mother nature, father time


Driving eastwards last night the magnificent perigee moon rose ahead of me beaming serenely in the indigo night sky, as though there’d been no torrents, storms and bluster during the day.

As I parked it sat adjacent to the sparkling red dots of the Crystal Palace mast. Another of Mother Nature’s masterpieces, and according to the explainers at NASA it was 14% closer and 30% brighter than other full moons. perigee moon

Mankind has been pretty clever elsewhere in space: ten years ago the Rosetta Spacecraft was launched – its destination being Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.Well, after all this time and making at least three orbits of the sun at 35,000 mph, it’s now more than 330million miles from that fiery planet and has finally arrived. Slowing down to a walking pace it will observe and tell us all sorts of fascinating facts about that huge whirling rock. Such fine tuning, such an unimaginable distance!

And it may soon be joined in space by reams of rectangles – self-assembling satellites: Harvard and MIT scientists have invented an auto-folding transformer. See here how a sheet of paper and plastic that can fold itself up, origami style, into a scuttling robot!


At an altogether slower pace the hitchBOT has made its way across Canada, from Halifax to Victoria BC putting its trust in the kindness of strangers to take it on its way. The invention of roboticists at two Canadian Universities – McMaster and Ryerson – its makers reverse the question ‘can mankind trust robots?’ Apparently the project has received the thumbs up! 

But a trek across Canada was clearly a better bet than say traversing the current savage tragedy in the mountains of northern Iraq, or through the treacherous concentration of historic hatred in those few square miles of the Middle East. It seems mankind’s lustful ingenuity for both invention and destruction knows no bounds.


BoyhoodAnother remarkable long-term creative project is the film Boyhood. Richard Linklater’s simple and brilliant idea was filmed over twelve years as the child grew into the young man. The cast, assembled for the fictional story once every three or four years, was thus being filmed ageing in real time. It’s a very tender story. 

The hitchBOT’s body is clothed in homely items – wellington boots, rubber gloves, arms and legs made of pool noodles. At the family splash yesterday I was wondering what those particular foam floats were called – the boys were inventing all sorts of bouyancy-challenging larks with them – now I know! 

hitchBOT painting

bus stopNearer home my journey was made a good deal more pleasant as I waited for the bus next to this bright Patrick Caulfield poster, a reproduction of his 1969 painting ‘Pottery’. Arteverywhere is putting images in public places – from bus-stops to billboards throughout the UK . For me the poster was not only enjoyable in itself but brought back thoughts and memories of the artist teaching at Chelsea School of Art in the ’60s, and images of the many other works of his that I know and like. I’m looking forward to this campaign unfolding. 

paper picado ftmBright-coloured paper was at the heart of the papel picado workshop I ran at the FTM last week. A small band of enthusiasts gathered, keen to explore the fun and frustration of cutting paper garlands and flags; there were a lot of comradely laughs as well as serious silent concentration as we came to grips with the intricacies of negative space! We overcame some of the scalpel slips with tftm workshop detailhe ingenious use of layers; 
over-zealous scissoring was turned into a virtue by interweaving other tissues – a clever creative step though not strictly Mexican perhaps. The clothes rail made a fine impromptu display stand and at the end we all went home happy with stringed tissue-paper party garlands, curtains, cards and future projects carefully folded and protected for their journey.

paper picado ftm

During the day visitors came in and out of our workshop room to look at the rebozos displayed on the walls – they regarded us snippers with envy, many fingering the paper and scissors rather wishing they could join in.paper confetti

The current exhibition ”Made in Mexico” runs through till the last day of August and is well worth a visit, as is the museum shop. A range of our greeting cards are stocked there by the way, and the full collection is available over on our online shop


Thanks to Twitter a new project came my way last week in the form of a TreeTowel – that’s to say the idea of a teatowel, and possibly a poster, showing the wonderfully varied tree population of the Crystal Palace Park. The brainchild of a local intermittant cartographer it’s going to be fun to do, informative to look at, entertaining to dry the dishes with. But can we make it a money-spinner?


The new cushions are on their way – a pink ground seemed essential on one of the little dears!

cushion collection

And talking of hand-painting we’re running a summer special offer at the shop – 10% off all hand-painted chiffon scarves and silk hankies. There are some new wall art pieces over at WestElm too, taken from our original hand paintings. Have a look here on Facebook – and ‘like’ our page to keep in touch.

silk hankies

Up at the allotment we unearthed this funny multi-carrot – Mother Nature having a laugh again?carrot

I half-heard an interesting programme on BBC Radio4 this morning – Fry’s English Delight – about the proper use of capital letters, about names and words used as brands, and  about who owns what and how in the trademark business – I must listen again here. Meantime – mind your Ps & Qs!


Stop press…. again, thanks to Twitter, the following question just popped in! You might like to respond here….

tweetThanks to Molly and Steve, as ever.

picado lantern

9 thoughts on “mother nature, father time

  1. I think treetowels is a great idea…I’m sure it will work…or grow on people!!!
    I saw boyhood and really liked it..great idea except I left before the end because I got the feeling it could have gone on forever.

  2. Amazement as always as to how you encompass all this knowledge and make it interesting! A fascinating blog full of colour, as well. I hope you are thinking and planning that great Masterpiece, as the culmination of all the little masterpieces you constantly provide?

    We are in London on Monday 29th September and could meet up at circa around 6pm, or earlier (from 2pm) at Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House – any chance? Love Dave and Haze xx

  3. Enjoyed your blog, but the greatest pleasure you are giving me this month is the wonderful vase of nasturtiums on your calendar. Real nasturtiums hate being picked and sag in protest.

  4. Now there’s a word I didn’t expect to come across in a textiler’s blog, perigee. Eclecticism is wonderful. The dictionary defines it as selecting what seems best from various fabrics.

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