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Today I was looking at some of the photographs, I had taken, from the past couple of months and a lot of them are of the garden. In the main we had some decent crops from the garden but there were winners and losers. Cherry tomatoes in hanging baskets and window boxes were winners but the butternut squashes were a no show. The biggest harvest was from the wild plum trees, almost too much to handle! I distributed as many of the plums as I could to friends then had to resort to making jam. The general rule of thumb with jam making is equal amounts of fruit to sugar but if you want to follow a recipe try this Wild Plum Jam Recipe .
My friend Susie and I were given Nicotiana plants from the same source, mine grew about 15cm high but Susie's grew to 150cm, show off!
I entered the Morsbags competition arranged by the Knitting and Stitching show organisers twistedthread . I was really pleased to hear, last week, I had won the humour category. I entered three designs but I'm not sure which one was the winner, my personal favourite is the one I made from selvedge strips sewn together. The theme of the competition was 'Sew Salvage and Save', I embroidered 'Sew Selvedge and Save!' see what I did there? When I visited the Knitting and Stitching show, at Alexandra Palace, I didn't realise I had won so didn't pick up my prize, which will be a selection of Coats craft products. I am now waiting with much anticipation for my prize.
Morsbags was set up in attempt to reduce the number of plastic bags we use and manufacture, which destroy marine wildlife and contribute to global warming. Over 48,000 bags have been made so far.
More information can be found at www.morsbags.com
On Sunday, 10 October, Sue, Suzie and I went to the Knitting and Stitching show at Alexandra Palace.
'The Knitting and Stitching Shows are the definitive and best exhibitions for lovers of textiles in the UK and Ireland. As the name suggests, it covers knitting and stitching but SO much more; felt-making, shibori dyeing, jewellery-making, card-making, mixed media... the list goes on! There is so much to see and do you'll find it hard to fit everything into one day; hundreds of exhibitors selling specialist supplies that you can't find in the shops, galleries from leading artists and groups, plus hundreds of workshops to introduce you to lots of new subjects!'
The event is a mixture of exhibition, workshops and market place, with lots of tempting things on offer. I gave into temptation and bought many lovely things, the biggest purchase I made was a sewing machine. Doing my homework, before hand, I knew the major sewing machine manufacturers would be exhibiting and demonstrating at the show, a perfect opportunity to compare machines. After a demonstration I decided on a Bernina, can't wait for it to be delivered. I also bought some beautiful soft yarn called Ebba (a mixture of merino, alpaca and silk) from a scottish company called Woolfish.
I am always interested in the Graduate Showcase, an exhibition of textile graduates work. I noted the students work was in a very similar vein to the hand knitting/crochet themes my daughter is working on at the moment, she is studying knitting at Brighton.
The Rowan wools stand was very attractive, they had a display called British Sheep Breeds Homeware. The collection comprises of cushions (a union Jack), throws, mats and hot water bottle covers. The patterns can be accessed, for free, from the Rowan website
I also entered a competition, the Sew, Salvage and Save Competition in association with Morsbags
'The Morsbags competition is an attempt to help save the environment by creating a fabric bag (and therefore avoiding the use of plastic bags), and having some fun while making them! There are some great prizes on offer, so be as creative as possible. From the registrations we've received, we're expecting to hang around 800 Morsbags - not a bad start in helping the environment!!!'
I am very pleased to say I won! I'll write more about it in my next post.
The venue was the village hall in Husbourne Crawley, Bedfordshire. Emma showed and demonstrated how to make a ripple Nuno scarf. We had to do some preparation before the event, buy and dye three meters of silk chiffon then choose coloured merino wool tops/roving to compliment the colour of the silk.
"Nuno felting is a fabric felting technique developed by Polly Stirling, a fiber artist from New South Wales, Australia, around 1992. The name is derived from the Japanese word "nuno" meaning cloth. The technique bonds loose fibre, usually wool, into a sheer fabric such as silk gauze, creating a lightweight felt. The fibres can completely cover the background fabric, or they may be used as a decorative design that allows the backing fabric to show. Nuno felting often incorporates several layers of loose fibres combined to build up colour, texture, and/or design elements in the finished fabric. The nuno felting process is particularly suitable for creating lightweight fabrics used to make clothing. The use of silk or other stable fabric in the felt creates fabric that will not stretch out of shape. Fabrics such as nylon, muslin or other open weaves can be used as the felting background, resulting in a wide range of textural effects and colours."
We had a very enjoyable day and came away with new skills. Since the course I have been inspired to 'play' with the silk and wool idea and create other scarves. There is a video on YouTube "Introduction to Nuno felting" it's worth a look as it gives a clear explanation of the concept.
