I have just spent a week in England, visiting with Chrisse Seager. I had been co-reps with her when I was still a regional rep for SAQA, and when we parted working together she had invited me to come and stay with her to play in her dyeing studio. This past week was perfect as my son was on skiing week with his school, and my German students are doing a two-week-practicum, so I took the chance.
It was a very nice week. We concentrated on breakdown printing which turned into a steep learning curve for me. I had only ever done one single breakdown screen with Ali George in Australia, so trying this to a deeper extent was an interesting experience. I love the process, I like the results I got - mostly - but I have to admit that I think most of them are hard to use. Not all screens broke down successfully, either, I probably put too much thickened dye paste onto them, or did not push the mark makers in deeply enough. It was partly flow, and ‘oh, I love this’, and partly ‘so why is this not working …?’
Especially last night the screens I was trying were giving me a hard time. They had been finished for two days, perhaps they were too dry already. Or the problems I mentioned above... In any case, I had a good week and hope to take some textile inspiration back home.
A bit of touristy stuff came with it, apart from many good and long talks with Chrisse who has become a good friend. I took a long walk along the canal that her house is situated on, admiring the locks and the location of this little house which is now a café, seemingly at the end of the world.
And we went to Stonehenge. The pictures are misleading - it was full of people, but the way they lead the paths around it, keeping the masses out from between the stones, you do get a chance to take a picture with nobody in it. This was a good weather day, too.
Stonehenge was awe-inspiring. The size of the rocks, the admiration of the technical effort that must have gone into putting them up on top of each other - and the wondering about what it all meant, even if I wasn't willing to pay £6 to get at least some of the explanation for that on audio. (I think an entrance fee of £19.50 is quite enough to justify the dispension of audio guides included. I know that maintenance and preservation of this or any such place cost a lot of money, and I understand that an organization like National Heritage must make ends meet, but I thought that was a bit on the impertinent side of rip-off!)
It rained heavily for the last two days I was there, which put an end to plans for bike rides or other walks, but did not lower our spirits.
Now I am back in Germany - a bit tired after a lengthy trip home from the airport because my family could not pick me up - and wonder how the coming week will turn out which has many issues up ahead again. One issue already should have happened today but did not, as a court hearing of one of my Senegalese students who is being put to court for 'illegal presence in the country' was postponed because the interpretor did not show up. Which might increase the cost for the defendant because the lawyer will charge an additional trip to the court room... Things like that make me mad.
I do hope that stitching will be a constant in my every days again, more so that it has been lately...