Twigs, berries and an accordion book.

Practical work has been a little thin on the ground over the last two weeks as I had other jobs to do, but thankfully I am now back at the work table.

I was walking in the grounds of Hanbury Hall in Worcestershire some days ago, taking photographs of some my favourite subjects, namely twigs and berries, when I remembered a comment, obviously very perceptive, from Sue about my last blog entry mentioning “…winters cold colours with a hint of golden sun and red berries…”,   and realised that I was photographing exactly that.

I do find the bare winter trees particularly beautiful, and the light on some winter days is glorious.


One minute soft greys, from the sky to the twigs and the  lichen covered trunks…


…and three minutes later that wonderful combination of sunlit wood, blue sky and red berry.

I have finished a piece of work, which was a bit of a cheat as it was actually a a chunk of a partly finished larger piece I had cut into smaller pieces, so the machine stitch was done already. It fits happily into the colour themes du jour.

Some of the other pieces will be altered more, but this one was perfect as a back drop for an added bird, with extra detail from hand stitch and beads, some of them red, of course.

It measures around 50 x 40 cm.


I’ve been working on an accordion book too, one of the Japanese albums I mentioned in my last blog post. This has turned into an exercise of free cut collage from a mix of papers I had painted,  some prints on paper of my work, and some photographs.

I increasingly enjoy working in this way, and frequently use some of the weird shapes left after cutting the more deliberate shapes to make quick intuitive compositions, which really excite me, and will hopefully find their way into some new work soon.


The first three pages of the accordion book, followed by three more views.



There’s still work to do on these pages and on the back too. This is the A5 sized book. I loved the book when it was new and fresh but it’s great to have it filling up with crunchy paper, paint and ink.




14 thoughts on “Twigs, berries and an accordion book.

  1. Love the colours you have used! I went walking across the fields in the snow today and saw eight hares in one field running in groups of twos and threes, unusual. The trees on the horizon are so beautiful with their skeleton branches in all shapes and sizes, such a stunning time of year.

    1. Thanks Catherine! Always a joy to see a hare, isn’t it? Not that I see many in Birmingham! Bare trees are one of the good things about winter, especially in snow or heavy frost.

  2. Thanks Steph, I do so enjoy following your blog and seeing the things I miss from my childhood. Living here in Australia is beautiful too of course but the frosty mornings and bare trees have a beauty all of their own that I no longer get to see living in a hot climate. Keep it coming! Thanks Peg

    1. Hi Peg, I’ll try to post as much frost as possible for you, can’t promise snow, we don’t get as much as we used to. A couple of years ago we had a lot of snow and freezing weather with amazing giant icicles hanging from every house. I must say I did enjoy that, we had to smash any dangerously situated ones just in case they speared us as we left the house. Very happy you enjoy my blog, many thanks.

  3. Most of those twigs with berries have blown down in the garden with all this wind! Hope all is safe and well at your end and fantastic, as ever, to see such an array of ideas. Since reading about them here, I’ve had a quick look at those accordion books and am quite taken with the idea of a black paper one to embellish, but Hilary’s comment above reminds me that I can make one from scratch too. I have some beautiful papers so could easily do that. Whatever I do will never come up to your level of productivity and skill though. That book will have some ‘heft’ to it once it’s finished and I’d love to see it displayed. What happened about being at the Minerva Centre? Did I miss it or is it this year? Do tell.

    1. It was certainly wild here last night, I’ve never seen our holly tree move so much! Your book will be equally as good as mine, and better made than even a Moleskine too, I bet. I do like the Moleskines, and will use the others I have, and treat myself to one every so often, but also make something too, which could be very interesting to do. Of course I want to rush off and do that straight away…
      The show is at Minerva this year, with my friend Hilary Beattie. It’s called Sanctuary and is open from July 13 – September 12. There’s a meet the artists day too, must get the date from Hils for that, and I’ll put it on my blog.

  4. Steph, a joy, as ever, to see familiar places through your eyes. Must have a trip to Hanbury myself. I have been meeting up with Margaret at Jinney Ring ( gossip, coffee and coffee and walnut cake) and the different views over to the Malverns, are, as you know, quite stunning with the front drop of myriad ducks now so mixes up due to amateur cross breeding! I met up with Carole in Harborne yesterday. She misses Bournville as do I. She is soon to be a grandmother! Lucy and James are expecting a baby in about 6 weeks. I’ve forwarded your blog site on to her too.

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