A journey of creative thoughts and projects.

Working in conjunction with a wonderful local museum, surrounded by the beauty of Swaledale in the Yorkshire Dales, the inspiration I find for creative projects and a meet up with all the lovely people I find there.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Moving on

It is now quite a while since I have posted on this site but welcome to anyone
who comes across me here.

I am still at the village of Reeth here in the Yorkshire Dales, a beautiful place 
and a fantastic community to be involved in.
Here is the village, nestled in the heart of Swaledale.
 It is very much a sheep based landscape as you can see!
  
I have moved on from the Museum itself and now work at some Craft Units situated
at the Dales centre just at the top of the village.
Here is my humble abode of the moment.....
.....though I can often be found at the unit next door too, keeping busy helping out there!


 I share this unit with another creative lady but here is 'my space'!!!!!!  :0)

Since being at the Museum I was inspired to keep moving forwards
and I am now a 'mature student'  (Mmmmmmm!!)
studying at Bradford Art College for an
HNC in Textile Design and weaving.
Definately hard work, trying to fit in the weaving with everything else 
that life demands but who knows where it may take me next?

If you find everything is quiet on this site please pop through
 and see me on my other blog www.ashbecreative.blogspot.com 
where I post about ongoing things:- spinning, weaving, knitting,
the countryside around me.....you are more than welcome.
If you are so inclined from there you can reach me on Facebook
and find my online shop on Folksy, or follow the links
to these places just at the top of this post, on the right there.  :0)
Hope to meet you soon, best wishes,
Ash.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011


Well, here we are! The seasons have turned yet again and we have now finished yet another phase at the museum and everyone is settling into the work behind the scenes for the autumn and winter.

I have had a wonderful summer meeting people and progressing my work in this lovely place but for the moment the museum blog is signing off - not that my work is finished. I am looking forward to working on through the winter and who knows what mught surface with the coming of spring!

Check in on the museum website opposite to see what is happening over the coming months, keep track of where I am at, what I am doing with my other 'ashbecreative' blog, please click on the icon opposite and call in on me, it would be lovely to hear from you.

So for the winter, very best wishes and hope to greet you all again next year on this site.

Ash.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Not just the old!


Another week has gone by, this time I was struck once again by how lively the museum was.
Each week I take over this lovely huge table in the archive 'corner' with whatever I am focused on in the moment - this time I had taken my heddle loom to catch up on some weaving but you can see some knitting had sneaked its way in too!
I had some lovely people stopping to talk, its a good space for that, people can stand by and we don't get in 'harms way' so can natter for ages if we feel the need!!


Downstairs there always seemed to be someone passing through, organising to be done - usually helped along by the lovely volunteers - no not a tea party, some lovely old china being sorted for sale to aid museum funds.....the tea party is this Saturday afternoon (27th) the community orchard in Reeth, drop by!


Thought I might show you some more of this years exhibits - knitting sticks and wool chains, each is hand carved and used by the inhabitants of Swaledale in the past as they knitted to boost household funds..


It was good to see that the knitting carries on today - another of the lovely volunteers helping to demonstrate the crafts and to talk to visitors.


Some shelving holds locally made quilts, well worn and loved and very much a part of our heritage but, I am pleased to say....


...this gorgeous tradition and craft is still alive and kicking!!


Another exhibit is of an old, handmade proddy rug frame. I am so very pleased that I own one very similar to this - made by my own grandpa and used over the years by my grandmother to make household rugs - no I haven't yet made such a rug myself but you never know!!


Yet again, here is the rug making craft still in action - hooky rugs in this case, another museum volunteer involved in making a miniature rug for the museum entry into the local Reeth show.



Isn't it wonderful to see so much happening, so many connections still being made in a dry, old, dusty museum. Hah!!!!!

Till later.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

The seasons turn.

Here I was this week, on top of the world, literally and figuratively speaking! Last week saw much activity at the museum as the cycles of the seasons continued. This months knitting cafe at the museum passed in a flurry of activity and much hilarity as a newspaper photographer turned up to catch us in action so to speak - yes, fame at last!!! :) well, I and the museum ended up in the local paper for our moment of fame!!!
(www.northernecho.co.uk/features - Brilliant yarns
if you are at all interested!!!)

As for the photo, this was taken on one of my many trips between the dale where I live and the dale in which the museum resides. A great rainstorm had just passed through which gave rise to this rather brooding depiction of the hills but as you can see it gives rise also to some big, huge skies with wonderful cloud formations.

Drop back a little in perspective, and give thanks for the sun beginning to shine, and you can see that the heather is coming into bloom - unfortunately this means also that the 'glorious twelfth' is imminent and the grouse will be under 'fire' - without this countryside industry though there would not be the heather moors in this way - the rough with the smooth so to speak!!


Moving in closer still, as I love to do with my wondrous little camera, you get to appreciate the true delicacy of the heather flowers and their colour - a soft purple pink in this case.

This is such a big piece of the landscape in Swaledale that I think I can feel another adventure in yarns beginning ( now I have finished my short excursion with the colours of the moss covered drystone walls!!)
Watch this space and fingers crossed I might have some success in creating a yarn that describes the lovely spirit of the heather.

