Category Archives: Art and Design

Agatha Christie, an American Connection

The volunteers at National Trust properties are a mine of information and very friendly. When I went into the library at Greenway I was immediately struck by a frieze/mural high on the walls, so I listened and joined in with another visitor asking the volunteer about it. Apparently the house was requisitioned by the army in WW2 and the painting was done by an American soldier.


The mirror also has a tale behind it. There was a painting on the wall where it now hangs, of Churchill and Roosevelt together. When the war was over and the family were able to reclaim their home, they found the continuous gaze of the pair somewhat oppressive and painted over it!


I’m sure the mural has been restored over the years, but I’d love to know who the soldier was and if he’s still around. Any ideas from my lovely American readers about how to find out?

Staying in the shadows . . .

. . . Not any more, these days I’m far more confident about sharing something I create. A few years ago, I began the first of several creative writing modules with the Open University, and I was petrified about sending my work off to a tutor for assessment. I was convinced she would hate it, that it was hopeless and nothing that I could write would ever be worth reading.

It wasn’t hopeless though, apparently it was rather good and so were my grades. Slowly, slowly I started to believe in myself, not everyone who read my work could be humouring me with compliments could they, why would they bother?

Now, my writing might not be the best, I’m not fortunate enough to be able to invest the time I’d like to improve it yet, but those days will come. Meanwhile I’ll send little bits of poetry, flash fiction and scraps of real life out into Lucid Gypsy’s world, and that gives me great pleasure.

I’ve always been a creative, as a very small girl I’d collect any odd pieces of fabric I could to make dolls clothes. I treasure the memory of my grandmother letting me sit at her treadle sewing machine, trying to reach with my little legs and sew a straight line. A little later she acquired a Singer hand machine and then at ten years old I made my first dress. I remember choosing the pattern and fabric, a white cotton covered with little blue flowers, and proudly wearing it to school that summer. By the time I went to high school, needlework classes  were really easy for me.

For a whole lot of reasons I stopped sewing a good twenty five years ago, but I did a little crochet and knitting at times. At evening classes I tried making Honiton lace – too painstaking and slow – pottery – too many people in the class to learn anything and even water colour painting! I am not enthusiastic enough about painting and drawing though, and even if I put in enough practice I doubt I would achieve the results I’d like.

So am I a perfectionist? No, far from it, attention to detail is a weak area in many things I do. I think it’s more a question of wanting to try to learn many, many things. Recently I’ve craved textiles, I yearn to buy yards of gorgeous material and yarn, to run my fingers over it, to see how it drapes and falls. I’ve restrained myself because when am I going to find time?

Myfanwy Hart is a lovely blogging friend that I’ve followed for a couple of years. She posts about her work, creating stunning art with fabric and yarns that she has dyed by hand. For 2014, she has begun a project to inspire others to create, even if it’s for fifteen minutes, and this weekend she is posting prompts to help us along the way. This post is the result of one of her prompts, number 14, which she concludes by telling us that everyone’s work is good enough.

            I wish I’d been able to believe that way before I did!


If you’re looking for some inspiration go and visit Myfanwy here, and you will also find a link to a Facebook group, where we post our creations – if we’re brave enough!

Every Stitch a Memory

One hundred years ago World War 1 began. One of the many ways it is being commemorated is a beautiful quilt created by South West Quilters. On January 30th it was presented to the Royal British Legion at Westpoint, Exeter, where the quilters have had a stand.

The quilt will be part of an exhibition ‘We Will Remember’, touring Devon this year. Every Stitch a Memory is what the quilt has been named and it will be raffled to raise money for the British Legion. Should you be lucky enough to see the quilt this year, please buy a raffle ticket, the British Legion do wonderful work.

My first photo shows a section, DSC_1001

it was made in sections by 50 different quilters. The second, I’m showing so that you can see the whole of it – as high as I am tall, but I couldn’t avoid the glare from a spotlight especially with my phone camera. DSC_1002

So this beautiful object will still be around to mark the 200th anniversary of the war to end all wars.

With thanks to the very skillful ladies of the South West Quilters group.


There’s a new blog in town. It’s called Creating Something Every Day and has been created by Myfanwy, who some of you may know as Chittle Chattle.  For a weekend of fun and creativity Myfanwy posted 33 prompts with the idea of getting as many people as possible to spend 15 minutes , or more of course, seeing what they could produce. There is a Facebook group as well as her blog and for several days people around the world have been posting photos and sharing their makes. And what makes! the work has been both beautiful and inspiring, using a multitude of media, lots of which I’d never heard of.

