Posts tagged contemplation
Officially Spring...phew!

officially spring


So here we are - spring has officially arrived in the northern hemisphere! Not a moment too soon for me!. What a thoroughly drab winter that was and to go out on a snowy blizzard - what an exit…(and it better had be the end, that’s all I’m saying…).

On Tuesday I scoured the lane for any signs of spring and was rewarded with one brave little celandine. Oh, it made me incredibly happy. I looked back at the photos I took on the same date last year and discovered that the banks of the lane were yellow and green with celandines in full bloom. Proof indeed that we’re well behind this year.


But then we were treated to a couple of days of sunshine (although not a lot of warmth) and at last, the magic of spring has begun to reach us.

On Thursday, as we were leaving the wood, a heron flew overhead making it’s wonderfully primaeval call. There’s a heronry close to where we park our car and people travel for miles to come and watch them on their nests, but I’ve found that the herons regularly fly over us on their way I suppose to the canal, so we are treated to a private view.

On one memorable morning last year, we were overflown by a group of five herons, I’d heard the noise and initially assumed they were gulls, only to look again and realise they were in fact herons. It’s moments like that which really take my breath away, even now as I think about it I feel a little awe-inspired.  I’m so fortunate to have the time to spend outdoors every day. You can’t buy an experience like that.

On days when I’m struggling to find colour in the lane, I’ve discovered that it helps to look closer, to get down amongst the leaves or peer deeper into the hedge. And this week it was the mini-gardens of moss growing on a decaying tree-stump that amazed me. Such fascinating plants, tiny but with wonderful shapes, colours and textures. I don’t know the names of any of these little beauties and I feel a touch guilty about that.


Then, finally, on Friday we found the first leaves beginning to unfurl on the elder trees. Elder, the tree of regeneration and wisdom according to Glennie Kindred. It certainly inspires me with joy when I see the first hints of green returning to the hedgerow trees.

In other news

  • Thank you so much to everyone who’s been in touch with ideas, thoughts and suggestions about a Contemplative Stitch workshop - you’ve helped me enormously. I think I’ve got some ideas now and I’m going to spend a while developing my thoughts. If there’s something you’d like to add to the melting pot, please get in touch. All input is very welcome.
  • On Monday we hung the new spring exhibition at The Workhouse, Dunstable. Lovely to meet such talented artists bringing their work to show and to sell. It’s an open exhibition this time, no actual theme, but many people seem to have brought along very springlike artwork, which is giving the gallery a fresh boost. Do call in if you’re in the area.
  • I’ve started a new piece of stitching. (No pictures yet - not deliberate, just a lack of time and light!)
  • I’ve just added a page to the Spellbook for Stokesay Castle, Shropshire. (Click here if you want to see it). As I mentioned once before, I’m not really a sketchbook keeper and I intend to use the Spellbook as a place where I can stash words and images that inspire me, that was really one of my reasons for creating this space. I’m still working on how I’m going to do that. Sometimes there are more words than pictures, other times it’s all about the images. Often I’m not really sure what I want to show or say - it’s a feeling of scribbling in the margins, but I want to capture a feeling or an atmosphere. Anyway, my intention is to gradually add to those pages. They’re currently grouped under hedgerow and places in the menu for ease of finding.
  • Stokesay Castle is a perfect example of a fortified manor house, built during the reign of Edward I and largely unaltered since. Which makes the history-junkie in me deliriously happy.
  • And last week, I read on impulse a book by Gretchen Rubin (the author of ‘The Happiness Project’) called ‘Better than Before’. It popped up on my Kindle suggestions and something made me buy it. I’m really pleased that I did because it was one of those ‘light-bulb’ reads. It’s all about the power of habits and how to adopt them. I particularly appreciated the way she characterises people according to certain traits - this made so much sense to me and it was a relief in some ways to feel understood. Anyway, I have a theory that sometimes we find the right book at the right moment. It may not be of any interest to you right now, but it certainly was for me.

Until next time…

Happy stitching!

Anny x

Almost Halloween...

And finally I get to sit at my computer and write! It's been an age, I apologise, I'd meant to be here well before now but then real life kicks in and you're on a roller-coaster that leaves just enough time for sleep and marathon ironing sessions (I'm guessing I'm not alone).

The part of me that used to live in corporate world thinks this is an error of prioritisation and that I should certainly have put writing before ironing, but then the post-corporate me thinks well if I don't clear the pile there's practically no chance anyone else will do it and I'm probably the one who'll run out of things to wear first. And so...

Anyway, how are things with you? Are you celebrating Halloween or Samhain? This year we were given a packet of giant pumpkin seeds and after a couple of false starts managed to grow 3 enormous pumpkins. If you've never tried I can thoroughly recommend growing them for the entertainment value. They grow so fast you can practically see them spread across the garden. Our plants also kindly took off across the lawn, so we haven't mowed it since mid August - result!

Whitby Abbey

As it's nearly Halloween and there's been everything Dracula on the radio lately I thought I'd show you a few of the pictures I took in Whitby back in August. The Abbey is wonderfully atmospheric whatever your gothic desires, it's easy to see how it inspires people. I particularly love the eroded stone work, the arches look like sinuous fingers to me.

I love Whitby. It's a town with fantastic character, great pubs and excellent fish and chips. If I was Dracula I might well have come ashore there too.

In Other News...

  • It's been a wonderful three weeks so far at The Workhouse in Dunstable. For the next couple of months you can find me there on Wednesdays and Fridays. I've learned - or should I say I've re-learned - the lesson that art is in the eye of the beholder. It's a fabulous gift to sit and watch people's reaction to the art as they walk around and to listen to their comments. It is a fact that what one loves another won't, but there is someone who will connect with your work. I have heard people look at the same work and dismiss it, while others give the identical work high praise. So it is, and for us artists it's a lesson to keep front of mind. Make what you are called to make, don't worry about who's going to want it. The right people will find you.
  • I've been on a mini-jaunt to Wales. I'll try very hard to post photos before I am called back to the laundry heap. We visited Tretower Court, Hay on Wye, Llanthony Priory, Raglan Castle, and Goodrich Castle - all my favourite places and only slightly diminished by me having a grim and evil tummy bug which denied me the excellent breakfast at the hotel - arrrgh!
  • I've finished stitching another piece - hurray! But I haven't taken any decent pictures yet, so that will have to go on the 'To Do' list too.
  • And lastly, I've done something I've never done before - I've had a small number of my photographs printed and framed for sale at The Workhouse in November for the 'Mist & Mystery' exhibition. I will definitely show you those too. Photography is the the way I capture the essence of the seasons as I make my daily walks along the lane and through the field and woods, it's become so much a part of what I do I hadn't stopped to look at it as another art form. This week I was prompted to go back and consider them with a view to showing a selection and I have to say it's made me quite excited, they've printed up so well.

Have a good Halloween if you're celebrating. I'll be lighting a few candles and having a quiet contemplation. Reflection has gone out of fashion, but I find the wheel of the year, the cycle of life and the rhythms of the seasons keep me grounded and somehow deeply reassured.

Blessings to all and happy stitching x