I love the internet! It’s thanks to the internet that, Sue from Yay Retro stumbled across me via the Granny CAL I’ve been running over on Instagram, Ravelry and this ‘ere crochet blog. As a result, Sue suggested an interview, which I thought was a great idea! A couple of weeks ago I wrote out my answers to Sue’s fab questions and sent over a massive wodge of photographs of my home (with vintagey stuff- it’s relevant, I promise) and things I’ve crocheted. That interview can be found HERE. In the interest of keeping things a two way street I thought it would be nice to get to know Sue too, so I sent her a few questions for her to answer as well. We have things in common, we both live in Devon, we both love crochet and both have a penchant for cool, old stuff! Also, (as an aside) I found all of this really interesting. The questions started a nostalgic trip into the past, which triggered a load of old memories. I think that’s the main reason why I accumulate all my seemingly random junk. They’re connections to places I’ve been and people I’ve known.
Righty, over to Sue…
How long have you lived in Totnes?
We moved here in 2015 to be nearer to our son and family. We felt at home as soon as we got here, it’s a very special, welcoming and friendly place.
How much does living in Totnes feed your creativity and/or love of vintage? [Totnes is a town in Devon known for having an alternative, arty scene]
I did a fine art degree at The Winchester School of Art and trained, then worked as a professional artist (large abstract paintings) for around seven years before becoming a wedding photographer with my husband for six years. After this I set up yay retro! and I think both of these have significantly fed into the look and feel of yay retro! especially as everything needs to be photographed attractively. Totnes and the surrounding area is marvellous for finding vintage wares. I love the beautiful historic buildings and surrounding wonderful countryside, as well as the ‘anything goes’ feel in Totnes, it makes life more interesting and everyone is friendlier and accepting, I think.
What other parts of Devon are your favourite?
I adore Woolacombe in the North as I had all my childhood holidays there, visiting around 5 times a year in our tent and caravan. Tavistock is also a beautiful town, I love the market there and the drive over the Moors. My other favourite spots are the steam railways in Totnes and Dartmouth. These remind me of my Gramp who was a steam engine driver in the 1950s/60s.
There seems to be quite a few creative folk in Devon. Do you think Devon in particular is a good base for creatives? What makes it so special?
I’m quite new here and so have met only a few other vintage sellers and artists. However I am aware of more here than I was in Hampshire where I lived before.
The country and seaside are so inspiring in Devon and the slower pace of life is really superb. I think people’s outlook on life is different to that of people who live or work in or near big cities. Perhaps this is what attracts creative people to the county? Totnes itself is known for its arty folk as it is close to Dartington, which used to be the home of the famous Dartington College of Arts until quite recently.
What is it about vintage/retro stuff that makes you happy?
I was very lucky to have a happy time growing up in the 1960s and 70s, everything I buy for yay retro! makes me think of my Gran, Nan or my Mum all of whom were great home makers. I can recall special, happy times in each of their kitchens, and because each of them had different tastes in home decor, it really is a case of finding and recognising things they had. I only ever buy things that make me smile, that I truly love and would want for myself. If I’m not keen to give it house room myself I don’t buy it! When I find something lovely I say ‘yay! retro!’ in my head and often feel quite elated. It’s a real feel good job to have as I am forever ‘buzzing’ about the lovely objects and textiles I find!
When did you know it was time to make it your full time job?
I started the yay retro! online shop in 2012, and by 2013 knew it was going to take off and that I would need to tail off my other work commitments which were in the family web development company. I now run yay retro! full time.
Do you hangout with other crafty folk?
Being new to Totnes I don’t know that many people yet who are crafty. I do know of other vintage sellers and they are all very friendly and supportive. it’s a lovely community to be part of. On the crafty side of things, I am currently mad on crochet thanks to getting back into it after seeing you publicise the #grannycal18 crochet along. I am currently teaching my daughter in law to knit and soon to crochet. I find joining groups like Hooked on Crochet on Facebook is a good outlet for feedback and crafty talk. It’s also nice to share pics on the yay retro! Instagram page as my followers are really supportive.
