I have always loved History, Literature and Art.........................................................................................................
beautiful things, the stuff of dreams..................................................

flowers, butterflies, fairy tales, embroidered fragments, Chinese blues, Botticelli angels, Blake's visions, Burne-Jones pictures............................................................................................

amongst many other hints and wisps of the past..........................

to catch in my net and weave into mydesigns..................

which I hope others might find as beautiful as their inspirations.

Friday, 15 June 2012

CCAD Alumni evening......

Revisited the scene of the crime.......!!!!

On Tuesday evening I returned to CCAD to see this years exhibition (some lovely work as usual-eapecially the beautiful fairy tree world created by a fellow CCAD Green Lane foumdation student), pick up my Professional Studies and  meet my lovely degree tutor Claire and technician Catherine (who is now working as a tutor and promoting a gallery in Barnard Castle as well as producing beautiful artwork) and students from my course. It was lovely to see everybody and catch up. Beverley has done a brilliant job setting up her stamping business , whilst Jackie continues to go from strength to strength with her furnishings(it was so nice to catch up with her at Catherine's workshop a few weeks ago). Joy and Coleen have built on their undergraduate succes and have yet again been selected as finalists in a major UK competition. Mavis as always is master of many talents and has produced jewellery as well as bespoke cushions for various clients. Such a talented group to have studied with...!!!!!

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

EMA trauma/ Baltic visit

Owing to the Jubilee post was not available for a June 8th hand in for an extended essay worth 50% of my mark for an OU module I've been studying for. Not only that not allowed to send registered/next delivery???!!!!!

So set off this morning to deliver to Gateshead regional office (also closed over holiday). Stopped at Angel (one of the sculptures my essay was devoted to) for extra proof of delivery, a picture for the blog.................but after several tries new format won't upload!  any way lovely Sheila Robinson gave me a receipt, recorded delivery to centre on line so in two ays before ( as can't hand into a rregional cemtre after two days before............................)

Beautiful centre, awful location (road system wise)  except for....being a few mins away from the Baltic.........but when I got there.......only one exhibit.... a reconstructed memeory.....of a scottish bothy made from reclaimed wood and rusty corrugated iron.....

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Grand time at Anfi Tauro Gran Canaria!!!!!!!

Spent the most wonderful week, with my family, in The Canary Islands recently. Was given the opportunity to use a private condo in the beautiful private golf development of Anfi Tauro (made up of lovely lush floral valley golf course, hotel, villas and condos).

Was a bit unsure before going as was afraid it might be very touristy. Well the coastal resorts are but we were away from the developments and on our explorations rarely saw another Brit!!!!

Having hired a car we were able to drive all over, well James did the driving.....!!! We had a delicious meal of freshly cooked fish in an unspoilt fishing village en route to the interior. Although the single track precipitous route with multiple blind bends was scary, there was very little traffic and it was well worth the effort as we saw some amazing views. The islands are volcanic and we drove round the main volcanic mountains to visit peaks and valley as well as seeing cave dwellings (the early canarians were troglodytes and some remain so, but with conventional fronts to their cave homes) and mountain villages.

Another day we visited the traditional Spanish colonial style town of Teror, after dropping in to an exceptionally quiet Botanical Gardens. There we enjoyed not only delicious home cooked tapas but also a warm welcome. This was much appreciated as we found many locals on the south coast unfriendly-the result of bad behaviour from tourists over the years it seems, sadly. The town and cathedral are very attractive.

We did do a couple of things on the tourist route. Being a Geographer (many years ago) I wanted to see the desert like dunes on the coast , as well as evidence of vulcanicity in the centre. Charlotte had been told to visit the camel ride by a friend so, as that was on her wish list, we combined the two. Whilst the camels were interesting, trudging between dunes we saw very little of the scenery- altho the naked man proved noteworthy (apparently naturists and others abound-be warned)!!!!!!!!!However, Charlottes fluent spanish sweet talked us into a private viewing of  three adorable baby camels :-) We went in search of a better view of the dunes which was terminated abruptly when the sand proved too hot for Charlotte......maybe next time.

We visited an expensive/exclusive resort to try and find some Canarian crafts to take back as well as journey on James' wish-the yellow submarine. Sadly for him it was out of the water for repairs. However, despite the place being packed with tourists like ourselves we very much enjoyed this much more sympathetic lowerised resort development. The harbour was full of lovely yachts and made a lovely lunch time view, whilst the bouganvilla clad buildings provided a pretty backdrop. The beach was clean and quiet.

