Festival Madness

Yes … the festival activities of August!

Life has been rather busy, especially work and the last thing I really feel like doing after a day’s work is sitting and writing, even if for pleasure.

Back to August. This year neither Rod nor I had much appetite for festival activities. Don’t get me wrong, I love that the world comes to Edinburgh, but some years I’m just not in the mood for it. This year Rod and I made it to one show together – a show by John Lloyd (man behind QI, Blackadder, etc). John Lloyd is a big favourite of Rod’s and we went to see his show last year which we enjoyed very much so decided that we would see his new show this year. It was as good as we hoped, no, better. Following the show Rod had a chance to meet his idol again as he signed books in the foyer. Rod added a QI book to his collection as well as asking John to sign his copy of the complete Blackadder scripts which he already owned.

I went to one other show in the Fringe, Stitch in Time: a knitting cabaret by Melanie Gall. Her show was a collection of knitting songs from World War 1 and 2, interspersed with tales about the songs. Melanie filled the small venue with her amazing voice. She sang many a song about girls called Kitten busy knitting mittens. I guess there aren’t too many girls names that rhyme with knitting related activities or outputs. One of my favourite songs was about a girl imagining the man who would wear her knitted offerings. There was a combined sadness and romance to the song. The show also provided a bit of education. I had know idea that Lord Kitchener was the man behind the kitchener stitch.
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I ended up having a bit of a fibre filled weekend following the cabaret show as I went to the Pringle exhibition at the Museum of Scotland. There was some very glamorous looking knits with intricate beadwork to greet the visitor on entering the exhibition.
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There were examples of more traditional pieces, more along the lines of what I expected to see.
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But also modern designs too.
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I particularly favoured the textured Knits.
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Below is a particular favourite.
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I didn’t realise that Pringle produced underwear. I rather loved this fine little vest.
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The Pringle exhibition was in quite a small room, but it was packed with an interesting history of the company. Pringle produced a lot more variety than I realised.

I decided to stay in the Museum and seek out other fibre related exhibits. I rarely spend time in the Museum of Scotland, preferring the older Royal Museum next door.

I discovered quite a reasonable selection of pieces on display ranging from spinning to weaving and knitting.
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I really ought to spend a bit more time in this side of the museum, but sadly I find the layout quite off putting so never venture too far in.

I had heard from a friend about an interesting exhibition at the Dovecot so strolled along there next. First I discovered another fibre related exhibition at the Dovecot that I had not expected relating to Bernat Klein. There was a mix of yarn, textiles and painting in all manner of bright colours. Not necessarily to my taste, but interesting all the same.
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I then got to the exhibition I was really there to see, Aggregations by Kwang Young Chun. His artworks were individual tiny little boxes wrapped in paper and tied with string then glued together into a larger piece of artwork. The time that has gone into each piece is clear to see. I was a bit click happy at this exhibition , but the artwork really caught my eye.
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My fibre filled month was rounded off by an evening spent at a work colleague’s house. She was hosting Janet Renouf-Miller on her Knit 1 Bike 1 cycle tour around Scotland. In exchange for food or a bed Janet was providing workshops as she cycled her way around the country. As a group we didn’t really need a workshop so instead Janet did an advice clinic and presented her journey so far. Her story was interesting and her crocheted creations rather impressive given she was not following any patterns.
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We had a lovely evening and I could have chatted with Janet for much longer but darkness was setting in and Janet needed to cycle on to her bed for the night.

August was not your traditional festival-filled month, but who said it had to be 😀

Hidden Doors Edinburgh

Hidden Doors was my latest adventure. The event is a collection of art and gigs in a hidden part of Edinburgh – somewhere you wouldn’t ordinarily be able to access.

The location of this Hidden Doors looked to perhaps be old council offices and depot. I attended with a couple of knitting friends and I was instantly impressed as we entered the courtyard. It was absolutely buzzing. We entered the buildings surrounding the courtyard, working our way along corridors, peaking in every open door to see what was hidden inside.

I don’t pretend to understand art. I am a very visual person and I like what I like. That’s as far as it goes really. I need to know the story behind a piece of art to “get it”. Even if I don’t “get it” I may still enjoy looking and feel inspired to take a photo. 

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I wish I were artistic. I have ideas swirling around in my head but just have no idea how to get them out there. I feel torn over which idea to work with as there are so many ideas. I fear that anything I produced would actually be crap. I have no idea what I’d do with any finished art (don’t live in a big enough place to  keep anything). So many struggles so I end up creating nothing but thoughts and take photos of art that I particularly like.

Thank goodness for knitting. I may not create my own patterns, but every project I follow at least makes me feel creative.

Stanley Mill

My friend Natalie is part of an art exhibition at Stanley Mill this weekend along with some of her classmates. Wanting to support Natalie, we grabbed a couple of ASVA passes from Rod’s work and headed up the road to Stanley, north of Perth.

Our ASVA passes got us free entry to Stanley Mill, an old cotton mill. I find mills very interesting, perhaps down to my love of yarn and textiles. This Mill had fallen into disrepair, but Historic Scotland have done a great job in bringing the building back to life.

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We met a lady who used to work in the mill as a young girl and she really made the visit for me. She showed us some photos and told a few stories. It was a real insight into life in the mill. Fascinating.

The art exhibition that Natalie was part of was dotted throughout the mill. There were a few pieces that caught my eye.

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Natalie’s art was a performance installation and unfortunately on a break when we visited but we did get to see Natalie and hand over a sugary treat to see her through the day.

Looking forward to seeing Natalie’s next exhibition … her degree show.