Saturday, 25 June 2011

exciting post

When I got home from college yesterday I found an unusually lovely pile of post on the door mat. Along with the final details for posting off my entry to the Festival of Quilts was a letter from the Platform Gallery in Clitheroe. They've accepted two of the three pieces I entered into their Craft Open Exhibition, which opens on 23rd July. There was also a rather exciting package. More on that another time...

Friday, 24 June 2011

packed up

The show has been up all week and there have been some lovely comments about how professional our room looked and how well our show came together. I also had some really positive feedback on my work, so I'm feeling very pleased indeed.

But today we took it all down and packed it away and into the van to go down to New Designers next week.

So all that is left are some holes in the wall...

some bent nails and pins...

and good portion of excitement about next week.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

a musical interlude

After my final deadline a week or so ago I had a little time away as a bit of a treat. It was a very fleeting visit to Suffolk, but absolutely worth the long drive to get there and packed full of sensory delights.

The main reason for going was to hear this amazing ensemble perform at the Aldeburgh Festival. Not only are this group technically brilliant I love their ethos: they are passionate about playing music in the absolutely best way they can, coming together to work intensively on one piece at a time, performing one piece only and without a conductor. They spoiled the one-work-thing a little by playing an encore (beautifully!) but they obviously feel huge pressure from venues and audiences to conform to the conventions of performance that we have. The courage at takes to perform one work only is similar to that needed to show one work only in an exhibition. This isn't what people expect - they want as much as they can get for their money, but if it is about quality rather than quantity then the result can be so much more affecting.

It was a very moving performance. This group have to communicate with each other in the way that a quartet would, but there are 35 of them. They know each other's parts inside out as well as their own. Without the barrier of a conductor standing with their back to the audience the concert felt like such a completely shared experience between players and audience - really something very special.

The evening before we stumbled upon th
is intriguing place, where the instrument workshop is open to the street and all the violin maker's tools were on view. We peered through the windows at the strange bits and pieces: clamps and planes, partly carved shapes, bottles of varnish - a hive of craftsmanship left for the night.

And then there were various other interesting shops to peer into...

There were reed warblers in the reed bed that Snape concert hall sits next to and that this Family of Man looks out over, warbling away and flitting between the raindrop bejeweled stems.

And as for the beach at Aldeburgh, which in many ways was reminiscent of Dungeness (it even has a nuclear power station within view) but not nearly as barren and strange, well there just wasn't enough time to take it all properly... I'll just have to go back again.

Concert listening: Beethoven's 4th Symphony

an end and a beginning

It's a very strange feeling coming to the end of something that started five years ago and has dominated so much of my life during that time. Many changes have taken place, affecting so many areas of my life, many positive, but also twists and turns that were so unexpected: it is difficult not to feel a bit melancholy at this time. Of course this is also the beginning of so much and I'm ready for that. It's time to move on, take on new challenges and have new adventures...

The preview went well, there were lots of familiar faces coming to see what new ideas this year's graduates have produced. It was lovely to have the support of good friends on an occasion like this. I'm determined not to fall into the void that so many past students have spoken about when you finish a degree like this: exhaustion, not knowing quite where to turn next... I already have a long list of things to be getting on with but of course it is a little overwhelming and from now on so much has to be driven by the need to have an income. Finding that balance between financial concerns, the demands of family life and satisfying creative needs is always going to be a challenge, but it's one I'm up for! In the mean time I'm going to do my best to enjoy the show being up and the excitement of going to New Designers.

The show at Bradford is open Monday to Thursday this week, 10.30 - 4 each day.

Current listening: Britten's string quartet No. 1

Friday, 17 June 2011

old habits

I've been making cards. In a way this feels strange; part of the point of doing this degree was because I don't want to be making the cards for the rest of my life, but old habits die hard! And actually I think it is something I will always do alongside my work. I'm set up for it so it makes sense to.

So I've made a batch of cards that I can have for sale at the show in Bradford and in London - ever the opportunist. And I'm using things up, recycling:
I'm making the most of my screens at college before they're cleaned, and of the pigment that is left over from my screen printing. The card and envelopes are all made from recycled paper and the bags that the cards go into are completely bio-degradable, something that wasn't available when I started making cards seriously, about 7 years ago.

As for tonight and the preview of the degree show, I'm excited but also a little nervous...

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

arts thread

As part of the deal with New Designers we get an online portfolio space on the Arts Thread website to help promote our work. Mine is here.

Monday, 13 June 2011

you are invited

I will also be showing at New Designers, Week 1
from 29th June-2nd July, Stand T31 & T29

Hope to see you at one or the other!

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Tuesday, 7 June 2011


It took most of yesterday to set up my tensioned wires and fixings for the stitched and dyed felt pieces that I am suspending as part of my final show.

They were really fiddly but I had been primed well on how to do it and I'm pleased with the result. Thank goodness for invisible thread!

Nearly there...

Saturday, 4 June 2011

making techniques almost finished

The final piece for my 'Making Techniques' module is almost finished. It just needs some tweaking once I get it into my space at college.

Current listening: Grieg violin sonatas

Friday, 3 June 2011

final push

I have a few days left until my final deadlines at college and I still have a good long list of jobs to work through. Half term comes at a bad time but, having spent most of the week on family and other commitments, I can now give my full attention to that list.

All my development samples are mounted, labelled and their technical details recorded accordingly. I have lots of small pulling together and finishing off kind of jobs to do.

The beautiful weather we are currently having means that when I do leave my desk I can sit in the garden for a few minutes or eat out there. I love sitting and noticing the detail of all the little changes that have happened since I last sat in the same spot.

What is it that makes iris leaves do this? I've noticed it before and I can't find an insect that might have caused this intricate puckering.

There have been insects at work on my gooseberry bush - saw fly larvae. But even if they have stripped half the leaves the fruit is unscathed and swelling nicely.

Current listening: lots of radio in my studio: BBC 6 music with interludes of Radio 4 today.