Lucy Pendrick was a child that dreamt amongst the leaves and ached to feed her bare warm toes in cool mud. Nature was her ever-generous treasure chest, gifting her sweet finds of nibbled nuts and pearlescent shells. She would store them for quiet admiration in used matchboxes and discarded camera film cases. Her struggles through her young life were always softened by the blackbirds’ song. Nature ran deep in Lucy’s veins and she loved it whole-heartedly. As Lucy grew up her confidence slowly retreated, hiding itself beneath a fortress of brambles in her soul. She was constantly wondering her place, never fitting in. She daydreamed about frosty morning fields for most of her teenage years.
As Lucy got older she realised that those same daydreams she was so often told off for had ignited a love of the whimsical and fairytale and if anything her years hadn’t dulled those dreams but made them shine brighter. She wanted to share this magic so she simply began to create and with it the brambles that for so long encased her confidence began to flower. So that is how Lucy finds herself sat in a shed under the willow tree with needle, wool and a shelf full of treasures.
Her sculptures are a mix of wools, embroidery, silk, naturally dyed materials and found objects. Each creature evolves with its own individual personality which is why she never uses patterns. Based on the wildlife she loves but with a fairytale insight into their hidden lives and the comings and goings so often overlooked by human eyes. It can take anything from one day to many months to complete a piece which gives them plenty of time to tell Lucy their story as she felts, stitches and dyes. It is hard to pinpoint where her creations begin. The idea is hazy at first, almost like a remembered dream, those sudden moments of realisation and déjà vu. She adores this part, it is the excitement and joining up of dots; there is some part of her that knows before her brain what she is going to create.
As you can see Lucy doesn’t really feel that she has much say in what creation appears which is why she feels like a bit of an imposter. Being able to create a hopefully beautiful sculpture from some unknown origin of her brain or soul is a contract of trust she believes she must have made long ago.
‘Edgeogs?!’ She laughed ‘We a’vem seen one of they for many ‘amoon, don’t think they’m round these parts n’more.’
It didn’t matter what she said I knew they still came. I’d seen the prickle marks left on the broken fence where she had squeezed through. I’d smelt an unfamiliar earthiness at the cats bowl and a messy aftermath of supper that belonged to no feline I knew. Once I even thought I’d witnessed her trundling locomotion traversing the starlit lawn but even my hopeful heart had to admit I couldn’t be sure.
Winter came and bowed out to spring and my hedgehog hints seemed all but a dream. One morning with sleepy cheeks I stepped outside, tea in hand to listen to the birdsong that had woken me. I could hear a shuffling and a snuffling coming from nearby the old glasshouse. As I walked towards it the broken clay pots that had been laid to rest here longer than my memory serves were moving of their own accord. To my delight the movement belonged to a stout black nose which belonged to an even stoutlier pricked body.
She told me she had been dreaming for sometime, a hard task but essential as hedgehogs dream so vividly that they dream in the blossom, without them there would be none. I told her that I had been dreaming of her return too and we chuckled at the coincidence. I couldn’t tell if it was our conversation or just the joy of being awake but she did not stop pirouetting the whole time we spoke. What a pair we must have looked in the dawn light, me in my dressing gown, her in her pinny, sharing tea until the blackbird brought in the day.
I’m pretty sure a hedgehogs excitement is catching because that meeting was many years ago and yet every spring as the blossom arrives my heart goes a little flutter and I find myself secretly pirouetting for my old friend the hedgehog.
When I was a young girl sat on bended knee my mother always used to say ‘If you go down to the woods today you’re sure of a big surprise.’ I always thought that a strange thing to say as we ourselves lived in the wood and I was so accustomed to the creatures that called this shady place home that I thought the strangest thing anybody would see was us!
Now there are times when the wood is fast and vibrant, there are times when its full of questions and more often than not full of answers if you listen. There are also times where it’s dark and fearful but there is the occasional day when it’s sweet…ahhhhh the sweet days. They happen after the winters thaw but before the summers heat when all the plants are willing. You can actually smell the sweetness on the breeze and if you have ever followed it you will know it smells a lot like honey, keep on this trail and you will find them.
The Bombus Bears are funny little things, they aren’t silly though and what has happened is rather like evolution. You see bears love the taste of honey, we all know that! Long ago they spent all their days seeking out the bee’s spoils only to be turned away because the bee’s were saving it for their own larders, and rightly so! But the bears did something extraordinary, they wished for honey so hard that they began to grow fuzzy bodies and strange antenna! The bees being so busy pass the very honey they have worked so hard to collect to the Bombus Bears mistaking them for one of their own! Now this over indulgence has resulted in the bears being somewhat lazy and they can often be spotted snoozing amongst the woodland floor with a buzzing sort of snore. They did also grow wings but so portly they have become that they are of no use so they have fashioned themselves little umbrellas which they open up to the breeze and get carried off into the light of spring.
‘That nose! A sweet snuffling softness that prefers nothing better than rooting around the forest floor for tasty morsels. Occasionally they find a truffle but a bumblehog has no concept of monetary value and cares not for a shaving or wafer thin slice. He will gobble it up and quickly too for if a fellow hog should discover the secretive supper then he may just have to share and I can assure that is not something bumblehogs like to do.’
It is so reassuring to her to know that the worlds love of magic is still here. Lucy sells her artwork worldwide and can be found in galleries within the UK and the USA. Lucy hopes to one day write a book about all the creatures she meets and manages to recreate. For now though she will continue to discover new wild souls at the rivers and woods that line her Somerset home.