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Journal

Posts tagged the workhouse dunstable
A Good Hanging...
 

…in which we visit The Workhouse, fail to make much progress with the stitchery and finally leave Narnia.

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Hello again. How’s your week been? Here things have been a bit unusual.

After dropping the Daughters off at the airport at some unreasonably early hour on Sunday (and in -6 degrees!), all thoughts of a slow romantic day with the OH were shelved when I realised that despite considerable wifely urging, he still hadn’t framed any of the pieces I was intending to take to The Workhouse on Monday for the new exhibition.

Luckily, by the time I had to leave the house on Monday, he’d just about finished, so if you should visit The Workhouse in Dunstable over the next four weeks, you’ll be able to see a quartet of work from yours truly…(unless of course some kind soul pops in and buys them).

(Avalon Meadow, Merlin, Minerva and Uriens)

I spent Monday afternoon helping to hang the new exhibition, which is called ‘Mysterious’.

It’s always exciting to see the new work that local artists have brought in for the show. Every time I’m reminded how much talent there is all around us. You don’t have to go to exclusive galleries in expensive cities to see remarkable work. The Workhouse attracts amazingly gifted artists from the surrounding counties, many of whom are new to exhibiting and it’s a joy to see them take the plunge and show their work.

Like many other small galleries, The Workhouse in Dunstable runs as a not for profit organisation, to keep the costs of showing and buying affordable. It is staffed entirely by volunteers, most, but not all of whom, are artists, who give some of their time to help the gallery thrive.

It’s always on the lookout for other people with a bit of a flair for art and who enjoy talking to people, to swell our band of volunteers, and it occured to me that this might be true for a lot of similar galleries. So if there’s one near you and you’d like to get involved, be brave, pop in and ask them. The more time I spend in The Workhouse, the more I see just how important access to art is to everybody, not just a privileged few and so it’s vitally important to do what we can to help these places survive and prosper, because in the end, we all benefit or we all lose.

And although as a volunteer I’m not being paid for my time there, there’s actually a huge reward to be had, listening to and watching the reactions of customers as they walk around the gallery. If you ever have concerns about your work, spend some time in a gallery and see for yourself just how true it is that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. So, so often I see it, where what appeals to one customer will leave another cold and visa versa, there really is someone out there who’ll love your work! We all know that in theory, but a few hours in a gallery and you’ll really know it’s true.

Stitchiness

Well, what with trips to airports and hanging exhibitions, there hasn’t been a massive amount of progress on the current piece. But I’m still loving the palette, which is something of a departure from the blues and purples very much in evidence in ‘Mysterious’.

I’ve fallen for the Gutermann cotton quilting threads with their subtly changing colours, so they feature quite extensively in this piece. I find that not knowing exactly what shade will appear where, adds to my enjoyment. I like to feel that I’m not making all the decisions and that the piece itself might be determining it’s development.

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Also, the light has been so poor that I’ve scarcely been able to take any decent pictures with this one, which is why I haven’t posted updates on Instagram Stories.

(Ali, if you’re seeing this, do you recognise the background?)

I’m using a cotton hand-dyed by my friend Ali, as the foundation layer for the work and it’s really the colours in there that have brought together the palette. As usual, there’s a mixture of batik and recycled sari silk there too.

in other news…

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At the weekend I was feeling decidedly jealous, seeing so many photos of springlike bulbs, snowdrops and Imbolc celebrations. Around here we were most certainly not enjoying the return of spring, more like perpetual winter. But I’ve walked the lane enough years now to know that we’re always a bit behind, we just have to have patience.

And sure enough, as I ventured out with the Delinquent Dog on Wednesday morning, there was a shift, suddenly even though there’s nothing particular to see, spring is here. Later that day I saw that according to the Anglo-Saxon calendar, spring begins on February 7th - and I have to say, they were spot on here!

Oh and talking of Anglo-Saxons, I’ve finally got my act together and I’m off to the British Library next week, to see the Anglo-Saxon exhibition before it closes.

I wonder if the Anglo-Saxons had any theories about the weather and reclining sheep?

I’m sure they were trying to tell me something…

I’m sure they were trying to tell me something…

If you’re interested and haven’t yet seen it, I’ve recently added A Lane in January with more pictures from recent walks.

