Tuesday, 1 August 2017

The Piece Hall and The Yorkshire Gallery

  
Today saw the grand re-opening of the Piece Hall in Halifax. 


This beautiful and unique building was opened in 1779 and used to be a cloth trading hall. It has a lot of history.

My Piece Hall history is the eighties. Saturday afternoons in teenage years going over on the train from Leeds with my goth/indie friends and doing the shops. The sweet shop. The record shop. The goth shop. The hippy shop. It was a cool place to hang out back then.


But in recent years it kind of fell into disrepair and there were no longer any shops to tempt me. I remember wishing someone would inject a lot of cash into it and restore it to it's former glory because it is a such beautiful building and it needed some love.


And that is what has just happened. Lots of cash, lots of love and lots of work for the last three years.


Today we joined the crowds (over 17,000 apparently) and went to see.


One of our local Hebden Bridge gallery owners Alison from Heart Gallery has spread her wings further and taken on one of the units there. Unit 26 to be precise.


Having my own shop in Hebden Bridge to sell my lights meant that Alison has never been able to stock my lamps at Heart Gallery but she has snapped them up for her new venture The Yorkshire Gallery and she has even designed a display cupboard especially, made by the fantastic Wood & Wire boys who fitted the gallery. It all looks great.


As the name may suggest the gallery just stocks work by makers from Yorkshire. There's alot of good 'uns. Louise Lockhart, The Printed Peanut is there.







and loads more, I didn't take enough pictures inside because it was  so busy with visitors! 


It was a day of crazy weather. Sunny one minute and a thunderous downpour the next.


It looked pretty all lit up when the sky darkened.

It's great to have this place back. I hope it goes from strength to strength.

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Too Soon


This year, since I was gifted a ukulele for Christmas (best present EVER) I have had a huge wave of creativity and I have written lots of songs. I wrote a lot of songs in my twenties, not a single one in my thirties (what happened?) but I'm catching up in my forties and I have revived this love I had for songwriting. As a reader of my blog you'll know I like to tell stories through pictures. But I have found an absolute love of telling them through music too. 

The song I want to share is a sad one. Beautiful but sad all the same so be warned. Most people I've played it to so far have had the tears! It's about a baby I lost who would have been 18 years old this June. But it's a song of healing. A song about honoring loss and a song about celebrating what we have despite it and cherishing that.


Even at the time the loss made me appreciate Ffion and Euan so much. They were too young to get it at the time but they get it now and together we went to Wales to the Laugharne estuary where his ashes were scattered to mark this special occasion.


We floated these very special Lightboats on the water on the evening of his birthday and watched them float away, listening to the sounds of the evening estuary birds (crazy gurgling song of nesting egrets to be precise), the mud popping and the clock tower chiming in the distance. It was absolute magic.


Last week I went to Huddersfield Uni where Euan is studying music and we used the recording studios to record it properly. Euan added the beautiful guitar and the piano that goes straight to my heart ever time I hear it. The second verse of the song goes out to him.


I invite you to listen. x

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Ekphrastic Flowers!


I had a day trip to Tatton Park Flower Show today to visit a shed!


But not just any shed! This is the 'Ekphrastic Flowers' shed and my Paper Meadow wallpaper has been used as part of the installation.


Sally of Kingfisher Flowers lives in Hebden Bridge and she is part of the Flowers From The Farm group of florists and she asked if they could include my wallpaper.


Their shed set out to express how florists work as artists in their own right and that they often work in collaboration with artists too, using colours and style in artwork to inspire their arrangements.



It worked brilliantly!


. It was SO colourful and there were all sorts of irresistible shapes to enjoy. 


These ceramic tiles are by Linzi Ramsden from the Manchester Craft Centre. We were stand neighbours at GNCCF once and she's very lovely indeed. It was nice to find her work here.



This print is be Lee Herring. The flowers blended into it so beautifully.


I loved the Agapanthus and the Alliums.


 Sally and Vivienne Bradley had created this lovely wall hanging.



The plasma cut bronzed ferns are by Willa Ashworth. I wish I'd taken more photos of them.


This fennel against the blue is pretty amazing isn't it!


See, it was a pretty special shed.


Thanks everyone for including me in it.


It was very beautiful indeed. 


By the way 'ekphrastic' IS a real word meaning 'a vivd, often dramatic description of a visual work of art, either real or imagined'. I'm not sure I made a very ekphrastic job of expressing how beautiful this shed was but I hope the pictures speak for themselves.


Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Eades Meadow


On Sunday afternoon Dean and I took a cycle out of Redditch to Eades Meadow.


Eades is the largest field in Foster's Green Meadows and it is like a huge sea of wild flowers and grasses busy with bees and butterflies and all sorts of insects. It is teeming with life.


Tempting though it is to go bounding about in this beautiful wild meadow sea visitors are encouraged to not stray from the path as it is a protected area and it is sensitive to trampling but it's ok as there is SO much to see on the long path through the grasses.


We took our time, looking up close with the new botanical eyeglass and marveling at everything.


It is so richly textured at the moment. 


So many species nestling into each other.



Lots of things had gone to seed .


We enjoyed their dramatic shapes silhouetted against the sky. 


There were fluffy seed heads everywhere.



The Goatsbeard was incredible close up.  


I loved searching out patterns in the grass.


Knapweed was taking centre stage and looking glorious.


 We even found a white one. Just one!


 I am in my element walking through a meadow taking it all in, each step a discovery.


Eade is so rich because hasn't been ploughed for over a hundred years and has not seen a drop of chemical fertiliser. 


These magical places are now rare and need to be protected. 

I just donated some money to help preserve Ashes Pasture a meadow that I haven't yet visited but that is definitely on my list. It's currently on a mission to raise money. Perhaps you can donate too? Every penny would help. The butterflies will thank you!

Monday, 10 July 2017

Wild Meadow


We had a blissful week staying in this beautiful house in the middle of a meadow. Wild Meadow is near Presteigne just over the border in Wales, a large meadow hillside brimming with life and loveliness.


We chose the solstice week in June because we knew the grasses would be high and the flowers would be blooming.


And because there would still be a few weeks before the owner Andrea would be cutting it down. She runs scything courses and teaches people how to cut the tall grass in the traditional way.


So we made the most of it.



It was the perfect playground for us lot. 


We spent our week collecting,


identifying species (trying anyway),


 pressing flowers,




drawing


and painting, 


(Sarah took these gorgeous pics of Dean at work)



cooking


and eating


singing lots of songs,




(meadow karaoke)


and barbecuing with friends. 


We had fun learning to fly our little balsa wood areoplane.




When it found a thermal it was a delight to watch


but there were a lot of flops and crashes and searching for it in the long grass.


We had some lovely walks in the rolling countryside


 and hired the Wild Meadow bikes and cycled for miles. 


We had some golden sunsets and we'd all rush outside to take pictures and breathe in that evening light.  











 On the last evening Andrea gifted me a botanical eyeglass, something I have been meaning to buy for a while. She knew I'd been looking up close trying to identify all the grasses. It is a whole new world through that lens I tell you and we all ran round around the meadow like excited children discovering everything for the first time.

I can highly recommend this wonderful place. The cottage has three double bedrooms so it's great for a big group but if there are only two of you there is a beautiful shepherds hut at the top of the field too. We miss the meadow now but we have already booked again for next summer!

Thanks for all of your beautiful photos Sarah. x

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