My first craft stall was at a plant fair at Wimpole Hall in 2002. I had a tiny trestle table amongst the pots of campanula and dahlias. Some of my pieces were made from gems and beads from my own jewellery that I’d taken apart and reworked. To my huge surprise I sold 15 necklaces in a couple of hours. It was the start of something.
Nightingale, long-tailed tit
Last year I was invited to the preview of an exhibition by Natasha Newton. You may know her work – exquisitely painted stones, soothing starscapes, landscapes and charismatic birds. It was to be held at Snape Maltings, a place I know well. It’s a series of truly lovely shops and cafes in converted barns and oasthouses on the edge of the river Alde in Suffolk. I snooped about on the Snape Maltings website and realised that they had a small building, called The Workshop, next to the river that used to be used by the RSPB and could be hired for exhibitions.
I love the charisma of her birds and the detail of the plants they sit in and the background scenes. To my delight she was keen to co-exhibit.
We decided that our show would be called ‘Nightingales and other voices’.
We’ll be encouraging visitors to walk into a wood, up a path or stand near a hedge and listen to birdsong. I’ll be making a series of silver birdsongs’ nests in necklace form, including that of a robin, long-tailed tit and blackbird.
You can find out more about the show here.
Angela and I will also be holding vinyl block printing and silver clay workshops in the two days following our show. The images on the left below are of Spring-inspired pieces made by beginners in some of my previous workshops. On the right are Angela’s hands carving one of her blocks.
Just a few weeks after the exhibition, nightingales will return to Britain. Every year they edge closer to being on the endangered list due to loss of their preferred habitat of dense woodland, so it is a huge privilege to hear them singing. A few of them will be in Walberswick woods and a several other sites near Snape. I plan to take a picnic rug, lantern (and perhaps some wine) and go and listen to them.