Thursday, 7 March 2013

Mother knows best

Well, trust my mother to be right! Apparently, in the early fifties when I was a baby it was the done thing to put babies outside in the garden for a daytime nap in their prams. I told her things had changed and nobody did that anymore. She says fresh air helps babies sleep and I was outside come rain or shine, or even snow. I said how ridiculous - she just nodded knowingly in that irritating way that mothers do.

Now before anyone reports me to the NSPCC for neglect, Amelie was wrapped up and cosy under her quilt and didn't seem to mind the gentle drizzle we endured all day today. She was just outside of the window and so I could watch her like a hawk. I had taken her for a walk around the village and it didn't seem fair to wake her when we got back. She sleeps so little in the daytime that any sleep is precious. Perhaps it was the sound of rushing water from the nearby brook or the breeze in the trees that lulled her but even the raucous calls of the local crows and rooks didn't wake her for almost 2 hours. May have to try this again tomorrow although next time I might try and do something useful and not just sit waiting for her to wake up!

A couple of days ago the weather was much kinder and we took advantage of the sunshine to have an indigo vat in the garden. Toby, curious as ever, was quite fascinated to see Laura covering the lawn with wet fabric which soon turned blue in the bright sunlight.

The indigo will remain active for a while yet so back in the studio I experimented with a selection of papers including these foiled fortune cookie wrappers.

This handmade Asian paper is still very wet but I prised the folds open just enough to see it is showing promise and is much improved on its original state.

I'm gathering quite a pile of blue papers to combine with some of the fabrics we dyed. The trouble with an indigo vat is knowing when to stop. It soon becomes a case of searching frantically for anything else to dunk! While I was rifling through my desk for suitable candidates I came across a heron intaglio print I made last year. I couldn't actually dye him because he's been waxed but as he's a blue heron, he must surely have a part to play with all the indigo in a new piece of work! Watch this space for more mixed media!

Bye for now - Linda


  1. My mother used to put us outside for a nap in the 50's too( and this was in the U.S.) , and in turn, I put my babies outside on the back porch outside the kitchen door for a nap too. My porch was very secluded and not where anyone could even see the baby...Janet..

  2. We still let our babies sleep outdoors here in Norway...

  3. I remember my little sister having a nap in the garden. However before central heating, over night temperatures in the bedroom were probably just as low and she wore booties, mittens and a bonnet at night. Babies and toddlers also wore all-in-ones called "siren suits". It wasn't until years later that I learned that the name came from what war time babies wore so they were warm when taken from their beds during an air raid. Now we're calling them onesies!

  4. There was an article on BBC news last week about babies sleeping outside, seems to be a standard practice in Nordic countries.
    Really enjoyed the indigo dyeing video on Design Matters yesterday, coincidentally I'm off on a indigo dyeing workshop tomorrow (1st time trying it!)

  5. I have to chuckle..."snow"...right!;-)

    P.S. my babies loved to ride in the car. A few blocks in the back seat with Daddy at the wheel...'zzzzzzzz". :-)

  6. Both my children, born 1977 and 1979, often slept outside in the pram, fresh air is good for babies; I used a net to keep the cats from cosying up to the warm baby!I'm sure my 2 year old grandson slept outside sometimes as well.