Tuesday, 21 June 2005

Summer Solstice Sunrise at Silbury Hill

An unforgettable morning.

Got up at 3:30 am to watch the sunrise on the Summer Solstice at Avebury Stone Circle. The sky was clear and early morning mist hung over the fields, giving a magical atmosphere.

The nearer I got to the stone circle the busier it became. The police close the roads around Avebury on the solstice to protect the ancient monument from too many visitors. So, everyone was walking. All these people so early in the morning. Very strange.

I didn't want to be with such a large crowd on a magical morning. I really wanted to watch the dawn on my own.

So I turned away from Avebury and went instead to Silbury Hill. This is the largest pre-historic man-made structure in Europe and this morning, with the mist swirling around its base, it looked very mysterious and atmospheric. I found somewhere quiet to sit and wait for the dawn.

In my sketchbook I drew and recorded how I felt. The photographs record the colours and landscape, but what I remember most was the overwhelming power from the earth as the sun rose over the horizon.

Yes, an unforgettable morning.

Sketchbook - Sunrise from Silbury Hill
Sketchbook page

Silbury Hill at dawn
Silbury Hill at 4:20 am.

Towards Avebury before dawn
Looking towards Avebury over misty fields

Solstice Watchers
A select band of Solstice watchers

Towards Avebury before dawn
Beautiful colour

Trees in the mist at dawn
Just before...

Sunrise on Summer Solstice
... the sunrise

Silbury silhouette
Silhouette of Silbury Hill

Monday, 13 June 2005

Beautiful Morning

  I woke this morning at 5:30 am with sun streaming in and the dawn chorus in full swing. I couldn't possibly go back to sleep on such a beautiful morning. So with camera and sketchbook went for a walk on Morgan's Hill Nature Reserve.

A fantastic display of chalk downland wildflowers, including orchids. The low early morning sun was picking out the folds and ridges in the hillside and the criss-cross sheep tracks. Blackcaps were singing their hearts out. The misty fields stretched into the distance like a patchwork quilt. What an inspiring place to be on such a beautiful morning.

Morgan's Hill
Folds in the landscape seen at dawn, Morgan's Hill, Wiltshire

Patchwork fields
View north from Morgan's Hill to a patchwork of fields

Towards Cherhill
View north east from Morgan's Hill - on the hill in the distance is the Lansdowne Monument, a stone obelisk erected by Sir William Petty in 1845.

Lesser butterfly orchid
Lesser butterfly orchid, Morgan's Hill Nature Reserve, Wiltshire

Common Spotted Orchid
Common spotted-orchid, Morgan's Hill Nature Reserve, Wiltshire

Yellow rattle
Yellow rattle, a semi-parasitic wildflower, feeds on the roots of grasses. It gets its name from the rattle of the seeds in the seed-pod.

Wild flower carpet
The rich sward of the chalk downlands of Wiltshire - common spotted-orchid, salad burnet, silverweed, meadow buttercup... a wildflower carpet

Red campion and black bryony

Red campion in flower with black bryony climbing up the tree

Sunday, 12 June 2005

Patterns in the Landscape

  I love this time of year. Everything is growing so fast.

Furze Knoll tree clumps on Morgan's Hill
Furze Knoll - a distinctive clump of trees on a hilltop near Devizes, Wiltshire
Morgan's Hill - folds in the land
Morgan's Hill
Folds in the landscape near Morgan's Hill Nature Reserve, Wiltshire

Cherhill White Horse
White Horse at Cherhill, near Calne, Wiltshire

Wednesday, 1 June 2005

Thank you Pokey Bolton

I want to say a very big thank you to Pokey Bolton, editor of Quilting Arts, for inviting me to write about my textile art. The resulting article in Issue 4 looked stunning and since its publication I have been amazed at the response and the wonderful comments that it has generated.

Patterned Plain on QA cover