What are your thoughts on the maker’s renaissance we’re experiencing?
I think that the internet has allowed people to share their work easily and also to sell their ideas and makes. This probably makes it appear that we have a makers renaissance, when in fact there have always been heaps of creative people out there.
I picked up the ‘making’ bug from my Mum and Gran who were fantastic at making clothes whether it be sewing or knitting. Neither of them crocheted, and I recently taught my Mum so that she could make a blanket for her great grandson.
It’s superb that getting online can enable people to share so much, and get feedback on their work. I spend many an evening being inspired by other people’s beautiful workmanship.
I often think that if only the internet had been as dominant when I was painting as it is now, I would still actually be working as an artist and selling smaller works from a website. At the time I was a working artist going the gallery route, it was the only option, which made my paintings too expensive for most people.
Who are your favourite artistic people? Top blogs? Instagrammers?
There are SO many artists and makers that I love, currently the printmaker Jane Ormes’ work really strikes a chord with me,
Anna Wiscombe’s wooden birds and plants are gorgeous, Jane Foster’s screen prints adorn my home and Chris Made This and Ames_Likes_Toast Instagram’s feed always make me really happy. I have bought quite a few pieces from Anna, Ames and Chris too. My illustrator friend Sara Rhys based in Totnes has a beautiful Instagram page which always brings a smile to my face.
What are your favourite shops/places in Devon to find treasure? And/or further afield?!
I search everywhere I go to be honest. I adore Totnes market; there are some lovely, friendly, helpful sellers there and it’s always great to have a chat as well as browse and buy! Like everyone, I always search around charity shops and often strike it lucky. I particularly like Salisbury in Wiltshire, New Milton in Hampshire and Brixham in Devon.
www.yayretro.co.uk is an online shop where you can buy the very best Vintage & Flower Power wares from the 1940s to the 1980s. Browsing and buying from the website is really easy and worth doing regularly as fresh stock is added regularly… pieces are described honestly and postage and packaging costs kept low, posting across the UK twice weekly. The yay retro! online vintage shop features vintage kitchenware, tablecloths, bedding, ornaments, toys, books, and much more!
Thanks Sue! I really enjoyed your insightful comments. xx
Ok, a few pics of this year’s Tar barrels in Ottery St Mary. I took them on my phone so they’re not fabulous but I couldn’t let it pass without saying something about the weekend. It’s unique and special, it has to be done. I’m not writing a proper article but do check out 2016 here and 2015 here. Those posts have more info.
You can’t see well but that’s the massive bonfire next to the river, which in turn is next to the fairground. Over to the left somewhere is where I stung my arse on nettles. Someone might have seen but there were a lot of bushes to hide in and I needed a wee. It’s a pity that it was too dark to spot the stingers.
A bonfire is mesmerising. We stood and watched in revery for a while before going off to find a few burning barrels. As usual, the kids went home after the bonfire. Well, we found a safe spot for them to witness one barrel and then they had to go home. Too dangerous for little guys.
The square was packed with people. Although I’m pretty sure it was relatively “quiet” for a Saturday. I didn’t get proper pictures of the barrel being carried. I did a ten second burst as one went by and then put my phone in my pocket for the most of it. I wanted to enjoy it with my eyes. Last year I was too focussed on getting a good picture (not that I achieved it). I’ll leave that to the professionals. If you google the event you can find some terrific footage. You’ll then be able to see that the barrels really are in the crowd. No safety barrier. No illusions.
Once midnight passes the crowds have thinned, with everyone staggering home. I stayed on hoping some magic would happen. It didn’t. Just a lot of trash and a strange quiet. At that point I felt I’d out-stayed my welcome so I dragged myself away to my bed. Roll on next year.
