Tuesday 3 March 2015

Rydal Retreat

Last week I was on my 4th annual  retreat with NWCQ in the Lake District, the 3rd at Rydal Hall. Perfect timing a week after leaving Kew for some reflective time painting and stitching with friends in a tranquil, uplifting environment. As in previous years, I'm basing Journal Quilts on my sketches (beginnings of first above) and I was lucky enough to have a room this year looking out to the front  with a glimpse of Windermere in the distance  and remains of snow on the surrounding hills, so I didn't have to venture too far for inspiration!

 It took a little time to arrange the tables in the 'Old Kitchen' (conveniently next to the bar) but once established  in our niches, it didn't take long for everyone to pick up  from where we left off last year. It's great to see how varied peoples working methods are and everyone is so generous in sharing.
Several of us had brought 'Gelli' plates with us and I  had a go comparing it with my usual acetate sheet (and got a bit carried away as usual with monoprinting - I even used up all the colour catchers I'd brought with me)
Apart from crossing the courtyard each lunchtime for delicious homemade soups at the  tea shop, I  made only a couple of walking/sketching expeditions.  


On my first on Tuesday I was fortunate enough  to be doing my annual sketch of   Rydal Falls from inside the 'Grot' when there was a sudden hail/sleet storm. 5 minutes later the sun was shining again.!

 On Wednesday night there was torrential rain  so on Thursday there was about 4 times as much water in the beck ( see difference above ). Further downstream, the river had expanded into the nearby field -it had cleared again by Friday. I wish I'd taken a picture of the bright pink ice-cream van parked on the bridge  next to it, catering for the damp visitors!

Too cold to hang around sketching at Rydal Water this time  but I enjoyed absorbing the view before heading back for hot chocolate.

On Friday afternoon after a visit to the Quaker tapestry in Kendal and collecting sourdough bread from 'Lovingly Artisan' , I was early for my train which was  just as well  because all trains to  and from London  were cancelled because of an earlier broken down freight train at Lockerbie ! After a few minutes panic, advised to  take the train to Manchester airport, and change at Preston where I caught up with the train I was booked on  so all was well. Arriving back at a packed Euston station ( usual Friday night plus extra mayhem with train cancellations) was a bit of a shock after the tranquillity of Rydal.
We've already made a booking for next year  It's such a  supportive, fun group ( and lovely location), we feel so comfortable with each other, it just goes from strength to strength.

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