Monday 23 April 2018

The British Quilt & Stitch Village

Hello lovelies!
Happy St.George's Day!

In celebration of all things British I thought it would be a good time to post about my visit to The British Quilt & Stitch Village last weekend...
It was my third year of attending and I have to say I always love going as it is one of my favourites in the calender of sewing events here in the UK.

I know each event has it's own merits but I love this one simply because
it is such a gentle one despite the crowds...
The sort where you can meamble around at your leisure, stop for a cuppa comfortably,
find a decent loo and more importantly receive some friendly smiles and chatter from the exhibitors.

There are always loads of exhibits, competition entries and workshops of differing abilities to see and do, where you can gain a plethora of inspiration regardless of your interests.

If you've read my previous post you will know that I entered another exhibit this year 
called 'Mercia', 
depicting life in the Fens with all their Myths and legends...
I gained a rosette which I was super chuffed with!

(excuse the shocking photo!)

My competition neighbour was this amazing coat which was an incredible piece of art
...totally my cup of tea!
It's been a few years now since I've made myself some wearable art like this simply due to time constraints but I love it and it reminded me to get sewing for myself!

Here is the winning entry in our category...
perfect for a Spring day!
A gorgeous cushion full of daffodil gorgeousness.

So what else was on offer?
Well a little bit of this...

And a little bit of that....

and loads of these....

Textiles, quilts, embroidery, slow stitching,
mixed media and so much more...
It really is like being in a sweet shop full of stitching smiles just waiting to be picked.

The hours of work put in for the show by exhibitors was outstanding.
I'm sure that there would have been many frazzled hours of frustration, pricked fingers,
ragged broken nails, torn cloth, tangled threads, and many a few 'blue' moments for many...

Do you ever think that
someone has stitched their little heart into that piece you are staring at?
It may look odd or not reach the standard of a City & Guilds certificate but do you know something?
That person was brave enough to enter a competition to exhibit their work.
They were brave enough to stand up and shout out their love of cloth and thread.
Something I so applaud!

Happily or sadly however you look at it I only heard a couple of negative comments.
The majority and I really mean the VAST majority of the visitors 
loved seeing the inspiration of offer.

It was so lovely to hear sentences like

 "how did she do that?"

"wow look at all that hand sewing..."

"look at that beautiful fabric..."

Wow I love her patterns.."

Now, lovely reader have you ever considered entering a competition?
Don't be put off...
In order to make an event fresh and exciting we need sewers like yourselves to be like those brave peeps above.
Will you consider giving it a go just for little 'ol me?

If you are interested in entering for next year, the theme is 'The World About Us'
A fabulous scope for so many beautiful things!

There are numerous categories you can enter covering a multitude of skills.
I just know so many of you would be able to create some gorgeous pieces.
I have to say I am very excited. I have my thinking cap on already!

I will post all other photographs on my Facebook page so if you fancy a nosey you can click on the link below ...

Before I go, I must say a HUGE thank you to everyone who visited my stall, took part in a Tilly Rose workshop or simply stopped by to say hello...
I hope you enjoy stitching with the goodies you all purchased and 
create some lovely memories whilst doing so especially if you are dabbling in to the world of mixed media!

I am so blessed to be doing a job that I love and part of that is connecting with so many like-minded peeps who adore some form of stitching, one way or another.

Without you all, there would be no show so thank you for travelling and dropping by.
There are too many of you to mention names and I would probably miss out someone even if I tried...
Just rest assured I very much appreciate your love and support.
Here's to next year at Uttoxeter...

Tuesday 17 April 2018

'Mercia' at The British Quilt & Stitch Village...

Well, good morning my lovelies...
How are you all on this grey and dreary Tuesday?

Here in the Fens I think Spring must be playing a massive mischievous joke on us all and is only pretending to stop for a while and actually has no intention whatsoever to indulge us in some warmer days despite the Springtime blooms nodding their heads to say hello!

It seems a lifetime away since I actually sat and wrote a blog post to you all.
I know many of you reading this do say hello via my Tilly Rose - Textile Artist Facebook page
but a blog post is a little different...
I can chatter and meamble so much more!

So in the spirit of The Sound of Music, where shall we start?
Well, let;s start at the very beginning... a very good place to start...

Some of you may be wondering where I've been hiding, why I've been a little quiet of late and will you see on TV again etc etc...

Last year our family was hit really hard as my husband 
was diagnosed with secondary liver cancer.
After fighting bowel cancer two years previously, then vasculitis and sepsis of his kidneys a year later, we actually thought we would have a few months to recover but sadly not.
As you can imagine or perhaps may have experienced yourselves personally, we faced a very huge uphill struggle...but at least we were given that option of a way to do so.
Sadly I know some are not so fortunate.

So...roll on a few months of very tough hardship, major surgery and intense recovery
I am pleased to say that hubby is now back at work and looking forward.
We take each day as it arrives with a massive blessing of smiles.

