It is so cosy playing with journal pages in our motorhome cab - I just love my mini-studio, but it's not so good for taking photos as all is on a skew. Above is the first of three 'spreads' coloured with acrylic inks and with paper-napkin motifs waxed into place. The title text has been stencilled and all that is now needed are the words which will be added when the acrylic wax has fully dried and the surface is suitably hardened. Double click on the image to see it as full size. I meanwhile will cut out motifs for the other two spreads: apples, pears and a few more vegetables. This Show really was all about a 'harvest in the hills', though today you might have been forgiven or thinking it was a gigantic car-boot sale!
It worked to my advantage however, for I browsed along with all the rest of the crowd and am so pleased with what I consider to be astute purchases. The first: one of those dangly metal windcharms - I loved the bird shape; if I remove just one, it will act as positive or negative stencil or a pattern from which I can cut paper or fabric birds for all manner of projects.
Next to a stall selling necklaces - which I never wear; indeed I buy them only to take them apart for the beads. I'm a sucker for doing this and either purchase for a specific project, or on spec in case I never see the like again. These today incorporated flat wooden discs, perfect for a natural history or seashore project, depending on which colour I use, interspersed with large marble-like globular beads that will be just right for the dangly crocheted chains I make for my paper or fabric books. Nothing will be wasted, for the rest of the necklaces - chord and clasps - will also be recycled. I've photographed them over the journal pages to give an idea of their chunkiness and size. I have a much wider collection of beads of all shapes, colours and sizes by buying this way - and it's far cheaper than selecting little packets and jars in the craft shops. I do stick to natural materials though - wood, horn, metal, shell or glass.
And now to the strangest purchase and one I may come to regret. I hovered repeatedly (sorry for the pun) over a silk moth stall, captivated by the insects' beauty and by the fact that the larvae are not harmed when unravelling the silk cocoons. Yesterday, I came away with an information pack: literature on the types of moth, the resultant silk, what they eat, actual samples of two kinds of moth, silk and a cocoon. Making silk paper (in small quantities) for textile projects must be a great adventure I thought. Today - now what have I done - I bought two containers of live silk worms! One type feeds on hawthorn, the other on privet. The only snag, well maybe just the first of many snags as yet to be discovered, is whether they will spin their cocoons and hibernate before leaf drop and their food supply ceases to exist.
I am assured they will. I am also assured that they will not migrate around the house! Time will tell, and I must chart my progress, or rather the worms' progress, for I feel duty bound not to let them die. It's 65 years since I first kept silk worms (the mulberry-leaf-eating sort which we school children were told could survive on lettuce instead). I'd never seen a mulberry tree and being during the second world war, I ran out of lettuce .... or perhaps my mother thought our food needs were greater than those of the worms! I know they never reached maturity. One thing for certain, it's going to take an awful lots of cocoons to make a tiny bit of silk paper .....