Monday, 21 June 2010

Silver threads and golden needles

Because it's a well documented fact that the person with the biggest fabric stash lives longest, I purchased these beautiful vintage fabrics last week  Some lovely barkcloth, which is hoping to be a cushion when it grows up ...
Some feedsack fabric (I'm not sure what this feedsack thing is all about, but my sis has mentioned it and it looks lovely) ....
And then, this lovely little extra bit  which I wasn't expecting!...
I'm really pleased with them, and given that I ordered them late on Wednesday night, and they arrived on Friday morning,could  I suggest that when you next have an "I need vintage fabric and I need it  NOW!"  -type emergency, you might like to visit Sal's Snippets.

I visited an exhibition at the newly refurbished Hertford Museum on Saturday, featuring the work of Elspeth Kemp, a local textile artist. 

I couldn't take any photographs, but if you are in the area,  it's definitely worth a  visit - the work spans many decades and covers lots of  different styles, both traditional and contemporary.  There were several stunning pieces which I particularly loved, that had been made this year, following a Masterclass she recently attended with John Allen.  Oh, and maybe I should mention that she was born in 1922.  What an inspiration!
Well, it worked for me.  I came home on Saturday afternoon and was determined to get on with my final  piece for C&G - "An accessory or set of accessories".  I had decided to make what the fashion magazines refer to as a 'bib necklace'.  (I think it refers to the shape, rather than the fact  that it'd look better once you've got your dinner down it)

I made lots of different little elements on a vaguely floral theme.....

I free machined onto metal (including recycled tomato puree tubes) organzas, felt, lace and bit of previous textile experiments that have been knocking about for years, just waiting for something to happen.
And now, it has ..............

C&G allows handstitching on one of your projects - so I was able to add some hand beading. I'm quite pleased with it - I might even make a brooch or a cuff to go with it.
PS - Have you noticed anything about the titles for my posts yet?

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Take Me To The River

Sorry, it's been ages. I had a weekend in windy Norfolk, followed by  a  weekend in sunny Bournemouth.  But, in between, I had a trip to the Victoria Miro Gallery in North London to see an exhibition of work by a Brazilian artist Maria Nepomuceno.  To quote Holland Cotter of  The New York Times...
"Maria Nepomuceno's woven and beaded scultures feel entirely self-sufficient.  They're at once charming and mysterious, relaxed and vivacious, like the never-entirely-gentle Rio environment that produced them."  
Mmmm, I'm sure I'd have said that myself if I'd have thought of it first.  Instead, my reaction was that they were  really interesting, brilliantly coloured and great to look at in a big empty space, but probably not the sort of thing that you'd want in your lounge.  Macrame for the New Millenium?  My overwhelming thought though, was that they must have been bl***y hard work - they were made with tough nylon ropes, sewn with what looked like heavy duty fishing line.  I bet her fingers were sore by the time she'd finished.  I just hope she treated herself to a thimble.
Anyway,see what you think ........

Anyway, having spent an hour or so there, we decided to make our way to Loop, the posh wool shop - but not before we'd had a cup of coffee in the sunshine....
sitting on a balcony, overlooking part of the Regents Canal.
Who would have thought that this was just around the corner from City Road?  That's what I love about walking around in London.  You come across such unexpected hidden treasures.
Talking of treasure, when we got to LOOP I bought some lovely hand-painted yarn to knit a "Simple Ripple Scarf" designed for Loop by JuJu Vail 

I'll let you know whether it turns out to be simple at some point in the future.  Don't hold your breath.
Incidentally, in case you are planning a visit to Loop in the near future - they are moving to 15 Camden Passage, Islington - the new shop opens today, 19th June.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Hanging on the Telephone

