Thursday, 19 December 2013

Ho ho bleeding ho

Is it me or is Christmas more and more exhausting every year? I have got to the point of turning down invitations because I cannot imagine being able to summon the strength to heave my body off the sofa in the evening to go out. Let's face it, I'm only typing this now to avoid having to get up, go up about 12 stairs and prepare for bed, as that sounds like hard work. I know, it has been a really busy few weeks, and we are all suffering from the low-level pre-festivities lurgy that, just when we had been through an "up" day and assumed we were better, returns to leave us physically drained and inexplicably tetchy. I found myself properly upset the other night after the school's carol service, all because the queue for the mulled wine was too long and claustrophobic and we had to give up and go home. Inconsolable. And then there is the never-ending list of things to remember: presents to buy, things to post, cards to write, things not to forget to take to school and all the extra places to go and appointments not to miss. Exhausting.

You may - or may not - be glad to hear the urge to felt has not completely left me despite my last post. I was invited to the regional International Feltmakers' Association Christmas get-together on Saturday. That sounds very grand doesn't it, not at all like 5 lovely ladies sat round in a shop drinking tea, eating cake and having a natter over some messy wool. There were some treats there to behold: some beautiful inlaid felt panels in the style of those made in Kyrgyzstan (google it if you are interested: this is the home country of yurts, the coverings of which are handmade felt, and probably the home country of felting these days, and a really nifty technique of cutting out and inlaying two different colours), but more than anything a box full of little needle-felted animals, one of whom endeared itself to me so much that I just had to do a deal and buy it for my 6 year old's Christmas stocking (reminder to self: delete the photo before she goes sniffing about on the computer in the next couple of days):-

We were all given a brief to felt a secret Santa present for another member, costing no more than £3 in materials. Hmm challenge. I was tempted to take one of my felted Christmas decorations, but the felt concerned was frankly too poor quality for an International Feltmaker. So I made this little frippery:-

And in return I received the most adorable little toadstool, which doubles as a pincushion, made by the same lady who had made the beautiful little animals.

All in all it did feel pretty good to be back in the saddle. I felted a picture while I was there, but it was an amalgamation of several photos and I realise now that the perspective is all wrong and I either need to chop it in half or start again. Also with some crafty friends this morning we had a little felting session and made the tiniest Santa hats, only suitable for something with a tennis-ball-sized head. It will take me all my strength this Christmas to ensure it doesn't get jammed on the cat's head by one of the more malicious members of the family.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Despondency and longing

Well the last week has been a good one. A buzzing craft fair: some good old friends and a few new ones, lots of compliments, plus £120 to bring home and fewer Christmas decorations, and two of my small sea pictures gone. Then at Clevedon Art Club exhibition, another very good sale (my French view) and some cards too. Definitely an air of respect from fellow artists all round. Yesterday delivered 6 of my small beach pictures to Church House Designs and got wind of a possible sale of a felted vase I made a long while ago. Plenty of approval and good vibes. So why have I had this stupid feeling all week that I might be better off giving up? I know, I know, I am tired, run down, and have had enough of churning out small-price-tag craft fair items, but right now I feel that it would be quite nice to have a big bonfire of some of the leftovers. And for the first time in ages, I feel an urge to do some patchwork, finish a quilt I started about 18 months ago, and forget about anything to do with commercial art completely. I really don't know what has brought this on and I hope it passes quickly. Although actually finishing that quilt might be a good move.

I am on a lampshade-making wave at the moment. My friend Ruth from Quincy Lampshades has really started something. I have now made 6 and have the bits for making 4 more. Choosing the fabrics has been an interesting journey. I live in a very old house with stone walls and wooden beams, and lots of clutter, so I often find it is quite hard to buy things that fit in with the house rather than jar against it. Modern things only work here if they have a hint of the natural about them. I would love to go with a big Marimekko design or some really bright Kaffe Fassett patterns for these lampshades but it would mean rethinking all our living spaces and having a huge clear out. I was trying to convince myself (and, a harder job, the husband) that we could make a statement with some bold large patterns when I inadvertently discovered an utterly different range of fabrics called Eclectic Elements:-

And my advice for you, if you have an old dishevelled characterful house like me, is that these fabrics are rather lovely and fit in a treat. I think that this might well be what has got me back to thinking about quilts again, as suddenly I want to find a reason to use these again. I have been ordering the amounts I need for the lampshades and surreptitiously adding the odd 25cm in here and there, and even a little bit of other prints in the range, into my order, in the knowledge that I know they will be good for something some day.

Anyway no making at all for a bit, this week I have my PTA hat on and am up to my ears in Christmas Fair bits and pieces. I have been so focussed that life will officially end at around 2pm on Sunday. Maybe next week...