I love the Thelma Hulbert Gallery, it’s always welcoming and they have a really eclectic mix of exhibitions. A couple of years ago I went and saw a collection of Matisse paper cut-outs, which was great for a small town gallery (the Thelma Hulbert is in Honiton, East Devon). Sometimes we go just to use their fully stocked art and craft room. The kids love grabbing glue and making collages, or drawing the biggest pictures they can on massive sheets of paper.
I left it really late to visit their latest exhibition, the last day is this coming Saturday (24th June). I can’t believe I didn’t see that it was on until now.
Blooming Marvellous is right up my street because it is a knitting and crochet exhibition! It’s a garden of all things yarn. People from all ages, from all walks of life, hand stitched every item on display. I wasn’t sure if it’d be a bit cutesy but I was delighted to see it all! We also contributed by adding a few rows to some knitting that was there. Can you believe that there weren’t any crochet hooks?! I forgot to take crochet flowers with me. Annoyingly, I have some at home that would have been perfect to donate.
I went with my friend and our two youngest children. The boys had a great time finding things on a list they were given. A mole in a hole, tick! A ladybird wearing a lace collar, tick! A plate of prawns, tick! (The boys were also really pleased to find plug sockets hidden in the floor. But they are only four years old). After the exhibition one of the people working there told us to go and explore the gardens. There were plenty of strawberries to find and eat, she told us. It’s little things like that, that make me like the place so much.
Blooming Marvellous has been touring the UK for the past six years and I wish I could tell you where it’ll be next so that you might get to go. Sadly, I have no idea. Hopefully it’ll be on somewhere else soon. I did take pictures though…
It’s bluebell time, come on grab your friends, we’re going to visit bluebell lands…etc
I don’t know a single person that isn’t impressed with a sea of these. Let’s face it, even a single bluebell sitting on its own is pretty good. Bees especially agree.
At the weekend we had an impromptu adventure to our nearest gathering of knock your socks off bluebells. Blackbury Camp is situated on the Ottery St Mary to Seaton road and it’s beautiful and interesting at any time of the year. I wrote about it last year when I was seemingly a bit mardy. Check out my grump here.
Photographing outside views is a lot different to product photography. I’ve had more practice at the latter but not much else. This was one of the things that was upsetting me last year. I’ve improved since then but I still don’t fully understand how to get the best shot. It’s not just about clicking away and hoping that one will turn out OK. Every picture you take should have something going for it. That’s what I think. Believe me, I totally click away and hope for the best but I also try and plan stuff too.
I wasn’t thinking about it at the time (hence the non matchy matchy) but these two pics are the left and right of the same view. We’re in an oval bowl of an iron age fort. You can run around the top “walls” or amble through the centre. What is not seen to the left is the lane that brings you here. To the right; an exit, a series of trenches and stunning views of the valley beyond. The pic above this one shows the other side of the wall and one of the trenches.
Do have bluebell woods near you? Anyone in Devon know of other pretty woods? What follows can only be described as Bluebell spam. It’s worth it though!
Spam over. And by the way, I cheated. The bumblebee shots aren’t from Blackbury Camp at all, I took them in my garden a few days before our jaunty outing! Sorry about that. The fun will never end.
It’s November and I live in Devon, that means one thing to me: Tar Barrels!!
I am alive and well after spending an evening being squeezed and squashed in amongst thousands of people. Saturday night was absolutely mental! It’s been a few years since the Tar Barrels was held on a Saturday night and the difference in crowd numbers is huge. If the 5th of November landed on a Tuesday, for example, it’d be comparatively sedate (I’m lying, it’d still be nuts).
Ottery St Mary is a town in East Devon and it’s been my home for seven years. It’s my favourite place too and there are many reasons why. Pop over to The Guardian’s latest Let’s Move To… for a bit more of an insight as to why I think it’s so special. (I wonder if you’ll spot anything interesting in that article… Let me know if you do! heehe). I can’t believe the article didn’t mention the beavers that live on the river: the only wild ones in England! Ottery obviously has so many good things, they can’t all fit into one article.
