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.







Thursday, 27 October 2016

It's been a while...

..since I posted.
I've been having a nice time.

I had a brilliant time at Yarndale.
This is my new sign at last.




I wasn't expecting it to be such fun as it was the third time I'd done it and I thought perhaps it might be good to have a break, but it was sooo good I can't wait for next year!
Blurry photo of my pen.



I met loads of lovely people , some of whom had signed up for my course in September which has been and gone, and some of whom were interested in signing up for my second course which is in November (I still have a couple of spaces left due to having to change dates) .The alpacas had a lot of compliments too. Vivian the baby was a big draw with her spotty face.


A grand time was had by all. Apparently , if you were walking about on the Saturday it was heaving, but I was in my little pen and enjoying chatting to people and selling pieces of work so I loved it. It's so wonderful to be complemented all day long.
These giant sheep were walking about all day as well.



On Friday 14h October it was my Lovely Mum's 89th Birthday.

 We had a plan. Hetty went to a friend's house. We would go for lunch to a pub we'd seen in Far Sawrey (Near the Windermere ferry) called 'The Cuckoo Brow Inn' and then go to Kendal and pop into the Abbott Hall Art Gallery to see 'Winifred Nicholson in Cumbria' . My husband had restored a lot of her paintings for a book by Christopher Andrae which was published a few years ago.


Don't you love teh lake District? Lovely sights like this.
Swallows and Amazons on Windermere.


The meal at the pub was delightful , 

Then we set off to Kendal but unfortunately the traffic from the North to the South of Kendal on a Friday afternoon is a nightmare and by the time we got to the Gallery it was too late to go in.

So in the end Brian went on his own the day after , as it was the final day.
Shortly after that, an invitation arrived in the post for guess what? The preview of the Winifred Nicholson in Cumbria Exhibition in London!

The day Brian was hobnobbing with Winifred, I was having a fab time with a wonderful group of ladies teaching the first course I'd organised myself and I have to say it was brilliant fun.
They were a terrific group and we laughed a lot and they made some beautiful felt, and made a good start on the embroidery.

Some came from so far away they had to stay in hotels. I was very honoured.
I'm doing it all over again in three weeks with a different group.Still a couple of places left due to ..well circumstances!

The work on the roof still grinds on. I'm going to miss the lovely roofer and his assistant when he leaves (eventually). Last week his Father (a retired GP)turned up on a motorbike and his brother (a tiler) arrived to throw some rubbish in our skip (by prior arrangement) so we had three members of his family at our kitchen table. I'm beginning to think he's a member of my family! I'll be so glad when I can see through the windows again and walk into the garden without clonking my head on the scaffolding, and pay some attention to what we used to call the lawn. We need an industrial vacuum cleaner to clean out the loft . The skylight has been covered with a layer of thick grit and bits of old slate and new roofing felt so it's gloomy on the landing as thats the only natural light.

Brian is painting the woodwork so all is going to be very smart. e might even finish with a flourish and re-instate the Balls on the gateposts which regular readers might remember were lifted a few years ago but then recovered.



This weekend I'm teaching a workshop at Creative Threads in Garstang.
I was convinced I'd be exhausted on Sunday when the clocks went 'back' but then I realised it's 'forward' so I'm ecstatic.
Happy Winter everyone.





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

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