Friday, 4 August 2017

Beautiful Birds

Grey Heron, RSPB Saltholme
Moorhen, RSPB Saltholme

Mr. Stitches and I have just got back from our annual trip to Stanhope, a small town in the beautiful Weardale Valley. We are lucky enough to be able to go and stay in a static caravan there kindly lent to us for a few days each year. Stanhope is a great base as there are so many lovely places to go nearby and each year we've been we've done different things.

Tunstall Reservoir, Weardale

Tunstall Reservoir, Weardale

Tunstall Reservoir, Weardale

Feathers collected from around Tunstall Reservoir, Weardale

This year we've mostly been out and about walking and bird-watching (as well as drinking lots of coffee and eating lots of cake.) Over the past few years the natural world and getting out and about in it has become increasingly important in both my personal life and my art practice. Although I've always loved birds and wildlife it's only relatively recently that I've realised how important they are to me and how important it is to be connected to the natural world, or as I like to call it the actual real world.

Summerhill Waterfalls, Bowlees

Summerhill Waterfalls, Bowlees

Holwick Scar

Over the past year or so I've written a few times about this connection and as my work grows and develops the connections become clearer and stronger. I've started using a lot more natural materials and this year I've been experimenting a lot with different forms of natural dyeing. Birds have also become the central focus of my work, representing not just themselves but us too. By exploring them and their 'otherness' I hope to reveal something (I'm not quite sure what as yet) about ourselves.

Wild and Industrial, RSPB Saltholme

Wild and Industrial, RSPB Saltholme

Wild and Industrial, RSPB Saltholme

As usual I am digressing, the point of this post was to share with you some of the birds we saw whilst out and about. We ventured over to RSPB Saltholme and had a great day exploring. The reserve itself is set right in the heart of industrial Teeside and it's quite odd being out in the reserve surrounded by wildlife but also all sorts of industrial structures and busy roads around the edges. We saw some great birds; including Mr. Stitches first avocets, the elusive water rail, little egrets and the graceful (if a little squabblesome) common terms.

Common Terns

Avocets

Black Tailed Godwits

We also went for several other walks around Weardale, exploring reservoirs, woods and waterfalls. It was good to be out and about in the countryside, enjoying the variety and beauty of our wildlife and landscapes. We've come back feeling refreshed and inspired and I'm ready to get back in the studio and back to work.

Little Egret

Little Egret

Little Egret

Grey Heron

Grey Heron


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