Experimental painting

Nick’s been busy making shutters for our new house, so it was my job to choose the paint colour. Although the house is new, we don’t want a dead flat colour on the shutters, but something a little more interesting and older looking. So for the base coat I chose a warm buttery shade that tones with the walls, with a soft blue as a top coat.

I’ve been experimenting on a scrap of wood; primer, two coats of the base coat, then a thin coat of the blue, that looks as though I couldn’t be bothered to do it properly. I tried rubbing a bit of wax on the edges after the second base coat, then rubbed back the blue with a scourer once it was dry.

It will take some time, but I think the effect is worth it.

Textile arts and patchwork

When we moved here, I joined the local patchwork club. The ladies were lovely, welcomed me and  showed me their way of working. I tried to go along with it, but I never really fitted into a group who hand stitch repeated blocks, then hand quilt them to make quilts and wall hangings. They couldn’t understand when I took my sewing machine along and started producing waistcoats and other items of clothing, not a traditional block in sight.

So when I heard of a textile arts group, I phoned the woman who runs it; could I join? She told me she couldn’t take anyone else, which turned out to be a euphemism for membership being by invitation only, but if I wanted to go to a workshop they were running, I’d be very welcome. The workshop was great, treating organza with a soldering iron and a hot air gun, painting hot melt glue and using it to print fabrics; it was like being a kid again, but with no one saying “be careful”. By the end of the day, I was invited to join the group; I couldn’t have been more pleased. Our meetings are great fun, playing with fabrics, wools, paints and glue; a complete escape from the humdrum routine of housework and DIY.

We were invited to take a stall at a patchwork exhibition in Mirande, about an hour’s drive from home, so Nick and I took the camper van for the weekend as we’d never been there and it would be new roads for Nick to cycle. We took along the “art” clothes I’d made previously, a waistcoat I’d made since joining the group and a mannequin I’d borrowed. Our stand filled 3 tables; we were the only textile artists at the show and attracted numerous compliments on our work as well as invitations to another two shows. Two people even asked if my waistcoat was for sale; no way, but I was very flattered.

Mirande is quite pretty, with an unexpectedly big cathedral in the centre of the town, whose buttresses form arches over the surrounding roads. When I went into town to buy bread on the Sunday morning, my senses were assaulted by the smell of chicken roasting in a rotisserie outside the little supermarket. Our planned lunch of leftovers suddenly seemed most unappealing; I bought tinned potatoes, green beans and ratatouille and reserved a chicken to collect just before they closed. Once bought, I wrapped it in the insulated windscreen shield to keep warm; Nick was surprised to say the least, to get a “proper” Sunday lunch at the end of his ride.

All in all, a good weekend.