Sunday, 24 June 2012

A Crafty Outing

Yesterday I had a real treat. In the normal course of life at the moment, I am able to cope with an expedition and get out of the house once a week. When there are no medical appointments to attend, this expedition often takes the form of a visit to the local library, a bit of shopping and a mug of hot chocolate. On a good weather day, we sometimes get down to the river and watch all the happenings in and on and around that wonderful vein of life. But yesterday was something different as my daughter took me to a nearby craft fair, or 'Craft & Design Experience' to give its proper name.

Bamboo flutes
 by Ray Brook
It certainly was an experience. If I close my eyes now, I find my mind populated by an extraordinarily varied range of shapes and colours and sounds, and even the lingering memory of the flavour of a damson-sized olive popped into my mouth as a tempting sample of Mediterranean culinary delights. My daughter did a sterling job pushing my wheelchair over tussocky grass around the various marquees as we were drawn to one exhibitor after another. I'm sure the impact was enhanced by the juxtaposition of such different crafts and skills cheek by jowl. Pens next to ceramics next to knitwear next to furniture next to jewellery next to coloured glass sculpture next to hats next to paintings next to carvings and so it went on. Inspired, stunned, tickled, attracted, delighted and occasionally appalled, we had a fantastic time together.

We marvelled at the patient intricacy and beauty of marquetry alongside the clean and simple lines of sculptures so perceptively carved in stone they seemed to capture the very essence of their subject - a leaping hare and pensive owl have both taken up residence in my mind. We rather fell for a magnificent dragon formed from coloured chicken wire perching higher than a person on its stake. A fantastical form of scarecrow perhaps, we could almost convince ourselves it belonged amongst the fruit trees in our garden. We rested in the rare and welcome sunshine, imbibing tea and being gently entertained by a barbershop choir. We nobly resisted much temptation that would have resulted in a sledgehammer sized dent in our bank balance or, indeed, a bomb sized crater, but we didn't quite make it out without making a little indentation. We are now the delighted owners of a handmade bamboo flute!

The big brother of the one we saw?  For more of these incredible beasties and other animals,

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