Monday, 21 December 2009

Solstice greetings from Sheila

Happy Solstice one and all, I know it's the shortest day but it means that tomorrow daylight will be longer and we will be heading towards spring!


Friday, 11 December 2009

More about painting and especially the Moon!

Hi all

I had wanted to try painting again for a while, so the chance to get a free lesson from an expert was brilliant! I just knew Sally would be a great teacher. It was lovely standing between you two as Sally first demonstrated and then guided us. I could feel the bond and energy between us all. I felt relaxed about the whole process; not worried and tense as I would normally feel in that sort of situation. There was no expectation, pressure to 'perform'; it didn't matter what happened - all in a goood way of course! I felt like a child again as we worked on our own projects. It was liberating, fun; getting in touch with part of me I had forgotten about. It was magical watching the paintings dry; nipping out in the dark and then seeing them in the morning. The final touches in the morning really helped mine come alive, thanks to all the advice and guidance from you two. I'm really looking forward to seeing it again!

Sunday, 6 December 2009

remember me?

hello...I've been a stranger here recently. A very busy time with my work and a very unhelpful computer that cuts out ...often.... has kept me away.
As Lindsey has mentioned she has picked up baton of the Celtic Year and will be reminding everyone of the upcoming festival dates.....but as ever its fantastic to see the varied contributions at any and all times. I'm sure Lindsey will make an excellent job of inspiring everyone into continuing to contribute to another wonderfully eclectic Celtic Year blog.
I am off on my travels later to some very welcome sunshine in Australia and Papua New Guinea. I will be reading the blog as and when I can and hopefully contributing. As some of the places we are staying don't have electricity let alone internet this may not be often!
But I will of course be thinking of you all....lots of love...see you all soon,
Sally x

PS if you fancy a break in one of 'the last untouched wildernesses in the Pacific' have a look here

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

We Remember

Thought I would like to share - I have written a poem on the death of a singer. Katherine came with her Mum to our folk club and she had an amazingly strong voice. Although she was born with Downs Syndrome she so enjoyed joining in and often stood up and sang on her own. She died suddenly just over a week ago of septasemia and she will be much missed.
It's very short and I hope it means something to those who have lost loved ones at this time of year.

We Remember

For those who have gone before
We play this tune.
For those who have gone before
We sing this song.
For those who have gone before
We do what must be done,
We Remember.


Painting fairies

Today I varnished 3 paintings. The first was a "master-class" from Sally that we all contributed to; the next two were what Liz and I produced as a result of Sally’s skilled tutorage. It was a fantastic experience to work with my Celtic sisters and I think that this shows. I hadn’t realized that we had been painting fairies and pixies, butterflies and moons but we were.
The birches, Beth, are bright, shining and feminine. They are magical trees, protective, creative and healing, I always feel cleansed and grounded when near any trees but I especially love the Lady of the Woods and the dappled whispering light around her.
So I have named my painting Three Sisters and for me it is full of symbolism at this time of change. Many of you will know that Sally has passed on the Mistress of the Blog’s green leafy hat to me and so for another year and a day (give or take) I will be reminding you of upcoming dates in the Celtic Year (this bit scares me – I don’t even remember my family birthdays!) and posting your contributions. I’ve been looking at the amount of work we have on the blog and am so impressed – there are pieces which make me laugh, cry, ponder, puzzle and I am in awe of the talent in our wonderful community! There is such a rich Celtic ethos running through the project with artisans collaborating, sharing or sparking ideas and simply celebrating nature.
Here, or wherever we are, on each of the festivals, solstice and equinox we’ll send unconditional love to you and drink to - The Celtic Year Project.

Love and light


Thursday, 19 November 2009

Saturday Afternoon LIVE READING

Hi all

Here's Roger and Saturday Afternoon, written for Imbolc and read at Samhain. Loving these live readings!



Thursday, 12 November 2009

Central Reservation LIVE READING!

Here's Liz performing her poem "Central Reservation" during a celebration in the Forest. Enjoy!


