Exhibitions

OLSA: Santiago de Compostela

Posted by on May 7, 2016 in Exhibitions, News | 0 comments

OLSA: Santiago de Compostela

Every year over 100 000 people make the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. This phrase may be literally translated as St James of the Field of Stars – and relates to the story of how the tomb of St James was found. It is said that St James preached in Spain before returning to the Holy Land where he met his death as a martyr on the orders of King Herod Agrippa. He was beheaded and his body was thrown outside the city walls – his supporters retrieved it and managed to take it to Jaffa, whence it was miraculously transported across the sea to Galicia in a stone boat. It was undiscovered for over 800 years until a hermit, Pelagius, saw a lights in the forest and informed the local bishop, Theodemar who was led to the tomb of St James (the Greater) by a star – from where the expression field of stars is...

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OLSA: The Goya exhibition

Posted by on Dec 19, 2015 in Discussion, Exhibitions | 0 comments

Stunning exhibition at the National Gallery of portraits by Goya. Since seeing this exhibition I have decided definitely to renew my membership to the gallery as I went almost because I wanted to use it – the ‘moneys worth principle.’ That extra motivation made me go on a day when it was not really convenient. I came away quite stunned – the portraits were so lively and fresh.  I imagined that each individual could easily step out of their canvas and start a conversation.  As I walked round the early galleries it reminded me how we like to be remembered at our best – in our finery surrounded by the symbols of what is important to us or represents something  about us which we consider absolutely central to our view of ourselves. I thought – you never see anyone ill at a portrait gallery. How wrong I was. In one of the later rooms there is a portrait of a friend of Goya’s – `Friar Juan Fernandez de Rojas – ‘taking his last breath.’ It is a quite extraordinary picture (in graphite and chalk) of a dying man. The friar was apparently a great friend of his and, in earlier years in health, a reluctant sitter. He allowed Goya the intimacy of seeing his last moments. Further on there is a self-portrait of Goya being supported by his doctor, Arrieta. Goya developed a life-threatening, distressing illness. He made a good recovery and his portrait shows his enormous admiration for his physician. Goya went on to live a very full life – including a move to Bordeaux when he was over 80 years old, because of his political differences with the rulers of Spain. A wonderful artist and  engaged interpreter of the world in which he lived and lived...

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OLSA: Road to Santiago exhibition

Posted by on Nov 25, 2015 in Discussion, Exhibitions | 0 comments

OLSA: Road to Santiago exhibition

Delighted to hear that my work has been accepted for an exhibition at Saffron Walden library in 2016. It happens that the dates offered coincide with the time I was actually walking the Camino in 2011 – so that feels poetic. I am looking forward very much to working on more images for this exhibition and also providing some information about the Camino pilgrimage about which I knew very little before I planned to go. It is easier to start with the destination – the Cathedral of St James in Santiago de Compostela – which houses the shrine of the apostle of St James. I have attached one photograph which we took when we delightedly arrived after our 100 km (70 mile) walk through Galicia  in north west Spain.   It was interesting to hear the story on the news yesterday that the monks at Glastonbury had possibly exaggerated the stories attached to their monastery to encourage pilgrimage – which was a great source of income for towns in the middle ages. It is clear that the medieval rulers of Galicia  promoted the story of the burial of St James in Galicia – requiring miraculous transport of his body from The Holy Land –  to help support a   deprived area of Galicia. However it came about the pilgrimage to the cathedral of St James, is a great inspiration and time of reflection for many – including those without formal religious belief. The name of the city is very poetic – St James of the Field of Stars (compostela) and the city itself a jewel of medieval architecture....

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OLSA textiles and prints: DITCH THE PLASTIC

Posted by on Oct 3, 2015 in Discussion, Exhibitions, News | 0 comments

OLSA textiles and prints: DITCH THE PLASTIC

]From 5th October, 2015  you will be charged 5p for each plastic bag you need in the larger shops such as supermarkets. Now is the time to invest in a strong material bag. OLSA has some beautiful bags made from new remnants of strong upholstery cotton lined with canvas remnants or French linen. They are made to be strong, with double-stitching on the handles; these are long enough to let you carry the bag over your shoulder or in your hands. The straps are wide enough to be comfortable even when the bag is full.    

