Friday, 6 April 2012

Wood, Wildlife and Wool.

I adore living where I do now. We are really lucky to have all the loveliness of living in the country, with town only 15 minutes away.
The wood, in my title, is cut and piled up in the lower part of our village. We'd driven past it when coming home the back way. The signs said there would be a Wood Sale at the village hall. We drove down on the appointed day to discover that the piles of wood belonged to a business dealing in decorative timber. The sawmill was in action and with an open mouth, I watched great slices being sawn off an ancient piece of walnut. The owner explained that the tree had been subjected to some bending during its life and that the trunk was riddled with shakes (small cracks). These greatly reduce the value of the timber but cannot be identified before being sawn. There was a stall selling carved apples and pears. I bought an apple carved from apple wood and a pear carved from pear wood. Mr G bought a piece of burr elm with which to make something lovely. There is to be another sale in May and we shall certainly attend.

                              My Apple and Pear

The wildlife is one of the main reasons for moving to our current home. Red Kites soar majestically over and around our house. We've seen the kestrel perch on one of the small trees on the verge outside the front of the house. Mr G said we'd had a Spotted Woodpecker on the fat balls on our bird feeding station. Since being at home, I've seen it every day. The mass of little birds whizz in and out all day long. We were standing watching the little birds, when from the side of the house, there came a dark grey streak, shooting through the air. It was a sparrow hawk. The little birds dove for cover and escaped that time. The sparrow hawk has returned regularly. The little pile of pigeon feathers on the lawn suggests that was one of its meals. It certainly caught one of the little birds the other day. However cruel this seems, it is the way nature is, and as such must be accepted.
                             The bird feeding station

I went foraging for wool yesterday. We found some in the valley where the sheep have lambed. I took it home and washed it, a very smelly task. Today I sorted it. I kept the pretty crinkly lambs wool, and carded some of the rest with a pair of small wire brushes. A lot of the wool was felted and I discarded it, but there was enough for me to keep to use in my mixed media textile pictures I have planned. This is both a new creative direction, and a return to an old skill. In my late teens I did several pieces of free hand embroidery, and became quite skilful with a needle. I intend to use this skill and combine new skills such as felting, collage and couching to include found items in my pictures.

                         A piece of my early embroidery