Arthur George Lee Hellyer

Born on the 16th December 1902 – Happy Birthday Daddy – always in my thoughts – constantly feeling proud to be able to call you my father. After the death of his father in 1921 Arthur worked first as a nursery boy for Isaac House & Sons, he then became a propagator, moving on to become their chief salesman.

Isaac’s son James specialised in herbaceous perennials and alpine plants. Arthur and he developed the Causican scabious, introducing several new cultivars, one of which Scabiosa caucasia ‘Clive Greaves is still widely available today.

With that thought in mind I painted a picture of Clive Greaves to honour my father’s birthday.

Scabious caucasia ‘Clive Greaves’

Pressed Flower Work – part two

My previous post on Pressed Flower Work was drafted but not published several years ago…now my work has evolved and merged with my art work. My tutor artist Mark Fisher mounts some of his work on wooden panels (often of some age)…I took this idea but made a triptych of artwork, painting abstract acrylic backgrounds onto card, adding pressed flowers to create an image and then mounting three on a plaque of oak, fashioned by my husband Philip before a final varnish to preserve both the wood and the flowers. The works are vibrant and exciting – I have sold several this year already.

Available from me for postage within the UK only.

Pressed Flower Work – Part One

I have always had a fascination and passion for all things floral, so when I met Joyce Fenton at an RHS show at Vincent Square, London, in the early 1980s, exhibiting her pressed flower pictures, I was hooked.

I went to one of her seminars, held in her little cottage in Charlwood, in Surrey. It was a day to remember. I don’t remember how many ‘students’ attended but her tiny dining room was full, the table littered with the paraphernalia required for this craft. I came away with my first two pictures, which still hang in my house.

As a retired teacher, Joyce took up the craft of pressing wild and cultivated flowers, leaves and grasses, after one of her sons gave her with a collage of Australian seeds. To have exhibited at the RHS then was I believe a first for her craft.

In 1983 Joyce established the Pressed Flower Guild along with a gentleman called Bill Edwardes, who had devised a method of framing the finished picture, to give the specimens some depth. It is a method when making framed pictures that I still use today.

Joyce’s method was to glue the flowers, leaves or grasses onto a piece of material. I used a polyester lining material most of the time as this was much less expensive than silk. But I have read that lots of different materials could be used, cotton, silk, taffeta, to name but a few. Behind this Joyce used a piece of softish foam, so that when the backing was fixed, the flowers indented into the material. This method adds an entirely different dimension to the overall effect.

In the late 1980s, the craft was still very popular, I took commissions and sold my pictures at local craft fairs. But now it seems to have lost its appeal. Recently I took several of my cards to local shops in the arty town in which I live, to be told that they were old-fashioned and outdated, though pretty.


Passing of the Hours

This poem is featured in my third poetry collection ‘Non-Specific’ due to be published in early 2022. It is inspired by an elderly friend from the early 1990s, a friendship that continued until her passing. So often in my life I have found inspiration from more elderly ladies – their wisdom and stoicism and inspiration for a then middle-aged woman.

Though frail and in need of a new hip, she continued to garden, whist using her walking stick and undertook most chores in her small cottage garden. Her easel stood near the French doors which led from her sitting room to the garden in her ancient characterful cottage – always with an unfinished painting, which changed almost daily. Even with her advancing years she was never idle – and counselled me to be the same…that was the inspiration for my poem.

The Passing of the Hour,

Never waste them,

the minutes never come back again

even relaxing could be precious moments lost,

unless you’re planning…

Your next story, picture,

a special trip to some unexplored place

but never overlook the importance of them

the hours are too precious a commododity.

Observe, note, drink in all around you.

Smile and reflect on happy memories

or think of the memories that could be made.

Take each minute that passes and make it count in a special way.