Wednesday, 11 November 2009

How the Celts established the Great Slavic Empire 632AD

here's a contribution from Natalie who says:

this is a mild satire, based on historical facts: The King Samo existedHe was of Celtic origin, a merchant from Franc empire (today's France) and united Slavic tribesHe had 12 wives, 22 sons and 15 daughters

How the Celts established the Great Slavic Empire 632AD

“So, tell me, Samo, do you think of being a travelling merchant for the rest of your life or have you ever thought of settling down?” asked an old man with long, grey plaited hair as he’d just passed a stone cup full of mead to the young man he’d addressed. The old man was an elder of one of the Wends tribes, or Slavs as they were also known. On the other hand, his guest Samo, the honorary merchant of the Franc Empire, visited them every year, trading honey, leather, salt and iron tools.“I don’t know, sir, but you are right, I am getting a bit old, I am twenty – two already!” Samo admitted truthfully and passed the cup to another bearded, long-haired elder on his right.“Quite right,” said Vladimir. The elders of the other Slavic tribes murmured in agreement. “Are you married, Samo?”“Not really,” said Samo, blushing secretly in the flickering light of the fire. In actual fact, he was already married – five times. All done for business purposes, of course, to seal the deal. The chances were that he would never see any of his wives in all these barbaric realms of Europe again.“And what is your opinion on that new God I have heard about? Personally, I don’t think much of him, because he got himself killed, crucified of all things. He can’t be that powerful. Anyway, it would not have happened to our Perun, the God of thunder,” continued Vladimir.Samo didn’t know what to say and asked instead: “Eh - So what does your name - Vladimir mean anyway?”“Oh, curious, are you? It means ‘the ruler of the universe’, ” a distinct pride was heard in his voice. The other elders murmured in agreement as Vladimir stretched his varicose legs towards the fire and had another sip of mead from the cup. “The thing is, Samo, that we are at a loss. We have met with other elders from other tribes in Bohemia, Moravia and Slovakia, and we would like to unite, you know, against the cruel and merciless warriors from the East called “the Avars”, and of course, it would not hurt being stronger against you Francs, either.”“I am a Celt,” repeated Samo. “It’s all the same,” said Vladimir, “we can’t agree who would be our leader, our king. We keep arguing. You see, all the other elders in other tribes are also called Vladimir.”Samo looked at the men sitting around the fire with astonishment: “You are all Vladimirs?” The elders nodded and stroked their long beards with dirty hands. Samo ceased to breathe for a minute. What the hell does this mean? ‘I just want the deal, give me the deal, for heaven’s sake, I will pray to your Perun or Lada or any of your Gods if you like! Just give me the deal!’ he thought to himself. “And we thought of you.” Vladimir concluded. “Of me?” Samo looked completely confused. My Perun, this mead stuff the Slavs prepare must be strong. I would kill for a pint of Guinness! “Yes, you would be perfect. You are impartial, young, handsome, and clever; understand the world and you speak our language. We want you to be our king,” the elder finished triumphantly. Ten long seconds of silence followed during which all the other men around the fire stared at Samo. “But why do you need me? I mean you are renowned as fierce, cruel warriors...” said Samo hesitantly. “Samo, to tell the truth we are not. That’s the power of Eastern European propaganda. We don’t fight and when we do, we always loose. Then we have got to resort to Plan B.” “What is Plan B?” “We give them our daughters,” said Vladimir. “You give your daughters to the Avars?” repeated Samo. But before anyone could reply a hooded figure of a woman danced into the circle, stretched her arms in front of her and in a husky voice, she spoke: “I can see a great nation rise that in the next fifteen hundred years will be hated by everyone in Europe. It will never win any war, yet survive. It will consist of 38% Slavic, 37% Germanic and 10% Celtic DNA.” Vladimir sighed: “That’s my daughter Libuše, she is a seer. I see she predicts that nothing will change in the future. If you can‘t beat them, marry them, that’s what I say.” He sounded rather pleased with himself. “Anyway, you are a man who has travelled the world: can you explain to me - what is this DNA she speaks of?” Samo shrugged his shoulders. “Never mind,” said Vladimir, “she speaks of things that we cannot possibly know. And she is a Slavic lady; they are all deranged, you know? Lovely, but completely crazy. So what do you say, Samo? You can be our king and I can give you my daughter for wife. She was a blessing from our Goddess Živa, who gives life and love. I thought we would never have any children, my wife and I. I kept praying and making sacfrifices and then one day, twenty-one years ago, an Avar warrior arrived in our village to collect tax. He stayed in our mudhut and our hospitality was great. We agreed to give our corn, our honey, our linen, our cattle and five of our daughters. As we truly bonded over the two weeks, the evening before his departure I confessed to my new Avar friend about my pain of not having any offspring of my own. He promised that he would perform his own magic and sacrifice to his gods. And the Gods listened and nine month later, my wife gave birth to a gorgeous girl, to my Libuše. Look, how beautiful she is! She looks like no one else, with her high cheekbones and dark brown hair.“ You do see those cheekbones in Avars, thought Samo to himself but said nothing because he did not want to disturb the father‘s pride. He looked at Libuše again: admittedly she was stunning. “I am not sure, Vladimir,” said Samo, “it’s a tricky one. I have told you before, I am a Celt and I am a bit concerned about your treatment of the Celts in this region. I fear that they are becoming a bit marginalised in your society.” “Fear not, my dear Samo, because we believe: live and let live. So they can live in their funny stone forts and we do what we do best. We don’t fight them, we marry them.” “All right, all right, but what do you offer to them if they are going to live in my new empire?” pressed Samo.“What about if we let the Celts name all the rivers and mountains,” suggested the elder. Samo considered for a second: “That sounds like a fair deal.” The hooded figure of the seer Libuše jumped into the circle at that point again, with arms stretched forward: “I can see the most beautiful city on the river with a strange Celtic name, a city of stone, with stone bridges. A daughter of my daughter of my daughter of my daughter of my daughter of my daughter will lay foundations of its glory. She will be a seer like me and she will bear my name Libuše.” “You see,” said Vladimir, ”what a shame! My daughter predicts a bloody Celtic city here, not a proper wooden hut or a lovely mud hut with a straw roof like any cilivilised Slav ought to posses.” “So, what is your decision, Samo?” “Well,” Samo pretended to hesitate, being a hardened business negotiator, however the deal was far too good to resist. “I see,” said Vladimir, “ one wife is not quite enough for a worldly man like you. What about two?” “Eh?” “OK, that’s insulting, I agree. Five?” “But –“ “Seven!” “But –“ “Ten!” “But” “Twelve – that’s maximum we can offer,” insisted Vladimir. Samo took a deep breath. “All right, Vladimir, twelve wives will do. I will take the job. But you ought to know it’s a huge compromise on my side.”

