Tag Archives: Middlesbrough

“Powder Blue”

Well, I think last time I wrote I was recovering from altitude sickness after a scary day out in the mountains ( I know I’m a drama queen!)Now the fear of falling has been replaced by the fear that I’m not going to be able to finish this sketchbook by the deadline ( sometime in January) and that I will get complete and terminal creative block. So far I’ve completed one double page and yes its all very “pretty” but…well, I’ll keep you posted, I’m not massively inspired I have to admit.Some of the links on the Sketchbook Project blog are really interesting though, too easy to waste hours browsing and not “doing”.

My daughter started art college at CCAD last week so maybe I can steal some of her ideas!Today we met up for lunch at the lovely Cafe Bahia in the  Middlesbrough and quite by chance bumped into Bob from Tubbyphunk. Bob is a graphic designer and DJ who has done a lot of work with students at CCAD, in fact he designed our degree show catalogue which you can see on his website( and in earlier posts here, June 2008 I think). The cafe owner recognised us from an earlier visit and for a few moments Middlesbrough seemed to be a very friendly little place!

Anyway, back on Witchmountain I’m almost glad that Autumn is here, giving me an excuse to light the stove and prepare for hibernation! So while the night draws in and the wind batters the yellowing garden, I’m keeping cozy with a big mug of coffee and page two of the sketchbook.

Reading:“Here At the End of the World We Learn to Dance” by Lloyd Jones , Listening to: ” A History of the World in 100 Objects” Radio4 and “Cloudbusting” Kate Bush….oh, and the wind.


“In The Land of Grey and Pink…”

Another day in Middlesbrough; which cheered me up a bit.Almost the first thing that happened was that someone from CCAD bought a couple of my things! (goodness, too many “things ” in one sentence!) Kelly Louise Thackray is getting ready to graduate this year, and from what I can see on this blog she should soon be making her fortune selling her lovely bags and purses.

I was accosted by a small pair of chavs while taking this picture so they were treated to a short demonstration of knitting by Rachel’s mum before running off to start their paper round, aw, bless. I must admit, the passers by do seem a little bemused by the shop and probably wonder why there is a bunch of strange women sitting in the window knitting or embroidering bears…like some weird ,alternative house of ill repute!

So, I’ve been asked to pass on the message that this weekend is “re-cycle’ weekend and there’ll be a chance to re-vamp/customise /tart up any old t-shirts or other un-loved pieces of clothing you may have. Just turn up with the  poor neglected item and join in the fun! There’s only about two weeks left until the shop gets handed on to the next “curators” so hurry, hurry and don’t forget to walk round to Albert Road and see Helen at DesignersMarketplace too.

I’m thinking there hasn’t been enough news from the moors lately, so next time I will try to “get down with Nature” to celebrate the Spring Equinox and bring you tales of the Curlews, escaping ponies and emerging green things. For now I must go and washed my coat as I forgot there was an egg in my pocket…with obvious results ! x

“Kitchen Confidential”

Mmm, the kitchen smells of baking bread and coffee, two of the best smells in the world.Its raining like mad and I still haven’t heard a Curlew so it’s officially not spring, therefore ,officially I can stay indoors and not feel guilty!

On Wednesday I went down to Middlesbrough for my day at We Are Open. It was a bit quiet, but nice to catch up with Leanne , Rachel and Helen ( ooooh!!!! something weird just happened, when I put in that last link my trusty old Mac just burst into song, I nearly jumped out of my skin, I’ve put a different link for Helen just in case some of you have sleeping children or nervous pets!!!)

Anyway, Middlesbrough was fun and surprisingly scenic in the amazing March sunlight. Lunch in the Mima cafe was a nice treat ,despite the randomly opening and closing electric doors ( ghosts?) and the fact that there wasn’t masses to look at, apart from a wall of magnetic poetry which I could have played with for hours ( on the theme of dreaming).Next week I’ll be in the shop again and there is an embroidery workshop planned ,as well as others on natural dyes, weaving and knitting.I wish it was a permanent thing…but since it isn’t, make sure you visit soon before its gone!

Aaghhhh! the bread, I almost forgot…

(Reading: “The Cat” by Colette Listening to: the wind rattling the kitchen air vent and that random music that came from nowhere!)

A Break in The Clouds?

I think I’m coming out of hibernation;yesterday an uncharacteristic rush of energy saw me baking bread,cakes and pies, doing a little gardening, cleaning the bathroom and making some more brooches (and all this with a slight Jagermeister hangover!). By evening I was a grumpy monster but at least felt that some small things had been achieved!

