The Gallery is Open

Kezzie had the idea of a virtual “art gallery” where people shared some of the art in their homes – “art” being interpreted however one felt it appropriate.

Unfortunately, despite having several days notice I left it until the morning of the Opening to do anything about it…and I have to go to work soon(ish) so my pictures – taken on my phone, because my camera is being temperamental – are not very well staged or taken. I do apologise. This will seem like a very amateurish art gallery! THe pictures are small too, being taken on the phone, but I hope that if you click on them you can biggify to see more details.

I have a lot of pictures and bits ‘n’ bobs in the house. Here is a photo of the wall behind my computer

As you can see it’s an eclectic mix of photos, cards, and other bits and bobs. It rather sums up my home!

So, due to my lack of preparation, I rushed around, randomly snapping what has turned out to be very blurry photos of various pieces of art around the house…

The reflections made this hard to photograph, but it was painted by the father of a friend of mine. His name was Eric Kilner, and Alison has been my friend since our University days. I admired the pictures she had in her home, painted by her father, so he gave me this one. It’s an abstract piece that makes me think of water weeds and ponds. I really like it. It hangs on our first floor landing.

Another reflection tricky picture is this one:

We bought this limited edition print of the Great Orme, Llandudno, in Frome, with Alison (friend mentioned above) & her OH, Kit. Unfortunately I can’t read the artist’s signature as I love this and would like to get more by the artist. We were wandering around Frome arts market and saw his stand. Mr FD & I decided there and then we wanted one of the pictures, and chose this one for its moodiness and for the fact we were in the area of Llandudno for our honeymoon. This was a wedding anniversary purchase, so it seemed appropriate.

This is in our living room.

Also with a connection to my friend Alison, we come to this picture, which hangs in our dining room:

She sent us this print for Christmas, a few years ago, and when we had adopted our big ginger boy from the street, we were searching for the right name…I looked at him sleeping, in this pose, looked at the picture and knew we had his name!

This is a corner in our living room – again, showing the eclectic mix of “stuff” (is it art?)

There is yet another link to Alison and Kit – now he’s retired, Kit makes Shaker style boxesand other lovely stuff. Please go and look at his items (and maybe even buy something!!) – they really are art! You can see the little box at the front, which was a gift. The wooden vase was made by another friend, and the thistly flowers within were given to us by Michel, a friend who died a year or so ago. The embroidery        “Home is where the cat is” was made by yet another talented friend.The cat in the photo is Manda, our first cat that we owned together – she lived until she was nearly 20, with her last five years as a diabetic. We adopted her when I won a competition, with 354 tins of Kit E Kat as part of the prize – and we didn’t have a cat!

The collection of tin and pottery stars was inspired by (yes, you’ve guessed it!) Alison & Kit…They have so many beautiful things around their home, and I always liked their collection of bells, hanging up the stairs. When we moved out here, to our home on Boulevard de l’Astrée (“Starry Boulevard” – or so we thought) I named our house Maison des Etoiles. Then I started to collect little stars. These are a few. We found out that in fact the street is named after the novel “L’Astrée” by a local author, but never mind…

Here’s an appropriate song by one of my favourite groups…

Moving into our guest bedroom we have some more pictures:

again, appallingly photographed!

The “sampler” I made in 1989 for Mr FD’s granny’s 90th birthday, and as her initialsare the same as mine, I was happy to take it as a gift after she died. The black polar bear I adore – he is Hornsea pottery, and was a gift after my grandmother died. Here he is in a complete state…

 

Unfortunately mine is broken and mended, after being knocked over by a cat. Probably Pomme who was remarkably clumsy in her youth.

The tiny picture is a Kate Greenaway print

(again, apologies for the photo!) This was a present from my sister on my 16th birthday – I remember I was thrilled to be given something “grown up” as a present! It has followed me round to every home since!

And the piece of calligraphy reads:”Every act of kindness and nurturing I show to myself impacts those around me: something “just for me” is in fact a gift to my whole inner circle who benefits in turn” This is by Angela, who ran a workshop I went to. This is another piece of her work

and this is the piece I created at her workshop

This hangs in my study. It reminds me sometimes to dare a bit more….

Just popping back to the living room, there is this picture

a print of a Heaton Cooper. This blog post tells you more about it.

