Friday, 31 July 2015

Last day of July 2015.

Had promised myself that a blog post catching up on our summer to date would be done and dusted sometime in early July. Looking at the calendar made me determined to spare some time and get on with it, so here it is finally and posted on this, the last day of July. Oops, better late than never....

Our last 'arty' outing saw us over in the world heritage village of Saltaire exhibiting a selection of our prints in their annual art trail. Our temporary gallery space for the weekend was in one of the listed workers cottages, a tiny but perfectly formed space where the home owner made us feel very welcome, especially as we proceeded to hammer nails into his newly decorated walls! The space was shared with two other artists and as it was a 3 day event we each chose a day to attend to meet and greet and talk to visitors who, map in hand, followed the art trail around the open houses, shops and work spaces included in the event. By the end of the day we had conversed about printmaking techniques and inspiration to lots of inquisitive people. We were glad to have thought to take a couple of cut lino plates to be able to try and explain how we create our pieces with 'props' to help. It was an interesting weekend but we were both glad to get back to the tranquility of our studio and getting on with actually creating prints rather than talking about them!

Our Gallery space for the weekend - behind the blue door
A selection of our prints gracing the chimney breast

Back here the floral garden has been a delight, moving through a purple mood, into a pink faze and presently it's a jolly riot of bright colours, reminiscent of a cottage garden.

Garden pickings in a favourite bunny jug

One of the early purple flowerings nudged bittersweet memories to the fore with the unfurling of it's pretty petals. Having the arduous and sad task of sorting out my Mum's home last summer one of her things I especially wanted to bring back here was the Clematis, H.F. Young I had bought her years ago as a Mothering Sunday gift. She had planted it in a Victorian chimney pot, bought especially for the plant, which was placed to one side of her kitchen door. Every year when it was at it's peak of perfection she would take a photo and send one to me to admire. It was such a spectacle that most of the village knew of it and some would take a detour to the back of my parents house to gaze admiringly at the floral wonder as the plant climbed up and over the back door, along the side fence and almost to the back gate. The day we moved it we chopped it's vast top growth and attempted to pick up the chimney pot. Unbelievably the plant's roots had completely filled the pot and crept through the base into the spaces between the flagstones below. We tugged and heaved in the drizzle trying to budge it and almost gave up because of it's weight. But I was determined I had to bring it home so with only one of Mum's old bread knives to hand we sawed away at the roots until we could both free it and lift it into our awaiting trailer. Once here it sulked and then this spring it started to green up and sprout climbing tendrils. We positioned it next to our arbor at the bottom of the garden and waited. And then it flowered, just as it always had at Mum's. It's listened to quite a few conversations this summer as I've sat in the dappled shade of it's leaves...

Mum's Clematis, flowering at last

Foxglove with the colours of rhubarb and custard

The veg garden has struggled with both the cold, damp weather and the ongoing battle with the vast slug population here. This is the first ever summer where we have had to buy lettuce to supplement our meager salading harvest. With patience and re-planting we are about to start cropping courgettes, assorted beans and peas and salad leaves. At least the strawberry table that Gary fashioned out of wood offcuts has given us a decent amount of home grown strawberries to enjoy.

Fresh strawberries - and borage flowers

Summer outings have seen us walking in one of our favourite places near here, the Yorkshire Wolds. We've been out and about taking reference shots for future work and enjoying the colours of mid summer high on the chalk hills. The glimpse of poppy fields on the horizon and the big skies full of swifts screaming above our heads makes for a perfect summers day. Add a backpack containing a picnic and a dry patch of grass bank to perch on and life doesn't get much better, I find it good therapy to have days like these stored away to recall on the gloomiest of winter days.

Yorkshire Wolds - long views & big skies

In the Studio the printing press has seen a great deal of work pass under it's weight, we've both been busy and here's what we've been busy creating...

'The Wrens Duet' - Gary's latest bird print
A couple of tiny Wrens hiding amongst the prickly, weaving stems of a bramble bush. This is a three colour reduction linocut print, made by methodically cutting away at a single piece of lino.

'Happy Cat' - a commission Gary recently completed
Gary received a request to create this smiling marmalade cat, it really is a happy cat!

Great Dane - another pooch from Gary's kennel
Yet another request this time a Great Dane owner found our work via Twitter and this is the outcome.

'Cat Nap' 
Another black cat print inspired by our little black rescue cat. An open ended edition.

Gary's most recent foxy print titled 'Passing through'

Living at the end of a country lane means we see lots of wildlife including Mr Fox sauntering into the fields. This fox is taking a stroll through a birch wood. A limited edition print created using the reduction method and printed in three colours.

Heather's - 'Twilight Walk'

A small mere which was the halfway point between home and my grandparents house. On summer evenings Dad would park the car and we'd go for a saunter around the waters edge to watch the sun setting. A limited edition print with a small edition of just 30 prints made.

Foxgloves, inspiration from the garden and an addition to Heather's floral series
Finally a new floral piece, this time foxglove spires in the garden cried out to be captured in print. A reduction linocut print, printed in 6 colours.

All our work is available through both our Etsy and Folksy shops.

Hope this counts as a catch up!

Do enjoy your weekend.

I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.
Claude Monet.


  1. There is SO much to love here, I don't know where to begin! But I suppose first with thanks for your visits to Marmelade Gypsy and the wonderful comments you leave! They mean so much.

    I do wish I could park myself in your studio with a cuppa tea and just talk. We'd talk about our moms, about the struggles of missing them and coming to terms with the precious things they leave behind, both in our hearts and yes, the garden. I'm so glad you were able to move the clematis. I've always had trouble growing those -- this one is incredibly beautiful. And all the more so because of its very personal meaning for you.

    Yorkshire -- there was an article in the New York Times Sunday on some of the brew pubs in the Yorkshire area. Not sure if any of those featured were in your part of the country but it certainly made me want to skip over and enjoy! (Some were near Haworth; not sure on the others).

    And then -- the PRINTS! Oh, my! You HAVE been busy. These are spectacular. That marmelade cat actually looks like my Lizzie (apart from the colors!) I love the flower series and those birds of Gary's are terrific. I loved seeing your display and venue for the art tour. Now that is something I would so enjoy. I think one is willing to pay more for art or at least buy more when they understand the process.

    This weekend I'm going north for five days with my friend to have our annual "art camp." She is learning print making and said she'd give me some basics. I'll show her the plaster shadow boxes I've been making and we'll do lots of other things. I'm eager.

    SO glad to see you post. I miss not seeing what is going on in your creative, happy world across the pond!

  2. That's a lovely story about your Mum's clematis. I'm glad it's settled into its new home and is happily blooming. Wonderful prints as usual!

  3. This entry was well worth waiting for. So pleased the clematis is flowering. Love Garry's little wrens...caught them really well.