Saturday, 30 June 2012

All white now

When Col said that he was going to take me painting, I was expecting a nice little jaunt in to the peak district with my easel, instead I've spent the last week putting the undercoat on to the shiny new plaster at the Brinsley wreck.  There's still a lot to do, we still only have an outside tap and a double socket spurred off from the electric meter, but its definately moving forward - in the last month we've moved from bare brick to plaster to white walls.  I've not achieved the white walled minimalism of a gallery space, well not unless you can convince yourself that the wobbley wooden shelving that is stacked with kettle, builders tea, and dirty mugs, is modern art, but maybe if I called it an installation and gave it the title "Eleven am"......

The book "From Condoms to Pompoms" is moving on - more later.....

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Derbyshire Open Art Competition, Buxton Museum and Art Gallery

Col and I have just been up to the opening night of the 30th Derbyshire Open Art Competition. My piece "Alone" had been accepted, and although I hadn't been awarded a prize, I was keen to go along to the award ceremony, keen to see my picture displayed there, and keen to see the other pieces that it sat alongside.
The standard of the work was exceptionally high, and the pieces were vary varied too. The only criteria was that they had to have a Derbyshire theme, but apart from that they could be anything; sculpture, textile, oil, water colour, mixed media etc. I'm a mixed media and collage artist at heart so I really loved seeing the different ways that people had expressed themselves, one of my favourite pieces was a series of maps, with footprints over the top.
Col admired the art, but typically also admired the frames, and gave me a gentle nudge when the awards speech made reference to the importance of good framing (he frames all of my pieces for me) - then even more typically, as we got in the car he turned to me and said "wow, did you see that ceiling and all of the covings, it was really impressive?" when I gave him a look of disbelief, he continued with "and I quite liked the way that they created that pattern in the carpet."
Hmmm, see what I have to put up with?

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Puppy Love

Ah - have just been to see my friends pups - 5 little terriers who are only 6 weeks old, their mummy has a good running pedigree, already house trained, and they're small enough to sneak out in my pocket!

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Cows, what are they good for.

So much for a nice quite run in the countryside.
I'd just started off when I narrowly avoided getting stung by a wasp, and at first i thought this was a good omen for my run, as last year I went through a stage of colliding with wasps and coming out worst!
Next I had to dodge about 15 trials bikers who were sharing the same path as me, so in a bid to get out of their way I decided to go cross country and run along some of the muddy fields.  Bad move.  I don't seem to have a lot of luck with animals when I'm out running, I love animals, but they don't seem to love me; dogs bite me, ones even knocked me over before, horses have charged at me (that's happened 3 times now) and cows have stampeded towards me, but luckily Cols always been around to make me feel safe, and to drag me out of the way, and under hedges, as I have a tendency to freeze and stay rooted to the spot.  This time I was on my own, and as I approached a field that was full of cows (it never normally is) I decided that it would be safest for everybody if I stopped running and walked.  The cows by and large seemed more scared of me than I was of them and bolted into the second field, which would have been helpful, if that wasn't where I was heading too.  As I crossed the second field I was relieved to see that most of them skitted out of my path and headed up field.  Yes, most of them.  A bull decided that it wasn't afraid of me and started walking  very purposefully in my direction, that was just the signal they needed for all of them to rush over at the same second, I've never seen cows move so quickly, although to be honest I've never moved so quickly either, thankfully I was right next to the style, and I jumped over, and then just shook and shook. 
People generally tend to laugh when you say that you scared of cows, but I've had a few really scary incidents now, and they seem to be being reported in the media with a greater frequency.  Last week there was an article in the Guardian by a farmer who had been trapped under a cow and thought he was going to die, thankfully he's alright now, but he wondered if the increase of incidents was to do with the changing cow's diets. I think the biggest worry for me is that potentially aggressive cows are put in big fields which are public rights of way, if there is a problem, you can be stuck in the middle of a very big field with no means of escape, and I don't want to be Moo-dy or cow-ardly but I don't think a cows hoof print is quite as lucky as a horseshoe. 

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Alone in Derbyshire

I've just received some really good news today.  I've had a piece of my work accepted for the Derbyshire Open Art Competition.  I was really scared about submitting anything, its the first time i have, and the competition from other artists was really really tough  to be honest, i felt really intimidated submitting my work.
I was allowed to submit 2 pieces, knowing that only 1 would be accepted, and so I submitted "The well walked path" which is a silver birch landscape, which I've posted on the blog earlier this month, and a more conceptual piece "Alone" which is inspired by an old peeling allotment door. 
Well, "Alone" has been accepted; with 99 other pieces it has been whittled down from over 370 other entries, so just maybe for once, I'll start believing in myself....... then and again!
The exhibition runs from 29 June to 31 August at the Buxton Museum and Art Gallery, and there really are some lovely pieces there.

