Woollen Woods 2019

This year, 2019 the Woollen Woods were slightly later than usual and this turned out to be a good decision as we were once again very lucky with the weather. As has happened in previous years some pieces were seen for a second time such as the stripy snakes.Most of the trees were decorated with new pieces however, with many trees being taken on by local groups. Transition Belper put up a Bee Kind to Nature Tree with an amazing beehive suspended high above our heads. A line of bees could be seen flying back to the hive and on close inspection a Queen Bee could be seen wearing a small handmade silver crown. The tree also included many species of wildlife and wildflowers.
Chatterbox once again excelled themselves with their tree full of very colourful birds. The local Oxfam shop installed a magical tree full of so many woolly creations. So many local groups took part as well as many individuals and it really has become quite a task to both set up and take down. One group new to the woods this year was Derbyshire Toy Libraries They chose to theme their tree with the story of The Very Hungry Caterpillar who turned fifty this year.There was a fantastic blue, sea themed tree from the Blue Box Charity

They had also been working with Fleet Arts, Belper to felt a blue sea inspired tree wrap. Marianne who can often be seen at Belper events with her knitting needles or crochet hook made a very impressive Christmas Tree.There were rainbow elephants, large octopi and a completely Dinosaur Tree.Once again the group Chronic Creatives completed a tree with many flowers, birds and woodland creatures. I have by no means mentioned all the amazing trees but there are many photographs to be seen on the Belper Woollen Woods Facebook page.We want to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who took part in this event which does bring so much pleasure to those who visit the woods.

Reusable Gift Wrapping

At Christmas I decided to wrap all my Christmas presents with brown paper because I wasn’t sure whether normal wrapping paper was suitable for recycling.

This is the information I found on the internet.

  • Some local authorities accept wrapping paper in home recycling collections
  • Others ask for wrapping paper to be taken to the local recycling centre
  • Some do not collect wrapping paper at all because wrapping paper is not accepted by some recycled paper mills. There are a number of reasons for this.

I looked on my local Councils recycling page and wrapping paper was not mentioned so I am still not sure.

We didn’t manage to recycle all our brown paper as in all the mayhem of Christmas there wasn’t a huge amount of time to remove all the sticky tape. I should have probably folded the paper and then kept it in place with ribbon and not used any sticky tape.

As a family we always have a celebration on New Year’s Day and give small gifts. I decided this year to make up some fabric bags to wrap presents. This worked really well and they can all be reused next year. I didn’t buy any new fabric, just used up bits I had. The only downside will be next Christmas working out which bag is the best for each gift. I tried different ways of making and then came up with one that I could complete in 10 minutes.After Christmas I decided to make some bags by the same method to keep our reusable coffee cups in. We like to keep a couple of cups in the car as you never know when you are going to feel like a coffee and of course by using reusable cup you cut down on single use plastic. You also save money usually at least 25p a cup.The larger bag on the left has two cups in it and the smaller one on the right is big enough for one cup. This fabric I bought years ago on a trip to Estonia. I had used some of it but had a small amount left.

To make the bag for one cup I cut a piece of Fabric 36 cms by 28 cms. I like to stop the edges of the fabric fraying so I used a zig zag stitch around the whole piece. I folded the piece in half with the right sides facing each other and sewed with a straight stitch down the side seam, starting about 6 cms from the top edge and along the bottom of the bag.The next stage was to make the top with a casing for a piece of ribbon to go through. Again I like to neaten my work so I folded back each short 6 cm edge at the side and sewed it in place with a straight stitch.The last step was to turn over the top edge so that it came down about 3 cms and sew with a straight stitch right around the bag. I then used a straight stitch to sew about half a cm down from the top folded edge.The bag can now be turned out the right way and a piece of ribbon threaded through the top casing. This will close the bag and can be tied with a bow.

Yorkshire Sculpture Park

I visited the Yorkshire Sculpture Park near Wakefield for the first time this week. I was very impressed by the variety of exhibitions both inside and out. The Park describes itself as a 500-acre outdoor art gallery and there are over 80 sculptures to see outside. The area was originally the landscaped parkland of Bretton Hall and so the setting is very beautiful. There is much to explore including Lower and Upper Lake , Menagerie Wood, the Chapel, Boat House, Shell Grotto, various galleries and much more.

We didn’t see all of it so there is plenty to go back for. Outside there is a group of figures made by Barbara Hepworth called, The Family of Man. I had been to her house and gallery in St Ives and hadn’t realised that she originally came from Wakefield.This photo is just one of the group which has been on loan to the park since the 1980s.

