1/17/2016

Que sera, sera.

Hooded Crow
The Hooded Crow was a recent commission for a star gazer in the Netherlands, she tells there is a recognisable pattern in the stars I have drawn. What those stars have to say is a mystery to me, perhaps yet to be revealed. Can we see into the future when we look at the stars or are we only observing the past?

"Que sera, sera, whatever will be will be, the future's not ours to see..." My mum's favourite Doris Day song and one which she sang to me in the fifties. Most of this month so far has been dominated by my mum's health issues. She sustained a very nasty fall and is now in hospital, my thoughts go back to those words as we contemplate an uncertain future. 


Chetham's Library
I have been grateful for small diversions; afternoon tea at Chetham's Library provided a welcome break and a chance to explore a magical and ancient library right in the centre of Manchester. This is the oldest public library in the English speaking world, founded in 1653, although I think the building itself is far older. It certainly had a very Gothic feel and as the January afternoon became darker the mood intensified. We took afternoon tea in the Baronial Hall which was every bit as grand as its name suggests. There we were welcomed by our friend Sue who is the Heritage Manager for the librarybetter known to bloggers as Mouse from Mouse Notebook. I can't imagine a more interesting workplace.


hand quilting
I have also been happy to loose myself in the gentle art of hand quilting, the slow and rhythmic pace of hand stitching has helped ease the anxiety of caring for an elderly loved one. I have been making a start on making an actual fabric version of "The Dream Quilt". After trying several digital printers and after much tweaking and adjusting I now have some actual printed fabric. The designs on the fabric are from the recent book I illustrated, words by Adele Geras. Co-incidentally, the lovely little heart shaped pin cushion is also the work of Mouse. 

BBC Radio 3 recently broadcast "The Pearl Fishers" which was performed at The Met in New York. I stitched this little fish square transported to another place by the famous duet, sobbing and stitching in equal measure. 



And now, I must wish you all a Happy New Year, may all your dreams come true. x

20 comments:

  1. I do hope all goes well with your Mother.
    What a worrying time for you - and as you say - you can only wait and think about the past. I am glad you are finding little comforts. I love The Pearl Fishers - and your little square.

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    1. Thanks you for your concerns and kind words. x

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  2. Hello, my Friend. I hope your Mom will be alright. ((hugs)) I'm praying for her--and for you.

    I love this drawing. It is exquisite -- it fills my eyes. I adore crows. They are so wise and feisty. I liked your comments about the stars, too.

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    1. Thanks Beth, crows do seem to be very intelligent birds, they seem to have an ancient wisdom.

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  3. Dear Valerie,
    Sending warmest wishes to you and your mother. I think the quilting may be just the thing to soothe nerves (I find knitting works quite well too!)
    The library looks wonderful and I must look up Mouse.
    Ruthie Mowry, a wonderful poet and English professor in the mid west of America, posts on Instagram as birdsoftheairquilts you might like to see what she comes up with for her grandchildren.

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    1. Hi Elizabeth, thanks for the link. I looked up Ruthie and her lovely quilts.

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  4. Val, the Hooded Crow with its starry sky message is a beautiful painting. I could look at it for a long time and want to keep on gazing.

    Please give your Mom my best wishes for her steady recovery. Falls can be sudden, unexpected, scary and damaging. I find myself trying to be a bit more careful about some of my steps up and down stairs in my jaunts around the city, but realize that I might also do more to clear some wider walkways through various parts of my cluttered apartment!

    Your hand quilting looks very fine. Perhaps 2016 will be the year that I finally find some time to cut up some of my fabric stock and begin my own paper piecing. The technique has intrigued me for some years now.

    Knitting still holds sway over much of my open hours, but that quilting technique is calling.

    What fun for you and Sue to get together. I would love to see that library where she works. Of course, it would be doubly great to get together with you all for tea.

    This year offers many opportunities. It's still a young year. xo

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  5. Hi Frances, thank you for your kind words. yes, it would be fun to meet up again, you would love the old library. Why don't you make something small to begin with, paper piecing is nice and easy. It is a portable craft so the next time you take a long flight you can carry it with you..... if you can bear to cut into that precious fabric! You are right, they year is still young as are we.

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  6. I do hope all will be well with your mother. I understand how anxious you feel. My sister is in hospital too with uncertainty about whether she can return home again as she lives alone. The Pearl Fisher's duet is so moving ins't it?:)

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    1. Sorry to hear about your sister, I am sure they will do everything they can to get her back on her feet. Opera moves me to tears although I don't understand a word!

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  7. Every good wish to your mum. I understand the worry only too well. Your post reminded me of my own mum, The Pearl Fishers was her favourite opera. Goes without saying I adore the crow and your quilting is lovely. Incidentally, we bought your Oxfam Christmas cards, both of us honed in on them, then I realised who the artist was! I've kept one myself though!:)

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    1. Jules, I could do with your needlework skills, as I struggle with this quilt. x

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  8. So sorry to hear about your Mum Valerie. I hope she will be ok. x I love the picture of the crow, it's beautiful. Wouldn't mind losing myself in that Library for a few hours. :)

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    1. Thanks Karen, you would love that library, maybe one day you will travel oop north. x

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  9. Hi Valerie, My mother used to sing the same song to me, and play the Doris Day record, often. I imagine they are close in age and suffer with some of the same problems. Hoping for improvement in your mothers case, I certainly understand.

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    1. The song was very popular when we were little, I think it came from a film? Thanks for your understanding Jeri. x

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  10. such a lovely star painting, i can only imagine they are thrilled with it. Your quilt is charming too! lovely 2016 to you!

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    1. Thanks Tammie and a lovely 2016 to you too. x

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  11. Oh Valerie, so sorry to hear about your mother, I can imagine how anxious you are - Sue and Chetham's were just what you needed, a small respite from the world. Sending good wishes and hugs. X

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    1. Thank you Gretel, we must have a get together soon. X

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