Friday, 30 March 2012

Summertime Spring

Haven't we been having the most glorious summerlike days!
I swept out the summer shed earlier this month thinking that really I was a bit ahead of myself but we have been basking in there this week whenever we've had a chance. Just wonderful and so relaxing.

We were gifted this pretty blue and white china by friends who moved into a new house. The previous owners had just left it. I love to display flowers in jugs and teapots so we have given this china a nice new home and thanks to all this sunshine, we have an abundance of daffodils, flowering current and lenten roses to pick.

I know it's a bit early for lupins but I couldn't resist putting a few in this new landscape piece.

Below is a 'sketch' for a bigger piece I hope to make in time for Open Studios in May.

 I have also been working on a few more little boxes to add to the collection. These are just 5cm x 5cm and are made with genuine Harris Tweed.

And here is Foxee showing off our beautiful new brochure for this years Open Studio event.
You can pick one up in most public places around Fife, Edinburgh, Lothian, Perth, Tayside, Dundee and Angus. You can also download one at
Only 5 weeks to go!

To read about how Foxee became a beloved member of our family go here and here.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Seaweed Abstracts in Textile

Following on from Sunday's experiments with a whole heap of naturally dyed fibres, I continued to experiment with more fibres and yarns and the embellisher machine.

I also intorduced some free machine embroidery and shibori into the mix along with some hand stitch and here are the results.

The shibori piece here is inspired by the suckers found on the roots of bull kelp.
It's usually a greeny yellowy brown colour but a bit of artistic license lets me make mine teal and purple.

Aquatic Roots (1)

The background fibres in the piece above are hand dyed in Orkney.

The fibres in the background below are all handspun and were bought on the Isle of Skye.

Aquatic Roots (2)

The hand dyed nature of the fibres lends itself well to art pieces inspired by nature.

I really love drift wood as well and always pick up a few bits when we find ourselves by the sea. I made a point of collecting some tiny bits last time we were at the beach in Elie a few miles away on the Fife coast.

I have looped some faded pink chiffon around a piece here as it reminds me of the way seaweed drapes itself on pieces left on the shore.
The background here is a wet felted fusion of hand dyed fibres, silk flibres, Wensleydale locks, hessian fibres and hand dyed scrim.

Drift (1)

I've had this triple apperture frame for a while but couldn't decide what to put in it. This tryptich of felted fibres suits it well I think.

Abstract Seaweed Tryptich

More dfrift wood, a few shells and some beach glass have been incorporated into this piece below.

Shoreline Finds
I have enjoyed using all these natural shades in my work and have had some of these ideas floating around in my head for over a year! I would love to push the ideas further to see what would develop but it's back to landscapes this weekend and onto jewellery after that.

I did have time to make this box though.

I have enough of the felt left to make another tiny box and might possibly make some more to make a treasure chest shaped box. The ideas are flowing already! Oh for more hours in the day.

I have some printed cards available featuring landscapes made using the naturally dyed fibres.

You can find them in my Etsy shop here

Our Open Studios event here in North Fife is on Saturday 5th, Sunday 6th and Monday 7th May 2012. We are working hard to get our beautiful brochures distributed far and wide all across Scotland so look out for one in a gallery, library, gift shop, cafe or business near you.

The brochures are free and also available to view and download online.

You can also keep up to date with us on Facebook 
Even if you are too far away to attend our event, by becoming a fan of our page, you can help us to spread the word.
Thank you!

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Love Is In The Air

After a restful January and February whiling away the last winter months making and creating at leisure, March has sprung upon me with a frenzy of activity. The garden has come to life, the birds are busy nesting, the days are longer and brighter with opportunities to sit outside and my time is suddenly divided across many different activities. Included in this months endless to do list were the the flowers for my cousin's wedding.

It's always a pleasure and a privilege to do the flowers for a wedding but even more so when it's for family or friends. My cousin's fiance chose a mixture of pink roses for the table arrangement. I included white cymbidium orchids, eringium thistle, eucalyptus leaves, ivy and bupluerum to set the roses off.

My daughter was the flower girl and looked absolutely adorable carrying her little posy. The large pink rose is 'Sweet Dolomiti' and the smaller pink rose is 'Sweet Akito'. The cream rose is 'Vandella'.

The Sweet Dolomiti roses have ever such a slight perfume. This is unusual in cut roses as the scent is often lost. Garden roses have a heady scent but cut roses often don't so it was nice to have that pefume present.

Here's me holding the brides bouquet. A tight hand tied bunch of Vandella roses, each with a pearl headed pin. A loose collar of eucalyptus leaves and bear grass loops finished it off and the stems tied in matching voile ribbon.

We got a large piece of cake home with us and I have to say it's delicious!

A wonderful day was rounded off with a good ceilidh interspersed with a variety of classic songs sung at weddings to get folk up dancing. I might have passed on a few of the non ceilidh dances had my daughter not dragged me up to every single one! She put us all to shame as she was still up bopping at half past midnight when we were all starting to flag.

We spent the rest of the weekend catching up with the family and really feel like we have had a holiday and an extreemly enjoyable time.

No time to relax now that we are home though. Open Studios North Fife will soon be upon us in less than eight weeks time. The brochures have been printed and will be distributed soon. To keep up to date with where you can obtain your free brochure, why not become a fan of our Facebook page. Just click this link and if you are a Facebook user, click 'Like' at the top of our page. Any updates from our page will then appear in your news feed.
All 84 participating artists and makers are busy creating new work and thinking of new ways to make your visit even more enjoyable. This really is a great event so put Sat 5th, Sun 6th and Mon 7th May 2012 in your diary and look out for updates and info nearer the time.
All contributed content © Aileen Clarke