Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Day of Serendipity

I collect images of 'Green Men' - sometimes in stone, or wood, plain or gilded
It began in the Churchyard at Iffley (Oxford) - taking photographs that I could use within stitched fabric and paper pages - carved stone heads reminiscent of the medieval period. Strange how we live so close and yet had never ventured there; it was dear American friends who took us. St Mary's is famed for its romanesque architecture; some original but much is Victorian restoration which somehow misses the point; skillfully executed but for me it lacked soul. I did find a remarkable family tree inside the dark interior - remarkable because it showed the coat of arms of Katherine Swynford (three catherine wheels) who married John of Gaunt in the 1300s - a period of history I love and about which I am currently reading, or I might never have spotted the little plaque on the wall.

This one is supposedly of King Henry II, somehwat crude
Artichokes and lavender in the lock-keeper's garden
We ambled along the Thames to Iffley lock - all very organised with lock keeper in attendance - and the most beautiful garden full of herbs, then past a perfect stone bridge (probably 1750) and on to where ducks and geese were feeding on scraps thrown by passers by. How I loved the colours reflected in the water - enlarged, a portion of my photoghraph could be printed on fabric as a background to a stitched herbal I plan to make some day. Photography was not easy for everywhere were warning signs; not to fall in the river, not to do this or that, necessary but not that easy to doctor in Photoshop, hence some rather wobbly shots where I tried to lean over the water to eliminate them from view!

A peaceful scene, feeding waterbirds - yet it was the colours in the water I took this for
Nearly fell in the water trying to take this shot, to get the angle I wanted
It was a day of parts, chatting as we walked, about the classes that Kristi had just tutored at Oxford Summer School, the Adventures in Italy workshops she and husband Bill run twice a year in Orvieto Italy, the fabric books I am making; an annual catching up on family activities, the day too short. Then came the exchange of little gifts over lunch - some lovely ribbons for me from Kristi which I cannot obtain over here, and for them little notebooks I had made.

White-paper packaged tied up with strips of fabric
each gift has
its own sketch pen
All relaxing, and with images to use in future projects. Part Four of the Day was spent back at home, eating pizza on the terrace whilst I - after many months of indecision - managed at last to order my thoughts into a new creative workbook, the more easily to organise projects and balance work and play, so that sketching and stitching and word-whispers can become a part of everyday.

Opened out, you can see the map that formed the basis of the notebook - the cover was fabric from a skirt bought in a charity shop - click on the image to see it at a larger size

You may like to check the facility I have added in the right hand sidebar (just above the Twitter logo): sometimes I refer to a book, or talk about the supplies I use, and thought it might be useful to provide a link to where you can purchase what I list. I'll do this from time to time - the first is of the layout paper I print on and use as if it were fabric. More titles can be found in my Book-Lover's Blog - do visit if you haven't already done so.


  1. Always enjoy your posts. Beautiful photos. Your projects are wonderful.

  2. What a lovely day, your description was so evocative I felt I was right there alongside.