So, the end of a perfect interesting and fun week despite my pre visit fears. If sun sea and sand is required the tourist beaches provide that and entertainment. However, if something more interesting is required that is more than freely available and very much recommended! We still have many more interesting places to visit if we have the chance to return .......

Monday, 30 April 2012

Brilliant Catherine Howard workshop!!!!!

Last week I attended a great workshop, given at the Eco Hut Newton Aycliffe by Catherine Howard.

It concerned 'trapped flora and fauna' , which meant selecting various fibres/threads, feathers, honesty, attaching them to a base cloth and covering gauze with bonda web to create a contemporary background. We were also shown how to use baby oil to make magazine scraps more interesting.  After lunch we were introduced to some new embroidery stitches, to develop later (for me, after I've finished my extended essay in June ), to form a beautiful naturalistic surface, like Catherine's beautiful examples (we hope!!!!).

I had a great day, as I knew Catherine from college, where she was both a student and then worked for a while as a technician-running embroidery workshops and helping us in the print room). All the other workshop members had been students there too....home from home!! It was also lovely to find Jackie, a lovely talented lady from my course was also there, so was able to catch up with her very busy life. We all had fun /a laugh together as well as enjoying a delicious lunch provided by Catherine.

Catherine is a very happy,clever lady, who produces lovely textile work as well as running very well organised courses (materials are included ,as well as lunch, coffeee and biscuits in the total price of £35) details available from

PS She is not paying me for this plug!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:-)

Friday, 23 March 2012

Stairway to Heaven....cottage garden style!!!!

Have spent some time during the recent glorious, uplifting weather sorting out my tiny cottage garden. I have planted primroses (cultivated not wild!) and violas as well as hyacinths (left from last year). I am feeling very happy with the results so far and can't believe it is only March......!!!!!:-)

This is the little stairway from the patio outside my kitchen up to my tiny lawn. I have just bought a new chair and have been reading my OU module textbooks and enjoying the sun ,with cups of coffee and tea, in between bouts of gardening. It is also where I  stitched and read for my CCAD degree.

The photo below shows the view from my kitchen window.

As can just about be made out in this small picture it is an 'eclectic' (!!!) mix of vintage cottage/Victorian (violas and hyacinths), country house (box pyramids, hedging and balls topiary) and oriental (sea washed bronze horses and chinese soldier)!!!!!!

The country corner, by the shed, (which was shown in a post last year , with foxgloves and lupins as well as cantebury bells) has still to be further planted; possibly with a beautiful magnolia I bought for my FMP last year and which refused to flower then but is just about to burst into bloom, after all the lovely sunshine we have had recently.

My Chelsea Show bicycle, also shown in a previous post, is in the distance waiting for my next visit to the garden centre to buy more pansies/violas/primroses etc to put in its basket.

Do hope you like my little garden heaven and have enjoyed your short visit to my ongoing project............................WATCH THIS SPACE :-)

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Contemporary Lace lecture at the Bowes Museum

Took time out last week to travel up into Teeesdale for a lecture inspired by the wonderful Blackthorn lace collection, which is owned by the Bowes Museum.

Given by a lace enthusiast with a doctorate in lace (!!!), we were treated to examples of contemporary lace (after a potted history of bobbin/needle lace). Examples of Dutch wire fencing lace and Middle Eastern structural lace designed to capture salt and so grows as a structure were very interesting. However, I was disappointed that the only reference to contemporary fashion lace was with regard to the beautiful but very traditional wedding dress worn by Kate Middleton. Nevertheless this was made up for by a glimpse of the lecturers large scale lace interpretations of Venetian architecture.

Lace from the collection and contemporary lace of all types, inspired by the pieces displayed, are on still on view in the Textile Gallery. Although most of the work was not my taste (partially due to the restrictive rather garish colour palette, set in the brief) I loved a combination of felting and lace which produced a beautiful length of work

Elsewhere in the museum the world class art collection  (Canaletto, Sisely etc) is well worth a view.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Creative day with Vicky !!!!

Spent Wednesday with one of my old (young!!!!) lecturers, who has set up her own business producing beautiful wedding cards and accessories. Vicky has been in the card industry for over 15 years as well as having lectured before her new venture. She now works from home designing stationery, recycling lovely old embroidered textiles (for her vintage drawer range) and now running classes and mentoring small businesses.

I signed up for a fifties workshop but that was postponed so went to 'natural forms' instead! Whilst my work wasn't the best it was good to lift a paint brush after such a long time away from creating.