Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Holiday Time Again!

Warning!!  Picture and rock-heavy post. Leave now if it's not your thing :-)

I know, it's dreadful!  You would think we would have better things to do than go on a trip, wouldn't you?  Well, when the chance comes along to go to a special place that you've wanted to see since you were a child it would be rude not to go, wouldn't it?  Where is this special place?  It looks across to Scotland from the top of Ireland and is a place of mystery, turmoil, and legend otherwise known as The Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland.

We went across with our friends as A & P Travel with the luxury of someone else doing the driving.  After an early start we crossed the Irish Sea by the Cairnryan to Larne crossing, one I've not been on before. Our first night was spent in a lovely but haunted hotel close to the ferry and the Giant's Causeway was our first stop next day.

We chose to walk down to the causeway and enjoy the views but there is a shuttle bus for those who need it.

If you look at the image above you should be able to spot a lumpy rock formation near the foot of the cliff that looks a bit like a one humped camel, there are various names for the many rock formations here.

As you appoach the eponymous causeway you are struck by the number of people walking or clambering all over it.

 The guys in red fleeces are National Trust guides who try to keep people safe and offer advice as to the best route up and down.

On our walk down we took our time and explored the lower areas of the rocks and the amazing smaller columns of basalt that varied in colour from very pale to black.

 These people above give you a sense of scale and the actual Causeway stretches out to sea behind them.

I thought this smooth stone was the Giant's armchair but found out later it was further on.  I would have loved to have sat in it but I didn't trust myself to fling myself into it as it was a bit awkward. 

When we reached the Causeway I didn't fancy the look of the climb where everyone else was going up and thought I wasn't going to be able to go onto it so we wandered around to the east side and were amazed by the huge columns of basalt.

 The turquoise coat is me, off to see if I can find an easier way up, albeit without the benefit of NT guys.
 Some of these columns have coins pushed into the cracks, some of which had gone rusty.  Very tempting!
 I really couldn't go all that way and not walk on the Causeway itself so I left DH taking photos and discovered a gentle climb up.  I told DH I was only going as far as a couple of people I could see ahead but, well, once I was up there what could I do?  It was actually reasonable walking on top and I had a walking pole with me so I felt confident to wander.

The surface is fairly flat on top, just have to watch where you are walking.  I was surprised to see how light the rocks were.

 Above, looking back towards the 'camel',

 As you get further along the rocks do change colour. 

This looking back the way I had come. 

Had to take a few texture photos ;-)

I could have stayed up there all day but thought I'd better get back.  Sudden panic! The easy climb up looked treacherous going down so I went across to where the guides were.  It was easier to pick a route but the stines were shiny with so many feet crossing them so I didn't feel all that safe.  

We had arrived at the Causeway early and as we walked back to the visitor centre the crowds going down were getting heavier.

It felt like a pilgrimage!  I did wonder about whether people should be allowed to roam freely over such a special place but I suppose the rocks must be tough enough to take it.  For my part I am pleased that you could roam at will.  It felt a very special place and I was elated to be standing there looking down on such a colossal, mind blowing force of nature.  Do click on the photos to see the detail.  Hopefully if you've got this far you'll be as awed as I was. 

Monday, 10 August 2015

Festival of Quilts

Last week I spent 3 busy days in Birmingham at the Festival of Quilts.  As ever it was a really enjoyable time spent walking miles (exhausting!), meeting lots of friends from far and near (lovely) and viewing all the beautiful quilts and artwork on show (inspiring and tiring).  Unsurprisingly there was some shopping too.

So what did I see?  Lots of photos following.

 My very dear friend Carolyn Saxby's beautiful work, "Watching The Dark Sky".  Carolyn will be blogging about this quilt soon.  It was lovely to meet up with Carolyn and Margaret Garrood who had travelled up to the Show from Cornwall.

 Annabel Rainbow was on her Through Our Hands stand painting her latest quilt during the Show.  It was interesting to stand for a while and watch her process.

These beautiful and enigmatic portraits of her mother were also part of the Through Our Hands display and are so poignant.  These were only two of a much larger collection.  If you click on the detail you will be able to see that they are made with wool sewn onto net/tulle.

This is Susan Lenz's Wall of Keys and it took her 9 hours to assemble on site.  She brought it across from America in two suitcases.  She gave a very enjoyable and thought provoking lecture on how a series of work might develop with regular references to The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron.  If nothing else it made me realise how many ideas for potential work pass in and out of my head while I'm working without ever being captured. 

I was on the lookout for different ways to display your work and this nifty sletchbook hanging caught my eye.

There was a huge amount of work in this beautiful piece by Lin Crompton called Shallow Waters.  The individual pieces were all hand cut (I was told) and I love the flow of colour throughout.  The quilt had been juried into the Fine Art Quilt Masters section.

 I loved this piece by Australian quilter Cathy Jack Coupland entitled "Australia My Way".

 Another Fine Art Quilt Master "Sharon & Co" by Ann Smith.

My Facebook and blogging friend Amo House made this wonderful quilt called "Dragons Ho" and won her a Highly Commended!  Well done Amo on your first outing at Festival!

These wonderful creatures are by Vladimir Telnykh who had his own gallery.  Some of the works, like the fish, were mounted on wood.

I love this fabulous Fish Monster by Daisy May Collingridge.  "This is the fish monster that wished for legs and walked himself out of the water evolution complete".  You can see more Quilt Creations behind him.

Mavis Walker made this wonderful Chess Set and it won her First Prize in Quilt Creations.  It was almost impossible to photograph it for all the people admiring it.

As my mum remarked this morning when I described it to her, you need to see it in real life to appreciate this superb coat by Marijke Van Welzen, who you can find on Facebook.

Equally popular was this winning quilt in the Pictorial Category.  It is by Claudia Pfeil and is called Turtle Bay.  The photos don't show up the crystals that cover it and give it flecks of light.

Don't give up, we're nearly through it all.

 Another blogging friend, Frauke Schramm, entered this quilt titled "Passion Always Wins" into the guild Challenge category.  

Finally a little shopping including an apron I bought from Alison Hulme.

Yes, I could have made myself an apron but I liked the screen printing on this one and you have to support fellow artists, don't you?

Well done if you've got this far.  I think you deserve a drop of your favourite tipple.  I did take even more photos but I'll spare you them.  

PS Here's mine on display

That's yer lot!