I've spent the morning helping David hang his exhibition at Attenborough Nature Centre. He's been working hard toward it and has produced some really lovely paintings. I really like these more abstract landscapes.
David Hallows. Untitled II.
David Hallows. Untitled IV
The exhibition is on every day until the end of September and you can view the catalogue on line at Paper Pencil Paint.
It was great staying in a caravan in the forest, though a little eerie. At night you could hear the lonesome call of an owl. We went foraging around a derelict church, gathering blackberries, where we disturbed a monkjack deer. Down the lanes, I collected crab apples and some early sloes for sloe vodka. I felt intune with all my forbears who have headed out into the late summer sun to gather what they can ahead of colder days. On our last morning I took a walk across the fields and gathered mushrooms. I have some sense about what I'm doing, I don't pick what I don't recognise, and mainly what I recognise are puffballs. I felt exhilarated and so pleased to arrive back in suburbia with my crop. I've gathered mushrooms before, but always chickened out when it came to eating them! This time I sliced them finely, drizzled with olive oil and fresh basil. They were so delicious! None the less, I was convinced I would keel over, such is the power of folklore and our distance from nature. I'm not sure if it was the mushrooms but I've been having the strangest dreams......
The Bressingham Steam Museum, how exciting! Two small boys and their Poppa were over the moon to see those trains! The less train mad amongst us soon warmed to the beauty and charm of this day out. Three rides on the Gallopers seemed to be the height of vintage holidaying. I had tears in my eyes as I realised it was my first time on a carousel.
I seem to have become a steam enthusiast! Sheringham's railway adds to the charm of this very English sea side town. Not overly tainted by tourism, the town leads to a number of beaches, divided by sea defences. My favourite beach is a pebble one and we were merrily occupied in finding favourite pebbles, collecting and discarding, plopping them into the sea. A picnic, ice-cream, a walk to 'choose' a beach hut and then returning to the beach for fish and chips. And all in the sunshine.
I've visited the Sainsbury Centre at the University of East Anglia before and was really pleased to revisit. Housed in a magnificent building designed by Norman Foster the gallery is full of light and dynamic spaces. The building works really well as a visitor centre and from the exhibition spaces, to the cafe, shop and even the loos, everything is well designed. Home to a beautiful collection of objects from around the world, there is an obvious passion in the collection for the archeological, for ceramics and for mid twentieth century design. Unifying the collection is a pallette of muted tones and textures. It's a very calming collection to be amongst and also very human with many domestic items and amulets, infused with a sense of the maker.
An exhibition of archeological figurines from many points of the globe, the unearthed exhibition worked well as an adjunct to the main collection. Because they were representative of the human form, and because of their diminutive scale, it was hard not to engage with the exhibition. Little Man loved it and was instantly inspired to make his own. A few hours later and we all had our own saltdough figurine ready to bake! The visit has spurred more creativity; this 'museum' logs the finds from our other adventures: pottery fragments from the river, sea worn glass from the beach, a birds egg from the silver birch copse at Anglesey Abbey.
I saw my beautiful Goddaughter whilst we were away. Her sister is about to start school and has been bought her school uniform by her own Godmother, my good friend Else, who when she started school had the same honour bestowed on her by her Godmother. It led me to thinking which time honoured tradition I would like to hand down to April. I don't have a Godmother from whom to take my lead, but reflecting on life, I thought of my grandmother and the relationship we have had through letters. She is now ninety nine and can still pen a beautifully crafted letter.
I can't remember the last time I wrote a letter, but it is my intention to start writing again, with pen, on paper: to April, to friends and to my Grandma from whom I received my love of letter writing.
Our garden has gone wild this week. The warmth and rain has sent everything skywards. It feels very tropical out there and so many types of green. Being out there grounded me back in late summer, harvesting cucumbers and tomatoes and the longest purple beans you've ever seen. I've been working hard in the studio preparing for the Wirksworth Festival and also planning stock for galleries who are preparing for Christmas and then I'm making my own plans for Christmas fairs. Suddenly the year had passed me by. When the boys returned from the allotment with plums I realised how quickly autumn will be upon us. So we're off to seize the summer and have some outdoor fun. Just time to post a beastly Folksy Friday before we go!
Pat Albeck is part of the Emma Bridgewater 'dynasty'. Well, she's her mother in law, and mother to illustrator Matthew Rice. First and foremost though, she's a fantastic designer. Some of her work has just been reproduced and marketed by Emma Bridgewater. I love this very personal part of her website recording her early years and illustrated with charming photographs.
Her illustrations take me straight back to childhood and the days of Mr Ben. 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar' by Eric Carle is having a resurgence in our house. This has to be my favourite book from childhood. It's great for teaching numbers, colours, days of the week and strange continental foods!
All this retro reminiscing reminds me that my People Pegs went down very well at the craft fair.
My weekend in Tissington went really well! The village is very small but teeming with tourists who come to visit the hall, to cycle the Tissington trail or to walk. There was a steady flow of visitors to the fair, extras when the rain came down. With only twelve stalls, people took their time to look around and it was lovely to be able to talk about my work, and to see what people liked. I sold my centrepiece, 'Halo', and that made the weekend for me. Thanks to all those who visited, and for your support and encouragement, I hope you have found your way here to see what I do, and where I will be in the next few months. I have added events listings in the sidebar.
Here's my first creative response to the Lake District. From driving around in the car with the kids, I've got a lot of fleeting moments stored up. Some of those I've been jotting down in my sketchbook. This one was one of those summer storm scenes that so inspired me last summer, a dark sky contrasted by a light field. I was aiming for something more graphic and abstract. I'm having inclinations to work with cloth again but feel I need to keep focused on the collage work.
Our wet afternoon in Ambleside gave us a chance to soak up some creativity. I liked the Old Courthouse Gallery and would have loved to buy any number of pieces of glass, pottery and jewellery. For work that inspired and challenged, I really enjoyed my visit to the Armitt Gallery and Library to see an exhibition of work by Russell Mills and Ian Walton. Celebrating the medium of collage and walking in the footsteps of Kurt Schwitters who lived and died in the Lake District, the work was set against an auditory backdrop. There was a sense of the past, of capturing the fragments of life, of unatainable moments and unfinished endeavours. I felt drawn to the hinted narratives and haunted by the snapshots of people and the clues to their lives. On a technical level I deconstructed the pieces, trying to work out the origins of the papers and the marks they contained. I've returned inspired to carry on with my own collage work but to try and bring in some stronger mark making, be it through found papers or by making marks in the studio. Today I started a piece that I worked on far more gesturally with a bamboo ink pen and I like the results.
We've just arrived back, soggy and depleted from a week camping in the Lake District. Such a beautiful place ..... but so wet! We had a great time. The boys loved camping; being outdoors, collecting pebbles from streams, fishing, and all the rainy day activities. I loved setting up camp; hanging the bunting and sitting on a hot pink sun chair.....with a blanket! We drank hot chocolate made from Green and Black's, topped up with brandy to keep us going. The walks were magical, short but invigorating, the wind taking your breath away and filling up your soul with freshness and purity and space to think and breathe. I don't think the boys knew what to think when I stood, leaning into the wind and shouted "I'M ALIVE!" for all the sheep to hear.