13 Mar 2017

Spring is finally visiting

It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.    Great Expectations, Charles Dickens

I am delighted to see that spring has finally come knocking at my front door.  She hasn’t however just crept along timidly, hoping not to cause too much fuss, she’s banged repeatedly on the knocker and is wearing her brightest finery.  I even saw my first lambs yesterday, so that was a treat too.

It’s one of my very favourite times of year, when the usually scrubby patch of grass [read that as more moss than grass] outside our front door is solid with spring flowers.  I’m pretty sure that they’re usually more spread out, in that the snowdrops are usually past their best by the time the crocuses emerge and they then overlap with the daffodils.  But at the moment, they’re all in full bloom.  There are even daisies amongst them already.

In fact, I thought the snowdrops had taken a battering in recent storms and were certainly finishing blooming, but a whole raft of new flowers have emerged this week, so it seems that it was only the first flush that were done.  There are some, thankfully still in bud, yet to enjoy.

What could be more cheerful after a long winter than seeing this vibrant splash of colour and a bee busy at work.
What could be more cheerful after a long winter than seeing this vibrant splash of colour and a bee busy at work.

I must start keeping a record of what blooms when, as I’m sure it must vary quite a bit year on year, depending on how severe the winter weather was.  I’m also pretty certain that winters are nowhere near as severe as they used to be – I know that we get a fraction of the snow we have had in past years.

I’m not sure this is entirely good for nature, I think some species need a good hard frost as part of their cycle and I feel this may be why for the last few years, my smaller daffs, often flower just above the soil, without ever growing proper stalks and developing the height that they should.  It feels like they haven’t been allowed to sleep and then woken properly.

We had a lovely day earlier this week, when the wind finally dropped enough to try and take some photos – delicate flowers like snowdrops quiver significantly even in the slightest breeze.  I caught it just on the right day – the warm sun caused the crocuses to open wide and they were pristine and new and I was delighted to see several industrious bumble bees.  I wasted more time than was decent to try to capture one particular character who was very keen on the snowdrops, but he was a large chap and heavily laden with yellow pollen caught in his furry back (you can see him in the banner image at the top) and every time he landed on a snowdrop, his weight caused the flower to drop violently earthwards and dump him onto the grass.  He valiantly kept trying though.  The crocus shape was more suitable for him and I did manage to catch him visiting them.

Recent work and gallery:

Pink bronze earrings, initially inspired by a couple of my favourite jewellery designers; Archibald Knox and Georg Jensen. I started with an idea and before I knew it, it had taken on my own style anyway.
Pink bronze earrings, initially inspired by a couple of my favourite jewellery designers; Archibald Knox and Georg Jensen. I started with an idea and before I knew it, it had taken on my own style anyway.

My husband was working away for a few days recently and I consequently had a really exceptional time getting lots of work done. I was really in the zone and had few interruptions, so made significant inroads into my ‘to do’ list. It was a most enjoyable and satisfying time.

So I now have a pile of finished pieces and some fired metal clay components to make into something and I’m just getting them all added to the web site and for sale.

Having sold several polymer clay pieces recently, I decided that I hadn’t played with polymer clay for a while, so a session was long overdue and I already had some ideas tucked away that I wanted to try.

I decided to start simple initially, to get my eye back in and also used some old baked pieces to try carving designs into. I’d done some rudimentary carving on metal clay and to make texture plates, but carving into polymer clay is most enjoyable. It’s just the right texture and density to carve easily and smoothly, but hard enough that it doesn’t slip away from you too fast, as some of the softer texture plate materials can do.

I do however need some better carving tools, what I’m working with is decent enough to let me try it, but not fine enough to turn tight curves, so my designs are somewhat limited.

The blue green earrings in the gallery were made with a mix of clays to give rise to a semi-translucent clay with fibrous inclusions. I thought they had the look of carved jade and having looked at carved jade netsuke I saw that a lot were teamed with red beads, so I thought that this would be a nice way to finish these earrings, so have paired them with Brecciated jasper beads; a combination I’m certainly going to use again.

25 Feb 2011

Spring is tapping on the window

We had a lovely day yesterday. It started damp, misty and grey, but by 10:00am it was lifting and the sky brightening. By the time people were enjoying their elevensies, it was bright sunshine and pretty much clear blue sky.

Please click on any of the photographs for a larger view.

The trees still look bare, but there’s activity brewing in them.

I wasn’t going to waste it by being inside, so picked up my camera (I’m still extensively ‘testing’ my new one) and headed out for a walk – I wasn’t going far, just one of my usual lunchtime walks of just over a mile. One route I do regularly has a steep hill, so offers more cardiovascular value, the other undulates much more gently, but has more scenic value. I opted for scenic enjoyment over workout in the sunshine, on this occasion.

I promised you some snowdrops.

There was very a very definite air of spring – I saw my first daffodils, heard birds singing like their lives depended on it, horses going daft being frisky, ducks canoodling and more people than usual out doing the same thing as me.

Not my best photograph, the ones flowering were in the middle of a large patch, so I had to take them from quite a distance. But it was lovely to see the first ones in bloom.

I chatted with the lady who lives adjacent to the memorial garden in one corner of the park and must maintain it – I think she thought as I bent to photographs the snowdrops that I was interfering with them, so sauntered over to check. She said it was official that spring had a arrived, as a pair of ducks that court in her pond before raising a brood, had arrived yesterday and tapped their beaks on the glass of her kitchen window to tell her that they’ve arrived and would like a welcoming snack please.

If you look closely you can see her husband nestled down behind the dead grass.

I remembered to take a drink this time and found a picnic table in the park in full sunshine and allowed myself the indulgence of 15 minutes sitting there doing nothing other than allowing the sun to soak into my face that was hungry for it and listening to birds and half-term children playing in t-shirts. It felt like spring, it looked like spring and it certainly sounded like spring.

The park is almost completely circled by mature trees.

I took this photograph at the weekend in damp, very cold, dark woodland, which seemed a world away today.