Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Creative Adventure to Haytor Quarry

Creative Adventure to Haytor Quarry

En route Haytor Quarry.
South Devon is a fabulous place to live, rich in culture and spectacular scenery.   It is possible to swim in the sea to the Hindu Temples, (Institute Beach Torquay) and just over an hour later jump into the Lower Dart at Newbridge on Dartmoor.    Last Sunday I swam to the Hindu Caves in glorious November sunshine then immediately headed for Haytor to meet fellow wild swimming friends for an adventure with a twist.

Carole, Allan and Helen are keen creative photographers with different approaches.  I just snap and hope for a reasonable result.   No agenda, just our cameras, some art work created by Helen and myself, cake and suitable hiking boots.  We met in at the very busy lower Haytor car park and headed up the track to the right of Haytor rocks and onto the disused Haytor Quarry.  The granite was from this quarry was famously used to build London Bridge circa 1830.

Art garment on the rocks.
The entrance gate lead to a scene of contrasting greys, greens, browns.    Carole spotted red fungi near the gate and began to take stills,  Helen climbed onto a well preserved winch, years previously she recorded the sound of the cranking wheel and created music.  I was drawn to the sheer walls and used my hiking stick to balance a denim art garment.   Helens pots then appeared and fitted so perfectly into the surroundings.  We all took loads of photographs, with our own unique perspective of the same scene.  Our belongings strewn on the floor, one person on guard to keep away curious dogs smelling freshly cooked and frozen cake.

Helens pots on my art garment.
Creativity over, the still almost stagnant looking green quarry water beckoned and we all jumped into 7.9 degrees of chill, to the amusement of some onlookers.  Cake and drink followed, and blue faces glowed pink.   We marched down the green slopes to normality laughing and joking.
Happy days.

Thanks to Allan for taking this photo of Carole, myself and Helen.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Hand sewing hexagons together. Why is it so compulsive?

Hand sewing hexagons together.  Why is it so compulsive?

Starting with a question not everyone reading this blog will relate too.  For those familiar  with the joy of collecting textiles, keeping them safe and pristine waiting for the moment the brain switches to sew mode, project in hand or to be planned.   Paper hexagons ready to be covered with treasured or just purchased fabric.   The moment  needle punctures through layer of cloth and paper, thats the moment when the world disappears and immersion into another begins.

Its true to say that I am well qualified to confirm this transition.  My first experience of covering a six sided hexagon with fabric occurred around 44 years ago.  My mother encouraged knitting, crochet and even tatting but I found those crafts tedious and unrewarding.   Tensions with wool, with loosing stitches and stitches of uneven size made frustrating creating.  Perhaps impatience did not help, that gaping hole where a crochet stitch belonged meant ripping back to the point.  I did not see the point.

It would be impossible to calculate how many hexagons I have sewn. More than 10 quilts with over 3000 hexagons each, plus too numerous to mention smaller projects and samples.   A fair estimate would be heading for 100,000 - yes, one hundred thousand hexagons.  One hundred thousand paper templates covered with 100,000 bits of fabric.   Why, as I type now I wonder why!!

Concluding with the observation that sewing hexagons has shaped my life into contentment, creativity and a feeling of pride with the work created.    The sadness is when I die, with no children to pass onto, I can only imagine that my lifetimes work will at best end up in a car boot sale, far grander than the worst scenario of being buried under piles of refuse in rotting away............and then there are the unsold waistcoats...................  Should I care.  Definitely not.

Fibonacci Elgin 1989

Just a four of my works.  

Fibonacci Serpentine  Jackie Wills
The Christmas Quilt by Jackie Wills 1988