Lindsey has been coming up to work on her Final Major Project on Mondays and is doing some really interesting stuff with re-cycled board, laser cutting and embroidery…have a look on her blog.I’m wishing I had access to some of that equipment ( although she’s had to go to another place for the laser cutting because CCAD won’t let the students use the machine!!!) and also desperately wishing I had a workspace that meant not having to put everything away at meal times ( pins in the pies, beads in the butter…not a good idea!).

My “Moo” mini cards arrived today, very sweet in their little box that acts as a tiny filing system.meanwhile I’m excited to see how Sara‘s portfolio book turns out. She has ordered it from Blurb with fingers tightly crossed that it gets here in time for her college interview.

Now I’ve got another brooch to finish before heading out to work, so I’ll take my leave. Tomorrow I’ll be in Middlesbrough at the “We Are Open” shop and I think there is still time, before the theme changes, to head over to Poppytalk Handmade .

Feathers, Beads and the Love of Butter

“Cigarettes and chocolate milk
These are just a couple of my cravings
Everything it seems I like’s a little bit stronger
A little bit thicker
A little bit harmful for me…” ( Rufus Wainwright)

Actually I’m getting seriously worried about my apparent addiction to butter; if my trusty Mac gives up the ghost it’ll be because its full of toast crumbs and dripped with butter and Marmite, mmmmm!

Yesterday I decided to do something a bit different, finding myself at a loose end, since ALL my finished stock is either in shops, galleries or listed on Etsy. I made this colourful hair-slide and photographed it today in the bright spring sunlight that is making me want to paint everything white and make a fresh start.

I even ventured outside today and began the slow slow task of making my garden feel loved again after a year of total neglect .

Some good news from “We Are Open“..apparently some of my things have sold! I will be helping man the shop next week, probably Wednesday and maybe Tuesday, so if you’re in Middlesbrough pop in and say hello.I’m also hoping to get along to see the “DesignersMarketplace Pop-up Shop “on Albert Road …Oh the joys of Middlesbrough! ( I’m not being sarcastic…Teeside has always been a little known hotbed of creative talent…I’ll write you a list later to prove it!)

Meanwhile, the moon is peering through the gap in the curtains and telling me that I really should start going to bed at a more civilized hour.So until next time x

“Dead Letter Office”

What a strange day; a cloud of midge’s is dancing about above the mud patch that was the lawn,the chickens have gone mad laying eggs and yet this morning it snowed again and the schoolbus failed to make it.

The ice and snow meant I was a bit late getting down to Middlesbrough,where I was taking a few things( including these notebooks) to put in the We Are Open , pop-up shop.

It’s in a fantastic position, right in the middle of the pedestrian area, opposite “House of Frasier ” and is meant to be a cozy meeting place as well as a gallery and shop. I’ll post more information next time or you can join the Facebook group.

I wish I’d taken pictures before packaging these little books, but I was in a bit of a rush to get them finished so I could take them today.Anyway this is not going to be a long waffle as I have to be at work early tonight so I need a quiet moment with some coffee before I head out. Don’t forget to visit “We Are Open” and also the “DesignersMarketplace” pop-up shop and if you are in London, William Tillyer has the opening of his “Paintings” show tonight at the Bernard Jacobson Gallery.

Leaves and Berries

Here are some lovely Rowan berries to get into the Autumnal spirit. The Rowan or Mountain Ash is also known as the Witch or “Wicken Tree” and is supposed to bring good luck if one takes root in your garden. One hasn’t taken root in my garden yet which could explain the lack of people hammering at my door offering me work!

At this time of year the berries look almost luminous on gloomy days and today is certainly one of those. It is cozy though to get the stove going and curl up with my latest bit of design work (some more heat transfer prints on fleece). I also got a chance to follow Lyndsay’s instructions and learn how to put a © watermark on to my images-thanks Lyndsay!

Yesterday I got an e-mail from Helen Stevens at Cleveland College of Art and Design,telling me about an event she is organizing at Middlesbrough Town Hall. It sounds great and I’m hoping to be able to get some stuff together for a stall.Apparently there are still stalls available so anyone who’s interested should take a look at the website, www.designersmarketplace.org.uk. Should be worth a visit anyway and as I’ve said before its about time Middlesbrough made the most of its creative talent.