I wrote about the Tar Barrels last year but didn’t get many pictures (didn’t get much of an experience at all but that’slast year’s story). This year, I really wanted to get some decent photographs. Since I got my nice camera, I’ve spent the last eleven months practising taking pictures of crochet. I never thought to learn about taking pictures of moving flames, whilst trying not to get trampled in the dark. Silly me. The pictures I got on Saturday are not as good as I’d hoped for. There are people that have taken better on their Iphones. Meh.
The family set out just after four o’clock and made our way to one of the kid’s barrels. Luckily for us, one of our friends has a garden with the perfect vantage point for observing one of the barrel runs. It’s good for kids watching as they don’t always like being in the crowds and this event isn’t really recommended for children. We only take the kids out for the early barrels and the bonfire. After that, they have to go home!
Children as young as seven get the honour of rolling the barrels. It’s local families that do it, generation after generation. It’s a wonderful tradition and it’s a privilege to be able to witness it. This year we got to see Eldest’s class mates do it for the first time and that added something extra too. They’re all layered up so they’re not in too much danger of getting burnt.
We managed to miss the lighting of the bonfire as we’d gone home for tea. It’s one of the best bits, if you ask me! This year, even if we’d given it plenty of time, we still would have missed it. Dolly steps had to be taken to get over the bridge. It was rammed. I’ve been a few times on a Saturday but this is the busiest I can remember. I’ve had a look online today but I can’t find the numbers of attendance. I’ve seen estimates of up to thirty thousand people but I don’t know if that’s accurate. I’ve also spotted figures nearer ten thousand. I dunno. It’s a lot, whatever the number. (It’ll be busy next year as I think it’ll be a Saturday then too- they don’t do Sundays).
The bonfire is fierce. And massive.
We went to the fair as well. A funfair is great but it’s easy to spend all your money, so we ended up being mainly spectators. I love looking at the bright lights and hearing all the screams!
After the fair, we got rid of the children and went out to watch the big barrels. There’s no art to this bit, getting a good Tar Barrel experience is mostly down to luck. If you’re not in the right place it is nearly impossible to fight your way to a good spot. And you can’t always tell what will be a good spot until you’re either in it, or stood miles away, feeling sad that you won’t feel the heat or the thrill of getting right up alongside a great big burning barrel. That is certainly the case on a busy night. I’ve found it more fun and been more brave when there is that little bit extra room to move. You can follow the barrels and get closer.
I swapped cameras for the late night stuff. Crikey, I’d forgotten how annoying my old point and shoot job was. The delay on the button drove me crazy and I missed loads of potentially amazing shots. I have many pictures of the back of strange heads, my sister’s boyfriend’s bum (deleted, thanks) and out of focus close ups of the hessian mitts (that protect roller’s hands). The zoom wasn’t instantaneous like I’m now used to either. I’ve become spoiled by a fancy pants camera. However, it was too dodgy to take it back out again.
Even with the point and shoot, I do like those flames. I wish I’d been able to capture the sea of people around them. Next year. There’s always next year….
I’m a bit embarassed to admit that I only managed to stay out until half ten. My back was killing me and two days later it still hasn’t recovered. The plan is to train my muscles for the next 363 days so that I will not be a feeble old lady but have the stamina of a midnight barrel man. I was hearing stories in the playground this morning and I felt envious; people had seen late night punch ups and partying and I missed it! Pah!
We went and checked on the bonfire one last time, which had reduced in size, and heat. Beyond it, the funfair was still full of gusto.
And then I said goodbye to it all for another year…
There was lovely autumn sunshine yesterday. I went into the garden in my Hallowe’en get up to take a few pictures. The garden isn’t as exciting to me now but I think I should have a record of what it looks like in a different season.
