Friday, 27 November 2015

Season of Changes ~~~

Gentle Reader ~~~ As Autumn turns to Winter, it is with some surprise, caught unaware, that I realise it is now barely just over three weeks to the Winter Solstice when the days will begin to lengthen as the light steadily returns to the Northern Hemisphere. To where did Autumn fly? How did the year turn so quickly by?  Despite the ferocious Autumn gales that have pounded us now, surely and steadily for three weeks, the long weeks of Winter lie ahead.

My thoughts turn to one word ~~~change~~~ and all the changes the turning seasons bring, each one in their own unique glory. As each season changes and turns, so our lives change and turn ~~~

Spring passes and one remembers one's innocence.
Summer passes and one remembers one's exuberance.
Autumn passes and one remembers one's reverence.
Winter passes and one remembers one's perseverance.” 
~~~Yoko Ono~~~

Recently, I was in my attic and came across this wall hanging I made during an art course I took in 1998.  The group visited Castell Henllys Iron Age Village where we gathered research and upon our return to the studio at college we had three days to collate our research and then design and create a final outcome.

My final outcome was a woven hanging, and was made from a mixture of found, reclaimed, and recycled objects, and has a feeling of disintegration and change, which is how I responded to the information I had gathered ~~~ it also had personal significance as I was going through many life changes at the time, and because I work a lot in textiles ~~~


On the day we visited Castell Henllys, I was unwell with a feverish cold and, after a short while exploring outside, I hunkered down inside one of the huts where there was an open hearth with a roaring wood fire in the centre of the hut which radiated warmth and comfort to an extent that I'd never experienced before.  Any conceptions I'd ever had of how our Iron Age ancestors stayed warm changed right at that moment and melted into the flames.
~~~This was where the clan gathered, to eat, sleep {in beds around the edges of the hut} and tell their stories of an evening when the day's work was done.  I was amazed by the cleanliness and comfort as the conditions seemed primitive with a dirt floor, hewn logs for seating and an open space half covered by woven fabric for an entrance which offered little or no protection from the elements, yet incredibly comforting sitting there in the half light and in a haze of wood smoke.  More conceptions changed.
~~~The walls of wattle and daub were adorned with decorated wooden shields, and the roof of tightly packed reeds raised high above my head supported by tree trunks and sturdy branches.  Somehow, it made up for the open door and I soon found myself forgetting that I was unwell. These people had building skills and took pride in their interiors by decorating them. Yet more conceptions changed.
~~~I began to experience an immense and overwhelming feeling of connection to the natural world, and as if the spirits of the ancient ones were anchoring me to a new place of belonging, as I consciously drifted into another time. I was becoming changed.
~~~As my eyes adjusted to the gloom, I let my gaze wander around the space and was amazed at the skill and craftsmanship in everything that came into my new found focus. Beautifully woven reed baskets, iron pots and pans, iron and wooden utensils, a fire dog, woven blankets on the beds, and woven curtains to separate the beds into cubicles, the guides dressed in woven garments that had a beauty only seen in hand dyed and hand woven cloth. And so it went on as my perceptions and conceptions continued to change.
~~~I was particularly taken by the weaving looms, basic, yet quite recognisable as the forerunners of our modern day looms, and eventually these were the primary force behind the construction of the wall hanging {of course, at this point, I had no idea my research and development would result in a wall hanging}

Lichen covered twigs, diseased birch branches, reclaimed sash cord

Back in the studio my research progressed and I processed the images and experiences gleaned at Castell Henllys, two things seemed to come together. They were the way in which our ancestors utilised nature and found objects, changing them to purpose; and the mutability, the changeability, of those objects within the circle of life. Having changed from hunter~gatherers to settled farmers, the Iron Age Celts still relied on the bounty of nature for their food, clothing, shelter, enclosures and protection, weaponry, and more. We know that they had a sense of aesthetic and, amongst other things, changed plants into dyes for colouring their cloth, their art, and their bodies.  Woad was a primary source of the particular shade of indigo blue associated with the period.  They used trees and reeds that grew locally and changed them into beams and roofing for their constructions, and grew grain to harvest and change into flour for food. I drew on all of these things, and more, bringing them together in a woven by hand wall hanging that was not precious in any way. I just let my hands respond to the found materials, and created something in full knowledge that the mutability, the changeability, of the materials chosen was part of the outcome.

