Sunday, 5 May 2019

When Beavers Move In

At dusk one fine evening
we spied three beavers grazing in our garden
(I didn't know they ate grass).
I thought it was parents evicting a three year old
from the network of dams further down our stream on the wetlands.

Evidence that they were finding more delicious
twigs to eat soon appeared on the shoreline.

Horror of horrors
the first big thing they chomped at
was my beautiful magnolia.

It tickled me pink that a bit of branch
had fallen next to a Rusty Pup ball
that had been hidden under snow all winter.

I love my poor magnolia

That very day Handy Hubby set about trying to protect it.

I found three branches from my magnolia in their first dam.
It is amazing
not even a trickle of water was escaping the pond.

We dearly wish we had the right property
to allow them to flood the place.
It would be fascinating to observe them
at such close quarters.
Because they come from an established family down the stream
we would rather discourage them
than have them captured and taken heaven knows where.
So we now have a daily routine of dismantling
whatever they have built overnight.
We have found two dams so far.
They really live up to the reputation of being hard workers.

We have counted as many as five in our little pond
since their arrival last week.
Very early one morning
I watched them working away on the dam
and finally two of the biggest ones
walked over the dam and down the stream. 
(Not enough water in the stream to swim down!)
I reckon they must have been the parents
who just come back up to help
redo all the work us terrible humans have destroyed in daylight.

I am taking the opportunity to collect beaver sticks.

More beaver sculptures are appearing every morning.

Geese and mallards and black ducks
visit the pond in pairs during the day whilst beavers sleep.
But when a lone heron arrived at dusk one evening
there was a big hullaballoo of splashing water
It didn't take the beaver one to scare him away.

 The deer aren't bothered
they are so relaxed with no Rusty Pups around
that they now rest among the trees
though keeping a close eye on our activities.

Meanwhile Spring has arrived inside
thanks to some pruning from a kind neighbour.
and needless to say
I have started on a beaver dam stitching.

Monday, 8 April 2019

Stitching Trees

Trees surround us
This old matriarch once was twice as tall
The Heron would perch upon the very top
surveying the garden
checking to see if the Rusty Pups were around
before dropping to the pond beneath
for a delectable fishy breakfast

She has become a totem pole designed by Woodpeckers
She stands across the pond
I admire her every day from the studio
Wondering how much longer I will have the privilege of watching
this cycle of nature.
I will miss her when she's gone.

When I ventured out early this morning
to photograph my Matriarch
I crunched across a frosty lawn
and couldn't resist photographing this little clump of frosted leaves.
But I digress!

 I am stitching trees

Big trees
Each one taking days to stitch.
That's appropriate
For it takes the real thing years to grow.

My trees are Spruce trees growing on rocks
there will be red.
Red wild holly berries that provide winter sustenance
to birds and deer.

Two of them will have succumbed to the Woodpeckers
by the time I'm finished.

I am stitching and listening for the story as it reveals itself.

Monday, 18 March 2019

One Thing Leads to Another

When stitching on this piece nowadays
What comes to mind is
Every Stone is an Island unto Itself

I also thought shoreline rocks would "swoosh" between them.
Spent a few days stitching swooshes.
Decided this weekend to undo all those swooshes
Spent two days so far unswooshing
Just going with the flow!

Thinking of adding hints of islands....

....on the distant horizon.
 Just going with the flow.

With on piece coming to it's completion
Need to firm up plans on what to start next
Playing around with colours.
Just going with the flow

I learnt something this winter
In past winters I assumed snow tunnels we discovered
were made by mice.
But no
It is the squirrels.
We watch this little bird food devil
slide down his tree
straight into a tunnel at it's base
and pop out of one of three
tunnel entrances at the base of the bird feeder!

Happy Birthday Mark!

I hope one thing leads to another in your studio today.
And as Peter London says
in "No More Secondhand Art"
"... begin the initial phase with the open-ended statement 
Let's see what happens"

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Resting at Low Tide

Last week I also finished another mighty rock piece
Resting at Low Tide.
It has been waiting for the final finishing touches for ages.
Sometimes that is how the process goes.
But, you know, these works often carry on telling me their story
after completion
and it could potentially want to add to the story!