Monday, 9 November 2009

Cabaret @ the Garden Cafe!

Hi everyone

Just a reminder that tomorrow night, Tuesday 10th November 2009, there will a cabaret celebrating the Celtic New Year. There will be readings, paintings, textile art and music from Tinkerscuss and the usual wonderful food from Paul at the Garden Cafe.

See you there


Monday, 2 November 2009

Under 13 moons

under the 13 moons
between the two rivers
i hear a voice
it isn’t the voice of reason
it isn’t the voice of radio 4
the voice says
when you’re lost the forest will answer

This is the first year i have stayed a full year in the forest...i haven't been to Bali or to Portugal for a month at a time as i often do.
this painting and poem celebrates that a year and a day
also a year and a day since the Celtic year blog started.

A year and a day...a good Celtic time...that is how long i planned to post to this blog.
Thank you to everyone who has made it such an amazing experience.
The Celtic Year blog will continue.... all be it with a new Mistress of the Blog....more about that soon....and of course i will still be contributing
In the meantime I hope you enjoy the wonderful variety of contributions we have had for Samhain....keep scrolling down...
any more contributions welcome...please send to me at

Sally x

Samhain (and Autumn Equinox!)

Happy Samhain!
I've been pruning my apple trees and making apple cake.

Last winter I helped my friend Kate prune her beautiful old apple trees. I so love the shapes of the trees, the aroma and colour of the fruit and blossom, I was inspired to make a shelf and baskets using the wood and celebrating the colour.

In September when out walking I was inspired to make a piece celebrating the abundance of blackberries. I made and embellished a 2D apron, and incorporated some of the text from Mary Oliver's poem, "Blackberries".

I'm conscious that my Apron might not really fit in with the Samhain theme, I think it's more related to Autumn Equinox, which is what I was celebrating when I began working on it.

I find gathering food from the brambles and fruit trees humbling, a reminder of the wealth in what the earth offers us.


