Thursday, 26 August 2010

Bullied by the Red Cross

If you visit my website and think that it looks a bit different these days from the last time you looked at it this is because I WAS BULLIED BY THE RED CROSS.

It was in May this year when I received the first email. It was from someone using just their first name and telling me that I was in danger of contravening the Geneva Convention, breaking International Law and putting the purity of the symbol of the Red Cross in danger.

Now I just dismissed it as a joke email but the emails continued and I was getting annoyed. Firstly because of the good people of Britain who had given their hard earned cash to just causes such as the Red Cross, who were now wasting it by employing web crawlers to check out ‘misuse of the symbol’. And secondly as I had my website for the last eight years and nothing had been said until now, why suddenly was I putting the Red Cross in danger? The person who had contacted me continued with her emails, couched in the nicest possible way, suggesting that maybe I would like to change the logo/colour/shape? When I checked out the link she had sent me to the Red Cross website and the ‘reporting of misuse’ page I surmised that what they were after was a fee for using the symbol.

Well, the correspondence went all the way to the International Lawyer of the Red Cross and at this point I began to take the situation seriously. I consulted a Lawyer who specialised in copyright issues (many thanks to you Joel) who agreed with me that the whole thing was ridiculous but also told me the price I would have to pay if action was taken against me by the Red Cross. A very physical price, a fine between £2,500 and £5,000 would have been the outcome if their case had been proved. A step too far I decided. Although principles are involved here and I refuse to be bullied, money is hard to make and easy to spend.

The outcome is my logo designed by my daughter, two plasters covered in red fabric with the words FELT BETTER printed over to symbolise how making things with your hands makes you feel better, has now become green, purple being too close to red. I hope I won’t now be sued by the Pharmacists organisation for using the green cross. I suppose I can only say ‘Watch this space’.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

A little bird told me.............

I am upside down again.
I have travelled to Sydney, Australia to see my daughter, son in law and gorgeous grandson Oliver. There are always great things to do in Sydney and I went to visit one of my favourite places, the Gallery of New South Wales. There is a great exhibition on there at the moment which is called 'Paths to Abstraction' which shows how the modernist movement came about through the paintings of Whistler, Seurat, Matisse, Picasso, Braque and Mondrian to name but a few.
The exhibition was very well laid out and informative. It was filled with schoolgirls being given the culture thing on a friday afternoon.
I had some tea in the coffee shop at the gallery, some chai which came with honey in a cup and hot milk. It's a good thing that I like my chai without milk and sweetener as the photo shows what happened. I though they were so cute I didn't have the heart to shoo them away.
Cheeky little things!

Monday, 26 July 2010

Just back from a lovely weekend in the Cotswolds visiting my old haunts and seeing old and dear friends. Spent friday meeting up with Seb and Odette, Seb is my website designer. We had a meal at my favourite restaurant The Old Butchers in Stow. This was after seeing the 5 o'clock performance of Giffords Circus, a wonderfully quirky show a bit like visiting a parallel universe. It's a circus without the animal element apart from three beautiful horses, two ponies, a chicken and a goose. Here are some photos from the show. Have a look at their website

Thursday, 22 July 2010

I have been very lazy in keeping up my blog but I have been involved in refurbishing my house. So I have been spending my time with wallpaper and fabric selections, lighting layouts and kitchen planning, bathroom designs and choosing tiles and finishes. At last the job is coming to the end and the house is almost ready for the carpet layers.
I managed to slip away to Italy and escape from the builders for a week, for the opening of the wonderful felt exhibition in Prato. The exhibition is titled 'The Climate is changing' and it was a very impressive selection of the best pieces sent in to be judged. The International Feltmakers Association in the UK and Feltrosa in Italy were the organisers of the competition which drew in contributions from all over the world. The exhibition is now travelling to Germany and will be in the UK in April 2011 in Huddersfield to begin with.
Feltrosa ran some very good workshops to compliment the exhibition and I had decided to stay on and take advantage of these. I attended a great bag workshop given by Judit Pocs and came home with a very snazzy bag of which I am very proud.
There were lots of wonderful workshops going on and a sunday market for supplies and felt work for sale. We were given tremendous hospitality and it was lovely to meet up with feltmakers of all over the world.
I'm putting up some pictures here of my bag, fellow felters showing off there work and some of the lovely work for sale in the sunday market.

