My annual retreat at Rydal Hall with the NWCQ group seemed to go faster than ever - this is our 5th time there. I left the large piece I'm working on at the moment at home with the intention of just responding to this environment I know so well now. I did very little stitching apart from the postcard above and some time each day on my daily stitching project but went out painting every day
My bedroom was in a different part of the house than I've stayed before with views out the back towards the wood. There was a lot of fallen trees - you could see how shallow the root system was on the one above, no surprise given the rocky substrate it was growing on. There were bulbs around the trunk having to change their direction of growth !
My studio space in the work room soon became covered in scraps of fabric and sketchbooks. !
I put together the start of a Journal Quilt based on the rushing water and stones ( seen here with part of my daily stitching 'winding cloth' .)
The 'grot' overlooking Rydal Falls is a favourite if frustrating painting place - it's impossible to capture the colours and the patterns of water but I enjoy trying. It's my first port of call every year and at least it was shelter from the sleet.
The next day it was Millie, Karen and I that headed up a path behind the house following Rydal Beck upstream.
Still very damp, using a tree stump as a table, it took ages for the paint to dry but there's something magical about painting in situ. Even when the results are not that great, the process and sense of place make for a memorable experience.
As a group we had less planned than in previous years, we've got much more comfortable about a relaxed timetable ( fitting around meals and traybakes of course!). Judy F. gave us a slide presentation showing highlights from the last 6 years . Lots of trying to work out who was who from back views on walks and trying to remember what year we did different activities ( blind stitching probably the most memorable)
Linda B. set us an interesting design activity on Tuesday in the hour before the bar opened. We'd been told to bring an A3 piece of paper - painted, printed , crumpled, whatever. Linda then divided each sheet into 12 and then redistributed them to us , the challenge to use some of everything in a composition. .
As the selection I had were so diverse, I made 2 pieces ( above)
It resulted in a wide range of responses in scope and scale including some 3D structures. Linda asked who had started off with a concept and who had responded to the papers themselves - roughly 50:50 split . She's already written it up for CQ newsletter!
We headed back home from Friday lunchtime onwards, refreshed and reinvigorated with time spent in such a lovely location and good company .Already looking forward to same time , same place next year.