A Private Viewing

The Capsule Poster

The Capsule Poster

I went to an exhibition at the weekend in a super little private gallery in Norfolk called The Capsule.

The Capsule Extension Gazebo

The Capsule Extension Gazebo

The very talented and very lovely daughters of my dear friends John & Kate were invited to exhibit some of their fabulous work in The Capsule and it is their exhibition that I went to see.

John adding the finishing touches

John adding the finishing touches

Jess and Millie are also the grandaughters of Pam and Neal French’s and you can see how they are so talented. It clearly runs in the family.

Getting Ready

Getting Ready

Their work is brilliant and hugely diverse.

Checking everything over

Checking everything over

It is done with nearly everything you can think of to create with – pens, pencils, crayons, paper, cameras, ipads, paint, clay and many more. I really think they could make art with just about anything.

ready for the viewing

ready for the viewing

The exhibition is a collection of just some some of their stuff

Millie's photos

Millie’s photos

Both girls are hugely busy and enthusiastic artists. Millie loves photography and Jess loves ipad art but their talents spread across everything they try.

Jess's ipad art

Jess’s ipad art

And their work has such charm and freedom of expression.

Jess's Clay Sculptures

Jess’s Clay Sculptures

I loved it all.

and the people came

and the people came

The entire day was a delight

Jess and Millie talking to visitors

Jess and Millie talking to visitors

Setting up, chatting to those viewing the exhibition and watching the girls pieces being so well received made for a super atmosphere.

viewing and chatting over a drink

viewing and chatting over a drink

The interest was phenomenal and I hope it has encouraged them to carry on with even more lovely work.

Millie talking through the work

Millie talking through the work

They were so professional in their dealings with people, it was wonderful to watch and I’m sure they learned some valuable lessons.

Jess talking through some orders

Jess talking through some orders

I imagine it would be quite daunting for such young talent to put themselves out there but they seemed to take it very much in their stride and rose to the task wonderfully.

and they keep coming

and they keep coming

Their talent is endless!

in the fading light

in the fading light

It was a completely lovely exhibition.

Millie's street lamp ipad art

Millie’s street lamp ipad art

It looked like the girls had a great time and there were lots of visitors to chat to about their work.

Night Sky

Night Sky

The interest was keen and a lot of their pieces were sold.

riverbank

riverbank

Their sales were across the exhibition; some originals and some limited edition prints which will be despatched to their supporters soon. The sculptures were just about sold out and I don’t think they went home with much.

a lovely lady in her finery

a lovely lady in her finery

I am myself, the the proud owner of a few of their pieces and I am delighted with them.

cute croc

cute croc

So, people, you saw it here first!

Watch this space because I don’t think this is the last you will see of these super talented young ladies.

a very happy Millie

a very happy Millie


Neal French

walking figure

walking figure

We had the greatest of pleasure in accepting an invitation to a private viewing of Neal French’s latest exhibition that took place in Norwich during October of 2014.

pin ups

pin ups

pin ups

pin ups

We have been to his viewings a number of times before so we knew we were in for a treat.

We aren’t fortunate enough to own much of his work yet although we do have four lovely verdigris wall plaques from the early 90s that represent the four seasons and we love them.

His figurative sculptures are, however, what he is best known for and they are completely wonderful.

the shopper

the shopper

the shopper

the shopper

All of the pieces are taken from life studies sketched into his sketch books in prolific numbers or they are inspired from photographs taken while he and his wonderful wife Pam’s have been on their travels.

the gymnast

the gymnast

He regularly has commissions whether they be The Grosvenor Group for a West End installation, a bakery organisation installation of Figures on a roundabout in Spalding, a group of figures outside a village hall or a private piece in someone’s garden.

A lot of the commissions are life size and wonderful for it but it was lovely to browse through these smaller bronze and ceramic figures that formed the most part of this most recent exhibition.

female figure

female figure

female figure

female figure

They are all exquisite, made all the more lovely when you can see the thumb prints from his hand workings before they are cast and captured but also because some of the subjects are known to us.

Having spent a little time with the gentleman himself (who would not be as prolific or as well organised as he is without the endless and terribly important support of the marvellous Mrs French, Pam), the pieces come alive as he accompanies discussions about them with a fascinating back story.

Added to all of this (as if there needed to be more), he is an incredibly lovely, rather interesting and very talented man indeed.

All of his work is fabulous and all fabulous for many different reasons but my favourite from this exhibition is by far Shopper.

Marvellous!

cappuccino

coffee break


coffee adventures

it's frothy man

it’s frothy man

After such excitement over our gorgeous new coffee machine, we have had some disappointments.

Our lovely machine blew something inside and was no longer safe to use with water and steam spewing out everywhere.

John Lewis were brilliant about it and because they had no De Longhi stock to replace it and it was dangerous, they refunded us in full and the pretty machine was condemned to the bin, unfortunately.

pixie!

pixie!

