Sunday, 28 March 2010

Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Part of the benefit to doing a course at the YSP is you get a days free parking and you get 10% in the shop and cafe so you can really make a day of it. The weather was bright and blustery so quite nice for having a wander amongst the outdoor sculptures, saw some new ones and some old faithfuls in the Henry Moore field.

I loved the metal lettering which was on the walkway into the main visitor centre.

The gift shop was like an aladdin's cave selling things by artists I've recently discovered. I was overjoyed to find Angie Lewin notecards and greeting cards, I also treated myself to this Orla Kiely mug in a favourite fruit pattern and another artist I found through textile work is Rob Ryan. He does the most amazing paper cut artworks and there were enormous window graphics of some of his pieces. Shown here but what with the reflections on glass I couldn't capture it to the full.

Coffee Course - Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Had a most interesting and enjoyable day on the coffee course yesterday. Best £10 I've spent in years!
I was surprised at how many people were on the course, thought about a dozen but did a count and got about 25. We were in a small auditorium and the format was a more general coffee workshop than just the latte art which actually worked better. I think there would have been too many people to spend 3 hours faffing with steamed milk and doing the patterns.

We had a talk about coffee history, the regions, flavours, roasting, seeing the green unroasted beans, sniffing the aroma. This lead to an impromptu 'cupping' session where 4 lucky people got to go up and sample 4 varieties and see if they could name them on the knowledge we had gained so far. It seemed the Kenyan was the easiest to spot as they all correctly identified it being light and citrusy.

Just before lunch break we had the first demo of the latte art. This is one of those things which the trainer made look simple. We were shown a heart design and a classic rosetta. It seems the skill is in the wrist action. The subject of latte art is huge so if you fancy seeing some wonderful examples YouTube is the place to go where you'll see cats faces, butterflies, bears etc. swirled on top of your coffee.

Lunch was a very pleasant buffet and I have to say their butternut squash & chilly soup was some of the nicest soup I've had in yonks. I would've loved seconds but didn't want to appear piggish.
After lunch things got a whole lot more competitive. The trainer said the best latte art would be judged and the winner would get a days training at Coopers Coffee. Wow, how I would love that. I have to say that I've only had one practise at home doing a design and I thought being an arty crafty person that I might do ok at it. Well, how wrong I was. It really is difficult and will take a fair bit of practise going by my effort shown here. The photo with the 2 rather nice samples on the table are what the trainer created.
We had a tie break at the end and 2 lucky people won courses.

After a few final questions the session was over and we sipped our cappuccinos before leaving with a freebie pack of coffee and some literature. 
I think I've definitely whetted my appetite and fancy either a cupping course next or basic barista.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Textile course - sketchbooks

We are in the thick of planning our textile creations for the exams which start towards the end of April. As we've reached the Easter holidays I thought I would show some of my sketchbook pages. The thing with sketchbooks I'm beginning to realise is not to be too neat and rather than my usual thought path of 'less is more', here it certainly is that 'more is more'.

The more bits of information, cuttings, samples and stuff you can cram in and get it bulging at the seam the better. Splatter the pages with paint or stencils or ripped bits of paper to provide an interesting background for sticking your bits onto and you start to get the idea.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Wake up and smell the coffee!

The details of the coffee course have arrived in this mornings post. The countdown is on to frothing that milk and trying to create some mini artworks on top of the coffee! I hope I get some good results and it doesn't go horribly wrong and into a big swirly brown mess!

The course is great value at £10 with a buffet, also free parking for the day and discount in the shop, if the weather is fine I'll be able to check out the sculpture park and looking forward to seeing the Andy Goldsworthy work.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Preserving Garlic

The house stinks of garlic! Now the oven is back up and running I decided to use the cool oven to slowly roast a garlic bulb which I infused with smoked paprika. Have preserved the cloves in olive oil with some peppercorns.
I'm hoping it tastes nice when I get to use it to make a tomato sauce.

Harlequin in York - great coffee!

Went to York yesterday and in the quest to seek out great coffee I tried another recommendation from the Cosy Coffee Shops blog.

The destination was Harlequin in Kings Square, up above another shop. I heard this was the best coffee in York and popular with locals and judging by the helpful proprietor who recommended a coffee for my chocolatey, nutty preference, I would have to agree. I had a coffee from El Salvador but I can't remember the rest of its exotic name, I also had a homemade scone which was delicious and they do it with jam and clotted cream if you feel indulgent.

The choice of coffee was great, I love Coffee Culture just down the road but Harlequin had more choice. What with Roasters in Scarborough & Cafe Leon in Malton it is so nice to have good coffee shops in the places I do most shopping.

Also saw this lovely piece of textile art on the stairwell in Harlequin.