Monday, 12 April 2010

I have just given a creature workshop to a very nice group of people. There was Ann and Paul from Bedfordshire and Mae from south west London and Hadewych from Weybridge. All but Mae (who is a serial feltmaker, or maybe I should say cereal as she is delightfully crackers) were total felt beginners. But they all managed the challenge of constructing and felting their own very individual felt birds. I can't wait to see what they make if they come to a four legged creature workshop.
A good time was had by one and all and a lot of chocolate biscuits were consumed.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Every dog has his day!
There I was, driving along, minding my own business and out of the corner of my eye I saw this giant dog or is it a car!?! I had to pull over and take this picture. It was outside the Village Vet in East End Road in East Finchley. Very cute!

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

March 13th and 14th. The Contemporary Textile Fair at Teddington, south west London held in the lovely (but a little chilly) Landmark Arts centre. It was a great opportunity to see some of the best textile artists today. So.. lots of lovely textiles and lots of visitors although that does not always result in lots of sales. However it was really nice to chat textiles to 'the sisters' and show the visitors what we were made of.
I loved the way people came wearing their items whether it was a special scarf, coat, bag or some wonderful knitted construction. Here are a couple of images from the show.

Saturday, 27 February 2010

I have just given a Creatures workshop to a lovely class of 10/11 year olds at Tibberton Primary School in Shropshire. Their teacher had found my book and got the children interested in my methods. They raised the money for the cost of the workshop by various fund-raising activities in the school and the local community. This touched me more than I can say.
Their teacher had ordered the wool and great excitement was generated as they opened the bags and the coloured wool fell out. They worked very hard and gave up half their lunch break, and although they didn't have time to wet felt their creatures (that will be done with the help of their teachers) they managed to create the most wonderful bunch of whimsical birds that they call the Tweetures. Here is a picture of the work in progress and one of the final line up.
Hope you all like them.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

These feet were made for walking.
And that's just what I did having to leave beautiful Australia for cold rainy/snowy London. Although I didn't walk 500 miles and then 500 more, like the Proclaimers sang, and I arrived back courtesy of Virgin Atlantic and Sir Richard's lovely staff, I feel all of the 12,000 mile distance.
Now it's back to normal life and although I love what I do a bit of sun would make it a lot better. I am running my monthly feltmaking classes again starting with a Beginners workshop on February 21st with an advanced class on March 21st. If any of you out there want to learn or explore further feltmaking skills then get in touch with me or look at my Workshop diary on my website
I am at the Contemporary Textile Fair 2010 at the Landmark Arts Centre on 13th to 14th March for more information and opening times. If you visit then come and see me.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Here is a picture of my friend India Flint and me at the Gallery of New South Wales indulging in a little light refreshment. She was in Sydney just before Christmas and came to stay with me. She is now off on her wanderings in the Very Northern Hemisphere, off on an expodition to the North Pole as Winnie-ther-Pooh would say.

I am lucky enough to be in Sydney while the Sydney Festival is on. Each year that I am in Australia I always seem to miss out but this time I am trying to get to see as much as possible. Tonight I went to the see one of the most amazing visual and musical events I have ever seen. It was the Manganiyar Seduction and it was truly wonderful. The Manganiyars are a caste of musicians from the Thar Desert of Rajasthan. They all have the surname of Khan and they sing songs of love and ballads about Kings and songs marking special occasions such as births and marriages and other delightful things. The set was like a jewelled box for treasures with many compartments. Each compartment held a musician or singer and lit up when its inhabitant was performing. A true spectacle.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Three months is a long time to be without something for my fingers to do. I knew I would feel like this, twitchy, without something woolly between the fingers, so I bought out with me some crochet hooks and a small assortment of interesting yarns that I had secreted away in my yarn store for such a time as this. I found myself constructing strange tube like protuberances and realised that hands were beginning to form themselves off the crochet hook. This is not a new departure as I had hatched an 8 foot high edifice some way back in the '70's when I was sick of making matinee jackets. This lady was loved a lot by my then small children. She ended her days in various positions dressed in 1930 hats and a cigarette holder stuck in her mouth (?) in the front window of my dear departed neighbour Marsha Gardiner. She was a wonderful woman and a dear friend who took a fancy to my creation. She startled many a passer-by.
These newly constructed hands have taken on a life of their own and who knows where they will take me. I think at the moment they remind me of the Grinch Who Stole Christmas. Watch this space