Autumn is seriously beautiful. The other day I drove back home from the weekly shop through an orange tunnel of trees. Low sun, autumn leaves, winding roads through the woods. There was definitely some magic going on.
I haven’t got much to say today. It was only five minutes in the garden, finding what I liked best about it.
There is one last courgette hanging on. And since I can’t be bothered to tear up the bedraggled runner beans yet, there are still some of those too.
One bed dug over and manured. Nasturtiums are trying their luck. I could salad them up before the frosts, I suppose.
I’m most impressed with the hosta seeds. Pretty! Last year I took some of these and planted them. Nowt happened. Next year I’m really going to look after my hostas. This year so many snails and slugs dined on them, they ended up looking like lace.
That’s it for now. Shock,horror, I have done very little crochet in the last week. We’ve been away for half term and had poorliness. I’ve taken to reading more too, which takes up stitchy time. I’ll try and find a better balance this week.
Ps. I found a couple more dodgy pictures of my little halloween garland.
I completely forgot to write about this cosy crochet blanket. I finished it before the summer holidays. It got a wash and was then stored away before I realised I should probably show it off a bit and then put it up for sale on Etsy (which it now is!). Actually, now is a pretty good time to do it because the colours remind me of autumn and that’s just where we’re heading.
Amazingly for me, this is the first time I’ve done a join-as-you-go granny square blanket. Whilst I’ve done plenty of continuous joins, this is slightly different due to all the colour changes. It looks so much better than if I’d whip stitched the squares together (which is what I always used to do).
The border is quite plain but I didn’t think it wanted flouncy. Just some scallops between every other cluster. In the alternating clusters, it’s just a UK dc (US sc). To stop it curling too much, there are chains between them.
There’s something about this blanket I really like and I’ll be jiggered if I know what it is. Maybe it’s the simplicity of it, or it could be the autumn colour palette. I haven’t quite put my finger on it yet but it doesn’t really matter, does it? I like it because I do!
The colour scheme wasn’t a choice I made, it was more determined by what I had left hidden in the cupboard under the stairs. Over the last few months I’ve been making an attempt to get that down to a more manageable collection. I’m trying to train myself not to impulse buy yarn too. It’s not working that well, I’ve just transferred my lustings to fabric instead. Anyway, if you are at all curious about the colours, they are Stylecraft Special DK in: Saffron, Gold, Pomegrante, Petrol, Spice, Parma Violet, Khaki, Spring Green, Magenta and Lavender. It’s deffo less than a ball of each but I couldn’t tell you how much exactly as none were full balls to begin with.
It’s a blanket that I wish I’d made bigger. Well, I couldn’t; didn’t have enough stash! I hope that it finds a home…
In a complete random change of subject, I popped out to have a very speedy look at the Tour of Britain this morning. This was at the end of my road just before midday today. I timed it very well, I was out and back home within fifteen minutes.
I had to leap out of the way because they were extremely close. I don’t know how they managed to do it so fast, this is the top of the hill. They had an even bigger hill to climb a few minutes later, one which my car struggles with. Wish I’d seen that!
I thought it was great and I’m not even a cycling enthusiast! Bit of excitement on a rainy day anyway. I bet all those cars have a crochet blankets in the boot…
Excuse me whilst I saturate one single blog post in several pictures of the same thing. I took many photographs and enjoyed doing so. I’m spreading my joy. There also might be a “reward” at the end, in the shape of different things.
This will be on Etsy by the end of the week (I tell myself), along with many others. I need to stop hoarding.
This was such a quick and easy blanket to make. It was one of those ones where you don’t have to think. Love those ones. The only fretful moment was when I ran half a row short of the shrimp. Luckily I had a small ball (less than a handful) left from previous adventures so I didn’t have to buy a new ball just for the sake of a few metres.