Whilst all this was going on I was writing my first book Stitched Memories - Search Press.
Timings really couldn't have been worse but it gave me a focus and in between hospital and clinic visits you could always find me hunched over a laptop writing instructions and explanations etc for the projects in the book.
It has now gone to print as we speak and will be available in August.
If you click on the link above you will find a little detail about what little surprises are waiting for you...

So....going back to my original sentence of where have I been, well as you can imagine
keeping that positive smile going for hubby and the rest of our family, continuing to work, writing a book and doing the dusting now and then can take it's toll.
At Christmas I faced exhaustion and so I took a few months off to recouperate.
It's that simple really.

Giving yourself time off is hard for someone like myself who likes to keep busy because 
it makes you feel guilty that you are not working!
But, how could I not be doing something at all?

Well for those of you who have been following my daily rambles and chats, you will all know that I've made the most of my time whilst lazily squidged on the sofa by doodling designs, 
planning my own range of sewing kits and gathering momentum for an exhibit
that I showed at The British Quilt & Stitch Village in Uttoxeter last weekend.

Many visitors to the event loved 'Mercia'; my version of 3D textile art depicting the Myths & Legends of the Cambridgeshire Fens over the many centuries of agricultural hardship...

Fen folk were often considered the 'odd folk living out on the marshlands', who were very independent and very suspicious of any 'foreigners'.
The term 'foreigners' simply meant anyone who didn't live amongst the Fen reeds and work the land which included anyone from everyday folk to the gentry!

Much of the Fens that we see today are a result of the reclaimed lands, drained many moons ago by the Dutch engineers who used their knowledge to create agricultural fields and land for communities to feed their families and toil the earth.

Before the drainage was developed many Fenfolk travelled from island to island via punts or rowing boats and knew the marshes like the back of their hand but more importantly they also knew that the marshlands were a law unto themselves.
Often gas escaped from the marsh and with it followed tales of 'bog spirits' and will'o'the'wisps.

 Fenland stories of  odd sightings among the Fen reeds were often passed down from generation to generation around the table of an evening over a pint of ale...

'Mercia', the anglo-Saxon name for the region, hopefully depicts two side of the story..

Her skirt, a Fenland river, is divided into two halves; one side represents the richer side of life
where women of a certain status enjoyed the luxuries that life in the Fens offered and the cotton muddied ragged edge on the other half represents the masses... the life of an Ag Lab that knew all about the hardships of living in such a wild wilderness of a Fen marshy bogland but loved it anyway.
Needless to say my family heritage comes from the rugged frayed edge of life if you didn't but guess!

Mercia's front bodice depicts the 'Tree of Life' believed by the Celts to be a very important part of their lives.
Boadicea or Boudica, the Queen of the Iceni Tribe ruled in this area, so there is a rich heritage of Celtic tradition connected to the Fens.
Many myths and tales have evolved from these times and often remain today.

The back of the bodice depicts the hard times of life on the land with embroidered stitches showcasing the famous plough lines of the patchwork fields found in this area.

Fenland heritage is in my DNA.
It has seeped into my bones over many centuries...

Not many folk give a shout out for the Fens.
They don't see the beauty of our completely flat 'boring' lands but for me
the Fens smile with a unique beauty.
Their sunsets, vasts skies, ever changing light and openess fills my little Fen heart with joy.
Someone has to make a stand for our little area of the UK!

Whilst on holiday in Cornwall a few years ago I was asked where I lived and when I mentioned the Cambs Fens, the shopkeeper said"Oh I know, you live in the damp patch then!"
Not sure what to say to that one....

On a day like today when the wild winds are a-howling through, I do think perhaps if I lived somewhere with a few hills, woods and undulating pathways my life would perhaps be a little quieter but then I change my mind as quickly as the wind calms again...

The judges seemed to like my little shout out for the Fens and awarded
me with a  'Second' rosette which although I was very happy to accept the result wasn't really that important to me.
It was never about winning really...
 I hope that doesn't sound arrogant at all because for me, 
entering the competition was so much more than a rosette...
It was about me allowing myself time to indulge in my passion for textile art, showcasing some Fenland history and having such fun designing and stitching on a mannikin which I just love doing!

 I was so over the moon to see people chatting about the Fens and asking about my little area of the UK.

Thank you to everyone who stopped by and chatted about 'Mercia'
It makes it all worthwhile.

I think I will have to write a separate post about my workshops and the beautiful displays on offer as I don't want you all to be nodding off!
I've rambled on as usual...
I'll leave you with this last pic of the pint that quenched my thirst on the last day at the event.
The little verse on the glass totally sums up a brilliant philospohy methinks!

"A little bit of beer is divine medicine"

I will say cheery bye for now and get writing my next post.
I'd forgotten the joy writing brings...

Until I stop by and say hello again
Have a beautiful day my lovelies!
Much love

x x x