Friday, November 13, 2009

Heather Ritchie

Still making Christmas cards. Time is fairly whizzing along now. We are in the middle of November already. I am sure November only started last week...I could be wrong but that is what it feels like. We have had lots of rain and gales lately and I am having to clear out the wet birdfood and dry the table every couple of days. After all what self respecting bird would want porridge?

I enjoyed drawing the deer in last week's post so I thought I would do a few more. To simplify things I have used the same image as one of the deer last week. I tried lots of variations of different colours and shades but I thought this one worked the best.

I also thought I would do a white background to see which I preferred. I like them both.

Matilda and Ruby

My featured artist this week is a very lovely lady and friend called Heather Ritchie. We first met years ago when staying at her B&B in Reeth, North Yorks. We had stayed the year before and Heather was away but her husband knew we were interested in arts and crafts and let us have a peek into her fascinating studio. We were inspired by all the wonderfully coloured rugs she had created just from strips of wool fabric. You can view more of her rugs here.

Heather is a very well known and respected rug maker and teacher and travels all over the world holding workshops and displaying and selling her rugs. She even made a lovely rug inspired by one of my paintings. The photos below cannot show the tiny details within the very large rugs and the wonderful shades of wool she uses which she dyes herself. She uses her local landscapes of Yorkshire and her daily life and memories to create the rugs. My brother's partner Lesley is in the process of writing a book about Heather's life in rugs which is to be published next year. Can't wait for that.

She has also started a not-for-profit organisation called Rug Aid which is dedicated to teaching blind people in The Gambia to create their own rag rugs and sell them to provide living funds. On the 21 November the organisation is holding a Rug Rave in which groups or single people can participate to either make their own rugs or raise money in other ways for the organisation. You can read about that on the website too.

Heather's Studio in Reeth

Guiding Light rug

Bearing Gifts rug showing Heather carrying her sheep
The Ha'penny Ferry Rug

Rug of Fleet, Heather's Dog

Christmas Eve Rug

These two lovely delicate etchings below are by printmaker Flora McLachlan. The images are very magical and fairytale-like and totally mysterious. I love her work. You can see more of it a quite a few places on the Internet including Art of Illustration, (you will have to go to the bottom of the page and enter Flora's name - sorry, I cannot link to the right page for some reason, but there are three pages to look at, here at Sanders of Oxford, and here at Artweeks Gallery.

The Flowering

The Wood Pool

So much lovely autumn scenery around at the moment. Our weather has been very changeable lately. We have had lots of mists, a few frosts and now we are being battered by gale force winds and rain which is all coming from the south. I expect there will be far fewer leaves on the trees after this weekend.

If you like your ceramics quirky with wildlife on them you cannot get better than Anna Lambert. Anna is an English ceramacist living in Yorkshire who has work in many galleries and craft shops. She has a huge display of her work here at the Junction Workshop. The cockerel below is actually a tureen and has feathers for a ladle. Intriguing.

Bowl With Field Birds

Oat Jar With Herring Gull

Cockerel Tureen

Have you ever noticed what long eyelashes cows and horses have. Seems a little unfair really when they are not the least bothered about what they look like. You will need to click on the pictures to see them in more detail.

Anne Anderson is a Northern Irish artist and illustrator who now works mostly in printmaking. You can find more examples of Anne's beautiful work here at Artzyard Gallery, here at Seacourt Print workshop and here you will find a site called No Alibis which is producing a limited edition book called "The Book of Lost Things" which she is illustrating.The three lovely images below are her work.

Love Birds Collograph

Prevailing Wind

Scrabo Through The Window

I am always on the lookout for interesting and attractive cards. Christmas cards always appeal to me if they feature partridges in pear trees. These were buy one, get one free, so I got a couple of each design.

I came across a poetry book in a charity shop the other day and it is one I have wanted for a while. It is A Shropshire Lad by AE Housman. This particular copy is very special because it is illustrated by one of my favourite wood engravers - Agnes Miller Parker. Parker was Scottish and quite famous for her book illustrations. Her work is so beautifully elegant and rhythmic with well defined textures.

This is a well-known but very beautiful poem of Housman's. If you click on the image you can see it large enough to read. Housman was an English classical scholar who died in 1936.


Caroline said...

Both your deer pictures are wonderful Cathy - I can't choose between them! I am also in love with those photos of yours and the quirky ceramics this week! Lots of places to visit - thank you for these tasters!

Gillian said...

Love your deer desingns - looking forward to seeing your finished cards! Am hoping to get mine made this week too! November really is flying by. G

Cathy said...

