Collage at Touchstones


Embroidery on mixed media.  Segment of larger piece.

This little fella, and his rolled up newspaper, can be found  “walking along” on the collage I’m currently displaying in the People’s Art Exhibition at Touchstones, Rochdale. I’ll display the whole collage here after the exhibition comes down.

I couldn’t make the “preview”, so I haven’t seen it hung up yet.   Last year my work got hung near the “kiddie’s colouring table”. I rather liked that, and I hoped the little ones enjoyed it.

I see that my last blog was five months ago.  In the gap there has been a long hot-wet summer  and lots of  “low-brow” novels that I thoroughly enjoyed.





October already..

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Michaelmas Daisies (embroidery on felt/mixed media) – unfinished.

Scale and perspective are interesting subjects. After much anguish, procrastination and endless lists (perhaps these are all one and the same thing) I moved up recently to larger canvasses. Now,out of my comfort zone, looking back, I can no longer “feel” how I was in that situation, as with so many situations. It was so worth it to move on. It is good to have the option to work large or small. This small embroidery, just a “sampler” worked on an experiment scrap salvaged from one of my old notebooks, makes a change from the larger “baby” I’m currently exhibiting at Touchstones, Rochdale (until November). I will show the larger canvas here when the exhibition comes down.

Getting my feather back


“Sing me that song, all of it, before the bell goes and you get your feather back.”

The song had many verses and the bell soon rang. We’ll meet up with this charming individual in a blog later this year. Strange what one remembers, but it was a very good feather.

Meanwhile, I have been finishing off my art work for the Littleborough Arts Festival exhibition and the Touchstones Art Exhibtion. I’ve also been wandering the streets handing out leaflets about the Festival to every poor person I have passed.

The Quiet Path

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“But most important to one’s own growth is to see oneself leave the safe ground of accepted conventions and to find oneself alone and self-dependent. It is an adventure which can permeate one’s whole being. Self-confidence can grow. And a longing for excitement can be satisfied without external means within oneself; for creating is the most intense excitement one can come to know.”

Anni Albers, “On Designing”, 1943 (1979), p.51

I’m not sure whether the field mice sucked the long grass with ecstasy or with need. I couldn’t take my eyes off the many tiny mice, by the canal, sucking away as if their lives depended on the grass. I am like those wee mice by the canal when it comes to quiet.

Yes, I admit I’m “strange”. I do “sit in on my own and listen to classical music (and other music)”. Isn’t it “odd”! I do, at times, prefer to “get into myself” rather than “out of myself”. And, let’s face it, “the quiet ones are the worst”. I hear the advice from my culture to turn myself inside out, and to screw my head on the right way around. I really should “sell myself”, turn up my volume and drink more. I’ve tried it. I’ll stick with quiet. Yes, I’m quiet and strange like the blue drangonfly, the white swan and the brown mouse are quiet and strange.

It’s no surprise to anyone when the “loner” or the “quiet one” commits some awful crime. Yet, headlines recently stated that the British public had been “duped” by an extrovert celebrity. Even, with extroverts, it seems, there is other stuff behind the surface. Stuff kept hidden. Stuff kept back.

I’m not suggesting that we introverts are constantly sorting out our own dark depths. No, we might just be feeding our need like the field mice. I think it would take a greater commitment to go very deep inside, for introvert or extrovert, to truly find and face up to what we are.

Sadly, when I returned with a camera the field mice had moved on to some other party.

Other Inspiration this month:

People’s Art is ON now at Touchstones Rochdale and yours truly is exhibiting a mixed media picture.

Also, I laughed aloud many times when reading Julie Walters’ autobiography, “That’s Another Story”.

Littleborough Arts Festival (Number 12)

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From pottery and egg painting workshops to musical concerts and art exhibtions, the Littleborough Arts Festival is impressively inclusive. It also takes art workshops into care homes and makes a donation to Springhill Hospice.

Even if you don’t live local enough to attend, please take a look at the website, as it might be the inspiration you need…

This is just a quickie blog….until my next proper blog in a fortnight or so.

Gently into 2014

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“He had managed to keep his brain intact and alert, and so nothing could make him succumb to poverty. He might be ragged and cold, or even starving, but so long as he could read, think and watch for meteors, he was, as he said, free in his own mind.”

– Description of Bozo, “an exceptional man”, and a screever or pavement artist, as described by George Orwell in “Down & Out in Paris and London”.

Gently was the word I breathed out just before I breathed in the New Year. And I hope it will be a gentle year for all my readers.

I like to start the New Year with the right word and the right foot, so that’s why an organised walk entitled: “New Year, New Paths” appealed to me. Hope you like the photos, winter skies are one of my most beloved things. The walk took place at Disley. Geography is something I plan to improve on this year, so for now I’ll just give you the directions of how to get to Disley (Disley Railway Station, SJ 972 845, Directions: M60 clockwise to junction 26. Take A560 following Buxton to Disley. The station is on the right).

Unlike me, who approached my walk on a bacon bap and a good cup of tea from a famous grocery store, in Down & Out in Paris and London, George Orwell walks great distances on an empty stomach. As well as the colourful descriptions of the physical side of poverty and anecdotes about his companions on the road, the book also gives insight into how povery changes a person. Although the book was written in the 1930s, I feel that much of it is still sadly relevant today.

Back on my own turf, there’s a very good exhibition at Touchstones, Rochdale, called “Place, Displace” by artist Jill Randall. I’d like it even if it wasn’t art with a capital A, as it features models of garden sheds and I love miniatures.

And, finally, I was much entertained by Rochdale Poets between Xmas and New Year. They performed at Hollingworth Lake Visitors’ Centre with That’s All Folk (a youth band) and Rossendale clog dancers. There was no charge, but the audience were asked to contribute items of non-perishable food to Rochdale Food Bank. When I say they performed, I don’t use the word thoughtlessly. These poets sing, do the actions, and laugh at themselves. It really was a damn good show. I believe you can enjoy Rochdale Poets at The Baum (award winning Rochdale pub) every second Sunday of the month (7.30pm).

Waterfall at Healey Dell

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After a 20 year procrastination period, I finally made it to Healey Dell, Rochdale, this week. It was difficult to do justice to the height and force of the waterfall in one picture. I’ve attached the link so that you can read up on the history of the Dell if you wish. This fertile area was ideal for the industrial revolution to make use of, but with the industrial revolution came pollution.

Follow the lane down through the country park and one sees the vast Turner’s asbestos factory and all the hazardous keep out signs. This week there is controversy in the local newspaper about the clearing project now being undertaken.