Friday, 16 November 2018

Dublin Knitting and Stitching Show 2018



Though it felt like an early start setting off from Kilbaha to Dublin, it was mostly only that the mornings are darker now that we are in November. A goodbye to the rural, west coast and a hello to the big city. Quite a different vibe.
Almost morning in Kilbaha


As it was the second time Marianda and I had set up the Fabricated Narratives gallery, it did come together more easily, and as every exhibition is a different space, we deliberately hung the pieces with altered associations to each other.

So a mere 3 hours and we were set. 
Fabricated Narratives at Dublin Knitting and Stitching Show

Fabricated Narratives at Dublin Knitting and Stitching Show

Fabricated Narratives at Dublin Knitting and Stitching Show

Fabricated Narratives at Dublin Knitting and Stitching Show

Fabricated Narratives at Dublin Knitting and Stitching Show


Again it was a joyful experience to talk to visitors about the work, to hear their reactions and comments. All praise gratefully received, and any critique is taken on board seriously as it can help us to understand our work or how it is seen by others more fully.

There is also the social side to the show. Quiet spaces during the day are spent with other artists, as are the evenings. These are times which are precious as it is not often that I get a chance to talk to others about their lives and work, to get to know new and interesting people. This is important to me, whatever the trials. Many thanks to Sue Chapman, Wendy Gardiner, Marianda Twydell, Jenni Dutton, Dionne Swift and others for your excellent company.

Once the show was over and the work packed safely and on it’s way to Harrogate for the third part of it’s tour, I had a day to spend in Dublin. It is a lovely city to visit and for much of the time I simply ambled through streets and alleyways. 
Wandering through Dublin

Trinity College Dublin

Trinity College Dublin

Wandering through Dublin, Temple Bar

Wandering through Dublin, Castle Garden

A Beetroot Tree

Wandering through Dublin, Dublin Castle

Wandering through Dublin, guess what is made here?

I did have a visit to the book of Kells as a high priority, and had a fabulous time at the visitor centre of Trinity College.

The information in form of displays, information boards and videos which put this fabulous medieval illustrated bible into context were great. Using modern craftspeople to show how the book was made really helped to bring it to life.

The slightly disappointing aspect was that the book itself and the other bibles were all held in one small display case, with lots of people crowding around to see. This meant that realistically you felt rather claustrophobic and pressured, and so couldn’t spend very much time really seeing the books. Maybe separate cabinets and more space around, and a magnifying lens over the top would have been an improvement. However, it’s one checked off my bucket list and I am very glad to have seen it after many years of reading about Celtic illuminated works.

Goodbye for now to Dublin.

Monday, 12 November 2018

The hospitality of strangers and friends.

My UK odyssey has continued for another week and a bit, this time it can also be termed 'international', though thanks to the open borders in Europe, achieving this was not at all difficult.
I flew to Belfast to spend a weekend with the Northern Ireland Patchwork Guild. Looked after by a generous host with many stories to tell of life in Northern Ireland. As you will know, Northern Ireland has had it's share of unrest, and talking about those times with people who have lived through them can help to widen the perspective of an outsider to whom the only understanding of the events was through the lens of the news media. The times are quieter now, though not perfectly calm.
After a morning talk about the work I have created since moving to New Zealand (called 'Down Under and Left a Bit'), we spent the afternoon using the non-fusible or Standard Angelina fibre. By gradually building up a layered background on which stitch can be added, we had fun. It was a joy to hear new connections and friendships developing during the workshop, after all, that is a significant reason to join groups of like-minded people.

Not So Standard Angelina short workshop with Alysn Midgelow-Marsden at the Northern Ireland Patchwork Guild

Not So Standard Angelina short workshop with Alysn Midgelow-Marsden at the Northern Ireland Patchwork Guild

Not So Standard Angelina short workshop with Alysn Midgelow-Marsden at the Northern Ireland Patchwork Guild

Not So Standard Angelina short workshop with Alysn Midgelow-Marsden at the Northern Ireland Patchwork Guild

Not So Standard Angelina short workshop with Alysn Midgelow-Marsden at the Northern Ireland Patchwork Guild

Not So Standard Angelina short workshop with Alysn Midgelow-Marsden at the Northern Ireland Patchwork Guild


Not So Standard Angelina short workshop with Alysn Midgelow-Marsden at the Northern Ireland Patchwork Guild

Not So Standard Angelina short workshop with Alysn Midgelow-Marsden at the Northern Ireland Patchwork Guild
Not So Standard Angelina short workshop with Alysn Midgelow-Marsden at the Northern Ireland Patchwork Guild
Somehow the autumnal tones in the metallic fibres suited the season, drawing thoughts of the dropping leaves outside.
The next day we ramped up the heat using 'fusible' or 'hot-fix' Angelina fibres. The course was 'The Crown Jewels Gone Mad', an Angelina and heat tool fest! It was a particular pleasure that (through unfortunate circumstances) the Guild had had to change venues for the day, and we were housed in the Men's Council Chamber of the local Golf Club. Leaving a few sneaky glittering strands of fibre for the next council meeting might be considered a (very) small nod in the direction of equality! Sadly the light in the room didn't allow for good images. You will simply have to trust me that we had yet more fun, solved some historic problems in the best use of these fibres and added a few more Angelina addicts to the world.

'The Crown Jewels Gone Mad' workshop by Alysn Midgelow-Marsden for the Northern Ireland Patchwork Guild

'The Crown Jewels Gone Mad' workshop by Alysn Midgelow-Marsden for the Northern Ireland Patchwork Guild

'The Crown Jewels Gone Mad' workshop by Alysn Midgelow-Marsden for the Northern Ireland Patchwork Guild
Lots of samples and ideas for work were created, and nothing caught fire!!

I then had a little adventure on the buses across the border and out to the wilds of County Clare. I was to spend a couple of days catching up with Kim Thittichai who now lives in a gorgeous location and has a studio space and accomodation for guests and to run workshops at Sonas Studio. It was so good of her to give up her time to look after me. One of the great things about my life is fitting in visits to see people and places I would have found hard to manage otherwise, and I do try to make the most of any opportunities to catch up with friends when I am anywhere near (even 6 hours on a bus couldn't stop me!)

Kim Thittichai at home

Atlantic drama

Looking out from the Sonas Studio windows - plenty of inspiration and space for thought and experimentation

The Bridge of Ross

Geology and more geology

If the weather had allowed, I would have loved to see more of the dramatic cliffs, waves and sealife. Instead a glass or two of wine, a cozy fire and the company of an incredibly sweet dog and her owner were more than sufficient pleasures.

Cheers from Sonas Studio, Kilbaha, Ireland
The next instalment coming very soon will be the drive to Dublin for the Knitting and Stitching Show second airing of 'Fabricated Narratives'.