Tag Archives: Craft

Drawing for a cause, Back to Work, Sea Swimming

Find my cards here

Drawing for a cause

One of the issues facing people throughout the pandemic has been the sense of isolation many of us have had to cope with.

I’ll talk about getting back to work later, but for me it’s been a really tough nut to crack, even though I had my husband at home when he wasn’t working as a key worker, and my son living with us, as just as lockdown was announced he was between homes and then without work as a chef. 

Personally, I lost my purpose for a time – furloughed from the job I love, unable to work with communities, missing my daughter who had moved in with her then boyfriend’s family to keep me safe, and unable to do markets. This time last year, I was about to do a March market then had very little until a rare market in December. I filled my time making scrubs for friends working on the Covid ward of a local hospital, setting up a community group locally, and later running a Christmas Window project in homes around the town. In-between I worked on the Middlesbrough Mela mandala project and shared my love of crochet, teaching people online whenever the opportunity arose. 

For people who have had to shield like my parents, this period will I’m sure, go down as one with never-ending days and realising the simple things are those we miss the most. Hugs, holding a hand, watching a band, having endless cuppas and chats in real time, laughing together. 

Saltburn Community Response, a group set up in our neighbouring town of Saltburn-by-the-sea wanted to tackle these issues while making some much needed funds for the group.

The group have been outstanding in the way they have worked to help people during this time, working alongside Saltburn Solidarity Foodbank, setting up community cupboards and running trails in the town that people can safely follow while out on their walks during lockdown.

The group commissioned me to design three postcards, each one a positive message of hope, which could be sold with some of the profits going to their cause, and I was happy to oblige. I’d been teaching myself to use the Procreate app do develop my digital drawing and designs over this time on my Ipad and withe help of Lisa Bardot and her amazing online workshops – one of the benefits of endless days without work

I used this do design the three postcards which I had printed locally by Teesprint in Middlesbrough. the timing for this was perfect, with sunnier days on the way and the opening of my friend Tracy’s Eco Hub and Zero Waste shop The CutBack gave me a bricks and mortar outlet in Saltburn ( they also sell my teas and all manner of eco wonderfulness)

Each card benefits the Community Response group, and it feels great to add something positive and help out at the same time.

I’m selling online too, through my ETSY shop and you can find that here. I hope you like them!

Back to Work

It’s so great to be back at work – at Tees Valley Arts

We’ve been slowly working away from home working towards being back in our space at The Palace Hub in Redcar and preparing for the opening of our Honest Shop and Gallery.

Ongoing lockdowns and changes to rules for both retail and cultural venues mean plans we had in place for an opening earlier in the year with a new show and the fab Honest Shop have been a movable feast, but we’re looking forward to a safe Mid-May opening.

In the meantime, I’ve been working with the hugely talented composer, producer and lyricist, Liverpool’s Patrick Dineen on an Oral History project – talking to the communities around the Steelworks and people who live in and visit Redcar, about their experiences of the town and what it has and had to offer.

We’ve had to tackle the thorny issue of interviewing people in lockdown., which we’ve managed with the use of Zoom (which we all should have taken out shares in during early 2020!) and using field recorders (also made by a company called Zoom, but unconnected as far as I know) – so I’ve spent much of the last couple of moths at people’s doorsteps.

The Honest shop is our latest big project – taking its lead from the Honest Shop project set up by Grizedale Arts who have been supporting us, our shop echoes other similar projects being run across the world from Japan to Australia.

Our shop will sell items made and grown by local hobby and community makers, and the stock will change on an ongoing basis depending on what people can provide. So far we have links to a whole range of local community groups including the Barefoot Kitchen who will bring orchard produce, and all manner of food based packs and items to purchase.

We still have space for community groups interested in selling craft items handmade from natural materials – email me for details projects@teesvalleyarts.org.uk

Sea Swimming

In September I was lucky to be able to go Sea Swimming with the Saltburn Sea Tribe – in the North Sea just off our coast here, buoyed (see what I did there) by the idea that it might be good for my worsening Fibromyalgia and Arthritis.

My first foray into the surf was admittedly a freezing one and we had headed down long after dawn, the temperature in the car reading at 6 degrees centigrade.. cold by anyone’s terms. Initially the bitterly cold water on my warmest body parts was a real shock, but after getting my shoulders in and swimming along it was a huge thrill to be in the water. It was a gorgeous day, the sun still low in the sky with just us, the birds and what lived beneath the waves as company.

The serenity of the calm sea in the distance, alongside the awareness of its obvious power in the breakers and the feeling of insignificance and grounding in such a huge body of water was really overwhelming and quite surprising.. I’d been swimming as a kid, but as someone who has mobility problems, the utter freedom of moving in the huge sea, the former rusting Steel Works in the distance was not lost on me. It was magical.

