Celia Hart's blog about what's going on in and around her studio.
Art, printmaking, inspirations, gardening, vegetables, hens, landscapes, wild flowers, East Anglia, adventure, travel.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

St Agnes' Eve - Ah, bitter chill...

I've just been reminded by a Twitter friend that today, 20th January, is St Agnes' Eve.

St. Agnes' Eve — Ah, bitter chill
it was!
The owl, for all his feathers, was a-cold;
The hare limp'd trembling through
the frozen grass,
And silent was the flock in woolly fold.

(you can read the full text of John Keats' poem here)

Night Flight, linocut

This morning the landscape around my studio was a perfect illustration for the opening lines of the poem... I was out early taking my car to a garage for its MOT/Service and then taking Cliff to work and driving home. A hard frost, -5C, made the views look muted in shades of grey and sage green. The trees dark and lit with a low sun, glowed red and purple and cast shadows that striped the full width of the fields.

I enjoy reading about the traditional feast days and customs that mark the changing seasons. Already we have passed Twelfth Night and Plough Monday, soon it will be Candlemas on 2nd February. One of my favourite web sites for festivals and special days is Project Britain set up by Woodlands Junior School.

My linocut edition 'Night Flight' has sold out but is still available as a card from my online shop, remember to use the discount code HappyNewYear2015 at checkout, valid until the end of January 2015 to get 15% off anything in the shop.

This week's news headlines from my studio

• I have designed a new trade catalogue for my greetings cards (click on the cover to view it) if you own a shop or gallery or know somewhere that might like to stock my cards, please drop me a line in the comments or email: studio at celiahart dot co dot uk.

• I'm busy working on some lovely commissions, but have been sworn to secrecy.

• my Ginger Studio Assistant is having the week off to convalesce from having a huge abscess, on his cheek, lanced by the vet yesterday. Don't even think about thinking about the vast sea of pus! He was very very brave and sat still and quiet without a sedative, the vet was most impressed and said he was 'a lovely little man'.

Stay warm
I'll be back soon

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

A Winter's Day on Mersea Island

Think Essex. Think Seaside.

You probably aren't thinking of a view like this . . .

Today Cliff and I drove down the Stour Valley along the Suffolk/Essex border and then South through Colchester and beyond to a causeway over The Strood to Mersea Island. On the way we stopped to collect Su (of Living on the Edge blog) who was joining us for our day out on the coast.

From East Mersea looking across the Colne Estuary you can see the coloured beach huts of Brightlingsea and yachts silently drifting by.

Then flocks of Wigeon took off from the marshes and gave us an aerobatic display accompanied by their high pitched fluting call and the low vibrating sounds of hundreds of wings (the RSPB has a lovely video here). It was an unexpected natural spectacle.

We then drove to the other side of the island to the village of West Mersea. After lunch at The Victory inn overlooking the Blackwater Estuary, we wandered down the lanes of the original fishing hamlet, the tiny cottages dating back to the 16th century.

After rummaging around an antiques and vintage emporium we were ready for tea and cake at the cosy Art Cafe before heading home.

A lovely day out on the frayed edge of Essex where the land and water mingle and time seems to stand still.


Monday, 22 December 2014

Merry Christmas!

It's time for . . .

twinkly lights

cosy evenings

and frosty walks

Wishing you all a peaceful
and happy Christmas


Monday, 1 December 2014

Sewing a shirt is like getting back onto a bike

Collar, cuffs, darts, yoke and plackets 
. . . not to mention buttonholes

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram you may already know I've been sewing a shirt. It's not my first go at dressmaking, I started making my own clothes when I was about 10 but the habit petered out when life got busier. Apart from curtains and a pair of pyjama trousers, I have done no dressmaking since making my own wedding dress . . . it's been a while!

But the intention was there and about 2 years ago I bought some fabric – Liberty Tana Lawn with a design by Grayson Perry. (I now wish I'd bought all his designs in all the colourway, sadly they are no longer available.)

small detail of 'Flo'
by Grayson Perry 2009
(I think this is my favourite detail)

I dithered and couldn't find the right pattern, I just wanted a simple ladies shirt. Luckily Su spotted just the thing and recommended Simplicity 1538 – it was the kick start I needed . . .

The story of a shirt

Cutting out the pattern pieces brought all my dressmaking memories flooding back . . . this was going to be fun :-) 

I do love a bit of hand-stitching!

And then came the difficult bit . . .

I used my 1970s Singer Starlet electric sewing machine to sew the seams and do the top-stitching but what about the buttonholes?
Starlet does zig-zag stitching and her booklet has instructions for doing a bottonhole, BUT no matter how hard I tried on pieces of scrap fabric, the results weren't neat enough for me. So I got out 'THE book' and practiced hand-stitching buttonholes.

I must have had better eyesight 20 years ago!
Things improved considerably when I decided to use my illuminated desk magnifier! (the one I use when carving lino blocks)

And there it is

Just needs a final press . . .

and some pearls ;-)

I wore it while selling my cards and prints at our village Christmas Bazaar on Saturday morning . . . I'm not sure how many people noticed the quirky fabric . . .

But this exchange on Twitter is one to treasure!

What shall I sew next?
I fancy making a skirt . . . if you know of a nice pattern please let me know.

Celia xx