Thursday, 29 October 2009

Beautiful Foggy Morning

Early fog this morning, taken by R as I was still snoozing.
I'd like to move now please.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Tower House Pottery

We're having a wee break up North, visiting and house hunting. It's been lovely to catch up with R's family but all a bit frustrating looking at properties, waiting for others to go on the market, waiting for ours to sell when we just want to get going! Have seen some interesting things and many possibilities are out there for us, we just have to wait.

Apparently I'm not as good at the whole patience thing as I once thought! In fact I am becoming intolerably impatient and today has been a wonderful distraction from the house search.
Up and about early to keep an appointment with a crane and a low loader to lift R's Dad's boat out of the harbour for the last time as it's being sold. With it successfully moved to temporary dry storage we went into Berwick to visit a friend of R's Dad, local potter Peter Thomas of Tower House Pottery.

Peter and his wife Margaret create the most fantastic, highly decorated sgraffito ceramics, among my favourites from the gallery were the iris designs above, the townscapes and the fabulous fish.
We had a great time looking around the studio and exhibition gallery before a chat about our ideas for the move and setting ourselves up with work and exhibition space. Very encouraging and, as ever, we are both very excited and keen to get out of this strange moving limbo!

Friday, 23 October 2009

Florence Friday

Detail from the intricate wood carving on one of the huge doors into the vast Franciscan Church, Santa Croce.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Things That Make Me Laugh #2

I've just finished an unexpected day of supply teaching and am warming up with a cup of tea, a blanket and a Dara O'Briain dvd. Funny, funny man.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Creative Open Workshop's Pop Up Market

It's been a good weekend with a fun double baby shower on Friday evening followed by the COW Handmade Fair at the Custard Factory, Birmingham on Saturday. It's the second time I've done this fair and was really pleased to see how much it has grown since starting up just a few months ago thanks to lots of hard work by the organisers. We were moved into a larger gallery space and you can see my stall below.


Bit disappointing on the sales front but lots of people asking whether we'd be back so hopefully November will be more successful. I had my sea glass pendants on show for the first time and am looking forward to getting these listed in the shop and working on some more wire wrapped pendants.

There was so much talent on show and you can check out some of it at the links below:
Magpie Jewels
Helen Woodward
Kate Thornton Design

Judith Williamson (who we used to teach with! Small world! Lovely to see you!)  
Jaccylee Jewellery
Gill Bourbage

Rachel Warren
Silver Queen
Handmade by Tigerlily
Peewees (Michelle Witcombe)

Peeko Crochet
Said LabelDenise from COW and Peeko Crochet mesmerised a young guest at the wedding party, who had their drinks reception at the rear of the gallery, by spinning plastic bags into yarn (plarn) which she uses in her accessories range.

The COW ladies have been running all sorts of creative workshops and if you are interested in learning a new creative skill do check their blog for further details. For those of you with children there is now a whole host of children's workshops planned for October half term, sounds ace! Come on midlanders, get yourself to the Custard Factory and check out all the fabulous creative happenings! I'll see you back there on the 21st November!

Friday, 16 October 2009

COW Handmade Fair

I'll be at the Creative Open Workshop's Handmade Fair tomorrow from 11am - 4pm, with lots of jewellery including the mulled wine charm bracelet which has sneaked onto the flyer above, hope to see you there!


Florence Friday


Archways of Pitti
Laura Cameron

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Rich Johnson

I've been showing Mr Richard Johnson's new website off over on Folksy, I think it is beautifully done. Rich's photographic interests are clear to see with gorgeous images of cathedral interiors, moody woodland and striking macro flowers and seeds with texture and light abounding in his still life and landscape paintings. Finally his drawing is being shown to a wider audience than English Department meetings at school and I hope you enjoy having a look round as much as we enjoyed watching the minutes becoming ever more elaborately embellished!

Gorgeous work Mr Johnson!


Thursday, 8 October 2009

Inky Fun

Last term I did some work through my old school with Erasmus Darwin House in Lichfield and helped develop a writing activity to draw in some cross curricular links within the historical and scientific interests for students visiting the house. This morning I worked with two groups of year 6 students trialling the activities and it was so much fun, I was delighted when one little boy wanted to show me his work and found out later that he struggles desperately with his handwriting - his calligraphy was so good, ink pot and feathers might be the way forward for him! I am still ink stained and can only apologise to the parents of the young lady who managed to cover both hands in ink during the session!