Yet another sign of the seasons continuing to turn was this image I captured of some blackberry flowers, already pollinated and beginning their change into the sweetness of the berries - another image to be shelved for use at a later date I think!


Which nicely takes me through to another image that has sat on my work-table for the last few months....
can I take you back to March this year when I first began my one woman journey with the museum and swaledale....... do you remember the coldness of the days, the mists, the lack of leaves on the trees?


...... do you remember where the predominant colour after grey was the yellow of spring, the catkins were hanging and the daffodils swaying in the march winds?


Do you remember my little foray along the banks of the river Swale and the images I caught back then of the play of light on the river surface?
Here is a little reminder.....


I was fascinated back then by the silky smoothness of the waters surface broken by gentle ripples and the river cobbles that make up the river bed. I loved how the suns light was gradually strengthening and making the water gleam and gave promise of the brighter days to follow - I hoped!!!!
I made a copy of this image, through the wonders of the modern world and home computers!, and it sat there, in various positions, on my work table. Sometimes it sat in clear view but most often it was buried beneath a pile of 'works in progress'!!
This last few weeks I have made a shift back to using natural colours in fibre, there are so many hues from cream, through greys into browns and ending in almost black - all from the wonderful wealth of sheep breeds we have here in Britain, I took a picture here of just a few of them.


Having spun a yarn in these soft natural colours, letting the different fibres through quite randomly and at the time thinking of the mists sitting on the hills these last few days - I then began to knit.
My yarn I had kept quite soft and fairly thick, I wanted to have a go at some aran patterns. Start off easy I thought and maybe I could encourage someone who has yet to try this form of knitting to have a go......


It was only as I had sorted out this easy design and begun to knit that my image of the river Swale drifted to the top of the pile in the stacking system I call my brain!! The easy flow of natural colours with its creamy, 'sunny' highlight expressed the image so well for me...


..... and the meander of the aran cable pattern was such a nice reference to the river flow, and how we and the river are inter-connected and the moss stitch pattern inbetween gave a knitted nudge to the cobbles of the river bed.
Its so good when these things come together and you find a way to express some of the beauty around you in the 'crafts' that we are all so fond of.

Thankyou for reading..

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Another idea stirs !!


Yet more busy days at the museum ....
Some days the numbers of visitors is a lovely continuous flow, at other times its like an advert that just might show my age - 'where is everybody' !! There appears to be no rhyme nor reason to how it works but I do know from the comments when I have been there that all that wend their way there seem to enjoy it!!

How does it work my being at the museum, what do I do? That is what I thought I might try and explain this time, having been given the grand title of Craftswoman in Residence.....
You can see from the photo above how light and bright the museum is, I find that a lovely working environment and yes I do find being there sets off lots of ideas for me and what I do - creating my own yarns, knitting, crochet, quilting, weaving etc. The atmosphere there is so friendly too you can't help but go 'with the flow'!

At the moment one of the things the museum is doing is show-casing the talents of a local embroiderers guild, that ties is with some of the artefacts the museum holds too. The picture above shows the larger of the two cases set dead centre. I like browsing this work once in a while, sometimes with envy at the delicacy of the work, the lovely colours, textures and I can't help but admire the skill and techniques involved....
Just look at the work involved in this pin cushion - does such a small, mundane item deserve such thought and time, why yes is my reply - imagine the joy from using something made like this while you work, as artful as any oil painting on the wall I believe!

A modern chatelaine is the image I have chosen next - a set fit for any mermaid!!!
I was really taken with the colours here and it is those that have sat with me for the last few weeks, just waiting there in the background....


...then in the last couple of days - whilst at the museum for the knitting cafe held there each month, a lovely couple who were there in their capacity as volunteers gave me this book on loan, would I be interested. I enjoy the flow of the Morris design work but here were those colours again.... another little nudge.


Now back at home 'ye olde brain' is beginning its sifting work, starting to bring images together on the quiet so to speak. Once again , two or three weeks ago, I'd had a session dying my own fibres. I use a set of dyes known as 'Landscape dyes', very easy to use in the home with nothing stronger to be added than household vinegar if necessary - I love the unknown quality of working with fibre like this, you are never really sure of what you might end up with, no matter how careful you try to be....


.....here is one of the results of a two colour mix on Falkland fibre, a fine soft wool that I enjoy spinning. I love working with all the wonderful native sheep breeds we have available in Britain but I think a little detour now and then is ok. Do you begin to get the drift of my brain - a theme beginning to hook up with the colours. When I dyed this I wasn't at all sure of the colour, not my usual tones but I have learntto let things lie for a while.....

It was only yesterday that I remembered these lovely hanks of dyed silk I have had tucked away for the last couple of years, oh boy something is beginning to 'tickle' away...
















Now obviously I have another yarn to get under way, I think it will be quite fine, as a nod to the silk content but I have yet to fathom what I might make with it.
This is the way I find the inspiration of being at the museum sifts through my creative life and I am always surprised at what is the eventual result - I am rarely able to plan in advance, it is nearly always an ongoing process.
Wonderful !!!!