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Seascape inspired crochet

I wanted an easy crochet project, so I chose this simple granny square pattern and chose the colours from the stylecraft range.

Lundy seascape blanket

The colours were inspired by the seascape and the many colours that the sea presents, on days when I swim off lundy.

Living on an island only 3 miles long and half a mile wide, the sea surrounds me, everywhere I walk. The sea conditions can be very different around the island on the same days. I enjoyed taking my crochet and sitting crocheting in different places this summer.


Benjamins chair

The Ugly

I would like my next blanket to be inspired by the landscape. The greys and silvers of the granite. The sea pinks and the purple heathers.

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Ghost Net Baskets

I started to weave baskets from washed up rope and that took me on a journey to understand the issues that fishing nets and gear create to marine life.

ghost net baskets

Ghost fishing gear refers to any fishing equipment or fishing-related litter that has been abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded and it is a danger to marine life. The baskets I make hopefully create awareness of the danger of this discarded fishing gear.

At the moment the vessels I create are somewhat functional, I could develop the design to be more of an ethical art statement than a functional item. I am also considering loom weaving using the materials that I use for the baskets.

I hope to make a display of the baskets alongside other fishing debris at the Lundy Marine Festival this Summer 2022

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Risograph Printing

Risograph printing sits between photocopying and screen printing. Its process works on the same principles of layering images as you would do in screen printing. The reason why I wanted to try the Risograph process, was to give me an understanding of the process which as it is ideal for multi run prints it could be useful for printing my own books and the printed result is more urban than if coming straight off a colour printer which uses toner.

The first step in the process is that you make layers of your prints in photoshop. Each of these layers forms a master for each drum colour. Once the master is etched onto the drum You can then start to print each layer. There are different colour drums for each layer of colour. It’s best to start with the black drum as the black ink dries the quickest and each layer takes quite a while to dry. The ink does tend to smudge even with the finished product. Once you have run some test prints you are able to quickly run off copies, hence the risographs popularity for situations where many prints are required; posters, zines etc.

The daffodil was printed on yellow paper so that made the printing process slightly easier. However the opacity of the black needed to be manipulated on the machine to get the correct image. I do like the illustrative effect of the flower and it makes it less photographic and pretty, thus challenging our image of the picturesque.

On the trespass poster I wanted to use three colours so the process would need three drums of different colours. I had created an illustration from one of my photographs in Adobe Illustrator, then created the layers in photoshop. The inks are expensive and at the time there were only four available colours that I could use, these were not the ones that I would have chosen as I wanted a yellow background and brown tree.   As the text was red I created a white mask for the red text to sit on, otherwise the blue would start to bleed through and change the colour. This required quite a bit of test prints to get the red to correctly sit on top of the white. 

Text
Background
Final
Tree with mask for text

Final outcome

On the final copy there were some streaks down the outside edges which I could not erase. I will need to revisit the process to try to master the skill of risograph printing, but in essence I feel it gives a similar outcome to screen printing with the benefit of being able to create multiples. I also created a simple printed copy and as a result I could see how the more ‘rough and ready’ risograph print lends itself to posters and propaganda material.

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Meanderlings

Welcome to meanderlings, this site came out of a desire to make sense of the research work I am creating for my MA in Printmaking at Plymouth College of Art. My original research proposal was to research pilgrimages, pilgrim routes and investigate the rise in the number of people walking pilgrim routes. To question what of this walk, this pilgrimage? are we merely walking or are we trying to connect the landscape to an inner experience. However lockdown presented me with a travel issue and my pilgrimage through Portugal to Santiago de compostela was put on hold. As an alternative I took the advice of the British Pilgrimage Trust (BPT) and started to bring the notion of pilgrimage closer to home with mini pilgrimages. By creating a destinatination of holy places, churches and specific sites and by adding an intention to my walks, I found that I could create my own mini pilgrimages. The BPT cite in the Guardian

‘structure your walk around a purpose unique to you, determined by your heart and activated by your feet. All of us usually have at least one question we want answering, something we want to bring into our lives, or let go of. So choose one intention from your many options, dedicate your daily walk to that purpose, and perhaps the world around you will start to resonate with it.

