Well have done no crafting over the Christmas holidays. I was away with my family for a while and with all that was going on, there was little time (or decent lighting!) to allow me to do any stitching.Not that I had any to take with me. I am looking forward to doing the stitching challenge over at Pintangle so let’s see what that brings eh?
I have however, managed to get my camera back from my sister after 18 months. Here’s hoping that once the weather improves etc., I’ll get to take some decent photos with it!
I have also fiddled around with this blog a bit. I chose a new Theme, got rid of a load of little used tags, and have been shamed by some appalling spelling on some older posts, so have corrected those when I’ve found them. Oh to learn how to spell properly! (or have a spell check on everything?!)
Bit late I know, but here are some photos of the Best in Show winner from 2011 Festival Of Quilts.
All rights to the quilt remain with Janneke de Vries-Bodzinga, from Kollumerzwaag, The Netherlands with her Quilt “Octopussy”.
I was listening to the BBC’s World Service this morning (my “wake up” radio station of choice – less agressive and slightly more humerous than Radio 4 at that time of the morning), only to hear that the last lab to process Kodachrome (Dwayne’s Photo, a family-run business in Parsons, Kansas) was stopping processing the film, after Kodak had stopped production of the chemicals required to process the film. The last roll had been given to Steve McCurry. Above is a link to McCurry’s site and, in particular, some of the images that he took with this film. The following image is taken from his post as an example of the images and quality taken. All copyright remains to him and is only here as an example:
Mccurry’s Image of The Afghan Girl was also taken on Kodachrome stock. He had a retrospective in Birmingham earlier in 2010.
Personally, I’ve never shot with Kodachrome. I have enjoyed taking photos on various film formats (including both Kodak and Ilford) and actually enjoyed some of the results. I briefly tried working in a dark room during a photography night-class at a local Adult-Ed college, but was unable to take it further as the course timings conflicted with work. I can see why people like using film, but can also see their frustration over the development time as compared to digital. The former can take days, if not weeks to see the results (with a high potential ditching-ratio, which makes it expensive) as compared to seconds, with the ability to delete-before-printing those images that dont work.
As in my trip to Coombe Abbey. It could look lovely in this weather (the earliest snow round here in 17 years), it’s just I came down with a terrible cough and sniffles late last week and had to cancel. I couldnt spend so much time out in the cold air with this cough, and sitting in the dark for two whole days would have driven me demented!
Instead I am sitting in the warm at home, progressing happily with the Padre Nuestro wip, and with any luck will complete it in the next few days. Then wash and iron it and….it’ll get framed sooner rather than later, probably in the new year now. Once that’s done I dont know what I’ll start on next, I have loads of cross stitch that “needs” to be done, but there’s fabric and wool sitting in the cupboard that may need paying attention to!
I’ve just booked a few nights at Coombe Abbey near Coventry, a hotel I originally visited about 2 years ago for a wedding. I returned for a brief summer break last year, and this will be my third visit. It’ll be interesting to see what it’s like in winter – during the summer there are plenty of human visitors to see the gardens (redesigned by Capability Brown several hundred years ago) as well as many visitors of the feathered kind (swans, ducks etc). Now winter has come along it’ll be interesting to see who’s still around as well as what the gardens look like.
If there’s one downside to the hotel is the fact that it’s dark – the lighting is very subdubed in much of the hotel, and is rather in keeping with the fact the main part the hotel was an Abbey built in the 12th Century. This will make it interesting for my fine detail stitching work, so I may well have to take the opportunity to do some knitting! I’m also planning to take my camera along, as there should be some good vistas that could be photographed – I hope!
It shows how little photography I’ve been doing the last few years – I had a two year Flickr Pro extension, which lapsed and I didnt even notice. Not only had I not been uploading photographs but I hadnt been interacting with any groups or anything. Currently dont know if I should reinstate my Pro extension now, later, or never. hmmm
I previously mentioned that I had gone to the Victoria and Albert museum down in London a few weeks ago, and have finally gotten around to looking at some of the photos that I took. The majority of the images were taken during the private tour of the museum, which concentrated on the ground and lower ground textiles, and covered Islamic, Christian and secular textiles, including knitting, printed cloth and embroidered items.
The first one is of the art piece in the central foyer above the main desk. It’s a huge item, suspended from the ceiling and I doubt my picture does it justice.