Next weekend I go on the latte art course at Yorkshire sculpture park, can't wait.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Demolition & old buildings

There's something quite interesting about seeing the demolition of an old, unsightly building. Of course it doesn't always mean that something better will appear in its place!
I saw this coming down in Hull yesterday, just off Albion St. The photos may provide me with some ideas for some artwork along the theme of decay and destruction.

Whilst on the subject of old buildings, I noticed this one still standing, also in the Albion St area. I took a couple of pics purely to remember some ideas a friend and I had to turn the building into something interesting. Back in 1990 we put down ideas and drawings to turn the building into a vibrant arts centre with craft outlets, gallery, cafe and a small green garden area to create a bit of an oasis in the city for folk to sit and have some quiet time contemplating. I can't remember if we ever submitted this to the council but it seemed a good idea at the time and 20 years on the building is still sat redundant despite millions being pumped into Hull for regeneration!

Hornsea finds & new mug

As I was photographing my latest Hornsea finds I had to show this wonderful and cute mug my friend got me. The bambi has a very fabricy look to it.

The Hornsea cruet set in Cornrose was found in Hull yesterday and only £2.50 for the set. I hadn't got any Cornrose in my collection and wasn't sure I really liked the design but it has a nice touchy feely quality to it as it is done in the glazed stoneware, vitramic style. The charity shop I found it in also had more of the same set in cereal bowls and cups, if I'd had a few more pennies with me I would have been tempted as the quality and condition were excellent.

The Heirloom butter dish without a lid was a very cheap purchase I found in Brid last week. Should be useful to keep buttons in.

Green Ginger veggie cafe, Hull

Yesterday I met up with an old friend who I've not seen for yonks and we tried a newish veggie cafe in the old town called Green Ginger, not surprisingly it's in the Land of Green Ginger area. Had a lovely slice of cheese-cake with our coffee and I really loved the groovy artwork on the walls. The art was very Yellow Submarine in style.

I hadn't been in the town for a wander or a shop for years so my friend took me in Hepworths arcade which hadn't changed much, still had Dinsdales joke shop were I used to spend much of my pocket money as a child buying sneezing powder and the like. There was  a new and interesting looking Kimono shop but it was shut, Beasleys still had a good supply of vintage clothes and I bought a small plain black bag to embellish.

The main purpose of the trip was to visit a fabric shop which is closing down in June, the shop is Dream Fabrics on Percy Street. I got quite a few bits of fabric as you'll see from this pic and also little gadgets to make origami style fabric things which you can use to decorate clothes or accessories.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Cat buttons & cake

The weather was rather nice yesterday so had a trip to Scarborough as a bit of light relief from work and college projects. Visited my two favourite places, Roasters for a coffee and the sewing centre. I purchased just a few bits of fabric and also found these rather lovely and limited edition Laurel Burch enamel cat buttons. I have some of the Laurel Burch Fanciful Felines fabric and I love the vibrant colours so I couldn't resist these buttons.

In the evening I had a belated birthday treat as my dear friends Mart & Bri took me for an Indian at Saffron in Brid. We had a feast, it was quite superb and a complete surprise to me when a cake was presented after the main food. Despite being stuffed we all managed a slither and I have the rest to enjoy this week! 

Friday, 12 March 2010

Mushrooms on Solufleece

At the risk of doing Solufleece to death, this may be the last one for a while as I've run out of the dissolvable stuff. I need to work on this a bit more, so far I have appliqued these mushroom shapes together but it needs a bit of free stitching to add more interest.

Will then take some photos, dissolve it and publish the after results.

Friday, 5 March 2010

Solufleece work

I've now had a go at using the Solufleece and got some samples to show. It is very strange stuff to work with, flimsy and papery. You have to think about placing elements so that they are connected to either bits of fabric or with stitches so that they don't unravel when you dissolve the fabric.
My first attempt is like a little landscape theme with plants & a tree. I prefer the second attempt which I based on honesty pods and it is more abstract. 
I have shown befores and afters to give a feel of what happens when the backing fabric is washed away.

I quite like some of the photos I got from the honesty pods, I can see this is a technique I might be able to get some mileage out of and create surface designs for fabric or images for greeting cards.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Packaging 2 - Bottle Green

I hadn't realised until I was rinsing these bottles for recycling that the floral designs on the shrink wrap are actually textile work. 
Reading the back it appears that Bottle Green held a competition for textile students to design their festive packaging, what a wonderful idea.

Embellishing & solufleece

Yesterday at college we continued some embellishing in the style of Claire Coles using some scraps of floral upholstery fabric.

We've also been trying out Solufleece (dissolvable fabric) which is a thin papery fabric which you embellish your bits n pieces onto, then you rinse it and as if by magic the backing fabric disappears and you are left with the embellishings and floating stitches. I have yet to photograph my samples so will return to the subject of solufleece.