Sunday, 17 April 2016

Two Galleries, a Picnic and a Twiddlemuff.

Richard modelling a Twiddlemuff
Recently we had family here, and after sharing a meal which Richard had cooked we all went to the Open Exhibition at the Williamson Art Gallery.  The range and quality of paintings and photography on display is very encouraging, and should surely attract serious interest from the art world as a whole.  There was a wealth of emerging talent on show.  You've got until the 8th of May to see it.  Treat yourself.

My sister Evelyn was full of her adventures in New Zealand, of course.  She had a great time there, and even got to visit the Weta Workshop, which I'm quite envious of.  There's a photo of her posing amongst shrubbery with a troll from The Hobbit.  She brought me back a weird egg - not a real egg, but one you're supposed to soak in water for 48 hours before it hatches into a kiwi, which then will continue to grow if you keep it in water.  40 hours later, the egg has developed a flaky, scabrous appearance but as yet we remain sans kiwi.

I have now completed all modules for the NVQ course.  All that is left now is for me to do the Key Skills Maths, which I am not looking forward to tackling as I loathe the subject.  Ok, I'm hopeless at maths.  That's why I hate it - because I can't do it.  Having said that, I co-ran a business for 21 years and you can't achieve that without having a modicum of accounting skill.  Maybe there are two kinds of maths - real-world maths and the stuff you learn in school but which you never, ever use again, like decimal fractions or long division.  Having left high school some Aeons ago I've totally forgotten how to do any of this stuff.  Oh well, I will just have to de-identify with hating maths and knuckle down and finish the course.  ASAP.  ASAP with bells on, even.

Friday saw Richard and I at the Walker Art Gallery for the Pre-Raphaelites "Beauty and Rebellion" exhibition, which I highly recommend.  I had loved the PRB's work even before I went to art school in Liverpool, some 25 years ago.  While there, amongst the other extra courses which I took,  I earned Grade A with GCSE Critical Studies in Art & Design.  The course work for this included a detailed study of an optional artist or art movement, and I chose the PRB, focusing on Edward Burne-Jones's work.  Here in Merseyside we are fortunate to have many PRB paintings and other works on public display and I've viewed these many times other the years.  The "Beauty and Rebellion" exhibition features some of these familiar favourites but there were a great many paintings that I had never seen before and so it was truly a feast for the eyes.  The exhibition runs until 5th June, and is well worthy of the £7 entrance fee.

Eyes still dizzy with the glories of the PRB, and with inspired fingers itching for my paints, Richard and I found a sunny spot in St John's Gardens for a picnic. It's hard to credit that this pocket-sized garden used to part of open healthland where people hung their washing.  There's no trace of that now, but it is a green spot in the midst of a typically busy city centre and the pigeons and lone herring gull which kept us company were happy to help clean up anything edible which came their way.

Two new Hubpages await, for those who might like to read them!  It's been ages since I added anything to my Hubpage site.  This is where I post my non-fiction articles, which cover a broad range of subjects ranging from my efforts at making a frog pond, a visit to Hilbre Island (a place which features in the Artisan-Sorcerer Series), to a description of my time working at Pretty Ugly Pottery.   These do a nice job of supplementing my living as a writer. 

The two new Hubpages are about activities for dementia sufferers, and How to Make a Twiddlemuff.  So now you're probably wondering what on earth a Twiddlemuff is.  It's a muff, (or a tube), of soft, warm fabric,  which is decorated with all kinds of stuff to twiddle with.  They are made for people with advanced dementia, who often find them soothingThe photo at the top of this post shows Richard modelling the Twiddlemuff which I knitted.  Now, I'm no expert knitter.  Far from it, actually.  I only know one stitch!  Yes, I know I could have looked up other stitches on YouTube 'How To' videos...  My point being that Twiddlemuffs are easy to make.  Anyway, here's one I made earlier.

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