The following photos are from the private tour that we took on the Monday morning.
The rest are from the Islamic and India Printed Fabric rooms
What follows includes other textiles from the collection, on the ground and lower-ground portion of the V&A (the majority of “textiles” – are on the 3rd floor, so unless you know about the additional collections, you can quite easily miss them
Today, I finally got the chance to see the Steve McCurry Retrospective at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery’s Waterhall.
McCurry’s images are known to many (even if they dont know know who he is), due to the extensive time he has spent in Afghanistan and specifically due to one image – that of the young – then unnamed – Afghan girl he took in the mid-1980s in a refugee camp and which has been the “National Geographic”‘s most reproduced images ever.
For someone who has been doing photographic assignments for the best part of 30 years, a retrospective in a small-ish space has to be limited by the size and number of images that it can display. This show details McCurry’s work primarily in Afghanistan, India and Pakistan triangle, though does widen further out to other places, such as Indonesia.
The overwhelming feeling you get from this retrospective is McCurry’s use of colour – it saturates every single image that’s been reproduced here. The choice of places/images to display certainly helps [from the red suttee-handprinted blue walls of India, to the multi-coloured burkas in Afghanistan], though every image has deep, rich colours included. There’s none of your uncle’s 6×4 slide reprints here, with all images at least 12×10, and some going to near-lifesize.
The retrospective also shows the program originally aired on the National Geographic channel a few years ago, where McCurry finally meets “The Afghan Girl” neary 15 years later, married, older, and hopefully wiser (whatever your thoughts on the Burka and a male dominated Islamic household are) and you have to wonder about the dynamic of a male dominated strict Islamic household, where the woman’s image is one of the most reproduced images across both the Western and Islamic worlds.
Just a couple of niggles about the show (bearing in mind I saw it at 12:30 ish on a Sunday):
- Some of the images are behind glass. Which makes it difficult to see the image up close (when needing to look at close up) due to glare from lights off glass from overheads. Not good for those whose vision is slightly negoitiable at the moment
- The main McCurry book (priced at £39.95) was not available at the Waterhall main desk. The museum staff member had to ring up the main shop desk to ask the price and if they had any copies – for which they had only 2. The show was packed for a 12:30 on a Sunday, and at least 1 sale was lost, costing both the museum and McCurry. To direct a potential customer to go out of a side hall, into the main building, up some stairs in order to buy a £40 book….it means that you’ve lost a £40 sale. You need plenty of books in both the Waterhalll AND the giftshop in order to maximise sales. Sigh. The museum is only 3 weeks into the retrospective – hope they get this sorted soon to maximise sales and experience
I’ve been putting some time in whilst waiting (still waiting!) for an engineer to turn up. Of course it’s gone 6:30 in the evening and he still hasnt turned up, and I had to take a day off to wait for him. Gah!
The cross stitch is still a Work in Progress, but I’m getting there. It’s now at the stage I hate, where there are little stitches here and there that need to be done, followed by the rest of the back stitching. I hate it because I’m always chopping and changing, and no matter how often I think I’ve checked, I always find a rogue stitch missing somewhere!
And sorry for the apparent shake of the image – for some reason my camera is playing up and refusing as often as not to take a picture.
So Christmas day has come and gone, and it’s now Boxing Day/St Stephen’s day. Therefore it MUST be the sales, right?!
I havent gone to the Bricks and Mortar shops yet, that comes later when I return home. I’ve had a quick look around on the internet, havent seen anything I like as yet. Did go onto one cross stitch site, who do have a sale on, but no threads and none of the charts that I would fancy getting are in their sale. I have enough to be going on with, so it stops me buying I suppose!
Ebay will be a good place to be loitering for a whole range of things for the next few weeks or so, as people get rid of the things they got but didn’t want. I’ve just been on there, and the lenses for digital cameras still seem to be a little expensive – I’m sure I can pick up the same thing for a similar price on the high street, and not have to pay postage and insurance from the US either. I’ll think I’ll wait for those as I’m in no big rush for extra lenses.
Out of curiosity, I was just looking at the “Completed cross stitch” section, and the starting prices seem to vary quite a lot – one item 3.5 X 7.5 inches has a starting bid of $20, which is nothing really in sterling (although the item is quite small). I dont know if I could ever sell something like this on ebay……..although there is of course etsy.com