Cornwall. St Ives, reflections.

Art is a very subjective study. You either like it or hate it. You either ‘get it’ or not. To be a ‘maybe’ is to sit on the fence. To not say one way or other. To weigh it all up before you drop. St Ives and Cornwall are famous for the light and the artists who have gather there over the years. A place to get away from it all and submerse yourself into your art. Sculptors. Ceramists. Painters. Writers. Studios and attics. Gardens and open spaces. They’ve all seen people at work.

The Tate. A major art gallery with satellites here and there. Big and small. Tate St Ives is on the smaller side. A beautiful view over the sea. A cove that is bathed in the most wondrous light when the sun is shining. But turning into itself it misses the spot. Misses the chance for people to explore. Explore in their minds the art on display. Disappointment. For me it was a big disappointment. I hated it. I did not ‘get it’. I tried to be a ‘maybe’ but it was too uncomfortable to sit on the fence and I got off on the negative side. Such a shame. In theory the artist, Patrick Heron, had a link to St Ives. He was considered one of the lead artists of his time. Influenced by people like Cezanne, Matisse and Bonnard. But I didn’t ‘get it’. This beautiful place we were staying in just wasn’t there in his pictures. Bold colours. Complimentary colours. Matt colours. Huge expanses of one colour. Even though I love colour, it didn’t speak. I couldn’t work out the why?

So I sat. Sat on the balcony. Sat and stared through the window. Watched the colours dance and sing. Watched the sea wash backwards and forwards. Watched the birds swoop and woosh. Immersed in my own reflections. My own thoughts. Thoughts of the beautiful world God has made. Thoughts of what a brilliant artist He is. Without Him, the scene would not have been there.

“And God saw that it was good.” Genesis 1.

As I sat I looked to the side of me. I stared. I was inspired. I stood and viewed. Turning this way. Turning that way. Reflections. Reflections staring back at me. Tate St Ives was working. Using the outside, inside. Quirky. Long. Stretched. Bent. Angles. Colours. Beauty. Light. Dark. Contrasts.



These are the images I take away with me. The images that stay. A reminder of my reflections. Perhaps even to paint.

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Cornwall, textiles and inspiration. Love it!

What do you do when you visit a place on holiday? Do you just kick off your shoes and chill with a relaxing book? Or do you embrace what the area has to offer? Both ways of looking at a holiday are well worth doing, but I’m not a person who sits and just sits! I get itchy feet. I want to look around. Investigate. I’m not a person who reads avidly. It takes an age for me to read a book! So to sit and chill is hard work!!! I have to be doing. Ask Mr A who can sit with his books and papers until the cows come home. So when we get to go out I’m  on a mission. Just a little mission.  Poor Mr.A.!

I have a certain number of things I take with me. A bag – of course, what girl goes out without her handbag; my special sunglasses, wrap around – I left my clip-ons on a coffee table in Israel; my camera – big and bulky but I prefer taking photos with my camera than my phone; my phone – for my Instagram photos – yes I do both; and finally a notebook – sometimes I write down the name of a book or artist. Note that my purse is missing. Sometimes it comes to be used for the specific purchase, and sometimes it stays at the bottom of the bag. So it is just there!

We’re off! Love it!

For today’s venture we went on the road. Bodmin moor is full of little roads. Little roads that are one car width! Finding passing places becomes to be an art, especially when the roads have high verges. But the colours are amazing!

The road to Launceston has had a bit of a make over so we were soon whizzing along. Everything nicely stowed away. Camera poised at the ready for that snap. Buildings. Flowers. Trees. They have all been photographed before. This time I was looking for something different. We had stopped for a coffee – well you do when you’re on holiday, at the smuggler’s Jamaica Inn. Not quite as it used to be, but interesting. Poldark eat your heart out! It was in the smuggler’s museum that I spotted that something different.

Now why would you find a little textile elephant in a smuggler’s museum? I’ll leave that to your imagination. The key word for me is ‘textiles’. Look at that little elephant’s embroidery! All carefully worked. Satin and cotton. Flowers and patterns. Love it! I was hooked and on the look out. Another textile. Just an ordinary smock. An ordinary costume. History. Social history. But look. Look at that carefully worked yoke. Love it!

And then….

Oh was I over the moon! While Mr A was reading – he reads everything, which works out OK as he then answers my questions – I was skipping backwards and forwards. Peering this way. Peering that way. Trying to work out how they were made. How they were intricately stitched. Such a pretty pattern. I’m mad, I know, but textiles fascinate me. Old ones in particular. Oh I loved sorting the costume archive at CMJ, but I digress. Smocking! I have tried all sorts of needlework but smocking is something I have never tried.

Off we go – again!

Onwards we go! Launceston here we come. We had spied a small museum on the internet that we thought would be worth investigating. We were not wrong. Remember, textiles. Look at this beautiful coat that was in the entrance hall. Oh here we go again. Such workmanship. Such precision. Love it!

