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What a gloriously sunny bank holiday weekend we have just enjoyed. A little bit of sunshine is good for the soul.
I am trying to keep a balance of things in my life by adopting ’a little and often’ approach.
I love gardening but find that this is the season where there is housework indoors and housework outdoors. So I have been trying to keep on top of it all by doing a little inside and a little outside.
Taking a little time out of working to see friends, take trips (Powis Castle above) and enjoy spring’s inspiration.
Having a little time to read (dream holiday booked for this summer!) and a little time to knit. I’m hoping this approach will stop me going a little crazy often!
One of the upsides of lots of TV watching is lots of knitting time.
This is Aimee from Thrown Together by Kim Hargreaves and it was a stash-busting project so I can feel extra smug about it!
I used a mohair by Wendy but it knitted up a lot like Rowan Kidsilk Haze yarn. It was like knitting up angel hair!
And speaking of angels – thanks to my model. I wish she would let me show you the out-takes because she was hilarious
This is my first finished project of 2012 and it feels like I’ve spent 2012 years knitting it!
In my head I like to think that I’m the type of woman who loves to knit in silence whilst contemplating the intricacies of the universe. In reality I like a simpl(ish) pattern that I can click-clack through while talking, listening or half watching something.
This pattern is quite a simple repeat of six rows but early on I made quite a few mistakes that meant I unpicked as many rows as I knitted because one lost stitch meant un-doing the whole block of pattern. From that moment on I could only work on it in a monastery type silence! Slow progress then…
I don’t think my knitting has the Xfactor (especially not where I added a stitch and knit a beautiful hole in the stocking stitch!) It’s more a case of knitting with the Xfactor as in making good use of the three hours per week that I am watching and feeling guilty of such time wasting pleasure.
The pattern is from Thrown Together by Kim Hargreaves and the yarn was a sale bargain last Christmas; Rowan Classic Yarns RY Silk Wool DK. Ooh – it’s 8 o’clock got to go and start watching and clicking! Byeeee.
I enjoyed the whole Smile exhibition but must admit that seeing Julie Arkell’s work in the flesh was the motivating factor for going.
Her work fits perfectly into the brief for the exhibition because it is delightful, whimsical, nostalgic and amusing. It made me smile, coo, ahh and giggle.
Julie Arkell is one of Britain’s most recognisable folk artists. She works in paper mache and mixed-media .
Her construction process is completely handmade, beginning with manipulating the paper mache into figures and then dressing them by knitting and sewing bespoke garments.
Her work is the meeting point of domestic craft traditions and sculpture.
The ‘people’ she makes have references to bunnies, people, children and dolls but are none or all of those things at once.
I think this is what gives her work a storybook quality. That and the narrative which is hinted at through the embroidery on the clothing and the title of the work itself.
The clothing is reminiscent of an earlier age where petticoats and hobnail boots were standard. Julie likes to re-use items from the past such as lace trimmings and brooches which reinforces the historical quality of the characters.
I have always loved to make things using accessible materials like paper, glue, cardboard, fabric and wool, which relate to my papier-mache pieces. I am able to make pieces that express my feelings, thoughts and ideas, bringing past and present together. Julie Arkell, Flow Gallery.
I really loved this one A LOT. I love the expressions on their faces made through very little marking but a lot of expression through shape. I can just imagine these two sisters gossiping and comparing notes on things.
I adore the way their hair has been made and piled upon their heads and pinched in with ribbon.
I’m amazed by how much character comes thorough with such a lightness of touch. Carefully poised dots and lines, rouging and a clever wittiness with the printed text all combines to create a character that you can ‘read’ almost instantly.
There is something endearing about anything that is miniature and this outfit is no exception.
Collecting things is an important part of my work. I look for postcards, plastic dolls (that I take apart and rearrange) old books, aprons, fabric, buttons, jewellery, used toys and much more that captures my attention. I’m constantly writing down words and phrases and thinking up stories for the world I make. Julie Arkell at CAA
I think her work perfectly suited this particular exhibition and I admit that I would like to don an apron and a pair of knitted ears and go and live in her fairytale world where it looks like relationships matter and its playtime all the time.
