July has come and gone and it's been a month of play and preparation!
It began with a celebration of peonies, returning to my new favourite drawing technique - line and wash.
A CELEBRATION OF PEONIES
PLAY PROJECT : BOOKS!
And the arrival of Rachel Hazell's beautiful book "Bound" which inspired a whole project dedicated to making books for no particular use or outcome - just to enjoy the process of play, exploration and learning.
Exploring the possibilities of simple repeat patterns using ink and brush, I found soothing stillness in repetition.
WRITING WITHOUT A PEN
And further research into the world of lettering and paper arts led me to an inspiring image created by Annie Albers in which she created a patchwork texture using just a pin and paper. This is one outcome of an exploration into the idea of creating an alphabet without the use of conventional writing tools:
A SHEEP MOBILE
With the baby soon to arrive in August, I made a simple mobile using felt, pearl drop buttons and the bone rings from a hammock that was made for me by a friend of my mother's that I slept in as a baby. It's inspired by common features of New Zealand (where my fiance, Dan grew up) and Wales (where I grew up) - sheep, clouds and rain and now hangs quietly above the babies cot next to our bed. I'm pleased to say it twirls beautifully like a carousel in a soft breeze.
GATHERING OF GOOSEBERRIES
And on the allotment we harvested a huge crop of gooseberries which have mostly been made into jam by Dan but I also made a classic gooseberry fool for which I will share the recipe with you below:
GOOSEBERRY & ELDERFLOWER FOOL
A tart and refreshing fool - the perfect end to an alfresco lunch in July.
500g gooseberries, top and tailed
3 tbsp caster sugar
4 tbsp elderflower cordial
Juice and zest of half a lemon
350ml double cream
Wash the gooseberries and place them in a pan with the sugar, cordial, lemon juice and zest and a splash of water. Bring to a simmer on a medium heat and stir occasionally until the gooseberries start to burst. Reduce the gooseberries further if it seems too runny - you're looking for a thick syrupy consistency.
Leave the gooseberries to cool completely then chill in the fridge until you're ready to make the fool.
Whip the cream and stir the gooseberries through the cream to create a ripple effect.
Dollop into individual bowls or dessert glasses and chill until ready to serve.
Nice served with a crisp, light, shortbread style biscuit.
FIRST CROP OF COREOPSIS
This is the first year I've been experimenting with growing dye materials from seed. After a fairly unsuccessful first attempt at growing indigo I'm pleased to say I've had much better luck with coreopsis flowers. Sewn on my kitchen windowsill and grown as a harvestable crop in the flower bed at the allotment, the beautiful flower heads are coming thick and fast. They're drying out on the kitchen windowsill and when I have a sizeable amount they'll be brewed up in the dyers cauldron. Can't wait to see what colour the fabric comes out! Meanwhile, I've been busy scouring and mordanting the remaining organic, unbleached calico ready for the dye pot!
£65 REDUCED TO £55!
LAST FEW REMAINING!
The perfect summer play project and accompaniment to the 30 Embroidery Stitches online course (see below for details).
Grab the last few of the fourth edition Modern Sampler Kits! These stylish, hand-printed embroidery kits (the first ever Marigold the Maker kit!) contain all you need to learn and practice 30 classic embroidery stitches.
Suitable for beginners as well as the more accomplished stitcher wishing to expand their stitching repertoire.
The kit is designed to enable you to learn embroidery in the comfort of your own home at your own pace. It includes a hand printed "Stitching Project" bag that fits nicely in your handbag enabling you to "stitch on the go".
A3 size hand-printed, sampler template
DMC embroidery skeins in stylish, complimenting colours - orange, grey and neutral.
Pack of DMC embroidery needles
Orange "Custom by Me" embroidery scissors
30 Embroidery Stitches booklet - hand-bound with illustrated instructions for 30 classic embroidery stitches
Hand-printed "Stitching Project" Bag
4" wooden embroidery hoop
Need video instructions to help you learn the 30 stitches? Try the online course below:
Learn 30 embroidery stitches and create a stylish, modern sampler. Work your way through 30 embroidery video lessons and complete your sampler.
Each lesson includes:
- Embroidery Stitch PDF Print Out with an illustrated stitch guide and example stitch outcome picture.
- Embroidery Stitch Video Tutorial outlining step by step stitch instructions
The question as to whether I'll still be posting, working, making and writing when the baby comes in August remains unknown...I'd like to say yes because I love what I do and it is the kind of work that can fit around the baby's needs but it's going to be a "wait and see how the baby is" situation before I can gain any real clarity on what happens next. So maybe I'll be posting an August update...maybe I won't...who knows...watch this space!
In the meantime, happy making everyone, thanks for all your wonderful support on the journey thus far and I wish you all a summer packed with play!