I think I'm returning to the 1950s if my purchases this week are anything to go by.  First of all I successfully bid for this beautiful Bakelite phone on ebay, and collected it yesterday.  I love it, it's a proper heavy handset, with a loud Brrring Brrring.  Ok, so it's not cordless, but that just means I have to sit down and chat without wandering about doing other things, and not giving the person on the other end my full attention.  I'm not too sure how it'll cope with call centres.  You know, the ones that say - "Your call is important to us, please listen to all the options before selecting.  Press 1 if you have an account with us, Press 2  if you find my voice patronising, Press 3 if you'd like to speak to a human being, Press 4 if you are losing the will to live"  etc., etc.  Maybe I just won't talk to them anymore.  And, of course, I'll still be able to use the phone in the event of a power cut.
And, second exciting purchase of the week,  while at City and Guilds yesterday, I popped to the charity shop at lunchtime and spotted this.  I  used to have a similar one, years ago, although it was without the legs. I'm not sure what happened to it , but I saw this, and had to buy it - £4.50 - bargain!  Fully intact, just needs a bit of polish.
I did wonder if perhaps I'll turn into a Doris Day character, pottering about in a frilly apron, making home cooked dinners and performing other domestic chores whilst listening to Housewives' Choice on the wireless.  But then, this evening, I had to change my clothes twice in the space of an hour; once after shaking a bottle of Balsamic dressing without checking the lid was on properly, and then shortly afterwards when I slightly over-dunked a biscuit in a cup of hot tea, resulting in a minor burn and yet another pair of trousers.  So, not quite Doris Day after all, then.  
Going back to City and Guilds - I have finished my penultimate project, which means that  I've only got one more to go.  (I just wanted to prove I know what penultimate means).
It's a machine stitched  vessel, containing a pottery vase -  and I made the flowers to go in it too.
Today, I've been up to London to the Mall Galleries, to see this ....
If you get the chance, you should go - there's some brilliant work, including several pieces by my tutor Fan My Flame who was stewarding there today.  After a couple of hours browsing and admiring , I walked back to the station, with a short detour through St James Park, to my favourite London view -
The sky really was that blue!

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Rock The Casbah

Or Rock The Square, even. 
Since the sad demise of the Hertford Marquee in June last year, there's been a bit of a musical void in town. 
True, the Castle Hall held the occasional music event,  and they had a few really good tribute bands, but the venue itself is a bit soul-less, and whilst the staff are efficient and friendly, the decor in the bar is a bit overlit and dated. Apparently that is being addressed at long last, as it recently closed for refurbishment but who knows whether it will continue to have bands when it re-opens.
Recently the Corn Exchange has started hosting music events, along with comedy nights, and that has a much better atmosphere, with better lighting. (For 'better',  read 'less'. I figure the lower the lighting levels, the longer I can go without botox.)  It still tends to lean towards established acts though, and it's unlikely that it's going to be very accessible to young bands hoping to play their first gig.
However, it may be that Shades Top Bar in Parliament Square is about to bridge the gap.  On Saturday,  "Rock the Square" had it's opening night.

First on were a young band from Ware,  False Alarm (and when I say 'young' - I'd be surprised if their combined ages were much more than mine), followed by Wide Boy Generation.  At least I was only old enough to be their mum, rather than their granny. Both of these were really good and obviously had some keen followers in the audience. 
Finally, headlining at what I hope is the first of many gigs at this promising venue, were the slightly-more-mature  "Trash" - in my opinion, the UK's top Clash tribute band.  But then admittedly, I haven't seen any others.  They rocked their way through great renditions of the classics - "London's Burning", "Rock The Casbah", "Janie Jones", "Bank Robber", "Guns of Brixton", "Safe European Home", "White Riot" and of course, a track that always makes it onto my list of Desert Island Discs, and that I HAVE to dance to wherever I am when I hear it -  "I Fought the Law".   I've decided I'm going to have it written into my will that I want that track played at my funeral, although I guess I won't be dancing then. Or will I? 
I did take a couple of photos, but my flash/camera skills clearly aren't good enough. Still, I've played around in Photoshop, so, here's Trash in Blurry Blue......
and in Rebellious Red........
"Rock The Square" has the makings of being a great local music venue - so let's hope that it takes off - the next gig is planned for 17th July.

Oh, and the fact that it's local, meant that I was back home with a cup of cocoa and my Woman's Weekly soon after 1am.    Rock'n'Roll!