Monday, 18 June 2012

The Edale Fell Run

After arrving and signing in for the Edale fell Run at the Edale Show, I went and sat in the van and watched the clouds going by.  The clouds were quick to hide the bright sunshine, and then the rain started.  I was thinking that this was going to be similar to the Castleton Fell race that I did last week, but it did actually decide to stop raining.  I walked up to the start and listened to the race briefing.  We were set off by the junior fell race winner, who did an excellent job of shouting 3,2,1 ....Goooooo, and we did.  The start is a straight up climb winding its way upto the top of Grindsbrook.  I am learning if people are walking at the same speed that you're running, then you should be walking too, and so for the majority of this hill, I was walking.  I think I read somewhere that it was 1300 ft, and if it is, I felt every foot of it, it was hard.  Once on to the top, you follow the edge round to the left to the top of Jacobs Ladder, and there on in its a complete downhill back to Edale, while all the time remembering an earlier warning from one of the competitors.  He'd told me to concentrate all the way, even at the grassy bank at the bottom, as thats where he'd put his foot in a sheep pat, slipped over, and broke his wrist, the last time he'd done it, 8 years ago.  From there on its to the road for a short run to the railway bridge and then a left turn into the showground which was starting to fill up.  All in all a great run, even if I hadn't realised what I'd let myself in for.

Save Brinsley's Green Spaces

Last night we went to a meeting organised by SABRHE (Save Brinsleys Heritage and Environment).  Broxtowe Council are wanting to build a whole load of houses in the village, which will mean building on green spaces.  I don't know why the Government are pushing ahead with this, even if their forecasts for the amount of new houses that are needed in the future are right (and most of their forecasts are not) there's plenty of brownfield land to build on, and there are plenty of affordable houses in the East Midlands that are for sale that aren't being bought. Yet, for some reason the majority of people want to live in new souless boxes with handkerchief sized gardens and cardboard walls - or even better a flat (sorry appartment).  There's a real danger that houses are starting to be seen as disposable items and the need to build them surpasses the need for green and pleasant land. Its not about being a NIMBY, its about realising how much we need our green surroundings, for our wildlife and for us; even the government promote the benefits of it for our health and well being and for promoting physical activity -
 I find it ironic that the plan is announced in the same week that Danny Boyle announces his vision for the Olympics Opening Ceremenony - showcasing Britians countryside.....
Anyway rant over, and a big thanks to SABRHE for all of their hard work, lets hope we show the planners just how important this is to us, failing that, I might be having to sleep in a tree!

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Ilkeston BDL

BDL (Booth Decorators League) was our own race as a running club. We have done this route for a couple of years now and its a tough one compared to our old course. We arrived in style with a lift of Lord Coe who was the first to put in a sick note with his Plantar faccilitis. A complaint as I understand that is very debilitating, this was not good as he's a good solid runner who the club  rely on. We then met with a good majority of the club who were also not running due to various ailments ranging from others with Plantar faccilitis   to "I've just had a new knee" (I personnally think thats going to far just to get out of a club race, although i do agree with Tonys comment that maybe we should just be a marshalling club .)

We all gathered for the 7.30pm start at Shipley country park and off we went.  It was a quick start as its an open field so no-one gets in your way.Out through the wide gate and down the path ,I'm possibly in the top 50 at this point and in second place out of our club as the young Adam had gone flying by. I,m now thinking I ought to have used my bad back as a get of race card but know it will stand for the 4.5miles. we then turn and head up a slight incline and head for the new tarmac path,this was better when it was a gravel track as it suits my running more. Next we are at the top of cardiac hill and belting down, myself and Adam are flying by a good handful of people and then it starts to level out and we resume a more level pace and push on into the loop with its undulations and turns. I'm pleasantly surprised to be yelled at by a couple of our Marshals that I've not seen for a while .At the start of the loop I'm two places behind Adam but by the next mile I manage to over take and start to pull away,trying to encourage him to work with me.

We are soon out of the loop and with encouragement of the two Marshalls I'm now heading back up cardiac hill and I'm struggling because last weeks Castleton fell race is taking it's toll, I'm passed by a Heanor runner who's flying up the hill. we get to the top and its a mile or so of undulations to get back to the start I'm over taken by another runner near the end and have a mad sprint/push to be pipped at the post to end up in 29th position in 27.59mins. Adams next back for our club in 36th place in 28.43. Good positions all round from our team.


