Seasons of mist and mellow fruitfulness

Now that I've started at the Royal School of Needlework, I'm always on the look-out for visual inspiration. I'm particularly drawn to natural forms, and so I took the opportunity to go on an early autumn walk with my family.

This star moss had intense green tendrils and was springy underfoot, buoyed up with the rain

Autumn is my favourite season, visually (if one discounts truly wintry days); mist and dew descends over the landscape, brightly lacquered leaves line the earth, and nature's harvest swells.

These incredibly sculptural bracket fungi were almost as large as chairs

I got the idea that I would stitch a wild mushroom for my silk shading (essentially photo-realistic painting with threads) module, and so I got out my camera and scanned the forest for interesting fungi.

This little cep mushroom was the specimen I felt most inclined to stitch

There had been a heavy rain just prior to our walk, and water droplets hung from all the plants, and polished the mushrooms.

Sumptuous beefsteak fungus

The tannins and reflections in the leaves below turned these water droplets caught in a spider's web into liquid gold and bronze

As autumn continues and turns into winter, I must make the time to take these walks, observing, recording, and enjoying the season...

Text, Texture, Texere

On Friday the 1st I was in Falmouth for my class' final showing of work.

On Being Soft was debuted (it's now been dropped off at The Mill ready to be exhibited)whilst we were amassed on cushions in a tiny room, sharing homemade cake. Both the book and the cake seemed to go down well (one of my tutors had two pieces!)

My favourite of the other works shown was Natt's installation of texts written in Braille.

These were created in a variety of media, from drawing pins pushed into a globe (which read, in Braille, "an arm's length of mountains and waves"), to nails hammered into a plank of wood, to Braille written on card with a Braille writer.

The beauty of this piece cannot be expressed in a photograph; it has an interesting dialogue with the previous piece, as the bumps of the Braille beneath the pages are akin to the mountain ridges of the globe.

This piece explored the tactile qualities of Braille and skin.

Texere made use of an unread book from our first-year reading list; there was a nice relationship between mine and Natt's showings, as we both explored text, texture and texere (in On Being Soft, I did this particularly on this page).

A photograph of me doing what was instructed in a previous piece and "touching the art"! This piece read in Braille "touch hands".

You can see more of Natt's writing here.


And now for a little light etymology: the words text, textile and texture all derive from the same Latin verb, texere, which means to weave, to plait, or to construct with elaborate care.

I am attempting to construct On Being Soft with elaborate care
(in broken Google Translate Latin, Ego conantur texere libro cum cura); "weaving" together snippets of text and textile, embellishing with embroidery, tall tales, buttons, and beads.

The most recently completed page of the book plays on the shared root of text and texture, texere.

I have cross-stitched the tongue-in-cheek phrases "textually active" and "texturally active" (for which I must give credit to my housemate Mark, as he suggested I stitch up the former of the phrases) on miniscule aida fabric in a plethora of cheap and cheerful colours. The words are surrounded by different textures; light-reflecting orange velvet, a coarse checker-board fabric, thick, fleecy patterned carpet (the remainder of which will make a marvellous appliqued owl one day), antique lace, and plastic buttons.

The book will be both textually and texturally active; made to be read, but also touched.