Wednesday 12 October 2016

Oh Twiddlemuffs!

Oh Twiddlemuffs!

No, it's not a new swear word, but it sounds like it could be! :)

A twiddlemuff is a double thickness hand muff with bits and bobs attached inside and out. It is designed to provide a stimulation activity for restless hands for patients suffering from dementia. Various folks in the village have been chatting about making twiddlemuffs, and it occurred to us that as crafters we could support this, either by making and donating a twiddlemuff or by donating oddments of yarn or embellishments that could be used by volunteers to make twiddlemuffs.

So, the plan is to have a table in the entrance foyer at CraftMarket, with some simple information about how twiddlemuffs help patients, along with a couple of baskets for donations of yarn and attachments (e.g. buttons, toggles, ribbons, etc), some easy to follow free patterns, and a few examples of twiddlemuffs for you to see and handle.

We will also be accepting completed twiddlemuffs that will then be donated to supporting organisations. 

This year's CraftMarket is again in aid of Hall funds and it will take place over the weekend of Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd October in Burton Memorial Hall. Open from 10am - 4pm both days, the event will have quality crafts on sale from some 26 crafters. You can see the list of which crafters will be there on the Hall's website: and on the CraftMarket Facebook page:

Up on the stage Zoe will be doing her crafts for kids sessions throughout the weekend, so parents and grandparents can browse in peace knowing the kids are safely occupied doing something creative and fun!

Refreshments will be on sale in Rachel's Vintage Village Tearoom, where hot and cold drinks, scrumptious home made cakes and sandwiches will be on offer throughout both days. Come along and indulge yourselves!

CraftMarket 2016 at Burton Memorial Hall 
Main Street, Burton, Cumbria LA6 1HU
Saturday 22nd & Sunday 23rd October 2016 
10am-4pm both days
Admission: £1, under 16's free.

Creatives and crafters, what makes them tick?

One of the things I love about crafting is meeting other crafters and see what they make. Whatever the medium in which they work, the variety of design and style thrills me.

How does a crafter come up with an idea? What makes them want to turn a sheet of paper into a work of art, a lump of clay into a fabulous pot, a chunk of tree into a bowl, a glob of glass into a delicate vase, or a strip of precious metal into a piece of bespoke jewellery?  How do they get their ideas and inspiration?

If we see a leaf, how does a jeweller like Amanda Hunter see an earring? How does she turn a sheet of silver into something so beautiful and timeless: leaves that will last forever, giving endless pleasure, and linking to the natural environment around us.

How does artist Helen Pateman combine a sheet of paper and a pencil into such a fabulous image as this one? 

How does woodturner Mike Booth produce something as beautiful and varied as these items out of bits of log? 

The creative mind is more than just the physical ability to produce an item, it is the creative process of imagining it to begin with, to have an idea and to turn that idea into a reality. Whilst some look at a sheet of paper and wonder what to do with it, creatives are already filling the space with designs, doodles, outlines or ideas. 

The world needs creative minds, we need the people who can take something and make something out of it by using their own imagination and skill, and to think of new uses for old and new materials. 

Creative people are the "inventors" of the arts and crafts world - not for us the mechanics of making a faster engine, or a more productive solar panel, but we invent new designs for jewellery, glass, pottery, wood, fabric, yarn, even plastics. 

Creatives and crafters are all designers with our own unique way of looking at the world and at using the materials we find within it to make things of beauty.  I don't know how we do it, but I am very glad that we can do it! 

Wednesday 5 October 2016

Elena Ferrante, outing or outrage?

Should authors, artists and other creatives be allowed privacy by working under a pseudonym, and is it acceptable for that to be breached by journalists in search of a story?

Authors have written under pen-names for almost as long as books have existed: Stendahl, the Brontë sisters, George Eliot, Boz, George Sand, and many many more.

Over recent years we have seen various creatives working under an alias "outed" by the media. The ongoing hunt to pin down who is Banksy is one of the best-known examples, with frequent suggestions as to the possible identity of this "England-based graffiti artist and political activist."

Robert Galbraith's first crime novel The Cuckoo's Calling (2013) was revealed as having been written under that pseudonym by JK Rowling, despite her intention for it to not be connected with her previous success with the Harry Potter series. The latest revelation appearing is the naming of the acclaimed Italian novelist, Elena Ferrante, by investigative journalist Claudio Gatti.

Do authors have the right to write under a nom de plume or are readers entitled to know the real identity of who created the book they are currently reading?  BBC Magazine explores the latest row in Why is the exposure of Elena Ferrante causing such outrage?  Meanwhile, in an interview with Guardian writer Deborah Orr, Elena Ferrante gives her thoughts on writing under an assumed name and why it is important to her.

Thinking back to my teenage years when I read The Eiger Sanction by Trevanian (published in 1972 and later made into a hugely popular film starring Clint Eastwood), there was no clue as to the identity of the author as he (Rodney William Whitaker 1931 – 2005) refused all interviews and publicity work for his publishers until many years later. Did it spoil my enjoyment of the book? Not at all. In a way it enhanced it: there is something about reading an anonymous author's work that does away with any preconceptions that you might have about the person who wrote it and what may have influenced them.