We were back to our traditional italian stove top coffee maker for a while and still loving our coffee.

But we missed the frothy milk and the espressos that JC likes. Coffee and hot milk done the old fashioned way just wasn’t hacking it.

traditional stove top coffee maker

traditional stove top coffee maker

After all it is still a bit of a faff using the stove top and a milk pan and even a wonderful morning coffee we can get from our wonderfully seasoned old campaigner hasn’t hacked it really.

We are busy and things need to be as easy as possible really

So!!!!

Having taken full advantage of our lovely friends thorough research, we are now the proud owners of a Nespresso Pixie with aerochino!

And it is wonderful

And it is easy

And there is no mess

And it is cheaper than buying beans and ground.

 

And we have found a fantastic clever devise for storing our pods that can be fixed to the underside of the kitchen wall cupboard. Right on hand but not seen. Marvellous.

pod holder

pod holder

Or mounted on the wall like a piece of art.

wall mounted pod holder

wall mounted pod holder

Finding the flavours that are right for us but it is fun trying and we have had some very helpful tips.

shiney and brilliant

shiney and brilliant

I feel coffee love again!!!


a prickly issue

IMG_8036

Love or hate them cactus are amazing!

My gran was an enthusiastic grower and appreciator of cactus and I wish I knew what happened to her wonderful collection when she died.

IMG_8039

My dad has his theory on my Gran’s love for these spiked green wonders and it is something along the lines of her being in good company……

IMG_8053

I don’t mind admitting that I LOVE a cactus.

I have them (they are practically the only green thing that I have indoors) in my home.

I am drawn to them in garden centre and places like Kew and the Eden Project.

IMG_8057

I wonder what it really does say about me and my gran, then?

I’m not bothered about succulents (pah!! pretenders!!), I love the full blown, nasty, needle covered cactus that is impossible to repot and will remind you (in no uncertain terms) what they are capable of if you forget yourself and get too close.

IMG_8034

They are the perfect architectural designer’s accessory and even if they are hugely uncool at the moment, this designer loves them.

I love them!!

IMG_8068

I love them for their architectural grace and interesting shapes.

I love them for their unforgiving ways (hmmm? some might say…….).

IMG_8015

I love them because they work perfectly in our understated london home which is mostly white with grey furniture and walnut floors that is only coloured by the contents of our shelves AND a carefully placed cactus here and there.

IMG_8055

They are neat and contained so they also fit in with my deep love of order and tidiness.

IMG_8024

It is in complete contrast, I have to say, to the outside which is a mix up of colour (not too much), green, wild stuff, compost and things not necessarily in the right place (rhubarb).

IMG_8049

Every time I look at one of my little beauties, my gran comes to mind.

What could be wrong with any of that?


a bit of DIY

the old fire place

the old fire place

There used to be a very imposing and completely inappropriate fire place in the living room of our little lincolnshire house. I have always hated it.

It has long been the source of discussion and apart from being architecturally wrong for the period of the house, the size is too grand for a house with such tiny proportions.

gone

gone

A particular picture from a magazine page has been gracing our notice board for a long time by way of inspiration and finally it came into it’s own.

We set about tackling the beast in the may bank holiday weekend in 2013! We carried on over our september holiday (which is our only real holiday of the year!) working into the night most days and finally got everything back into shape ready for christmas.

It had taken us a day to strip out the entire fire, hearth and mantle surround (in tact too). I popped it on ebay to raise a few extra pounds to pay for the materials (now restored and in a local shop). Then we spent a day preparing the space for a new hearth plinth of slate tiles.

brickwork exposed

brickwork exposed

The plastering (husband has good skills but kept this one hidden) took up the Monday by the end of which  the plaster was the only sign left of where the old surround had been.

freshly plastered

freshly plastered

It’s quite satisfying stripping something like this out and revealing what is behind.  We weren’t sure how wide the fire opening would be or if the brickwork would be in good order.

Imagine our delight when a nice wide opening with a lintel and good brickwork revealed itself and all in tact.

Even with the fireplace out and the brickwork exposed with no new wood burner, the improvement was immense and we couldn’t have been happier.

wood burner and slate hearth

wood burner and slate hearth

We picked out the wood burner we wanted and booked the installation for later in the summer.

ahh cosy

ahh cosy

Eventually the day came and we got the wood burning stove fitted and someone couldn’t wait to get that bad boy fired up and it was barely dry from the installation.

the dreaded decorating

the dreaded decorating

This long awaited change also meant we could start the very long over due decorating. No great shakes; just a spruce up as it was starting to look tired and sooty from the old fire.

The biggest change would be painting out the timber skirtings, cills and door surrounds which I particularly hated.

the dog bed gets the best spot in the house!

the dog bed gets the best spot in the house!

That just leaves the rest of the house to do now and the decoration has made the other areas look REALLY shabby. Forth Bridge comes to mind!

tada!! just a mantle shelf needed now

tada!! just a mantle shelf needed now