Monday, October 13

All the news that's fit to print

Back in the summer, Hugh and I had a fine day visiting artistic folks on The Art Tour in Northumberland. We went to Horsley Printmakers where Carol and Rebecca create stunning etchings and collagraphs. And lo, they run courses! As soon as I could, I signed up for a two day introduction to making collagraphs. Last weekend was IT! Off I drove on a rainy Saturday and a sunny Sunday, across the border down towards the Tyne Valley. The view above is looking back into Scotland from the border at Carter Bar on the Sunday morning.
There were seven participants, some of whom had been before and were back to hone their skills, and a few who, like me, had no previous experience. On the first day Rebecca took us through the basic principles and had us experimenting with our first 'plate' which we inked up in one colour. I had good fun exploring textural effects with everything from carborundum to tile grout, wallpaper and PVA. On Sunday, Carol showed us how to ink up plates using two and three colours. This long skinny work of mine is flawed, strictly speaking, as there was so much PVA soaked into the little piece of hessian I had used that it squeezed out under the pressure of the rollers when I took a print. You can see the runs into the orange section all too clearly below.
The workshop we were using is the old church hall in Horsley so we had the bonus of the sunshine through these cheerful windows.
The drive down and back on the Sunday was particularly glorious - autumn colours just starting to show and the lovely pure quality of light you get at this time of year. The village below is West Woodburn in Northumberland in the late afternoon light. I had a fine two days, trying new techniques, enjoying different company and eating well at lunchtimes in the adjoining coffee shop. It was a wee breathing space in my complicated little life!

Tuesday, October 7

Further Adventures

More of Kirkcudbright as it's such an interesting little town - galleries everywhere, coloured houses, art history coming out its ears, and lots of lovely little alleyways to peer down.
On our last full day we travelled over to Wigtown, the Book Town, for a wander round the new and secondhand bookshops. We were there a few days before the Book Festival started but there were quite a few tourists (guess that included us) and the coffee shops were doing well, as ever. Obviously it was our duty to help in that respect so we went to Reading Lasses for refreshments. From there we travelled to Kirroughtree which is one of the 7stanes mountain biking centres established by the Forestry Commission. Hugh is hoping to get over to ride the routes there which are highly regarded. However we were there for a walk and, as it turned out, a little history lesson too. It was a still day, as you can see from the reflections on this wee loch hidden in the trees

Sunday, October 5

Felt Hat, Squirrels and the Sea

Although it seems a while ago already, we really enjoyed our few days away with the little caravan. On departure day I took the dogs to kennels while Hugh did vehicle checking stuff. On my way back through Hawick I visited a fantastic exhibition of contemporary Mongolian felt! This very impressive collection has travelled to various British venues and is now off to Sweden, I think. What I had not appreciated till I got there was that much of it was for sale...... There were some stunningly complex rugs and wall panels, a complete yurt, bags (I was very tempted), costume, slippers and shoes and wonderful hats. I succumbed to this one, which was ridiculously cheap. I have no intention of wearing it, funnily enough, but it's a sculpture in its own right.
We had only a minor hiccup on the way, a jammed caravan brake which Hugh sorted by means not recorded in any textbook. Arrived at Glenmidge Smithy campsite which has space for only eight tents or 'vans. At its busiest there were four of us and we were outnumbered by the red squirrels in the trees around the site - what a treat!
We did two or three walks from the door in the course of our stay, as well as a good one along seashore and cliffs near Auchencairn (south of Castle Douglas) where Hugh spotted this grass snake enjoying the day.

A good morning was spent exploring the streets and galleries in Kirkcudbright, one of which Hugh is hoping to interest in his work.
I've more pics for another post tomorrow, you lucky people!