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Happy holidays!

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Yesterday I spent the second of two Saturdays running art workshops for families in Rochdale. The first weekend we made Victorian thaumatropes (basic animation comprised of 2 drawings on either side of a spinning disc) while battling the wind in an open-sided gazebo. The second weekend we made artists’ books in the warmth of Touchstones Museum, while the rain lashed down in torrents outside.

Intrepid families braved the weather to get involved and made some really fantastic work.Thaumatrope picture combinations included a fish and a net, a bee and a flower, a swimmer and the sea and a fish and a unicorn! Topics for books ranged from secret codes to life cycles, diaries and The Great War. Thanks to everyone who took part.

‘Absence and Presence’ is a printmaking response to the bombing of the bookseller’s quarter, Al Mutanabbi Street, in Baghdad on the 5th March 2007. To view the work of many artists (including mine) watch this video of a recent exhibition launch and poetry reading at Exeter Library.

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This week I delivered a paper to members of The British Quilt Study Group at their annual seminar in Manchester. I was delighted to be asked and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Reflecting on the development of my creative practice has been a really thought-provoking experience, allowing me to contextualise previous decisions and influences, as well as considering the road ahead. The full paper will be published in the next BQSG journal or you can download a word version by clicking here.

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With the remainder of my ‘return-to-work’ days, I made another banner for this year’s Manchester Day Parade, with friend Glenys Walsh. It commemorated Henry Taylor, a swimmer from Hollinwood who represented the UK at 4 summer Olympics. His record of 3 gold medals at the 1908 games stood for 100 years, until it was equaled in 2008 by the cyclist Chris Hoy. The banner was accompanied in the parade by a shoal of swimmers and a giant puppet of Henry in action!

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It’s been a busy few weeks in our neighbourhood. Last weekend we once again took part in the ‘Open Gardens’ organised by BUD, which raised over £1600 for charity.  Thanks to the 100 people who visited our patch, and to friends and relatives who helped out. This weekend saw the launch of Levenshulme’s ‘FoodFest’ with a Global Picnic in Cringle Park. I was among lots of locals who made fabric panels for a giant community tablecloth. A really nice day complete with stalls, games, delicious food and vintage buses.

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