Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Cambridge Folk Festival 2010

Me and my friend Liz Rooney took to the road and headed east for the week at Cambridge Folk Festival. What fun. It is a long drive. We took the tipi and ran a reed workshop aswell as installing the two Wicked Foxes in the main arena. Some fantastic music was to be heard my faves being the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Quebe Sisters, C J Stoneking, Rokia Traeore. I left my camera at home so here's a snap from /Flickr.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Art At Rhosygilwen 2010

Art At Rhosygilwen is an Art and Craft Festival held each summer in the grounds and magnificant Oak Hall at Rhosygilwen Mansion near Cilgerran, Pembrokeshire. This year the festival expanded it's remit showing video and films and hosting talks and interviews with filmakers, a cinematographer, the King of Hay aka Richard Booth and the film critic and author John Russell Taylor. Tom Geens, director screened his feature film Liar and held a question and answer session afterwards. The wooden store shed was transformed into The Film Shed with plush drapes and cushioned seats showing a comprehensive programme of independent shorts from makers across Europe with the help of Kinofilm Festival of Manchester. The Oak Hall showed a range of paintings and sculpture selected from work submitted by West Wales based artists. The gardens provided a substantial backdrop to some intriguing sculptures and installations and the Craft Marquee likewise to some wonderful work. The weather was for the most sunny and glorious with a moment of high winds and rain on the Sunday morning which did have me biting my nails..well I had installed one of my 4 metre high willow foxes on the most exposed spot. All the organisers deserve to feel satisfied that they put together an event of warmth, depth, beauty and bite. I am really proud of what they managed to achieve and inspired too by what I experienced. Thanks to Glen and Brenda Peters too who are the most kind hosts.

Glastonbury 2010

The last three months has seen me working towards the Big One..Glasto 2010. Each year I promise myself to start working on it months earlier but life will get in the way and it becomes a last minute scramble to reach the finish at Worthy Farm. This year I had more than "the Final Countdown" going round in my brain, more and more work kept creeping in and they were all such exciting invitations (weaving .. exciting!!) that I had to say yes yes yes. A few people looked on with scepticism but I do have a little network of willing helpers who will drop their stuff to pass me some sticks and lift a woven giant over onto it's back so I can weave it's front and all for the promise of a ticket to a festival or two. This year I would not have made it without all their cooperation after I came off a ladder and broke a bone in my right hand. Ouch. So thankyou Nici, Izaac, Layla, Emma, Liz, Gaz, Kinkaris, Karma, Floss, Fion, Danielle, Colin, Parky, Sally, Laura, Daniel, Dave, Mick, Josh, Harry, Oliver and ofcourse Beanie who is fully responsible for distracting me from the terror and amusing me no end with her puppiness. We made it just and it was a great success and fun in the sun.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

The Nest

It is strange where the weaving of a good few sticks can take you. Recently I spent five long days at Ellstree Studios working on the Big Brother house. I was invited to weave the interior of the Nest, a little cedar shingled pod situated in the garden. It was a tricky, awkward job the last day being spent up a ladder weaving the cone, which was 2m wide and 2m high, one stick at a time. A variety of willows were used, some from Musgroves of Somerset and the rest from West Wales Willows in Wolfscastle, Pembrokeshire. After some discussion I was left to improvise a landscape fused design with soft hills, almond shaped "leaves" which also reminded me of the Big Bro all seeing eye.... I wasn't allowed to take any photos and the ones I found the on the web don't show you the full thing...for that you will have to watch the show...if you have the time...which you probably don't or wait until the designers send me their images..which might be a while.. but I will share.


Thursday, 22 April 2010

Manor House Park Tenby

Here are some animal heads I made installed in the living willow garden created for Manor House Park by Willow House aka Sophie and Natalie. We have worked together on a few projects now and this was the biggest so far with four woven heads. The fox and fox cub are woven from all Welsh grown willows and the badgers are mostly Somerset Black Maul. Manor House is a wildlife park with lots of exotic animals from camels to zebra to meerkats. As we arrived a bison was giving birth. Which was good as Gordon the cameraman was busy so we could rehearse our shapes and moves for when he came to capture us finishing the last one off. Yes it is the location of a fly on the wall reality tv zoo programme thing starring Anna Ryder Richardson and all and maybe even litlle Beanie soon, my 9 weekold JRT.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Where the Willow Grows

I had a call from Alpey to say the mulch plastic was lifting on the willow cuttings at St Dogmaels so I took Beanie down to see what was happening. So much has been going on lately that I hadn't found time to take a peak. I put more tyres and blocks of wood on it to help and was really happy to see that all of the cuttings have taken. The sun is out and everything is bursting with life. I filled in the space that was left over with some Green Dicks and discussed the possibility of planting another bed quickly ...this week Izaac.... as there is still time.

