Friday, 20 March 2015

20 Hours: Network, Dance and Threads

Just had a spectacular 20 hours;  Swan Lake ballet, the annual meeting of the Needlepoint Network and choosing threads of my next project;  sitting with a cup of tea,  catching my breath after so much excitement.

Last evening we went to see ‘Swan Lake’ at a live cinema relay from The Royal Opera House, Convent Garden.  I have written about these live relays before, one sits there and join audiences in more than 1069 cinemas in 26 counties to enjoy world class performances. 

Swan Lake was no exception; Anthony Dowell’s production evoked the opulent period of 1890 Russia when Tchaikovsky wrote the music; In my ignorance I had thought the whole story revolved around the swans living by the lake with their classical white costures, but two of the Acts were at Prince Siegfried’s palace, masked balls, acrobatic entertainers and sumptuous costumes. In addition to the beautiful sets by the Lake with the ‘swans’.   Natalia Osipova and Matthew Golding danced Odette and Prince Siegfried to the delight of the audience. 

Celtic Hearts I
This morning we had the annual meeting of the Needlepoint Network; this is a group of trained women who teach my designs together with other designs also created within the network.   The Network was started by me some 25 years ago in the response to students enjoying both stitching with like-mined people and having help with learning good techniques.   Now All Stitched Up’s web site has each Networker’s programme and dates.  There are also open events in many places in the UK also listed.
They are always looking for people who are fanatic about needlepoint and might be interested in helping other people in their own area.  Do let them know of your interest they would love to hear from you.

Threads for a New Project
Then, I headed straight to the thread store. When planning a new project I do like to actually see the threads, group them together and have the widest choice available.  Re-ordering on line is fine but there is nothing like seeing the actual shades and how they blend (or highlight each other) in the flesh.  As I mentioned recently I have photographs of a palace in Aleppo in Syria (taken 4 years ago before the problems started) that I have longed to start for some time and with my memories of the rich colours used in the Swan Lake costumes I plumped to go theatrical!

This hand-woven scarf bought in Guatemala was a further inspiration for the colours – will see how it goes and I will keep you posted.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Designs of a past World

While, as I have said in the past I love travelling, seeing new places, meeting interesting  people and getting some truly wonderful inspiration for my needlepoint designs I have to admit that it would appear that some terrible things have happened almost immediately after we have left a country.

This has been brought to mind with the destruction and bulldozing of the ancient Assyria capital of Nimrud and the great concern for the future by Unesco the United Nations cultural agency. I well remember the excitement of visiting the Riace bronzes in Reggio di Calabria, more than 2000 years old and discovered in the sea of the coast of Italy – I wrote about them in a blog of the …… when we had been on one of our Italian stitching trips

However some of the buildings and architectural detail that have inspired me have resulted in lovely designs.   There are two from Christchurch Cathedral on the South Island New Zeeland; Christchurch Tiles on the left and Cathedral Tiles on the right.  A year after we were the city was destroyed by a tremendous earthquake.   Should a reconstruction be planned I have offered my very amateur photos of the tiles taken while they were in situ on the Cathedral walls.

Christ Church Tiles
Cathedral Tiles
On another trip, Syria just days before the troubles started we visited Aleppo.  Aleppo features often in the most destroyed in the whole of the country but, then, on our visit the wonderful carved and gilded ceiling in the Throne Room of the Palace intrigued me and at the moment that is the next project I plan to stitch.
Friends jokingly ask us not to visit places – even Myanmar (see recent blog) people who visited just ten days after us got involved in a demonstration and held up for quite a while the police dealt with it.

Of course not everywhere we have been suffers such a fate; ‘ Tiles of St Mark’s’,  Moroccan Tiles’ ‘’Calabria’ – all on are fine – sincerely hope so as we are going on our stitching holiday to Calabria in June.