Monday, 30 May 2011


Please excuse a non-craft related post, but today has, for once, been a craft-free day. 

Spent a contented hour this evening bottling elderflower cordial with OH.  I love elderflowers, both their blossom and their taste (although, disappointingly, the flowers smell nothing like the finished cordial and are really not v.pleasant).   The process of foraging for the blossom is a real pleasure as it involves a wander along the riverbank in sunny weather.

Recipe from  (makes 1.5 litres).

20 heads of elderflower
1.8kg sugar sugar
1.2 litres water
2 unwaxed lemons
75g citric acid

Shake the elderflowers to expel any lingering insects, and then place in a large bowl.
Put the sugar into a pan with the water and bring up to the boil, stirring until the sugar has completely dissolved.
While the sugar syrup is heating, pare the zest of the lemons off in wide strips, slice the lemons, discard the ends and add the zest and slices to the elderflower bowl.  Pour the boiling syrup into the bowl and stir in the citric acid. Cover with a cloth and then leave at room temperature for 24 hours.
Next day, strain the cordial through a sieve lined with muslin (or a new j-cloth rinsed out in boiling water), and pour into thoroughly cleaned glass or plastic bottles.

And finally, an elderflower stowaway who was safely relocated to the outdoors.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Prism 2011

Cenote Series by Rachel Gornall.  Photo from
Another inspiring exhibition today: just got back from up close :: in detail
courtesy of Prism textile group.  Lots of amazing work, some from old hands and some new, at least to me. 

Anita Bruce was showing some of her lovely knitted organic beings and also some large-scale knitting, beautiful in its simplicity. 
I'd not come across Rachel Gornall before but she does beautifully precise geometric sheers (if I were rich her work is definitely something I'd be dipping into my pocket for)
Anita Sturch does delicate expanses of what looks like cut work, reminiscent of Islamic carved screens.  There were lots more, too many to mention, but I shall be perusing the catalogue enviously over the next few days.

The exhibition closes on Saturday but if you're in that part of London (the Mall) between now and then, it's definitely worth popping in.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Leaf skeleton

More college project stuff - have lost count on the number of rethinks I've had, so this is yet another new direction.

I absolutely love this leaf skeleton.  It was on the pavement near home last November whilst out walking the dog in torrential rain.  I spotted it on the way out and left it on the corner of someone's drive, not imagining that it would survive the rain, nor that I'd remember that I'd left it, but both miraculously happened and, even more surprisingly, it's still intact six months later.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Hidden treasures

As part of my current art project (which I'm sure I'll blog about a whole lot more over the next few weeks) I've been looking at how objects can be hidden or obscured.

Whilst out and about recently I passed this door: I'd call it a gate but it seems too solid and important for that.  In my imagination it's hiding a garden of immense beauty, populated with Elizabethan ladies plotting intrigues and dropping handkerchiefs for their suitors to find.  I was particularly taken with the grille, through which I'm sure there have been all sorts of billet doux and illicit messages passed, not to mention unwelcome callers who've had the hatch slammed in their face.

Disappointingly, in between first spotting the door and returning to photograph it, the grille had morphed from the circular one in my memory to a slightly more run-of-the-mill square version.

It's still impressive, though.

Sunday, 8 May 2011


Image from

More images from Collect: this piece, called The Schoal [sic], is by Steffen Dam who is a Danish glass artist.  Apparently it's made from layers of blown glass within the clear glass panel, no jellyfish were harmed in the process.

The work is intricately detailed and I think it is just beautiful. 

Saturday, 7 May 2011


Just got back from Collect, a Craft Council exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery.  Have to say, I wasn't particularly expecting much, and did think that 15 quid entry was a bit hefty, but it was fantastic. 

10 different galleries of all forms of craft, a lot of it inspiring and exciting (although a little lacking on the textile front, I thought).  Pictured (slightly blurrily, as it was taken through glass in lowish light) is a work called Bubble Bath by Nora Fok.  This piece is knitted in nylon (presumably invisible thread?), using marbles to shape the spheres.  It has a beautiful, other-worldly quality.

Collect is only a 4-day exhibition, but apparently it's an annual event, so I'll be putting the date in my diary for next year.

Sunday, 1 May 2011


Having spent a sun-kissed day in deepest Berkshire yesterday, the last place I'd expect to be posting about is Slough station.  But there was something about the contrast between the cornflower blue sky and the deep coral pink of the wrought iron which was just beautiful.  Lots of patterns and shapes for future art projects.