A Roar of Summer

A Roar of Summer.

Posted in Art | Leave a comment

Rust Dyed Eco Prints

Eco Print Rust Orange Sari Silk on Organza 23 June 2015Another eco print from the May bundles. It’s fabric – muslin. As with other bundles from this batch, there’s little evidence of the plant matter I used.

Eco Print on Muslin Rust Yellow Orange Sari Silk Vegetation 23 June 2015The second picture is of the second sheet of this bundle. I made a sandwich of plant matter and rusty staples.

Then I rolled it up and bound it with recycled red and yellow sari silk yarn. The yarn dye and rust from the staples dominate.

I steamed this bundle (with others) for about 2 hours, then left it for about a week before unrolling it.

Eco Print Bundles Fabric Dyed with Rhubarb LeavesThe bundle’s among the batch in the third picture.

There’s a lively musicality to these prints, I think, from the dancing rust marks imprinted on the cloth.

I have a growing collection of rusty nails and hooks I’m picking up from our  allotment plot. And I’m asking other allotmenteers to save anything rusty for me.

Do they think I’m mad?  No, I’ve had nothing but interest and curiosity. And I was handed a lovely big, thick rusted bolt recently, which I hope to get to use soon.

Allotmenteers – and people who grow things in general – are preternaturally creative and curious, I think.




Posted in Allotmenteering, Art, Botanical and Eco Printing, Consciousness, Printmaking | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Eco Prints on Rhubarb-Dyed Silk: Embossing, Imprinting, Staining, Washing

Eco Print on Rhubarb-Dyed Silk May 2015In my previous blog I showed the results of a batch of eco print bundles on paper and fabric that I’d dyed using rhubarb leaves.

The experiment included some silk samples. It was my first attempt at eco printing with silk.

I cut some pieces from a metre of white Chinese silk paj (silk chiffon) that I had bought a while back.

Eco Print II on Rhubarb-Dyed SilkAs you see, like the eco prints on paper and fabric, little of the plant matter has printed except as a wash or stain. The red blotches are from pomegranate seed. The green and green-blue are from the sari silk yarn with which I bound up the bundles.

Below is another eco print from the same batch, made on khadi paper, for comparison. I used the same kinds of plant matter in each and the dyeing process was exactly the same for each, but the silk has reacted very differently from the paper. Eco Print on Khadi Paper IV Roots 14 May 2015 I’ll be working more with silk in future.

There is embossing, imprinting. There is staining and washing.

I’ve been pondering how to progress these to finished artworks. They seem different, these prints, yet there is a common denominator. Each print is a reaction to pressures; and almost the same pressures.

I want to communicate that.

How?  Any ideas? I have some forming, but welcome suggestions.

Posted in Art, Botanical and Eco Printing | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

May Eco Prints (The Gift of The Unexpected and The Gentle Spear)

Eco Print II on Khadi Paper 23 June 2015In my blog post Dyeing with Rhubarb Leaves, I wrote that I didn’t get what I expected. “Not at all.”

Not at all meaning I was disappointed when I unrolled my bundles of paper/fabric and plant matter.

The plant material I had used in my bundles – aside from some pomegranate seeds – had made little to no impact on the papers and fabrics.

Some papers/fabrics I’d dyed first with rhubarb leaves and some I hadn’t.

Eco Print on Khadi Paper 23 June 2015I am not an experienced enough dyer to know the reasons why the plant dyes didn’t take. I won’t surmise.

What did impact, however, as you will see from the images here, were the rubber bands and the recycled sari silk yarns I used to bind the bundles. It’s likely then that it was the plant matter that failed, since the paper/fabric accepted the dyes from the sari silks yet not the leaves and flowers.  The rubber bands acted as resists.

Once I’d unrolled the bundles, I left the prints to dry. In the end, they’ve been left about a month as I’ve been busy with other projects, one called Life in General.

Eco Print on Muslin Blue Sari Silk Rubber Bands 23 June 2015So when I came back to them, they were fresh to mind and eye.

Some, like these here, had richly embossed areas where the yarns and rubber bands had bitten into the cloth.

Eco Print on Lining Fabric 23 June 2015When I ironed them, I left these areas untouched, creating a contrast between flat, smooth, fields of washed colour and vigorous reliefs.

They look embroidered – especially the last two – but I got this effect simply by ironing or not ironing areas of the cloth/paper.

In the last one, the purple-red blotches are from pomegranate seeds; I had frozen a bowlful some time ago and defrosted them using India Flint’s Ice Flower technique, from her book, Eco Colour, Botanical Dyes for Beautiful Textiles.

