown Away

Blown Away

And this one you have already seen – is “When The World Was Old” (winter)

When The World Was Old

When The World Was Old

Go and see the exhibition¬† if you are nearby, it’s sure to be a good one.

Hawthorne-flyer

Hawthorne-flyer-names

Winter

Today the weather is wild! The wind and rain is whipping around my house in a continuous surge of chaotic energy. Nothing at all like my mosaic here depicting winter on a beautiful evening in the snow. I remember an evening like this a few years ago, a bit later on in the winter, January or February, which is normally the time we get snow, if we get snow.

This is part 4 of a series I am working on for an exhibition in January at the Hawthorn Contemporary Craft Gallery in Blandford Forum, Dorset. It’s called “When the World Was Old

When The World Was Old

When The World Was Old

Whatever you celebrate this winter, keep warm, safe, and have fun ūüôā x

While the Moon Gently Weeps

The title of this piece came to me through the radio whilst I was making it. That beautiful song written by George Harrison “While my Guitar Gently Weeps,” was playing. All I had to do was replace the guitar for the moon!¬† It was exactly how I saw my mosaic. A waning moon weeping pieces of itself . Leaf shaped pieces that could also be tears.
I had made the first sketch a few months ago and after a couple more drawings I was ready to start.

sketch

Final cartoon

Final cartoon

This piece was not without it’s difficulties. I made it using the indirect method to obtain a flat surface. I wanted to¬† use my metal leaf glass together with the thicker depth of the¬† ceramic and glass mosaic tile.

indirect method

indirect method

I removed the paper whilst the adhesive was still wet so that I could change anything I wasn’t happy with, and I realized I had forgotten to add more adhesive to the metal leaf glass that I had used for the rings around the moon. I could have removed the pieces and added more adhesive to make it level, however I found that I rather liked the effect of the moon that stood out in relief from the rings. It’s difficult to show it in a photo, you will have to imagine it! (Sorry I can’t just show you the moon, I have to show you the owl too!)

moon

I attempted to make the shadows contrast with the shafts of moonlight¬† like I had drawn them. I used paler glass for the leaves in the moonlight, but my attempt to define this even more by use of pale grout and then silver ink just didn’t work, so I grouted it all in black. If you screw up your eyes you can just make out the rays of moonlight across the leaves ūüėČ

leaves

Finally I used silver ink around the trees to emphasize the moonlight and allow some contrast between the trees and the dark blue night sky.

While The Moon Gently Weeps

While The Moon Gently Weeps

Again it is very difficult to show the mosaic accurately in a photo. I took the photo outside on a dull day and I even shone a light on the leaves, but they look almost as if they are made of paper coloured in with crayons, you can’t see the shine on the glass.¬† I’ll try again when it is framed and on a¬† wall.

Thanks for reading ūüôā

Where the Leaves Meet

Lying on the  forest floor looking up at the tops of the trees, the sun shining through fresh green leaves was the inspiration behind this piece.

I made several colour drawings¬†using the same design, however I struggled with the green, finding the right shade and how to work it into the¬†design without it looking like a football! So I¬†went¬†with¬† sunset colours and the trees in silhouette. Perhaps a bit wintery, but maybe¬†I’ll work out a way¬†using green¬†later.

The mosaic is for our next exhibition at Somerset Crafts  РFor All the Trees in the Woods.

I made a fairly detailed drawing For-all-the-Trees-drawing

I wanted to use smalti for the orange and red sky and black ceramic for the trees, and as there was quite a difference in the heights of the materials,¬†I decided to make it indirect to obtain a flat surface to the mosaic. As the design is quite symmetrical I don’t think a textured surface using¬†the direct method¬†would be so effective.

Here the mosaic is indirect on brown paper:

indirect

I wanted to make the mosaic suitable for display outdoors as well as indoors to give the  buyer more choice so I used a cement backer board to install the mosaic onto. Before cementing the mosaic to the board,  I fixed galvanised wire through the board so the mosaic can be hung.

The next day I soaked off the paper:

peeling-paper

And grouted with a dark grey grout :

grouting

To finish I grouted around the edge of the mosaic and painted the back of the board black.

The finished mosaic:

Where the Leaves Meet

Where the Leaves Meet

For all the Trees in the Woods runs from 1 -30 June at Somerset Crafts. We are open every day from 10am Р5pm.

Come see us soon

ūüôā

The Shadow of the Wind

I know I have used the title of Carlos Ruiz Zaf√≥n’s fantastic novel, but I couldn’t find another title that seemed right for this piece. “Shadows of the Wind” or “Wind Shadows”¬†just didn’t do it for me –¬†it had to be solid,¬†contained and absolute!

