Monthly Archives: October 2013

Second Piece

I’ve been working on my second piece for the Mayo Artists’ Show (the first one being the magpie).  Originally I was going to do some origami but the paper weaving bug hasn’t finished with me yet.  I’ve been working on a couple of ideas.  The first one is a continuation of the paper weaving I started with in July.  Here are some photos of the work in progress.

snail1 snail2 snail3 snail4

A wonderfully kind friend from Japan recently sent me some beautiful washi paper.  I wanted to use this to make the snail pattern.  However, I found that, as I’ve found before, less is more.  When I wove two patterned pieces together the result was a mess (even without the camera shake):

snail5But when I used one patterned and one plain the result was much neater:


Even before it’s woven, the washi looks fantastic:


Here’s the second idea I’ve started working on:

circle knot


I’m Done With Magpies

Since you last saw them, the magpie and wyrms have been causing trouble.  Now that the dust has settled I think it was the frame that started it.  When I put the original design in the frame it just didn’t look right at all.  Maybe I should have bought a different frame but instead I tried a different background.  And another.  It’s been driving me crazy.  I got so tired of it today that I just gave up and glued it.  I can’t change it now.  My daughter said it looked alright so I’ll just have to trust her.  Most times when I work on something I go past the point where I can see it objectively any more.  All I see are the details and not the overall effect.  I suppose that’s why I ask for feedback here*.  Do you experience this problem, dear reader?

framed*Thanks for all the feedback so far, by the way.  It has been much appreciated.

Flower for Colleen

I have a story about a flower but most of it is too personal to share. What I will say is that there was one day a few years ago that I felt I was being forced to do something major that I wasn’t sure was the right thing for me and my family. On that morning I had an overwhelming urge to go out into my garden. I felt like I couldn’t breathe in the house. I’m a keen gardener so I keep a close eye on what is happening in my garden. On this occasion however I found a single ornamental poppy in the courgette (zucchini) patch that I hadn’t noticed before.  It was beautiful. I wish I had taken a better photo of it.  It banished all my fears about what I was doing that day. It was like the Universe had smiled at me and told me that everything would be alright. I went through the day willingly and with a full heart. The flower fell to pieces the next day; it had done it’s job. Everything did turn out alright.

And here is a very unflattering picture of myself with the flower.  I wasn’t dressed for the occasion.  🙂  And I wish I had weeded the courgette patch.
IMG_0753 (2)

Getting Knotted – It’s a Human Thing

In case you haven’t been following this blog, I like knots.  I crochet and I like to draw Celtic knots.  I have also experimented with the type of knots found in Islamic art.  African - Right Side of a Double-page Illuminated Frontispiece - Walters W5563B - Full PageNow, thanks to a couple of Internet friends, I have found two more styles of knotwork which are very similar to Celtic interlace.  The first – Croatian interlace – evolved on the same continent.Hrvatski pleter  The second – mizuhiki (水引) – evolved in Japan.
Mizuhiki plant
It seems that wherever there are human innovators there are also complex knots.

Magpie & Wyrms – Is this any good?

I’ve been working on the background for my “magpie and wyrms” piece.  The first background I had planned didn’t work.  I was beating myself up about this when I stumbled upon a new idea.  It was inspired by a programme about autumn colour in Japan which I was (mostly not) watching during the beating-up process.  I would really appreciate any constructive feedback on this (the picture, not whether I should be beaten-up ;)):


I want something a bit vague and “messy” to balance the hard lines of the magpie and wyrms.  The leaves look a little like flames to me, which ties in with the dragons, I guess.  The magpie and wyrm pieces aren’t fixed yet so if you don’t like it I can try something else.

Magpie Evolution

I’ve been working on the bird that will stalk the wyrms.  Here is the evolution of the magpie:

originalbirdmag1 mag2 mag3

The first design is based on the birds found on the Sutton Hoo purse.

And coloured:


The Wyrms are Woven

From this:


To this:

afterweaveThe thicker paper was harder to weave but I managed it eventually.  The up-side is that the thicker paper means that the pieces stay locked into this knot shape without glue.  The one I made with thinner paper falls apart quite easily.

Weaving Paper Again

I have been (slowly) working on my first piece for the Mayo Artist’s Show.  I was going to do one of my usual 2-dimensional knots but then my earlier experimentation with paper-weaving took me in a slightly new direction.  I thought it might be interesting to blog the work as it progresses.   Here is the original old sketch that the new work will be based on:

The final piece is going to consist of the knotted wyrms and the bird.  The dogs are okay but they don’t fit into the “story” of the picture.  I think I want the bird to be a magpie so it might change slightly.  The heads on the wyrms will be changing too.  The first step was to transfer the knot to graph-paper and experiment with the wyrm heads:
The next step was to separate out the wyrms and divide the long wyrm to eliminate overlapping parts:
Now the wyrms can be woven:
Next I transferred the wyrms to better paper:
I messed up one of the long wyrm pieces so I had to do that one again:
That’s it so far.