Eco printing is about forces, reactions to pressures: the pressure of compression, of chemicals, of time and space. The results are always emblematic of life and living. Could it be said that the accidental, the disappointing, can better be seen as The Gift of the Unexpected, an opportunity, a fresh way of making something beautiful and useful (i.e. art)?

The first print here also suggests to me ways of expressing something of my Below the Line project. That’s also about pressure. It’s about that pressure that exists as a force beyond forces that creates a reaction from a situation of not existing. Well, some call it God.

In the first print, what’s going on above the gingery, scorched-looking line, seems to have been caused by the spears below. Invisible gentle spears, nothing more than modulations in the fabric of space.

I wonder, if I am to emulate the Great Causation, ought I to think about how to be a gentle spear?  A spear of love. Just talking to myself here.

Posted in Art, Botanical and Eco Printing, Consciousness, Inspiration, Mindfulness, Philosophy/Religion/Spirituality, Printmaking | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Naked Hero and the Red Stones

Stones Sliced 15 May 2015I’ve been writing about stones in recent blogs. Stones I’ve found on my new allotment plot, that, while uniformly black (more or less) on the outside, those I found split in two, revealed a wonderful interior uniqueness, like these in the picture to the left.

While musing over possible significances, an artist whose blog I’ve been following for a short while coincidentally (ha!) wrote about stones and, like a shoal of stones falling, I was reminded of something I found myself writing out-of-the-blue, way back in 2002-2003.

I was writing text for my first web site. I found myself writing about a being who, in deep winter, had fallen to earth. A child, in my mind’s eye I saw him lying in undergrowth, naked, curled in sleep.  He would perish, surely?

The next time I saw him in my mind’s eye he was a boy of about seven or eight. It was summer. He was foraging in the depths of a forest. He was naked but for a peculiar cloak. It was knotted at the neck, open at the front, exposing his wiry boy’s body and it dangled to his knees.

It was of every nature of material – bits of cloth of all kinds, plastics, rope natural and synthetic, twigs, grass stems, leaves, bits of birds’ nests, wire, fishing line, paper, card. It was woven, knotted, bound, patched and in parts, it was impossible to say how it was held together at all. It could be of little use as a covering, in winter, none at all against the crueller elements.

The story goes on – because I followed the boy till his adulthood – but I don’t want to reveal more now, except to say that  it became clear to me that the boy had learnt that you took what you found on your daily walk through life and made it useful in some way.

This is what my artist friend was doing. In her art is the everyday and her reflections upon it. And this is what I was to do with my stones.

I thought of my boy and his cloak. What would he have done with the stones? How would he have made use of them? And I thought how he might have heated them up and used them to keep himself warm. He might have added a pocket to his cloak and placed hot stones in them to keep himself warm overnight.

Red Stones May 2015So I heated-up my stones (via Photoshop). And I’ll make a pocket for them in my cloak of stories. My stones are metaphysical, you see. So is my boy, my Naked Hero.

He is me, you see, and also thee and thee.

What stones have you found on your walk today?


Posted in Art, Consciousness, Folklore & Mythology, Philosophy/Religion/Spirituality, Short Story Writing, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

What I’ve Been Singing Today: Pie Jesu (Andrew Lloyd Webber)

After a break of a few months, I’m back in the singing saddle and back to preparing songs for recording. Don’t hold your breath. It will take some time but under Sacred I hope to include Webber’s poignant Pie Jesu, from his Requiem, written to commemorate the death of his father in 1982. Requiem premiered in 1985.

Meanwhile, enjoy Russian soprano Anna Netrebko’s heartfelt rendition and rich and creamy voice.


Pie Jesu, pie Jesu, pie Jesu, pie Jesu
Qui tollis peccata mundi
Dona eis requiem, dona eis requiem
Pie Jesu, pie Jesu, pie Jesu, pie Jesu
Qui tollis peccata mundi
Dona eis requiem, dona eis requiem
Agnus Dei, Agnus Dei, Agnus Dei, Agnus Dei,
Qui tollis peccata mundi
Dona eis requiem, dona eis requiem

Merciful Jesus, merciful Jesus, merciful Jesus, merciful Jesus
Father, who takes away the sins of the world
Grant them rest, grant them rest
Merciful Jesus, merciful Jesus, merciful Jesus, merciful Jesus
Father, who takes away the sins of the world
Grant them rest, grant them rest
Lamb of God, Lamb of God, Lamb of God, Lamb of God
Father, who takes away the sins of the world
Grant them rest, grant them rest

Lyrics courtesy http://classicalmusic.about.com

Go on, sing along!

