Archive for the tag “craft”

John Barleycorn Must Die

I seem to have developed a complete inability to finish anything at the moment. Not sure why that should be, but this is about the 5th blog post I’ve begun in recent weeks, so I hope that I will find my way to the end of it this time.   If you’re reading this then yay, looks like I made it :D.  So what to write about? Well, the focus of my days over the past week or so has been wheat. Or more specifically gluten, one of its proteins.

I won’t bore you with the frustrations of dealing with GPs, but suffice to say, that many months ago I had become very unwell and had started to strongly suspect that I had a bit of a problem with eating gluten. Rather than continue to endure it over the months it took to get an appointment with the right person, I decided to help myself, so I cut it out of my diet to see what would happen. After a few months I felt soooo much better and was really starting to feel more like myself than I had done for a long time: my symptoms were disappearing, I was exercising again, my energy was coming back more and more as the weeks went by. Yippeeeee I thought! So you may be able to imagine how dismayed I was a couple of weeks ago, to be told that I needed to be tested for a condition called Coeliac and that the preparation for this test would mean going back to a gluten diet on what they call ‘the gluten challenge’. Read more…

Supporting Handmade However It’s Made

It’s that time of year when I’ve been thinking about my direction again. As some visitors to my Facebook page will know, autumn seems to do this to me. The chaos of life undoing itself before my eyes makes me look to my own life and question, question, question. It can be unsettling but is part of a natural process and I trust that the other side of this seasonal transition will bring a certain peace. However, this year some of my internal leaf-wrenching is amplified because I am reflecting and trying to make a decision about my own position within a situation that has brought a lot of anguish to a lot of people. It seems the autumn storm has been howling loudly over at a certain art & crafting marketplace recently and while I have held back from getting involved with the heated debate in the forum, I have been watching, incredulously, at some of what has been going on. Read more…

The Vagaries of Light

Colour.  It’s part of our daily lives.  Whether we pay much attention to it or not, it’s there, all around us, in everything.  We might only engage with it when we’re deciding what to put on in the morning, or perhaps when picking out paint or soft furnishings or plants for the garden; or we might spend quite a lot of time making decisions about it as artists or crafters.  One way or another it finds its way into every part of our lives, moving us, challenging us to feel something about it.

I have often wondered why it is that colour can have such an effect on us and why that effect can be so powerful; why colour or combinations of colour can fill us with such joy or so utterly repel us and why these effects seem to differ from person to person.  For instance, why do people have ‘favourite’ colours?  Why does one person revel in fluorescent pink while another feels more at home with a soft warm brown?  You only have to sit outside on a busy street watching passers by to see the diversity in this thing we call taste.  Of course there may be other factors involved in some of the choices we make about such things – sadly, fashion, magazines and TV seem to have an every increasing influence on our decision making – but I would like to think that for most people there is a bottom line of ‘do I like it?’. Read more…

Head, Hand and Heart: Perfect Imperfections

How many of you who have taken a trip to the Post Office recently have noticed the new Royal Mail issue of stamps entitled ‘Morris & Company’?

The set is very attractive and features work from the latter half of the 19th Century by William Morris, Philip Webb, John Henry Dearle, Kate Falkner, William De Morgan and Edward Burne-Jones.  As the handmade craft movement within the UK would probably not exist in its current form without these pioneers and others like them, I thought I would use this post to write a little tribute!

Morris & Company was a reincarnation of an earlier design firm called Morris, Marshall, Falkner & Company.  The earlier company, set up by Morris and some of his Pre-Raphaelite colleagues set out initially to make ‘fine art crafts’, in stained glass, embroidery, architectural carving, tapestries and furniture.   At first the firm produced much of its work for ecclesiastical purposes, playing a role in the widespread church restoration projects that were ongoing at that time.  As the business progressed however, more work for private customers was undertaken in an increasing range of mediums, producing many of those famous designs that are still sold today as fabrics and wall papers and embroideries. Read more…

The Lost Art of Rummaging

A few days ago I paid a visit to my local craft shop in Glossop, this being the Glossop Craft Centre based in Smithy Fold near the town centre.  In fact here, let me show you a picture of it:

Glossop Craft Centre

As you can see from the array of tables, boxes, bird tables and parasols outside the front door, this is no modern craft superstore (such places shall remain nameless though I’m sure you know the kind of store I mean ;))!  Tucked away in a cobbled side street, this little shop could not be accused of attempting to lure the unsuspecting crafter through its doors with promises of shiny wrappers, pristine shelves and grossly overpriced merchandise.  No, Glossop Craft Centre has not succumbed to trickery and superficial gimmickry, or possibly even to the 21st century!  Instead, upon passing through its doors one finds oneself gifted with the now increasingly rare pleasure of ‘rummaging’.  Read more…

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