An offshoot of my proposal is how we can connect with specific places such as; Holy Wells places that we may come across on a route or by using them to plan a route. Also to question can a Holy Well create a space that society can use today? Can it be re-purposed or indeed used for its original purposes. The SouthWest has hundreds of Holy Wells, not all of them are classed as holy but some are simple springs. I hope that this blog will help me to contextualise my work and show the steps I have taken in the process of exploring and refining my research question. It will be a platform to identify strengths and weaknesses of my research proposal and show how I have engaged and experimented with different methods and approaches. It will show a body of work that inks together or takes a departure from my original research proposal. I will explain what and who are the inspirations behind the work and analyse what progress I feel that I have made in creating the work. My MA is in Printmaking so I need to come back to this method at each twist and turn.

References & Bibliography

How to turn your daily lockdown walk into a pilgrimage (no date). [Online]. Available at https://britishpilgrimage.org/how-to-turn-your-daily-walk-into-a-pilgrimage/?mc_cid=b5b5353c54&mc_eid=3dad3dd64c. [Accessed on 04/03/2021]

Guardian staff reporter, (13/01/2021). How intention turns a walk into a pilgrimage – plus 5 British pilgrim trails. The Guardian. The Guardian. [Online]. Available at http://www.theguardian.com/travel/2021/jan/13/how-intention-turns-a-walk-into-a-pilgrimage-5-british-walking-pilgrim-trails. [Accessed on 12/03/2021]

Hayward, G., and Mayhew-Smith, N., (2020). Britain’s Pilgrim Places: The first complete guide to every spiritual treasure. Heartwood Publishing.

Maja, N. A., and Fowkes, R., (no date). Unframed Landscapes: Nature in Contemporary Art | NeMe. [Online]. Available at http://www.neme.org/texts/unframed-landscapes. [Accessed on 08/11/2020]

Lundy Marine Festival

As the Lundy Marine festival draws to a close, I have found that the festival has opened up my creativity to include the seascape as well as landscape.

Snorkeling has introduced me to a whole new world under the sea. Although on my first attempt, I took in too much water, I started to get the hang of it after a few more attempts. Yes, I wore a wetsuit, although i am wetsuit averse (due to the time it takes me to get one on) I realised I could swim amongst the jellyfish and see how amazing they are from below. I am keen to represent the sea world by using yarn to represent kelp in my weaving. Maybe also in could investigate the use of actual seaweed in my weaving, also investigating whether seaweed can be used to dye wool.

Jellyfish have been around for most of the festival. I often found there were more in Christies Quay and around the Jetty than on the beach. I became braver in the water once I had been stung a few times. The worse being at the end of the jetty where I could feel that I swam (swimsuit) amidst some long tentacles, the sting lasted about 20 mins but some antihistamines seemed to sort it out.

Rock Pooling I did a couple of times, but I need to do a rock pool ramble, so that I can see where to look and how to look. I could produce a wall hanging with crocheted marine creatures on it, a chance to Incorporate weaving and crochet

Wild swimming mostly swimming in the bay or off the jetty, a small group of us did venture into Devils kitchen to do a more wild swim. It was amazing as the moon was coming and swimming above the rock pools at a high spring tide, felt like we were exploring new territory. I did get invited by the climbers to swim through the cave in Rat Island, I did turn them down and probably a good thing, as you need the tide and sea conditions to be perfect and probably the best time to go is at slack tide. I did have visiting swim friends who went swimming in Devils Kitchen at low tide, they decided to play mermaids but within minutes came out in big rashes which turned to bruising. After chatting with people in the know, it seemed to be from the snakelock anemones.

