Seen at The Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden - Chinese proverb

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Star Gazing


Threadspider and I were reduced to weak-kneed giggling schoolgirls yesterday when we visited the Blue & White show in Bath for the second time. We both admire Kaffe Fasset - me for his tapestry (needlepoint if you're across the pond) and Judith for his quilts. Both are much in evidence at this exhibition. Yesterday we both got to meet the great man as he was there for a book signing. For me, there was a wonderful bonus as Candace Bahouth (another tapestry inspiration) was also in attendance. Her mosaics at the exhibition were a revelation to me and my fellow SUP regulars - Sally was there too yesterday.

There was a very unBritish melee in the Gallery as we awaited the arrival of the great and the good. Judith and Sally neatly averted certain disaster by preventing a Kaffe Fasset original screen crashing down on a table of his pottery, thus saving many thousands of pounds of modern art! Soon afterwards Kaffe appeared and treated us to an eloquent description of his work. He invited interruption from his audience - so I asked the rather lame question, 'Which is your favourite item in the exhibition?' and was treated to a courteous reply and description of the Lady of the Lake quilt on display. The question 'How do you find time to do all you do?' was answered with 'All this is what I am', a dismissal of pretty much all of modern technology and him wondering why people don't knit when travelling on trains or planes. Another question revealed he is 1 of 100 artists invited to customise a pig as part of a controversial public art project due to go on display in Bath later this year. I do hope this comes off - I want to see them!

Candace gave a lovely speech encouraging us all to all get stuck in and have a go at art. She and Kaffe both think that we British spend too much time thinking about it rather than doing. I'll be taking her advice about not worrying about mistakes made along the way, and to just enjoy the journey and the end result.

At the book signing, everyone was being very British and not saying anything except 'Thank you'. I remarked as much to Kaffe as I stepped up with my book. This opened up a lovely conversation about quilting and needlepoint with much encouragement for Judith and I from the man. I felt a bit guilty presenting my book to Candace to sign as it wasn't one of hers. My excuse was 'I've done loads of your needlepoints', so she smiled and signed graciously. We chatted about which ones I'd done and a little about my own designs. After that both Judith and I were too starstruck to continue and had to retire to the cafe at St Michael's Church before our legs gave way entirely ;)

It felt like we'd had an afternoon with people who'd be great friends if we could get to know them better.

Update - Judith has also blogged very eloquently about yesterday on her quilting website.

4 comments:

  1. Thank you for posting this. It was great fun to read ... I loved hearing about your day. Ah, to be near greatness, huh?

    I wonder if the urban pig project will be similar to the one we had. Various artists were selected to do a pig - they were scattered through the downtown area and I think auctioned off afterward. It was great fun. The designs were amazing.

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  2. How wonderful,
    K
    PS Nice picture on Threadspiders blog!

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  3. Sounds like you had a great day. I visited the exhibition a couple of weeks ago too and loved it. PS What a small world I love in Chippenham too :)

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  4. Kate - it was wonderful - we're all still on cloud 9. Threadspider's already checked out 1 of my links and found a course with him later this year in Cornwall. We're very tempted...

    Karen - I think Threadspider should have cropped me out and just showed Candace and Kaffe! BTW the quilt in the background is the one KF picked out as his favourite exhibit.

    angelcat - thanks for stopping by! Always glad to see someone else from Chippneham :)

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