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24 The Colour Collaborative: May: Morning

Something you should know ... I'm really not a morning person. It wasn't always thus, there was a time when the hour after sun-up was the most cherished of my day, and a time when I rose at first light and ventured daily into the caliginous woods with the whippets. Now I don't sleep well, but I sleep better after the mister night-time walrus impersonator gets up at half past six. If I'm lucky I don't actually have to roll out of bed much before eight o'clock*.

Yet still, to me, 'morning' means not the hustle and bustle of the day beginning but the half-light of the night ending, when colour seems barely distinguishable, is barely distinguishable to the human eye, due in part to something called the Purkinje effect.

Purkinje (1787-1869) was a professor of physiology at the University of Prague and the first person to speculate that we see differently in low light. As luminosity decreases so does the eye's sensitivity to light's longer wavelengths (yellow, orange, red) meaning the shorter wavelengths (violet, blue, green) dominate our colour perception which impairs our ability to discriminate between hues. We are all completely colourblind at night and significantly so at twilight and in morning mist.

If pressed I might say that morning is the white of soap bubbles and fresh shirts, or the yellow of orange juice and egg yolks, or the deep brown of a strong cup of coffee, but in my heart I know that it's every glorious shade of grey.

* Which is why I've borrowed the colour image above (it is colour, honest) from Kasia, with many thanks ... I just don't get up early enough most days to capture anything like it.

Don't forget to visit the other Colour Collaborative blogs for more of this month's posts, just click on the links below ...

Sandra at Cherry Heart

Gillian at Tales from a Happy House

CJ at Above the River

Jennifer at Thistlebear

And Sarah at Mitenska

What is The Colour Collaborative?
All creative bloggers make stuff, gather stuff, shape stuff, and share stuff. Mostly they work on their own, but what happens when a group of them work together? Is a creative collaboration greater than the sum of its parts? We think so and we hope you will too. We'll each be offering our own monthly take on a colour related theme, and hoping that in combination our ideas will encourage us, and perhaps you, to think about colour in new ways.


42 Nature Table

An old black and white photograph of a group of boys gathered around a school nature table.

I was the teeniest of tots when this photograph was taken in 1965, but I remember nature tables like this from my own school days. Jam jars featured large, as receptacles for wild flowers and (temporarily captive) frogspawn, sticklebacks and grasshoppers, and there was always an old bird's nest.

At home I had (still have) my own nature table ... a devil's toenail that I'd found on a day trip to Lyme Regis, a starfish skeleton, an owl pellet, an oak gall complete with exit hole, some iridescent starling feathers ... I was a child who habitually scanned the ground for 'treasures'.

Recently, walking with Dail Behennah, looking for similar detritus, I missed some of the good stuff she pounced on because I couldn't see it ... I seriously need new glasses. And talking with Dail I realised that I've been missing something else ... any sense of myself as an artist as opposed to a craftsperson. I had it once, for sure - after art school, certainly - but I lost it somewhere, somewhen. Are you still an artist if you stop making art? If you are an artist do you ever really stop?

Dail is a fellow nature table keeper, and another who literally gathers her inspiration from her home ground. She is most definitely an artist, and much of her recent work draws on her (now moved on from) nominal y filltir sgwar on the Pembrokeshire coast. We also share a need to accurately identify whatever we pick up - to know the proper names of things - and carefully curating our finds is as important to us now as it was when we were kids. Dail's 'best ever' was a shed adder skin, mine the starfish skeleton. I think she wins, but only just!

Do you fill your pockets with seedheads and shells and such? And do you have a nature table story you'd care to share?

Thank you so much for all your congratulations on my newly acquired grandmother status, announced in my last post. It is a wonderful thing to be, but it does take some getting used to ... I don't feel old enough but I clearly am!

Image source: Geoff Charles Collection, National Library of Wales.

Edit. My humble apologies to those email subscribers who (embarrassingly) received a draft version of this post, with omitted words and no source/the wrong date for the image ... the glitches here continue!


64 Happenings

Looking up, at cherry blossom, oak flowers, elm seeds, and other such sylvan wonders.

Hearing the dawn chorus a tad too often lately. The birds are so noisy they wake me up.

Smelling stinky Liver of Sulfur gel, a necessary evil when blackening copper wire. One day soon I'll show you what I was doing.

Tasting Oak Smoked (on Anglesey) Hummus from Moorish, and most definitely wanting more.

Holding my adorable two day old grandson (and struggling a little with the mix of emotions that becoming a grandmother for the first time has unleashed).

Hugging the same. And his mama. My darling girl and her darling boy.

Talking with new friends about art that challenges thinking and art that soothes the soul.

Making marks. I'm drawing again. It's been too long.

Giving away an old sewing machine that was accumulating dust.

Gathering more gorse flowers for the dye pot.

Finding a favourite book of poems by Wislawa Szymborska that I mislaid long ago.

Losing our coir hanging basket liners to nesting birds. The blackbirds are the principle culprits, they're tugging out great beakfuls of the fibres.

Sitting up late writing this blog post.

Standing in a shower of petals while photographing apple trees. I'm still finding bits of blossom in my hair a day later.

Walking by a tumbling brook and spotting a grey wagtail, a more colourful bird than its name suggests and one I'd never seen before.

Waiting to hear our resident cuckoo for the first time this year. He's late.

Listening to I Am Oak, particularly the album Nowhere Or Tammensaari.

What has been occupying you lately?

Join me, why don't you? Put together your own 'Happenings' list and let me know where to find it.

As always, the links in this post are NOT sponsored, I'm simply sharing things I like.

Thank you all so much for your encouraging comments on my last post. I can't promise to reply to everyone individually in the comments threads just now - grandbaby cuddles take precedence - but I will always answer questions and respond to those I have no other way of reaching, and the change is only temporary.
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