Another very interesting sculpture was the Iron Tree made by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. He gained worldwide attention in 2011 when he was arrested for ‘economic crimes’. His arrest provoked an international campaign for his release. He is home now but under constant surveillance and banned from leaving China. The Iron tree is made from 97 elements cast in iron from different trees joined together with nuts and screws. The park also includes several indoor exhibitions in different galleries. These are time limited and the one that I was very keen to look at was, The Wish Post by Mister Finch. Mister Finch is a textile artist and as he puts it, he is a man who sews. I have seen photos of his work but never seen it in the flesh and it didn’t disappoint. The Wish Post is the story of a magical kingdom of woodland animals whose job it is to collect and sort other creatures’ wishes. These are breathed into envelopes and posted in toadstool postboxes. Badgers in blue jackets, hedgehogs playing brass bells, long eared rabbits, rats, mice, squirrels, moles, hares and foxes all play their part in this magical amazing story. These creatures will disappear from the park on September 23rd so you must be quick to make their acquaintance. I also really enjoyed the temporary exhibition called, A Tree in the Wood by Giuseppe Penone. Part of this exhibition was outside in the form of trees with large objects in their branches. At first I thought that these large pieces such as a box shape had been hoisted into the branches and wondered how safe they would be in a wind. It turned out however that the really realistic looking trees were actually made of bronze.I loved the metal tree outside the Bothy Gallery, it is a bronze sculpture of a split tree with gold leaf reflecting the light.Inside the Underground Gallery is a force of nature, called Matrice. It is a fifteen metre conifer which has been spliced vertically in half and laid tip to tip to measure thirty metres . The tree had been cut down in the Alps and the centre hollowed out.I was also very interested in the exhibition called, Beyond Time by Chiharu Shiota , a Japanese installation artist. This was inside the refurbished 18th-century Chapel.  It has been made with 2,000 balls of woollen thread, with pieces of sheet music suspended from the thread.Unfortunately this instalation is only there  until September 2nd.

I enjoyed my visit but am very aware there is still lots that I didn’t see so look forward to a return visit.

Community Spaces in the North East

I have just returned home from a few days staying in a cottage near Whitley Bay in the North East of England. During the visit I was very interested to see two community projects which were both in different ways a little unexpected. The first was a Community Garden in the walled garden area of a National Trust House and the second was made for the community by an open cast mining company. Continue reading Community Spaces in the North East

Adopt a Tree for Belper Arts Festival

This year as a new event for Belper Arts Festival, local individuals and groups were asked if they would Adopt a Tree on King Street.  The trees were decorated for the duration of the Arts Festival. The idea was suggested back in Autumn 2017 and was quickly taken up by a number of people in the town of Belper. Trees were installed on May 5th and taken down on May 28th. Continue reading Adopt a Tree for Belper Arts Festival

Woollen woods 2018

We have just taken down the Woollen Woods and 2018 has been an amazing year. The sun has been very good to us and more individuals and groups have joined in the fun. I have written about previous years on this blog and also linked to videos Woollen Woods 2015 . This one was created for us by a Derby company https://www.ablewild.com . We were written about on the Angel Eden Blog in 2016 and there are links to videos on their page. Continue reading Woollen woods 2018

The Joy of Autumn

Autumn is such a special season. There is fun to be had walking along kicking the fallen leaves, searching for conkers and brightly coloured berries. The season used to start on September 21st and it can be a bit confusing these days as media weather people start talking about it starting on September 1st. Continue reading The Joy of Autumn

Tomorrow, the film.

Do you believe that climate change is happening? Are you worried about the amount of Co2 in the atmosphere and the air quality in towns and cities around the world? What about the damage that plastics are doing to our world. It can be very easy to feel that there is nothing we can do, the problems are too large and so it is easier to bury our heads in the sand. Continue reading Tomorrow, the film.

Adopt a Tree in Belper

In the town of Belper people are starting to think about next years Art Festival. Unlike many Art Festivals, the one held each year in Belper is a community event, a festival of inclusivity, not exclusivity and everyone is welcome to take part.Belper Art Trail has already posted on their Facebook page asking for ideas for next years trail which is one element of the whole Art FestivalContinue reading Adopt a Tree in Belper

Belper Goes Green Fun Palace

Belper Goes Green 2017 happened during the first week of June. This year the dates were June 2 – 4th. The Friday evening as always was filled with beer and music. During the day on Saturday and Sunday there was an amazing amount on offer, plenty of food, drink, children’s activities, adult information stalls, handmade retail sales, talks including Talking Books, a variety of performances, numerous workshops and places to be quiet and meditate. Saturday evening was once again full of musical entertainment. Belper Goes Green is a local Eco Festival which is part of Belper Transition Group. Next year 2018 will be the sixth event and will take place once again on the first week of June, June 1st – 3rd.  Continue reading Belper Goes Green Fun Palace