Saturday, 26 March 2016

inspiration is flowing

When I am stressed I find my creative spirit dries up. In the last few years, stuff happened that made me stressed, and when I flicked back through my sketch book it really was a drought. 
I still was making things, the quilt is a very good example,
it didn't need much creative input but it kept my fingers busy.
Then last Autumn it all started to get sorted and things started to flow again, and the strange thing is that you don't really notice it isn't there till it comes back.....if that makes any sense.
Then in February, after we were in Paris we headed down to Beaune near Dijon and one afternoon Chris brought me a little sketch book, and I found myself having an irresistible urge to doodle the stunning, wonky buildings. And I felt happy and satisfied.

And am finding it important to carry that on.
After sketching a Shag (birds heads, so much easier from a photo)
I have moved back to architecture again, I find it easiest to work from life and photos, so sketch of the Town Church and the bottom of Fountain Street was done from both. 
 I like to get a lot of details, and the photos help with that, especially when I zoom in.

Amazing how happy and satisfied it made me.
Lots of plans afoot for this little sketch.....

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

2 degrees of seperation

Following on with the theme of Victor Hugo,
last month I was lucky to have a day in Paris while Chris was working.
And as we have Hauteville House in Guernsey where Hugo spent 14 years of his life in exile,
I thought I should see the apartment he lived in on the beautiful Place de Vosges.
Its worth noting that the house in Guernsey was the only property he ever owned,
the Paris apartment was rented and so is no where near as flamboyant as Hauteville House.
Place de Vosges - taken a few summers ago
I don't know what it is but working out the opening time of attractions in Paris is hard, the websites just never seem to tie in with reality for me, and once again this proved to be the case here. 
I had read opening at 10 am, but the time on the door said 10.30am
 and it was now about 10.15.
I got chatting to a nice British lady by the door who had also got the times wrong,
 and someone working inside had said they wouldn't be open till 11am.
What to do for 45 mins.
So we decided to go and have coffee together.
 Now that alone is a first for me, I have never before gone for coffee with a total stranger,
 but maybe Paris has that effect on me!
Café in the Arcades surrounding the square
I mentioned that I wanted to see the Apartment because I was from Guernsey and it had strong Hugo connections, and she was a mid wife and at the moment lived in Vienna. 
We lovely coffee, enjoying the February sunshine. 
Then she said 'When I was training as a nurse in London, there was a girl on my course from Guernsey'  for some reason the hairs on my arms stood up on end, I knew what was coming. 
 'Her name was Serena Lovell' 'That's my sister!!!' I almost shouted! 
 You should have seen the look on her face in was priceless!
Its such a small world when you start chatting to strangers.......

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Gilliatt's adventure

Good Friday is the start of the Channel Island Heritage Festival.
This year the theme is our relationship with the sea, this also ties in nicely with the celebration in April of the 150th Anniversary of the publishing of Toilers of the Sea 
which was written by Victor Hugo while he was living in Guernsey,
and is a love story based round a ship wreck off Guernsey.
Its a brilliant story
but in my opinion Hugo can go into pages of over the top description. 
Fast track through those and I think you will enjoy it!
For our part of the festival we have decided to let our visitors help in
producing a small (20cmm/30cm) panel celebrating Hugo and Toilers. 
 And the wool has now arrived, love those colours!

So last week I got the image all gridded up.  In Toilers, Gilliatt the hero (pronounce the G like a J as you would in patois, which is the same for Guernesiais) sails his small boat,
a Dutch Sloop  (see image below) down to try and free the engine from the shipwreck. 
I felt that the boat featured in the 12th century panel definitely bared a strong similarity to this style/type of boat. So that boat and Hugo's signature in the 19th panel became the base for our design.
Once you are all gridded it up it actually is rather satisfying transferring the image from paper to canvas.

Ta da all done!

Now just an excuse to practise a couple of stitches! We are using a 14hpi canvas (a little larger than the actual panels which are 16hpi) and Appletons Wool crewel weight.

I am keeping the palette of stiches very simple as hopefully we will have lots to different abilities of people involved.  These stitches will included satin, upright cross, Romanian couching, tent and back stitch.

So if you want to have ago, we will be stitching every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning between 10 and 12am from 25th March till 10th May except for Liberation Day (9th May). 
Entrance is £4.95 for Adults, £4.50 for Seniors and Students and children are free.
So every one who comes to see the Tapestry on those day can have a go if they would like.
Cant wait to get started!!!!!

Monday, 14 March 2016

Castle Craftsmen

Beautiful day yesterday, but very, very windy, loads of white horse!!!
But tucked away behind our shed it was warm enough for an out door lunch.  And now its getting lighter in the evenings, it feels wrong to be inside if the sky is still blue.
So we layered up (its a North Easterly wind....brrrr)
and decided to walk down to the light house and back.
In the evening light Castle Cornet looked beautiful,
and I just wanted to share with you my favourite part. 
Call me odd (you are odd Caro!)but I just love this corner.
It looks like the prow of a boat turned upside down.
The shape must have a purpose, maybe to deflect the pounding of the waves, though its facing St Peter Port and so wouldn't get the worst of the storms. So probably something boring like strength....
 The Castle was started in 1260 and this outer wall was added in 1570, by the then Governor Sir Thomas Leighton, who features in the 6th panel of the Guernsey Tapestry.
When you stop and think about it that really was an amazing achievement, as at that time the island the castle is on was not connected to Guernsey and with our huge 10 metre tides, to get the base of the wall solid and strong would have taken a lot of patients as well as skill.
From the side looking towards the bathing pools and Fermain
you can really appreciate the beautiful shape.
So next time you are down at the harbour have a lot at the amazing stone work that surrounds it, both above and below the tide line.