First post on the Celtic Year, Lizzie...Samhain and the Autumn Equinox in one post it could start a trend!
Thank you , Sally

Sunset skyline

sunlight flees the fields
as softly sun turns to mellow moon
and whispers 'see you soon, silver lady, soon'

This photo was taken on a walk through beautiful woods at the end of a beautiful day full of amazing light, the transitional sort! I had to write something on it about the promise the sun makes to the moon each night and especially at Samhain!


Helos Odev

Part One Samhain

Carla recalled that tragic Saturday morning, not that many years later; the memory was still clear and very painful to her. The day had begun quite promisingly, cold sunshine in a cloudless blue sky.....

now read on here

Marie has written a story in four for each of the Celtic year festivals.

Rather than just pubish part one Samhain here in the Celtic Year blog she has put the all together on her own blog.
This is a good move...because if like me you find you have to read all the way through to the end in one sitting... you can!

This is a brilliant modern fairy to read in front of the fire on these long nights...I hope you enjoy it as much as I did


The veil is thin.

They are calling
Reaching to connect,

To mend the undone,
To say the unsaid.

Left behind as the world turns
They cling
Stung by longing

Fires light the way,
Concerts to their passing
Redrawing the veil
The cycle begins anew.


First draft 30th Oct 09
2nd draft 31st Oct 09

A Vanity of Bags

‘Hi, I’d like to exchange these bags. I don’t seem to have had them long but they’ve gone all creased and keep bulging out of shape.’
‘Let me see Madame. We guarantee our products for thirty years; may I ask how long you’ve had them?’
‘Well…, it’s a bit longer than that now I think about it, but I’ve always looked after them well.’
‘Oh really Madame? Do you take them to parties, pubs, smoky places or on holiday?’
‘Well, I do have a very busy life. Anyway, just how could I have left them behind?’
‘Of course you’re right Madame. However, it appears to me that the quality of our products has exceeded their guarantees. They actually look pretty good considering the treatment they’ve had.’
‘But can’t you help me? I simply must look my best.’
‘I’m afraid there’s not really anything I can do for you, Madame.’
‘Are you sure? I’ll consider anything, anything at all.’
‘Well maybe…’
‘What is it? I have to know.’
‘Madame I suggest you either pay for repairs, although that can be expensive and the results never look absolutely convincing, or, you can pre-order much harder wearing skin around the eyes for use in your next reincarnation. Of course, you would have to make quite a sacrifice in order to qualify for this exclusive service.’
‘Ok…what sacrifice?’
‘Our Creative Design Department’s current offer is one bespoke physiological request in exchange for an IQ drop of ten points. So, that would be twenty IQ points in your case ’
‘What a relief; that’s not really much of a sacrifice is it?’
‘Madame is absolutely correct; your decision suits you perfectly.’
‘Oh, thanks; nice of you to say that. Where do I sign?’


First notes 30th Oct 09
First typed 31st Oct 09

A Pinch of Sunlight

With Samhain comes the deep darkening gloom,
Collars turn against the cloying damp.
Cheery fires lit in cosy rooms.
Summer ends.
Break the harvest camp.
Open out the fruit preserves.
If only we could pickle a pinch of sunlight!

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

living in the forest

through every window i see the forest....and it sees me
the house faces east and west...its in a valley that runs north to south...
how different that is...
how aware of the day passing i am...from the early first light that i see bringing the forest in front of the house alive as i make my tea...tea to be drunk in bed with the forest in front of me...then down to the table where i sit at the computer....more tea as the sun reaches the deck and the still beautiful meadow....the stargazer becomes the sun worshiper

note : guess what i posted this to the wrong blog...should have gone on summerland...
well now its on both
sally x

Monday, 26 October 2009

Spirals and Labyrinths

Is a journey to the centre of self - there is one way in and out
we use our right brains to enter and intuitively, creatively, simply follow,
leaving logic, analysis and left brain aside
bypassing ego and seeking the deeper truths within
passively accepting, clearing, meditating, returning, reflecting.
Sacred labyrinth geometry surrounds,reminds and holds us
in ammonites, in spider's web, in the glorious unfolding of a fern,
it is ancient and universal combining spiral and circle,
a path through the sacred dance of life.

