Did she really mean me to make it this big?


Graham stares up in awe and wonder at what he has made. A giant climber for his runner beans……

Anyway the frame is now made; 16 ft long and 6ft wide at its widest diameter. Now it has to be cut down into more manageable pieces for me to work on. Transportation will be flat pack (Ikea style) but this time with no written instructions!




Apple blossom, Henley Mill

Apple blossom, Henley Mill

I am interested in philosopher Jane Bennett’s idea of apersonal or ‘onto-sympathy’.  She suggests that, although as humans we are caught up in webs of antipathy and domination, we can be pricked into an awareness of shared capacities and materiality with the non-human by recognising a ‘kinship of shapes’.

From ‘It is to the vegetable we always come back’, paper presented by Jane Bennett at IHUM symposium ‘The Secret Life of Plants’ Princeton University, May 2013.

how a seed becomes a squid

Microscope of Astrantia Hadspen Blood seed plus label

And above all the need – indissociable from my very nature, from my way of seeing and thus of thinking – to go see everything very very close up so as to see, and consequently, the development of a vision that is hyperattentive to details, my approach as a scrutinizing ant, my sensitivity to the least sign.”  Helene Cixous

Exploring the Astrantia ‘Hadspen Blood’ seed with my microscope and camera:




Focus, how to bring a garden that no longer exists into focus.

Placing a seed on my plant label for the Astrantia ‘Hadspen Blood’ plant that I bought all those years ago at Hadspen Garden.

Language, naming, typeface, form, growing tip, tentacles, squid.

I saw a live octopus come out from under a rock, as I lay face down on the surface on the water, in Sicily. It was so compelling, so alive, I knew I could not eat one ever again.

These seeds are reminiscent of squid, and remind me of commonality across nature, as well as distinctiveness.

upturned golden Astrantia Hadspen Blood seed Astrantia Hadspen Blood seeds under microscope 4 Astrantia Hadspen Blood seeds under microscope 5 Astrantis Hadspen Blood seeds under microscope 2 Astrantis Hadspen Blood seeds under microscope 3 end of Astrantia Hadspen Blood seed Golden Astrantia Hadspen Blood seed


I’ve been gathering scrap materials from pockets of Somerset to use in my work at Esotera.  Dragging rusty barrels from woodland walks, corrugated steel fences no longer required for guinea fowl and rummaging through skips and scrapyards to add to my collection of materials, in line with the ethos at Esotera of utilising found and recycled items.

Steel barrel Scrap steel

They don’t look much like artwork yet, but planning to transform them into something with more form and colour in the coming months, together with other mixed media such as wire, copper, twine, wool, netting…  Looking for yellow netting and copper (sheet, piping and wire) at the moment, if anyone has these spare to donate?

Say hello to my new friend!

Because I use a enormous amount of wool in my work, I thought it would be interesting learn how to spin my own.

I did have a little difficulty finding someone to teach me how to spin wool and lucky for me fate lead me to meet Emma Riley.Who has been very patient in teaching me the art of hand spinning.

The process of spinning (like weaving) is highly addictive and meditative. I have noticed the quality is completely different to the manufactured wool which you buy in shops, I also feel i have made more of a connection to to the earth/environment by creating by hand. I have found that not only does the process of spinning give you a direct connection to the material,but it also the story and thought process that happens while spinning which is important.
I almost feel like i am about to create a spell or some sort of alchemy by spinning my own thread and looking into what i might add to the fleece to create different textures and even meanings. Meanings being a very important subject, this is because how and what i spin with now has a more potent meaning and connection to myself, when before the wool was just shop bought and had no prior story behind it.
I have been rather busy with a drop spindle over the last few weeks and though I do love the process it was taking a tad too long for me to make the wool required for my work.So you can imagine how delighted I was to receive a email from my patient tutor Emma Riley and that she was selling her old spinning wheel.

And well ta da! I am the new owner of this amazing spinning wheel which I cannot leave alone. I will confess that I had a rather frustrating day of trying to get used to it and trying not to lose patience with myself on Saturday.

But once I got used to the rhythm, it has almost become second nature to me now and the action of spinning puts me into a complete trace.

I am officially in love and wow I can spin a huge ball of wool within a couple of hours, when normally it would take a few days!

I have a lot to learn about spinning and I will be pretty much harassing

Emma over the next few months, so watch this space in regards to my adventures of spinning!

Emma Riley’s Website – http://www.emmarileyceramics.co.uk/


One of my favourite plants is Cerinthe.  I first encountered it at Hadspen growing around the place.  My gardening friends in Sicily have the yellow one growing everywhere and almost consider it a weed.  For me, Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’ with its dense purple and grey green pearlescence is structurally fascinating.  The bees change the tone of their buzz when they go up into the flower bell – the pitch shifting to a high tone – ecstatic perhaps?

Here is the 9th generation of Cerinthe from the original plant I bought at Hadspen Garden growing in a pot outside.  Every year I collect the seed and then set it off come spring.


In focusing on the ‘extinct’ garden of Hadspen for the ‘Abundance Garden Trail’, I’m paying extra attention to all the plants growing in my garden that came from the nurseries there.  I’m considering their qualities, and why I like them so much. So of course, there is a resonance between the growth of the seedling and the slow forming of the piece that I’m making.

There is more information about my work and Hadspen Garden via my research blog ‘Inquilines’


Revisiting Esotera

Today was a perfect day to revisit Esotera.  My first visit with Zoe was on a grim winter’s day.  But today blazing sunshine had brought out new flowers from bulbs, ferns were unravelling, ducks, chickens, fish and a very sociable cat ‘Gengis’ were all glorifying our brilliant 1st of May.

Ferns unravelling Free roaming chickens Gengis Fish loving the sunshine

As I wandered around, I could understand why Esotera gets so many visitors who stay for hours.  The owners and garden envelop you into their world – a place at peace with itself, whilst buzzing with the magic of life and I found it hard to leave!  Undecided about the exact location of my installation, with several possibilities, I took plenty of photos and absorbed the ambience.   It helped to confirm my ideas for the project, and 3 hours later I left, armed with a load of reclaimed materials for my work there, generously donated by the owners Shirley and Andrew.

Esotera Esotera Materials from Esotera

The work begins!