Tag Archives: Arts and crafts

Handicrafts? They ain’t so daft!

I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to get fidgety in my swivel chair; my arms ache and I’m craving a bit of natural light, or face-to-face conversation.

According to some mumblings, it isn’t just me. This week’s Stylist magazine features and article about The Life U-Turn, why some people are doing it and why it could split up long-established friendships as one friend reassesses previously shared career ambitions, life goals and social viewpoints (and other such trivial and insignificant factors).

The article claims that some women are reassessing the career goals which they previously made central for more ‘worthy’ work, which makes me think of living in the country and opening a farm, working for a charity or retraining as a nurse or teacher.

Studies, it seems, have shown that many of us need more than just cerebral work to keep us happy. And I agree completely.

For the past few months I’ve been going to a printed fabric class at my local college and it’s an activity that seems to have benefits beyond the two hours each week spent there. Not only does it provide a solid period of creativity, it also allows an outlet for other inspiration which all of us see each day of our lives, but which we fail to notice when we are so caught up in our routines.

Cutting out intricate paper patterns for screen prints on school nights certainly beats switching off in front of the television. And it’s incredibly absorbing.

Arts and crafts aren’t for everyone, and some would find my chosen activity painfully dull, humdrum and thrill free. But I wonder if we need to think again about how we treat our working lives; is the nine to five it? Or can we change our lives and work to encompass more?


Turner & the Masters Exhibition; Tate Britain, London

It really doesn’t need much of an excuse to get lots of people looking at a Turner exhibition. As one of the most recognised, and loved, of British artists, you know that you will struggle to get a glimpse of his more iconic paintings upon entering any exhibition. This exhibition at London’s Tate Britain is arranged to display Turner’s working engagement with the great masters from throughout the centuries, along with his intense rivalry with his contemporaries.

We are all familiar Turner’s later style, but murmers of disgruntled fans arose when greeted with his earlier, more ‘classical’, style. Furthermore, the arrangement of his works beside those most composititionally similar to the Masters, including Titian and Rembrandt, meant many viewers felt compelled to conjure such intelligent comments as: ‘Well, he wasn’t all that original, then was he?’ or ‘I prefer the colours in that one.’ Unhelpful, no doubt, and not the intention of the exhibition as a whole. The subtlety of the layout did improve towards the analysis of Turner’s connection with his fellow artists of the time. A charming story of his addition to a painting of a small red buoy to bring life, and show up, Constable’s red-embued companion piece at one showing sticks in my mind.

Bring them out again and again for any excuse. Simply the act of looking, and considering this artistic institution of comparison was certainly brought out, and we were forced to consider the concept of the ‘master’ and what it means. But please never again to hear the words ‘You could put that picture on the wall in your living room and every time you walk past it you would notice a new detail. That’s real art.’