I’m now wondering what other colour combinations will work well. For many years I would make all sorts of blankets, in all sorts of colour combinations but I’ve recently begun to notice a pattern emerging. I think I might be developing some sort of crochet style. It might not be a good style but I suspect there’s one there nevertheless.
Taking repeated pictures of the same thing is confusing, I hope I’m not posting the same pictures twice.
This is still me using up the significant yarn stash I have. I’ve been really good recently, I don’t think I’ve bought any yarn since May. (I’m not including the stuff I bought at the Bovey Craft Festival. Special circumstances).
Here are the details: It’s Stylecraft Special dk in Denim, Shrimp, Navy, Mustard and Sage. I used Attic 24’s Neat Ripple and I think I chained 115 to begin, just right for a baby blanket. The border is Parchment and I used it to fill in the ripples and make a sort of picot edging.
These are some other blankets that I’m planning on Etsifying this week. I’ve bagged them up and weighed them. Looking at Royal Mail yesterday was exhausting. The pricing schemes are baffling. In the past I’ve made the mistake of not charging enough for p&p and I want to avoid doing that again. It’s blinkin expensive no matter which way you do it and I worry it’ll put people off. But! I shall stop looking for excuses and just give it a go.
And on a different note, I’ve put up a picture on my facebook page to show my summer fete stall. Feel free to go and have a look. It was a very hot and sunny day, which was great (I feared rain). I had no idea what to expect, hmm, it was OK. Having shared the fete blog post locally, I had a few visitors who came over especially to see me, which was lovely. But overall, I don’t think I had stuff that made people spontaneously decide to splurge. Eeh, I don’t know! It was a learning experience and I’ve even had interest off the back of it, so that’s good. Exposure innit!? I hadn’t considered that that could happen.
And in the interests of sharing all that I do (not just the stuff that makes me feel pleased with myself), here are some cheeky pixies!
Er, yep, I made those!
I have no idea what was going on in my brain. A bit cutesy aren’t they?! At least they make me laugh and that can only be a good thing! What you must do is go and look up Pixie Day in Ottery (try wikipedia too). It’s another tradition here, in town, alongside the more famous Tar Barrels. The local kids from scouts, guides, beavers etc run around the town dressed up as pixies for Midsummer. It’s a long story but a fun one.
Anyway, I’m off to do some stitching now. The sewing machine is calling to me this week. This morning I drove to Exmouth, to go a closing down sale at a fabric shop. I spent so long choosing that I didn’t have time to go to the other fabric shop (probably a good thing; I’ve spent all my pocket money).
I spent pretty much most of Friday in awe. I was fairly gobsmacked by some of the things I saw at Bovey Tracey’s Contemporary Craft Festival. It was my first time and I’m definitely heading back next year. I didn’t shy away, I stood and chatted to loads of the stall holders (I don’t know if I should call them that, maybe artists?). There were several moments where I became over excited and, mostly made a pratt of myself. I loved every minute of it. I expected high levels of snootiness coming from arty folks but I saw very little of that. In fact, I saw some major loveliness.
There were so many stalls, over 200 for sure. I’m ashamed to say I skipped some, my friends and I only had a few hours before we had to go and collect kiddliwinks from pre-school. My main interest lay in the mixed media crafts, paper, and textile gubbins. I don’t do jewellery (don’t wear it) and I’m not that bothered by glass and ceramics (not that it wasn’t good, it totally was). There was so much awesome, seriously, I didn’t know whether to squee or cry. The intimidation levels were high that day. Do I run and hide? Or do I celebrate how craft really is now a level playing field with what we consider fine art? I’m not going to get into that debate but I do not enjoy the elitism that goes on in this world. I find it funny how much guff people spew when they talk about art. I spent three years studying the history of it and know that there are art people who are right numpties. Crikey, some do tend to take themselves very seriously don’t they!?
Anyway, before I go off on one, here are some of the pictures I took that day. I didn’t take the posho camera, it rained a lot and I’m not quick enough with it to casually snap away, like the fella I saw in plus fours and a flat cap. I took my Lumix point & shoot with a dead spider trapped in the lens.
