island adventure

alice-fox-sandaig-sketch

So we’re back in the old routine now term has started again and the kids are back at school. Our holiday seems a long way off but my head is still full of the sights, sounds and smells of the Outer Hebrides and my sketchbook is full of moments captured in one way or another. Those empty white shell-sand beaches that turn the sea the most wonderful turquoise greens and stretch for miles are just fantastic – the stuff of dreams (mine anyway!). I have been to the outer isles before but not the Uists and this trip took me to places I’ve wanted to visit for a very long time. It takes quite an effort to get to these remote parts and I love a good ferry journey, which is necessary (made even more special by the dolphins and porpoise we saw from the boat). This is the very edge or Europe, and apart from the tantalising St Kilda, which we saw on a particularly clear day, when you look out across the sea the next land is Canada. Highly recommended: this fascinating exhibition, which is based on St Kilda but also deals with amnesia, was on in Lochmaddy. It will be moving to London soon here.

alice-fox-north-uist-beach-sketch alice-fox-stone-circle-sketchalice-fox-eriskay-seascapealice-fox-south-uist-beach-sketch

walking collecting making

WCM@C2Cpublicfootpath

I’m part way through teaching a workshop at Committed to Cloth in Surrey. We’ve been blessed with beautiful weather this week: it has actually felt like summer! This has made a real difference to how we have been able to get out and explore the area around the studio.

WCM@C2Cfieldprinting

We have recorded walks in a variety of ways and used what we found along the way in a range of print and mark making techniques.

WCM@C2Cstileprinting

We worked out in the meadow, and at the edge of woods, a short walk from the studio; yesterday printing outside, today manipulating grass and leaves and other gathered materials.

WCM@C2Cmanipulating

WCM@C2Cprintedbook

Tomorrow we finish, bringing things together in some simple book forms and whatever else appears out of the mix of ideas and starting-points we’ve explored.

WCM@C2Cmeadow

sketchy

Alice Fox north sea waves sketch

I’m busy writing, trying to get my book finished for the deadline I have in a few weeks time. I am making the most of a day or two to myself while the kids are off splashing in the sea (she says jealously) and I’m plugging away at it.

Alice Fox people sketch

In between summer holiday parent duties I snatch the odd moment to put something on paper in a sketchbook, recording things I’m seeing or things I’ve found. It doesn’t matter what it is – the act of drawing is the important thing and the discipline of being present in the moment for it to really work. I am reading John Berger’s Bento’s Sketchbook and am reminded of the pleasure and relevance of the practice of drawing – something I often tell myself I should do more of. The problem is fitting it all in to the routine . . .

Alice Fox found items sketch

spider

I can tell that summer is on the wane.  My garden is suddenly inhabited by a number of beautiful big garden spiders, constructing their intricate and surprisingly strong webs across path ways at considerable speed.

This morning I opened the back door to find a wonderful web right across the top thrid of the door way.

And there is such colour in the garden at the moment: it’s like it is celebrating something.

>making the most

>

I’m making the most of the last of the Indian summer we’ve been having (it seems it will be all change by the end of the week): lunch outside, feeling the warmth of the sun, breathing in the delicious smells floating about on the warm air – a cocktail of summer and autumn.

>flowers and flour

>I’m feeling strangely chilled out, must be all the lavender…




Lavender biscuits

150g butter
90g caster sugar
225g plain flour
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon fresh lavender leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon lavender flowers, removed from spike

Oven: 160 C

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add flour, egg yolk, leaves and mix well. Turn out and kneed until soft smooth dough, then roll ball into cylinder. Cut into 10-12 sections and lay on greased baking tray, pressing flowers into each disc. Bake for 15-18 mins, until firm but not brown.Cool on trays then move after about 5 mins to cooling rack.

Recipe courtesy of Alys Fowler, The Edible Garden.

Current listening: Goldfrapp, Seventh Tree