I know I promised to write more about the Lake District but time has run away with me once more so forgive me if I fast forward into July. In between rainstorms of epic proportions we have tried our best to catch a little sunshine and keep on top of our little garden, which is lush and green with all that rain!
I have had spells of working non stop, to meet deadlines for projects whilst trying not to neglect my family, house and garden and trying to find time to devote to making books to replenish my shop and some just for fun.
The apple sketches are made up part of recent packaging project albeit a little out of season.
I made a brown leather long stitch notebook for my husband and a single section notebook for my mum. A needle book for a friend, based on a tutorial by Tiny Happy that you might like to try out yourself here?
I also made a wedding guest book for my Goddaughter and had some left over for a miniature.
When the sun did decide to peep out from the clouds we visited nearby Erdigg, which is located in Wales. It seems strange that within a short drive from our home we can be in a place where “garden” is also called “yr ardd”. This eighteenth century country house has a very warm, friendly atmosphere and you get the sense that it housed servants who were valued and well looked after. I loved wandering through the formal gardens and enjoyed the walled gardens with their herbaceous borders and of course I had to take home a plant from their shop; a purple salvia.
We noticed some newly fledged swallows in one of the buildings, if you click on the photograph you can just about make them out, perched on a cartwheel. One of the buildings housed an impressive array of wood working tools and I thought how much my dad would have appreciated those carefully honed chisels. I think I have inherited his love of tools and woe betides anyone who uses my little hammer without replacing it! We treated ourselves to a cream tea and sat outside in the sunshine, a rare treat indeed.
Later we chatted to the beekeeper who told us how difficult the rain and cold has been for the bees. They will not fly in the rain or cold and this will have an effect not only on the honey yield but also on the fruit and flower crops, as they depend on bees to pollinate their flowers. He showed us the inside of the hive and explained how it worked. I had not appreciated the structure of the hives and how they start as a man made form. This is made of bees wax in the shape of a honeycomb; the bees then build their incredible complex structure onto this, just as they would in the wild. The queen bee is confined to the lower compartment, her size prevents her from entering the higher levels; this is to stop her laying her eggs in the honey. Please correct me if I am wrong: I often am!
My name is Valerie Greeley. I am an artist, surface pattern/textile designer and illustrator. I have a special interest in the book arts including illustration, bookbinding, printmaking and artist books. I also have an interest in quilting, nature and bumblebees.