Joining in with Wild Daffodil’s Photographic Monthly Meet-Up, the prompt for November is Patina. Age-worn metal, lovingly polished wood, and stone left to the elements all produce beautiful objects with the patina of time passed (and past).

vintage-advertising-signsThis century-old barn is home to the Cookstown Antique Market just north of Toronto, Ontario. You’ve seen some of the lovely things I’ve found inside the barn recently; this is the weathered exterior with vintage metal advertising signs showing lots of patina.

vintage-kitchen-tools-with-patinaI’ve also written plenty of times about our 107-year-old summer cottage in Muskoka. These well-used household implements gathered on a wood-burning iron stove in the kitchen certainly show their age; I added a vintage effect to the photo just for fun.

cathedral-door-detailNot forgetting the patina of old wood, here is a detail from a set of cathedral doors (built 1933) in Hamilton, Ontario.

mile-marker-at-Stonehenge-dated-1764Stone can develop patina, too. On a trip to England and Wales about 25 years ago (has it really been that long??), we found this distance marker at Stonehenge, beautifully weathered and covered with lichen. It’s dated 1764 – two centuries before I was born! – and shows the number of miles from London (seventy-nine, from what I can make out) plus an indistinguishable number from Andover. It would be interesting to know if any of my British blogger friends have also seen this monument!


Still Life: Perfect Prose


Jane Austen collection by Penguin Classics, with beautiful foil-stamped clothbound hardcovers designed by Coralie Bickford-Smith, shown with Heathcote bone china teacup.

Still Life: Pewter & Leather

tankard-leather-4I took this photo last year as a Facebook teaser for the leather bags I was starting to make for my shop. These are simple drawstring coin / dice / trinket pouches made from goatskin. I also use Canadian moose hide, which I obtain from a traditional native craft supply shop operated by Six Nations people, and I sometimes embellish the bags with handmade wooden toggles from reclaimed local trees. Along with my prized Scottish pewter tankard (“It comes in pints?? I’m getting one!!!), I thought this made a nice vignette. Pay the barkeep, and drink up!

Wood So Wild on Facebook

Summer’s End

dsc_8886-16the soft subsidence
of summer; sharp-scented thyme
a dried memory

“Summer’s End” © 2016 Valerie Barrett. All rights reserved.


Still Life: Coffee beans and green apple

DSC_1938 (7)My husband looked at this photo and said, “Why the apple?” I understood immediately what he meant, because, when I was composing the vignette, trying out a few props, I’d asked myself the same thing. The old-school coffee grinder, beans, scoop and burlap backdrop are obvious go-togethers; the apple is a case of “one of these things is not like the others.” So why did I use it here?

I included the green apple mainly for its bright, complementary pop of colour against all that brown. The organics  ̶  the fruit, beans and even the grinder’s wooden handle  ̶  offset the cold metal which could otherwise dominate the image. The apple shares the same shape as the knob, which is relegated to the corner, and as such helps balance the photo’s composition; I even positioned the apple so its stem follows the same angle as the handle. Plus, the fruit’s condensation picks up the same tonal highlights which appear on the beans and grinder.

Photographed in natural light with a Nikon D5000 at f/6.3, ISO-500, 1/15 sec. and 24 mm focal length.

20160713_105849 (8)

Still Life: Bottles