Monday, 29 October 2012

Rerturn of the Wanderer

It's me - I'm back and I have missed you all. I have been on a retreat at the Dorset Wildlife Trust's Reserve at Kingcombe, near Dorchester. This was with our stitchy group that used to meet at Urchfont and we met with great misgivings that it would not be the same as our beloved Urchfont.

Of course it wasn't the same, but it was lovely and we had a wonderful time. The surroundings are fantastic with brilliant walking so, although the weather wasn't wonderful, we managed to explore a lot of it. It also enjoys poor reception for mobiles and my wi fi dongle wouldn't work, so it was something of a reteat as well. I had become so overloaded with work before I went that I felt quite poorly, but I could feel the stress dropping away.

You can see us in the pic above in the workroom. I'm afraid that I am the one with the laptop as I had to finish some editing on the Lynda Monk book which is coming around the end of November. That didn't take too long and then it was on with the stitching. The workroom had a huge log fire and, as I was sitting nearest, I was the log lady (anyone remember Twin Peaks?).

The centre was wonderfully welcoming and friendly and although we did miss the Urchfont puddings, most of us felt less bloated. The cakes were well up to Urchfont standard.

The place is very well designed with the modern additions complimenting the old agricultural buildings. We slept in the cowshed, seen here. No cows but en-suite bedrooms.

Lovely hidden gems in the grounds, too. I came across this metal-worked fawn and just loved the way it was made.

Note the detail of the spine, shown here.It has given me an idea for a piece I am working on which started as a tutorial for the third free lesson from my Dissolvable Delights book.

It will be  a large hanging, mostly metal, with inserts of water soluble stitching and solid free machining. Will show you that next time.

Clive came along for lunch on Friday and then we took Jane Lemon down to Totnes, Devon for the AGM of the West Country Embroiderers, a good sized group of stitchers in Dorset, Devon and Corwall with around 1000 members in total. 

I am rather scared and humbled by the fact that I have taken over from Jane as the President of the organisation. What a hard act to follow, she is such a towering figure in our embroidery world, having been awarded an MBE for her services in bringing ecclesiastical embroidery into the modern day.

West Country are a lovely group - I have been a member, on and off, for years and have always enjoyed my teaching sessions with them.

I gave a talk called Visible, Invisible, one of my favourites, which covers not only dissolving fabric (a natural for the title) but is also about making things appear from unlikely base materials and covers working through concepts to produce art.

The members are all really committed to their stitching and have great tutors on a (mostly) monthly basis.To celebrate the AGM they had all worked book marks and there were some stunning ones, as you can see, right and below.

It was a lovely afternoon and a sunny drive home through Devon and Dorset. I'm glad to be back at last.


dorothypandorasbox said...

Hi Maggie, Glad you enjoyed your retreat. Funnily enough I am doing something similar next week, but up in Grasmere, with a group on Sitchy friends who meet online. We did a similar one at Urchfont a couple of years ago.
Looking forward to it.

Heather said...

It sounds as if your retreat came not a moment too soon - do hope you feel less stressed now. The venue looks most interesting - love the sculpture in the grounds. Jane Lemon was certainly a luminary in the field of embroidery, but then so is Maggie Grey and I think you will make a great job of the Presidency.
Lovely examples of work here - so varied and beautiful use of colour.

Maggi said...

I'm glad that you have found an alternative retreat. It certainly sounds as though you needed it. The fawn is beautiful, such a clever idea.