Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Knitting and Stitching Show

I was determined not to let too much time go by before I post again, but I really don’t know where the time goes to …

My friends Elaine and Jennifer and I really enjoyed our annual ‘jaunt’ to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Harrogate. It’s turned into a ‘mini-holiday’ and, although we didn’t spend anything like as much as last year – we all bought embellishers! – we still enjoy looking at the ‘spoils’ over a cup of tea in our room before we sally out to ‘Quantro’ for our evening meal. A glass of Baileys and ‘putting the world to rights’ before bed has become a ritual as well.

It was lovely to see our favourite tutor, Ruth Issett, surrounded by the zingiest of her fabrics. You could almost ‘breathe in’ the colour on her stand and the sheer emotion always – you’ve guessed it – makes me cry! What am I like?!

It was lovely to see Ruth - and Chas - looking so well and just enjoying the admiration instead of beavering away as usual. I’m sure that Kevin and Viv missed her demonstrations but I suppose the ‘finished product’ across the way was just as much an inspiration and selling aid?

The other stand I spent time at was the ‘Art 4 Cloth’. Lots of encouragement from inspired tutors who made their work sound ‘easy’ … it probably is for them after a lifetime dedicated to producing such detailed and elaborate surface decoration – Complex Cloth indeed.

As usual the Graduate Showcase attracted a great deal of attention. It’s great to see these young people who are just starting out in the textile world getting to show off their work to an appreciative audience. My particular favourites this year were Eleanor Feddon, Sara Baccucini Meadows and Linda Marie Young with her intricate, beautiful boxes. I was entranced by Victoria Geary’s ‘wrapped rings’ – lovely fabrics, threads and tiny, tiny stitches. Gorgeous.

On the way home we had such a wonderful sunset coming over Beamsley Hill. It started off as pink and pale blue, through purple and orange to scarlet. Very Ruth.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Catching up

Well, here I am again – wondering how you pick up the pieces and start to blog again after such a long time! The Croatian holiday was such a disappointment that I threw myself into a whirlwind of activity – and the dust has only just settled. I haven’t even looked at my own blog, let alone anyone else’s!

I have made a fervent resolve to stay home this week and try to catch up on some of the things that haven’t been getting done whilst I have been ‘gadding about’ - as we say ‘oop north’. However - and I don't know why? - I can't get any of the photographs into my text so - for now - I'll have to remain 'undecorated'.

I’m going to rattle off a few of the things I’ve seen and done over the last few weeks – bearing in mind that hardly a day has gone by without some little diversion!

I went with my friend Julie to see the Matthew Williamson exhibition at Urbis – pretty much the ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’ as far as we were concerned. Yes, the colours were vibrant and the pattern striking but in terms of cutting and construction the garments left a lot to be desired. We resolved to go home and sew … and so we shall.

The Platform Gallery Open Exhibition was a treasure. The highlights for me were Joan Newall’s ‘retrospective book ‘At this moment’ – a real punch in the solar plexus! Gilly Cowan’s layered pieces were so colourful and beautifully stitched. Two of my all-time favourites were also exhibiting - Janet Browne’s ‘journeys’ and Jacqueline Smith’s collages are always a delight to behold and both had lovely pieces on show.

I’ve taken part in two concerts – and all the rehearsals leading up to them – ‘The Armed Man’ again and, last Sunday, ‘Fauré’s Requiem’ and four ‘Motets for Christmas’ by Poulenc. Very challenging but thoroughly enjoyable. It’s a relief to be doing Christmas carols once again - but it feels like it ought to be August still! Where did the year go?

I’ve been to the theatre twice to see Chekov’s ‘Three Sisters’ and my own very favourite play ‘Antigone’. This last was a stunning production and reduced me to tears by its intensity and passion. I’m a bit of a Greek tragedy ‘nut’, I have to confess. (My friend, Barbara, a true romantic, who was hoping for a happy ending, reduced me to giggles as she gasped with horror as the bodies piled up!)

The other trip to the Royal Exchange was to hear Sheila Hancock talking about her book ‘Just Me’ – a sequel to ‘The Two of Us’ about her marriage to, and the death of, her husband, John Thaw. I feel a special affinity to Sheila and had the opportunity to tell her so afterwards. I could identify with her experiences of going abroad on your own without the presence of the loving companion with whom you have long shared your travels. You’ve just got to get in there and do it – or sit at home and go into a decline?

I enjoyed the ‘Fashion and Embroidery Show’ at Harrogate, though possibly not as much as in years gone by? I particularly liked Jessica Abraham’s work – it gets better all the time.

Preston Embroiderer’s Guild took part in the Arts Society exhibition in the Minster and my felt pieces were finished in time! Just! I've managed to bring these in through 'Picasa' but it doesn't work for all the others. Why? Anyway, these are 'The pool at the Jardin Majorelle' 1-4.

I've done several courses/workshops - one at Cedar Farm with Sheila Smith and Joanne Eddon, using painted silk to nuno on to felt and one with Sandra Coleridge using the embellisher, both very enjoyable.
Most of all I enjoy the felting group that I belong to. The members are so kind and generous and happy to share their expertise one with another. Our inspiration is Fiona whose wonderful work you can see on 'Fiat84'. She kindly came to give me a personal 'tute' on 'Paint Shop Pro' which is - at last - beginning to make sense. We are all indebted to her for sharing her techniques and tips and inspiring us with her sense of colour and stitch.
As well as Jackie keeping us 'in tucks' with her stories, we have CAKE - how could it help being my favourite way of spending a day?