One of the best things we did on our recent Amsterdam trip was to get the ferry off the main bit of Amsterdam town and hire cycles for the day.

Amsterdam just over the ferry

Everyone cycles in Amsterdam so this was all very easy.

Amsterdam just over the ferry1

We headed off with great plans of all the villages we visit on a round-trip and with a little warning from the cycle hire guy about not being over ambitious because of the wind.

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Ah the wind! I figured cycling on the flat would be a breeze (excuse the pun!)

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We stopped on the way at Broek-in-Waterland which is a beautiful historic little village full of gorgeous houses and fascinating architecture.

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Then we continued on to Marken –  OMG I couldn’t believe my eyes – it was the loveliest place ever…

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the houses, the architecture, the scenery, the ducks everywhere,

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the shutters, the fences, the harbour…all set out like a cute little toy-town.

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And having laughed all the way up till this point we soon realised that the return route was going to be real hard against the wind and did have to curtail our grand plans to cycle-see everything and we began the slog home against the wind.

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But so worth it. We often find on a city break, that a day out in the surrounding country not only gives us a break but contextualizes what we see of life in that place. And this was never more true here where we could see how people live and commute and what the land looks like – I would never in a million years have guessed how lovely the Dutch country villages could be.

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And it has inspired a wealth of creativity since.

claire leggett print

 

Where does the time go? The Summer seems to be hurtling past and these past few weeks have been really busy and are only set to get busier with children’s classes to run at MAC and a lovely holiday to look forward to.

olli

So I’m prompted to finish some work I’ve started inspired by my travels earlier in the year and edit and store all my many Amsterdam photos.

A Windmill on a Polder Waterway - Paul Joseph Constantin Gabriel

A Windmill on a Polder Waterway – Paul Joseph Constantin Gabriel

These shots come from the Rijksmuseum which is one of the most beautifully set out buildings for art that I’ve been in.

Portraits of Sir Thomas Gresham and Anne Fernely - Anthonis Mor

Portraits of Sir Thomas Gresham and Anne Fernely – Anthonis Mor

The layout, the wall colour, the space…it all set the pictures off to their very best.

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It had a few ‘rock-star’ pieces like these Vermeer’s (below) which are truly lovely and made all the more so by being quite small in reality; intricately painted and full of emotion.

Woman Reading a Letter - Johannes Vermeer

Woman Reading a Letter – Johannes Vermeer

The Milkmaid - Johannes Vermeer

The Milkmaid – Johannes Vermeer

There were also some other sweet, candid, real-life scenes from painters I’d not heard of.

A Mother's Duty - Pieter de Hooch

They appeal to me for their subject matter – a little like walking past an open door and catching sight of a life being lived in a snapshot moment.

Woman with a Child in a Pantry - Pieter de Hooch

Woman with a Child in a Pantry – Pieter de Hooch

Other paintings appealed for their colour palate – sorry it’s blurry but the colours are gorgeous.

The Calling of St Anthony - Aertgen Claesz

The Calling of St Anthony – Aertgen Claesz

Others caught my attention because of their sense of history – this one is a beautiful composition and the notes on the plaque  explained that a family being painted playing music was symbolic of their harmonious life together.

David Leeuw with his family - Abraham van den Tempel

David Leeuw with his family – Abraham van den Tempel

Finally, when in The Netherlands you’ve got to love a Dutch countryside scene.

Boat with a Pollard Willow - Matthijs Maris

Boat with a Pollard Willow – Matthijs Maris

 

***

There are 3 main galleries the guide books suggest you visit.

The Van Gogh museum is a must-see – however long queues outside, big crowds inside, one or two ‘famous’ pieces of his but then bulked out by works by his contemporaries, made the expense of it feel a little bit like it was a money spinner exhibition.

The Stedeliijk museum of Modern Art was alright! Not a massive fan.

The Rijksmuseum was my stand out favourite.

(PS To those people who asked me about this, sorry it took me so long to write about it – you’ve probably had your trips by now and discovered for yourselves!) 

 

claire leggett paint

I’m so gutted we’ve voted to leave the EU – I think inclusivity is always a good choice to make.

claire leggett block sew

This work is inspired by Amsterdam houses from when we visited in March –  when we were still part of the EU :(

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Although it’s been a busy week here, it’s been a week full of working with the loveliest people and doing the nicest of things.

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I am grateful for the shape this artful life has taken and for the people who make it possible.

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Today I visited the Constance Wallace teashop (which I have mentioned before here)

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 but they have since gone on to open a beautiful shop.

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Alongside all the gorgeous vintage china for sale/hire and the beautifully curated things you just need to have, like the softest socks and eye-catching ceramics and pretty handmade buttons, they have been stocking some of my prints, cards and original art.

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 I went today to replenish the stock and had the prettiest and most delicious business meeting yet😉

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I’d recommend a visit especially as they are now licensed to sell Prosecco too!

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I had a lovely day workshopping with some GCSE student’s at a secondary school near Cannock yesterday.

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The brief was to learn some of my still life painting techniques – they had fun with the masking fluid but didn’t like the smell – who can blame them!

