Hedgerow harvest

Hedgerow harvest

Monday, 31 December 2018

New Year and making a perpetual journal.

 Well the last day of the year and I am making a perpetual journal for 2019. I was inspired by Lara Gastinger on Instagram. The idea is to date pages in a sketchbook a week at a time and draw when you can. There is no pressure because if you don't draw you can get to that page next year or the year after. So I have cut some pages ready to begin. i am making my own book so I can choose good quality paper and different papers. I will bind them when I get round to making a cover. I only need a first signature ( that's a few pages stitched together at the back)  I am not an expert book binder but am happy with the home made cobbled together versions I make.
I do like these in between days of Christmas and New Year. We just relax, take walks and do a jig-saw. I have a grand tidy up of my desk ready for the New Year. This is a picture of Avening Brook. That brook once powered mills in our valley to make wool into cloth. The Cotswolds were famous for their sheep and wool mills. I live in a very beautiful part of the world and for that I am deeply grateful.

Thursday, 20 December 2018

Hawthorn berries.

 Well the berries are done although this is not a good photo- not much light as we draw to the shortest day and
some sketches of Tuesdays walk, cold and blustery in Steps Lane.
 Merry Christmas to you all. Thank you for reading my blog ( it is great to know you are out there and encourages me to keep stitching) and I hope you have a wonderful, peaceful holiday. Follow me on Instagram at louisemaywatson. It is faster to make posts there although I like to think aloud here. You will find it easier to communicate with me on Instagram too. So I am signing off for a few days but always thinking about embroidery and stitching. Much love, x.

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Three little blue bugs in a box.

 Ah ha - a little fun for a Christmas present. I made these three little blue bugs some time ago but they needed a home.
 So yesterday I made them a box to live in. The fabric is a very soft denim from a top I wore for years and was especially good for box making.Felt linings.
 A teeny bug book fits into the box with them.
The box completed. It has blue beads like berries - well they have to eat something! I am hoping the friend this is going to will name the bugs and write in the book in teeny writing. With some help from her children. Great to make something just for fun!

Saturday, 15 December 2018

Christmas card 2018.

 This year I had our Christmas card printed (online company called Moo) rather than stick a photo on a card. Result-  much more professional but more expensive . I am really pleased with it though. It is not a very Christmassy picture but I spent a lot of time working on puffin embroideries and with the basket of threads it sums up my year perfectly.This week has been one of Christmas decorations, cards, shopping and preparations. We did manage a lovely day out at Slimbridge WWT  with our friend Rosemary on Tuesday.
All the ducks -a -dabbling - we love the noise the Eider ducks make - a Frankie Howard ooooh! There were huge flocks of lapwing ( golden plover etc) on the fields by the River Severn, Bewick swans and 10 cranes. Hope to get back in January when the largest gatherings are there. Hope you enjoy your Christmas preparations.

Saturday, 8 December 2018

Rose hips and a landscape developing.

 The rose hips are finished- the next species in the hedgerow harvest.
 This week has been very wet and one late evening the light was amazing over the ridge of hills opposite so I did a quick sketch.
 Then I put together some fabric strips.
 then added colour, this is straight after I painted it.
 This when it had dried- very disappointing, the colour leached out of the fabric dyes.
 So I painted it again. Better but different colours. Will see if I like it enough to continue into stitch. I seem to have lots of work again on the go. I have so many ideas and never enough stitch time. Also Christmas seems to be heading this way at a pace. How did that happen so quickly? Hope you all enjoy the lead up to Christmas.

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Celebrating the life of Maggie Shaw.

 On Sunday afternoon we celebrated the life and times of Maggie Shaw, Stroud artist, tutor, friend and all round wonderful person. This is one of her early embroidery pieces but she is really well known for her abstract paintings. There is more information about her on the Glos Guild of Craftsmen website- look under News. I knew her in the mid seventies because I taught her children then we became friends and she inspired me to take up embroidery and do a City and Guilds course. Everything she did, said,wore and had in her house was inspiring. There were many, many tributes to her spoken from the heart and she was truly loved by all she came in contact with. 
Tiny ted came too! Maggie made these tiny teddies and little children dolls with their own teeny teddies, one Christmas in the late seventies. She sought out the finest knitting needles and then got Peter, her husband to file them and make them even thinner. I have put a pound coin there to show the scale. He had to have a little darn then I could wear him to the celebration. Peter is going to organise a retrospective of Maggie's work in Stroud next year.

Monday, 3 December 2018


 Last week I was working on ivy for my hedgerow harvest. Here is the lovely kissing gate at our village churchyard with (Hedera) ivy growing up it. The juvenile leaves are the traditional arrow shape and the mature leaves - well leaf shaped. The flowers and berries come on the mature plant and are food for wildlife. It is not parasitic but does grow up trees and can cause trouble for some, if it smothers them and blocks out their light. It is a refuge for many birds and very important for bees as a food source later in the year when nectar and pollen is scarce.
 It has taken me a ridiculously long time to stitch this ivy but there was lots of undoing when I went for too fierce colours. There has also been other stuff happening- you know- life - gets in the way of the stitching sometimes! But the new carpet is down- Hurray and the book shelves have been sorted. The room freshly painted. All much harder work as you get older but lovely when its done.

