I am enjoying a Christmas break – making Lego “collage” with my nephew on Christmas day, then today, inspired by a gift of some beautiful handspun wool from Shetland (thank you, Julia), I picked up the Shetland knitting pattern which I had abandoned months ago. It is a traditional Shetland cockleshell pattern and is fairly complicated to do – I have no idea how on earth women used to knit like this while hauling fish (rather than waiting for gallery visitors) – maybe that’s the benchmark of a true crafts person! It is lovely to get back to knitting, quite a contrast to glass – something I have in mind to explore more fully some day…
I managed to sell enough work to go on my Northlands Masterclass! Thanks to those who took advantage of my discount offer and supported me by buying some work.
Yesterday I had a crises of confidence about going when I discovered that I will be working alongside some of the most talented glass artists around. I had a very reassuring email from Michael Rogers, the tutor, and today I feel only excited and full of anticipation about working with people who are so engaged with their practice.
Michael has asked all participants to bring with them a small suitcase of inspirational material to work with and I spent the day in the junk shops of Cardigan selecting priceless objects of Welshness to take with me to Caithness.
Cardigan proved a great place to start my search, it is full of cheap tourist places and charity shops (the most disorganised and grubby ones are best for this kind of thing) and I set myself the target of not spending more than £2 on an object. Michael has given me licence to hang out in the most fascinating emporia known to man and a budget is a necessary constraint if my studio is not to become even more of a junk store!
I love the serendipity of what you find in these places and of the co-incidences and connections you discover along the way. My suitcase is going to need some heavy editing, and that is a good process for me to apply to my ideas in general. Sometimes I feel that I have too many ideas and can not find the space to explore any of them deeply enough, archiving them and putting them in boxesmay just help with that, enable a lot of things to coexist without becoming overwhelming – why did n`t I think of this before?!
I had lunch in Y Pantri, a lovely local cafe, strictly tea and toasted sandwiches, not a tapas in sight! Quite a change from Narberth! So a successful days hunting and I topped it off with a visit to see the Cardigan Cardigan, an enormous (5m x 2.5m) cardigan knitted by local people last year to celebrate 900 years of the towns heritage. Inspired by the work of assistant designer, Susan McComb, the work is mostly in cable stitch and was knitted by 300 people of all ages and abilities, who met and knitted together, or in their own homes, over 9 months. A wonderful example of a truly inclusive community art project.
Just back from 2 weeks in Shetland. It was great to get away from the computer, gallery and office work and family commitments, and to get back to painting, catch up with a few old friends, and enjoy the FABULOUS weather!
While I was up there I went to a fantastic knitting symposium, In The Loop 2. Around 130 people came to it and there were speakers from across the world, including Shetland, Norway, America and New Zealand. It was very inspiring and good to spend time with a bunch of creative individuals, I made some new friends and got all sorts of crazy ideas for making glass pieces involving knitting!
Right now I am settling back into Pembrokeshire and looking forward to an autumn and winter of concentrating on painting, capitalising on the new impetus from Shetland to really go for it in the studio.