Foxy Dog Love

Last week we travelled to England to pick up our little pup, Beanie. She is just 8 weeks old and a tiny Jack Russell. It's been lots of endearing fun and everyone she meets falls inlove with her. She has a beautiful black spot on her backside the shape of a tear.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Baskets v Sculptures

Baskets v Sculptures

I have been busy working on some ideas for this years festivals. In early spring I start to pin down ideas and shapes and themes for sculptures whilst at the same time trying to make some baskets to keep the pennies coming in until the sculptures are out and about through the summer. Last year the workload was too stressful so I decided to stop the majority of teaching and concentrate on making. It's now or never and luckily it's working out fine. The spare time has allowed me to play around with my basket shapes and methods. When I found myself with a load of left over 7 and 8 foot Black Maul willow from a sculpture workshop I searched around for log basket ideas and came across some Jenny Crisp ones on the Tinsmiths website. Inspired by the shape and the randing with the butt of each rod on the outside to create a spiralling pattern I made about 8 Big Fetch The Logs which I loved and so did a few others too. The exaggerated fluted shape and the chunkiness of the willow worked well a design I will definitely repeat. I have been trying to find another way with ovals. Two versions on a theme one for going out not much to carry called Telleri, and another bigger one, called Miss Jones, enough to carry it all but colourful and fun. I imagine a teacher in a schoolroom with one sat next to her desk or with my sister on the beach with picnic and towel. I've had some very bright colours to play with too, Green Dicks and Flanders Red being my favourites, using the finest rods and a flash of thin Dogwood. I will use up the rest of my short stuff in the making of a few more but there won't be many as I haven't that much left. I've given them little shell twists as well at the handles to decorate them, like the way bolts of willow where once tied. Basket making is a distraction and a delight... But..Sculpture requests are beckoning too and I have finalised all my ideas for the the summer. I have one more proposal to put forward which will take me into an area I haven't had the space time to explore before so I am hoping it all works out. Watch my blog for future posts. Meanwhile what do you think of my Fetch the Logs and Miss Joneses?

Willow Harvest

Spring is delayed, thankfully, as I am behind with the harvesting of this seasons willow. Yesterday afternoon was spent at Poppit cutting the two year old stuff in double quick time with the help of three teens, thank you Izaac, Connie and Kinkaris. Tonight Izaac helped me stuff it into the back of our new Sprinter. Ready for action. He has been a real star. Last week he helped me create another mother of a willow bed in St Dogmaels. With the one over at the National Wool Museum in Drefach Felindre, he dug in for me in December, that makes 1,400 future trees this year. All useful hard to source basketmaking varieties. So thank you again, my amazing son and to Alpey too, my new tree buddy, for finding me the ground. I am so excited. I couldn't have done it without you.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

My Pup

Beanie Cain

The Cove

I am so excited about starting a blog and what will it begin with.

So began my first post on my blog four years ago. This weekend I made a new friend who has just returned to these islands after living away for twenty eight years most recently in the Grenadines where she became friends with some of the people behind the making of the film The Cove. We also attended a party where the hosts where collecting entranc money in a basket I had woven. Anyway I want to repost it. Not many peeps probaly read it but since I started this blog I have had over 17,000 visits from peeps all over the world. Most of those views too are in the last two years. So thank you and this is where I began and hopefully it might inspire you to blog about your art, life, ideas and loves.

So many inspiring things and today some moving images. I sat down with my son and some pear cider to help tease out of him the reasons for his reluctance to continue with his college studies. After discussing the subject in as much depth as was necessary he started to tell me about a film called The Cove. He got it up on his computer screen and we watched it together. It's all about the brutal slaughter of dolphins in a beautiful but weird town called Taiji in Japan. The film follows Richard O'Barry and his compadres as they attempt to bring to light what happens there. Basically the capture of dolphins to sell to the seaaquarium trade and then the slaughter of the remainder of the catch in a little cove off the town. I don't know if you should watch it but everybody should know about it. Richard O'Barry is the man who started the whole Sea world entertainment business training the original Flipper way back in 1962. He deeply regrets it now but he is finding ways and means of bringing the truth to us all and to the legislators. They have a website..takepart/