Art Every Day of November 2012

It is 2 years since I took part in Art Every Day Month! In the absence of a group of creative friends or creative groups to work with, it is one way to stay committed to daily art  and at the same time be a part of a group of fun artists doing something similar. I dont know why the emails from Art Every Day do not have a prompt for the artwork of the day. They seem to refer to the previous day…. so I will make up my own. The point is that I am committed to Art Every Day!

Day 1. New Embroidery Stitches

Insertion stitches using string and tapestry yarn

I am in bed with a virus, but it didn’t stop me being creative. I got a small box and filled it with threads, needles, pieces of fabric, scissors and a book of how to embroidery stitches. My idea was to learn new stitches and then use them in a creative way, making little vignettes for my sketchbook. I want to record any problems and successes with the threads, the technique or the surface to be worked on.

Day 2. Om Shakti

With this virus keeping me to the bedroom, I read from two books that have inspired today’s work.  ‘ Three Dimensional Embroidery’ by Janet Edmonson and ‘The Divine Feminine Fire’  by Teri Degla. This inspired me to create Om Shakti, a small devotional vessel, from coils of torn fabric, embellished with beads and stitch. When I was woken at 1pm by some neighbours putting on  floodlights and bringing a lorry with lifting gear outside my bedroom window, I sat up in bed cursing and created some more tiny coils with the same fabric and made little feet for the vessel. By the time I put my head on the pillow at 2pm, I looked at Om Shakti sparkling with tiny beads under my bedside light and made a list in my mind of all the things I am grateful for in life. This pushed away the feelings of annoyance with my neighbor, who in 8 years has never done such a thing , so I forgave him, and anyway all those lovely thoughts took me into sweet dreams.

Day 3. Devotional Beads

My husband wants to take me to lunch at a tapas bar in Mancha Blanca. But I am still coughing too much, so I will keep that little gem for later in the week. I am reading  Teri Degler’s book, who writes about the incredible life force or creative spirit operating through us and how to tap into this source more often. I read the breathing meditation in Chapter 1 and realised it is something that I do most mornings since starting yoga 40 years ago! It reminded me how good it feels to be grounded and at least at the start of the day to feel at one with the world. I am thinking that devotion could be an adjective and a noun. It could be a feeling, an activity or an object that inspires devotion.

Today I am thinking beads. My brother once brought me back some natural seed-pod beads from Hawaii that are used in meditation, I also have a natural seed-pod necklace that I brought back from a trip to the Amazon. It was possibly made for the tourist market, but it has large pods that make it look like a meditation device. In Buddhist and Hindu meditations they are known as Malas and contain a total of 108 beads.  Meditation beads have been used for centuries and are central to many religions. I think of the Catholic rosary beads and the Greek  komboli beads (or worry beads) with their one more than a multiple of 4 system – so 5, 9, 17, 21,25 etc. The English word for bead derives from the Old English noun bede which means a prayer. Aw, I am liking where this is taking me, and I have hardly begun.

Day 4: Embellishing Devotional Beads

Embellished Fabric Bead

Yesterday I made 19 fabric beads,  they are wrapped in thread and need to be embellished with glass beads, embroidery stitches  and other ideas I have yet to fathom. I also need a solid idea for their creation. They are not for wearing, they are not like Greek-worry-beads that make a clacking noise, and they are too fragile to be used as a meditation device and handled constantly. The embellishment process will take considerable time, as glass beads are so tiny and the work painstaking… perhaps a couple a day. It is interesting to be working with small objects due to being confined to my bedroom, with a narrow range of materials. All the time I am working on Devotional Beads, in the back of my mind is how these basic design ideas can be magnified!

Day 5: Lady Godiva’s Bequest

Godivas bequest

Now I feel better I am studying the history of beads and I know that the earliest prayer beads were discovered in India and associated with the God Shiva about 1700 BC. A worshiper of Shiva would use a rosary or mala of 32 beads and a worshiper of  Vishnu used 108 beads. This concept of counting beads whilst saying prayers or repeating the name of a god  eventually spread throughout the Buddhist world to China and Japan and eventually to Europe and used in Christian worship.

Today’s prompt is from the knowledge that Lady Godiva, in 11th century England  endowed the monastery at Coventry with all her treasure, including her circlet of gems which she used for her prayers. She is better known throughout history for riding through the town of Coventry naked upon a horse. Her husband the Lord of the Manor had imposed heavy taxes upon the population, and she had repeatedly asked for the taxes to be lowered. He offered to lower the taxes if she rode naked through the town upon her horse. She took him at his word. What charity!

Day 6: Embellishing Devotional Beads.

Lucky that I have been invited to a small group of avid stitchers, every Wednesday. I took along my fabric beads to see if anyone had any suggestions. I am not sure these small beads are working the way I would like. Chris, the organiser of the group, suggested making tube shapes of fabric around a tube of wadding, so that I have a central hole for threading them together. That is a good idea, which I will try,  but I would like to continue with the spherical shapes too. So I have made a bigger sample, twice the size of the first, with a ball of wadding in the centre. This time I used a self coloured thread to tie them, instead of a complimentary colour. Then I decorated with sequins and beads.

Day 7: Devotional Bead Bag

This theme of Devotion has got me hooked. I have made a drawing of a bead bag to contain the beads.