Another room. Another piece. A postcard this time. Same precision. Each stitch lovingly done.

Again, another room. Again another piece of stitching, being shown as someone actually doing it. A tableau. A beautiful dress. A cap. A tapestry or should I say needlepoint. A sewing box carefully open on the table. History. Social history. Love it yet again!

Bargello work. Florentine. A pattern I know well. But another room beckons. I am having fun! I know, I’m mad! Another series of something I know well. Tiny, teeny stitches. Tiny, teeny crosses. Samplers. All lined up in a row. Love it! One or two reflections…oops!

The symmetry. The patterns. The words. The fonts. Love it all!

Dreams! And yes love it!

But another room and my dream was almost complete. Beside the stunning wedding dress in one of my favourite colours – lilac, a quilt. A patchwork quilt. Squares. Triangles. Oblongs. Log cabin. Half triangles. Love it!

And then…., then…., then this….

One step up from the smuggler’s top. One step up in colour though not in size. One step up but the same. Smocking!! Love it!

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Cornwall and a rest. Sunshine with lots to see.

Cornwall. A long way to travel but we picked our day! It turned out that we started our trip on the wedding day. THE wedding day!! Yes, we missed it all, but avoided the usual traffic queues. It was also cup final day – as you know – and that meant for fewer cars too! So the 5+hours was stress free. Bliss!

We were heading for a little cottage on the edge of Bodmin Moor. We’ve been before, two years ago, when we went to Creation Fest. But this year we are relaxing at East Rose. Moor Cottage is just around the corner from Shippen. Just as lovely and a beautiful view across a series of fishing lakes. A view I tried to paint, but that is for another day.

Today we are off for a walk. Ready? The time is about 7.30pm. The sun has slipped a bit and giving a beautiful glow to the end of the day.

   Through the gateway and a round the bend.

  God’s beautiful creations.

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Climbing over our back wall we have the most beautiful clematis. Heavy with blooms. White stars glistening in the sunshine and at night eerily blue/white. It is a funny plant. You have to trim it at the right time. If you are like me, memory evades me for the simple things. I can never remember when to do it! Well last year it was late. The garden had to be left last year because of my leg break. Wow – a whole year ago! Time flies! But the up side was the clematis was trimmed at the right time and it has been, is, magnificent. I love it and give thanks for it!


Something else has started to bloom too. Remember the fig tree? How my tree had lots of green leaves but no colour? How the fruit hadn’t grown? How I was dealing with disappointments? Or not dealing with them? Well God has dug down deep. Deep into the roots. Rootled around. Pulled hard on some pieces. Cut deep to get right in. One by one. Each carefully removed and left on the surface. Not to be left to worm their way back into the root system. Not to be left to walk passed. No. Left to be dealt with for good. I sat and looked at them for a long time. I put them in my bag and walked with them. Mulling them over. Trying to see what to do with them. Slowly, slowly I knew what I had to do.


Each one carefully prayed over. Each one carefully laid bare and all the baggage that went with it lifted up. Lifted high for my LORD to work in. To work with and to help me to forgive. All the disappointment I felt….. let go. All the hurt I felt….. let go. But the main thing I had to do was let God be sovereign over it all. The King needed to be over me. He needed to rule over everything. Every part of my life, not just the things I wanted Him to be in control over. Everything. And as I let go of each part, He pruned. As I let go He trimmed. As I let go He worked within me and flowed through me. He reached out and helped me. Helped me to physically do something I didn’t think I would do for a long time. Helped me to hug. Helped me to smile. Helped me to talk. To talk with my disappointment. To laugh and be at peace.

Bedding in.

Slowly the roots have settled and have started to grow again. Not relying on the surface water. The water that comes and goes. No, to reach down to the life giving water. To drink in His water. To be fed with His word and take on board all that He tells me. What does this mean? It means that my tree has buds on. Buds that are slowly opening. Buds that are slowly blooming. And following the blooms, the fruit. The fruit of His Spirit. His love, joy, peace, gentleness, faithfulness, patience, kindness, goodness and self control. And to see His purpose within it come to fruition.

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2 v9.

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A bit of light relief.

It has been a difficult few days so what does a girl turn to, other than chocolate, her sewing machine!! I’ve been finishing some table runners and place mats which will go to the CMJ UK conference. They are for the celebration of Hannukah.

Blue and red table runner.

Lilac and blue table runner.

Four blue place mats.

Good to sit and sew and refocus!.

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Living with disappointment.


