Cutty Sark..Ship ahoy in the bedroom
have you ever felt like you have spent a night on the high seas ?…..so what about beds ?.. many nights , and not particularly Arabian were spent with Paul in a double bed in Cornwall …it was a Queen size I imagine , as Paul seemed incredibly and hotly close ! .. the bed was one of those .. you know the sort.. where you roll into the middle of a box of sardines and it’s like climbing Everest getting out of the wallowing hollow….being on the crest of a wave one minute and all sheets ,ropes and tackle the next… and we wake on an unknown shore …and during the night watch .. five bells ?! ….groping around trying to find the door /hatch doesn’t help as you feel like a marooned sailor… Robinson Crusoe it is not…
Twixt Twin and never the twain shall meet
Twin beds of course are another matter altogether… you are marooned on your desert island disc of a bed , becalmed in a lagoon of loneliness and single shipwreck. There are advantages of course to this solitary state.. the unadulterated luxury of a duvet that is yours and yours alone.. to deal with as you fancy.. the flexibility to enjoy the bounteous quiltliness or throw off its oppressive dominion… but there is an ever more present danger .. the inability to influence anyone of a snoringful persuasion from afar… no means or wherewithall to subtley nudge or knee the snoring heap beside you .. no ! instead you must endure the siren call of the snorer and like Ulysses. avert your ears and long for the lap of a distant shore and the ever present seashell roar.
And a bit about goats….
because goats can sleep just about anywhere , any how ,usually on a dung heap but mostly in doorways as these next two pictures illustrate. Their bony little legs all folded and any which way.. dusty and scarecrow like they are fascinatingly unconcerned about their beds and where they will sleep. So a lesson learnt from our friends the goats !
note the casually extended leg and distinct lack of concern about being next to an open sewer !
note the same leg extension and strategic positioning in doorway…
Posted in bed, goat, India Diaries, observations | Tagged bed, cutty sark, duvet, Everest, five bells, goat, hatch, marooned, Robinson Crusoe, rope, sailor, sardine, seashell, shipwreck, tackle, Ulysses | Leave a Comment »
There is a certain kind of bravado that is utterly charming when the smallest of insects can have a desperado’s feisty attitude and act like he is the highwayman of the garden ! I am talking about the Devil’s coach horse beetle. I think he has been watching far too many Adam and the Ant videos for his own good . Swaggering with as much machismo as his diminutive 25mm of him can manage he tries to be all flintlock and bandito rolled into one.
This beetle is also known as the Cocktail beetle (presumably not because he can mix a rather fine mohito on the rocks but rather because he Cocks his tail when holding up a unsuspecting red riding hood on the path.
I was surprised to see him in the day as he normally shelters during the day under stones,logs or leaf litter. But here he was, the little outlaw in the pathway making out he was a mini scorpion and a much bigger and badder character. Its wings are short so you don’t really see them.. and all you are conscious of is his platy body and its dangerous looking pincer jaws. These predator jaws were open and looking menacing…the sort of jaws that would make mincemeat of a juicy worm or woodlice in the shake of a cutlass or a footpads cudgel.
Posted in Autumn, Beetles, Garden, insects, prairie, Seasons | Tagged adam and the ants, cocktail, cudgel, cutlass, desperado, devils coach horse beetle, flintlock, footpad, highwayman, mohito, outlaw, predator, woodlice, worm | Leave a Comment »
Death by a thousand droplets …..
I picture Marat in his bath… coyly draped in cloths (why cloths in a bath….?. better wait to bring out the sumptuous Egyptian cotton bath towels after getting out of the bath !).. (but that’s another lot of questions!) and I think about the possibility of dicing with death and gargling with tinctures made of the gloriously luxuriant Phytolacca Americana.
The Death of Marat is a painting by Jacques -Louis David of the murdered French revolutionary leader Jean-Paul Marat lying dead in his bath. The painting shows the radical journalist draped languidly and very much dead in his bath on 13 July 1793 after his murder by Charlotte Corday. I had in my mind he had been poisoned too ..but maybe that is not the case .. but it is a romantic and very evocative image ..look it up – it’s great !
In the garden at the moment we are starting to see intimations of mortality as plants start to die in an interesting way …if we were in the Himalaya we would be entering the death zone.. plants are shrugging off their colours and hues and taking on this motley garb of autumn. All shrouds of decay. Now we are really jumping in the bath with Marat !
It was a herbalist who was telling me about gargling with Phytolacca to cure a sore throat but it sounds a pretty dicey type of medicinal treatment .. the fugu fish of the plant world.. imagine swigging a glass of pokeweed Juice and knowing one false swallow could seal your doom ! Although apparently ,Native Americans have reputedly used Phytolacca or Pokeweed as a herbal remedy as a heart stimulant and to treat cancer, rheumatism, itching, and syphilis. Looking at the glossy and temptingly glossy berries I can see why you might be tempted to pick a bunch and , why not , eat them .
and so we have the marvellous saying …..Gardener – heal thyself !