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Meditation and Stitch.

I want to keep notes on this new piece and how it develops but if you are signed up for Susi and Kays second workshop best not to read this so you can do all the tasks for yourself with a clear mind.
So I did start again on a larger piece of cloth with different colours. I have begun with Winter colours because this will be the heart of the piece. I should explain - on the Meditation and Stitch workshop we were given short meditations and tasks. One was to think about the word FLOW and write down associated word and symbols to go with it. Because I am working on my project of The Enormous Field I associated FLOW with Natures life cycle, seasons, the flow of growth and death etc. I decided to make my circles have breaks in them because of the ebb being naturally integral to the flow. If its a large piece you need more than one stitch, for interest. When I first started I had drawn little arrows on my lines but I dispensed with those when I started stitching. I also had to choose whether to continue on one large circle or lots of smaller ones. All the choices you need to make when you start a piece of embroidery! But like Kays advice - you just have to start. I am stitching this slowly and quietly, thinking about my theme and letting the rhythm of the piece carry me.

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Hedgerow harvest has colour!

 So I added some colour- it did not go well at first but finally I got it right. It is thin and long- 8cm x 55 cm.( so not good for photography) The sloes have been stitched- the rest awaits.............

This is a tiny cycle to represent FLOW. I started it at a Meditation and Stitch workshop last Saturday with Susi Bancroft and Kay Swancutt. The idea being to think about presence rather than technique or overall design. Now I have had time to ponder on it I want to start again on a larger piece of fabric and think about the colours of a year flowing into each other. Hopefully more to come about this, it's a different kind of work but one I would like to develop.

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Autumn harvest in the hedgerows.

Just reminding myself of previous Autumn drawings as I start on the next piece and add colour.

Friday, 16 November 2018

Autumnal walk and brambles finished!

 At last finished this yesterday! All those leaves took time by hand but the variety of thread and colour was worth it.
 I am pleased with my raggedy line of growth to draw the eye in...........
and the birds flying out because winter is coming ( and it balances the composition!) ...........but really they are Fieldfares and Redwings that fly in for the Winter and feast on the berries. They are there in that corner of the field at the moment, they chatter noisily and are after the hawthorn berries.

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Keeping on with the bramble leaves.

 It has been a strange week, with a funeral which was joyous, then a neighbours burglary, decorating the lounge ( still ongoing) and the Armistice Remembrances. Who steals money from a frail old lady in broad daylight on a Saturday morning in her own home? Someone who has been watching and knows she is vulnerable. Depressing all round. So I just keep on going with my leaves.
At least the birds are back at the bird cafe. This coal tit a frequent visitor with a mate. Oh yes and we locked ourselves out of the house yesterday morning trying to be so careful about security. We moved here 40 years ago and no one locked their doors. I think I am maudlin this week. Luckily I am reading nonsense poems with my new pupils- time to set to sea in a sieve I think.

Friday, 9 November 2018

A little bit of progress.

 Long thin hedgerow harvest (55cm x 8 cms) Now has 3 different fruits.
 Rose hips close up. Needs some more fruits or nuts and then- deep breath- some colour!
But mostly been working on this piece this week - a raggedy line of growth along the footpath here in loops and knots. Needs all the leaves finishing yet.

Monday, 5 November 2018

Hedgerow harvest - a beginning.

 Here are the blackberries, I just had to add some tiny black beads for a shine.
 Sketch book drawings- I began with the sloes.
 On Friday I had a whole day to myself in the studio - bliss! So I decided to begin a new piece. My first idea was to make a long concertina sketchbook in fabric. I started with a strip of calico and bonded (bondaweb) pieces of paper and fabrics to it for various textures.
 Silk, scrim, paper. I put some white free machine embroidery over the pieces to anchor them.(not shown)
 Now from here I began with an autumn leaf which I didn't like so covered over with more layers of fabric!
 But  I did like the sloes. So I decided to make it Autumn Hedgerow fruits or harvest. Collected more fruits, made the drawings above and yesterday put in the hawthorn berries. It will be a framed piece I think rather than a fold up book, so this way up.

 The hedgerows I collected from in the Enormous field. All part of my project to study a few fields near my house in detail. When we first moved here, 40 years ago there were more hedgerows. A lot were grubbed out to make the Enormous field. All the wildlife live in these edges and hedges. The more species the better and a clue to how old the hedgerow is. ( my shadow there taking the picture!)
Lovely sunny Autumn day.

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Autumnal walk in the Enormous field - in progress.

 So back to this piece that I began in September before my holiday. I drew in some brambles to create a foreground.
 I really was going to keep the colours very muted, black white and brown, but it seemed very dull.
 So colour crept in! It is a mixture of hand and machine embroidery. Lots more to stitch.
Detail of blackberries now very much over but this remember this was started in September, leaves turning, misty mornings and fruitfulness.