Monday, 22 May 2017

Spring

Busy busy busy..I've been around and about.
Just before Easter I had another super visit to Snape Textile group where I did two day classes. They wanted to make vessels so I had to practise before I went!
However it all went very well and there were some lovely bowls at the end of each day. 
I usually use the dull and unloved colours for my samples on the day and in this picture you can see the one on the right in maroon and lime that I made on the first day, as well as the bright pink smaller one I made on the second day. 



Here's a close-up. I thought it would be horrible in those vivid colours, but in the end I rather liked it.


We all learnt a lot!

I was  hosted overnight by the lovely Sarah and her family. They have a super seating area outside and some unorthodox planters. Aren't they great?
The views from the bedroom where I slept were of beautiful rolling Yorkshire countryside, but if I craned my neck I saw this and did a bit of a double take!
Dinosaurs. 
?

 I had a wonderful time as usual.

While I was away, number two son had his birthday, so we met up in Manchester during the week and visited 'PLY ' bar where they make the most amazing pizzas ever...
They have a mirror ball pizza oven and the pizzas are light and fluffy and delicious.
I could have eaten two.😋 
I have since discovered there is a similar one in Ancoats so need to get myself there asap just to check if it's as good.

The end of April took us to Wonderwool Wales. An enormous wool celebrating venue in Builth Wells.
On the way we called in to Llandrindod Wells. 
I was impressed with their local celebrity.


Onto Builth Wells. A nice little town with a witty line in Display Art outside a Vintage shop.


Inside the Royal Welsh Showground I set up my stand. It was very hard work and not like anything I'd done before as it had huge white 'screens' behind it. I felt it looked a bit bare but showed off the goods I suppose. Bit blurry photo.
I used the above mentioned bowl with a little plastic container in it to add a bit of nature to my stand. I asked the owner of our B &B if I could pick some Ladies' Smock from their fields which were absolutely full of it, and it just looked perfect with a bit of a budding beech branch.


I had a lovely two days meeting a new audience and one or two old friends. It was an adventure and we made it into a bit of a holiday by having 4 nights and a chance to visit Hay-on-Wye on the way home, and seeing a bit of Mid Wales in the evenings.



I forgot to take a photo in the sunlight but this was the twilight view over the fields from our B&B .


The wooden clad building on the right was where our lovely room was, with its own dining table so we could have our delicious breakfast brought in by the owners.
I would definitely recommend it.
It turned out that the other guests were also at Wonderwool.


My next door stand neighbour was the lovely and extremely talented Jenny Pepper. 
I said my stand looked bare..Jenny's was gorgeous and won 'best stand of its size' . I'm not a bit surprised.

The work and the setting were both beautiful


Really sensitive

I mentioned Hay-on-Wye. For those who don't know, it's famous for its bookshops. I kept seeing this book..it looked intriguing but I didn't buy it. Has anyone read it?



I'd made a LOT of brooches for Wonderwool and I sold quite a lot !


Now I'm starting again for Woolfest.


Here's a piece of embroidery I made as a result of a workshop demo. I'm quite pleased with it.

At the felt group last week one of the members brought some vintage embroideries she'd inherited.
Aren't these lovely?


Waiting for one of the members was the delightful 'Bear' . I had to go out and be introduced to him.

I wonder if Hetty would have liked him?


She wasn't so sure about Lola when she visited last week.


Who could not love those eyes?


Sunday, 12 March 2017

Late starter

It's the third month of the year and my first blog post. 
Oh dear.
I think I haven't felt anything blogworthy since my last post. Christmas and New Year were a bit dull and we were still recovering from our bad colds for ages. 
I can only check my photographs to discover what I've actually been doing since my last post.
Ah I've remembered!
With a deadline of 20th January I had to get cracking on a project for 'Stitch' magazine. I obviously can't show it here but in June it will be published.
I also had to work for the most lovely Gallery that I deal with, and wouldn't you know? The deadline was the same date. Fortunately they were flexible and I made a few Fossil Brooches for them..not my finest hour.. sample below..to accompany their exhibition, details here http://www.sotagallery.co.uk/new-events/


As I look at that I realise it's over! Time flies.
I've sent brooches to Ballater to a Gallery there, and I've sent three wall pieces to Ramster , the exhibition started yesterday. Here are two of them. My spies tell me they have been hung in the exhibition.





So all in all I've been a busy but not very bright little bee.

On Monday we returned from Ireland, out annual trip which I always enjoy.
Tense moment on the day we set off as the neighbours who were having Hetty suddenly announced their daughter had gone into labour a week early so they couldn't have her for the weekend. I managed after much panicking to find alternative accommodation for little Het for the weekend and they picked up later in the week.
Phew.

We had a great time although it was very wet. I had lunch with my two lovely Textile friends, Breda McNelis and Ester Kiely who both drive a distance for our get together. We ate lovely food and talked nineteen to the dozen for three hours or more !
Here are some of the highlights of the trip to Ireland.

