Holidays and thinking time…

We’ve just had the May/June half term and the 4 of us took a much needed break chugging along the Worcester and Avon canal and River Severn aboard narrowboat Fosse. It’s a peaceful way to while away a few days, just you and the canal/river and some locks – thankfully I have strong boys to do the lock gates!  

On the River Severn

This time we decided to go to Gloucester for a look round the Waterways Museum before turning round an heading back to our mooring, it’s a gentle route as the river is the majority of the journey so way fewer locks than if we went the other way and have to work through the Tardebigge flight – a staircase of 30 locks! (Done many times, we needed a break this time 😉 ).

We timed our journey onto the river just right and met the high spring tide. Normally the weirs and locks hold back the daily tide but at high spring tide, the water goes over the weirs and make the river tidal as far as the River Severn’s Upper Lode lock, near Tewksbury. Because of the force of the water and the amount of debris (I’m talking massive tree trunks!), it’s recommended that boats are moored up so we moored for lunch near Haw Bridge and watched the tide turn and turn again.  The river raised by a good 10 inches – the pontoon was above the deck when we moored up but the tidal water rose the boat up so the deck was much higher than the pontoon – fascinating to see the tides in action as its something that most of us don’t normally think about!

Heading into Gloucester

I did take my daily stitch project with me (not that I looked at it once!) plus a few non-fiction books (I won’t include the mountain of fiction I read last week!): ‘The Creative Habit’ – Twyla Tharp, ‘Imagine: How Creativity Works’ – Jonah Lehrer and Gwen Hedley’s ‘Drawn to Stitch’ along with the information for my new course summer project. So a lot of reading and a lot of thinking..

My workbook is looking a bit like this:

Full of jottings of dictionary meanings and thesaurus alternatives as I figure out how the project can fit with my ‘invisible’ theme.

Words such as facade, complex, shadow, narrative, decay, imperfect perfect, fragment, delicate, and conversations were on the list. All words with meanings I can work with. 

While thinking about these words, I’ve been thinking about my limitations – the limitations I’m choosing to put on myself, that is, the techniques and stitches that I’ve decided I want try and focus on. I don’t wish to be too restrictive but I need to get rid of the “child in a sweet shop” feeling when it comes trying to choose what technique to use. I cannot be the only one that feels that way.. can I?!

Funnily enough, I’m guessing not as I arrived home to watch the first of‘s free video training about developing a clear system for experimenting with textiles and building a confident personal visual vocabulary. And one of the first key points was “limitations turn problems into possibilities”! If you haven’t watched the series yet, do. Well worth a watch and a think about.

So lots of thinking going on, lots of scribbling in my notebook and lots of ideas pinging while I figure out which way next for my course work and which way next for my own work – oh and do the two meet? I can’t think for too long as I need to do some sketchbook work, hopefully I can show you some soon.

But…first day back off holiday and last day before schools went back and my youngest went “oh I’ve got art homework due in tomorrow! I need to make a model of a sea urchin”  WHAT?!!  We looked quickly at pictures of sea urchins and I realised one of my favourite techniques would be easy and quick enough for a 12 year old to do. So I set him up with water-soluble fabric, threads, fruit net and some toy stuffing then the sewing machine and left him to get on with making his sea urchin – before you panic, he’s an expert on using a sewing machine 😉

Look at what he made!


Isn’t that cool!