What ever meditation tools we use, all help to get to the heart of the matter and for me sometimes "the passing cloud" or "walking meditation" is a natural labyrinth/spiral - a jasmine or bean curling around a support can bring revelation without the inner struggle or conflict - I find this a much softer method of sorting my head out than the horrors of self analysis and beating yourself up!

This describes how I feel about labyrinth but/and (as with everything) there's loads of info on line - great books about them too I like - "Walking the Healing Labyrinth" by Helen Raphael Sands ISBN1-85675-230-5 (she also teaches circle dancing)


the images are of a spiral of bark...found by Phillip....photographed by Ian ...something i thought of when i saw Lindsey's first pot and Sheila's Log Vessel that were posted earlier

to me another example of the gift of ideas and images exchanged

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Tree of Peace

Phillip and I have been painting
a painting for the next Celtic Year exhibition....starts 7th of November at the Garden Cafe...more about that soon

even though it was raining...we had fun...

and here is our 'Tree of Peace'

First Pot...

Thought I could post my pot on the blog (if that's still legal) - I've almost finished the performance piece and will send that on soon.

This is the first ceramic pot I have made and although there are loads of technical faults I love it. Hope you all are planning festivities for Samhain!

Lindsey X

Log Vessel

a warm welcome to Sheila
a new contributor to the Celtic Year...Sheila has send this pic of the beautiful embroidered vessel she made...inspired by a log in the garden....i have asked her how she made it...but it looks like felt to me...and we do so like felt here at the CYP don't we?

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Bridget's September

Hi all,

as per my previous posting, below is Bridget's 'September' poem.

The Equinox marks a turning point.
September prepares for the Grand Finale,
Welcoming Autumn with strains of 'Rule Britannia'.
Bonfire smoke ascends perfumed with remnants of Summer,
Incense from a mighty Thurible.
The sun lends a golden sheen then
Paints the evening sky with sunsets.
Trees start to shut down withdrawing chlorophyll,
Enabling leaves to show colours kept secret all summer.
Birds recovered from nesting resume their songs.
Spiders spin webs and prickly gorse is softened with gossamer.
Michaelmas Daisies (Denominated to 'Asters')
Offer Bees and Butterflies a last banquet before winter.
Farmers have reclaimed the earth
Slicing the fields with ploughs and planting in anticipation.
Bits of nut shell mark the path of squirrels stripping hazel trees,
Eating some and storing for lean times ahead.
Already catkins are in place
Nature's assurance of another Spring to come.
I love the concept of the trees keeping colours secret during the summer.
Bridget has set herself the task of writing something about each month this year, and says:
'it has been interesting as I've noticed things I've missed in other yearsbeen writing a different poem for each month of the year. I'm not even sure I would call it poetry but I have enjoyed playing with it so I enclose bits for August and September. I had a 'feel' about Lammas and the Autumn Equinox'
Reads like poetry to me!!

From Bridget


the following is a poem written by Bridget who came to our Words & Ideas event at the Coleford Festival and was inspired by it ... she doesn't have internet access so has sent this and another poem to post onto the blog. So, here's ...

Great Fire Festival of Summer's height

Gone are days when wheat
Toppled to the swish of sickle and scythe,
Then man carted it to threshing floors.
Mechanical giants
Have roamed fields
Cutting and separating
Grain from straw,
Leaving little harvest
For birds and beasts.
Earth, now unencumbered
By lineal plantings,
Glories in warmth and
Rain's replenishing power.
Plants made dormant,
Deprived of space
By man's cultivation,
Start to grow
As Nature intended.
Badger, Fox and Deer are
No longer impeded,
Hares roam free,
Their joy reflected
By leaps and dances
In the Moonshine.
Perseus joins in
Lightning night skies
With shooting stars.
This from a lady who has very little confidence in her writing!

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Central Reservation

The dead pigeon’s bloated body slowly glues itself to the tarmac
It’s faded grey white wing waves a mock welcome
at the lone trainer,
At the almost passing traffic.
Where are the one legged runners?

Traffic shuffles, one gear, two gears, stop.

The blue bottle
Has lost its bottle
Flung aside
Trapped in the central reservation
Companion to crushed cigarette packet,
Bearing unheeded warnings of a more permanent trap

Clutch up, clutch down, stop.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s has nothing on this
Bright Red Bull energy can.
[But it can’t]
Banana skin, brown flesh oozing, skin blackening
Another water bottle; yellow brown contents tell a desperate tale

Amber, green, red; stop.

