Thursday, 22 September 2011

Variety is the Spice of Life

I received an e-mail today asking what I had been up to recently and this made me reflect on what life for me is like post CCAD.  I considered the last week and decided that things were pretty good with no two days the same. Here is a potted review of the last week.


After a few chores Paul and I joined our daughter Lynsey, grandchildren Martha and Lucas and the lovely Sally, who was the amazing photographer for our son's wedding, for a photoshoot at the fabulous victorian resort of Saltburn by the Sea. We were blessed with lovely weather and enjoyed watching her capture lots of informal shots of the two of them playing on the beach, exploring the pier and enjoying an ice cream. can't wait to see the full collection!
Ben Nicholson's Birch Craig

Richard Hamilton's Interior1964-1965
Paul and I have pledged to try and make fridays our day of culture and so far so good. On the recommendation of Clare Baker we took ourselves off to Mima ( to visit the Transmitter / Receiver  Arts Council touring exhibition of collage which was thought proving and we also enjoyed The Intimate Surface of Modernism exhibition of Ben Nicholson's work.

Martha & Allannah (my Great, Great niece) on Saturday
when a large family group meet up for coffee in town
 Weekends are always busy family affairs, aswell as visiting an elderly friend in a care home, but I did manage to finish another cardigan for Martha and start another - but this time to my OWN design. Watch this space to see how it turns out.

Tricia Mc Kensie's pattern
This saw us back at one of our favourite toddler groups ABC

Lucas grooming Harry the pony

Martha petting the baby guinea pig

Grandad & Lucas having
 fun with the pneumatic canon

Grandad & Martha with the tractors

We also have the kids on a Tuesday and try to have the whole day out somewhere different. This week we discovered Adventure Valley near Durham. It is an amazing farm full of fun things for kids of ALL ages and we managed to spend 5 hours there and still not try everything. Strongly recommend you pay them a visit.
After two busy, action packed days with the grandchildren wednesday is me time. This involves lunch in Yarm with my good friend Ann and often a nice cup of tea with Jackie. Bliss!
Oh yes and I did stretch my brain as i am coaching a student who has just started their A level Physics.
And here we are at the start of another week. I wonder what this will have in store.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

A Lovely Surprise

The mystery box

The lovely surprise inside
Today my son Matthew and daughter in law Lynsey presented Paul and I with a vintage toffee tin tied up with string. We were both very curious to know what it would contain and we were so pleased when we discovered that instead of a formal album of wedding photos they had sourced a collection of old tin boxes to hold a collections of selected photos for close friends and family, taken by Sally their amazing wedding photographer, (as well as a CD with the complete collection and a DVD of the movie they had made using a vintage cine camera).

When I work out how to upload the movie I will add it to this posting

Martha's First Birthday

Martha and the Fairy Castle birthday cake

Martha and mum Lynsey - where did that last year go?

Feeding time with dad Nathan helping Lucas sort out his food

Martha looking a bit lost as she tucks in to her sandwich

Yesterday was my grandaughter's first birthday. She had a few little friends round for lunch and cake and lots of family popping in with presents, but today was her main party at a soft play centre with about 25 other kids plus parents! Mum had been really busy making her Fairy Castle cake and packing up party bags and lunch boxes. Everyone had a lovely time and I think that tonight they should all sleep well.

The Biscuit Factory

Yesterday a small group of friends from my Textile and Surface Design degree course came over and after coffee and a catch up we set off for The Biscuit Factory in Newcastle. It is one of my husband and I's favourite places to look for special presents but this trip was different. Colleen, Joy, Jackie and myself really enjoyed examining and discussing the amazing range of work on display in their new Autumn show. We were there for over 4 hours, but that did include two visits to The Factory Kitchen for sustenance. I particularly liked the work of Emerson Mayes who is a Yorkshire born artist working in Drypoint etching of subjects close to my heart - flora & fauna. I particularly liked the black and white bird prints with a touch of colour using gold leaf or watercolour.

Redwings - which is also the name of the lane where we live

Fieldfare - the name of the road next to ours

The other lovely surprise was to discover an amazing collection of ceramics by Clare Baker, the multi-talented artist and all round kind, interesting, supportive, funny, encouraging........... lecturer from our course at CCAD. This collection was so different to any of her other work that I have loved and also pretty unique in every other respect. Go see for yourself.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Thomas Bewick

It has become customary at weddings these days to present the mother of the bride and groom with a "Thank You" gift, usually in the form of a bouquet of flowers - not so at our son's wedding. The evening before he and his bride Lynsey gave my husband and I a book called Nature's Engraver by Jenny Uglow. This lovely book records the life and work of the engraver Thomas Bewick (in whose honour the Bewick swan was named). The reason for this choice was clear to us both because Paul, a keen birder and all round nature lover, since retiring spends the beginning of each day (before I even get up) reading biographies of famous naturalists such as Charles Darwin, Joseph Banks, Alfred Russel Wallace, Thomas Henry Huxley etc, etc. Also last year I tried my own hand at a little engraving and loved it - so this seemed the perfect gift but better things were still to come. Inside was an invitation to join them on a Bewick Day Out.

Bewick's tool box among the collection at the Central Library

Town Wall pub - formerly Bewick's Print Works

Replica of the Chillingham Bull in the pavement outside of the pub.
(The original was a woodblock print 27cm x 22cm)

They had organised with the archive section of Newcastle Central Library to have a selection of some of Bewick's woodblocks and first editions of some of the books they illustrated available for us to view last Sunday. It was a most amazing thing to handle these precious items and study the fine details of the engravings.
This was followed by lunch in the Town Wall  pub which occupies a building formally used by the printing works run by Bewick.

Cherryburn - The cottage where he was born

The fields surrounding the cottage
- but I don't suppose they had Alpacas in his day

In the afternoon we went to his birthplace at Cherryburn, now a National Trust property displaying artefacts pertaining to his life and work, in the beautiful Tyne valley near Ovingham. The property was still in the Bewick family until about 1941 and remains very much as it was in Thomas' day. A printer was on hand to demonstrate the craft of woodblock printing and gave us one of the prints as a momento - sadly however not one of Bewick's but very nice all the same.

Souvenir print
Here is a link to a short video on woodblock printing using one of Bewick's blocks.