And here is another blog post about this picture which hangs in my study

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and finally another blogpost about this picture:

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which is a sketch of a scene in “Nicolas Nickleby”

I do a lot of art myself – zentangles particularly, but I dabble in other things too – here is a link to the “artwork” part of my blog should you be interested.

A Rockhopper penguin zentangle, by Yours Truly

If you visit Bev’s “gallery”,  open today, you’ll see a couple of other zentangles that I’ve done. If you go to this page you’ll find the links to all participating galleries

Also, anyone who is on the list of participating “galleries” and would like me to do a zentangle for them, leave me a message in the comments saying who you are, your site and what you’d like a zentangle of. I can’t promise when it will arrive, but I hope it might be before Christmas 2021!!

And if you are just visiting, as they say in Monopoly, thank you for coming! I hope you’ve enjoyed my blurry photos, and please leave a comment! As Kezzie says:

Art galleries like to keep a track of visitors so it would be lovely if you could comment on the posts of those you visit- even if it was a ‘Thanks for sharing’, let’s make the effort to show our appreciations, even if the art was not to our taste. Of course, more detailed appreciative comments are also welcome!
Also, I don’t need to say this as everyone who accesses this blog is kind (except for stupid people who share their random spam links- you can get lost!), but even if you don’t consider something to be ‘art’, perhaps don’t say so!

Can I have a P please, Bob.

Here’s another Celtic letter, this time for my M-i-L. This was – like the last – done to take me out of myself, one day when I was feeling very down.The need to concentrate on what I’m doing, which band goes over and which goes under (there are a couple of errors!), where each goes to how and they fit together is an excellent way to lose myself for a few hours.

 

And for those who are confused by the title…It comes from an old TV programme, called Blockbusters, where the teams had to answer questions beginning with certain letters to move across the grid. Students delighted in asking “Can I have a P(ee) please Bob, ” and then smirking, as this clip shows

Celtic Initials

One day in December, in that time which seems to be becoming named “Twixmas” (yuck!), between ChristmasDay and New Year, I was feeling rather down so I thought that a bit of concentration on some artwork would help take me out of myself.

As later in the week I was going to see a friend whose name begins with “J” I thought I would create a Celtic knotwork J for him as a gift. I used a book called “Celtic Alphabets” as a guide, and copied the Lion’s Head design – but as J loves cats, I altered it slightly to a cat’s head. It took me a fair amount of time to get right, but in the end I was quite pleased with it.

And, yes, by the time I’d finished I had been taken out of myself! I should remember this for future times…

 

A Kind-of Giveaway for Lent

Goodness me – two posts in one day! I could have put this over on Fat Dormouse – & I will probably link from there to here – but I felt this sat better on this blog than on that. Although there isn’t really that much differentiation between them, if I’m honest.

I am looking forward to Lent 2017 (only 19 more sleeps to go!) because that’s when 40 Acts starts. I have taken part in this for three years now, and I really enjoy it. Do Lent Generously is the tag-line, and I encourage you to go over & explore the site, and hopefully sign up.

But I’m also going to do something else, this Lent. A few years ago a friend gave me a box of beautiful postcards from the Bath Abbey Diptychs by Sue Symons

The BBC site says:

Sue was inspired by Bach’s St Matthew Passion to create the artwork which depicts the life of Christ in 70 images grouped together in pairs or ‘diptychs’. She embarked on the panels in 2005 as a retirement project which combines her two artistic passions: textiles and lettering.

Each of the 35 diptychs includes a text from the Gospels in beautifully decorated calligraphy, alongside a panel of needlework that offers a personal interpretation of each step in the story.“The sheer beauty and invention of the diptychs is stunning”, said Alan Garrow, Vicar Theologian at the abbey.

Panel from One Man's Journey to Heaven

“It represents an inspired marriage of the ancient skills of calligraphy and illumination with all the freshness of a contemporary interpretation of the life of Christ.”

I have kept these  postcards safe, looking at them from time to time, but really, postcards are meant to be sent, seen and enjoyed.