Ghost net baskets display ‘Untangled’. I was grateful for the opportunity to display all my baskets at one time in an exhibit titled ‘Untangled’. I hope that this display has passed on an awareness to people of the problems from discarded or lost fishing nets. Only a few weeks ago there was a sighting of a seal on quarry beach with netting stuck all around its neck, its real and it’s on our doorstep.

The soay fleece

My Lundy woven wall hangings contain a mix of the domestic and wild flocks on Lundy. Whilst the domestic animals are sheared, the wild ones molt on the move. I could obtain fleece from other means but i like to source it from its natural habitat. This process of walking and collecting is quite a mindful activity. So I walk around Middle Park, following the tracks of the soay sheep. However on a windy. island lots of the soay fleece blows away! Fortunately where the soay sleep and shelter amongst the rocks, the fleece can stick to the lichen. I then take it home wash it and card it into a batt. I can then use this batt for weaving with.

I weave with a mix of lundy fleece from both the domestic and wild herds. Each wall hanging is slightly different and quite tactile in nature. I have used locally sourced driftwood to hang them from.

Weaving walls

I wanted to weave a wall hanging that represented the granite which makes Lundy.

With each weave I try to introduce new weaving stitches and a variety of fibres. This one uses recycled cotton rope, merino roving and a variety of yarn weights intertwined with some silver thread. I have used hemstitch, egyptian knots, tabby weave and soumak stitches.

The weave was created on Lundy, predominantly a granite island located in the Bristol channel. The Island is intersected by three granite walls. Known as Quarter wall, Halfway wall and Three-quarter. wall These walls are made from the granite and have been standing for many years. It is said that halfway wall was built by convicts and is reputedly far better built than halfway wall. These convicts were to to work by Thomas Benson who was supposedly taking them to America, but thought he might reduce travel costs by just taking them to lundy.

The Valley of the villa

Its May and the Valley is bursting into life. The paths draw you around the valley of the Villa, up and down steps of varying heights. Pennywort is escaping through spaces in the dry stone walls. Paths that have been trodden in family histories of the Heaven and Harman families.

Visiting birds take rest within the trees and brambles, sometimes getting caught in the bird ringers nets. Birds I do not recognise but who are long distance travellers.

The buildings around the main villa have interesting names; The Kasbah, The Ugly and The Gas Shed. A flag flies today, its a Union Jack, but has been known to be Star Wars.

The Kitchen garden protected from the wind, the only place one might grow food on this granite rock. Out of the garden flows a stream in which yellow Iris grow.

Milcombe Valley is a retreat, a haven from the Heaven’s. It’s a quiet place to sketch and write. A place where, wherever you sit, you are connected to a memory of someone else who loved sitting in the valley.

Sea Thrift Weave

The West side of Lundy has high rugged cliffs often a haven for climbers there is a little plant that also clings to the cliff; Sea Thrift. Their presence is a sign of summer and the delicate pink is at odds with with the rugged windswept terrain in which they grow.

I wanted to represent their presence on the cliffs in a mini weave. I produced this on a hand made cardboard loom and used some driftwood to hang it from. I adore the effect the contrasting colours of the pink and green make. The blue in the fringe is a hint of the sea.

Weaving Stories Sea and Sand

Although I come from a cotton mill town in East Lancashire, I love sea swimming and dipping especially in cold water. I have lived near the sea for the last twenty years but it is only in the last two years that I have actually enjoyed going in the sea especially in the winter months.

When I moved to Lundy I needed to find like minded people to dip with so I set up the Lundy Bluetits which is part of an International network of Chill Swimmers. Now a few of the Lundy residents dip with me and I particularly enjoy it when we meet visitors who also love a cold dip. Everyone has great stores to share but we were all incredibly motivated when we were joined by Sadie Davies who is the only female to have swum to Lundy from the mainland. Sadie is in the middle with two other amazing females with their bluetit badges for their first bluetit Lundy swim.

