Each spring I set a theme for producing my own stitch work and like spring itself, it has been a little later arriving this year. I can easily make my choice overly complicated, however, this year my theme is clear and simple - the Somerset Levels. Even ten years in to life into living and now working in this evocative and ancient landscape, I am mindful that I still have much to learn. I have recently started a series of new levels walks where each week I pop on my walking boots and set off hoping that my sense of direction will not fail me! I took this image on my first walk recently on Small Moor near Walton. I see willow trees most days of my life and they will forever enthral me.
A coastal plain and wetland area running south from the Mendips to the Blackdown Hills, despite what the name infers there are many parts of the Somerset Levels that are not at all flat! This is Burrowbridge Mump close to home and a subject I have photographed from pretty much all angles. I call it 'mini Glastonbury' and indeed from the top on a clear day you can see Glastonbury Tor clearly in the distance.
The Levels is renown for its rich biodiversity and Shapwick Nature reserve and the surrounding area is a draw for nature lovers throughout the seasons. I took this image of Shapwick Moor Rhyne on a beautiful spring day last year and with the weather set fair in the coming week, I am very much looking forward to a return visit.
One of the levels oldest produce is willow. I have coveted willow products from childhood and was thrilled when I started teaching at the Willows & Wetlands Centre at Stoke St Gregory some four years ago. With the horrors of plastic now being widely recognised, it is brilliant to see willow products making a huge comeback and to hear about the new orders being received. I also love that willow is a creative tool in itself and that following a happy 'accident' burning willow many years ago, Coates willow is made into artist charcoal which is exported around the world.
My studio base at Spring Farm, Moorlinch came about a two years ago and I am now well and truly settled there with other creative people. The name Moorlinch is believed to be derived from the Saxon myrge hlinc meaning pleasant hill and I can vouch that the five minute walk up the hill to St Mary's Church to take in this glorious view is extremely pleasant. Often watery, and this year snow covered, this is an amazing vantage point to take in the seasons on the Levels.
And so the process of starting new stitch work for the year begins. The signs of spring warm my heart like no other and is a perfect time for me to bring in the new. I will be working more with wool fibres this year so these 2018 levels lambs seemed a fitting way to end this post - side baa side!