So this Lent, I’ll be sending these to friends I’ve lost touch with, family members and others. If you would like to receive one then please leave a message in the comments box. If you can give me some way to contact you privately (email address or whatever) then I will get in touch, so I can have your postal address.  I’ve already sent one (though the person doesn’t know it’s on the way!) but if you’d like one then please let me know. They are beautiful.

This is N° 1 already on its way to someone.

Here’s another…

Pretty envelopes…and 45 down, 155 to go!

If you’re a calligrapher, or enjoy papercreft and drawing, you really ought to know about this blog: The Postman’s Knock

I love it for the inspiration, and the easy to follow tutorials. Today I wrote a couple of Thank You notes to people who had sent me birthday presents. They were really appreciated, as my birthday was rather low-key this year. Mr FD “gave” me a couple of boxes of tiles for the bathroom (every spare euro is being spent on this renovation. I do hope it’s worth it!!) and the cats gave me some chocolates….but that was it, apart from these two lovely presents, & some money. Also going towards tiles!!

Anyway I wrote the letters, and then decided to decorate the envelopes, so I knew where to turn for a tutorial on envelope art. Lindsay has many different ideas, but I went with the lace pattern…I was reasonably happy with how these turned out (click on the photo for more detail):

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to my sister, who sent some beautiful tiger-eye earrings

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and my friend who sent two lovely pairs of cosy bedsocks.

I think I prefer the first, which is my “riff” on Lindsay’s tutorial, but I think they have both worked quite well.

I told you about my commission to make the Bishop’s Christmas cards this year…all 200 of them! I’m getting on quite well, having completed 45 of them. Only another 155 left to do:

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I hope he approves – I couldn’t find any backing paper of the type his assistant approved, so went instead for quite a lot of the red starry paper, which isn’t quite so “elegant”. I also have noted that I really need to be more careful when cutting the backing paper – a lot of them were just a bit wobbley, which meant I had to use more “bling strips” to hide the wobbley edges!

I have used up all the cream ready-folded cards that I bought, but managed to find some more cream card which I had in my stash; I’ve folded this over and so can get on with making another 25 cards today. I personally preferred the red card that I used to make these cards:

img_0036as I felt it was more Christmas-sy, but the Bishop veto-ed it, as being too dark to write on. The other paler colours available weren’t (in my opinion) at all Christmas-sy, so I went for cream. Which meant the parchment paper with “Joy…” on didn’t stand out so much.

Anyway, time to find a Kermode &Mayo film review podcast that I haven’t heard, and get paper-cutting and glueing!!

 

More crafting…

I mentioned in the last-post-but-one about Clare asking me for some Sorry-You’re-Dead cards.

Here they are:

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The square at the top is a hole cut into the front of the card, with a strip of the same paper inside. The papers are from a swap or giveaway some time ago, but being sombre colours, with a bright splash, they are perfect for this type of card.

img_0024Another using the same batch of papers, and a black ribbon.

img_0026This one uses up some scraps in diagonal/ triangular formation.

I have been making LOTS of Thanksgiving and Christmas cards that I hope to sell at the Munich Convocation of the Episcopal Church in Europe – I’m there this weekend. I want to raise money for Phone Credits for Refugees so if I sell them all at 2,50€ (at least!) I should make about 100€.

This charity is a lifeline, especially for the unaccompanied minors living in the refugee camps:

For unaccompanied minors, the group (Phone Credit For Refugees…) is often the only safety net they have. During the demolition of half of Calais refugee camp in March, volunteers tried to make sure every child on their own had a topped-up phone, with numbers of people they could call. During the chaos, 129 children went missing and volunteers reported that people traffickers were hanging around the edges of the camp for a week afterwards, explains James. ‘It’s really frightening and phone credit is a massively inadequate response, but it is something’.

Ahmed, a 7-year-old boy from Afghanistan, is now famous for texting for help when the lorry he was in with 15 other people ran out of oxygen after it reached the UK. Lesser known is that this Facebook group bought credit for him the week before, enabling him to send his urgent message. ‘For him it was life or death’, says James. ‘I think it is for many actually’. “

Here are some of the cards:

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These two use a copied piece of ZIA that I did, and then copied many times. I have used these to make cards, all of which are different, with different “bling” on them, but all featuring “Joy to the World”

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These two (and others like them) use a decoupage set I bought in NOZ for about 1,50€. I blinged them up with some sticky gold borders.

