For the love of Malvina

Do you know the song Little Boxes - you probably do because it is brilliant. I wanted to listen to it the other day (maybe due to our impending exodus from London, embracing the burbia like) and ended up to a lot of other songs by Malvina Reynolds and they're all brilliant. I love looking her face on the album cover and hearing her lyrics like:

I don't mind failing in this world,
Don't mind wearing the ragged britches
'Cause those who succeed are the sons of bitches,

'Quiet' is also a brilliant song - she has a soft cynicism that speaks right to the middle of me. Yes, Malvina is a new obsession.

A new studio

I have a studio to work from now, and it's brilliant - pictures and ideas are rolling on a pace. I've decided not to give a hoot about keeping it tidy. So I thought it might be fun to document the changing drifts and tides occasionally here on the blog. Here's your first update - not too shabby eh?

My Venus

I've always liked the Venus of Willendorf, well since I knew about her anyway. I like how old she is and all the theories around who made her and why. I like that she's hand sized. I like that the subject is a large boobish/bummish/tummish/camel-toeish woman. And I thought I'd quite like one for my self one day - just to, you know, hold and stuff.
Well I thought the occasion of our first child might be an ideal time to finally take that want seriously. I looked around for replicas and found them all a little bit rubbish - and mostly they had weird plinths attached, which I felt really ruined her charm and made her look to much like a museum exhibit. In the end I struck on the idea of asking my uncle to carve me one, and he made this beauty! Isn't she lovely? Isn't he a nice man for doing that? I'm very happy.

Druidstone Haven

Jack treated me to a surprise holiday for my/our birthdays and for the last big trip out sans-babe. And it was perfect. On the way we met Jack's pa at Otmoor (a nature reserve just outside Oxford) to see a murmuration, I still had no idea where I was going for the holidays but had twigged it might be somewhere west.
When Jack told me in the car that we were going to stay in the Druidstone Hotel I had a little cry because I really love the place but never really thought of staying there - because of the moulah. So it was a real treat: we had 3 nights in a room with this out of the window . . . 
We sat a lot (I'm reading the Tove Jansson biography and it's very nice) and waddled a little. And in the evenings ate amazing food - usually followed by banoffee pie in front of a film.
I didn't get a good photo of the hotel, but it's really lovely - I mostly snapped away at the outbuilding: which were right up my street.

I love Wales.

Storm Imogen left this buoy right up on the beach - so we clambered to it for a little fondle. It had Canada written on it.
Beautiful Welsh sunshine.
Grass reminding me of a Ravilious painting.
A sunset from the hotel's own viewing point.
It was so good to be outside so much - let the wind breathe itself in to all the corners of the lungs and be in the landscape. I'm getting to look a lot more like a landscape myself now too

Work for a show.

 I'm working on some pictures for an exhibition with Jess and some other clever folks.
I'm using a collection of old frames to limit size and using a loose them of folkore and witchcraft. It's dead nice. As the collection grows I change the existing ones slightly so they all speak to each other in some small way. When the mandrake came along with it's bright blue sky the bottle of charms had to get a new yellow background, which then also echoed the legs on Baba Yaga's house. It's nice to make sets of things!

A quick exercise in childbirth

Anybody out there done any hypnobirthing? I'm on the course at the mo and it's really brilliant.
Towards the end of your pregnancy there's a picture you pin up to remind yourself the position the baby should be in. Last night I decided to make my own version of the picture, which was a really nice exercise: trying to make something somewhere between a diagram and an illustration.
It has the nice, peaceful feel I wanted - without being too soppy.
But - when I look at it this morning, I realise the body's a bit . . . nice. And I feel disappointed in myself, I didn't really think about it and as a result the boobs came out all perky and the arms all toned and the bum all round. Honestly - what a yawn-fest. I think I need to get to some life drawing classes, it's amazing how much you can internalise all the 'ideal body' stuff without even realising.

Penguins and fish

My fishes got a real nice starring role in Anna Maltz's new knit book recently. I'm really proud, its a very beautiful book. You can buy one on her website.