blustery walks and pencil sketches

October 25, 2011 § 1 Comment

About this time of year, I start experiencing a fierce need to get outside and enjoy the outdoors before winter descends in earnest. It’s really beautiful this year; haematoma skies pressing down over windy sea, vivid red hawthorn berries in great clumps, gold late-afternoon sun on dead bracken and dried up heather, cold wind and wood-smoke – really intense, inspiring stuff. And it makes a hot cup of tea and a big lump of chocolate brownie taste twice as good when you come in out of the cold…

Here are some pictures of where I’ve been stomping about over the last week. The first is in the Peak District, Derbyshire, after a 4 hour hill-walk that left the bones in my face aching with cold. The second is the coast near where I live, looking especially moody (look at the sun on the water! Blinding).

And here are some bits of pencil sketchbook-filler, because I feel as if there hasn’t been enough drawing here recently.

Not enough beards for you in this post? (I love drawing beard-hair. Really love it. Is that odd?) – my favourites this week can be found here. I defy you not to enjoy the amazing ‘beard trumps’ – even if you do pretend you never played it afterwards.


free Jaigermeister not required

October 24, 2011 § Leave a comment

The aural glory that is the Little Unsaid will be happening here:-

If you’re in the vicinity, mooch along for an evening of bliss (free Jaigermeister won’t be required to achieve bliss, by the way. Just open ears.).

I did the drawing for this poster a wee while ago, and John from the band recently emailed to ask if they could use it for this and for their shiny new website, which will be with us imminently. Hip hooray!

a starry sky for lovely music…

October 18, 2011 § Leave a comment

A speedily put together poster for upcoming musical goings-on. If you are near Liverpool you should come along. I’ll be very surprised if it isn’t beautiful.

sunday poems

October 16, 2011 § Leave a comment

I’ve just stumbled across this pair of poems by Meghan O’Rourke on this website. I love the simplicity of the language and the rhythms of them. Well worth a read, if a bit on the sad side.

My Mother

Grew up the oldest of six in the nineteen sixties.
Left home at seventeen in the company of a reprobate,
my father, twenty-three, whose wavy hair
was soon to grow long. Channeling his inner Irish aristocrat,
he called himself the Prince of Breiffni.
Irish too, black-eyed, she wore bell-bottoms
and halter-tops, knee-high boots and a faux-leopard-spotted coat;
she liked to bake, to smoke pot, to read Gogol,
was quiet until she was not, rolling her eyes at
a pun, a pretension, always happy to see her friends;
wearing brown saddle shoes and a merit pin on her chest
until the day she was kicked out of school.
Favorite color, blue. Preferred practice to theory.
Even when she was weary, even after the chemo,
she liked horses and swimming, eating bread with jam,
driving too fast in her leased BMW,
making pies and quilts, always rejecting guilt, licking juice from her lips.
O come down from your weeping cherry,
Mother, and look at how we have scattered
your ashes only in our minds, unable
to let you leave the house—.

Seven Months Later

I don’t feel you in the air.
Maybe you grew tired of the earth, maybe
the dead do. Summer tomatoes and leaves
green with sun don’t matter to the eternal—?
But I am still here,
walking among the shy midsummer trees,
drinking tea.
I go through doors and into cars,
hair wet, a mustard stain on my sleeve.
But you are like a weeping cherry—
the sun nourishes you. No; not even the sun.
Do you need anything?

At night I sleep poorly. When I dream
of your face, the papery cotton sheets
go cool as your hand used to be.
Downstairs, you are there, in the box
I will not look at.
The world is askew without you,
like a lock jimmied by a thief.
When together now, four of us, not five,
we eat quickly, nibbling the corn to the husk.
Even the dogs have gotten quiet
in your absence. The other morning,
I sat in your chair reading.
Next door the mower started up.
I startled at the noise.
Nothing should be growing.

sewing for a pair of birthdays

October 11, 2011 § Leave a comment

The first birthday being the one that happened as I knit these tiny blue socks – here is a pair of tiny shoes to go with them. (made with kid leather scraps from my auntie’s attic, quilting cotton from Gina of Lulu&You, buttons from my extensive stash, and Heather Bailey’s bitty booties pattern.)

The second birthday being separated from the first by a couple of weeks, or eighty years, depending on how you look at it, and belonging to my granny. She is a hugely inspiring allotment-gardening Ted-Hughes-reading woman who shares my love of long walks, outdoor swims and beautiful woodcuts, cooks delicious things, knits her own jumpers, makes gorgeous ceramics, sends me interesting art postcards, takes shit from nobody, and generally makes me proud to share her genes. I embroidered cushions for her. Here one is:-I photographed it in a cottage in Hay-on-Wye, where the whole family met up to celebrate her 80th. It was completely beautiful, and if I had a bigger vehicle and a smaller conscience, I would have stolen this armchair. Just look at those stripes!

today I am in love with…

October 5, 2011 § Leave a comment

…drawings by Tina Berning. They are sort of like Sabrina Ward Harrison’s work might be if she could escape the cloying sincerity and be a bit less sentimental. I wish I had done them.

Lots are here for your viewing pleasure.

A little taste is below (not whole images – you need to click the link and please your eyes!) :-



this incredible book…

October 4, 2011 § 1 Comment


Utterly brilliant – recommended reading for anyone who is interested in verbal-visual imagery (for instance, read these fishes and see them flash and flicker in your head: “You could see them standing in the amber current where the white edges of their fins wimpled softly in the flow. They smelled of moss in your hand. Polished and muscular and torsional. On their backs were the vermiculate patterns that were maps of the world in its becoming…”), human relationships, survival, loneliness, hunger, life, and words. Painful and powerful and very inspiring. And I’m even quite keen on the cover photograph.

I’m cutting lino again now and listening to inconsequential radio with my head full of McCarthy’s bleak blunt beautiful writing.

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