Hi Caroline. I enjoyed doing those deer. I keep hoping to get out and take some more autumnal photos but our weather has been pretty bad lately. There won't be any leaves left on the trees when I eventually get out to do some photography.

Cathy said...

Hi Gillian. I have been working on the cards tonight. I will take a picture of them when they are finally completed. I will have to hurry as time is running on. I am glad someone else thinks November is disappearing at a rate of knots.

Crafty Green Poet said...

I love your deer design, so simple and striking!

Lovely selection of work you've shared with us as well!

Pomona said...

What a beautiful book - a real treasure!

Pomona x

Penny said...

I do love your blog and the lovely cards you find as well as the ones you do, all so tempting and far away.I am kicking myself for not looking for more cards while in the UK, Keep it up.

~ Phyllis ~ said...

Hi Cathy,
I can't decide which of the two deer drawings I like the best. I believe I'll have to say the one with the white background.
I loved Heather's rugs. What I would give to walk through her studio.

Aarti Badamikar said...

loved the deers with the background!

ArtPropelled said...

Cathy I always love everything you post here but today your photographs and Matilda and Ruby stand out for me. Talking about crazy weather. We had high temperatures for a few days (over 38C or 100F) and yesterday it snowed a few miles out of town. Two extreme seasons in one week!

Cathy said...

Thanks very much Juliet.

Cathy said...

Hi Pomona. Yes it is very beautiful. I never cease to be amazed what people give away.

Cathy said...

Hi Penny. Thanks for that. I love finding great new (or old) cards that appeal. Lots of artists seem to do card ranges now which is great.

Cathy said...

Hi Phyllis. You would love Heather's studio and rugs in real life. The photo's don't do them justice at all. Her studio is an aladin's cave of delights.

Cathy said...

Thanks very much Aarti.

Cathy said...

Hi Robyn. Your weather sounds very interesting. I never think of snow in connection with South Africa. We are nearly in winter and are having late summer temps. Everything has gone haywire.

andamento said...

Anne Anderson's work is my favourite this week. Thanks for featuring her, another great introduction.

Old World Primitives said...

Hi Cathy,
I feel like November just started last week too! Christmas is approaching so fast. I really adore your Christmas card designs - I can't pick a favorite either, both backgrounds look so nice.


Cathy said...

She does beautiful work, doesn't she Anne? I love the birds collograph.

Cathy said...

Thanks Stephanie. I have got a bit carried away with Christmas designs this year but it means I can draw my favourite deer.

Sandy Mastroni said...

Hi Cathy
I think I like the first card more... the one with the colored background
and you know I love Matilda and Ruby
great post again Cathy !

Cathy said...

Thanks Sandy. I think I like that one best too.

Artist said...

i love your christmas cards. i do have to admit that the one with the gray background seems more attractive to me!

Flora May said...

Love the colour combinations for your Christmas cards - very original.

Flora McLachlan's illustrations are breathtakingly beautiful and magical. I'm going to keep my eyes peeled for more of her work. I used to think I had quite an unusual name but since I started blogging I have come across so many others it is very bizarre!

Thanks for your comments on my Folksy was really fun to make.

Daniel Peci said...

I love the oat jar, I'd use it every morning!

Cathy said...

Thanks very much Artist. Pleased you like the card designs. I still have a couple more in my head before Christmas.

Cathy said...

Hi Flora. I always think of the name Flora as being Scottish. Probably due to Flora McDonald and Bonnie Prince Charlie. I have seen quite a few Floras blogging too. Flora McLachlan's work is magical. That is just the right word to describe it.

Cathy said...

Hi Daniel. Yes, I think that is one of my favourites too. Lovely place to put your porridge oats.

A bird in the hand said...

Wonderful "show" as always. I am amazed that December is on the horizon. It feels like the month started yesterday...
Have a wonderful week.

Holly Zemak said...

Hi Cathy - Late autumn has it's own beauty, especially after a hard freeze when every thing is coated with a sparkling coating of frost. Love Heather Ritchie's rugs and studio. My vote is for your deer with the background and stars.

Cathy said...

Hi Colette. I couldn't agree more. The months are simply vanishing and I am so behind with everything.

Cathy said...

Hi Holly, I think the deer with the background has just squeezed ahead in the popularity stakes...haha.

Heather's rugs are gorgeous. Far, far better than in my photos. I wish everyone could see them in real life.

Our weather for the past two weeks has been wet and windy so I am looking forward to some photogenic frosts too.