Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Paper Poppies & landscapes at Norfolk Creative Arts!

Just last Sunday I had the chance to run a workshop at Norfolk Creative Arts at Grimston. It had been in the pipeline for quit a few months. there had been a delay running it as my sister had died unexpectedly and I loved too - so a few things had to be postponed at the beginning of the year. It was great to get to the date and run the course. A day's workshop is always lovely as there is mych more time to relax into the learning. Its always a very social day too - lots of chattering and laughter. I hadn't been to Norfolk Creative Arts before. Its a fantastic settling - only 40 miles to Cromer so I was aching to head there afterwards but thought that will have to wait til next time! There is a wonderful dining room with hanging wall space, along with a huge, brightly lit classroom with two large tables. Its such a difference when there is a good space and light to work in. Papercutting can be very concentrated so plenty of light is essential.

You can see below the pieces that were made on the day. We started with the poppies and then started to work on more complex pieces. The poppies looked so beautiful. I'd love to do another poppies workshop in the future - celebrating the two wars but also as a personal piece of art for any remembrance or loss. 

The workshop was a real treat for me to do too. I look forward to being able to visit again and run some more paper-y cutting workshops again in the near future. A great place to visit and make and create.

There was collage on the day too - I love it when people come on the workshops and the creative juices flow into making pieces that develop on from paper cutting. Just look at this iridescent butterfly collage! 

Simpler pieces were made that were lovely in their elegance and blockier shapes.......

And other more complex pieces were emerging from the paper on the day too.....

Monday, 13 August 2018

Paper Flowers workshop for adults at Hitchin Lavender!

Just a couple of months ago I ran another couple of workshops at the beautiful Hitchin Lavender in Ickleford. I've run paper flowers workshops for children before but this was the first chance to run one for adults and it was fab! I really enjoyed experimenting and making the pieces to show people on the workshop and it made me realise just a tiny bit how complex the structures of flowers are! My favourites to make were the cornflowers. I really loved making these as they are such a beautiful colour and somehow seem like a flower set apart from others. The cornflower has a very chequered and conflicting past as a symbol, being related to Austria and Nazi Germany as well as often used as a symbol for remembrance and hospices.

The flowers made on the workshop were realistic ones and imaginary ones too. By looking at real flowers, we could get a sense of the internal structure and then apply that to making something from our imaginations. It set off loads of about petals with poetry and text on then, flowers to tell a story or be a visual song? My mind was set racing again as it often is on a workshop. Its the creative space that does it.

  People gathered making and chattering has a special magic.

All the materials used were easy to come by. Garden wire, painted sheets of photocopy/printer paper, scissors and book binding glue and a few pre printed patterned papers were great to use too. And having rulers and compasses helped too for those who found it hard to draw a circle freehand.

Monday, 2 April 2018

Grabbing a moment to sketch at Hampton Court Palace - Wilderness Garden

And this was the drawing I managed to quickly do in the Wilderness Garden. We visited with friends, so lots of chatter and not much time to draw. I managed to get some time to sit when everyone else was in the maze - mazes stress me out!! - and I can't tell you how lovely it was. Daffodils as far as I could see and just people mooching about. Lots of people photographing themselves and their children surrounded by the yellow flowers. Its so important to plug into nature I think. I had to rush the pic.....sketch out of focus sadly! Ooops! 

Isnt it just beautiful.......
Snapped by my husband.......

I finally get to visit Hampton Court Palace!

So we went to Hampton Court Palace yesterday! I've never been. Wanted to but never managed to get there. Driving from North Herts, its a bit of a way through the horrible Heathrow section of the M25 so I suppose its always put me off. And its half way home to Salisbury too so we would always feel the pull of travelling on.

                                                                            Knot gardens and fountains.....

Hampton Court Palace is not as you imagine.  I thought it would feel a lot like the National Trust, more so as its a royal palace. I thought it would feel very formal with staff that either 'shhhh' or tut or eye suspiciously a lot! But it wasn't! The staff were a real mixed bunch, friendly and helpful and were happy to interact and chatter. I loved the red coats uniforms. Maybe its because there are much less valuable artefacts on show...its more about the buildings than the stuff in them.

What's really fantastic though is that the palace is very human sized. The rooms have an odd intimacy. The sense of it being a working palace for hundreds of years, a place where people have really worked and inhabited, is so tangible. It doesn't feel a dead place at all. There aren't many artefacts to see. Its the building that's the gem. The architecture for me. And the gardens were such a treat even on a very cold April Fools Day. 

Through the hedge........

Acanthus Leaves & Scrolls in the William 111 Banqueting House

This would have been a magical tucked away garden to be away from the crowds.......

Wrapped statues looking eerie...

Hampton Court Palace has beautiful formal gardens! 

The other thing is that you can just freely go in and out into Hampton Court to see the river, visit the shops, then back in again. There were a lot of people there but it never felt jammed in. Lots of local Londoners clearly visit the Wilderness Garden with the stunning daffodils as far as you can see but there are nationalities of all sorts, languages you hear from far and wide as you walk round the estate.

Tips for visitors: take food with you to eat as the cafe's get really busy, or you can just walk less than ten minutes to the local shops and have a meal out at lots of the local restaurants or grab sandwiches and drinks from the M&S or convenience stores. You can then just go back in to the palace again by getting your ticket scanned. And you can get access to parts of the park without entering for a full ticket too! 

I really must visit again..........

Thursday, 1 March 2018

I got the chance at long last to visit Fountains Abbey!

I got the chance to visit Fountain's Abbey at long last! I was very near visiting it about 30 years ago when I stayed nearby but couldn't get to visit. Tangibly near! What a beautiful place - even in the darker months, its a beautiful place. Its got a very particular feel to it. It feels enclosed and peaceful but full of echoes of the past. You can really sense it was a place of a lot of activity. A place of prayer and growing, commerce and making and visiting and interactions. It feels like all that is embedded in the grass and the buildings. I really loved it there. The bricks and masonry are so weathered. So layered and worn. I could have stayed there for hours, but I have to admit it was a bit chilly!! I could have done with a flask of hot chocolate or strong coffee. main thing though was to visit and I really hope I can again.

Beautiful bee hives.....
Trees growing in the hardest places.....

Worn steps.....

Polish Paper Cutting Workshops!

 Last weekend I got the chance to work at Stevenage Museum to run a couple of sessions to tie in with the Horniman Museum's touring exhibition thats on until March 3rd. The two sessions were quite different - one as just an hour long and was for adults and families to drop in and make their own Polish paper cut chicken folk art. It was a very full session of about 20 people of all ages -children from age 8 and up. e made lots of wonderful, colourful art!

The other session was 2.5 hours long and for adults to make a more involved folk art piece, learning how to design areas and so the distinctive collage additions. The time flew and I didn't get the chance to get photos of the finished pieces but you can get to see some of the process pics here. The paper used was a mixed assortment of bright printer papers, along with a selection of the drawing papers and fade less papers I use in my own work.

Adults learning Polish paper cutting and making bright and bold cockerels! 

These are the Polish paper cutting pieces made by the adults that brought children to the drop in session

Children's Polish paper cutting results! 

Polish paper cutting and drawing too