The mosaic isn’t directly inspired by the novel , although the book as well as others he has written, all have a mysterious and ominous thread running right through them, and that is why I like them. (The three books The ¬†Shadow of the Wind, The Angel’s Game and The Prisoner of Heaven are all set in Barcelona – another reason for liking them!)

The main inspiration for this piece came from the shadow of this tree I spotted whilst out walking on a bright but windy day.

shadow of the tree

I loved the way the branches made curly shadows that crossed over each other on the grass below.

I made a drawing for my mosaic…

shadow-of-the-wind-drawing

I liked the idea of making the mosaic all in black and grey except for the sun.¬†Apart from the matt mottled (white¬†with black) ceramic tile of the¬†“wind” lines ,¬†I¬† completed the sky with vitreous glass tiles and wanted to use matt¬†ceramic for the landscape,¬†however my grey tiles had a touch of brown in them and¬† didn’t look good next to the blue grey of the sky. So I decided to use green matt ceramic that were quite subtle against the sky.

The Shadow of the Wind

The Shadow of the Wind

I am hoping to make one more new piece for my exhibition “Voices of the Wind” at Somerset Crafts.

Come Back Soon ūüôā

The Last Tree

A Prophetic Tree (part 3)

If you read the last 2 posts you will have some insight into the sculpture I am making for an exhibition at Delamore¬†House, Devon ¬†in May. In response to the very sad and destructive fungal disease causing ash dieback, I have now finished my “remembrance” sculpture/seat. It retraces the path back to the Viking age telling the story of Yggdrasill (the ash tree) from Nordic Mythology.

In the last post I had completed the mosaic around the tree trunk and one of the views looked like this:view-of-ash without top

(Don’t be alarmed at the yellow stain on the wood where I spilled some cement colour!)

You may wonder what the hole in the top is for ……………………

Go on then ……I wonder , wonder , wonder …maybe it’s for an ash tray? Ha, ha ha!!!

No, not an ash tray, a nest. You have to imagine that the ash tree trunk has rotted inside and a bird has made its nest in it. (Yggdrasill really was rotting inside , and the ash fungal disease if allowed to take its course would eventually rot the inside of the tree).

I made the nest using a structure of chicken wire and mesh :

nest

Then I sandwiched it in between the wood and cement board fixing the wire edges to the board with tacks:

nest-in-sculpture

Then I could begin the mosaic on the top of the sculpture.

Top of ash tree trunk in progress

Top of ash tree trunk in progress

And finally this is what it looks like:

"The Last Tree" (top)

“The Last Tree” (top)

Here is Yggdrasill, like a golden shadow, an echo of the past, always remember and cherish the ash!

In detail –

This is Ratatosk, the squirrel who runs up and down the trunk carrying  gossip and insults between the dragon Nidhogg  and the Great Eagle at the top of the tree. (if you remember Nidhogg was in my last post at the bottom of the third root to Niflheim)

Ratatosk the squirrel

Ratatosk the squirrel

And this is the Great Eagle who has a¬†raven (some versions of the story say a¬†hawk) in it’s brow:

The Great Eagle

The Great Eagle

 

Ragnarok

A prophecy fulfilled?

Ash dieback rings alarm bells when we think that we may lose “The World Tree” . Just like many religious apocalyptic stories, a final battle to end the world takes place. In Norse mythology Ragnarok is the final event,¬† also known as the doom of the gods, darkness, and sometimes as twilight of the gods.

At Ragnarok the sun and the moon are eaten by the wolf, Fenrir (fathered by Loki); the Midgard Serpent ¬†writhes in fury ¬†its monstrous body over the land, while the sea advances bringing with it the ship Naglfar which is made from the nails of dead men. The sky splits apart and the fires of Surt and¬†the other sons of Muspell ride in……

And Yggdrasil trembles and shakes……

But like all good endings there is always a new beginning – a Creation Myth ……..

During the battle two people have hid themselves inside the ash tree. Their names are Lif (Life) and Leifthrasir (Life Yearner) . The tree must have looked like this one:

Hollow ash

Hollow ash

In my sculpture I made 2 eggs for the nest, they represent these two survivors, the beginning of something new:

eggs-in-nest

My sculpture is called “The Last Tree” and will be in the gardens of Delamore House for the Delamore Arts ¬†exhibition in May. I will also be exhibitingChorus at the Wake of the Sun” in the gallery.

The Last Tree

The Last Tree

Thank you for reading

ūüôā