It is a piece about the rocks resting on the mudflats in these parts
only revealed at low tide.

It is a companion piece to....

....Resting Between Night and Day
so named for my early morning walks with the Rusty Pups.
Sometimes we would walk the dyke
with the sun rising in the East
the moon still hanging around the Western horizon.

It seems my work is really journalling!

May your day in the studio be memory filled.

Monday, 4 March 2019


I filled the background with crosses
I do not know
It felt right

Perhaps it was that magnificent Snow Moon
on a cloudless night that led me to thoughts of stars.
Perhaps it was the piece itself
talking to me of generations whose voices have travelled through the ages
to tell us they too were here.

Of course, as usual, before trusting my thoughts
I did try out other background stitches.
It seems I often do that before settling!

Love the ruching too
Will have to explore that more often.

Whispering Cairn is finished
It's story complete
I am sad
but happy to have it close for a while.

Today I love how the sun is really shining
on that snow covered rock.
Looks like a Polar Bear wandering through the stream beyond!

March came in quite gently with a layer of snow
but today the skies are clear
I suppose that means it will go out like a lion

Hope not because
this week we will run out of wood!

Monday, 18 February 2019


 Really listening 
listening to the voice within and
paying attention to the feelings that bubble up with every stitch
is important to my process.
I like to rest a piece for a while
and observe it
sometimes for days.
I like to double check that it is saying exactly when I want it to say
and that it is reflecting my truth.
For me those questions come way before
any principles and elements of design.

 It might sound strange but it is not always obvious to me
you would think it would be
but sometimes I feel bombarded by outside influences
and it is hard to to hear my own voice.

Whispering Cairns I feel speaks my truth
What I know for sure is 
this piece brings me joy

I feel very close to this piece
you might recall that it didn't really start to sing for me
until I turned it upside down!
As you see it is not always smooth sailing
so interesting to observe the struggles one goes through
and so important celebrate the aha moments!

I have always believed solitude to be a good thing.
For me that is to be in nature
or alone in my studio which looks out at nature.
Some can find their authentic self in a crowd
And that is why one stone in Whispering Cairn is unique.
Filled with a few french knots!

As I stitch on this piece
I wander back through the ages
to those folk to piled stone upon stone
in memory of those who had gone before them.
We are connected.

I will be sorry when it is finished
but today Handy Hubby and myself will
square it up before I start stitching the background.

 Greys are gathering in a basket for new stitchings
I have evolved
There was a time in my life when louder colours prevailed.
Softer gentler colours now speak to me
perhaps it is my age
or that I have grown gentler over the years
(though I try to be fierce!)
or simply because my hair is silver!
I hope I continue to evolve!

May your creative voice be loud and clear today.

Monday, 4 February 2019

A February Beginning

Sunday morning I played around with new stones
thinking they were going to be grey
but perhaps because it is the bleak mid-winter
the stones turned a warmer colour.

 This piece is inspired by Mark's paintings of
stones disappearing under water.
He is brilliant at that.
For both of us scenes like this bring up whisperings of
summers spent on beautiful Georgean Bay.
For those of you in Toronto don't forget
The Artist Project at the Better Living Centre
February 21-14, 2019
Mark Berens will be at Booth 506.

Strips of plant dyed fabrics 
soon to become rocks.

By Sunday evening I was happily couching away.
I have based the background onto an old blanket
and it is like stitching butter.
The one thing about this kind of stitching is
it allows for mind wandering
as I stitched these delicious rusts and browns 
my mind whispered memories of
my beautiful Rusty Pups

They are dearly missed

As are their antics and adventures.

And then as I prepared this post
A photo demanded to be noticed
So much like my new stones.
I have a teacher who always says the piece you start next
should always be informed by the last piece you did.

Perhaps this means my next piece will have to be seaweed
in the colours of my Georgean Bay stones.

But I already have soooo many new beginnings just started!
But my mind is flowing with ideas on how to go about a seaweed piece.

It is so easy to have many ideas isn't it
The days just aren't long enough for their execution!

I hope you have a day rich in creative ideas.