A Magical Trip to St Ives

The first post-parent holiday I took was to St Ives – back in the 1960s – it fulfilled my expectations. Lying on the beach during the day and, after the dinner in the hotel, back into town for three barley wines at The Sloop pub.  What fun my friend and I had………….

My visit fifty years later. A different friend but, still with the sense of adventure, we booked a very cheap coach trip. This time my expectations were low – you get what you pay for – so they weren’t high.

But wherever we go my friend and I embrace the humour of the situations we find ourselves in.

Just a few photos – Jamaica Inn


I walked into the bedroom to be greeted by this view over Carbis Bay.


After dinner a walk down to the Bay – most of which was a building site.

The next day to the Tate – what a joy.


I had no idea what was on so to come across a talk about the current exhibition of Patrick Heron’s work was delight. At one time I would have been embarrassed because I’d not heard of him but now I welcome the knowledge of finding someone new to me.

Time for tea and scones whilst admiring the roof-scape of the town.


A walk back up the hill to the hotel for an indifferent meal and a dance to the 1950’s/60’s singer.

The next day we walked to the Bernard Leach pottery – no cafe there but a diy instant coffee but the exhibition and museum made up for the omission. The workshops look as if they’ve just been left – ready for Bernard  to return at any moment. There was a charming and informative 1950’s  film to watch.

Onto the Barbara Hepworth museum

I’m still unsure if I like her work – she came from a privileged, monied family  so was able to indulge herself in terms of her sculptures. But I enjoyed a tranquil hour sitting in her garden gazing at the installations.


Finally a walk round several of the galleries – seascapes, harbour scenes, beaches and boats!

Out to eat at The Rum and Crab Shack – ‘could do better’ as the saying goes – my crab still not thawed.

Back to the hotel where I was taught how to waltz by Bob.

The sun had shone for the two days we were there; lots of laughter; lots of art – a magical trip.


Pin Money

‘Good gracious! Lord Bless me! Only think! Dear Me! Mr Darcy!Who would have thought it? Is it really true? O my sweet Lizzy, how rich and how great you will be! What pin-money, what jewels, what carriages you will have!’

We all know what a pin is – they’ve been around forever.

Many have survived from neolithic times as they were made out of bone.


The Romans used metal.

Pins excavated in London dated 1150 -1350


But pins like these were for the rich – the poor used sharpened pieces of wood or thorns.

They were a valuable commodity – The Friar used them to curry favour as described by Chaucer (1343 – 1400). default

Pins were valuable enough to be considered worth painting.


Rogier de la Pasture – about 1450 Picture7.png

Each pin had to be hand made – most were produced in France and Germany.


Apparently pins were sufficiently expensive and in such short supply in the 14th century that Parliament passed a special law that restricted their sale to the first two days of January each year.


1483 – The importing of pins was banned!

Richard III decreed that all pins had to be made in England. Too much money was spent on imports.


Unknown artist c1520

1543 – Henry VIII stepped in with quality control. “No person shall put to sale any pynnes but only such as shall be double-headed and have all the heads soldered fast to the shanke of the pynnes, well smoothed, the shanke well sharpen, the point well and filed, canted and sharpened.”


Rumoured that Queen Elizabeth I’s dress was held together with over a thousand pins.

The Queen’s purchases over a 6 month period in 1565 Item to Roberts Careless our Pynner – 18,000 great verthingale pynnes 20,000 middle verthingale pynnes 25,000 great velvet pynnes 39,000 smale velvet pynnes 19,000 small head pins


Even lesser mortals used many pins in their dress. 18th Century Dress

Marriage Settlement 1691. Copy of settlement on marriage of Philip, Lord Stanhope, eldest son and heir of Phillip, Earl of Chesterfield, and Lady Elizabeth Savile, daughter of George, Lord Marquess of Halifax, in consideration of £20,000 paid by Halifax to Chesterfield and an Act of Parliament (3 & 4 William and Mary) enabling jointure to be made on marriage of Lord Stanhope. …………taking £300 per annum pin money, remainder to Elizabeth for life as jointure.

Pin Money – Money allowed to a wife without her having to account for it.Seemed to cause upset between couples.

“Mr Spectator – 1721 I am turned of my great climacteric, and naturally a man of meek temper. About a dozen years ago I was married , for my sins, to a woman of a good family, and of an high spirit but could not bring her to close with me before I had entered into a treaty with her longer than that of the great Alliance. Among other articles, it was therein stipulated, that she should have £400 a year for Pin Money, which I obliged myself to pay quarterly into the hands of one who has acted as her plenipotentiary in that affair.”


Earl of Pomfret 1768 – 1830. In1793 he married Mary Browne who brought her fortune of £112,000 with her. In the pre-marriage agreement she was given £2000 per year for pin-money. In Court she stated he threatened to kill her unless she relinquished her pin money.

A novel on the subject published in 1834 written by Mrs Gore (Catherine Grace Frances Woody)


Oliver Twist 1837 Chapter 51: Affording an Explanation of More Mysteries Than One, and Comprehending a Proposal of Marriage With No Word of Settlement of Pin-Money.

Punch 1849


A cartoon emphasising the difference between the rich and the poor.

Partly due to The Married Woman’s Property Act – 1870 the meaning took on a different connotation. Married women were more likely to be given an allowance for the running costs of the house. Any money gleaned from this was deemed pin money.


During the 20th century the phrase pin money remained in the domain of the married woman but moved into the vocabulary of the lower orders and became derogatory.

‘The men provide for their families and so their work is taken seriously and paid accordingly. Woman are perceived as working for pin money, for the extras of life, hence the lower working wage.’ Margaret Taylor 1934

The beginning of the demise of the term.

