Sunday, 19 August 2012

No more heros anymore...

above: "the abiding home"

Sunday Morning,I love Sunday mornings, I don't open the shop until twelve, so it's a short day.  I managed to spend Friday in my art room this week finishing off some small pieces of art (ones i'd started about four months ago).  I've sold most of what i had in the shop over the last few months with only six pieces left and I desperately needed to stock up.

Here are a few photos, sorry about the quality of some of them, i've accidently pressed a button on my camera that makes it do something i don't want it to do and i've no idea how to make it right......yet.

"yet so still"

"and the sun just now emerged from the hill"

"only in time"

"a fragment out of the old time"

"you are like such things"

"beautiful awareness"

"when for a second there is no movement"


"timeless beauty"

"wider than the silence"

I'm really pleased with them and sold two in the shop yesterday...yaaay

Ongoing house renovations.....
...horrible kitchen sink removed, and base units cut back
(because new sink is bigger than the old one!)

New sink fitted (minus taps at present)

It's all been fitted in properly since i took these photos, all the doors have been removed from the awful ikea base units ready to fit a curtain around -  just can't seem to find the right fabric at the moment though!!!

I went to the Quilt Festival at Birmingham NEC on Thursday.  It was very busy, and the quilt exhibition was amazing.  Here are a few of my favourites, i'm sorry that i don't have the artists names but there were far too many to note down, it would have taken me all day - apologies to all the artists.
(this was the main winner - it's a huge piece and completely hand stitched)

I was so inspired by everything i saw, i'm hopeless at sewing and could really appreciate all the work that goes into quilt making.  There were some amazing artists there using paper and stitch, i discovered the work of Stephanie Redfern and was delighted to find Janet Bolton on her stall - I've seen her work in so many books and magazines and saw an exhibition of her work in Salts Mill, Bradford a few years ago.  There was another artist there who had been a huge favourite of mine for years.  This person (who's name i'm not going to mention here) is an international artist of great renown, i've seen her work in many magazines and she has a huge internet presence and following.  I was so excited to find her there as a guest artist, she had quite a large covered area containing her work and i was in my element walking around, especially as she was there working too.  I had my camera ready and would have loved a photo for my blog, and looked around for the inevitable "no photography" signs, of which there weren't any, but i still asked, very politely,if i could take a photo - and without even a smile and without looking at me she simply said i was welcome to "buy" a postcard of her work which was as good as a photograph! (hello!!!!). She then went on about how much it cost her to be there (which i did doubt as she was advertised as a "guest artist").  I was slightly taken aback at her incredible lack of people skill, and replied that i already had images of her work from magazines so didn't need a postcard (which were quite expensive anyway), and feeling disinclined to look further i left her to it!

I do understand about copyright and have the greatest respect for all that people do to protect it, but If i was going to copy (which I wasn't by the way) i'd need only to put her name into google for any amount of images i wanted.  She's an international, published  artist for goodness sake with a huge internet presence.  How do people become so precious about what they do and who they are? All i could think was (and this is a bit of a rant) that if being a renowned international artist places your head so far up your backside, then i'd rather do/be something else!  So there :p

Anyway... here's what i started creating after being so inspired by Stephanie Redfern's gorgeous work.

I started with a piece of muslin which i gesso'd and then used acrylic paint to stamp on designs with wooden fabric stencils, i then added some random pieces of Liberty lawn fabric pieces i purchased at the show.

Then some more painting with acrylics

This is another design, same process

I have a lot more to add to these before they're finished, but i had fun playing about with them, and can't wait to run them through my little sewing machine to see what more i can achieve, they'll look lovely framed.

Now...this has been exciting over the past few weeks!  Gav and i have been looking for another property for shop use and have looked at a few in surrounding areas.  Commercial properties are very cheap at the moment especially with the demise of the high street, but that doesn't put us off.  Here's one we looked at last Monday, it's an old victorian theatre with stage and balconys still in tact and has it's own clock tower!  It needs a lot of work, but it's an amazing place.

This is the outside

Lovely big window, this floor would make a fab apartment

The theatre stage from the top balcony

in front of the stage (four huge windows and all stained glass)
Victorian stairs
I could do so much with this building, shop, huge art studio, storage space, living space, and gav could have his own filming studio inviting bands to play to be filmed, we could provide accommodation to keep costs down, i could run workshops.........dreaming......

ah well.....forever onward and upward

"Whatever happened to Leon Trotsky?
He got an ice pick that made his ears burn Whatever happened to dear old Lenin?
The great Elmyra, and Sancho Panza?
Whatever happened to the heroes?
Whatever happened to the heroes?
Whatever happened to all the heroes?
All the Shakespearoes?
They watched their Rome burn
Whatever happened to the heroes?
Whatever happened to the heroes?

