Thursday, 14 June 2012

Another lovely journey back to my workshop

Today I was working at the Stanton Guildhouse....a lovely house built in the arts and crafts style with stunning views....I'm ready to move in.....and its nearest neighbour is The Mount Inn, can't be bad.
They run lots of different craft courses there and are always interested in new teachers and new students ! It is one of those secret gems...lots of people don't seem to know of it.


I'm painting some panels for a small fairground organ, built by John Scale....he built it on one of the wood working courses there. I didn't get very much done because they had an open day so I did spend quite a bit of time you do.

Workshop bound....the Mount Inn....

The journey to my workshop is quite short and goes through some beautiful I thought I'd share my journey with you.

Stanton... used in quite a few Tv Dramas..such as Sherlock Holmes...

The road to Stanway...

The cricket pavilion funded by J.M.Barrie author of Peter Pan.

The gatehouse to Stanway House....   Where many films have been made such as...Emma, Vanity Fair, The Wyvern Mysteries and the Buccaneers...Even Johnny Depp was there.... and I was just around the corner and didn't see him !

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Laurie Lee

Yesterday I popped over to Stroud Farmers Market. It is a lovely drive up over Birdlip and then through beautiful countryside before entering Slad. On a sunny day I have to stop and take a walk up the path to visit Laurie Lee's grave and look out over the valley where he spent most of his life and wrote the famous book 'Cider with Rosie ' .

In the words of Laurie Lee ' between pub and the church, so that I can balance the secular with the spiritual, and my long sleep will be punctuated by rowdy Saturday nights at the Woolpack, and the Sunday morning worship in the church. It would give me a feeling of continuity.

The Woolpack

I was set down from the carrier's cart at the age of three; and there with the sense of bewilderment and terror my life in that village began ... To a cottage that stood in a half-acre garden on a steep bank above a lake; a cottage with three floors and a cellar and a treasure in the walls, with a pump and apple trees, syringa and strawberries, rooks in the chimneys, frogs in the cellar, mushrooms on the ceiling, and all for three and sixpence a week.

The valley was narrow, steep, and almost entirely cut off: it was also a funnel for winds, a channel for the floods and a jungly, bird-crammed, insect hopping sun trap whenever there happened to be any sun.

Holy Trinity Church, Slad
 Morning service began with an organ voluntary, perhaps a Strauss waltz played very slow. The organ was old, and its creaks and sighs were often louder than the music itself. The organ was blown by an ordinary pump-handle which made the process equally rowdy; and Rex Brown, the blower, hidden away in his box - and only visible to us in the choir - enlivened the service by parodying it in mime or by carving girls' names on the woodwork.

She would force nothing, graft nothing, nor set things in rows; she welcomed self -seeders, let each have its head, and was the enemy of very few weeds. Consequently our garden was a sprouting jungle and never an inch was wasted. ( ......writing about his Mother )

Most of the cottages were built of Cotswold stone and were roofed by split-stone tiles. The tiles grew a kind of golden moss which sparkled like crystallized honey.

Such a morning it is when love leans through the geranium windows and calls with a cockerel's tongue.

 Never to be forgotten, that first long secret drink of golden fire, juice of those valleys and of that time, wine of wild orchards, of russet summer, of plump red apples, and Rosie's burning cheeks.

 One of the best things anyone could do is on a sunny day somewhere in the Slad valley, with a picnic and some cider, spend the whole day reading his would one of those great days to remember.
New News, Laurie Lees daughter is selling off Laurie Lee's Wood- Trantershill Wood- hopefully to The Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust. They are trying to raise £ please help if you can....I wish I had the money I'd buy it for them....lovely to think that we can all visit and read some of his marvelous words....
"I breathe the hayblown airs of home, And watch the sea-green elms drip birds and shadows"
Laurie Lee.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Jean Bray and her new book ' Pick up a pencil'

Jean Bray is our lovely archivist and Winchcombes Gem. Over the last year she has been busy with two big projects as well as helping with events at The Festival of Music and Art. The one project was the organising and getting all the historical information and pieces together for Sudeleys Exhibition and celebration of Katherine Parr. The other is writing a book about her husband Laurence Fish, sadly no longer with us. The good news is that her book will be out on sale on the 15th June  2012....and there will be a book launch on the 7th July at The Winds of Change Gallery, Winchcombe. A while ago I wrote a blog about him ....;postID=7038208878581217095
I'm pleased to say that Jeans Book titled 'Pick up a Pencil' is now very close to being on the shelves..and in the clouds of the Internet.
Laurence was born in London and became a very successful commercial artist, producing many famous Railway posters.
Two Spitfires in Flight
Pick up a pencil covers his whole painting life,from the early drawings of detailed explosives for MI5...(they were used to help the army to disarm the bombs. ) through to his own Fine art paintings . Jeans book is also full of stories including one where he took one of the bomb devices home to draw it, kept it under his bed, then found it was live !
I love his illustrative work, aircraft, boats, cars and buses....and his railway posters...all fantastic and extremely fashionable with the Vintage look.

