Saturday, 23 June 2012

Castles Made Of Sand

Bit belatedly, but here's the post I intended about my trip to Shropshire, including a brilliant weekend course  with Bobby Britnell and Ruth Issett on their collaborative "Working Together" workshops.  This particular workshop was called Grids and Meshes.
We started off with some mark making, using various sizes of canvas to draw through and to make rubbings 

Then we were allowed to use colour - but only two!  Instead of using my usual pinks/purples, having been inspired by the landscape
I went for acid yellow and a turquoise-y green
We printed from the canvas, made roller prints, and generally played around with colour and marks.
Then we cut up and stiched the canvas to make little 'griddy elements'
And then progressed towards finished pieces.
Well, not exactly finished, obviously, but several pieces definitely on the way.

Here is some work of the other students
It was a great weekend, throughly recommended, and although it was only on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday, I decided to make a week of it.
I stayed in apartment which was part of the Porch House at Bishops Castle
The apartment was lovely, with a little kitchen, a cosy lounge and a massive bedroom.  The bathroom even had a feature 'wattle and daub wall'
Bishops Castle was a lovely town, with a really good community feeling, 
and some delightfully painted cottages
I visited nearby Stokesay Castle

Ironbridge, walking over and under the bridge

and I crossed just over the border into Wales to visit the Colinette Yarns warehouse - the words 'kid' and 'sweetshop' come to mind.
A truly lovely holiday
And for those people who know Ruth, and are aware that whilst being aware she is a great textile artist and stitcher, have never ACTUALLY seen her with a needle in her hand - here's the proof
Sorry Bobby - no photo of you I'm afraid.  You'll just have to let me come back next year!

Castles Made Of Sand - Jimi Hendrix (ok, so my castles weren't made of sand, but it was the best I could come up with)

Friday, 15 June 2012

Surprise, Surprise

The postman arrived this morning, and as I heard the thump on the mat, I assumed it would be the usual selection of unwanted catalogues and circulars. Ok, so maybe one day I WILL need a hearing aid, due to the noisy gigs, but I'm ok for the moment thank you.  And I have no wish to go on a cruise, nor do I wish to buy into an exorbitant timeshare scheme, allowing me to spend one or two weeks a year (probably in the rain) in a Country House, with a golf course, so stop writing to tell me how I could miss out if I don't respond  immediately.
While I'm about it, I don't eat kebabs, or pizzas, or curry - and even if I did I wouldn't want them delivered to my door.  I'm not planning to sell my property, even if there ARE lots of eager buyers waiting for a home just like mine, and I am quite happy with all my current tv/telephone/broadband arrangements, thank you.
Oh, and, if the man from Acorn is reading this, my parents DO NOT WANT A B****Y STAIRLIFT!!

Anyway, having got all that off my chest, in fact, the post was the most lovely surprise - two fat quarters of the most wonderful fabric sent completely unexpectedly but the lovely Angela

Aren't they beautiful?  She said that as soon as the new fabric arrived she immediately thought of me and sent them to me.  This isn't an advert, and it certainly isn't why she sent them, but I thought I'd put a link to her shop here in case you are as taken with them as I am and might want to order some.  Thanks Angela!

Talking of lovely fabric, I bought some of this a few months ago .....
and, thanks to the lousy weather, it finally got made up into a skirt - the pattern is Burda 8176 which I've used a couple of times, and plan to use again.  It's really quick and simple to make, although I add a lining that the pattern doesn't have.  (It's actually from the Burda Young Fashion section - but I won't tell them if you don't)
I've also made a couple more needlecases from vintage fabric.  

And finally, as this is a post of odds and ends, I thought anyone with a rusting treadle sewing machine table might be inspired by this. My friend Jane has had this table in her garden for years, awaiting the right project.  
She got her husband to make a wooden box into which a compost bag fits perfectly, and has planted it up with various salad leaves and herbs.  The best of it, is that slugs don't seem to be able to climb up that far. 