Never one to do things by halves I was wearing a 1950s style swimsuit, retro bathing cap and swim shoes. As we emerged from the water to wrap up tight in woolen hats, huge towelling robes, drinking hot tea and coffee, I knew the experience had been a positive one. I felt elated and my pain at least for a time after the swim was reduced.

Back in the car park, I met a photographer friend, Ian Crockett who showed me some photos he’d taken of us, saying he wouldn’t be publishing them unless he got us to agree. He was particularly please with a closeup he had got of a swimmer in a red costume – the closeup made through use of a really long lens making the image appear to show a lone swimmer in front of the Steel Works ( which are in fact a few miles up the coast) … In a red costume .. me!

I’m hoping to be back in the briny this spring.. maybe I’ll have a new swimming cap but I’ll still be wearing my red costume.

And here it is. ( thank you Ian for allowing me have this image) So proud of myself.

Lights, Camera, MELA !

Find my Mela Workshops HERE

A couple of years ago I was asked by Middlesbrough Council to work with another artist and with loads of groups, making 100 (I kid you not) hula hoop sized textile Mandalas to be displayed around the park at Middlesbrough Mela. No mean feat.

 

This year the amazing Middlesbrough Mela  – this celebration of Asian culture, of music, taste, colour  and sound could not happen in its normal home of Albert Park- at the centre of the town – because of Covid restrictions… so what is a group of creatives to do? Take the Mela online!

 

Making films isn’t entirely new to me, but making films in my workroom at the back of the house in between the dog barking, people delivering and an assortment of DIY going on outside certainly was a new experience.

We began our journey with a meeting of the fellow artists on the project .. Leader Lisa and JR from the council had assembled a fantastic group of creatives both local and from further afield.

The project sits around an online and physical children’s book, which in the tradition of the Mela would bring in a story that picks up on Asian tales, written by Umar Butt, who also translated  it into a range of languages, and beautifully illustrated by Becki Harper. It tells the saga of Sara the Tortoise who loses her home and all her friends, picking up on themes of migration and asylum but in a totally child-friendly way.

After some great Zoom meetings (who knew Zoom would be such a thing) and loads of watsapp discussions between all the artists and project leaders we came up with a range of activities;  Dance , mask making,  printmaking, windsock creating, yoga and banjo making on the website, alongside my two workshops (see the workshops at the end..)

And off we went – Filming our little instructions as we went – I bought a tiny light rig and phone holder to stand above my table to do mine, attached to a wooden box. A real Heath Robinson affair. After lots of head-scratching download / upload fun, all the film clips went to film-maker Paul to create his magic. Meanwhile we artists and a willing small socially distanced gang of helpers were making 100 free kits to go with each film – that’s A LOT of free kits!

On top of this, I’ve started making my own films, the first one can be found here: 

So here they are .. I’m really chuffed with my films and amazed by the others, the story and Umar’s storytelling too.  Get yourself to the Mela website and fill your own world with colour and magic…

Wrapped Mandala ( using the basis of god-s eye wrapped sticks)

https://youtu.be/53OhjN9zbcQMela Granny Mandala (a mandala based on granny squares)

 

insta: @boromela website : https://middlesbroughmela.co.uk/lets-create/

 

Thriftfest on our doorstep, Discovering Berlin, Whole lot of Rosie update

Thriftfest on our Doorstep

F o T Day 2-64
Image: Festival of Thrift

It’s that time of the year again! My favourite yearly event rolls into town, and this time it’s almost on our doorstep, in the neighbouring town of Redcar.

The Festival of thrift was devised and began three years ago as a collaboration between a local business man (who just happened to own Lingfield Point, the funkiest industrial estate you’ve ever seen) and retro genius, designer and Red or Dead owner  Wayne Hemingway. I visited in year 1, met one of my now closest friends who had a stall (hello Jane) and was totally won over by it all.  Finally something totally up my street had arrived in the Tees Valley!

Year 1 brought 17,000 visitors and I knew at the end of the two days I just had to be part of the next one. A year passed, and in year two I was there with my stall, and my book classes, with 40,000 visitors, my friends Geraldine and Abi selling too, and the lovely ladies from the Bobbin Shed (at the time artists in residence at Lingfield Point) as well as hundreds of stalls, classes activities and loads of shows. In year 3 the visitors had topped 45,000.

F o T Day 2-57
Image: festival of thrift

This year there’s been a change. The fab F0T people have decided to move the event and bring it to Kirkleatham, on the edge of seaside town Redcar. Kirkleatham is what remains of the village that surrounded Kirkleatham hall and is a hidden gem of gorgeous homes, a stunning little church and buildings which now serve as a Museum, almshouses and a bird sanctuary.

I’ll be doing a new thrifty ‘Mini-screenprinting’ class, suitable for those aged 14+, which can be booked here, and will be selling on my stall with the help of my children George and Sadie.  To find out more about this fab event which comes our way on 17-18 September, click here.

