New developments on the News page and I am now able – I hope – to post information quickly and easily and say whatever I think of interest as often as I like. Lots of events recently, so I will outline one or two for the moment and go from there. So here goes!
I went over to this excellent craft fair as there were two basketmakers with stands, Louise Paul and Annemarie O’Sullivan, and also because I love the tiny two coach train that cuts across the top of Romney Marsh between Ashford and Brighton. It is slow travel, back to the age of leisure and dreaming out of the window. Wide skies and flat landscape on the Marsh, one of the places I really like very much. The Show was very buzzy and stimulating. I discovered that one of the students at present on the City and Guilds Creative Basketry at the City Lit is other half of a well known leather business (www.wolframlohr.com) so it was good to talk to her and buy a small purple pencil case with green zip tie– lovely thick hide – which I am enjoying. Smells and feels good.
I met lots of folk who teach at West Dean, as I do, including a book binder who was there for the first time last summer and enjoyed herself. My second purchase was from her, Big Jump Press, a very thin book, 6 double pages which could be cut. Nice retro cover but what about making that first mark in such a wonderfully thin book? Maybe for documenting one making project? I was looking next to a pair who knew much more than I did so I listened to their talk of long stitch and other technicalities. In another life bookbinding might be my choice too.
As for the basketmakers, they were doing well and both ripe with ideas and entirely different work. Annemarie (www.annemarieosullivan.co.uk) uses a variety of cleft woods and had a most appealing stack of Catalan platters with chestnut rings, oval and almost rectangular with rounded corners. Very crisp and strong against the willow weaving. Her husband had wood pieces, a wonderful strong bench, and a ‘what not’, was that what it was called? It was a series of small quirky box-like compartments which I would have loved it as a child for my collection – ever a collector – of the moment. They won the prize for the Best in Show, so excellent.
Louise Paul had a number of original ideas, most striking of which was a chair with a traditionally caned back and the seat woven with brilliant man-made narrow strings, shiny and pulled taut. I liked it a lot and so did someone else as it was whisked away and another replaced it. Several dark, dark willow baskets also went early, to a dress designer with lovely generous rich clothes which are the sort of things I wish I wore but don’t! Great day altogether so go if you can go next year – not too large or overwhelming – you will see very high quality craft.