Wishing you a peacefully uneventful week.

Happy stitching…

Anny x

* A Good Hanging - Ian Rankin’s Rebus short stories…

 
 
In The Workhouse...

I've learned something since last week's post - I've discovered just how much work goes into launching an art gallery and I can tell you, it's not for the faint-hearted! I think it's safe to say that on Wednesday last week there were people who doubted whether the gallery would open as intended on Saturday, but of course I'm delighted and proud to announce that not only did it open on time, it also looks magnificent and is a wonderful testament to the ambition and vision of the lady whose dream it is, Joanne Bowes.

Joanne has a particular vision of what she wants from her business. As an artist herself she realised how difficult it can be to find a good and suitable space to show your work. She also appreciates how intimidating it can be for people wanting to buy art. So The Workhouse is designed to be a friendly and welcoming space where artists and art buyers can mingle and get to know each other.

I'm delighted to have some of my work in The Workhouse right now. I'm particularly pleased that with the gorgeous lighting my twinkly metallics are looking very good indeed. They certainly come to life under the lights.

I'm going to be over at the gallery doing some stitching a couple of days a week, which I'm really looking forward to - it's always exciting to show people how you work and to hear their reaction and for someone whose default setting is to be sat at home alone with her needle, it can be good to get out and meet people.

I'll leave you with a few pictures from the opening weekend. 


 

Happy stitching!

Anny x

Preparing for The Workhouse...

No, don't worry, it's not as bad as it sounds...

Almost the end of September and at last I'm getting back into the swing of things on the stitchy front. Which is good news because in less than a fortnight I'll be showing a selection of work at the newest and quirkiest gallery in the area, The Workhouse, Dunstable - (I was always that child who did her homework on a Sunday evening, and it turns out some things never change).

Although to be fair, this time it wasn't really that I couldn't get myself organised, more just having a lot of things happening at the same time. 

I've actually been doing quite a lot of stitching over the last few months, but it's felt very much like a kind of transformative period, I've felt the need to stitch with my hands in order to let my brain run free. So I've pushed needles through various fabrics, combined all kinds of threads in a rainbow of shades (well alright, mostly blue) and watched to see where it took me.

And where has it taken me? Well, I'm not entirely sure, I'm probably still en route. But I have made a few decisions.

The first is that I do need to bring a little more organisation into the process. Buzzing around in my head are several themes I want to work on and past experience tells me that it might be better not to ricochet from one to another. I'd quite like to discipline myself to spend a little more time in the preparation stages, possibly working on a small number of pieces exploring each theme.

For me this is going to mean allowing myself not to feel pressured to dive straight into a new work but to give myself time to play with it, research and experiment. 

When I first began to make textile art, I was content to slip from one piece to the next without much thought. But now I seem to have so many more ideas I'd like to pursue and I think I panic a little that I might forget what I wanted to do on one while I make another. But time not stitching always felt like a waste before, now I can see that if I'm going to have a chance of actually exploring any of them I'm going to need a plan (albeit of a fairly basic nature).

So it's time for me to stop being quite so impulsive and to attempt to bring some structure into my process. (We'll see just how well that goes won't we...)

Anyway, while I was happily stitching and thinking, away over in Dunstable my Discover artist friend Joanne Bowes was being altogether more ambitious and brave. She has finally brought her dream into reality by opening her own gallery - The Workhouse in Ashton Square, right in the heart of the town (and not coincidentally on the site of Dunstable's first workhouse). It's going to be a friendly, welcoming space where artists, makers and art-lovers can meet and mingle and where people will feel comfortable coming inside to see what's new.

And that is where some of my work is heading at the beginning of October. 

Of course as many of you will know, I would much rather be stitching something new rather than properly finishing off something I've already made - which means that I'm currently desperately trying to get frames made for the work I'm going to take to Dunstable - I really wish there were framing elves who'd come down each night and magically frame everything while you slept. (If you know of any, please put in a good word for me).

Still, it isn't the night before the opening just yet, so I'm still in with a chance of it not becoming a nail-biting, up to the line, eleventh hour panic...arrrgh!

These are the pieces going to The Workhouse (framing permitting)...

I'll take proper photos once we're set up and give you all the details for anyone who fancies popping along to The Workhouse in October.

Right, where's my hammer...

Happy stitching x