6 Mar 2015

Mother Nature knows how to cheer us up

Spring is Nature’s way of saying “let’s party!”   Robin Williams.

I had always planned to make a large painting of the early spring, when the first leaves are at the bottom of the trees, and they seem to float in space in a wonderful way. But the arrival of spring can’t be done in one picture.  David Hockney

I discussed in my previous post the fabulous showing of snowdrops I have this year.  Unfortunately, they’re now passing their best and the first to flower are now withering, but I can still enjoy them for a little longer yet.

A little splash of cheery sunshine in my otherwise largely dormant garden.
A little splash of cheery sunshine in my otherwise largely dormant garden.

I also mentioned that the first crocuses were also emerging, adding a much needed and appreciated colour amongst the grass at the front of the house.

Yesterday I had one of my weekly chores to attend to – fetching the wheelie bin from outside the house and putting it away.  I always keep a selection of planted plots in front of them in a vague and largely ineffective attempt at bin-subterfuge, so it’s a tad tedious to position the bin and replace them all – especially in bad weather.

How fabulous is the curled structure of these crocus petals with their tiny delicate stripes.
How fabulous is the curled structure of these crocus petals with their tiny delicate stripes.

Having done that, I decided, as the sun was briefly out between showers, to survey our tiny walled garden and get a bit of much-needed fresh air.  I’d done the same task a few days ago, so wasn’t expecting any surprises, but was delighted to find that a good number of my bulb planting was reaping rewards with quite a few crocuses in flower and even a handful of the Tête-á-tête daffodils already in bloom – where a mere few days ago, they looked to be well off showing any colour.

I’ve always held the view that spring bulbs are Mother Nature’s way of cheering us up after the cold and lack of colour in winter.  She’s jolly clever; it works a treat.  I love this period where the worst of winter is behind you (but may yet come back for a bite) and the whole of spring and summer is ahead.

I couldn't even begin to catch the fabulous lustre of these purple crocuses.
I couldn’t even begin to catch the fabulous lustre of these purple crocuses.

I took some photographs, largely to cheer me up if nothing else. I suspect, if you want to trawl back through my posts, that you’ll find that I do this every year.  But it was quite breezy and the sun that was out when I set off to grab my camera only lasted about 2 minutes after I fired it up – so the photos aren’t quite as cheery as they would have been with sun on them.

It has been my habit for a few years to make a mental note of the time of day that the garden blackbirds noisily roost each evening – I used to actually document it for a while.  In the depths of winter if can be well before 4pm and last night, I noted that it was the first evening that it was after 6pm, so it felt like another little milestone towards summer was passed – the evenings are tangibly lengthening now.

My work this week:

These Carnelian and Butter Jade beads look like berries.
These Carnelian and Butter Jade beads look like berries.

I’ve spent a great deal of my working week spiral wrapping various gemstones for bracelets and necklaces to commission.  I’ve also made a couple of new ones for sale.  I loved how these deep red Carnelian and lovely fresh green butter jade looked together; like berries at differing stages of ripeness.

In fact, I’m only even getting chance to write this post as I’m giving my fingers a rest between sessions of polishing.  I find the bit that suffers most is my left thumb, in trying to keep a tight grip on the piece that my right hand is busy polishing – the smaller the piece, the greater the discomfort.  I’ve tried an assortment of gripping devices and methods over the years, but there’s nothing that can match the subtle changes of grip and positioning that the human thumb can manage.

beads riveted to hammered copper paddles.
Large Palmwood saucer beads riveted to hammered copper paddles.

Whilst ordering some of the gemstones I needed this week, I decided to try some wooden beads my supplier had to offer.  Wood has the advantage of being very light compared to gemstones and glass and for earring wearers like myself that can’t get on with weighty earrings, means that I can offer something quite chunky in size that is still comfortable to wear.

I paired these gorgeous Palmwood saucer beads with some hammered copper paddles cut from thin copper sheet and they’ve been riveted in place with balled bronze pins.  I chose bronze as the colour, once it’s been melted, is quite close to the colour of copper anyway, but the bronze makes an especially nicely round ball when melted and is lovely to rivet with.  The beads were called saucers, but they’re rather more like shallow bicones as they’re quite tall at the centre hole, which isn’t obvious at the angle shown.