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And they coped exceptionally well with all the pattern I threw at them in the set-ups.

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I really enjoy being around young people – youth is infectious and these kids are talented, funny and a credit to the people involved with them.

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Monday morning vibes – have a super sunny creative week.

This past week I’ve been doing a little screen printing project at home.

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A little zippy bag for my soon-to-be aupairing girl.

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And the time and the weather gave us a chance to get into the garden this long weekend and sort it out a bit- the upside of which is finding flowers once hidden.

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And the opportunity to photograph socks freshly off the needles.

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The Fairisle flower was finished first. You can find it here but I added the toe pattern which has made them a little pointy – elf socks!

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And this wool I bought when Debbie Bliss came to our local knitting shop recently, bringing a discount day with her.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed your long holiday weekend too.

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A couple of weeks back we went to Amsterdam for a few days.

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We stayed just outside of the Jordaan district and walked in everyday.

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 This gave me plenty of opportunity to photograph (endlessly) cute rows of house with all the different gable shapes.

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Don’t be deceived by the blue skies either – it was very cold as it’s so flat the wind can just whistle through.

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We did a lot of the cultural sights like the museums, flower market and Anne Franks house and in between getting to all these places on foot we enjoyed the shopping too.

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Stach was my favourite deli – delicious and beautifully packaged too.Processed with MOLDIV

And there were lots of very cool home-ware stores too.

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Lots of inspiration for art-making 😄

I’m about to have an uncharacteristically unguarded moment!

claire_leggett 1. teaset prep

Normally this is a place to show nice pictures and celebrate good things and as we all know, that is just one side of the prism of my life but I keep the mess, disappointment and thankless hard work out of the picture because self-editing is usually always a good thing. I know, you know that my life isn’t all flowers, nice colours and pretty patterns.

Like most creatives, I embarked on a public journey with my art in the hope that The Internet would find me opportunities that I would otherwise have missed. And sometimes that has been true.

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I was totally stoaked last year, to be approached to design a teaset. A teaset for a franchise that runs tea-shops in three high-profile department stores, two of which are in London.

I couldn’t believe it – which was a good first reaction to have because it quickly became a ‘competition’ between me and some other un-named, undisclosed artists. My philosophy was to work hard for the two weeks we had on the project, over perform, feel satisfied I’d done my very best and wait and see.

Claire Leggett_Floret Collection design board

                                                © Claire Leggett

Roll on a few weeks and I was as surprised as anyone that not just one of my design collections was chosen, but three!

Still not celebrating till the ink had dried, I waited on getting a deposit payment which eventually I did after some tenacious emailing.

© Claire Leggett

© Claire Leggett

Amazing, it looked like I was going to have three sets of china in production in 3 high street stores.

And then it went all quiet, my contact became harder to get hold of gradually becoming uncommunicative until I had to call closure on it myself. Poo! It’s all come to nothing. And no, I didn’t get fairly paid for all the work I did but that’s the downside of pitching for jobs which isn’t an unusual practice with creative endeavours.

© Claire Leggett

                                                © Claire Leggett

It was lovely work too, which is partly why I’m putting it up here.

I guess the guy who approached me had just had a good idea which he didn’t think through in a practical and financial sense until way after he’d commissioned me to visualise it. I don’t blame him particularly but why is it that artwork is seen as such a free and easy thing to conjure up without an expectation that it’s fair to pay for all the hours of work involved. It’s so under valued in commercial terms and yet we all buy stuff because we like the design on it.

No design files exchanged hands but I wouldn’t be the first person to get ripped off- another reason to name and claim my work publicly.

And now that it doesn’t hurt to say that it didn’t happen, it seems a good time to enjoy the fact that it very nearly did.
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I still like The Internet. Still happy to share my working life here, although times have changed as it’s not so much a community of artist friends as it once was. And I am still finding it brings goodness unexpectedly – take this lovely little package which Pat sent me out of the blue. Pat has bought a couple of my calendars in the past and is now using the patterns to craft brooches from.

pats gift

It all goes around and comes around.

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These were a lot of fun to knit up!

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In my search for an easier life, I figured plants that don’t need watering were the way to go😉

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Plus, having just finished a cardigan I was ready for something small and quick that didn’t tax my tired brain cells at night and these fit that bill perfectly.

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I found my patterns here and here if you fancy a go yourself.

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Copyright notice 2015

All images, text, and content on this site are the sole property of Claire Leggett and may not be used, copied or transmitted without the express consent of Claire Leggett.

If you wish to link to this site or to a post from this site, please ask first before doing so and then give appropriate credit for content.

Any other inquiries please email me at hello@claireleggett.co.uk

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Catching up with recent Amsterdam antics and associated textile work over on my blog today paintdropskeepfalling.wordpress.com #textiles #print #stitch #amsterdam #marken #broek-in-waterland 😍💘 #englishspringerspaniel #englishspringer A whirlwind trip to see @lulegit. She's currently cooking dinner while I'm on social media - I like this turn of events! New mirror selfie 👫  #24yearsandcounting #marriedlife #selfie

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