Monday 2 March 2020

Grasmere Retreat 2020 ( and Surface, Structure,Stitch homework )

 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) ) 

 The main project I'd brought to work on  were the different sections  of  #trainstitching work in progress  " #wrapmeintheshore" as I'm getting to the stage  of working out how to hang it/ display it.  I don't want to replicate exactly what I did for #windmeinthesea  so was seeking  advice  from the others  and I'm glad to say have come away with lots of  suggestions.   It looked lovely with the wintery light shining through it, shame it would be difficult to replicate  under gallery/exhibition conditions.

 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 ' extension'  activity for those who wished to do so ( all of us  in the end!)  was to each bring  a piece of fabric/thread/ beads in indigo or red and make something with them ( we did a similar exercise led by Linda B. when we used paper  ) The rules evolved into  being allowed to incorporate 2 other  materials of our own and  leave out one of the  original if we wished.
 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) 

 Fortified by coffee and cake  I returned to work on my 'homework' for  ' Surface, Structure, Stitch' at City Lit ,  taking one shape and playing with it in multiples

 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. 

  We left at Friday lunchtime   under ominous skies with very wet snow. I was travelling with Judy , the spray on the motorway was dreadful , so glad  that thanks to her hospitality  I could make a more leisurely train journey back home on Saturday

 The view from the train between Crewe and Stafford  in particular was of a landscape of flooded fields

 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 ! 

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing these great pictures. It looks as if you all had a fabulous time - in spite of the weather!
Margaret McCrory