Fallen sycamore seeds and grain husks as the piece deteriorates and falls apart returning to the earth


Lavender grown in, and gathered from, my garden incorporated into the weaving


Roughly made clay weights created in response to Iron Age weaving looms
In my closing statement, I emphasised the mutability, the changeability, how the Iron Age settlement had returned to the earth and was recreated again, how the circle of life continues, and how my weaving will slowly return to rejoin the earth from whence it came ~~~ ever changing, ever present ~~~

This is a little gem of a quaint and curious film made in 1958 by the Esso Refinery to promote Pembrokeshire.  Charming in it's vintage style, the music at times reminiscent of an old movie, it epitomises a time gone by ~~~ changed forever ~~~ and many of the industries portrayed within are now no longer practised, or have been mechanised, or become a rare craft, practised only by a small minority, whereas once they were the skills by which every day life was made possible ~~~

* it is about 30 minutes, so go and make a cup of tea, fetch a slice of cake, and settle into a comfy chair ~~~


Change is everywhere in my village these days, and none for the better, as the Post Office, banks, newsagents, community facilities, and several shops close their doors forever. Two schools and the remaining banks are under threat too.  It saddens me to watch the community that once had such heart, such purpose, shrivel and wither at the hands of people who do not even live in the county. I will speak no more on this.

Change is unavoidable; two years ago, I took these images of the stark, leafless trees against a beautiful late Autumn sky of rose gold along my drive ~~~


Even this simple and beautiful view along my drive is now changed, for the neighbours on both sides, to whom the trees belong, have both cut the branches right back, in some parts even removing the trees completely. It makes me sad to see such butchered branches, but I have immense joy and gratitude that I captured their beauty before the changes took place ~~~ they will grow again, but changed ~~~



Not forever does the bulbul sing
In balmy shades of bowers,
Not forever lasts the spring
Nor ever blossom the flowers.
Not forever reigneth joy,
Sets the sun on days of bliss,
Friendships not forever last,
They know not life, who know not this.





Last night was the Full Frost Moon and I captured a couple of images as she shone down, brightly lighting the dark Autumn night ~~~ even the moon changes with a different shape each night as she waxes and wanes through the millennia ~~~

The night was clear and cold and the light of the moon was bright and bold


Magical clouds created a magical backdrop


Spooky branches and scudding clouds that change the scene again

Gentle Reader, we are in a season of changes, the weather drifts from Autumn to Winter, as the year turns, let us remember that as we move into Winter and Spring, our antipodean cousins move into Summer and Autumn ~~~ ever in the circle of the ever~changing year ~~~

Until next time

Sincerely yours,
Deborah xoxo

26 comments:

  1. I love you blog , you write it beautifully, those two pictures are stunning x

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  2. Some of your photographs would make good covers for a horror novel :-)

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    1. I agree, and I think I know which ones! lol

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  3. So beautifully written, dear Deb--I must return to view the video. Your trip back in time was a lovely experience. How profound....the artwork you crafted from your experience so reminds me of Native American pieces. Thank you for sharing such a personal look into your art. Change is to be embraced, but not always easy. Castell Henllys sounds like a marvelous place to understand the trip mankind has journeyed.
    I so love your shots of the full frost moon....it was lovely last evening rising in the night sky.
    Have a wonderful day in the Shire, my friend. xoxo ♥

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    1. Thank you Martha Ellen. The video was a real treat for me too. So many things that are already forgotten by many are in there, it is an important document. It thrills me that you compare my interpretive work to Native American. I do love Castell Henllys. The Iron Age Celts had much in common with Native Americans.
      Hope your Thanksgiving was a lovely, family day. Deb xoxo

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  4. I really enjoyed reading your blog. You have a magical way with words. The Subject of change is very interesting I personally have always had trouble with change . Just because usually I don't think it's change for the better .

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    1. Thank you, Rebecca. Change is all around us, all of the time, but I agree, change isn't always for the better, if ever. We are creatures of habit.

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  5. I love your writing, so descriptive and evocative .
    Have you come across the book " Living in the past " that was published when a TV programme about the Iron Age was on - a Long time ago. It's by John Percival and is 1p on Amazon.
    Your wall hanging is brilliant and fantastic photos

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    1. Hi Sue, thank you. I'm wondering if that series you speak of is the one where people were isolated for twelve months in a settlement recreation? I remember it well, and was in Bath just a few days after they came out of the camp. The hanging continues to deteriorate, part of it's purpose.