I just posted once, to the Facebook group, three potential journal covers that I designed especially for the challenge.

These are all created from my photos, the central circles are from the chocolates I posted here . with some editing in Pixlr and Photoshop. The background type print is a photo that I took of my own short story.

I’m a dabbler and I quite like the results but if you go and peep at the Facebook page, the work there is wonderful. I think Myfanwy is repeating the challenge weekend once a month but you can also ask to join the group and share something you make at any time.

This will explain all!


CBBH Photo Challenge: Street Art

It’s been ages since I took part in Marianne’s CBBH challenge, sorry Marianne! When I saw that street art is this months’ theme it reminded me of a day spent with friends in Bristol a couple of months ago. Cannon Street is known for its street art and I snapped my favourite work there.

Marianne says

‘Don’t forget that the CBBH Photo Challenge is a little different from some other challenges, in two ways.  First, it’s only once a month – giving you lots of time to consider your entry before the end of the calendar month.  Second, and most important, this is a BLOG HOP (after all, it is the CBBH – Conejo Blanco Blog Hop, meaning white rabbit in Spanish), so DON’T FORGET that in your post you need to add links to two blogs that you have visited and commented on during the past month.  That way, when we visit each other, we can HOP OVER to your links, connect with others and share a little blog love around!’

And so here are two blogs that I hope you will enjoy.

The first is Paul’s Learning from Dogs, where the vision statement is,

Our children require a world that understands the importance of faith, integrity and honesty

Learning from Dogs will  serve as a reminder of the values of life and the power of unconditional love – as so many, many dogs prove each and every day

Constantly trying to get to the truth …

The power of greater self-awareness and faith; faith that the only way forward for us is through the truth …’

Take a look

Next is Donna from Michigan who writes as Huffy Girl.  She always makes me laugh and she believes in cycling for fitness and fighting a one woman war against cheese! If you need help with health and fitness tips or just cheering up she’s your girl! Find Donna at,

Join in with Marianne at

Weekly Photo Challenge: Unexpected

‘The world is an interesting place: we stumble upon unexpected things each day’ says Cheri Lucas Rowland.

Of course we should expect the unexpected in an art gallery, but this is my offering for the challenge. Oki Naganode by Julia Lohmann was an installation at the V & A back in September, made from Naga Kombu, a type of Japanese Seaweed. It has been stretched by hand over a framework of cane. Lohmann uses a variety of natural materials including bone and cow and sheep stomach. Oki Naganode was created to show the design potential of seaweed, and is around eight feet high.

Can you find the unexpected? Then share it at

South West Academy at Gloss

It’s autumn again and that means a visit to Exeter’s Gloss gallery for the South West Academy of Fine and Applied Arts exhibition. As last year these shots are taken with my phone camera – one day I’ll go prepared, I wonder if I would get away with taking pictures!It’s difficult to avoid reflection and also getting a clear background seems impossible, but I hope you enjoy this little peep at the best of the regions art.

sw arts1This piece is called Graal Glass 2 and it’s by Gregory Ford. I’ve never seen anything quite like it, the picture doesn’t do it justice at all.

sw arts 8

Two Circles, Tokushige by Philip Booth

A few that caught my attention

The next two were extra special,

sw arts2

sw arts 9What do you think? Do you love or hate any of them? None of them will be going home with me I’m afraid, they are out of my price range right now, but I love checking what’s on offer at Gloss and will go back for the Christmas show in a few weeks time.


Weekly Photo Challenge: The Hue of Me

For this challenge, we want to keep it simple: share a photograph with a prominent color (or assortment of colors) that reveals more about you. It could be a symbolic, meaningful shade; a color that expresses how you currently feel; or a combination of colors that excites you and tells a visual story, says Cherie Lucas Rowlands for this weeks photo challenge. Now this is interesting and will no doubt be interpreted in many different ways. I looked around my immediate space and saw rich, bright and earthy colours, things I’ve have collected on my travels and decided that they show quite well who I am. Or perhaps who I would like to be, a traveller, a seeker of encounters with other planet walkers. So these things are from Morocco, Turkey, India, Ghana and Malaysia.

Come away with the raggle-taggle-gypsy-o.

and join in at