Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Christmas shopping

There's a lot to be said for on line shopping: no queues, no sudden changes in temperature (cold outside and boiling hot inside the shops), no parking hassles, etc, etc. I do admit I'm a great fan. But there are just a few shops out there which can still make the real thing a wonderful experience and I honestly don't think you can beat the experience of arms full of carrier bags, especially when they contain gifts which have been wrapped for you in the shop to produce such wonderful eye candy.
It's tempting when they ask if it's a gift which you want wrapping, to say yes, just so you can experience the joy of unwrapping it.
These were my purchases on Friday and I assure you, it doesn't matter if you spend £5 or £50, they wrap everything with the same attention to detail.

Just so you can experience this, especially if you're rubbish at present wrapping, the shop to go to is Forme in Winchester.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Making Merry Open Studios

Claire Vine 
From Friday 19th - Sunday 28th November Winchester is awash with local artists and crafts people's Open Studios which are a great place to go for more unusual Christmas presents and inspiration. I spent a day in Winchester last year visiting just a few of the studios and had a wonderful time seeing lovely things and wandering around places I've never visited before. Some of the work is in proper studios and others in people's own homes, it makes a great change from trudging around the shops.
Some of the studios I definitely want to visit are:
Eileen White, Claire Vine & Sarah Green
ewpapercuts.01  Happy Days -  caravan motif knitted cushion 
282 Textile Artists
Jenny Mitchell
Jan Griffiths and Dee McNamara
The Studio
Badger Press

Do check the website link as not all of the studios are open every day.

As well as the Open Studios there's also

The Making Merry City Space Exhibition
at Winchester Discovery Centre, Jewry Street, Winchester.
Saturday 13 November - Sunday 2nd January


Dazzle - Art Deco Fashions from the Roaring 20s
in The Gallery of The Winchester Discovery Centre

I'll certainly need more than 1 day this year!

Friday, 12 November 2010

Wednesday, 13 October 2010


This is Alton's pretty Allen Gallery which is unfortunately threatened with closure. It really is a lovely place and at the moment has an exhibition by my fabulous friend Jackie Bicknell. Do go and check it out, you can even have a coffee and cake there, or wander around their garden.
Jackie is a multi-talented hive of energy, always busy creating new things, entertaining friends, offering tea, visiting interesting places, working, or doing all of these at once! She is passionate about her work and that of other artists and makers and uses a variety of techniques in her own work including sewing, Photoshop and collage.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

'Not Going Out'

Last Friday we went to London for a recording of Not Going Out at the BBC. Guess who were the last people in the queue to get in - the people just in front of us!
So we went for a wander instead and found some lovely things to look at instead.

First stop was Trafalgar Square where 8 industrial robots from Audi's Ingolstadt production line formed the Outrace installation by Clemens Weisshaar and Reed Kram. You can direct the path of light produced by each robotic tentacle at http://www.outrace.org
We also saw Nelson's Ship in a Bottle on the fourth plinth by Yinka Shonibare.

While walking through Covent Garden - we had to fit in a visit to Muji and The Tea House on Neal Street - we came across a newly opened frozen yogurt shop called Snog. I can thoroughly recommend it and the changing coloured lights filling their ceiling look great and could even add to my A2 student Lex's sketchbook as her project is based on the lightbulb.
For me no visit to London is complete without a walk over The Golden Jubilee Bridge, especially if it's at night time. This has to be one of the greatest cities when it looks like this.

Beautiful patterns

I've spent ages looking for a present for my friend Jackie, but a couple of weeks ago I was in a kitchen shop in Winchester looking for a wine bottle stopper and found this instead. Unfortunately I couldn't afford the absolutely fabulous tea pot and cups and saucers that they had too, but I think this will certainly cheer her up as the weather gets colder and darker.

I also want to show you a picture of my beautiful (well I always loved the outrageous colour scheme) Woolies mug which just went pop last weekend and emptied boiling hot coffee from a crack down its side all over my kitchen floor.

I do miss Woolies, when you live in a small town like Alton there aren't many places to go to buy a replacement.

Cat or Kangaroo?

Just look at those back legs.

This is how Mouse loves to sleep. It doesn't matter how much havoc she's creating, just put her in this position and 5 seconds later she's asleep!

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Something else that's lovely

I'm jealous as I wanted to have one of the new Minx pedicures but my appointment was cancelled. Alex's wasn't though and just look at the lovely result. The icing on the cake would be if the sun came out again to make it sandals weather

Monday, 13 September 2010

Beautiful things

Lots of the things I show under this heading are usually textile, fashion or food related. I suppose some may call me shallow! But I received this advertisement through the post on Saturday for Audi cars and I think it's a gorgeous piece of graphic design so here are some photos of a lovely disposable item which I will keep.

First day of teaching and a trip already!

Well back to the teaching today. It's a nice relief to be able to start to get back into a timetable after all the meetings, planning and organising of last week.

Normally we would allow everything to settle down into a routine for quite a few weeks before we even started to think about an educational trip but ......

Well we can't let Origin go by without a visit, even though they've moved it from October to September. It's such a good experience for the 2nd year students to both inspire and amaze them and give them aspirations for the quality of work which can be achieved. Plus so many opportunities for them to add to their design diaries.

If you've never been and love beautiful things then plan a visit, but be warned, you'll need your cheque book rather than your pennies.

Take a look for yourself http://www.originuk.org/

Friday, 10 September 2010


Looking at The Barbican website I've just spotted they have a 'freeB' offer which means free tickets to things happening there. The only drawback for me is you need to be aged 16-25 so that counts me out!
Anyway if you're thinking you may go to the Future Beauty: 30 years of Japanese Fashion exhibition I've just blogged about then it may be worth you joining.

Barbican - Future Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion

There seems to be some exciting exhibitions coming up in London for anyone interested in Fashion and Textiles.

We've got the new enlarged Origin at the end of this month.
Drawing Fashion starts in November at The Design Museum.
Matthew Williamson will be at Somerset House starting in October.
For me the really exciting one (I hope) is the one that I've just come across: Barbican - Future Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion which also starts in October.

I think our Textiles department, or some of the tutors anyway, will be visiting London a few times in the next few months.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Le Manoir - part 2

Time for some pictures of the meal.

The starters:

Martin had soup and everyone else had the pate.

The pate's close-up opportunity.

I rather think our waiter thought if he offered to take a photo of us all I might put my camera away.

No such luck!

On to the main course:

No one could resist the pork.
The cheese board wasn't so much of a board as a table. We were totally spoilt for choice.

The puddings:

Apricots and strawberries
Coffee and truffles in one of the lounges:

Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, part 1

Way back at the end of July we spent a couple of days at my sister and brother-in-law's lovely house. Whenever we visit we're guaranteed the most gorgeous food, but this time we were treating ourselves. To celebrate our and their wedding anniversary we went to Le Manoir, oh and Alex came too.

The food, staff, building and gardens were all wonderful and I have lots of photos - I'm pretty sure I nearly drove everyone mad with taking them all!
Something to entertain while reading the menu

The wine menu needed careful perusal

Beautiful plates

and expectant husbands await the first course

Martin caught off guard!

food as art and it tasted gorgeous too.
Time for a trip to the ladies loo

and the views from the window were lovely.