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Finally, I did a couple of quick bits of calligraphy using these words, to make some other simple cards. I’m pleased with them all. I hope people will buy them. It’s certainly hard to get hold of Thanksgiving cards here in France – and many of the people at Convocation will be American – and also Christmas cards, although becoming more popular, are still not very common,as it is more “Fetes de la Fin d’Année” than Christmas.

Getting Creative

Two posts in one day! Goodness me – am I feeling okay?

I wanted to show a card that I’ve just made for Isabelle (where we stayed the night we went to the David Gilmour concert)

I used a tutorial on this splendid blog – The Postman’s Knock.

Lindsey is a talented calligrapher, but much more than that too. I have started using her tutorials more and more, as they are so detailed, and produce some beautiful results. If you are interested in calligraphy, card making or creating art then this is a great place to go!

Here is my card:

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I know my photography isn’t up to much, but I hope you can see how it has been made. If not, Lindsey’s tutorial will explain all. I hope that Isabelle likes it.

A little more crafting

I have been following – and using – a calligraphy/art blog called The Postman’s Knock for a while now, and love the tutorials that the very talented Lindsey gives.

It is my friend’s Christian “birthday” soon – we became Christians very close together, and I know that for J it is important to celebrate this. She sends me a card each year, and I send her one. When we lived in the UK, it wasn’t a problem if I forgot, as my “birthday” was 5 days before hers – just enough time to organise and send a card as she would always remember and send me one!

I have to be a little more organised now, but it’s in my diary, so I usually remember. Being ahead of the game, I made a card for her today. I don’t think she reads this blog (sorry if you do and I spoil the surprise!) so here it is:

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and a close up of the wreath and calligraphy:

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I used the tutorial here and although my wreath is nothing like as skilled as Lindsey’s, I’m still quite pleased with it. I hope J will like it too.

Poetry and bookmarks

I’ve been doing a bit of crafting this week, as I haven’t had a lot of teaching appointments.

The first thing was a 18th birthday card for my niece in Canada. I’m afraid I forgot to take a photo of it.

Next week I am going on a workshopp-y conference-y thing in Munich – the publicity has described it thus: “Come and Grow: Say “Yes” to God’s Call to Service will enable lay persons to gain a fuller understanding of their personality style and God given gifts to empower them to creatively serve God’s people”

I remember  that Myers-Briggs personality profiling was quite the “thing” when I was just starting work, and I remember having a very interesting book about worship and your Myers-Briggs profile. I lent it to someone and never got it back, but I do recall it being very helpful and reassuring. I am hoping that this course, or whatever, will be equally helpful.

I decided that I wanted to take a small gift for everyone, so I have spent some time making 42 bookmarks…

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Here are four of them! I drew 5 different designs, which I then printed onto glossy photo paper (which is why there’s the flash glare in the photo) Then I wrote different Bible verses – encouraging, challenging, helpful…I will ask the facilitator to hand them out randomly, trusting that the right verse will be given to the right person who needs that verse (or will need it in the future)

I have been asked to facilitate a calligraphy course (hah!) in May. It is a L-O-N-G time since I did any “proper” calligraphy, and I don’t really feel qualified to teach it, but have rather been steamrolled into it. I am hoping that people will have low expectations!

In preparation I thought I’d root out some examples of calligraphy that I’d done in the past, and I found this book:

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Covered in beautiful marbled pâper, I think it was a gift from a friend when I was at College.

This is the title page:

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and inside I have calligraphed various of my favourite poems. This is the first that I wrote inside:

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“Love” by George Herbert

And this was the last…

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“Goblin Market” by Christina Rossetti

I remember doing this at my first lodgings during my first year’s teaching in Maidstone, sitting at my landlady’s big oak table. That was 34 years ago! However, inspired by the need to practise a little, and by a tutorial on “The Postman’s Knock” blog, I played about with some watercolour paints and some ink yesterday and came up with this:

IMG_2622I’m kind of pleased with it. I’m not much of an artist, so was genuinely happy with certain parts (like the rose, and the feathers) Other bits less so – the branches are a bit “meh” – but it’s quite a good thing to have tried.

Have you ever come across something that you created long ago? And have you been tempted to try your hand at it again?