‘By the early 1970s, Marion was already a union shop steward at the factory and she led an approach by the women to their employers with a request for equal pay with their male counterparts.’

Processing tobacco leaves at J. R. Freeman Cigars, Cardiff


Now moving on a difference tack.

Let’s leave it there.




Ephemeral Coast

A cold wait for the bus to Swansea and a longish journey but worth it for a visit to the Glynn Vivian Gallery  to see ‘These Waters Have Stories To Tell.…The exhibition explores how oceans, their ecosystems and climates are affected by our actions.’

Julia Davis. Her video took me into another world. It was for a minute or so before I could understand what I was looking at, I was totally immersed by sight and sound. Julia’s work needs to be seen on a large screen but here is a taster.

Julia Davis

I spent much longer than I normally do watching the video. It’s not a format I am attracted to and often ask the question, ‘Why is this art and not a documentary (or other genre)?’ I appreciate that many documentaries etc. are artful but visa versa?

Alexander Duncan also provoked me to question what I was looking at.

Alex Duncan.JPG

This image taken from his website shows the enormity of his work.

Christian Sardet and the Macronauts  I’ve put a link to the 6 min TED talk as it enhances the stills taken by Christian.


Jaanika Peerna also took my breath away. Her video showed her performance held in the gallery space. This image from her website demonstrates the principle at a different location.


Plastic paper was suspended then using a water-soluble mark making pen Jaanika hit the paper with great energy. There was no cello playing, just the percussive sound of pen on the sheet. Members of the audience were invited to contribute then, by using a block of ice, the marks were transformed. It took me back to when I took my Foundation Diploma when I placed ground up charcoal into water, froze it then let it melt on rag paper. Jannika has taken her a work a stop further.

jaan 2

There were several hanging on the large wall space – the plastic paper had been cut into strips then draped into fluid shapes.

As with all the artists Shiraz Bayjoo‘s work is beautifully executed but the frames seemed to be at odds with their contents. I feel I’ve missed some fundamental reasoning.


A wonderful exhibition, a joy to see and I’m so glad I went.

It all came to this – part 2

It all came to this; we packed our treasures and possessions.  Berlin 1936


A follow on piece of work from the old silk dress given to me by a friend.  This will be part of an exhibition by Anne Kelly Moving Memories to be shown at The Knitting & Stitch Show Spring 2018.

The story behind it is that in 1936 a Jewish family fled from Berlin to England because of the Nazi persecutions. They packed their treasures and possessions. The dress is disintegrating and whenever I touch the fabric a little more falls apart.

I made the original  art work for an exhibition and  I had wanted to give it to my friend but was fearful she may not have liked what I’d done with the dress. I was so pleased when she asked if she could purchase it; I gifted it to her.

Deciding which tools to use

I’m putting together sixteen framed pieces for an exhibition at the Potting Shed, Insole Court, Cardiff.

I’ve done all my research on the couples I’m commemorating; they all lived or worked around ‘the big house.’

A selection of  some of the tools I may be using


A Victorian knitted lace design


One of the marriages

Francis Herbert Wride marriage cert Annie Louisa Streeter 10th April 1907


Eco Printing – what’s it all about?

I’ve been reading about and seeing many images of eco printed textiles and papers so I thought I’d give it a try. I’m not taken with the technique when used for clothing  but like the idea for paperwork.

Everything I’ve read says that fallen leaves and flowers should be used – I’m unsure if this is for ethical reasons or if the resultant colour is better but as it’s the start of summer I went with what I had from my garden. A selection of what I found along with a few rusty nails and keys.


I pressed the leaves under a pile of books overnight.


The only paper I had to hand was 200grms watercolour – torn into small test-sized squares


The paper was soaked in water for about an hour.


The leaves then layed between two pieces of paper.


Each sandwich was numbered and a note of which leaf  it contained.


I also soaked some paper in soya milk as I’d read it was a good mordant. I  repeated the layering then placed   cardboard at the top and bottom, bound them together tightly with rubber bands.


Not following H&S rules I used my steamer. I placed the bundle in it and weighed it down with a kilo weight from my kitchen scales.


It was left to simmer for about an hour and a half.


Oh yes, one leaf I dipped into rust water (a jar containing iron nails etc) and it was the first one I looked at.


The rest I left overnight.

The nails and keys were disappointing – I’ll keep to my tried method of rust printing – steaming does nothing for the process.


The next ones for the reveal were those on the soya paper. The plant material stuck to the paper, the card suck to the paper…….not a success. It looks as if the process has worked but the colouration is from the residue leaves,


The water soaked paper was easier to clean up but the thin geranium leaf still stuck.


Conclusion: Very disappointed with the results. The rose and bramble leaves worked the best. I’d hoped to be able to make pieces for greetings cards but none were clear enough – looked more like the results of a spilled cup of coffee over paper which had then been cut up. However I’ll keep the pieces ……..never know when they may come in useful!

Select Festival 2016

Time for my annual pilgrimage to Stroud for a day of visiting exhibitions and walk round artists’ studios at the SITselect Festival

My first stop was at the Lansdowne Gallery to see The Sewing Project – a selection of works by Studio 21 and this is an explanation taken from their website…

‘This well-researched exhibition explores all aspects of the sewing machine.Projects range from sewing machine mechanics, decoration and operation to personal and social histories. Each member of Studio 21 has produced a comprehensive body of work that reflects their personal interest in this transformational machine. You can see how they interpreted the challenge by clicking here.’

Little Boxes

Little boxes 2Little boses 5 Little boxes 1 Machine Noise
Machine noise 1 Machine noise 3 Machine noise 4 Machine noise 5 Machine noise 6 Machine noise 7 Machine noise