This was the first stall that made me realise I was in the right place. I was very keen on staring at it all. So much envy.
(I tried where I could to ensure the artists names were in the photo’s, look them up, or if I’ve typed it somewhere like this: Anya Keeley. Highlight, right click and google search, I’m too lazy to link, there will be many names.)
If you haven’t come across Little Burrow Designs, look it up. I think Claire’s inventions are wonderful. I noticed that her stall was very popular. My friends and I hung around chatting for ages (and we would have done so even if we didn’t know her from chatting in the playground at school!).
The attention to detail is marvellous, everything is made from old finds, even the quill that she writes with is proper ancient! Want to get her newsletter? Then you’d better tippytap your name and email address using the vintage type writer. Love it.
This is a close up of one of my favourites, the waves are what drew me to it. There is a tactile quality here that makes me want to do lots of stroking and poking.
I think this is Sue Brown. The dead spider is making its appearance for the first time. Sorry.
I think the shelves are just as cool as the works themselves. All the displays had so much thought behind them.
We all stared at these birdies for ages. When I first saw them I thought they were taxidermy. Apparently others do too. It’s all stitch work!
It is the work of Sarah J Perry Designs. This long tailed tit was my favourite but they were all beautifully made.
This is Craig Fellows. I thought his “casual doodles” were awesome. I don’t think he liked me calling them doodles but I was only teasing. They’re immaculately drawn. And I love the fact that he then puts them on delicate fabrics or turns them into a purse or cushion.
Hen’s Teeth is pretty well known. So beautiful. I wanted a little purse but didn’t have enough pocket money.
I’m trying very hard to do this in the order in which we went round. Next up is Sarah Morpeth. There were a few paper cutters there. All impressive. I liked the colours that Sarah incorporated into hers.
Louise McLaren. More paper cutting loveliness. How does that paper not rip under fingers?
I think this may have been the only jewellery stand I gawped at. The brooches were gorgeous.
Kirsty Elson’s stuff was amazing. I could in no way ever, make drift wood look this good. By this point I was starting to get overwhelmed by how everyone was just so blinking good at what they do. It is not fair. Whilst I was there a guy came up to Kirsty and gave her a curved lump of metal he’d found washed up on the shore somewhere. Provenence is the word that springs to mind. It might not fit perfectly but I don’t know a better word right now. Maybe it’s an antonym I’m after, afterall you don’t really know where you’re ingredients came from.
Can you tell what that is? It’s only blinkin’ crochet! Incy wincy crochet. It reminded me of microscopic things sitting on a petri dish. I totally loved this. I stared at Liz Cooksey’s work for the longest time and probably gushed a lot. Puts me and my granny squares to shame.
This is Teresa Green. She’s a local screen printer and has a shop in Exeter.
I was most intrigued by what Michelle Griffiths (for Resist Gallery) was up to. This was another lot of textiles I wanted to scrunch but was too afraid to touch. How does she do this?!
I was reminded of sea creatures and seaweed. I think this is what mermaids would wear.
And more beachy seaside inspiration.
Ella Robinson is embroidering driftwood!! Flippin’ driftwood. And she made it look good! I’m not even going to try. We had a drift wood BBQ a few summers ago. I thought I was being inventive.
If you look up Linladan, a Swedish Flax, you’ll find a really interesting story about how this collection of colourful threads was discovered.
I wish I’d bought some but I’d already spent my money on food and wool.
This wool! This is completely gorgeous. I have never felt a wool so delicately soft. This is probably because I can only ever afford the cheap stuff, which is never going to get any where near the quality of this. I think this one hank (I don’t like saying the word hank at all but I think that is what this is) will make a shawl. It’s lace weight so it’ll go far. It took an age to wind into a ball. I used two bottles of wine to hold the yarn in place.
