Delighted in Dorset…

Part 1 of 3.

This  January I spent a magical week in and around Dorset visiting my friend Lesley Watt. 

If you know me or are familiar with my work, you may be aware of the currents of magic, myth and folklore that run through all I do… So this trip was part vacation, part art retreat, part creative interlude. It was restorative, invigorating, inspiring, and immensely fulfilling. The creative seeds planted this one week will grow all year…

But for now – let me share a few ( or many!) images with you.

The village of Burley IN the New Forest. ( Day 1)

The New Forest was established in 1079 by William The Conqueror. ( Yes, THAT William the Conquerer.) In villages throughout the NF, “Commoners” or residents hold the same rights to access/grazing/resources as their early Medieval predecessors. The New Forest ponies roam free, and are loosely managed by the “verderers”. The town of Burley has numerous ties to witches in history, namely Sibyl Leek and Gerald Gardner…

The New Forest itself – with its history, landscape, biodiversity… has captured my imagination. I have been starting to read up and work with images inspired by the Celtic Tree alphabet – so this dovetails in rather nicely. Although I was there in Winter, the gorse and broom were blooming. The ponies were wearing their shaggy coats – and as you see a gorgeous blue sky appeared.

Corfe Castle. ( Day 2) 

Again – Norman in historical time period. ( I DO like OLD stuff.) Begun by William the Conqueror in 1090; finished by his son Henri I in the early 1100’s. These majestic ruins command the skyline, and its placement as a fortress is evident!

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Im sure there are sprites and pixies living in that tree.

The gentle hike up to the castle and the village was like walking into a fairyland. So much free, mosses and lichens, a stream cascading… And you arrive in Corfe Castle village.

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Rather timeless when cars aren’t pictured…

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The ruins are not overly protected. Visitors are trusted to act and tread carefully. I was enamored with all the unobstructed views.

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There are currently ravens nesting high up in the tower wall. And a flock of jackdaws kept us company.

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This. As lino print. As weaving. As ceramic tile. This!

Then a fabulous lunch… and one more historical marker.

This made me chuckle, incredulous. This stone marks the millennium of a regicide. And even that was 40 years ago!

We left Corfe Castle – and drove back towards Bournemouth via the Isle of Purbeck and Studland Bay. ( Isle of Purbeck as in Purbeck stone of which Corfe Castle is built.) Weather was cooperating – so we did a little beach combing on Knoll beach… I could see white chalk cliffs and even the Isle of Wight in the distance.

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Time to head home after a stunning inspiring day. Then THIS happened:

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That late afternoon light!

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Again – so much inspiration here!

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Greens in January made me so happy.

The third day was a day spent at home, in the studio! Sketching, collaging, and working on my travel journal. ( Stay tuned for that.) Then to the pub for a proper Sunday dinner. A cute pup, a delicious Dorset cider, and Yorkshire pudding ( not pictured.)

Stay tuned for the next installment that includes magic, alchemy, camaraderie, and more!

 

 

I want to wake up in the city that never sleeps…

The Garden

OK – so technically I didnt wake up in NYC. We took the train up for the day. This was a belated trip for my birthday. Happily – the belated time frame meant we could see the Frouds’ exhibit at Animazing Gallery, and perhaps a festive holiday window or two? 

Wendy's window

“Faerie Tale” and “After the Party” – polymer and mixed media by Wendy Froud. 

Toby's window

polymer and mixed media sculpture by Toby Froud

Labyrinth sketches: Brian Froud

Concept sketches for “Labyrinth” by Brian Froud. 

Brian's sketches of Ludo

This detailed sketch of Ludo was incredible. so detailed in the face, yet so loose and fluid in the figure.

Animazing Gallery

The exhibit is a must see if you are a fan of the Frouds’ work. (It runs into February.) I was excited to go – naturally. I have my original copy of “Faeries” by Brian Froud and Alan Lee – dog-eared, tattered, and well loved. I cannot think of another artist who influenced me more during my adolescence and early teen years. To know that there were working artists, creating fantasy artwork, seriously and successfully was huge to the fledgling artist in me. I feel fortunate to have met Brain and Wendy at FaerieCon, as I have discussed previously. But this exhibit was simply outstanding. Original paintings, in luminous color, that reproductions sadly do not capture perfectly. Sketches – the doodles, thinking out loud, as it were – the look of “Labyrinth” at its inception. Sculptures in the round, textures, fabrics, leathers right there in space in front of me. Images that I know well from the Heart of Faeries Oracle, seen framed on the gallery walls. 

Recently I borrowed and watched Wendy’s Faerie Figure DVD (available at Gnomon Workshop. Thanks to Sarah!) I dont sculpt figures very often, but I do create 3D work. It is a phenomenal video, and her hands work magic right in front of you! But to have seen the process, and heard her tricks and techniques, which she gladly shares – and then to see the originals! Simply breathtaking. I am humbled and amazed. 

Story Teller and Listeners

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“Story Teller and listeners” Wendy Froud

And always humor mixed in with the magic and the mystery: 

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(He was a tiny wee fellow. The reflection of buildings, the angle, the cropping – do give him a sense of grandeur, do they not?)

Please stay tuned for parts 2 and 3 of the NYC adventure. Wait until you see the Macy’s windows…and the Flatiron art installation. Come back tomorrow.