Cardboard box
Survived the fall, to stand curious in the wrong place

Second, third, fourth, third, stop.

Manually, Haynes has left
Torn cover behind
Feelings of frustration
A link to the broken red light cowl, the fag ends, the bottle?

Beeeep, first, second, cruise and stop.

Red brick peace
Corners smoothed by time.
How long does it take for our rough edges to leave?
Derby Rams logo blazes the red ball,
Abandoned, left to relegation limbo

Third, fourth, green, go, go, go!
Central reservation blurs, the stories hidden once more.

LizBeth Wilson

Sept 30th 2009

a poem written by Liz who said this about it...
It's not particularly related to Samhain, more a comment on time passing and how we only notice the small things when we are forced to stop.
I liked the idea of thousands of untold tales hiding in the central reservation; trapped because they can't be reached.
This hit home with the discovery of a murdered young woman's bones being found in a bin bag after 13 years on a motorway, just a few days after i wrote this poem.
I also like the whimsical in it and the random thoughts we all have in similar situations.
I wrote this stuck in traffic on the A52 into Derby.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Thirteen moons and two rivers

oh I really really should be painting meadows and forests for the AAF later this month....but I had a vivid dream about the thirteen moons of the Celtic they are between the two rivers.

This is a bit early for Samhain but my plan is to write something to go with it for the next Celtic Year exhibition....that's the Garden Cafe from 7th November to 5th December 2009.
Please get in touch if you have any contributions.


update...this is making me sad for the moon

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Equinox Arbour

Through the spiral to the sanctuary

The passport to the sacred dance

Lindsey and I built this arbour from new and salvaged wood, so hence, it’s name: Do You Know What It Was Yet?

To me it is the culmination of a journey through creativity with Lindsey and myself working both in harmony with each other and in tune to nature. Through the spiral to the sanctuary. The passport to the sacred dance. Simply sitting inside, even though the flowers have yet to grow, I find an inner tranquillity. Our pets lie at peace beside us. At the centre of this potent symbol a balance is found between heaven and earth; as in the equinox there is balance between light and dark.


Autumn Equinox

Happy Autumn Equinox, Celtic Projectors :-)

Up to my eyes in heritage atm, but proposing to dip in to the CY very very soon!


we can't think of a title for this....

Ian's equinox contribution....not quite sure of the link between Japanese Anemones and the equinox...but I seem to remember it was pheasants last equinox and I didn't understand that either :)

black bamboo, black bamboo, black bamboo......

Hi everyone

Here's something a bit different (for me) for the equinox, the twigs are the first harvest from the black bamboo Foggy bought me when the garden was still a bramble patch and I remember singing black bamboo repeatedly (annoyingly?) - you might have noticed I'm a bit partial to alliteration! The ammonites were gifts I have had for years, I think the alpines will grow but the whole picture will change organically I'm sure as the elements impact and I add and tweak - I like tweaking!
Happy equinox all


Monday, 21 September 2009

Fire Princess

Happy Equinox

we were playing with fire

thank you Nigel for editing this....

From Tax Lawyer to Tarot Reader

Jan in Bali has a new blog

From Tax Lawyer to Tarot Reader by way of....

oh we have to twin Coleford with Ubud

Hello, must be the Equinox

Our first equinox contribution....from Nick in Brisbane

I know we have equinoxes, but they sneak up on you. The sun came up at 5:45 and went down 5:45. Hello, must be the Equinox. Hey, it’s warmed up too. Must be Summer.

Brisbane is blooming. There is colour and perfume everywhere. The jacaranda trees are budding with pale purple flowers that will soon cover ground underneath, the jasmine white and heavy in the evening, the bougainvillea brilliantly faded. It’s hot in the middle of the day: dry, searing. The wet winter has made the bush crunch underfoot with fuel, there is bushfire in the air. The rosellas zoom around the valley chattering at 50mph in perfect formation. The magpies are up to their usual demented nesting antics: swooping on cars, cyclists and unfortunate pedestrians. Kids attach paper eyes to the back of their school hats. Cyclists attach electric stay-ties to their helmets. We all look quite mad to visitors.

