Last Friday evening we boarded an airline and flew to England. We were visiting Harrogate to see the Knitting and Stitching show and catch up again with friends. Flying into London in the late afternoon was breathtaking and, thanks to technology, I could capture this view of London and the setting sun as we arrived. The things we can do today that we couldn’t have imagined only 30 years ago! I never thought I say something like that…but there you have it!
We flew on to Manchester, got our hire car and drove to our hotel. The next morning the sun shone and this was the view across from the International Convention Centre in Harrogate. I just love the old buildings made of stone.
After a quick cup of coffee, I went downstairs to find the room for my first class. I signed up for a class taught by Richard Box. Having arrived early I wandered around the exhibition area exploring all the stands. I had walked only a few feet when I saw the stand in the photo below. “La Tour de Bunting” said the signs. Being curious, I asked and was told that to celebrate the Tour de France coming through Harrogate twice next year, a group of citizens decided to festoon their city with little knitted replicas of bicycle shirts, all to be knitted by volunteers.
What a delightful idea! What fun! How darling will they look all hanging on the course through Harrogate! I signed up, got my ball of yarn – enough for two tiny shirts – and my knitting instructions and walked on smiling from ear to ear.
Whenever I go to an event like the Knitting and Stitching Show I feel welcomed by every single person I meet and part of a huge community of people who love to create things. I was glad I’d come!
Time for the class to begin so I went back to the classroom which was filling up. There were 16 students in the class, all curious to explore “Power and Passion”, the title of our workshop. Richard Box is an artist who creates paint-like textile art. His pieces are impressionist in style. Blending fabric, embroidery threads and yarns, he layers his materials and blends them all together using free style machine stitching. The finished pieces are just gorgeous.
After a very brief but concise talk about form, line, color and texture, our task for the workshop was to create a collage representing whatever mood we were given from a pre-selected list. We would be shown one mood written on a piece of paper. We could say yes or no. We would have two chances to accept or reject a mood and then whatever the third mood presented to us was, were would have to take that one. I could tell he’d been a teacher for a while!
We had about 35 minutes to work. At the end of that time, we cleaned up and laid all our mini collages in the center of the table. Richard Box then laid out all the words and we were to match each label with a collage as a group. With only one exception we were confident and correct about which collage represented which mood. As a spring board for projects involving fabric and threads of any kind it’s brilliant! He’s a good teacher and I would highly recommend his workshops if you ever get the opportunity to study with him. He offers courses at various places in the UK. If you can’t attend one of his courses, he also has produced DVDs and published books. I purchased his DVD titled “Drawing for the Terrified”. I’ll let you know how it goes when I work up the courage to watch it!
After my workshop I took time to walk all around the exhibits of the different craft guilds. The Weavers, Spinners and Dyers had a stand where there was a woman spinning on a wheel very like the one my grandmother had.
I remember playing at spinning when I was a little girl. Sometimes I would act out being Sleeping Beauty and pretend to prick my finger. Unfortunately my handsome prince didn’t arrive until adulthood so I had to stay awake…
The Oliver Twists stand was my next stop. After coming home from the London show I looked at their Etsy site and discovered they hand dyed rayon gimp. I have a project in mind where I’d like to use gimp, so I picked up some while I was there. Jean Oliver, the owner, kindly gave me permission to photograph this piece of canvas work. The contrast in the different threads used in this woven area gave me ideas for my upcoming RSH canvas work course. It’s so pretty, isn’t it?
As I walked around the corner, this darling, adorable VW Van was stopping everyone in their tracks. “Lily and the Dub – Wool on Wheels” is the brain child of Elizabeth Bellot. I spent some time talking with her about her hand dyed wools and knitting in general. She was friendly, helpful and enthusiastic. In fact, in spite of writing not long ago that knitting was not my favourite activity, I bought some yarn to make a scarf from her. The temptation of a beautiful fibre of any kind in simply too hard to resist! You can read about her experience at the Harrogate show here.
I took time to have lunch with friends and spent loads of time walking around soaking up the lovely Yorkshire accents.
Phillipa Turnbull’s Timeline of Crewelwork Exhibition was super busy and listening to her talk about the history of her pieces was wonderful. She has some new designs coming and you can be sure I’ll be writing about those in the future!
During this show in Harrogate I had more time to spend looking at an exhibit of the work of Margaret G. Nicholson. Her work is, quite simply, amazing. Some of the pieces left me breathless and slightly teary eyed. After her death, her daughter, Anthea Godfrey, had all of her mother’s pieces framed so they could be exhibited in one place for the 100th anniversary of her birth, 1913. Anthea Godfrey assures me there is a book coming out about her mother’s work. Very few images of her work are on the internet but if you look you will find one or two. To see all of her work, including over 30 handworked collar style necklaces was a privilege. The book will be a treasure.
To see four small photos of the exhibition and read more about this amazing lady, please visit the blog of EAST (East Anglian Stitched Textiles) here.
It was a great weekend! And best of all, Monday morning at 9:15 German time our new little grandson, Felix, was born. 7 lbs and 20 inches long. Life is good.