A miscellany here, all to do with gardens, which seems to be the best place to be in this hot weather. Working from home, as I am at the moment, is perfect and indeed privileged in this weather; no hot commutes, just the opportunity to go into the garden frequently to enjoy the sun from the shade, which is my preference. It’s very rare to have a couple of weeks with no teaching commitments, in fact amazing, but it all kicks off again soon.

I am working away on several projects at the moment, chiefly my ‘ Shadows and Light ‘ artist’s book, which has been further changed; well, it’s been changed back to what it was, which was a contained expression of a season, a diurnal and nocturnal exploration. I then tried to add another curtailed book to it, intending to make it into some huge all-seasons tome, but that was ridiculous, so now it’s back to itself, with the extra pages I made being given new jobs as adjacent hangings, all to be shown together, probably next year at the RBSA Galleries or the Festival of Quilts. So after much messing, that’s that one sorted. Sometimes work is not just making but focusing more on decisions and discarding.

I do have the urge to start some new work though, possibly something relatively small. I have made some very large pieces of work over the last couple of years, but now I have less space to make and have little storage space left, the dimensions of the pieces are becoming more critical.

I have been doing a spot of experimental drawing in the garden too, with a mix of coloured pencils; see below for a sketch of one of the borders. I’d like to make it into a textile piece, and with that in mind have been sifting through some fabrics. I have a fair amount of stuff that seriously needs a good sort out, again; it doesn’t seem to be that creative to discard fabrics or whatever, but honing your materials can often be the best thing to really get a clear head and to start new projects. So that is what I’ll be doing after writing this blog entry.


This is possibly the inspiration for a piece I would like to make called  Summer Scarlet. I’ve added some collaged torn newspaper text and some fabric scraps, and some thermofax screen printing.

We have been doing a small amount of slow but steady garden renovation too. This was part of our garden that has next doors wall as a boundary; as you can see it’s grotty. I let ivy grow over the roughcast finish, thinking it would look good. Well it was quite decorative, but when Alan Titchmarsh mentioned on some programme or other that ivy, when well rooted into roughcast can cause it to pull off in huge sheets, well, that got me scraping away at it. It did of course leave woody patterns on the wall, and what with a good dose of greenish something or other that would not clean off, a paint job was required. It is quite a big wall, unfortunately, but it’s done and I love a before and after.


Sad old wall and furniture.


And much perkier wall and furniture.

And lastly, a few images for you to wizz through if you choose of Hanbury Hall, in Worcestershire, which we went to last week. It’s not too far from us so we go as often as possible for a stroll around. It has wonderful gardens, in fact I always think of it as a very gardened property, being generally very formally designed. I the last image you can just about see some of the cast and crew of the BBC daytime series Doctors; they were filming, we could here shouts of ‘action!’ coming from a hedge. The filming of this series is a common sight around Birmingham, there’s no escape.










4 thoughts on “Gardens.

  1. I’m so impressed with what’s been done in recent years at Hanbury, inside and outside they seem to have brought it back to life. I had one of those marvellous ‘off-the-wall’ chats with an elderly but immensely knowledgable room-guide on my last visit – worth the visit just for that conversation alone.

  2. I love the transformation in your garden Steph. It all looks quite tropical and chic and aren’t we lucky enough to be having the right weather to sit outside at those table and chairs? Not surprising to see the garden still feeding your ideas.It’s a never ending source. My circles have come from Khadi by the way and I just have to work out what plants to try the cyanotypes out with.So glad you told me about them as I might try printing some collagraphs on them too at a later stage. Thank you!

    1. They are much more inviting to sit on now, at least! It is a little tropical, as there’s a rubber plant and a hoya nearby, given to us by elderly neighbours who went to live with relatives. They’ll have to be brought in during the winter with one or two other plants that summer outside and winter in.
      I’ll keep a check on your blog to see how the cyanotypes work out, and the collographs; I hope to be doing more printing on my new circles soon. I enjoyed working on them, they make quite a statement, and I’m tempted to buy some small ones to group together. Going onto the Khadi website can be quite dangerous though…

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