No more heroes any more
No more heroes any more
- The Stranglers

Friday, 10 August 2012

Blimey, where does time go? 
When Gav and i decided to give up our respective jobs and move here to Montgomery and set up our own businesses, i really thought it would be more relaxing, that our lives would move at a slower pace, much slower.  Was i just naive in thinking that?  Because i've never worked so hard in all my life as i do here!  Granted i'm my own boss and no doubt that has it's advantages, but i think it also makes for harder, more intense work because it's for yourself rather than someone else.

It's not a whinge about my lifestyle at all, just an observation and despite all the hard work involved i much prefer it.

Lots of things going on here at both the Armoury and Indigo Moon, our feet don't seem to touch the ground.  Except for about an hour after the shop closes and we sit in the garden with a glass of chilled wine!

Firstly, this is a piece i've been working on recently, it seems to be taking ages, it's no where near finished and it's all i've done recently too, the shop and the house are taking up all my time at the moment.

I'm almost ashamed to show you this!  My art room/studio (or as my daughter calls it "that magical room of wonders" - usually when she wants something art related)
 It's a complete mess at the moment, so bad in fact that i can hardly get in it.  Nicci has stolen my olde worlde table and i've got an ikea one (which i have to admit is a little more useful).

This is what it will look like one day!
I found these photos on Pinterest (although i'm sure even this art studio doesn't look like this all the time!)
 perfect storage, i think i'll look out for one of these

A lovely surprise in the post last week (or possibly the week before) from my mother (in-law) - a thank you for a lovely week they had with us and for looking after them.  I've never had flowers in a card before, they were beautiful.

 They also did the window boxes outside for us whilst they were here, which i'm  very grateful for.

Saturday afternoon saw us heading across to Bracebridge Heath in Lincoln to Tony's annual garden party
 Lincoln Cathedral in the distance

Malcolm Morley playing
What a fantastic evening, Tony and Monica are perfect hosts and it's such a pleasure to spend time with them and other friends.  We managed to meet up with Jas and Helen whom we haven't seen since the wedding, so it was really nice for us.

We got back late on Sunday, having already planned to open the shop at 1.30pm (instead of 12) and had put a note on the door.  Unfortunately, we were later than expected and didn't get back till 2.30pm to find people waiting at the door wanting to buy some things they'd seen the day before.  As we were rushing out of the car to open up for them we discovered we were locked out!  Nicci had lost her own key for the front door and slid the bolt across and then used the shop key to go out of the shop door to work, thus leaving us completely locked out with customers waiting to get in the shop.  However they very kindly and patiently waited whilst gav found his way around the back to retrieve the ladders to climb in through the bathroom window.  Turned out to be the best sale of the day!

Monday we decided to take a trip over to Ironbridge and then later on to ikea (just to get me some small tables for my art room).  Ironbridge was lovely as usual, Nicci came with us, we had a lovely lunch and a walk around in glorious sunshine.

 My gorgeous girl

 camera shy

Now this i'm really excited about! 
We're doing some more work on the kitchen and this is part of some very old shelving we found in a junk shop in Oswestry a few weeks ago.  We thought it would look amazing in our kitchen, and it does!  We removed the horrible ikea wall cabinets and replaced them with this!
 This is what it looked like painted
 I love these little "shelf sitters" (don't say it too quickly), i found them in a charity shop in Newtown, they look so serious!

 This is the dresser we brought in from the shop to make room for something else, it looks great filled with the T G Green stuff.
 This is my next project to paint

And gav's next project is to fit the new sink we bought from ikea (like the one in this photo below).  We didn't intend too get a sink, but when we saw this one it was perfect.  We need new worktops but it's such a time consuming job.  Unfortunately the kitchen was a disaster when we moved in, the sink is far too low down and wasn't fitted at an angle so the water could drain out. Also there was no draining area and water soon rotted the top of the wood away behind the tap (due to a leaky tap), it was a mess, and this is a good way to deal with the problem with the least amount of work.
 When that's done i'm going to remove all the doors off the horrible ikea base units and fit skirts (or curtains) like below.  I've seen some gorgeous fabric and i have a lot of vintage pieces in my art room so am toying with the ide of making up my own from scraps - but that's just an idea at the moment.

 I love this one
I have tons of photos of Indigo Moon, it's changed a lot, but i'll have to do it in another post - maybe tomorrow.  Bye for now.

"For disappearing acts, it's hard to beat what happens to the eight hours supposedly left after eight of sleep and eight of work". Doug Larson