Now I suppose I'm going to be searching on ebay for a treadle.

Surprise Surprise - John Lennon

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

God Save The Queen

Great gig at Hertford Corn Exchange last night - The Sex Pistols Experience, who were brilliant.  I saw them last year over the Royal Wedding weekend, and their return visit to Hertford was timed to coincide with the Jubilee weekend.  They not only sound great - but they really look the part too - Johnny Rotter has got John Lydon off to an absolute T.  It wasn't a huge audience, but all those who WERE there, clearly thoroughly enjoyed themselves.
In fact, to such an extent that 'Kid' Vicious, who usually snarls throughout the performance, seemed to be trying (and mostly failing) to suppress a grin most of the time.  I guess a couple of dozen geezers in their mid-fifties, pogo-ing like their lives depended on it, is bound to bring a smile to your face.  

At least with maturity the enthusiastic audience seemed to have learned to appreciate the value of money, so thankfully the amount of beer thrown was negligible.
Bit of a mistake to stand quite so close to the speaker, I am officially deaf this morning, but then, that always was the sign of a great night out. 

Plus excellent raucous support from The Blissetts, with Hertford's finest guitar tutor, Ed Brown, on bass.

That should be good for a free lesson.

God Save The Queen - The Sex Pistols

Monday, 4 June 2012


Sorry, yet another long blog absence - but I have been busy.  I have been to see this - twice!

The story behind the Great Bed of Ware is fascinating - it started off in the 1500's, apparently as a bit of an 'advertising campaign' for one of the Inns.  It was on the route that pilgrims took from London to Walsingham in Norfolk, and presumably was one of the stopping off points.  Over the course of its long stay in Ware the Bed moved around between five inns, The White Hart, The George, The Crown, The Bull and the Saracen’s Head from which it was sold in 1870.  Henry Teale took it to Rye House, Hoddesdon, as a visitor attraction. It's mentioned in various literary works, including Twelfth Night. And, since 1931 it's been at the V&A, but for this year only, it's in the Ware Museum.

Although you are not even allowed to TOUCH the bed now, if you look closely, you can see graffiti dating back hundreds of years where various occupants have carved their names. 

Apart, from that, I've been a bit productive, I've knitted necklaces, and I've made some more books, since I finished my book making course - this one is made with watercolour paper and covered with part of a carrier bag from Desigual
and this patriotic one is again made of watercolour paper, and covered with some card making paper, and finished with a book mark.  (Don't tell anyone, but the book mark started life as a  tag from some red white and blue underwear I bought in M&S!)

I've also visited the Mall Galleries to see the Prism exhibition, which was fabulous.  I got there at 12.30 and didn't manage to drag myself away until after 4.30pm.  There was SO much to see, and such inspirational work.  I think it's brilliant when you leave an exhibition and are bursting to go home and sketch and stitch - which is just what this exhibition did for me.  Such talented and innovative artists, it was a brilliant day.  I bought a photographic licence, and took lots of pictures, but you're not supposed to publish any of them, so you'll have to take my word for it.  However, Gina said I was welcome to show a photo of her work, so here it is, her brilliant full size machine embroidery of figures speaking on their mobile phones, hung in a telephone kiosk

Yesterday, along with a million other people, I went up to see the Jubilee Pageant, with my friend Angie and her son Jacques.  
I even made myself a Jubilee T shirt,
although, due to the standard British weather, it was covered in several layers of clothing so I needn't have bothered!
We had a good position near Tower Bridge, but as that was at the end of the Pageant, we had to stand there quite a long time, and consequently we got very cold, and very very wet.   It was quite a relief when the first of the boats appeared ...
and we did get to see the Queen.
Yeah, I know I could have stayed at home and watched it on the television, but I'm glad I went, and I  still got to watch the highlights when I got home and turned the central heating on.
I haven't forgotten that I am due to post about the course I did in May - to follow .................

Jubilee - Blur