Sometimes you think you have dealt with something and then ‘booooom’ it pops up again. You think the disappointment you experienced way back has gone. Disappeared. Vam-mooshed. But it is there, hidden beneath all that has gone on since then. There, where you forget it. There, where it is nestled secretly. You think you have sorted it. And in a way you have. You have sorted out the dross and packaging that went with it. You’ve drawn a line under it – physically. You’ve dealt with the people, the place, the actual sharp end of the disappointment. You’ve taken what you want from the experience. The people you love. The people who have stood by you. You’ve sorted through and gently closed the door. Not slammed it shut, but gently closed. Without a sound. Creeping away. Creeping away to rebuild. To reconnect. To move forward. You’re gradually building new dreams. And then something comes along to up-skittle you. Perhaps it is more than one thing. A group of incidents. That is where I find myself. Living with the disappointment.

Putting it right.

Some will tell me to ‘pull yourself together’.  To ‘get over it’. To ‘accept it, it’s happened’. And I have tried. Believe me I have tried. And to a certain extent, I’ve succeeded. I’ve started a course. A qualification. A qualification to let me use all my crafting gifts within the social care network. I continue to volunteer with the elderly, and with dementia people – both young and old. I’ve been sorting through my many crafts to hone them down to the one I really, really want to do personally. I’m not quite there yet, but the WIP (Work In Progress) is slowly heading in the right direction. So I am doing the so-called right things. Finding my path. My new path. A new path that God is quietly, slowly, patiently, leading me down.


But then, you hit a patch of weeds. Of overgrowth. The path narrows even further and you have to tip toe through it. To hold the hand that is guiding. Or to lose your balance and tumble. To hook your foot in the tangle. To pull up some of the layers. To come face to face with that disappointment again. To realise how deep it went. To re-live it, – again. To grieve the loss. In full. People, place, the consequences and impact of it all. Is that wrong? Is that a bad thing? Some would say ‘Yes’! You have to forget and move on. But I’m not like that. I have to work through things again. That is the way I’m made. Frustrating for on lookers, I know. Hard for those who care about me. Who love me and support me. And will help me through it all again. But there maybe another reason why it isn’t always a bad thing to do.


My bible is very precious to me. It is God’s Word. It is how He speaks to me. How He helps me through times like this. How He puts out His right hand firmly to help me through the narrow bits. And through studying it you begin to heal  and understand His guiding. Today with Steven Furtick I have been studying Luke 13 v6-9. ‘Dealing with disappointment.’ Three short verses.

The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree.

And He told this parable. A man had a fig tree that was planted in his vineyard. He came looking for a fruit on it and found none. He told the vineyard worker, ‘Listen, for three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it even waste the soil?’ But he replied to him, ‘Sir, leave it this year also, until I dig around it and fertilise it. Perhaps it will bear fruit next year, but if not you can cut it down.’

The whole passage says a lot about being disappointed. About being disappointing. About being dysfunctional. But it was the ending that spoke. ‘Leave it this year also. Let me dig around it, fertilise it. Perhaps it will bear fruit next year.’


Picture a huge tree. It is growing well. Making lots of leaves. Strong green leaves. But something is missing. The fruit is not there. The blossom has not flowered. It is just a mass of green. Now I like green, but I love colour even more. And my tree has no colour. No blossom. So there is a problem. I have tried all sorts. Developing a new branch. It has grown so far and then stopped. So I try again. Grow and then stop. Every time there has been no blossom. Where do I look to sort the problem? In the roots. Deep down in that hidden place. Deep under the layers of living. Deep, where you have buried that disappointment. Just like the vineyard worker, the roots of my tree need healing and to do that I have to dig around them. To accept my disappointment. Not to deny it. To deal with the root cause, not the leaf symptoms. To dig deep and fertilise it.


Think about what fertiliser is! Chicken droppings! Cow manure!! Rotting stuff. Smelly stuff. What happens when it is applied? Growth. What are disappointments? Messy stuff. Hard stuff. Maybe smelly stuff. So when God allows disappointments to happen and come back, maybe, just maybe, He’s applying that fertiliser. Maybe He’s digging deep. Maybe, when the disappointment returns, He has needed to add a bit more fertiliser. So He digs deeper. “If you can, –  learn to see that what He’s doing while He’s digging, is not to make you die, but to make you fully alive. He digs because you are worth it!” (Steven Furtick). Once He has dug deep and nurtured you, He allows the living waters to flood in. Waters full of His grace and mercy.

In the vineyard.

We are all trees in His vineyard. All full of potential and purpose. All being tended and nurtured in the soil of grace and mercy. All being anchored to help us through those difficult times. God is waiting to see what we make out of disappointment. He is waiting to see what I do. I can only make something if I stay in His presence. To read His Word. To praise in His glory with everyone near by. To be grounded in His grace. To grow in His grace. To be fruitful with His love, joy, peace, gentleness, faithfulness, patience, kindness, goodness and self control. And to see His purpose come to fruition.

So when next I have this overload of disappointment, I’ll know, God is just adding a bit more of His special fertiliser!

With thanks to Steven Furtick.

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Thank You!

Hello everyone, thank you for dropping by. The words have run dry so I’ll be taking a break, but feel free to have a good look in the archives. God bless. Alison.

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