Saturday, 7 April 2012

Mills, Trees and Galleries.

Easter holidays started nice and quick for us as we headed up North last weekend to see my friend Rae and her family. If you are anywhere near the North West I highly recommend a trip to see Rachael Howard's latest exhibition at Quarry Bank Mill in Styal, Cheshire.

We were pleased to get up there for the private view on the Saturday and arrived in time to take a look around the Mill itself.  A grand old cotton mill with demonstrations on spinning and weaving and the biggest water wheel I've ever seen. It really was a great place to visit and find out about the transition of working life from home to mill.
I was intrigued to be told that, at one time, every woman in the country would have been hand spinning cotton every day at home, long before the factories stepped in!

Rachael's work is a real joy and her drawings and fabrics are brimming with playful fun, more so than ever in 'Lost and Found'.  Michael Brennand-Wood opened the show with a heartfelt thumbs up to Rae and her work, supporting the fact that she is a true original and master of her craft.
The boys were very pleased to see each other again and cracked on with colouring and chit chat. I didn't take many photos, so that means you just have to go and see it for yourself - it's on until the 26th June.
Stanley's souvenir colouring book - a nice little touch for the kids!

The next day was glorious sunshine so we took to the hills followed by a leisurely stroll along the beach. 

A moment of calm before we leave.
In the afternoon we sped off Sheffield way to see the family and do a spot of tree climbing.  A whirlwind visit but well worth the trip for a blast of inspiration and fresh air.

Yesterday, I had a last minute chance to see David Hockney at The Royal Academy, thanks to my friend Jacquie and her fast track John Lewis card! What an amazing show, I was totally blown away.  I'd seen the programme on TV about the making of Hockney's Yorkshire woodland paintings so to actually see them in reality was just fantastic. Staring at these huge paintings brimming with colour and vivacity felt just like I was back up North standing in the woods again. The iPad drawings were incredible and I loved how his sketchbooks were not just teasingly set behind glass but had little photographic screens above them passing glimpses of those precious hidden pages.  The huge video installation of rectangular frames was like a live webcam of his work, in living form, before it landed on each canvas. It allowed you to almost see through the eyes of the artist himself.  Despite the crowds I actually enjoyed the fact that it was busy and alive with people, respectfully pacing and gazing and to catch the odd comment and mini appraisal passing by, was quite funny.
So having been to two exhibitions this week, where the artists clearly love what they do and do it all so very well, it's really put a spring in my step.. Time out is good for soul and spirit indeed!

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