Corcomroe Abbey on a sunny but bitterly cold day.
It is amazing inside with beautiful stone carvings and tombs and monuments from hundreds of years ago.

Three dogs on Gleninagh Quay in the rain.


I visited Thoor Ballylee, otherwise know as Yeat's Tower. Silent except for birdsong. Deserted.


To Be Carved on a Stone at Thoor Ballylee

I, the poet William Yeats,
With old mill boards and sea-green slates,
And smithy work from the Gort forge,
Restored this tower for my wife George;
And may these characters remain
When all is ruin once again.



and this is the stone with the poem.


And then one night, over the rocky road to Corofin, where a mountain of a man with the face of a cherub played concertina like an angel, accompanied by a Japanese guitarist, to whom he had taught English with a heavy Irish accent.


Followed by three Concertina Mavericks and a stage full of ..yes ..concertinas, entertained the packed hall for the rest of the evening.


 Concertinas from the tiniest just-for-fun to the most enormous. The best musicians who all have individual careers and CDs out.
"People keep telling us we should make an album. We're only after thinking they meant together'


Other scenes from the week..the music teacher's dog waiting patiently for the lesson to end.

I called her over and she leapt up and threw herself at me.






The Flaggy Shore.


Seaweed on Bishops Quarter beach . (Ideas abound.)



The three Ballyvaughan trees have had a prune




View of The Burren




An actual selfie of me and my friend Denise on the bitter cold seashore.

More seashore.


And now..I spotted this on my way to Mass. You know when someone lays concrete and there's always a dog paw in it?
Well I thought this was the loveliest thing, a leaf print...or two. Accidental but it would be nice all over wouldn't it?




I'm working really hard now for Wonderwool, Wales in just under two months time. I've set myself a very high target to meet , and although I'm really excited about going there for the first time, I don't know how cost effective it will be, by the time I've paid for B&B, stand fee, food, petrol, these first few pieces are 'lost leaders'.

I've just booked my flights for my weeks session in May teaching at Crafty Retreats in France. That's another bit of excitement, and I've just heard I've been accepted to Woolfest again. Woo hoo. I LOVE
Woolfest.
Now..can I sustain this level of production until September? SHOULD I apply to Yarndale? 
Hmmm....well, go on then. 
It's so good.

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

End of the year

My last post written way back in October ended with my looking forward to a workshop in Garstang. Well it was lovely and the town looked lovely too. It's a super little market town with a lot of independent shops, and I really wish Chorley had taken a leaf out of their planners' book when they decided to wreck our town with unsympathetic developments. I said this in the class not knowing that two of my students were from Chorley, but I think in the end they agreed.

Anyway here are some pictures from the day.
 There was some really super work all different.
 The two below both used the same source picture, so it shows that we all have our own style.
 A Van Gogh interpretation.





 The one below should be rotated. It's based on a David Hockney tree painting.




 And here is a shop in Garstang all decked out for Halloween. It's a long time ago now!

 Also a long time ago, the roofer decided to thank me for all the soup and toast I'd made hm with a lovely hamper.

He made an excellent job of the roof, and it's completely dry now if somewhat cooler, as the old wood and mortar between the wood and the slates, has been replace with battens and breathable membrane so there's very little insulation left up there between us and the elements, and the bedrooms are chillier. However, when all the loft has been cleared of a lot of the aforementioned 'stuff' that fell into it , we can put down some layers of insulation and that should make a difference.


 It's a beautiful job and cost a fortune, so you can imagine how upset I was when the chimney above began to drip into the kitchen again. We all thought it was cured but it seems not, so at extra expense it has to be re-investigated from the other side, ie the neighbour's, who are absolutely adamant that they have no problems with it. It only seems to happen when the wind blows in a certain direction so it could just be a small crack somewhere.
So...watch this space.
So we had a farewell photo of Lovell and Michael but we'll be seeing them again in January!



I've been working like a maniac sewing and selling and doing workshops to help to pay towards the roof works and I'm pleased to say I've been selling well.
I've made birds


and sheep

and lots of other things.

I've been in 'Felt Matters' magazine, 

very exciting, and I've been asked to write for another magazine. 
I did another two day workshop of my own and it was equally good fun as the last one, with more super work from students.


We had a good laugh.
I've had a lovely Christmas with my family at home and too much food.

I've been accepted for Wonderwool Wales, and I'm about to apply for Woolfest once again.
I have a new two day workshop in the offing, 26th and 27th January in Lancashire, still some places left, as well as some work on a fossil theme to accompany a special exhibition.
So, plenty to look forward to in 2017.
But I'll let you into a little secret, I'm feeling rather down. That black dog.  Not really a secret, I've mentioned it before. Christmas can make it worse or better. It seems to like to alternate and this year it definitely worse.
(I hope thats not a truth too far.)
So roll on 'normality'. 
And Spring.
Only 8 weeks to Ballyvaughan.









Mo
st of my pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them.

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