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  6. How haunting and lyrical this blog post. I could "see" the inside of the Iron Age, along with you as you described it. My view of the Frost Moon was exactly as yours! It was bright and on full display through the black branches of our maple, now stripped of leaves, and silver white clouds were scudding north, past it, like ghost ships. It was cold and wonderful standing there on my porch watching it. I had a front row seat. It was quiet. No one else was out and about, though I wondered why everyone was not out compelled by this brilliant moon. Thank you, Debs, for another wonderful one. Jane xo

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    1. Thank you, Jane, I'm glad you enjoyed it. I treasure few things more than my 'alone time' with the moon. I love your description of your view. Deb xo

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  7. What a beautiful post! Your writing and photography are truly amazing, and I love your weaving. The video reminds me of my late Uncle Trevor, who exclaimed when crossing the Severn Bridge, "you are entering God's country now".
    jenmiller

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    1. Thank you. I'm with your Uncle Trevor, we are always entering God's Country as we cross over the Severn Bridge. I remember coming home once, over the new crossing, and the fog hid the Welsh coast and the river from view, but right as we reached the middle, the great, white supports of the bridge came into view, directly in front of us, and it was as an omen that I was coming home.

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  8. Oh Deb,
    This post brought out so many emotions. You know how I hate change, but in reading how your perceptions changed...changed my thoughts on change. Does that make any sense? Your writing has gone up another level, my friend. You really must write a novel soon!
    I loved the poem, I had not read it before. And the photos, gorgeous. And your weaving...so textural and , what is the word I want? Natural?, no...oh, I will reply again as soon as I figure out the word I want. Anyways, I will check out the video later.

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    1. Dearest Darlene, I am smiling here as I read your very kind words. Thank you, my friend. Yes, I know how you hate change, we've discussed at length, especially that over which we have no control. I guess change stretches us, and it is inevitable too. It is part of everything, but we still don't have to like it! Hugs, Deb xoxo

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    2. Organic, I think that is the word I was searching for. Your wonderful artwork is earthy and flowy and organic. It's like a field of tall grass waving in the breeze, undulating.

      Yes, I do hate not being in control. Maybe for the New Year I shall try to embrace "impermanence".

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  9. Donna ~ The Cottage Magpie28 November 2015 at 15:29

    Oh, Deborah...What a wonderful way with words you have! Such a delight to read. Your words paint such beautiful pictures for our minds to see. I have always tried to look at change as a good thing. And, I have had lots of opportunities to do so over my 40 some odd years. It is the one thing that is an ever preset constant in my life. I look forward to 'visiting" your village via your video as soon as I have my tea and cake in hand. Hugs from me across the sea ~ Donna ;)

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    1. I'm so thrilled, dear Donna, that you enjoyed my writing and pictures. Yes, change is the one constant in our lives. Now, is that an oxymoron? I know it is a beautiful figurative phrase you have given. Do get that cake and tea and watch the video. You will love it, very vintage feel too. Deb xoxo

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  10. I often feel like the little town where I live is, like your village, losing its soul to change. Fascinating artifact.

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    1. Thank you. Yes, Guillaume, my village, my home is losing it's soul to change. What can we do? A way of life is going, and going fast.

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  11. Such FABULOUS moon photos...beautiful! What is the older woman gathering? Looks like maybe winkles? YES to Dec 21...meaning days will get longer...praise the good Lord!

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    1. Thank you! I think the older woman, on the sea shore, is gathering Laver {a type of seaweed} to make Laver Bread, a Welsh recipe that is now a delicacy. It is nothing like bread. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laver_(seaweed) hope this link works for you.

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  12. I have returned to read and savor this beautiful post several times already, dear Deb. You have painted such a wonderful portrait of life inside the huts at the Iron Age village. As Martha Ellen mentioned, the Native Americans of the Southwest came to mind immediately. Your beautiful weaving carries so much meaning... and continues to change. I will hold this image close to my heart, when difficult changes happen. Thank you for your insight and powerful words, Deb! I'm looking forward to returning once again to enjoy the video with a cup of tea. ♡

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    1. I'm so pleased, Dearest Dawn, that you enjoyed it. It isn't the most beautiful wall hanging but it does carry a lot of meaning within the weaving. The video is an amazing piece of history and I'm glad that you, and others here, have enjoyed it as did I. Deb xoxo

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  13. Dearest Deb, Grayden and I just came back to view your lovely movie! We were both thrilled to see what "was" in your beautiful Pembrokeshire! What a gorgeous area! The cliffs are magnificent and I loved seeing St David's Cathedral...so lovely inside and out. I must check out your Lava bread--it sounds quite interesting! Yes change is so evident worldwide. Even our little town has made enormous changes in the 47 years we have lived here. Thank you so much for sharing a most interesting look at change. xoxo ♥

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Thank you for stopping by today ~ I love reading your comments