Spode pots

Spode heritage Centre is closed at the moment because they are choosing photos for the 3 counties open photography exhibition. I had a quick glance as I was meeting the man in charge of the space to make arrangements for a show I’m holding there in May/June this year.

I have some paintings ready, but I might use photos from the Spode shop as inspirations for new paintings. I’ve been doing a lot of Blue and white work and the ceramics there are very striking. I also like looking through cabinets or windows to the view beyond. Using them to frame the subject.

Anyway my suggestion for today for you is “stay curious!”.

Old barn

Interesting architecture at Rode Hall. I didn’t take many photos of the buildings but these are pictures of one of the barns next to the car park.

This building we think was a shipon, a building with animals underneath and hay in hay loft above so the animals could be fed without having to ship it in. The hay also helped to insulate the lower floor.

The walls are brick built with lime rendered walls inside. I didn’t look closely at the bricks but you can tell their age by their size. Small thin ones are tudor. Larger ones are less old but still hand made and then you get machine made ones which usually have the makers name stamped on them in the dent on the top and bottom so they can take more mortar and hold together better.

I like the posh round windows under the eaves of the barn. You an tell someone had some money to build it.

These buildings are used for the farmers market at the hall which I think happens on the first Saturday of the month.

 

Rode Hall snow drop walk.

Gallanthus, the Latin name for Snowdrops. They are out in force at Rode Hall gardens near Scholar Green, on the North Staffordshire/ Cheshire border. It’s off the A34 between Stoke-on-Trent and Congleton. The snowdrops are in flower right now and you can buy little bags of them (in the green) wjuch means you get bulbs with the leaves and flowers and you plant them directly into the ground under trees so they can spread out. They have many different sorts of the flowers that brighten the grounds of the hall. The snowdrop walks are on till March 3rd? And open till 4pm.

We walked through the grounds and gardens of the hall. Winding paths lead through bushes and trees, up and down little hills and slopes, past pools and woven willow sculptures down to the lake at the end of the longest path. There you can see a wooded island where Herons are starting to nest. I got blurry shots of four herons flying around the tree tops.

Back up past the hall we had a meal and coffee at the cafe and then on to an old barn to see an Exhibition by three local art groups that is on till the start of March.

It’s great to get out into the world and see it changing. The snowdrops were in such great clumps on the ground that it truly did look like they were patches of snow under the bare trees. It’s a great place to explore.

 

Thai-m for food

Well after painting all afternoon we’ve decided to go out to our favourite Thai restaurant for tea. It’s valentines day so I’m treating my hubby.

We have ordered Tom Kha (Thai soup), Gang Phed Ped Yang (roast duck curry) and pork with pac choi, plus some rice. I think that’s plenty. I imagine I will be asleep before we finish it I’m so tired! As usual the chef has sent us out extra food!

Have a lovely valentines night if you are celebrating! Might be back later.

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Choir practice

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I’m off out to choir practice today. Learning new songs, and old ones to different tunes.

I’m sure my mental health has been better since I began going to a choir over ten years ago. It’s good for things like relaxation and concentration. I would recommend it to anyone who nerds some stress busting.

I can be sitting with the choir with no memory if the words or tune. Then almost miraculously they come to me as we start singing. We sing mainly acappella and my voice is most suited to alto and low parts.

We learnt a version of let your little light shine for the Stoke sings choir festival the weekend before last. With words that were appropriate to the cities history of pottery and mining.

I hope we sing it again tonight. It was fun to sing with 600 other people belting out the various parts. It is on YouTube  somewhere.

Barn dance coming up..

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Imagine whirling around with a bunch of people… Then imagine some of them looking completely confused, going in the wrong directions and flinging each other about in mad abandon. That’s a barn dance. Add amazing live music. A caller explaining the dance moves to people trying to understand what on earth he’s saying. The fun that can be had getting dizzy, twisting and turning, jumping about….

And a pie and peas supper that has both meat and vegetarian options.

It’s all in aid of the Penkhull Mystery play this July.

If you are in the area perhaps you would like to come along to these February Frolics and then get involved in the mystery play itself where there are openings to act, make props and help paint scenery. You never know you might enjoy it.

Illustrations

Two pictures of a canal illustration I did last year and the photo I used. Each illustration was done in acrylic paint on water colour paper. I posted a couple of other images here last week.

They were painted in rough ovals to assist fitting them on the leaflet they were for. They were then cropped at the printers.

Im not sure if there will be a reprint of the leaflet. I know they have all disappeared from the leaflet stand at the canal museum where they were on display.