Spending so much time by the water inspired my Beach Weaves. These were both created using home made cardboard looms with a variety of fibres and patterns to represent the landscape and hung with pieces of local driftwood. They represent the beaches; sand and the waves of North Devon an area which is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and has now become the first Uk Surf Reserve. The cardboard looms will be ideal for running some mini weave workshops in the St Helen’s Education Centre.

A writing retreat and a bit of hygge

Time keepers hut

Felix Gade Hut is situated on the East Side of Lundy Island and was the Time Check office for the Quarry workers in 1863. Courtesy of the Boys Brigade (a group of men who visit Lundy each year) there is now a bench running around the circumference of the hut. This creates a seating area which is a perfect place to sit. So, on a late October day, I took along Anna who was a regular Lundy visitor from the Island of Seil, Ayrshire. We were supposed to be going swimming but that would wait till later, I had convinced her to come on a mini writing retreat.

After a walk round the quarry we ended up at the Felix Gade Hut, however there was already a lady there, who we later found out was called Nicky, she was sat waiting for friends who had gone off to Brazen Ward. We lit a fire and with Anna being half Danish we started to chat about Hygge, a Danish Way of living. This little hut with remnants of candles, bare walls and a fire felt very Hygge, especially when we unpacked cake and hot chocolate. As we chatted to Nicky, we discovered that she was a Publisher ! So we asked her to join our little writing group and to provide us with a topic to write about and so our little writing retreat began. The topic she gave us was ‘what makes us happy’ so we all wrote for a timed session and then shared our most noteworthy findings.

Just as we started to discuss our findings our retreat was interrupted by Nicky’s friends returning from Brazen Ward. They stayed to chat although this called a halt to our little writing retreat, it added to the hyggelige moment, by the fact that that a group of random strangers were sat in a stone hut on a granite rock with no place to be, no noise, no phones. Maybe that is Hygge but it is also Lundy!

The arrivals

The MS Oldenburg arriving at the Jetty on Lundy Island

The boat is a crucial link for the Island, it’s a lifeline for the Island as it not only brings passengers but supplies and communications from the mainland. One Autumn day, I sat watching the boat arrive at the Jetty, I penned a few observational notes, what follows is the result.

I watch and wait as she arrives, from Bideford she set sail

MS Oldenburg, 230 passengers, Luggage, supplies and mail.

Sitting still I watch, from my little sheltered spot

I question and wonder….who will be the first off?

With The beach road ahead, It’s a challenging climb

Enjoyed by the fittest, but for some it’s a dread

They pass me by on steps by the track

An old fishing place, rocky ruins of a shack

With the sun on my face, I settle back and lie

Receiving cheery Hello’s, from passer bys 

Wrapped in scarves and hats, It must have been cold at sea

These clothes they will shed, When for the hill they head

A family with a picnic, they are in for a trek

A birder dressed in green, binoculars round his neck

A smiling lady, with a few days away

Alone in a cottage, away from the fray

Families with teenagers, dragging their heels 

Searching for 3G, they are oblivious of the seals

A couple with a baby on their back, jackets already off,

they are ready for the climb, It’s all uphill on a very steep track

Here comes a camper, carrying his own tent 

Sleeping in a field, will cut down his rent 

A grey haired couple, they are Holding hands 

Recounting their last visit, to this granite land

Next comes the land rover, Hugging the edge of the rock

People startle and scurry, they need to move over 

A man with Tilly hat,  walking boots and big socks

The sound of Waterproofs swish past, as he walks between the rocks

A rainbow of waterproofs, comes along next 

A clutch of Students ready to research, excited there is now wifi at church

A case on wheels rumbles on up, creating a noise on its way to the top

I think the steep climb, will result in lots of stops. 

Just then a lady shouts ‘Hello Jane’, fancy seeing you 

A lady from Barnstaple, at last Someone I knew