Last week I was in the Lake District, staying at Glenthorne Guest House in Grasmere on my 9th NWCQ retreat . Unlike previous years , I didn't do very much sketching this year ( even falling behind a bit on my daily drawing ) but a fair bit of stitching. Given the poor weather conditions I'm glad I did my 'Grasmere Cloths' last year, it would have been very challenging this year!
The trains to Oxenholme had been delayed/cancelled in the storms of the previous week due to flooding so I was relieved that it was only 15 minutes late. Karen picked me up and the driving conditions in snow and flooded roads were difficult ( these photos near Windermere were taken out the window waiting our turn to go up on the pavement, the water being so deep)
Glad to arrive at Glenthorne, this was the view from my bedroom window ( and below , on a better day , the view towards the guest house )
The studio building among the trees and the table space divided equally with masking tape between the 13 of us ( with the usual jokes about ' encroachment' when materials creep over the line) )
As it was the 10th year of these retreats , we had several shared activities to mark it. We know each other so well now, it feels like we pick up where we left off , always lots of laughter but also understanding of each others circumstances .
Besides 2 entertaining and informative quizzes in the evening from Jean and Ruth and a fun drawing session with Millie) we'd each brought a piece of denim which was sewn together by Judy to form a bookcover/ bag for the photo album/ scrapbooks that Millie puts together documenting our activities. We took it in turns to add some stitching by hand and machine
The resulting works were extremely varied, from a beaded tree; bookwraps; mini collages; bookmarks; journal quilts to my ' barnacle' .
I used a patched piece of the Japanese kasuri from my trainstitching with pieces of the fabrics with a mussel shape cut out. My other addition was red thread which I used to sew 13 lines in kantha style stitching
I then gathered it up into a shell shape ( using the indigo beads to fasten it) , weighted with a wrapped cord made of red and blue flowery fabric
In between sewing sessions went for short walks in the ever changing weather conditions, going shopping for Grasmere Gingerbread and warm winter 'trews' ( the trousers I'd brought with me, even with thermals , weren't up to it ) .
We were very well fed at the Guesthouse with cooked breakfast and 3 course evening meal but still managed to fit in lunches of delicious soups and cakes at Mathildes after browsing the Heaton Cooper art shop painting supplies ( buying more Pitt artist Calligraphy Pens in different colours)
I took a mussel as my source shape, in 2 different sizes, using colourcatchers ( above) with a spacer bead between each shape and some indigo and cream fabrics sandwiched with bondaweb ( below) , with a few stitches to hold them in position. Lots of potential.
Safely back home in Faversham , after an early dinner at ASK, appropriately enough we had tickets for ' Waterways ' in St Mary of Charity's Church. The Sunday before we'd gone to 2 talks ( Mudlarking and the way to the sea at Faversham Literary Festival with lunch at the Carriage Restaurant in between so it's been a watery week !