Yesterday I went into Staffordshire town center to catch the end of the Smile exhibition.
This is a Ruthin Craft Centre touring exhibition. I think it’s going to King’s Lynn next but you can look here to find out.
And the theme of the exhibition was simply ‘Smile”.
The exhibition showcases the work of thirteen contemporary applied artists all working in different fields.
The exhibition “looks at how makers have explored the quintessentially British love of everyday humour. Many of the works suggest memories of childhood and long-ago holidays or explore the comedy in ordinary life.”
- Janet Bolton
- And it did just that. It was a small exhibition but it had me smiling and exclaiming and cooing and feeling light-hearted and whimsical.
- Who couldn’t fail to smile at this simple, cute, crazy idea?
And I really enjoy Linda Millar’s embroidery because I love the celebration of life that these convey.
They do work to make me smile and feel happy, apart from being eye catching patterns and colours and well crafted.
“All the people in my work smile because mostly they are genuinely happy and contented and busy being about their business.”
And finally here’s a little Julie Arkell, but it’s just a taster.
There was much more than this but I have made a post for tomorrow which is dedicated to just her work.
A few months ago my Aunty gave me this book on knitted flowers. Some craft books are so seductively photographed that everything in it looks gorgeous and it’s hard to choose where to start. This book has more of the plain cousin about it, but don’t be deceived because the flowers in it are lovely (even if not brilliantly set up for cool photo’s) and what’s more the patterns are easy to read and attainable. So far I have knitted two anemones, another hybrid anemone and two (almost correct) chrysthanthemums. Watch out everyone it’s C’mas soon!
Like most people, every year the whole swimsuit/beach/40 plus issue comes around.
Resolutions are made (well re-made since New Year) but too little too late usually.
Then I think who cares really anyway – I’m all grown up now!
But as I was merrily enjoying some Tooty Fruities I suddenly saw a link between my craft and my consumptions.
Can anyone guess my weakness?
Here’s my entry into this weeks Creative Tuesday. I wasn’t immediately inspired with the theme of “scarf” but on mulling it over the above idea developed. I really do want to knit the scarf I’ve painted. I saw it in the John Lewis catalogue (below) and then picked up the wool in the January sales – it’s serendipity! Then I suddenly thought what fun it would be to cycle downhill with it billowing out behind! So give me a few months and we’ll see if a) the scarf becomes reality and b) whether I cycle down a hill looking jaunty with my feet up!
Click here if you want to see the other entries which will get posted up in a montage tomorrow.
As I grow older my memory gets worse, so I found myself this afternoon going through the last year of photo’s muttering “Was that this year? Really?” The above photo says a lot of what this year has brought. It’s easy to forget once it’s passed, where you’ve been and the fear and risks taken, but to end the year with six paintings in two local shows has been my biggest dream come true this year.
I stuck to my painting day like it was real work (tongue is in cheek there) and made it a habit. Out of that came all this painting and creativity and peace and sanity. I kept going and found I’d built a body of work which I could call a portfolio. I finally learnt how to use Photoshop and found endless possibilities open up. I approached a new gallery and continued to have selections for an exisiting one.
It would also appear that I make a lot of cakes! Some for birthday’s other just because I feel like the world is the right way up if there is cake in the tin to be eaten.
We moved house after eleven long years in a beautiful house which saw us bring up our babies. It was a wrench. But we moved only five minutes away and I’ve never looked back. This house has space in abundance, the woods on hand like an extra garden and so many opportunities for decorating (tongue back in cheek). I’d even forgotten the garden furniture fiasco (six days to paint with the wrong paint). Then there is my studio space which is the cherry, and icing and sprinkles, on top of the cake.
The support and love of friends and family is hard to document here as not many want their pic’s on the web but you underscore everything I am and do. Even our pets play a big part – with one miracle guinea-pig surviving the death knoll of the vet.
There has been an abundance of sewing (a new quilt made) trying to crochet, learning to crochet and then actual real, useable crochet!
And then there’s you. Some of whom I feel I know because we exchange comments online, my friends and family and those of you who drop by anonymously. Thank you for enjoying my blog, or using it or being inspired by it.
I wish all of you a light-filled, peaceful New Year. Claire x