Cannington revisited

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herbaceous border

A totally different experience visiting the garden in June. I had a good few hours to scout around looking at outdoor locations and taking measurements. Herbaceous borders looking stunning. Things in the garden will be different again by September but I now have a much better idea of the lay-out and atmosphere of the place. It was also interesting to see all the visible signs of human intervention: staked trees, bamboo canes, wire support structures, labelling, planted out seedlings and so on. Think I’ve solved the materials dilemma for working outside…watch this space.

Constructed , deconstructed and reconstructed

The remaining pieces of the horn have finally arrived, and I’ve spent this afternoon putting it back together again as a trial run. I’ve decided to leave the whole frame outside and it’s starting to rust (not that any of this will be visible when the work is finished). I hope the frame won’t bend too much. I’m going to have to be careful with the amount of weight I load on to it before the shape becomes distorted.

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The Tump

In the centre of the main garden at Little Yarford farmhouse is the tump……..a raised area from which you can view the garden as a whole. The Horn of Plenty will be sited at the far end of the garden next to the pond. Hopefully the lily pads will still be in flower. From the top of the tump you can see the Quantock Hills, and it is from here that my sculpture will get the prevailing winds. I’m working out just how to secure it in the ground to stop it ending up in the pond……but that might be quite interesting as long as it floats!

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Crossovers

Pieces are steadily coming together.  The aim is to create a mass of giant growing forms, inspired by lichen, linked to the Eden concept and utilising found objects.  It involves hours of weaving, wrapping and forming, using soft and hard materials together, which is relatively new for me and occasionally  I wonder if I’ll ever get it finished.  Anyway, it’s becoming a daily activity and no matter what else the day holds, I try to spend a few hours on the Abundance work.  I’m hooked on what I’m making, and what I would really like is to have no other interruptions but life isn’t that simple..

Earlier this week we went to Esotera again to measure the installation area and confirm a few details with Zoe.  A landscape designer friend, Jason, came along to help work out where the grass might be allowed to grow a little, in order to create more of an enclosure for the work.  Owners Andrew and Shirley have been very accommodating with this.

Lichen with birch trees beyond Planning the long grass boundaries

Lichen sketch Giant lichen form in progress

On reading the other Abundance artist posts, I like the idea that there seems to be several crossovers in our work; connections which somehow tie the Trail together.

The Horn of Plenty

Ok, time to reveal my project……I plan to create a giant, empty Horn of Plenty.

The word abundance is derived from the Latin word ‘abundantia,’ and it has a variety of definitions, including profusion, plentifulness, plenty, bounty and copiousness. The dictionary also refers to Conrnucopia (The Horn of Plenty), which according to Greek mythology, was so named after Zeus (who was nurtured by the she-goat Amalthea), accidentally broke off one of her horns. From that moment on, Zeus declared that whoever possessed the horn would always prosper, as it would overflow with good things; food, drink, and riches.

The metal frame for the Horn has now been made, and measures 16ft long, with a 6ft wide opening. At the moment I have only managed to bring home the small end, or ‘nose cone’ (it does look as though it might have separated from the main body of a rocket!)

When complete, the whole structure resembles a giant salmon putcher designed for catching a suitably large fish……the one that didn’t get away.

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Boys will be boys, however old they are!!!

Kin

Lamprocapnos spectabillis 'Alba', Henley Mill

Lamprocapnos spectabillis ‘Alba’, Henley Mill

Sally introduces me to the aesthetics and philosophy of Japanese gardens.  She reminds me that Buddhism sees man as an integral part of nature and describes how, in traditional Japanese gardens, people inserted themselves into the garden scene, strolling around to become part of the picture.

Other interesting plants

Two other plants caught my eye on Thursday; Gunnera, I plant I’ve always thought must belong to the rhubarb family, and Angelica which I have never before seen growing in a garden. Interestingly, I was listening to Gardener’s Question Time on Friday and they were discussing how you turn Angelica the plant into angelica the green sugary thing you put on top of cakes…..

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Little Yarford Farmhouse, Kingston St Mary

With a late spring and lots of rain, the gardens are now looking green and lush. Visited Little Yarford Farmhouse last Thursday and saw some of my favourites including a Hankerchief Tree, which is just starting to drop its white petals.

P1020131There are several interesting places to hide within the all enclosing branches of the weeping trees.

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This Copper Beech looks like it’s having a ‘bad hair’ day!

Breathe

“There she weaves by night and day
A magic web with colours gay.” 
 The Lady of Shalott

Rhythm and Breathing are extremely important in the art of spinning. It has been a important lesson that I am still learning.

My teacher Emma told me last time I saw her to “slow down and let it happen”, which at the time I didn’t fully understand but now I do.

I have now noticed that my impatience reflects on the quality of my spinning. Sometimes when I first start spinning, before I get into the rhythm of it. The wool will be wound to tightly and holds so much energy it appears twisted.

Almost like the wheel itself reveals my inner state of mind (who would have thought spinning would be so complex!).

It is a completely different story however when I relax, breath and let the spinning just happen at a easy pace. The threads become finer and more natural. It has also taught me a lot about myself as well, this being  that I do need to approach life in a more simplistic fashion and that like the action of the spinning wheel is to slow down, relax and breathe.

A space of my own has also been a progression, over the last few weeks I have turned my conservatory into a spinning den. I spin for hours not seeing a creature like The Lady of Shalott. This doesn’t bother me at all I have decided, in fact I tend to revel in the fact that I can surround myself with fleece and wool.

I have also gatecrashed a making day for another exhibition for Somerset Art Works called “Stitched” which consists of Artists Susan Wallis, Nina Grown-Lewis, Gary Dickins and my teacher Emma Riley, we tend to meet up once a month. There Emma teaches me spinning, however we also critique each others works and gives a much needed network of like minded people, who have a common interest in craft in general.

I have also just learned about plying wool and at the moment this seems to be a little bit of an obsession, amazing how mixing dull lifeless colour with a vibrant one totally transforms the wool, it is like mixing your own paints.I am also thinking about  plying all sorts different materials into the wool so watch out for the pictures of those experiments.

Next is learning how to dye wool and I cannot wait!

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Stitched Website and Blog For Somerset Art Works – http://www.somersetartworks.org.uk/venues/stitched