Posted in Autumn, Autumn, Drink, Plants, prairie, Seasons, Sussex | Tagged Autumn, bath, Charlotte Corday, fugu, gargle, himalaya, jean-Louis David, Marat, Murder, phytolacca americana, poison, sore throat, spit, swallow, tincture, towels | Leave a Comment »
Autumn time is the erotic time, the time to be dominated by big lary plants with attitude. These are the Christian Greys of the garden world . The plants that will always say yes and yes again and make mine a handcuff and silken scarf and be damned.
Grasses first : architectural and arch with it
. Giving fabulous structure , colour , muscle and brawn. They are the bouncers of the garden, standing up straight in the doorways fiddling with their mikes and manhoods. Twitching in the wind ,and giving the shoulder and the eye to the plants around them. Our garden is 25% grasses of all kinds which are woven through the plantings . As you walk through the borders it is the grasses that give you that shelter and which block the sun from time to time. They can also be brash with candy bar colours in their leaves. Sometimes they are like Brighton rock laced with pinks, oranges and reds , and sometimes just burning crimson and vermillion . Their seed heads can also be subtly or not so subtly coloured: beaded jewels with the early morning mists and dew or heavy with embroidery thread tassels. Some of them are woolly and crinkled like chips , some of them are smooth and silken. This is the way where madness lies as you try and get them together en masse. Did I tell you about the romance and the softness too ? the way they lend a wispy texture to the garden that catches the light and shimmers it through the borders. Lucky us , when the bouncers show their hearts of gold under their butch veneer.
The Muscle : Big Plants , Big Egos
By autumn time we can clearly see the plants that have ambition to be the biggest and the most glam with it. They literally put on all their jewellery and bling and pimp it up rotten. They are shamelessly wanton and wanting attention. And they can do it by height and bravado and staking their claim to be the first into the nightclub of autumn.They even have tattoos and piercings ! My Big fat gypsy plants. They slip their clothes on and off with languid ease and shameless lewd loveliness.And take colour as their watchword.
negligee and slipper , corset and bodice : our plants will work their way through their wardrobe as the season progresses, shedding and shucking them off as the mood suits.Their jackets are lined with shocking colours to make you blink and their buttons and fastenings provocatively taut. Wardrobe malfunction is their trick.
Are they coy and winning or buxom and blousy ?
Where is the lustre of youth and vigour ? where are the dimpled thighs of the Moulin rouge muffin tops ? the glistening sequined décolleté and the supermodels of shameless glam ?
are they in their dressing rooms painting their nails and eating jelly babies, pulling on their rubber suits and skin tight stockings ? are they on the couch with their casting directors ?
Beauty and beast we love them all !
Posted in Autumn, grasses, Henfield, Morlands Farm, prairie, Seasons, Sussex | Tagged beast, beauty, bling, bodice, buxon, christian grey, corset, couch, decollette, director, gimp, glam, moulin rouge, muffin top, negilgee, rubber, scarf, stockings, super model | Leave a Comment »
I am happy to still be cutting flowers for sale in our teashop. There are still plenty of flowers to choose from – ranging from eupatoriums, phlox,solidago, molucella, achillea,, veronicastrum, grasses ….and of course the fabby dahlias who go from strength to strength this time of year.The only criteria for a bunch is that it must be wild,free flowing and have a taste of the wonderful about it.
moody ,jewel like colours and a sense of a voluptuous stained glass window are the colours I favour…imagine the colours of a packet of Spangle sweets(I bet they don’t make them any more !) ..worringly acidic and sharp as glass …their fragments cutting your mouth with shards like a sherbet lemon sweet, lacerating tongues and tastebuds alike…..if you like pink – just think -we have achillea love parade making candy floss curls through the bouquets.
and the Marys among us , stop being contrary and look at what you can get from our British cut flower garden only yards away and no airmiles ,honest .. growing British without the groans and grumbles of a pantechnicon lorry …only the comforting squeak of a overloaded barrow and the rubbery fold of a wellington boot…
now is the time for the cut flower queens to go forth and cut to their hearts content.And now is the time for you to spoil yourself , your best friend, mum,dad,sister,brother, boyfriend,girlfriend.. any friend or any foe to the best of the cut flowers available today…as autumn steels its hoary cape across the garden take those burnt oranges and build bonfires of colour in your hand
gather up the trails of glorious gold and melting ambers, molten vermillion….and fan a flame in your arms…. from garden urn to humble jam jar cut flowers will always make the final cut !
