Tag Archive | artists

A Bit of a Time Out

As you may have noticed by blogs have been rather lacking as of late. It has been a pretty busy couple of months. Firstly, my husband and I have moved house. We have been talking about moving for about 2 years now, getting out of the city and moving further into the country and finally at the end of September we did. You really do not realise how much stuff you have until you have to fill up what feels like a million boxes and then cart then one by one down 6 flights of stairs (we were on the 3rd floor with no lift). We even did a car boot sale and made quite a bit of money to help with the move. It was pretty exhausting but we gave ourselves a week and then on the 29th of September we officially moved.


Now I can’t imagine living anywhere else. We have moved to Styal Estate in Cheshire. http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/quarry-bank-mill/ Looking at my previous blogs I realise I look a little obsessed with The national Trust, well that isn’t going to change anytime soon as now we live on one of their estates and rent our pretty little cottage off them! It is amazing contrast to where we lived previously above a 24hr garage, on the main Manchester to Liverpool road and on the route to Hope Hospital, now we are surrounded by trees, have a view of a thatched cottage from our bedroom and it is black as pitch at night, prefect.
Not long after we moved I went away with my family to Pembrokeshire in Wales. I haven’t been on holiday with my parents and sister for about 19 years, the last being a trip to Norfolk when I was 9 and this time it happened to be over my birthday so perfect! We rented a beautiful cottage right next to Whitesands Bay on St Davids Head. It was so peaceful, I wanted to stay forever.


St Davids Head just happens to be? ……..yes part of The National Trust! I just can’t help myself. It is such a beautiful piece of coastline, I think it rivals coastlines across the world for beauty, rain or shine.


We also went to Pembroke Castle where Henry VII was born, it is a great place to visit and the pretty sea side town of Tenby.  Tenby was my mums choice.  She received a postcard when she was 8 years old from a school friend who stayed there and she always wanted to go and now about 50 years later we all went.

We went for a lovely walk around Stackpole Estate, National Trust again I’m afraid. http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/stackpole/ It is gorgeous, especially at the moment in Autumn with all the colourful leaves, I think it was one of my favorite places we visited. Emma and I were lagging behind for most of the walk, taking photos.  I have a little obsession with seeds, berries and dead plants at the moment so I was quite often found in odd positions crouching in the bushes!


Every where you looked was another picture postcard view. There are about 30miles of paths, we walked around the lily ponds (Bosherston Lakes) and down to Broadhaven South, a beautiful beach at the tip of the lakes. I definitely want to come back and walk around more.


St Davids itself is lovely. It has a similar feel to places in Cornwall such as St Ives. It has got a great artist and crafter community and has exhibitions at the tourist Information. I loved artist Sarah Earl. Her paintings and prints are beautiful and dreamlike. I even found a print that showed where we stayed (on the painting below, our cottage is the one on the far right). http://www.sarahearl.co.uk/

20 May morning on the coast path above Whitesands

Now I am back I need to get on with creating and blogging more regularly. I will be starting new printing workshops in the local areas of Wilmslow, Alderley Edge and Knustford in time for Christmas as well as creating more hand printed and embroidered items in my shops, I will keep you all posted.

Ordsall Hall Summer Garden Party

This past weekend on 1st July I was at the Summer Garden Party held at the beautiful Ordsall Hall in Salford. I found out about this event from the blog site http://www.collettecostello.co.uk


The last time I went to visit Ordsall was in 2009 just before they closed it for refurbishment; it opened again May last year (2011). This Garden party was held for the first time last year and so this year I decided to apply for a stall and luckily got a place.

Typically, when I woke up in the morning it was tipping it down with rain. I swear I have a weather curse when it comes to attending fairs. My first ever craft fair back in February was the one day it snowed, and nearly every other one so far this year, it has rained, but I was not to be put off.
When I got there at 11am it was spitting and really windy but we all set up regardless, unsure of whether anyone would turn up. As we were getting our stalls ready, I heard the strange sound of bleating sheep coming from somewhere, not the normal sounds of Salford. They were setting up a pen with sheep, goats, pigs, chickens and ducks for kids to come and see and handle so hopefully with all the different attractions it would be good.
There were about 10 craft stalls selling a range of products from glass to photographs and knitted items. There was a great array of different crafts and no two were the same so as the visitors walked around they would have a brilliant choice of products to buy.

Some of the stalls at the fair

I was really happy with my stall and I think it was my best lay out to date. I recently brought a large wicker basket to keep my fabric in and decided that I would bring it to put my cushions in and it worked brilliantly. It got them off the table where they normally take up a lot of room.

My new wicker basket

My Stall

The fair opened at 12pm and the first few people trickled in. As the day got going a lot of people came through and it turned into a really great day. The weather still wasn’t brilliant and it was freezing stood still but it was worth it. It was great to talk to lots of different people and I got loads of lovely comments about my work. The first thing to go was one of my embroidered needle cases which I had only finished the day before. My owl doorstops were also a great seller.

My new hand embroidered needle cases

There were people working for the hall dressed in Tudor costume wandering about with buckets collecting donations towards the hall, people selling strawberries and cream, homemade chilli and a tent showing you how to make little wands with willow. Inside the hall was a brass band which we could hear from outside and lots of events for the children to enjoy. As expected the sun came out as we were packing up but it finished off an enjoyable day rather nicely.

A little bit of history for you.


Ordsall Hall is a Grade 1 listed historic house in Salford, Lancashire. It dates back over 820 years, the oldest parts still surviving today date back to around the 15th century. It is one of only 8 comparable grade 1 listed timber framed buildings in Lancashire and is one of the finest records of construction techniques and materials of its kind in the North West of England.