It’s 10pm, shirtsleeve temperature, light breeze. The odd mosquito. A moth lands now and again on the screen. A thunderstorm came through earlier. The air is clear. This is a good time to be in Brisbane . The end of the brief spring, a time of anticipation. Here comes the summer: sun, surf, sand, rainforest walks, fires, molten roads and cold beers. People go troppo. Bring it on.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Just before the harvest

English Lavender

I painted this Lavender field just before it was harvested in the middle of August.
Its not really a Celtic Year painting...but it does celebrate Lughnasadh.
It also marks the start of a new blog...summerland. new venture into blogland...a little more about painting and day to day life.
Its here if you want a peek .
Sally x

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Renewed greetings!

Hi Celtic Year Projectors!

I've been engaged in mighty distractions, so only reading and looking at the awesome Lughnasah creations now - you've been busy bees.

Me and Kay have some contributions that have been sown and are growing but not quite ready for harvesting ... so, to follow at some ripened time in the near future.

btw, the afore-mentioned contributions not organic in the gorgeous wild meadow garden sort of way, but in the multi-media way ... if they finish growing properly that is :-)

Loved reading the blog this evening

Have missed ye all


A story for Lammas


The lake’s ferry boat slid easily up to the jetty at Glenridding, barely disturbing the rhythmic slap of water against wood as the crewman jumped to terra firma, a heavy rope looped over his shoulder.
I pulled my fleece closer as a gust of wind bit sharply against my back. The light changed again and the previously jewelled trees softened, forming an unremarkable dull streak against the lake edge. Sparkling water turned to darkness.
My eyes shifted to the wooden boat, now moored safely against the jetty. Cold, tired passengers hurried to the café, eager for the comfort of hot coffee and bacon sandwiches after a long day walking the steep hills.
For a moment I forgot why I was here; lost in memory. That day, there had been a swan cruising the shore line; aloof and alone amongst the tiny ducks. An arrogant sense of its own beauty had prevented the bird from begging for bread, preferring instead to coax tourists into presenting him personally with the tastiest morsels. We had laughed at the visitors who were ignorant of the swan’s regular game and were hushed by the toddler whose eyes widened in awe at the size and brilliance of the elegant creature.
You pointed out the memorial to Donald Campbell erected by his granddaughter and teased me with your imagined plan to beat his 1955 record of 215mph across the lake. I knew then you were probably serious.
I smiled to myself, but the sight of the grey stone with its plaque stole my laughter. The pain of a more recent memory ripped through my heart and I quickly looked away.
“Are you getting on board love? We’re about to cast off and there isn’t another boat until tomorrow” a cheery voice on deck interrupted my musing.
“Oh yeah, sorry, I was just…..” my voice dried.
“Looking at the view,” finished the man, “it’s beautiful. I’ve worked the boats here for twenty years and I never tire of it.”
I smiled at him in reply, picked up my rucksack and climbed the gangway. I passed the greying boatman my ticket and noted his seasoned leather complexion and layers of muted coloured jumpers; both were comfortable and reassuring. Walking briskly along the deck, adjusting my step to the gentle swaying of the boat, I descended the three short steps into the cabin and sat down at our favourite window seat.
Darkening mounds towered high above the lake edges, resembling mud pies dropped carelessly by a giant’s child a millennia ago. Now covered in a patchwork of chocolate brown and muted mossy greens; some were capped with plantations of trees, orderly as they tickled the sky.
The boat chugged steadily across the lake on its journey to Howtown and Pooley Bridge, the shoreline a rolling animation, revealing hidden beaches and tree kissed water. The warmer lower slopes were quilted by soft green grass, sprinkled with leafy trees and flowering shrubs. The grand homes of 19th century industrialists, now hotels, retained their rich, almost sanitised aloofness. Your rant about ‘the exploitation of the countryside by rich tourists’ had only been silenced by the whiskey fuelled hot chocolate in my flask.
That last time had been early March. Jack Frost was regularly sprinkling the countryside with lace overnight. On the boat it had been even colder, forcing us to sit inside as our ears burned with hot-aches. The hamlet Bennet Head and scattered farm cottages had beckoned with implied warmth and sanctuary.
The bare wintry view had been enchanting. The trees held their breath through the chill, reserving energy for the spring burst, a promise of the future. Maybe that’s what had inspired you to talk about weddings and my heart to skip a beat.
The boat turned and copses gave way to wrinkled dumpling folds of rich peat. Burnt orange gorse bushes clumped in small crowds as the slopes steepened, thinning as rocks became blue-purple near the summits.
The smell of moving water and freshly stirred air drew my attention to the spray, sparkling in the sun light, denying the chill. I stared across the stern as the steady wake of the boat created self repeating turbulence; the order amongst the chaos. Water sprites played as the waves broke; spitting spray into the air, tempting the sky bound spirits to a duel.
As the boat reached the centre of the lake, I stood decisively and climbed the steps leading to the breezy deck. You held my hand last time, making sure I didn’t stumble as the sway rocked us against each other. My memory of that day is warm and sunny although it had been cold; we’d wrapped up like children ready for snowball fights and you’d laughed at my fluffy hat. Strange, I clearly recall the warmth and strength of your hand that day, yet I can’t remember where we went after the boat trip.
On deck the steady thrum of the engines and the quiet chatter of an elderly couple seemed odd, almost out of place. As I willed them to go below deck, the white haired lady met my eyes for a moment. Her expression showed concern. Suddenly embarrassed by my comprehension, she looked away. Her watery blue eyes settled on her husband as he gently took her hand and pointed to the brood of ducks battling the wake.
The boat bucked as I escaped their completeness and I stumbled against the guard rail. I paused, steadying myself. Reaching into my rucksack I pulled out the thick, opaque plastic bag I’d collected four days ago and walked to the stern with the wind swirling freshly behind me. The bag’s weight had been a surprise; heavy, but without substance.
As the sun came out beams touched the spray and refracted blue flashes danced across my eyes. I tipped the bag and watched as the ash danced in the air, before descending to play with the water sprites below.
My task complete, I stood alone.


