Some news!

My craft practice has been hibernating over the winter ever since I got involved in Extinction Rebellion Scotland back in November. BUT now the spring equinox has come, the daffodils in my garden are starting to open, it’s time to start making again, and talking with others about my work is the best way to…

Produce, Production, and Productivity

The summer months are bit of a funny time for an academic. With the respite from the demands of teaching-related duties also comes conference season and the sense that these weeks are the chance to get done the writing and research you’ve not had time for since September. But summers–especially hot, sunny summers like the…

Cuckoos and Owls

I write this while seated in my garden on a sunny late May morning. I’ve been eating my breakfast and drinking tea while watching the birds go about their business in the ash trees and holly bushes. Blue tits and great tits are darting about between the branches; magpies, rooks and woodpigeons having various minor…

Spring, finally!

Well it’s been an extremely long winter. Lennoxtown was cited as an example of snowed-in communities in the ‘red zone’ of central Scotland during the snowstorms of early March, and I had certainly never seen anything like that amount of snow in all my life. The dogs enjoyed it rather more than the hens did….

Winter Visitors

Over the last couple of days we’ve been visited by several inches of snow, which for someone who grew up on the coast of south east England is pretty exciting. The hens aren’t too impressed, however. But this blog post is titled after two other winter visitors. At the end of October, I glanced out…

Wild and Garden Growth

Having a good-sized garden of my own for the first time has been something of an adventure. In the seven to eight months since we moved in, I have been in turns delighted, excited, terrified, bewildered and frustrated by the responsibility and opportunity of this patch of land we call our garden. There is the…

Crow: On Corvids, Myth, and Inter-Species Encounters

A couple of months ago I got a commission from my mother-in-common-law, as a gift for her sister. She asked me to make a small brooch: a crow. The specific bird was in reference to the book Grief is the Thing with Feathers, Max Porter’s cycle of poetry-come-novella in which a widower and his sons…

The Coming of Spring

It’s been three weeks since I planned to write this post, and I kept thinking that I’d missed the boat, it would be too late to talk about my wooly celebrations of spring’s tentative arrival. (Such as these madder-dyed Martenitsa in the garden). But no. Spring’s presence still feels rather provisional, and while this was the…

Fox and Badger

Last October at two separate workshops I learnt about natural dyeing and needle-felting,  though I never put the two together until this spring. I had run out of undyed spun yarn for natural dyeing experiments, and so was using unspun undyed fibre instead. I didn’t know what I was going to do with all these small…

Needle-felted Gifts

It’s a bit of a grim time in UK politics, and making beautiful things in response is not (only) a welcome distraction, it’s also a mode of resistance. Audre Lorde wrote ‘Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare‘. I’d add that small acts of caring for…