Monday 22 February 2016

Alpaca Adventures

This time last year (I know I'm very behind with my blogging!) I spent a happy week creating vessels out of Alpaca fleece for my friends Ros and David who were getting married in April 2015. They own and care for the beautiful boys above. Ros had been off on her own Alpaca adventures to make her wedding dress and David's waistcoat from nuno felted Alpaca fleece. She also thought it would be lovely to have felted vessels as table decorations at the wedding and this became my wedding gift Part 1. Ros had dyed the fleece in a lovely range of colours. It was very different to work with than merino tops and quite a challenge. The first attempts were a bit of a disaster but after some practice I got the measure of this new material. We laughed a lot as I danced between the kitchen sink and the dining room table twirling and smoothing wet, wobbly vessels! It was also lovely spending time with my friends and feeling very much part of the preparations for their celebration.

I had hoped to sneak the vessels off for a bit of an installation 

but there wasn't time

There was much debate as to what we should add to the vessels ( hearts, sweets, fairy lights) and how we could ensure they remained stable (jars and gravel). Ros and david also gave every vessel a place setting number and the people with the place numbers got to carry off they vessel at the end of the evening. You can see more of the table settings here

Their cake was a work of art full of personal symbolism and I was there as the artist (in the background) had the nerve wracking task of assembling and suspending it in the marquee!

In April, prior to the wedding I was also sent on another Top Secret wedding mission as their dear friend Barb Jungr had written an extra special wedding song for the happy couple. Barb thought it would be lovely if I could illustrate the song and as I didn't like to say that I'd already made my wedding gift, I said yes! The illustrations include spring wild flowers, the bride a groom, honey, bees, Mr Bumble, David's motorbike, tea and cake and of course the Alpacas Ronnie, Reggie, Victor, Valiant, Truffle and ?

I was a bit worried about how to have it reproduced with the words in place and in the burnt orange that was part of the wedding theme. I rang the ever wonderful Kate Dyer at Corby Community Arts and said "Help! Short notice, rush job, bit of a panic..." and she came magnificently to my aid. The printed songs were sealed in Top Secret envelops as an extra surprise for Ros and David on the day.

The song was called Dancing With Alpacas 

sung with love and great gusto to 
the tune of Going to the Chapel

Apart from being long time friends, Ros is the reason I discovered I could still sing after many years of silence and the reason I joined the most marvellous Deep Roots Tall Trees Choir, got to know Barb and have been whisked off on new and exciting creative adventures! 

As the Choir has such a special place in Ros's life she invited us to sing three songs at the wedding celebration - I Believe in Miracles, Love Train and Higher and Higher which got the evening off to a joyful swing! we had a wonderful time, it was a beautiful day from start to finish and we got to dance our shoes off into the bargain!

Pudding (no wonder my dress no longer fits!)

Sunday 21 February 2016

From Lincolnshire and Back - Exhibition at The Majestic Studios in Stoke

"Sometimes artists just need the space to make, to challenge their working practice, to network and be inspired by others. From Lincolnshire and Back is about artists exchanging unfinished work with each other; relinquishing ownership and collaborating to create a finished piece." Carol Parker

This self funded project was initiated by Carol Parker, socially engaged artist and contributed to by artists across the UK. Including the new managers of the Majestic Studio's, artists Chris Reader and Andrew Cliff. 

You can see all the works from all the artists in this Pinterest Album including the first exhibition at Moulton Mill December 2015

Last year I received a parcel of starting points for the project - photos of abandoned shoes - from Beth Barlow and so decided to continue looking out for shoes. 

My resulting piece is called the Map of Maybe, a stitched imaginary map of walks, a selection of shoe / walk photos on magnetic paper and magnetic poetry kit.

The idea was the photos and poetry letters could 
go on their own journey through a space -

the one flaw with this is you need metal 
surfaces to make this happen.

 So for the time being the work 
is contained on a small stand.

We were all asked to fill a strip of small pockets to represent our practice, you can see them all on the Pinterest link too. I feel that due to time, distance and other commitments, I was only able to stick my toe in the waters of this project but feel pleased that I made something. Many of the participants had a very rich, collaborative experience so do check out all their makings and doings on Pinterest or at The majestic Studios. The exhibition is available to tour to other venues, if you would like it to visit you contact Carol Parker

I'm also happy to have been part of Carol's Visible Mending Project  went to Canterbury and is now off to Bridport