In all that torrential rain last weekend Wendy, Tina and I went on another foray down the motorway, this time to the studios and shop of Art Van Go in Knebworth. The occasion was a playday that Lynda Monk was having with several friends to check out her new printing press and thermofax machine. I had never been to Art Van Go before although I had met Kev and Viv many times at the various Shows they attend at the NEC.
This is less than half of the sales space and it was a real treat to be able to browse without the crowds that you get at Shows.
Opportunities for indulgence continue into the large workroom where Lynda and her friends were busy with printing throughout the day. It must be lovely here in the summer when you can spill over into the garden.
The central room provides further workshop space and also displays exhibitions. The works on display included pieces by Marian Hall and Buffy Fieldhouse. I've just realised that this is part of the exhibition that we missed when we were travelling back from Cornwall in November. The work was very varied although I think some of it may have been removed. As well as Marian's work I was particularly taken with work by Buffy Fieldhouse which spoke to me of layers and transparency.
(Buffy's blog is very new so there's only one post there so far).
Obviously as we were at a shop I did indulge in a little retail therapy but it was all very unglamorous being sketchbooks, fancy paper and things to make marks with. Wendy was far more adventurous and bought a Thermofax machine from Lynda! I can't wait for her to get to grips with the thing so I can persuade her to make a few screens for me.
Christmas and New year seemed to be a very long period of limbo and I was really glad when Stitchcraft Studio reopened their doors last week. Our first Sit and Stitch day was yesterday and it was great to get back to stitching and catching up with friends. Tomorrow I am back there for a workshop with Mary Sleigh which will continue onto three more sessions. The workshop will be a bit of a departure from my quilting activities as it will focus on embroidery. I've met Mary a few times before and I'm looking forward to some hand stitching for a change.
Getting back to the fact that we have had Christmas and a year change since I last blogged I should say that we had a good time at Christmas. For the first time we decided not to fetch Mum from her care home on Christmas Day as we wanted her to save her energy but we did go and see her on Christmas morning. We were very virtuous and walked down and back. (I hope my doctor is listening). The whole point of not bringing Mum out on Christmas Day was so that we could have a family day with her at my brother's on Boxing Day. I was so delighted that our strategy worked and Mum was on top form when we got her up to Lincoln to see the family.
(Excuse the quality of the photos which were taken with my phone and the hat which Mum didn't seem inclined to take off) Mum was delighted with the photograph my brother had got for her of his family (taken by his son Johnathan Clover, a professional photographer based in Cheshire). She was equally, if not more, taken with a week-a-page flip calendar that Johnathan had made for her full of photographs of her great grandsons and spent a very long time turning the pages backwards and forwards enjoying all the images. I was so thankful for such a good day for Mum as she is so often tired and disconnected so this was a special day. I could not believe my eyes when she walked into the lounge and then flung her arms wide to welcome the children! It is so rare for her to react like that. My heart sang!
2014 has come in with howling winds and appalling rain, high tides and tidal surges which have battered our coasts and caused extensive damage and flooding both at the coast and inland. The east coast suffered from high tides and a tidal surge before Christmas and this time it has been the turn of the western shores.
Sadly there has been loss of life caused by the weather and the RNLI have been fully involved in helping people escape their flooded homes and in rescuing the unwary.
If it can be said, even worse is the Arctic weather being experienced in the United States of America and Canada as the result of a polar vortex dragging arctic air down.
I am just grateful that we are past the shortest day and the nights will soon be pulling out and Spring should be coming along soon so that every day that we go without snow is one day nearer to warmer times.
January is going to be a busy month here in Lincolnshire. I have several workshops coming up at Stitchcraft and will be teaching my Curved Piecing and Funk Portraits workshops as well. Like many others I have been using the holiday time to take stock of where I am in my creative life and where I want to go next. I'm not sure I have arrived at any answers yet but one thing I am clear on is the need to de-clutter, yet again, my work spaces. Lena Krawczyk has been making a timely series of posts about her own efforts to organise her creative space with the help of Mary The Wonder Organizer and I have been trying to put some of her ideas into practice. There is a considerable amount of throwing out (to recycling or charity shops) of all sorts of things that havn't seen the light of day in ages and I am pleased with how it is all going. I decided I was being stifled by the amount of "STUFF" in my garden studio and I am determined to create a space that I can breathe and work in. Photos will be forthcoming when I can see where I've been.
Right, I'm off outside to see if I can detect the Aurora, there's supposed to be a good chance of seeing it this far south tonight.