We had a hectic weekend in Yorkshire, with family, celebrating Steve's mum's 80th birthday. The surprise celebrations started with a family meal at the Mill House restaurant, Skidby Mill. We calculated It's the first time in about 15 years that all eleven of us had sat down to a meal together, how that time flies! We couldn't stay long because Alice had to get back to University.
One of the artists, participating in the Open Studios, we visited over the weekend, was Christian Marsden. It was really nice to meet and chat with him, very personable and easy to engage with. Christian is in his early twenties and not long out of Art College. I really appreciated his artwork as it appeals to me on different levels. I am a townie at heart and love urban culture so can identify with the 'everyday' subject matter Christian is using in his work. He has taken mundane items and turned them into objects of desire.
" I try and choose objects that have intrinsic meaning to broader issues or a bigger picture. I take them and translate them in ceramics, I make moulds of the objects. I turned the casts into a functional object, they are quite quirky. It's post-modern really, taking an object with the potential of adding something to it with an additional meaning."
I also have an interest in the medium he uses, ceramics, being the proud owner of an O level and A level in the subject (I was attracted to 'being good with your hands' subjects at school so couldn't resist ceramics when it was introduced into the curriculum) Christian's work appeals to my design sensibility, not only does it stand as art but it has functionality too, always a plus in my book!
Christian says "I'm more interested in the street artists rather than the Turners or the classical artists, and I have little interest in traditional craft or sculpture. I look towards recent culture and modern landscapes for ideas and visual pleasures. Studying in an isolated, countryside landscape, I now realise I can find beauty in cracked, old, industrial architecture and graffiti on train windows."
I can relate to this sentiment, when at art college, doing the rounds of the art galleries, I remember thinking if I see another room of Turner's paintings ('Turner's Bequest' at the Tate) I will scream, is that sacrilege?
I wish him luck with his endeavours, I'm sure he will do very well.
There is still time to see Christian's work his studio is open on these days and times-
Saturday 25 Sept 12noon-4pm Sunday 26 Sept 12noon-3pm
Saturday 2 Oct 12noon-4pm Sunday 3 Sept 12noon-3pm
22 Charles Street, Berkhamstead, HP4 3DF
I have been contacted by Rebecca about an event she is hosting on 18 September, London's first ever cushion swap, in aid of Breast Cancer Care. The event, at the Alwyne Castle pub in Islington, will start at 12 and finish at 2. Entry is £5, which entitles you to take away as many cushions as you bring, as long as they are in goodcondition. The idea is to get an interior design fix for a fraction of the price of a trip to Habitat. The London Cushion Company has donated four covers to get things going, and local designer Charlotte Eatwell has donated one of her lovely creations. If you are in the area go along and support a good cause.
Just want to flag up that it's Herts Open Studios 2010, it starts tomorrow Saturday 11 September and runs until Sunday 3 October. This is a wonderful opportunity to visit local artists, often in their own studios, to meet and chat with them. Browse around and talk about their work and maybe even buy some original artwork. To find out more about the artists taking part and the times they will be open take a look at the website Herts Open Studios 2010
My friend Sue Gaffney is taking part again this year, showing her textiles. Pop in and say hello, if you are lucky you might even get a cup of tea and a slice of cake!
"A collection of handbags, corsages, jewellery and cards, using warm tweeds, colourful cottons and manipulated felt."
I must give a mention to Helen Robinson, a stained glass artist, in Harpenden. I attended a stained glass course run by Helen and was very pleased with the window and stained glass pieces I produced, she was a very good teacher. Helen Robinson's website
"Architectural stained glass. Large portfolio of windows in public and private settings. Demonstration of traditional skills. Work in progress."
The Spray Cans, in the top photograph, are by another local artist, Christian Marsden, he has a studio in Berkhamstead Christian Marsden's website
"Handmade product design and paintings that explore the relationship between present culture and the urban environment."
About Open Studios
The Hertfordshire Open Studios event began in 1991 and has been held every year since then. Its aim is to make the arts more accessible to the public, and to make the public more aware of the art and craft that are created around them. All professional and amateur artists, photographers and craftspeople living or working in Hertfordshire are welcome to apply for entry to participate. Each year around 200 artists take part and around 11,000 - 13,000 members of the public visit the studios. The event is organised by our Open Studios Coordinator with the help of a team of volunteers.
The Hertfordshire Open Studios event is normally held in September and artists open their homes or places of work to visitors at specified times during the Open Studios period. The event introduces artists to the general public, galleries and other enterprises, bringing an awareness of the diversity of talent available throughout the county. Artists can show off their skills, chat to the public and make sales. Many artists take the opportunity to demonstrate their creativity in action, which is often viewed by members of the public as being one of the most valuable aspects of the event. Interaction with visitors can be a catalyst for new ideas and can build confidence, so visitors are encouraged to talk to artists about their work.