Saturday, 21 November 2009

The Green Tree Bag

Colour gift bag for The Green Tree Gallery (sold). This fellow and his friends are hoping to be printed on fabric bags!

Cheekiest of all Christmas card design, a sprightly sprite.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Hark, a harp!

I have been drawing striped characters for my poetry fairytale book. From Monday I will be renting a beautiful Clarsach harp from Pilgrim Harps!

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Winter wanderlust

The daylight is wrapping itself up in its winter cloak, but it's still bright in the grotto...

On the days I work in the gallery, I read, wheelbarrowfuls of pages, and make scrolls of the most magical words I stumble upon...

I wouldn't mind digging up a lion's share of kaleidoscopic alchemy! (The words in this particular melting pot all come from Angela Carter's 'The Magic Toyshop').

In preparation for our Christmas shopping night (Friday 13th November), I have been sprucing up our paper bags. These will be sold on the night and in the run-up to Christmas. £1.00 for a munchkin-sized, £1.50 for the giant.

The pastry star atop this mince pie of early November is that one of my oldest friends is coming to England after studying in Cape Town, and we are going to prance to Brighton and drink enormous cups of tea and bake mint chocolate cakes and chortle over Poirot's moustache.

Finally, I have finished a machine embroidered drawing illustrating one of the snippet-sized yarns from my book of fairytale poetry.

There was a moment with this where I thought, "Humph. This has gone pear-shaped, and a disintegrating pear at that, perhaps with a little fluffy coat around the middle." But, while 'Emma' was chattering away in the background, I vowed to give it what for. Next I will cycle it over to the Chapel Gallery in Cuckfield to be box-framed in green. I have been in this little treasure trove only once before and found myself in a wonderland of beams and creaky floorboards and stained wood in caravan colours with an intriguing little staircase at the end, leading to who know's where.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

A work-ward walk of West Sussex

I unearthed a new way to cycle to my grotto! Along country lanes lined with meadows, little opalescent segments like stained glass.

I have been stitching all day, on my darling Bernina. Vrrrrr......

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Pixies and Poetry

The pixie who swings by the door now has black curly locks, leafy sleeves, and a golden bell jangling at the end of her cloak hood. I was so delighted to watch her come to life that I am thinking of making dolls to sell.

She has settled me in my nest. The typewriter has new ribbon, and one by one, the daddy long legs are evicted.

Now I am to start work on a fairytale poetry book! So far it features a good deal of nonsense.

In the meantime, a collaborative project between myself and author Sally Crabtree will be in an exhibition at Penlee House Museum & Gallery in Penzance from 28th November. The main feature is a concertina book about all the Lost Property office of Olly, a mouse. The display will also include a cabinet of curiosities with paper characters from the book.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Poppies and patchwork

One morning, wandering in a patchwork blanket called the South Downs...

...a poppy invites me to sit with him a while in the sun (and wind, and rain).

Back in the grotto, the bunting is stitched and tied to the ceiling, and a patchwork (of more modest proportion) is hatched...

...while this brazen fellow clamps himself to my thread tin, determined to complete his highly confidential Daddy long legs mission (which seems to involve staying still for three hours gazing into a gold lid).

Outside my door, the leaves jostle like bejewelled fish...

Brrr, back into the nest.

"There's blackcurrant tea, it's nigh on four..."

(said the crimson cloaked pixie who swings by the door),

"I'm back from the menders with boots of bright red..."

"...and a velveteen hood which will keep warm my head."

Monday, 2 November 2009

My shed has been invaded by marihøne (ladybirds)!

Meanwhile, I am stitching up some bunting for my walls from Granny fabrics.

My beloved lagoon-green Bernina Record is a little trooper.

In the meantime, reading 'The Old Curiosity Shop' by Charles Dickens...

There were suits of mail standing like ghosts in armour here and there, fantastic carvings brought from monkish cloisters, rusty weapons of various kinds, distorted figures in china and wood and iron and ivory: tapestry and strange furniture that might have been designed in dreams.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Artist's grotto

Home is a name, a word, it is a strong one; stronger than magician ever spoke, or spirit ever answered to, in the strongest conjuration.
~ Charles Dickens

This morning my new grotto has been growing. Shelves are up, pictures framed, desks placed in corners where I like them best. I found a Borrower-sized cupboard with bee-sized drawers...

...and am next going to hunt for fairy lights and bird cages.

And what do you think you're doing here, Sir Stingling?

There is a magic in that little world, home; it is a mystic circle that surrounds comforts and virtues never known beyond its hallowed limits.
~ Robert Southey

Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.
~ Matsuo Basho

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Branches in their birthday suits

The thin night darkens. A breeze from the creased water sighs the streets close under Milk waking Wood. The Wood, whose every tree-foot's cloven in the black glad sight of the hunters of lovers...
~ Extract from 'Under Milk Wood' by Dylan Thomas

'Under Milk Wood' is a tantalising tome brimming with alliteration.

But the raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore—
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking “Nevermore."
~ Extract from 'The Raven' by Edgar Allen Poe

Once upon a time I lived in a grand house with a magical acorn named Emily. She introduced me to this dark and delightful poem.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

An Autumn Anecdote

BOUYED ON THE heaven-ward whisper
Of dancing leaflets whirled
From all the woods that autumn
Bereaves in all the world.
And midst the fluttering legion
Of all that ever died
I follow, and before us
Goes the delightful guide,
With lips that brim with laughter
But never once respond,
And feet that fly on feathers,
And serpent-circled wand.

~Extract from 'A Shropshire Lad' by A. E. Housman

Blueberry picking in the mountains of Bodø, Norway, home of my heart and one of my dearest friends.

A cosy nook where I have been working since late Summer. I am now packing my suitcases and handkerchiefs on sticks and trundling to the magical Green Tree Gallery in Borde Hill where I am to be artist in residence in a shed!

Hallowe'en is creaking nearer like a pumpkin carriage on rusty wheels. My friend Ginger and I have long crumpled noses which we hide through the year and unfurl in October. Our first endeavours into pumpkin carving have grown beards.

But also given birth to a moonlit landscape scene...

Images © Pippa Chorley 2009