Sunday, February 27, 2011

Happy, Smiley, Half Term

This  week has flown by. It has been a wonderful half term, made even better because my eldest had a week off as well so we all got to spend some time together.

We went to stay with a friend in her beautiful home in Lyme Regis and were thoroughly spoiled as she is the best hostess. We were fed with gorgeous food and lounged around in the sun (yes sun!!). She has two lovely boys and the sweetest dog, so the children were very happy and we had the occasional trip into Lyme, mostly to visit the Town Mill Bakery and Susie Cole (so I was happy!).

After staying in such a beautiful and immaculate home I came back to my shabby chic house, the emphasis being on the shabby part, and decided that I really needed to get my house in order. It is a never ending problem, with the career I have, that my house is often cluttered, disorganised and sometimes chaotic. I dream of having a well ordered house with everything having a place and the 'less is more' ethos so that  just a selection of my favourite things are own show. I came home determined to do something about it and get a little order in my home.

Well Friday was a whirl of house cleaning, laundry and supermarket shopping to restock the bare pantry and by Friday evening I was feeling pretty happy with myself, so much so that I decided to bunk off from my new Domestic Goddess role and visit the SMILE exhibition!

The exhibition features 13 different makers working in wood, textiles, pottery, metal and ceramics with the same narrative - Smile. 

Two of the artists featured are Janet Bolton and Julie Arkell.  I have attended 5 of Janet's workshops and will be doing a two day workshop with Julie in the Summer so this exhibition was a must for me.

Lucy Casson's metal and fabric characters are just delightful

The little people working on this chair reminded me of Borrowers.

Craig  Mitchell's ceramic pieces are exquisite and humorous

Lindsey Mann's amazing jewellery, each with instructions for use

Adorable sculptures by Abbott and Ellwood.  I especially liked the Lost Adults tent!

Janet Bolton's work was a joy to see, as ever.  I could not photograph the textile pictures as the sun was shining brightly on them and they were behind glass.

I was delighted to see her new work, featuring small objects placed in boxes. These 3D  pieces are a new departure for her and one I was pleased to see, not least because I had seen the small toy animals before and knew that she had bought them in Honiton, en route to our course at the Cowslip Workshops. It was so nice to see them having a starring role!

Last but by no means least, Juie Arkell's whimsical characters.

Just divine!  I can't wait to meet her.

The exhibition is on at the gallery in Frome until 20th March and then it travels around the UK.  Do try and catch it if you can. If you aren't able to, I hope you have enjoyed these images.

On our way to Frome we have to pass through the town of Shepton Mallet.  There is a certain shop there that I have wanted to visit ever since it opened over a year ago now.

Yes it's the wonderful Nostalgia at No 1, run by my friend Niki.  

I haven't managed to get there before as I usually go to the Shepton Mallet flea market on a Sunday when Niki is having a well-earned day off, actually not a day off but a day sourcing new stock!

It was everything I thought it would be and more. Niki has such exquisite taste and has filled her shop with her beautiful and unusual finds as well as her own gorgeous creations.  I was spoiled for choice!  

The way everything is displayed is just mouthwatering and, in addition to her good taste, you can see that she has a background in shop display.  If you haven't been already, do go, you will be so pleased you did.

So a lovely week, I'm sure you'll agree?  What did you do?

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BusyLizzie said...

Good morning Domestic goddess! Your blog post has certainly made me smile this morning! Thankyou for sharing that fab exhibition! I met JA a few years ago and she is a lovely lady - with a dress sense that is wonderful & unique! Glad you made it to Niki's shop... I nearly popped in yesterday, but had to get back to pack 4 le Flea! Enjoy Sunday. xxx

hensteeth said...

Mouth watering post Donna and I'm very pleased to read you have had a good break.

Nostalgia at the Stone House said...

Hi Donna,
What a beautifully picture-rich blog post...enough to make anyone smile! :) I must tell a friend of mine who is a big Julie fan all about the exhibition, as it looks fantastic and inspiring.
It was lovely to see you yesterday...thank you for surprising me (and for the biggest Eccles cake I think I have ever seen!) Thanks too for your purchases and for the mention on your blog. I love the mosaics that you have put together...I must learn how to do those!
Oh, yes, and you got to visit Susie Cole's this have indeed had a lovely week!
Niki xx

Jenny at Red House said...

Hi Donna, know the feeling about tidying up, creative work makes such a mess!! your fabric stashes look tidy to me in your pics, jennyx

two bones and a bagle said...

Hi been reading your blog for ages but my first comment. I have also attended courses run by Janet and Julie and both were fabulous. Im also lucky enough to live near Welbeck and the Smile exhibition is making its way up north to us. Can't wait. Im going on a course later in the year run by Jennifer Collier - paper artist and one by Samantha Brian fairy maker both at Hope and Elvis based at Welbeck and I truly cannot wait. Thanks for your blog - I love it and would love to make it to one of your open house days. Debsx

Vintage Tea Time said...

What a great post - sounds like you had the best week! The exhibition looks fantastic - must try and get to it. Thanks for sharing!

Hen said...

Well what a jolly week you've had, you lucky lady! I wonder if you are doing Julie's course at Cowslip in June because if so - we'll be running into each other!
Hen x

Jelly Jam said...

Hi Donna, What a lovely looking house to go and stay in! Know what you mean about the clutter. We've just moved all ours to a new house and I've been really strong willed and put loads of boxes of china n stuff straight in the loft - probably never to see the light of day again. Might have to take a wander to Frome. My daughter was inspired by the Julie Arkell pics on another blog and if currently attempting her holiday homework in a similar style!
Nice to see you in Sherborne the other day. Hope your little girl is enjoying her jigsaw.

Gretel said...

Ah, what a lovely outing I've had, and all from the comfort of my own home! So many wonderful artworks, I love the way Lucy Casson has displayed her little characters, and really great to see more work from Julie Arkell, it's hard to find her on the internet; last time I looked she didn't have a blog.
Your home is utterly gorgeous, you have nothing to rebuke yourself with! (Unlike me, who has just removed a fragment of fried something or other from a cobwebby kitchen beam...)

Grumpy Old Woman said...

hahaha! Came here to comment on your bog post Donna but Gretel has made me laugh out loud!

Loved reading about your last few days - the very last one I was lucky enough to experience with you - thanks for taking me darling!
All the photos are fab.....

amanda banham said...

This is such a beautiful post. What wonderful adventures. I am definitely going to make a trip to Nottingham when Smile goes to Welbeck. They are all such lovely exhibits. I adore the lost adults tent. Brilliant!!

So glad you had a lovely sunny break, you will wave your magic wand and the house will be ship shape in no time!! It's far better to enjoy some time off though- nobody ever says in their deathbed " I wish I had done more ironing!"

The Devil Makes Work said...

Wow Donna what a lovely post. I love the chair with the little figures on it. What a great idea!

Also love Julie Arkell - so clever and quirky.

Your friends place looks beautiful and I am glad you had a great time.


Clare said...

So glad you got to the exhibition it's fab isn't it! The Black Swan gallery is such a lovely space and with it's fab shop and yummy cafe you can't go wrong! Hope to see you soon x