From Indian Oddessy to Sultans Bed

I WANT to get my paints out and pour over my photographs to remind myself of all the  design images that hooked my interest in Jaipur. The saffron and indigo colours in Bagru textile village, flapping from rooftops whilst it dried in the sun. The hand-blocked fabrics in the village shop.Then on Holi- Day, when we invited to a party and threw dry powders at each other. Everyone was caked in fluorescent pink, yellow, green and blue powder as they streaked into hair, body and clothes. I was overwhelmed by the displays  and bold colors and designs of the elephants, dancers and musicians on show at Jairpur polo ground.

Treadle sewing machine

I simply fell in love with those magnificent elephants, historic buildings, architectural details and ancient textiles on display in the Pink City. I was tempted by the simple crafts made  sold by the hawkers… the natural beauty of the people around me and the vivid colours in the ladies saris. The dusty roads with camels, bullocks, pedestrians, tuk tuks brightly painted lorrys and cars …a kaleidoscope of hues.

Choki Dani



Back at home, I am designing an outside bed, fit for a Sultan, or in my case a Sultana.  I love sleeping outside in August and September where the night temperatures and a gentle wind keep  you cool. Indoors with the shutters closed to keep out mosquitoes, and my gorgeous cats in. it is too hot to sleep without air conditioning.

The Sultans bed also can be used as extra seating during the day under the cool shade of the pergola. The swirling motifs on the whitewashed walls are ideas from both Klimt and India, where I suspect he found those curling forms on henna tattoos, wall paintings and cotton saris.


The Real Rajisthan

The Pink City, Jaipur

I soon learned why  it takes 30 mins  to travel 5km  anywhere in India.  Mustapha, the driver of our private coach for the week, drove patiently towards the swarming traffic on the roads leading to  The Pink City. It was a few days before the Holi celebrations and everyone seemed to be on the point of collision.

No guide books can prepare you for the chaos of  3 wheeled tuk-tuks, bicycle rickshaws, creaky swaying old buses, vintage cars, 4 wheel drive vehicles, cyclists and motorbikes laden with enormous loads. We saw camels and bullock pulled carts, scooters with a driver and up to 4 passengers, wandering dogs, holy cows, and beggars. It is not unusual for traders selling all manner of produce, to stop traffic to sell them something. Women and men are wandering around carrying enormous packages on their heads, they are deftly weaving in and out.


tuk tuks


snake charm

There inside the entrance was something I thought I would never see. A snake charmer really can get a snake to pop its head out of the basket!  Hawkers were doing a brisk trade selling packages of brightly coloured powder. Inside the Pink City I can hear drums and wander to where people are jiggling their hips. I  cant help but join in the spontaneous outbursts of dancing.  The Holi celebrations have begun.


Bagru village is  off the tourist trail, it is a place of textile printmaking, dyeing and block making. Shy women spy on us from doorways, and gregarious children and pigs dyed blue,  follow our 23 strong group around the village.  Indigo Blue paint snakes through open drains everywhere.

Hand Block Printing Bagru village

Resist stamping before dyeing


Jaipur Here We Come

He strode to my front door like a tribal chief looking for a scalping. But the postman who delivered my passport containing my Indian visa just happens to have a permanent scowl, a receding hairline and a loud voice. But you couldn’t wish for a nicer person than Carlos, to be knocking on your front door at 10am on a Monday morning. He greets me with double kisses and then stands back from the front door and bellows ‘Buenos Dias Señora’ and tells me, in a voice so loud so that the whole street can hear, what he has brought for me. He might as well be thrashing his tribal drums.


Chinese Brush Painting

This Christmas we have no tree, no cards, no fairy lights, and not even a tired piece of tinsel. Despite the kittens general mischievousness and the fact that I have taken down every curtain in the house and hid away my leather dining room chairs for fear of permanent damage, there has not been a kittysecond when I have regretted giving Lolita and La Bamba a home.

Today with the kittens snoozing under the pepper tree. I have been playing with my Christmas present Chinese-Brush-Painting-Sourcebook, and I have bought 10 Chinese brushes from an Oriental specialist shop in Teguise for 19.99 euros. They are contained in a bright red box with an orange silk lining. But is this for display only?  how to tell you have the genuine Chinese brushes, because I am finding they dont seem to have the properties described in the Source book ? I am on a mission to find out more.

Meet Lolita and La Bamba

What is it about kittens that make me think they are a superior race of their own? These two scamps have just arrived from the SARA animal sanctuary and have enjoyed exploring every inch of my art room. They are little divas and couldnt wait to have their photograph taken before a long snooze on my lap.

Jaipur Elephant Festival, India

The choice was, we could spend our savings on a second honeymoom or pay off the car loan. That is why we are  joining Colouricious on a Textile Trip to India.

The  Jaipur Elephant Festival and a Holy week party will be the highlights .  Elephants dressed in gorgeous jhools (saddle cloths) and elaborate  jewellery, tinkling anklets and bright make up, people  sprinkling ‘gulaal’ (colored powder) on the crowds from their  perch on top of the elephant… my camera will be permanently switched on.

Jaipur in  Rajasthan,  sings with buildings of antiquity, tradition and colour, I cant wait to sit in the Palace of the Winds and sleep in a  hotel called the The Home of the Clouds. It may be 259 Kms from Delhi airport and I’ve no idea how long we will have to travel from our  home in Spain to Heathrow, to Delhi and by coach to  our destination, but I am sure I will be going straight to sleep when I get there.

I will enjoy throwing colored powder paints at everyone at The Holi, “Festival of colours”, with  its loud parades, music, and dancing. The festivities mark the beginning of spring and the end of the winter with bonfires and theatrical treats. Nobody is exempt,  if we are on the street we expect to be daubed with paint.

Previous Older Entries