Les Soeurs Anglaises

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.. things to do to keep warm...

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Our recipe this month.......

Visit Les Soeurs Anglaises'  February inspirations......... for another little quiz!

If you're currently sitting on a beach in southern Australia, you might be able to pop across to see Viktor Horsting & Rolf Snowden's extraordinary exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria (we, European's have no conception of Antipodean distances);  but if, like those of us enduring the northern hemisphere climes, you are stomping your feet and trying to keep warm then you might find a moment for a few ideas to get your blood (and creative synapses) moving.

The cold weather generally slows us all down a tad, but we could of course view this as an opportunity to become more mindful in the present, using the time for unhurried and undemanding projects, recharging our creative batteries and allowing ourselves to enjoy some of life's simpler pleasures, often the most enriching.

It's not exactly the mushroom season anywhere as far as we know (in fact all the delicious local cep here were gathered a good two months ago) but we thought you might, alternatively, enjoy stitching your own.  You can find a pattern for some dear little fungi on Anne Wood's website alongside various stitchable birds and beasties. Incidentally, we're very much hoping to have Ann over next year to lead a short workshop so do let us know if it's the sort of event you might enjoy.

Northern Californian based artist,  Linda Christensen is a firm favourite of ours.   She has no interest in showcasing the perfect human form, or in pedantically depicting in realistic detail a person’s exterior, but rather in expressing the sub-surface focus of emotional interiors which she does so brilliantly with her hot and cool hues layered in oil impasto, often combining palette knife, oil pastel and sometimes graphite stick. The results are nearly always of women, often her own adult daughters, who appear to be unaware of being observed, deep in thought, being mindful of the present even: limbs are heavy and languid, torsos often soft and slumped, and Christensen’s message would appear to be that being alone is not equivalent to loneliness; it is the way to feeling at home within yourself.

It seems everything these days has to be planned weeks (if not months) ahead, so if you're remotely interested in knitting and yarns - and you're within striking distance - you might like to book tickets for this year's Edinburgh Yarn Festival - 10TH/11TH MARCH 2017.  Our very own favourite knitter, Åsa Söderman of Åsa Tricosa fame - who will be returning to lead one of her immensely popular workshops for us in September, Knitting Im-Mercerie - will be there, not teaching this time, but to launch a design from her new book at the Ginger Twist Studio stand.  This hip, vintage inspired, yarn shop stocks high quality fibres and beautiful yarn for a wide range of budgets. It’s like a sweetie shop for knitters, crocheters, spinners and weavers.  Åsa is super-friendly and you won't regret making the effort of saying hello.

A couple of years ago we had hoped to have the very talented Edinburgh-based weaver, Fiona Rutherford, here to lead a workshop but despite our best efforts it didn't pan out. However, for those with an interest in learning how to create the surface lines, marks and textures in weave by a careful mixing of yarns and colours, she will be at Handweavers Studio and Gallery, North London towards the end of February leading a two-day course.  To learn more or to book a place, contact them directly:  T: 020 7272 1891

London is always full of places to visit and things to see, and when we were there last week we popped into the Welcome Collection on the Euston Road.  Situated in their wonderful building with library and myriad resources, the exhibition Making Nature: How we see animals is a year-long exploration into man's relationship with nature, examining what we think, feel and value about other species and the consequences this has for the world around us. It brings together over 100 fascinating objects from literature, film, taxidermy and photography to reveal the hierarchies in our view of the natural world, and considers how these influence our actions, or inactions, towards the planet. Simply fascinating......

We still have a few remaining spaces on our Slow Stitchery week-long break towards the end of June.  This is the ideal opportunity to delve deep into a personal project currently on the go, or perhaps one you'd like to kick start. You'll be working in our inspirationally light and beautiful studio alongside Chris Manning, a passionate and award-winning stitcher and quilter who'll be there to aid and abet your creativity with her wealth of traditional and modern needle working techniques.  Between stitches, brocante visits and quiet time beside the pool, and to help you further unwind and release your creativity, Liz Bolton of Silver Yoga, will be leading optional yoga sessions twice daily.  The choice of what you do, how much and when, will be entirely yours and we’ll actively encourage you to go at your own pace. Meanwhile, if you happen to find yourself in the Utah area of the US, Chris will be exhibiting some of her exquisite quilt work at the Bountiful Davis Arts Centre from the 24th February to 31st March.  Definitely worth a go-to.

Please don't forget our Blues and Boogie Weekend coming up in July.  Whilst it may not be your personal tasse de thé,  you might know of someone who would enjoy three evenings of infectious rhythms, masterful musicianship and riveting vocals, as well as great food and a brilliant atmosphere, and we would very much appreciate you passing the information along. We have two of Europe's, and one of the US's, best-loved pianists donating their talents for a great cause (Medécins sans Frontières), funds that will be much needed in the uncertain times  ahead. 

To close, here are a few words of Goethe's concerning our approach to creativity: 

"We are all collective beings, let us place ourselves as we may. For how little have we, and are we, that we can strictly call our own property? We must all receive and learn both from those who were before us, and from those who are with us. Even the greatest genius would not go far if he tried to owe everything to his own internal self. But many very good men do not comprehend that; and they grope in darkness for half a life, with their dreams of originality. I have known artists who boasted of having followed no master, and of having to thank their own genius for everything. Fools! as if that were possible at all; and as if the world would not force itself upon them at every step, and make something of them in spite of their own stupidity."
katie armitage