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OLSA at Denbies Craft Event 27th September 2015

Posted by on Sep 20, 2015 in Exhibitions, News, Sales | 0 comments

OLSA at Denbies Craft Event 27th September 2015

I am delighted that a very good friend, Jane, is going to be at Denbies Vineyard  Craft Event on Sunday 27th September, 2015 to sell some OLSA textiles and prints. These sales (run by SHOPFEST) are a regular, established monthly event  (except August) at Denbies and very popular for finding individually-crafted original gifts for friends and families (and to enjoy in your own home).  Jane is going to do two sales ( the next in October) with items specially chosen to be ideal Christmas presents   
silk – cotton cushions This beautiful pair of cushions is made from the finest silk paired with a strong upholstery cotton to make a versatile look for a modern sofa. Adorn any room with this beautiful pair of cushions in fashionable black  or buy one cushion to enhance any chair.   As well as cushions (of which more later) there will be cards, cafetiere warmers, tea cosies and original hand-prints.   Tartan throw This vintage throw is a real labour of love. the fabric was sourced the needlework stall at the Church sale in Saffron Walden, from the woman who had donated it. It is pure natural wool. I had it dry-cleaned and lined it with silk, slightly marked with tailor’s pen,  then tie-quilted it with buttons and wool. I edged in blanket stitch with a cotton Rowan thread   I almost can’t bear to let it go. Denbies is a lovely setting – an English vineyard in the Surrey Hills with its own delicious wines on offer and a welcoming cafe with delicious, locally sourced produce. We will also be selling some original hand-prints and cards. linocut of Southwold These cheerful linocuts (limited editions and hand printed on archival-standard paper)   remind everybody of summer and sell particularly well as autumn draws in. They are available custom-framed (for £50) by Darryl Nantais (who does all our work) and  mounted and backed with wood  (£25) ready for your own frame. There are a number of colour-ways and pictures available – not all will be there at Denbies but look on the website gallery for other versions. We can send out to you if you contact us and order.   DO JOIN JANE AT DENBIES BETWEEN 10-4pm and enjoy lots of good stalls, but especially OLSA....

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OLSA textiles: wool

Posted by on Sep 19, 2015 in Discussion, Exhibitions, News | 0 comments

OLSA textiles: wool

I am going to be concentrating on giving a little information on individual textiles in the early part of this week, in the run-up to our sale of fine things in fine fabrics (plus some selected prints) at Denbies Wine Estate, near Dorking on the 27th September, 2015. Today I want to talk about wool – one of our most familiar and perhaps most underrated fabrics. I have pictured a beautiful scarf made from a cashmere/silk mix that will be on sale. As I bought a perfect remnant from a tailor it is very competitively priced. Most of us probably don’t give wool a second thought, we  take it for granted.  It is simply a wonderful fabric, versatile, durable and biodegradable. It is used not only for jumpers and coats and clothes of all sorts but also for carpets and it even has industrial uses. From luxurious cashmere scarves to the top of the billiard table, wool plays an important part in nearly  everyone’s life. Humans have been using it for many thousands of years (primarily to keep warm and dry), all over the world. Remember that wool comes not only from sheep but also from alpacas, llamas, goats (who give us cashmere) and Angora rabbits.  Wool is a natural fibre, though not necessarily organic. Wool may have been exposed to hormones, pesticides, and other less desirable chemicals during its production and if you are concerned look out for wool that has been classified as organic by the Soil Association. Sadly wool fleeces (which are laborious to produce) do not command a good price in the market at the moment and farming for wool alone , (at least in the UK) is not economic. Wool from mountain sheep (e.g. Herdwick from the Lake District) may only sell for around 50p per kg and even the finest ‘lustre wool’ £4.55 per kg. Bear in mind that removing the fleece from the animal without harming it,  is hard, skilled work. Then the wool has to be cleaned, combed, sorted and spun,  into either (i) woollen, made from the shorter fibres and resulting in a coarser material or (ii) worsted, longer fibres spun together and producing a lustrous, luxurious fabric, which is more durable and is less likely to snag or pill. (ref The Fabric Selector, by Dana Willard, Search Press, 2011). More tomorrow.  ...

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