Wednesday, August 16, 2017

a bird in the hand...

 last year i decided to try my hand at weaving and bought myself a "wee weaver"... a tiny weaving loom for weaving swatches and samples

wanting very much to take it with me on our travels to the uk, i made myself a little pouch to carry it about in
 it's made up of a pieced section with embroidered seams and a plain area of light coloured linen on which i embroidered a little wren, taken from a watercolour of edith holden's

and take it i did...

on our journey, we had the amazing good fortune to meet up with the most wonderful couple, spending several days in their company whilst visiting the peaks and their lovely little village of hayfield

they wined and dined us and took us to the most wonderful places... beautiful country drives, a tour of a grand estate, a musical experience we'll forever treasure - the list goes on

we joked about their "typical english life" but they way they welcomed us into their lives for those four days was in no way typical at all

it was magical

the highlight for me was the day christine and i hiked up in the hills above hayfield - up to the moor, to the heather - to wide open spaces i'd dreamt of and read about in the words of charlotte and emily bronte
oh, that wide and windy moor... i loved it

but those were the things i knew of the moor - christine knew of another and she was keen for me to know it too

the curlew, the bird of the english moor, with a cry as distinctive and haunting as the loon of our north american lakes

a bird of place

not long into our hike, there was first a rustle, then the feathered-thrum of a bird in rapid flight and finally the sound of the curlew floated back on the wind, back to where we stood, and straight in to my own heart

i had wanted to take my little loom and weave a bit up there, to put the essence of the place into a small scrap of work, even down to using some of the grasses and plants along the path

but with the threat of rain, it was too cold to linger and so we hiked ourselves back to her cozy and warm house where, with a cup of tea and warming lunch, she played with my loom and i read from her amazing textile book collection

and so passed my favourite day in england...

i wanted to make something for christine that would embody that day, capture that memory, and seeing how much she admired the carry bag i made for my little loom, i resolved to make her one of her own

 a quick sketch from an internet photo

laying in the under feathers

trying for a feathered, not furred, look

not so easy i found out, especially with these markings...

switching off to the heather now and again for a bit of something easy

at one point i lamented to my son how hard it was to stitch, to get the feathers right, to get the distinction between the wing, body and underbelly

he said at least i could be thankful christine's favourite bird wasn't the peacock...
true enough, but a small mercy!
but i persevered and each stitch brought the image of the curlew to life

i wouldn't say i did her justice, but i do think it's close, and i learned so much - there is an order to thread-painting that i think makes it easier, and whilst there is a very strong desire for "exactness", i am learning that "representational" is often a better way to go

and now there are two

 the curlew and the little wren...

one for each


Rachel said...

How delightful. I'm sure Christine will treasure it - your stitchery has really brought the curlew to life!

gracie said...

Simply wonderful story and memory.

Dorthe said...

Dear Jillayne, you always makes the most beautiful pieces, and this special bird, too- never mind the exactness , he looks gorgeous, and so does the flowers of the moor , it will be loved, as you love the visit with some lovely people, and your hike to the moor !!
Hugs, Dorthe

oldgreymareprimitives said...

You did a wonderful, exquisite job. I'm sure it will be treasured,

Christine B said...

I've read this post over and over Jillayne. Beautifully and evocatively written, bringing memories of those perfect few days back to me so vividly. Just holding the bag takes me back up to the moor and the walk we shared. It will be treasured. You forgot to mention the lining.... that lovely toil de jouy depicting the "typical English life" we enjoy here in the U.K. lol. All of it so thoughtfully created.

Bring yours next time you come and we will both take our wee weavers up to the moor and weave some of it into a little piece for our journals.

Marj Talbot said...

A very lovely delightful gift and so nicely stitched. It will be treasured for sure. Love to read these stories/memories that you share. This one is indeed special and hope you get to go again and climb back up to the moor. I can see you both sitting there with your wee weavers - million dollar memories.

Createology said...

Such a lovely and thoughtful gift for Christine to commerate your amazing time together and the Joys of the English Moor. Your thread painting is delightful and these little birds are beautiful. True Works of Heart Jillayne Dear! <3

Magpie's Mumblings said...

I know Christine must be thrilled with her gift (and I'm pretty sure she was happy to spend time visiting with you too). Could you help my curious mind and post a picture of the 'wee weaver'? I've never heard of it and now I want to know more. I know it's a loom from what you said, but I'm curious to know how big it is.

Karen Ruane said...

wonderful post! I read it several time have amazing, priceless memories :)

Amy B said...

What a lovely memory and a lovely gift. I'd never heard of a curlew and now shall look them up. Your stitchery is so beautiful.