Being home, settling into a gentle routine of walking a bit, painting, thinking, reading, working, playing with gold and stone, settling my head.
Evening light and gold and stone paint beautiful pictures on the camera’s memory card. I think most of the stones I have left will be found by the sea, but you never know.
I love finding the places that are smoothed by the sea, and time, and tide.
These places are hollowed by the movement of stones, ground and shaped. Rock like ripples, colours that change with every second if the eye can keep up to see the slant of light fall.
I’ve been inking visuals for the Spellsongs at Hay Festival, to be shown on the screen that should sit between the banners. These two days have been searching for a selkie, and what better way than to enter the water. So cold, at first it feels like knives, but then swim, and the salt sea sway holds you. Just enough swell to sway and to lift, and oystercatchers cry and choughs fly over. No seals, but the memory of swimming here in this place with the people of the sea.
Jan came with me, both times. She swims far more than me. On the first day she brought a flask of turmeric tea, and after drinking it dry I asked to borrow it, filled it with water from where the fresh meets the sea, and mixed it with ink at home.
The first seal was a seal child, of ink and salt water. There’s a line in both the grey seal sell by Robert Macfarlane and the Selkie song by Julie and the Spellsingers;
As salt sets its seal on your silky skin, let green seas rise up to greet you.
I love the way the ink sits on the paper, but there was something not quite right so…..
There’s movement in this one, but he’s a young bull seal and quite big. The Selkie Boy maybe needs to be younger, so….
Third time, has movement and youth.
I left another stone this evening, swam twice, once with Jan and once with Sian. Pi had fun on the beach, but wasn’t interested at all in doing anything other than guarding our clothes.
Home now, and the sky is darkening. There’s a crowdfunder to place the Lost Words into schools in Oxfordshire. To help with this I have six of the gold remnants from gilding stones to sell. Like giant’s fingerprints they whirl in the gold. 8cms x 8cms and £40 each, which will buy 4 books ( the publisher are generous with their discount for crowdfunders)
To secure one email me, and then donate to the crowdfunder and send me your address and I will post one to you. It links to a stone, somewhere, though whether the stone is found, or washed by the sea, who knows. They are fragile fragments, but when framed they glow quietly.
Time now to sit by the fire and read. Tomorrow I go in search of larks to ink.