I'm sure that Jeans book will be of interest to everyone because it  covers so many subjects, Commercial vehicles, wartime history, Advertising and fine art.
I love Laurence Fish's illustrative work, aircraft, boats, cars and buses....and his railway posters...all fantastic and extremely fashionable with the Vintage look.

I've been lucky enough to see some of his original artwork and now i can't wait to be able to buy this wonderful book.
In my usual way I'll finish with a bit of link to the subject of picking up a pencil.
In Korea a child's first birthday is a very important day called 'Dol'. Part of the celebrations includes sitting the baby in front of a table covered with items,a pencil, bow and arrow, thread, rice, rice cake, knife and scissors. Whichever item the child picks up predicts it's future.
Pencil-Good scholar
Bow and Arrow - strong as a warrior
Thread-A long life
Rice- rich
Rice cake-unintelligent but never hungry
Scissors- Dextrous
Knife-Good Chef

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Designing some posters

I've been designing posters and logos for Happenstance, our local Morris team. Below you can see the cockerel taking shape. I thought I'd use our lovely church Cockerel and give him a ragged jacket, then Cressida asked if he could be stood on a stick...actually a chair leg...they use them when dancing.

 This was the rough for Winchcombe's First Day of Dance. Its on the 16th June....starting in the town at 9.30 am, then at the GWR followed by the Midsummer Festival at Hayles Fruit Farm....It's got to be sunny by then hasn't it !
You might recognise the shape of the Morris dancer....I wanted to do a bright poster and I thought of the 'It's bracing at Skegness..... It's the man from the other direction.

 In colour waiting for the type to be added..

 The next poster was for St Kenelm. This is a Miracle play performed in and around Winchcombe on the 22nd of July 2012.......

 Last years poster...
....and the previous year.

 It's good having the opportunity to do some graphics.....makes a change....and as they say...a change is as good as a rest !

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Dover Olimpicks

'The first stirrings of Britain's Olympic beginnings ' The British Olympic Association.

The Olympics
Last night we all went to the 'Cotswold Games' also known as 'Robert Dover's Cotswold Olimpicks ' The weather was on our side and because it was celebrating it's 400th anniversary there were more stalls and an extra stage.
Dover's Hill is 750 feet above sea level and is above Chipping Campden. Once up there you can see a natural amphitheatre with fantastic views across the Vale of Evesham.
Last years Games.
Robert Dover ,an attorney, was born in 1575 and died in 1652. He is buried at Stanway. Wood said ' The said games were begun one Rob. Dover- who being full of activity, and of a generous, free and public spirit, did with leave from King James 1, select a place on the Cotswold Hills in Gloucestershire, whereon those games should be acted. Endimion Porter ESq., a native of that county, and a servant o that King, did to encourage Dover give him some of the king's old cloaths, with a hat and feather and ruff, purposely to grace him and consequently the solemnity.'

After King James death the Puritans banned their workers from attending and the games ended in 1642 with the start of The English Civil War. But you can't keep a good man down and it was back up and running in 1660.
I don't know how many people were there but in 1851 it was counted as thirty thousand !
Shakespeare was a visitor and mentioned it in The merry wives of Windsor '' How does your fallow greyhound,sir ? I heard he was outrun on Cotsall.''
On the music stage various acts performed including The Robert Boyd Band,  Mawkin, and   Eliza  Carthy and the Welcome songs.
Fuzzy picture of The Shin kIcking !

One of the most famous games associated with the Olimpicks is 'shin kicking' . Its certainly when the animal instincts of the crowd come into play. The men usually fill their trousers below the knee with straw and then in pairs hold each others shoulders and try to kick the other mans legs from beneath him. This year they had some sort of shin pads on...blooming health and safety I expect...but it didn't stop the winner from limping !  They also had maroon coats (instead of the usual white coats ), that were sponsored by Weird Fish...I suppose they thought it would be good advertising with the London Olympics. The winner threw his into the crowd so the cameras lost some of the publicity !..
The end of the games were marked by the lighting of a beacon and a great firework show.
The start of the torch light procession.

Finally hundreds of people carrying flaming torches walk down the small road back into Chipping Campden. As you walk down you can see a long snake of fire...It's a fantastic sight !..Put it in your diary for next year.

.Once again I'm ending with some music..nothing to do with the Olympics but a video that made me smile with the music of The Robbie Boyd Band.


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