Monday, 11 June 2012

No time to stand still

The wreck is thankfully going full steam ahead - Cols busy trying to keep up plasterboarding for the plasterer, and I'm following around with the paintbrush.  Yesterday we made the most of the sunshine and worked on the garden for a while, to be honest theres plenty enough to do on the inside and the outside isn't really a priority, but its in danger of feeling like a never ending chore if we're both always stuck inside.
I haven't got any art fairs until next month so I'm trying to get my other neglected tasks done, I haven't done a decent length run for ages, and my homework is neglected too, the problem with drawing people is that Col just won't sit still.  Even though he usually doesnt come back from the wreck until 9pm and must be shattered, he's still busy doing things when he gets home, and even if he does sit down and read a book, he's still fidgetting around.  Consequently, I'm having to do loads of self portraits, i guess this causes less ill feelings, I'm not one for doing flattering drawings, but its not easy to do.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Making fathers day cards

I can't claim the credit for this idea for a fathers day card, but I thought it was really effective, and its very easy to make - there's no need to use a sewing machine; you could hand sew it or just glue it.  You could always substitute paper for the material, or if you wanted to make a really big one and give your dad a really big suprise, you could I suppose, cut up one of his shirts!!!!

Friday, 8 June 2012

Castleton fell race

I turned up for Castleton Fell Race, I was one of the first cars there and was allowed to park on the muddy field, although after 6 cars the field was turning into a mud bath and wasn't foreboding well.  The marshalls said that they'd been deliberating whether to cancel the race because of the torrential rain and the high winds.  The streets on the journey there were not to dissimillar to the waterfalls coming down the sides of the hills.  The race itself was a slow start as the beginning is narrow laned and the path was running like a river, the cold made it hard to get going and it was a long long slog up to Lose Hill, once on the top it was a head wind all the way over to Back Tor, Hollins Cross and finally to Mam Tor.  The driving rain made it really hard to see where you were placing your feet, and the wet stones were really slippy and slidey.  Once we reached Mam Tor it was a tail wind back down to Hollins Cross and the final descent down to the Rugby Club.  I'm quite slow on the downhills and so thats where I lost most of my places.  It was a good race despite the weather, it was the worst weather that I've run a race in and I felt very sorry for the marshalls standing on the hills, getting really cold - if it hadn't been for their dedication the races wouldn't go ahead - a big thank you to them all.


Thursday, 7 June 2012

All stitched up.

Today I've made the most of a bleak rainy day -
I've spent the day appliquing the name Treehuggery and stitching alliums onto a tablecloth, in anticipation for the next Art fair (it became apparent at the last fair that people seemed to really like the name Treehuggery, but because my branding was quite subtle, it wasn't really obvious)
With Colin's help my picture is now framed, and I'm trying to pluck up the courage to enter it for a competition (I haven't entered a competition since I was at Brownies - so a very long time ago!)
And I'm trying to get back to grips with the drawing module of my textile course - which has been very neglected - At the moment I'm working on self portraits, scarey stuff, and to be honest I'm starting to appreciate why Col hates me drawing him so much; my technique is always so dark, that even when I try to be flattering, my work is really heavy and lined.....Interestingly  my drawing tutor has just written a really (honest but) damning report on Damien Hirst , while some of the textile lecturers have written a really interesting report on different textilers - ones produced a deep fried jumper, another has digitally reproduced images from the contents of a found box (containing random items such as household letters and weathered spoons)- roll on the days when I can  leave sketching and get back to the textile modules.......

Monday, 4 June 2012

I bet Tracy Emin doesn't have to put up with this...

I'm sitting outside cutting out some applique letters to stitch on to a blanket, and Dave (next doors cat) is sitting on my knee, everytime I ignore him for more than a couple of seconds, he diggs his claws in - grrr, I bet Tracy Emin doesn't have this problem...

Saturday, 2 June 2012

What a difference a day, and a couple of chairs makes!

The first day of the arts and craft fair was really slow, not much footfall, and my stall felt all wrong - today I changed the look of my stall, I borrowed some fold up chairs and displayed the cushions how they're supposed to be; upright and on chairs. The effect was so much better, they were much more noticeable and people seemed to be much more attracted to them - they did the one thing I'd always intended; people wanted to touch them - treehuggery, textile, tactile and unique!!!  I got some really really lovely comments and am really hoping that its the start of something......