Posted in Autumn, cutting garden, Garden, Morlands Farm, Summer, Uncategorized | Tagged bonfire, bouquet, bunch, cut flower, dahlia, flame, flowers, teashop, urn.jam jar | Leave a Comment »
Anne Kelly – Textile and Mixed media artist – BFA ATC
We are very excited that textile and media artist Anne Kelly is coming to be our artist in residence in our 2014 summer and autumn season. Howver in the meantime she will be joining us on the Prairies for two wonderful workshops.(see details below)
general information : in Anne’s own words
” I trained as a fine artist in Canada and the UK and my work reflects these conventions by interpreting them in cloth. Many pieces are box framed and larger work and installation pieces hang without a frame. I also produce smaller pieces for private and public exhibitions and have work in the vatican collection.
In 2013, I continue to collaborate with other artists and am exhibiting in the UK and abroad. I’m available for consultancy work and I am also happy to accept and advise on commissioned work. I have just completed a major public commission.
i have a studio and teach part time and am co writing my first book on textile collaborations ‘connected cloth’ with Cas Holmes.”
This wonderful book is now out and on sale !
Anne Kelly – about me
“I collect recycled fabric, paper and ephemera using collage, stitch, photographic and print processes to create a range of work, most of which is framed. My inspirations are travel, memory and vintage imagery from a variety of sources. These have been described as ‘small worlds’ and my current layered mixed media work started life as mainly botanical in subject matter before developing into larger more narrative works. I assemble and reassemble the components of each piece using sketchbooks and digital imagery. Often it can be a small scrap or remnant of fabric that inspires a whole piece. I am inspired by natural history and gardens. Collaborations are an important aspect of my work and I enjoy working with other artists and teaching. I also produce commissions for private and public individuals – examples of these ‘collages in cloth’, based on special places, people and spaces can be found on my website.”
What will these workshops give me ?
A chance to create a piece of garden/nature-inspired textile art in the inspiring surroundings of Sussex prairies gardens with Anne Kelly. All ages and abilities welcome. The cost fo the day will be £ 50 – you are welcome to bring a picnic lunch. you should bring materials and equipment for stitching including a sewing machine if you wish.
September 29, 2013: vintage/recycled garden –old and vintage fabrics enhance and give depth to many projects. students will be asked to search through their collections for florals especially to applique onto a square sample. a mixture of couching and hand embroidery will be used to complete the work. The sample can then be made up into a cushion cover, tote bag or framed piece. materials list to follow.
October 6, 2013: Birds – are everywhere in textile art at the moment – we will make a small bird stencil using a mixture of contemporary and vintage images as source material. this will then be printed onto various types of fabric and used in a range of samples. these can then be incorporated into larger pieces and embellished further by hand and machine. materials list to follow.
Please contact Anne to book a place on either course and please send your booking request with a cheque for £ 50 per course to A. Kelly, 29 Dynevor Road, Tunbridge Wells, kent TN4 9HP
or contact her on email@example.com to arrange payment using Paypal.
Posted in anne kelly, artist in residence, Autumn, Autumn, Birds, courses, craft, events, exhibition, Henfield, Summer | Tagged art, artist, cloth, collage, connected cloth, digital imagery, fabric, florals, garden, installation, nature, photographic, recycled, remnant, scrap, sketchbooks, stitch, textile, vintage, workshops | 1 Comment »
This man has smelt Sporobolus heterolepsis- have you ?
Diary note for September: propagate more of the wondrously aromatic grass Sporobolis heterolepsis.
What is it then ? a fabulous grass with attitude and scent !
other common name – Prairie dropseed
Height : 80cm (at least) Spread : 35cm (and some)
Flowering : meant to be July and august , but still flowering now well into September.
Scent : musky and aromatic like a trip into a indian spice market. Just catching on the slightest breeze you get a hint of the cumin laden armpit of a street trader in Jaipur. It is the sort of grass you could make a curry with , the sort of grass that would be impregnating an old jute camel bag, the scent of a sandal kicked off under a rickshaw drivers charpoi, the tendril taint of an “old “print dug out from beneath a dozen such prints in old Mapusa market. It is the siren call of the exotic and the whisper of the orient.
I smelt Sporobolus and my nose fell off …..
Grown en masse (of course) why would anyone do any less,it is a wonder of the prairie plain.Not only do you get scent but a fine and fickle movement in the breeze reminds you of a lapping warm sea. Must be nearly holiday time methinks ………..
Posted in Autumn, Garden, grasses, Plants, Summer, Sussex | Tagged charpoi, cumin, grass, jaipur, jute, market, orient, prairie dropseed, propagation, rickshaw, sandal, scent, sea, smell, spice, sporobolus heterolepsis | Leave a Comment »