The Great Hall Window

Today I went back to get a few more photos for this blog and luckily I was the only visitor there and got a guided tour of the house by one of the fabulous volunteers. It was truly fascinating and you can even go up into the roof space which you couldn’t before and see all the wood work and timber frame construction. It was first the family seat of the Radclyffe family for over 300 years and when they sold it in 1662 it has since been a working men’s club and a church hall among other things. The building was brought by Salford City Council in 1959, and opened to the public in 1972, as a local museum. They have done an amazing job since I was last at the hall and hopefully they get lots more visitors through the doors, I definitely recommend it and it is free entry.

Door detail showing the old and the new

If you want to find out a bit more about Ordsall have a look at these sites:

• The official Salford Council website: http://www.salford.gov.uk/ordsallhall 
• A brief history: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ordsall_Hall 
• Textile artist Rosie James was commissioned by Salford City Council to create a textile artwork to hang in the Great Hall. For the Ordsall Tapestry she used machine stitch, screen-printing, appliqued recycled fabrics, digitally printed fabrics and some computerised machine embroidered elements. It incorporates images of the local people of the Ordsall area alongside the historic characters who once lived in the hall. It is a wonderful piece: http://www.salford.gov.uk/rosie-james
• You can even go on a ghost hunt at Ordsall hall: http://www.hauntedhappenings.co.uk/ghost_hunts/Ordsall_Hall.php

Bovey Tracey Contemporary Craft Festival

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My Craft Festival guide a little dirty after falling in the mud!

The Contemporary Craft festival in the small Devon town of Bovey Tracy on the edge of Dartmoor National Park, has been going now for 9 years. I have wanted to go for the past couple of years but haven’t been able to but this year I finally made it.

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The Craft Festival entrance with very ominous black clouds.

My parents live in a neighbouring village so I had a perfect base. The festival runs for three days (this year 15-17 June) and is crammed full of some of the most amazing artists of all kinds, weaver, potters, furniture makers, silver workers and so many more.

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Emma with some amazing life size wire sculptures

I went with my mum and sister not knowing quite what to expect and ended up spending nearly 5 hours wandering around looking at all the nearly 200 exhibitors.

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The many cards I picked up

Everywhere you looked there was another amazing stall and it was a lot of fun despite the rain. They ran a large kids craft tent for them to have a go at various crafts including weaving on a loom. Other workshops were going on in various tents including mono printing and a demonstration of glass blowing.

Some of the work was absolutely stunning and my definite favourite of the whole day were the pictures by wirework artist Helaina Sharpley, her work was truly beautiful. Her work incorporates everything related to tea and tea drinking http://www.helainasharpley-wirework-artist.co.uk/ I wanted to buy every piece.

I managed to restrain myself from buying much and settled for getting two copies of the wonderful Selvedge magazine and two cards from ceramic and enamel artist Janine Partington http://janinepartington.co.uk/ .

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Emma (my sister) brought a lovely bowl from Jane Booth http://www.janeboothceramics.co.uk/site/

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 My mum got a pretty planter and saucer from Penny Simpsons Country Range. http://pennysimpsonceramics.co.uk/ .

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For lunch we went to the Bovey Devon Guild of Craftsmen for lunch. http://www.crafts.org.uk/ I always love going there, loads more crafts and art from 250 South West based makers. There is also a lovely cafe serving delicious local food. It is housed in an old mill building with the wheel still in situ.

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The water wheel at the Craft Guild

The Guild was founded in 1955 by Devon based furniture-maker Edward Baly and a group of enthusiastic people who wanted to promote the best in local craftwork. From the original 18 the Devon Guild of Craftsmen has now over 240 members of the best crafts people in the South West.  We go almost every time I visit my parents and I never get bored as there are always new exhibitions taking place.  The next is ‘Reaching For Gold’ (30th June – 2nd September) and has links and inspiration from the Olympics.

There are so many things to do in the surrounding area and after a bit of lunch one of my favorite things is to head up to the moors and walk to some of the wonderful dramatic tors.

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Haytor Rock, just up the road from Bovey Tracey in the beautiful Dartmoor National Park

I will definitely be back to the Craft Festival next year and this time I will be saving up my money so that I can splash out on whatever treasures I find.

A Sunny Sunday Craft Fair

Yesterday I attended a craft fair at the Last Drop Village near Bolton.  It is a lovely venue, a collection of Georgian farm building which have been made into a hotel and spa with a tea shop and gallery.  My lovely sister Emma came with me to help me out though I think she spent a lot of her time in a queue getting cups of tea.

I met a lot of really lovely fellow crafters and in particular Lynn Holland who does the most lovely illustrations including her cute Doodly Birds collection.  Check out her wonderful blog where she has been kind enough to include a photo of one of my cake stands that she brought off me yesterday.  There is also a link to her Etsy shop, full of wonderful goodies.

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http://oneimadeearliertoday.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/oh-no-i-spent-my-profits-on-cake-stand.html?showComment=1333355562931#c2211558179542861471

I love this wedding guest book, perfect for the coming wedding season: http://www.etsy.com/listing/93139600/hand-ilustrated-wedding-guest-book

Yesterday was the best I have done at a craft fair to date.  The last two were definitely more of a learning curve but were still invaluable experience.  Yesterday was the first time that I got my selling hat on a got to grips with properly talking to people and interacting and not waiting for people to ask me things.  I can be a very shy person but I really enjoyed bantering with customers and fellow stall holders and getting more confident and it definitely makes a huge difference to sales.  Also a big tip is standing up, don’t sit down when customers come over it makes a huge difference, it is easier to interact with people if you are on eye level with them.

I have woken up today feeling really good about getting going with my crafty business and planning where I go from here so watch this space……