Oh to be in England…



(embroidery on painted cloth)

My, I’m enjoying the early English spring time.  So I place my green-hatted lady here, like a child putting a pussy willow branch on the nature table, or a small boy putting a bit of lamb’s wool in his pocket.  Is being in the spring time a return to innocence for Salty Pinches one asks oneself?

Looking ahead to a darker part of the year, I’m pleased to mention that Littleborough Arts Festival will take place between 15-22 October this year (a different time of year than usual).  So, save the date if you can!

More about  that at the end of the summer.  For now, I’m taking a blogging break, to sew, to work on my ideas for the arts festival, and just, “to be in England now that Spring is  here”.



The Square

IMG_4452 (2)

Work in progress (acrylic on board, painted with a stick and edges of card)

“How does knowledge of place help us to know the Self?” (Gary Snyder, “A Place in Space”, 1995, Counterpoint, “Reinhabitation”, page 189)

My inspiration at the moment is space and how we inhabit it.  Who will come into this space?  Will it be some sweet ladies (as in the T S Eliot poem), or, will it be some exotic and unfamiliar folk in a familiar space?  I’m in no rush to finish it.

As I focus on this background, this exterior space, I find that in my notebook a new line of thought begins, turning inwards, and looking at the observer’s interior place.  It is always the new lines that make creating worthwhile, and not the plans and decisions that I begin with.  The new line in my notebook feels as powerful, and as surprising, as water forcing its way between rocks.




Into The Interior

Happy New Year dear readers!

Here are some pictures and clues about the art work I’m currently musing on….

All photography and all things technical by my Technical Director, and lovely daughter, B.

More words soon.  There were many in January, but for some reason they all ended up on the cutting room floor.  You have been spared!



At Jericho turn right and follow sign for Birtle



At Jericho turn right and follow sign for Birtle

(Collage, mixed media, embroidery)

In my last blog I invited readers to make up their own narrative/theory about this collage.  Here follows a bit of background.

This is one of five collages I created that feature jigsaw-shaped collage and figures.  I also wanted to feature the lovely bright blue embroidery thread in this particular collage.

Some time before beginning, I’d been leafing through the photos in a book about the world’s great pilgrimages, and decided to use the word “pilgrimage” as a prompt to my imagination.  My favourite picture in the book was of a Sikh gentleman bathing in a holy lake, high up in the mountains.  Nearer to home, I often walk around another lake.

I found the travel direction, “At Jericho turn right and follow sign for Birtle” in a Ramblers’ leaflet.  I was amused by the juxtaposition of Jericho and Birtle, and decided to use this as the title as it seemed to fit with “pilgrimage”.

Another “thread” that I wanted to explore was lost and found things.  I found the note “Please make John some scrambled egg” when we moved a fire surround in the house where I used to live.  The note about “the one” actually says “I couldn’t find the church.  I went to the one at Salem and the one at Roundthorn.  Gone to the 11 Ways.”  I copied these two notes out, because one is now lost again and I wanted to keep the other without marking it. Bottom right, the Geisha lady was inspired by a wedding day gift brooch  that belonged to my mother.  I took it to school, probably without permission, and lost it.  I’ve written about the girl with the feather in an earlier blog (she pinched that lovely feather off me).

The other figures are new acquaintances that just arrived somehow.

The word “journey”, perhaps more than pilgrimage, is a very powerful one for me.

My next blog will be in January 2016, so until then SEASON’S GREETINGS TO ALL MY READERS!!!!!


(I’m very sorry, but the title of the Pilgrimage book eludes me but there are in fact many on the subject).





A collage for you to ponder…

At Jericho turn right and follow sign for Birtle.JPG

(mixed media, collage and embroidery, November ’15)

I exhibited this collage at Touchstones Open Art Exhibition, Rochdale, recently.

I’m not going to tell you anything else about it just yet, not even the title.  Make up your own theories and narratives (if you like).  Next week I will tell you the facts I know.  There wouldn’t be any point me doing the collage if I knew what it was all about.



You’re Gonna Get Done!


Once upon a time, long, long ago, my friend and I found some old pots of sticky, purple, gloss paint. They were hidden in long grass near the garden shed in my neighbour’s garden. We prised off the lids and got a little messy. The inspiration for this picture comes from that childhood memory, but the details are not autobiographical. I mixed the memory with a recent theme of collage-shaped jigsaw pieces and an urge to use this particular colour scheme. Or maybe I just wanted to play with purple paint again.

Life Class

image image
(drawings of the model, life class at 2b Studios, Todmorden, October, pencil, graphite and pen)

A lot of little people have appeared in my collages lately. To counter some of the frustrations I’ve come up against when drawing the figure, I decided to join a life drawing class.

I found the atmosphere very convivial, and at lunchtime we all enjoyed a picnic lunch. Although I felt apprehensive at first, as I’ve only attended life class for two terms about six years ago, I soon relaxed. We drew three different poses. Concentrating for so long is really tiring. When I got home I got my anatomy book out to look at what was underneath the skin and made notes. I love a challenge.