Dartmoor Palette #2

Out again on the Granite Elements Art Walks. The difference in colours in one month. Foxgloves are just finishing, heather and gorse appearing. Yellows of tormentil and bracken turning… Add in the colour of the wild bilberry. A warm breeze and a good 5 minute shower. More research in the bag. Thanks to all who came along.  Looking forward to the Autumn berry one!!

Inspirational Dartmoor

Art Walk Granite Elements, a Parishscapes Project. We headed to the start of the Granite Tramway. The sun was out, so were the yellow hammers, stonechats, bees, bugs, ponies, cattle, wild flowers, tadpoles and artists!!!! We engaged with environment and materials. Great fun. Thanks all.


Been busy at Bookbinding….a new beehive and bee sketchbook for a summer garden. Handmade paper bound with white leather and golden bees drawn with foils.

The storm before the calm

Did somebody mention Christmas. Building canvas’. Reccie run for IWC walk ( Can you see Three Barrows behind me in the wind rain and fog). Planning, proposals and projects, and HMRC, I am dizzy, so here is mothercombe and a sunset.

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Fabric Woven and Patterned

Sunday afternoon, first rain. Found an exhibition on at Rokko Island not far from Kobe. This island has been made from reclaimed land, the area was badly hit after the Hanshin earthquake in 1995. So I headed out there.

Lovely little monorail over the bridge. Met a charming girl, aged 8, and her mum headed to the same place, so we spent the afternoon together criticing the costumes. Kimono are made with woven silk, silk crepe and later cottons. Part of the pinprick small pattern intricately tie dyed, called shibori and dye resist, yuzen.  Add painting on fabric also.

The Obi (Sash) is the waist band and tie at the back, much stiffer and highly decorated. The idea is have contrasting colours, in history up to 12 layers were worn. The accessories are little boxes tied to the waist and fans of course. The exhibition also had a display of European day dress to match the V&A, inc Cardin and Dior.

I did quick sketching, as no photos allowed, my young friend made me origami mock ups of the items I liked. Best 400 yen admission spent yet. (£2.20). So I treated myself to the catalogue.

I also visited a Kimono shop in Osaka. Top of the range. It is worn for weddings and formal occasions.  Stunning.

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Osaka Festival Week

Returning to Osaka, Suyoko and her Community Festival colleagues were in full swing.  Su and Kanji run workshops, weaving, performing and singing with a group of people with special learning differences. Like the DOVE project in Ivybridge. They had had a particularly successful and enjoyable concert day. There was to be a parade of AWA dancing, so indeed I was presented with pair of hand dyed Tabi boots as I was in the lineup. Ha ha ha ha. Polly from England who has been living and working at the ARTS & CRAFTS VILLAGE link Okayama, and Rennie from Paris, studying in Otsu, join also. Splendid friendly community fun. Great dancers. I expect photos will come back to haunt me. …… Note footwear. Thank you Polly Staley for the photos and good luck with the new job in snowy Hokkaido.

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Earth Water Sun Sky

I really enjoyed BEING in this place of history in the mountains.  It took 2.5 hours by train from the nearest big city of Nagoya. The type of house I stayed in is called a ryokan, one that has mats called tatami and attached to a communal bathhouse, it had belonged to Hiroto’s grandfather, it was 700 years old. This area was the once ruled by the Tokugawa shogunate.

I took a random walk just up from the house and found a valley of beautiful market gardens amongst the temples and ancestral graves. Japanese people certainly know how to grow vedge. The harvest was Sweet potato, pumpkin, cabbage greens and onion. A place of peace and memory whilst tending the earth.

My favourite photo so far is the pond. Just look carefully you can see the earth at the bottom, the leaves under suspended, the water, the still surface with twigs, the reflection of turning trees, the sky and the sun. Passage.  As I left Takayama the mountains had turned golden.

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Red yellow pink & orange trees

I have been watching the autumn colour reports. It’s called “koyo” a celebration alongside Cherry Blossom in May. I have come to Takayama in the province of Gifu. As the slow train followed the river up the valley I could see the trees turning. You can imagine my delight when I arrived here. It’s much cooler up here. My home for a few days is a traditional house attached to a bathhouse. So squeaky clean sketching today. I did wonder why everybody had bells in the woods, ah that would be the Bears.

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