I have just been doing little bits of this and that, nothing particular. I have found myself really restless these past few months and not able to settle to any particular projects, but it has led me to go a-wandering on a weekend and I have found myself just soaking up new things and I’m hoping that they will come in handy for something in the future. I think maybe that’s ok.
Yorkshire is a very interesting place to live, with lots of countryside, and just as much industrial heritage in our towns and cities. On a bright day, it’s stunning. On a rainy day, it looks positively miserable and dark with all the soot-coloured brick. One of our nearby treasures is Saltaire, a huge mill and worker’s village created by Titus Salt for all his Victorian labourers and their families. Saltaire has now become a centre for the arts and hosts Saltaire Arts Trail each year, along with the open houses down the tiny streets. So I just took myself off to investigate. Unfortunately one can’t really photograph the art on show but I had some great conversations. I learnt about the Spanish teasels used in the cloth industry and how different they were to what we imagine. Gillian Widden had created two dresses with these which were a labour of love as she said wearing gloves didn’t allow her to wire them together properly. I also talked to an artist who had made beautiful moth pins and pictures out of original 18th century legal documents. These were stunning. In one tiny house, Carla Moss talked about her work concerning the cloth industry in Kazakhstan where irrigation led to changes in the sea levels. She used prose, sewing pins and pierced papers to express her reflection about the effect our choices have on the environment.
We then had a day near Lincoln yesterday with a special friend and her family. She has created a small home industry, ‘Fen End country kitchen’ making organic chutneys and jams, and along with local bread we sampled these for the first time. I have come back with several pots of delicious goodness! I was struck by how many of us have found our creative passion, in a world that seems so fast and busy. It seems an important aspect of wellbeing for more and more of us. We might have lost crafts and skills of the past, but people are continuing to ‘do their thing’.
The landscape was breathtaking on a day of rain and sunshine. The cow parsley was of particular interest to seven year old Alex who became ‘Cow Parsley Man’ for a couple of hours. Alex is a wonderfully creative, clever boy. As someone who trains on creativity in a system that seems to be stamping it out wherever possible, I hope he is treasured by some of his future teachers and that they see his gift.
Today, I helped again at our local art festival. It’s a lovely mix of art and craft, live music and homemade cakes and teas. I took my feathers along, and you might just recognise the hanging next to them. ‘The Thing’ has gone back to 2D so that I can hang it in my shed.
In the moments that I have had, I have spent time doing some bits of journaling in my fabric book that I just don’t really feel Iike doing at the moment. Daft I know, but the ‘should and ought gremlin’ was very loud in my head. I have finally struck it a blow and decided that even if it means not doing anything much at all for a while, I will be true to myself and not carry on. As hard as it is for me as a completer-finisher, I’m not going to finish this. It’s a bit of creativity processing – what’s ‘out’ and what I’m about.