Discovering Berlin 

This Summer we visited Berlin. In September my son will be off on a new adventure, starting Uni in Leeds, so this one was a special ‘last time we’ll all live together’ holiday.

Thoughts: amazing laid back city, creative as could be with plenty to see and do. SAFE, even at night, everyone is laid back and pace is slow. Rush hour still isn’t packed and S & U Bahn trains are clean and efficient – go by tram if you want to see the place..

Loads of graffiti on everything! Everyone lives in a flat, has a bike and a bottle of beer. Police are calm even if there’s been a spectacular accident (which we observed). If you try to speak German you’ll probably find the person you’re talking to is Australian.

There are urban beaches all over ( you need to find them) and a swimming pool in the river. You can tour the city on a hired bike, on a Trabant tour, in a mini-dragracer, in a horse and carriage, or on a London Bus. Sit outside and eat, take in the atmosphere in Kreuzberg or Friedrichshain (where we stayed) in E Berlin. Do a river trip in Moby Dick and wonder at the modernist government buildings around the Reichstag. Visit the old Jewish quarter of Scheunenviertel with its galleries, gorgeous old buildings and the labyrinth of independent shops in the Hackescher Markt 

If you go, go on a Sunday when all the amazing flea markets in the east of the city are on. If you miss that, then every Tuesday there’s a fabulous Turkish market in Neukoelln, full of gorgeous eastern food, fabrics, jewellery and sounds. … Wonderful.

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Whole lot of Rosie Update 

The life of a creative is never smooth, but always interesting!

WLoR Design 4In-between my job at TeesValley Arts, our shop, the markets and events, somewhere there is a creative / foodie business. So – how far have I got with the update of my tea brand? I have the new name, domain name, and email address sorted, and next has been the logo and labels.

Summer is always busy, I try and fit spending time with my children between all this and there are holidays to be had (see above) as well as events to prep for, but I’ve got back to the drawing board (literally) and made myself everything I need.

New name, labels in hand, some images to take next and we will be off! Whole lot of Rosie teas will be here soon, with a new site where you can look and buy. WLoR design 3WLoR design 2WLoR design 1

Rosie Lea and Weekly Wonders

Gosh! It has been a while since I posted on here, but SO much has happened! Will tell you more at the end, as I do a little recap of the year!

Let’s start with a little Rosy Lea. As you know if you follow my of my rose-tea-1920-1080-6003blog, my love of all things tea has led to me starting my own Ruby and Blue Tea brand, with a nice little range for sale in Maison Belle, and soon to be for sale in two cafes, one in Redcar and one in Chaloner Street, Guisborough. My latest tea for the tasting, I have actually called ‘Rosie Lea’ after the Cockney rhyming slang for tea. It’s a gorgeous blend of rose buds and petals from Tuscany, which can be drunk as a tea on it’s own or added to your favourite leaf tea to make your own blend. I’ll very soon be able to give you the whole lowdown on the available teas on my dedicated tea page, but for now, I’ve added all the details of this delightful and refreshing tea. To go with, I’ll be making some rose inspired makes for the shop, and will have pics as soon as they’re done.

10898230_558608530942062_53106454900584494_nOver the years, I’ve done lots of classes of all types with all ages, and I particularly enjoy the classes I’ve run at Leven Crafts, because I love the space and the ladies on the shop, Ruth and Lorna are two of the most delightful and supportive people I have met. Happily I can report that from February 2014, I’ll now be running a weekly class, which will run Tuesday evenings in school term-time from 7- 9, and my great friend Geraldine will be doing them with me too. Here’s the poster with all the info and further details of exactly what’s running can be found here. tuesday classes flier

Market time , cross-stitch with a message and arty wax.

What a busy week we have had…

With markets at Guisborough and on the moors and one being prepped for at Lingfield Point, as I write. There was a fantastic spirit at the market and the sun shone brightly as we chatted to visitors both from the local area and from further afield. 

Here I am with the stall I share with Geraldine of Bean Creative.

Latest Classes

batik and x stitch poster

Join us this Friday and next Monday for two really different classes, both of which you can try on either day. During our Batik session, we’ll be looking at tribal and Aborigine art as inspiration for our designs, or you can go with your own ideas!

If you want something decidedly less ‘waxy’ then have a try at contemporary cross-stitch, incorporating modern sayings and today’s icons with this traditional craft.

If you want to look for some inspiration, look no further than our favourite cross-stitcher ‘Mr x-stitch’, the male sewer you may have seen on the ‘Kirsty’ programes on the TV. mr x-stitch

Take a look at his blog and ‘stitchgasm’ spot at http://www.mrxstitch.co.uk or click here.

Have fun with your crafting ! m 🙂