Monday, July 26, 2010

Sunday afternoon on the river

Today we went to Cambridge, home of world famous Cambridge University. Cambridge is a lively cosmopolitan city that attracts a lot of overseas and local visitors. After lunch , we went punting on the river. Fortunately, we had a proper punter and did not attempt to do it ourselves
The punters has to watch out for low-flying bridges.
The university really goes for the ivy league look, to emphasise that it's the 3rd oldest university in Europe.

The river winds through the university grounds.
There were several dozen punts in action, so things got hectic in places.
Hard to believe this is a student residence!
The Bridge of Sighs - which connects a student residence with the exam rooms. Aptly named.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


I haven't been entirely idle. Almost, but not entirely. I bought some new yarn yesterday, and have started to knit the Coquille shawl from Knitty, which I thought very appealing and doable with just 2 balls of this bamboo/nylon sock yarn. It's an interesting pattern, knitted from tip to tip, and featuring little gussets to give it extra swirl.
As you can see, Clapotis is much larger although I haven't knitted it for several weeks. It's about 5 feet long now.
I finished the original knitting I brought with me - the turquoise merino and silk cardigan. Of course, I haven't had any opportunity to wear it.
These haven't made it to a needle yet, but I couldn't resist picking up a few variegated threads.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Norfolk arts and crafts

Marion and I went to the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts. This is a small bronze by Henry Moore that was in a display of his textiles. I like the small bronzes better than his large works.
One of the exhibitions featured figurines like these.
The Sainsburys had a huge eclectic art collection.
I like these simple representations of the human form - these are probably over a thousand years old.
This has nothing to do with the exhibition but was a doorknob on a house in Holt.
Marion, husband Robin and I went to an art exhibition at Salthouse church, on the coast. The lefthand panel is made from inlaid felt, the right from hooked recycled fabric.
This was all made from sisal, and was quite magnificent.
Outside the church, there were some sculptures. Here you can see the flint exterior of this 18th century church which has been patched in various places,
A wicker man in a grotto of tombstones.
This is part of an old anchor that Marion and I saw at Sheringham, another coastal town.

Norfolk flint houses

I am quite fascinated by the traditional flint houses that grace Norfolk on the east coast of England. To me, "flint" means a sharp stone, but these buildings show mainly the rounded ends, combined with the brick that you see so much of in England.
These houses were quite severe in grey and white.
All kinds of buildings were made this way, and even modern buildings continue to use the flint.
This house by the coast had a decorative flint and brick wall. You can see that even the walls around houses are often made from flint.
This house was different - the flat end of the stone was used instead of the rounded end, and surrounded by small stones.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Lino cut prints

I have enrolled in Dijanne's online linocutting class, which officially starts tomorrow. However, because I'm staying with her and will be travelling for the first 2 weeks of the class, I have started already while there are materials at hand. Above is my sampler stamp.
Of course, once I've done that, I start to play. Here I painted a tree onto the stamp...

..then I borrowed one of Dijanne's linocuts, and started playing with adding colours to the prints. These are 6" by 4" so will make good cards if I cut them out and stitch them.

This has Plum, Red and Turquoise in it.

The paint is meant to be applied with a roller, but I like to do things differently. Here I used a paintbrush so that the brush strokes would show on the leaves. You tend to get a more blobby print, but I don't mind as I think it makes the background more interesting.

Plum leaves with a Turquoise background and Ochre stem.

and finally, this one where I drew leaf veins in the ink before printing. I really like this one.

This is African Painting - Dijanne showed me how to do this - above is her sample.

Then I made this one using her Pomegranate stamp as inspiration. These can be stitched once dry and heat set.

Monday, July 12, 2010

At Sete, on the Mediterranean coast

The seafront at Sete.
Today, Dijanne and I went to Sete to see Raoul Dufy's exhibition at the museum. I liked this one, "Les Palmiers, Homage a Gauguin" and managed to take a photo before the museum guards said they weren't allowed.
, Opposite the museum on a slope facing the sea, was this amazing cemetery full of large crypts and mausoleums.

The views that the dead have of the Mediterranean are just gorgeous.

Blus boats in the harbour.

We had coffee here at the museum, beside the goldfish pool, looking out at the sea.

Visit to Sete and Les Marelles

Part of Sete from up on the hill. It is known as "the Venice of France" because of its canals.
The cross on top of the hill where I took the above photo.

One of the canals in Sete.

In the medieval part of Les Marelles, a small nearby village to where I'm staying.

And another shot of the old town.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

In the South of France

No photos today - I have briefly gone south to Le Triadou, a small town near to Montpellier in the South of France, to stay a couple of days with Dijanne Cevaal, whom many of you will know (or know of). I first met Dijanne in 1999, when I took her dyeing class at the National Quilting Symposium in Queenstown. Dijanne is Australian, but has been coming to Europe regularly to hold classes, display exhibitions and work. She is also a friend of Margo, whom I have spent the last week or so with.

When I leave here, I'll return to England to stay with my blog friend Marion Barnett, who is co-author with Dijanne of the book "Lovely Lutradur" (also available on CD). Hopefully, I can expand my knowledge while I'm with them.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

In the Alps

I went with Margo Bimler, a Kiwi who has lived in France for over 20 years and who sells dyes and related products like I do, to a quilt show in Morzine, in the French Alps. This is chalet territory, as you can see from this photo taken on the way there.
We were a long way up at this point, and the towns in the valley were a long way down. Mt Blanc was off to the right of this photo.
Even down on the flat, you can see the massive upheavels that must have occurred thousands of years ago to credate these kinds of rocks.
Morzine is a tourist town, and some of the hotels and restaurants were groaning with carved wooden statues, windowboxes of flowers and general alpine-ness.
Another example in the town square - in summer, which is the off-season, the town attracts many mountain bikers.