Wool in Winchcombe

Here is lovely Katie Morgan -  painter of gypsy wagons and fairground rides, restorer of antique clock faces and so many more things -  with her knitted hanging basket, which has been hanging joyously from the Winds of Change Gallery throughout the Winchcombe Wool Festival.

Everything in the gallery was wool oriented, one way or another, including painting and prints of British sheep by artist Alexandra Churchill - this one in the window is the local 'Cotswold Lion'. (And there's one of my books nearby).

The gallery was swarming with people all day - many local and all interesting. So interesting that I forgot to demonstrate and did a fair amount of chatting. This sheep hand puppet came visiting, if I remember rightly, he is a Sunday school prop and is still used now. His 'helping hand' is the wonderful artist  Belinda Durrant.

We exchanged cards - this is one of her exquisite artworks, 'Left Foot Trap' the shoe upper is a paper cut with the mouse drawn. And the trap inside - for feet or mice? Her work is breathtakingly delicate  with a delicious biting twist on the relationship between women and fashion. 

Another local artist I briefly met was Julie de Gruchy East - she was exhibiting wonderful textile portraits of Winchcombe butchers, 'drawn' on an old sewing machine onto vintage Witney blankets, a fine old Cotswold company still in business today. They are *only* thread, but blimey, they are masterful portraits. If I had the money to invest, I'd be commissioning her right now, while she's still affordable, because I  have a hunch she's going far with these. More photos of her work and the actual butchers can be found here on her blog.

Here's Jane, the gallery owner learning to finger knit, and more of Julie's work  (the cushions are hers too).

Katie's knitted daisy chain which later mysteriously appeared draped in Winchcombe in a 'yarn storming' event - as reported on her blog here

 Katie is one of the most interesting people I know; always working on something unusual,  recently making a reproduction of Katherine Parr's velvet toilet, for nearby Sudeley Castle. Katherine Parr being the surviving wife of Henry the Eighth and this being her Quincentenary (That's 500 years). Belinda Durrant has recently made some tiny, heart breaking baby garments, also on display at Sudely, for the little orphaned daughter (Lady Mary Seymour) of Katherine, who died in mysterious circumstances just before her second birthday. Belinda's response to this sad story of a royal child who seemed unloved by anyone, was to create a trio of clothes, but with her own particular angle. 'Where is Mary' can be seen and read about on this blog here, with Belinda's own words about why she felt so moved to make  them.

Cushions, ceramics, upholstery and artworks, all celebrating the stuff that the Cotswolds were built on.

My own little people don't strictly qualify, being made of Australian merino, but here they are anyway.

One of my doglet's dwarved by ceramics and giant felt shoes. I'm back at the gallery this Friday for a workshop. There's an outside view of the day at the gallery and the festival over on the Texture Knit blog (including rare footage of me working).

It's been a crammed month with various things going on 'behind the scenes'- this is when we hope to really get on track with our plans to move, job transfers and expanding my little business. It's all a bit nail biting.  I wish things were settled, I really do.


Jess said...

Such a lot of busy activities! There will come a time when all this settles down and you're in your new house sitting quietly with your felting on your lap once again. :) Or maybe this is the start of a new era?!
Jess xx

Lynn said...

Such an interesting post, and I followed the links too. Good luck with your move.

Sara Tomlinson Design said...

Ah thanks so much for the link.

Is lovely to see your viewpoint, such a lovely thing to have been a part of. Hope the move goes well and things settle soon.

Janet Metzger, Artist said...

Just remember Gretel...lot's happening is a good thing....when nothing is going on ..thats when you need to be a little worried ;->

Looks like everyone had a lovely time.

Janet xox

Katie B's Blog said...

Thankyou Gretel, lovely blog...hope you are keeping warm and dry, see you soon, kushti bok, Kt

Deborah Flint said...

Oooh - would have enjoyed that, Gretel. Thanks for the write up and especially the links - I have followed them all!

On Sun I am off to this: http://www.wonderwoolwales.co.uk/home.html I don't know if it will have quite the feel of what you have described so evocatively here, but hopefully it will help to stimulate some ideas inside me for what to do with the wool from our 4 Welsh Mountain Sheep - the latest arrivals at Cinderhill Farm.

Looking forward to hearing that your plans are settling into place.

D xx

Rowan said...

It looks like a fantastic exhibition, my favourite is the sheep portrait by Alexandra Churchill - I followed your link to her website and she has done some fantastic paintings especially of hares and other wildlife. Wish I was near enough to visit the Gallery.

BumbleVee said...

All sounds so bizeeee...but, such fun..... !!

Anne said...

What an amazing collection of wool-related loveliness!!
I hhope all your plans work out ok - moving house is stressful enough, without job related stress too!!

Caroline B said...

What a fabulous exhibition - I fell in love with that shoe!
Change is very scary, but look at it this way, it all seems like change for the better for you and that can only be good.

Magpie Magic said...

Wow! Interesting read. Good luck with all the changes in your life. I remember when you moved to the Cotswolds, that seemed weird, too, but I don't think life throws more at us than we can handle (most of the time). :-) xo

Francie...The Scented Cottage Studio said...

Fabulous ! and I hope all gets settled for you soon but it is rather exciting ... at least to read about (())

Amy Prior said...

wow you are pretty amazing! I came across a photograph of your ducks recently which brought me here. Lovely to read your blog!

anknel and burblets said...

So glad to have discovered your blogs - we are about to move from London to Chastleton. Love your writing and photos and I am looking forward to reading more and discovering the Cotswold craft community.