Thursday, 20 August 2009


This is what happened to the stones with holes in that Sally gathered at Dungeness and generously donated to me to make something for the CY project, some bits from the slate in our bathroom, some garden twine and another holey stone I've had for years.
I loved making this in our garden in glorious sunshine , the juxtaposition of the natural and man-made pieces facinates me, I like that the stones speak to each other and that it's all natural materials although they will biodegrade/wear away in extremely differing timescales!
The mobile is on loan (from CYP) in our bathroom and has improved the view from the loo, visitors always have a play (well OK so do we!) and enjoy the somehow stately swinging and gentle tapping. Another bathroom distraction!
Presently this is called "HoleyStoneyMobile" which is hardly original so I'd appreciate any ideas for a more appropriate title.


Severn Bore

"The Severn Bore is one of Britain's few truly spectacular natural phenomena. It is a large surge wave that can be seen in the estuary of the River Severn, where the tidal range is the 2nd highest in the world, being as much as 50 feet (approx. 15.4m)."

Words and image from The Severn Bore website (hope they don't mind )

The the incoming tides around equinoxes are the best time to see the really is worth seeing...and hearing. Time table is here


Thursday, 13 August 2009

more printing....

Not much painting happening here...printing is the new obsession...
here is the latest...lino block prints on canvas....collaborative work with Ian....these pieces destined for a 'watch the birdie' exhibition to be held locally.

The whole idea of combining words and images is of course an on going Celtic Year theme so more to follow soon....I'm particularly exited about something we are working on using braille....I didn't realise it could be so visual!

a warm spring
tribes converge,
the forest welcomes
sowing the seeds with love and chanting
flowers bloom with individuality
where's the summer gone
the chamomile and the poppy don't wait
lughnasadh harvest,
missing friends remembered
the wheel turns
when will we all meet again


a poem written for absent friends down under....and printed by us with the aid of a glass or two of local cider.


In Sallie’s Garden

By the joyful hands goddess energy flows flags clapping in draping rows

The wild meadow grows seeds of life sowed returning life to air and land

The trees musically stand Gaia’s own percussive band

Whispering secrets no man knows sunshine comes then goes

Light bending colour bows spectrum spreading brightly framed

Ferns and foxgloves in concert crammed campion and brambles round

Sacred birch with oak dance about Sallie’s garden the shining heart shows

Lindsey Starborn