Schools who visit are provided with some materials to take away so they can build upon what the students learn during their visit. I provided a tutorial for students to make their own nibs so they could continue with their very impressive calligraphy skills and thought you might like a look, lots of fun and pretty effective if you can't get your hands on feathers and steel nibs.



snip a drinking straw in half


make a mark with your felt tip about 1cm from the end of each half


cut from the pen mark diagonally to the end of the straw to create a pointed nib


cut the second half at a wider angle to create a broader nib tip

Now all you need is a bottle of ink to dip in and some paper to write on, enjoy!

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Top Ten Craft Fair Essentials

In the run up to Christmas we're attending a few craft fairs, so far the essentials list reads as follows:

1. Jewellery - labelled and priced
2. White tablecloth
3. Wooden bowls, mirror and boxes for display,
4. Business cards, sign or banner saying who you are, where to find your work after the fair and accepted payment details
5. Gift wrapping bits - pillow boxes, tissue paper, raffia, tags and brown paper bags
6. Cash box and float (coins and notes), calculator
7. Receipt book and order forms
8. Stationery - pens, scissors, sellotape, blu tac, notebook for recording sales, customer / contact details
9. Camera
10. Refreshments

What else is on your craft fair essentials list?

Sunday, 4 October 2009

For Sale

Evening, hope you are all having a pleasant weekend. It's been rather a dramatic week, but generally in a good way. I've finished my temporary teaching contract and our house is officially up for sale, driving home from work to see the sign for the first time did make me gasp and feel a bit sentimental but it's ok. The thought of moving and our new home (whichever one it turns out to be) is always on my mind in a whirled up mixture of excitement tinted, ever so palely, with anxiety over finding a buyer.

Naturally our thoughts and conversations have been peppered with the things, people and places we'll miss from here: friends, lovely May Cottage itself, our wee neighbour and his dog, Cannock Chase, my church, the trees we've adopted. We are so glad we told our neighbour we were moving when we did as the sign went up the next day and that would not have been a nice way to find out. He didn't say much but when we chatted to him this evening as the autumn sun was making the fields glow he said "I don't think you should be going anywhere, I've got used to you now." Such a lovely man and, as a girl who cannot, under any circumstances, hide her emotions, I felt a bit sad.
Last weekend we went for a dander on Cannock Chase and a squirrel let me take his photo! I've yet to upload them but it reminded me of the quivering excitement with which I took this photo of two dear on the Chase in June. Unfortunately, I've yet to master the 'stop shaking even though you're excited so you can hold your big lens steady' technique which is a must for wild life photographers and so all my deer photos are a bit blurry, but look, we saw deer! I always keep an eye out when we're up there and rarely see more than a flash of fur in the distance but on this day we saw eight deer! And yes, ashamedly, this is the best photograph!

So this week there will be no school, unless I get a day's supply (yay), lots of making, tweaking, painting, listing, the penultimate jewellery session of my WEA course and a day with year 6 at Erasmus Darwin House on Thursday getting covered in ink teaching some calligraphy.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Florence Friday

Last Sunday there was a collision of favourites: Kevin McCloud in Florence. Let me add to that Kevin McCloud in a Fiat 500 in Florence! Kevin McCloud's Grand Tour is on Channel 4 at 9pm on Sunday evenings and last Sunday we were treated to the wonders of the gorgeous Tuscan countryside, Florence and Rome.

What blew my mind was seeing the Vasari Corridor, something I had never heard of before. Built by Giorgio Vasari in 1564 at the order of Grand Duke Cosimo I de' Medici the corridor is a secretive, covered walkway through the air. It stretches for over a kilometre from the West Gallery of the Uffizi, towards the river Arno, across the river over the Ponte Vecchio (on top of the shops!), through the interior of the Church of Santa Felicita, along the tops of houses and gardens, into the Boboli Gardens and then finally the Pitti Palace.

View from the Corridor out onto the Ponte Vecchio
check out more at Museums in Florence

An extaordinary construction, the corridor provided the Duke with a private walkway from his home, the Pitti Palace, to his offices at the Uffizi. An incredible thing! We've been looking over our photos and tracing the corridor on satellite maps and enjoying the excitement of another little bit of Florence being revealed. R's painting shows the corridor clearly and yet when he completed it neither of us knew about this fabulous passageway!

The "floating" Corridor emerging from the Uffizi and running along the Arno to cross at the Ponte Vecchio

Within the corridor are housed a grand collection of Art and, by arrangement, the public are allowed to visit, now can we afford to go back to Florence next year and have a look?

Let's hope so!

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Things That Make Me Laugh #1

In no particular order but starting today with Eddie Izzard's Death Star Canteen . . . in Lego

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