Ann :)

Posted in Singing | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Arthouse Coop Sketchbook Tour 2015 heads off to Miami

Perez Art Museum, Miami

Perez Art Museum, Miami

The Arthouse Coop Sketchbook Tour 2015 is rolling towards Miami as I write, where it will be on show in the Perez Art Museum (PAMM) at 1103 Biscayne Blvd between June 19 and 21.

AH Coop 2015 16 and 17 30 March 2015

Please go if you can, if you’re in Miami next weekend, and check out my sketchbook.

I had an email this morning telling me that one person checked out my sketchbook during the Atlanta show. I’m amazed – there are thousands and thousands of sketchbooks on this tour (not quite sure how many, but last year entries topped 16,000).

I’m blessed.

PAMM’s opening hours are:
Tue-Sun:  10am – 6pm
Thursday: 10am – 9pm
Closed Monday

I wish I could go myself. What fabulous architecture.

Posted in Botanical and Eco Printing | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Dyeing with Rhubarb Leaves

Forced Rhubarb with Ceramic ForcerI may not have been around much since the eclipse of the moon, but in all the chaos I did manage to do some more experimental botanical dyeing.

The rhubarb in my garden tried to flower recently, which would have meant no rhubarb pies this year, so I cut off the flower bud and its large attached leaf.

You can’t eat rhubarb leaves as they are poisonous due to their high content of oxalic acid. I’d just recently read, in India Flint’s Eco Colour: Botanical Dyes for Beautiful Textiles that rhubarb leaves are a good source of dye and also mordant.

A mordant is a dye fixative and there are acid and alkaline mordants. The acidity/alkalinity of a mordant affects the colours produced when printing with plant material. A red flower might turn up black in a print, for instance.

Rhubarb Dyed Textiles and Papers May 2015So I chopped up the rhubarb leaf and for a couple of hours, in my copper dyeing pot, I boiled some sample pieces of muslin, cotton, various papers and for the first time, silk. I loved the result, especially the silk. I can see why silk is the preferred textile for dyeing.

The colour is a mix between beige and green, I think. The depth of colour differs between materials. In this case, the deepest shade is the silk; the palest, the khadi paper.

Eco Print Bundles Fabric Dyed with Rhubarb LeavesIn another post I’ll show you what happened when I bundled the dyed/mordanted materials with some plant matter from my garden and freezer stash. I also bundled a selection of raw i.e. unmordanted materials, to compare the results.  I steamed the bundles for two hours over the rhubarb leaf dye.

I didn’t get what I expected. Not at all.  But I like that I can do something else with rhubarb leaves other than compost them. Dyeing fabric slowly by composting is another method of dyeing I’m looking into. Guess what’s going into my allotment compost heaps later this year?







Posted in Art, Botanical and Eco Printing | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Arthouse Coop Sketchbook: Digitised and Online – and On Show in Atlanta, Georgia

AH Coop 2015 36 and 37 30 March 2015








I’ve just had word from Art House Coop that my 2015 Sketchbook, which will shortly be touring to various US venues, is now digitised and is available for viewing at this link:

It’s very dark. Sinister!

It’s not quite in the order I wanted it to appear, but I’m almost done putting together a slideshow, which I’ll post on the blog when it’s finished.

My work is viewable from tomorrow, till June 7, in Atlanta, at Binders, Ponce City Market:
June 5: 4:00 — 8:00pm, June 6-7: 12:00 — 4:00pm

If you’re in Atlanta and would like to see and feel (and smell) my book ‘in real life’ and meet other artists and enthusiasts, then please head along to Binders.

And let me know if you do.




Posted in Altered Books, Art, Art Journal, Botanical and Eco Printing, Encaustic Art, Mixed Media, Printmaking, Sketchbooks, Stitch | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Rose Would Smell as Sweet

The Five Cards I Received

The Six Cards I Received (Plus Hidden ‘Secret’ One)

Alas, unexpected disruptions (including an eclipsing moon) made it impossible for me to participate in the blog hop of Kat Sloma’s Liberate your Art (international) Postcard Swap. I did receive these beautiful cards, however, from 5 wonderful artists. Here there are, set up in my studio.

Twice alas, it was a bit of a negative experience for me, as I received not one acknowledgement of receipt of any of my own cards. Not one of my cards arrived at its destination?

I’ll post separately about the 5 cards I received. One had a thrilling secret card included.










Posted in Art, Mail Art | Tagged , , | Leave a comment