This was the stall where I bought the wool. And I know I wasn’t the only one who enjoyed a thorough fondle.
Belinda Harris-Reid. I took quite a while deciding which one would come home with me.
Marna Lunt’s stall was actually the first one we came to but there was a permanent crowd of people. She’d been on the telly the night before actually, did you watch Make! Craft Britain on BBC4? It was very interesting, can we have more please?
When we arrived back at her stall a while later there were still people there but we muscled our way in and drove them away. Ha.
I wanted everything. Marna’s lampshades and brooches are just lovely. Really truly beautiful. But I also wanted to rummage in her fabric basket and steal the beads so I could make my own! I mostly crochet and don’t do nearly enough embroidery. I’m going to now though. I think that’s one of the great things about coming to a place like this. It really is hugely inspiring. I may not be any where near the same standard as the people displaying their works here but it makes you want to do it anyway.
Whilst at Bovey I was talking to Helen Bottrill who fronts Kindred Rose and organises Creative Women Together. Last month I plucked up the courage to attend one of her get togethers for the first time – a total fish out of water experience! I really enjoyed it and it was so interesting to hear how even professionals feel like imposters who are gonna get chucked out of the club. Helen made some interesting points about passion and creativity. Do you love crafting? If yes, then do it! It really is that simple. And don’t compare yourself to others around you. Some of these people have been making stuff for years, they are working hours and hours a day, everyday. It is so hard not to feel envious and even harder not to feel like a massive dunce, fangirl, wannabe. Mostly however, I found that there is a massive network of support here. I may be small fry but at least I know that I won’t get laughed at for trying.
By the way, there were loads more artists and crafters who I haven’t shown here but loved equally as much. Check out Suzanne Breakwell, I didn’t manage to get a picture of her stall but her work is breathtaking.
I hope that no one minds that I’ve written about their stuff. I asked to take photographs of everyone’s work but didn’t mention to all that I would be writing a blog post. I wasn’t sure at the time that I would be! Thank you.
As I mentioned in my last post, we went to Dartmoor on Sunday. Mostly this was to meet with friends for lunch but we also explored Haytor too. Usually we skip the tor and go to the pretty quarry a few hundred metres away. However, the boys wanted to climb a “mountain” so we stuck to the rocks.
I think the tor looks like a giant’s foot sticking out of the ground. Too many toes I know, so a mutant giant. (I know some of those people). I haven’t managed to capture the size of it (big), the walk/climb up to it is quite hard work, especially after a roast dinner (and a late night).
The quality of the picture is not that great as I’m told my ISO number was too high for outdoors. Low number for outdoorsy pics next time.
This is at the foot of it. It’s easy to climb as there are steps cut into it. It’s still hugely windy up there and it makes me feel uneasy. The kids could easily get whooshed off the tops of one of the toes (I wouldn’t let them up the very tops anyway and certainly not on the big toes). I didn’t take pictures up the top because of this.
Rocks n stuff.
This guy flew around quite a bit. Think he was on the look out for someone’s picnic.
Then there’s the obligatory Dartmoor ponies. They were quite aloof. Not interested in talking to us at all.
If you look closely, there’s loads of interesting plants living in the crevices of the rocks. Not sure what this is.
I think this might be my favourite picture. I love the mossy blanket that has come away from the granite. Apparently this picture has good bokeh!
There was a lizard sunbathing on this rock. He moved so blimmin fast, he was gone before I could ask him for a picture.
Some bilberries (or windberries- same thing, I think) are trying to grow here. Are they a relation of the blueberry? I could be wrong about that.
And all the faces in the rocks too! I didn’t spot David Bowie any where…
Well, that was Dartmoor. A tiny bit of it anyway. It’s a pretty big chunk of Devon. And my favourite fact about Dartmoor is, it’s radioactive! If I visit enough, I’m assuming that I will get some kind of super powers. I think that’s how it works.