Tuesday, 28 June 2016

The Handmade Parade

Every summer our little town of Hebden Bridge puts on an amazing show with the wonderful Handmade Parade. This year the theme of the flood was close to everyone's heart and I think it was the best parade ever...it was the most joyful for sure.

First the flood sirens came, then the waves, then the mud monsters and the muddy Christmas trees. Then came the clean up. Busy bees dancing with their brooms, worker ants, busy beavers, people dressed as washing machines! Such community spirit.

It ended with a big golden sun touching everyone on the head with it's big sunny rays.

I'm proud to live in this creative town with the strongest of community spirits. I'm also proud of my friend Sarah who has recently discovered a new passion for film making and she's REALLY good at it wouldn't you say?

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Save Our Magnificent Meadows!

Anyone who reads my blog or knows my work will know I have a bit of a 'thing' about meadows so last year when I discovered there was such thing as National Meadows Day I knew I had to do something to mark the occasion in 2016.

National Meadows Day has been started to raise awareness of the plight of our beautiful meadows whose numbers are dwindling dramatically. 97% of our meadows have been lost since the second world war! 

I can't imagine a summer without spending lots of time in the meadows. They are my favourite places to be. Rich, interesting, utterly beautiful and FULL of inspiration for me as an artist. I love looking up close at this little world and seeing how it all sits together. I love that in winter its just green muddy grass and you simply can't imagine it is going to burst forth into so much life. 

This year National Meadows Day is on Saturday July 2nd and there will be events happening up and down the country at various sites. Check their website to see what's going on near you. There will be guided walks and family events and there is a photography competition too.

 This year it happens to fall on the same day as Hebden Bridge Open Studios so I won't be skipping about in the meadows myself that day BUT I will be donating 10% of my open studio sales to Plantlife's Magnificent Meadows project.

My studio will be open on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd July from 11-5 and will have lots of 'seconds' lamps at bargain prices AND 20% off everything else...wallpaper, fabric and cushions.They seconds lamps will be available in the studio only and not by post (sorry) but everything on the website will have 20% off with the code 'MEADOWSDAY' for the three days :)

It would be great to see you in the studio. We are at:

Suite 1, First Floor, Burlees House, Hangingroyd Lane, Hebden Bridge, HX7 7DD  
Find us above La Perla Italian restaurant. Buzz the buzzer and we'll let you in 

A Midsummer Nights Dream

When I heard there was going to be a big full moon on the night of the summer solstice I couldn't resist a trip to see my new love for a midsummer nights adventure.

We set off at four a.m and cycled along country lanes under that big old silvery moon (did you see it?) with honeysuckle in the air and the wind in our hair.

We arrived at Eades Meadow to see a veil of mist just lifting.

It was magic.

It was my first visit to Eades, an ancient meadow with a scrumptious tangle of plants and flowers.

There was so much of my favourite Quaking Grass to get excited about

and lots of orchids.

And as we explored we were treated to a magnificent solstice sunrise

 illuminating all the grasses and flowers 

 giving them and us, a ready brek glow!

As you know I'm always happy in a meadow but I'm even happier now I have found a fellow meadow nerd to share them with.

Happy Solstice x

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Yoga at Les Passeroses

Me and my friend and fellow adventurer Natalie have just been on a most lovely yoga holiday at Les Passeroses retreat centre near a village called Nonac in south west France.

It was such a beautiful setting. Think traditional old farm buildings

 in a beautiful luscious garden

set among rolling hills 

and vineyards. 

Our room had honeysuckle outside the window

and it overlooked the gorgeous turquoise swimming pool.

This yoga workshop with Suzanne Lahusen and Graham Burns was called 'Sequencing For The Deeper Dimensions' and was one of the Yogacampus intensives. All of the participants were yoga teachers or trainee teachers. Except me. I'm just in love with yoga and want to learn and learn and learn...

Of course the setting helps but really its the people that make the retreat and this bunch were particularly lovely.

We had plenty of time to get to know each other....

in class,

around the table

whilst enjoying the incredible food

and out walking all the local country lanes.

We shared our stories while we passed vineyards,



and made our way through old crumbly farmsteads.

There was time to smell the roses

and the geraniums.

There was time to take in the sun sets,

 take lots of  photos

and breathe in the country air. 

 We met some grumpy mules, 

we said 'bonjour' to the sleepy farm cats,

and tried to rescue Francois the frog from the swimming pool but he wasn't having any of it!

You may think by my photographs that it was sunny all week but in fact it mostly rained...torrentially. There were dark billowing clouds and thunder but it didn't dampen our spirits. When the sun made an appearance we were out like a shot getting our shoes wet in the soggy ground.

There was a big pond down the lane full of noisy frogs and toads and one night me and Nat thought we thought we saw an otter

so we all went down one evening for a closer look.

It turns out they were coypu. I didn't take this photo (thanks whoever did) of this south american water rodent initially introduced for the fur trade that has wilded itself in France. What a guy! I'd never heard of them before although my Dad tells me there were loads in Suffolk when he was a lad,

In the middle of the week we had an excursion to the nearest city Angouleme 

and we enjoyed exploring the back streets

sitting in cosy cafes

and looking in pretty shops. C'est tres jolie.

We discovered a trend for strangely beautiful and little bit freaky door knockers!

Angouleme is the 'home of the cartoon' and has a cartoon museum and huge murals on many of buildings around town.

It was nice to get out but lovely to come back to Les Passeroses again.

Rufus the cat was waiting for us

stalking the sweetcorn field in the sunset.

The yoga teaching was extraordinary. I have learned soooo much this week and I've had revelations about my personal practice. Being in the company of all the teacher training students has really inspired me. Even though yoga is a huge passion of mine and I have seen it transform my life, my creativity and my business - well my life really, I have always been afraid of the idea of teaching because it is so vast! I am often asked 'why don't you teach' or told 'you should teach' but I have never felt like it is my path. But something changed this week. All those students were scared but they were doing it anyway, bravely and beautifully. One day Elizabeth gave me an idea. She planted a little seed and it kept me awake all night while it started taking root. I could teach yoga and creativity. I could marry my two passions together.

This little idea has given me a new sense of purpose and passion and I have come home renewed with a new mission! It feels absolutely right and the work begins now....

Such big thanks to my yoga friends. How can after just one week they feel like family.  That just speaks volumes about the power of this beautiful practice that I am grateful for every day.

On our last day Rocio wrote this beautiful little poem for us.

'As a flower, as a bird...everyone of us has our own unique beauty. 
Own yours, completely, radically!
Then shine it out, and spread it into the world.'

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