Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Spring is sprung! (almost!)

The weekend just gone has given us an encouraging taste of coming spring!  It's gone a bit grey again, now, but the shop is full of encouraging reminders of the joys to come - these hares, by Penny Gaj, available as cards or prints, are a timely reminder that March is only a couple of days away, and the 'Mad March hares' will soon be boxing! Did you know, it's actually feisty lady hares telling pushy males where to stick their unwelcome advances?!  I think they should be a feminist icon!
We are already seeing the lambs in the fields, of course, they seem to arrive earlier each year, and their effervescent joy in life is enchantingly infectious!  Not everyone can get out to see them 'in the wool', perhaps you know someone who can't and would enjoy this card by Bev Perry as a tangible taste of spring?
 Bev also has this delightful card of ducklings, and the water ways will soon be full of these little balls of fluff, too.  A very British sign of Spring, much missed by many expats I know, are the bluebells in the woods.
This picture of Trudi's seems to me to completely capture the essence of Spring, as we know it in Britain. Our climate gives us a Spring like no other, and we should be grateful for its delicate beauty, it's a unique national treasure!  One of our new exhibitors, Nicolas Waters, is also an artist with a perceptive eye for the natural world.
This picture by Nicolas makes me think of spring in the Orkney Isles, where I lived for a time, and the spring air is filled with the bubbling calls of curlews and the 'tee-auch' of lapwings.

Finally, 1st March is St David's Day, which, as a Welsh girl, always feels like the start of Spring to me! So, this is the perfect flower to be wearing on Thursday!  Happy Spring, everyone!

Monday, 20 February 2012

New faces!

All change this weekend! From today we have 2 new artists in the shop, I'll start with the awesome Nicolas Waters! In his own words . . . . Born 1947 – Brought up Lancs, Yorks, Lincs. Finally settled down aged 50 to a career as a linguist having for many years careered as a non-linguist around England, then the continent, in search of proximity to mountains and wild places - the only places where you can hear yourself think. Discovered oil-painting upon opening a Christmas present of paint tubes in 2004, thus simultaneously discovering the ultimate way to communicate.
I can’t remember how many years I’ve been daring myself out onto our wildest uplands, knowing on each occasion that  I’ll end up hurrying across those dark and blustery sky-lines like a man pursued by demons, aware that something absolutely immense and ancient is already out there, presumably working on some never -ending project.

What’s more, despite the overwhelming majesty of that ‘Presence’, I sometimes feel that it is not entirely benign. Everywhere I find walls that have crumbled, or barns that have collapsed and turned as black-hearted as the clouds that stalk overhead, and from time to time I come across some soft young rabbit inexplicably disassembled into a spray of tiny, fine teeth, a ribcage and scattered fur, or the wreckage of a heavy-coated sheep that has mysteriously ’been tipped over’ in the marsh to soak quietly under, legs up.

 I am driven to respect the innocent courage of the creatures that inhabit these unvisited places, living with the fogs and frosts, the wind-blown sleet, the silent, heavy snow, and the days of steady rain.  And they must wait out every black night, whether in unbroken silence, or blasted by the storm. I love them all for bearing it so patiently, and, deep down, I think I covet their animal durability.

So in fact I don’t think I set out to paint landscapes for their beauty at all. Each composition is really an attempt to capture and convey an awareness and respect for that ‘Presence’, as well as my love and respect for the creatures in it, who know no other world.
Two dreadfully over-looked art movements of the very late 1800s contain at least five geniuses at portraying the moods I would love to portray; The Hague School [Holland], particularly Anton Mauve,  Jan Hendrik Weissenbruch and Jacob Maris; The Itinerants [Russian: The Peredvizhniki] especially Isaak Levitan and Ivan Shishkin. They are truly worth looking up; there was a lot more than Impressionism going on at that time.

Perhaps, paradoxically, by presenting only the wild world, my efforts really amount to one long howl; I’m begging homo-sapiens to remember the whole, natural planet, to regain his fear, love and respect for it, and not to sleep-walk any further into a homo-centric,  urban-centred, vehicle-dependent, tarmac-based, grass-phobic, silicon-nourished, screen-focussed, data-fixated,  learning-phobic, commercially-manipulated, gratification-fed, sensation-driven, resource-ravenous,  unsustainable... virtual world.
We also have another artist exhibiting from today, but so far, i have little information about her - however, here's a taster!
Her name is Jenny Westbrook, and her work is very different from anyone else we have in the shop at present, hope you come in and enjoy it!

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Quick! Before it's gone!

Here at By Local we operate in 6 week sessions, so that new sellers can have a trial to see if we work for them, and so regulars can have a break. The current 6 week session ends next weekend, the 19th of February, and 2 of our exhibitors are leaving us for a while, so if you like their work, grab it while you can, because we don't know when they'll be back!
Sue Tiedeman will be leaving us for awhile, so if you like her work, grab it while you can!

Also leaving us for a time is Sharon, with her wonderful range of 'Herbylicious' soaps, creams, scrubs etc. Her Eczema cream is very effective - I can vouch for that personally! She also has a wide range of herbal remedies, all rooted in a long history of herbal medecine.

They may be back with us later, but nothing is certain in this life, so come in and ensure your supplies before Sunday 19th February!

Friday, 3 February 2012

Spring weddings with a unique element!

Spring is very much a traditional time to get married - originally it was about taking advantage of tax breaks at the start of the tax year, but what better time to start married life? To begin a new identity as a couple with the summer to share is great!  Here at By Local, we have lots of touches to make your special day even more awesome, from tiaras to favours, Mother of the Bride's headgear to gifts for the new home!
Kate Michelle Jewllery makes this adorable, knitted wire coronets to keep your veil anchored - how could you not feel like a real Princess wearing one of these!  She also makes extremely wearable silver wire hearts, as necklaces and brooches, ideal both as gifts for bridesmaids to wear on the day & keep, and for a romantic touch for any guest to top of their outfit - and wear again & again, as they are a very elegant way to gift a smart touch to any outfit.
There are hearts in many forms in the shop, and many would make ideal favours for guests that they will be delighted to keep in their homes and enjoy for many years - an ongoing reminder of a happy occassion!
These romantic hangers are by Kath Cooper, who also has practical plates, cake stands and other items adorned with hearts, the larger items might make a good present for a couple you know, perhaps?
And talking presents, how about something practical, like these lustrous pots by Jane Vernon?
Or this more dainty work from Taena Pottery? I covet one of those big cups & saucers for my morning coffee - and perhaps full of soup on chilly day, like those we're dealing with at the moment!
Back on the romantic theme, how about this brilliant idea from Tara Davidson? Not just a charming dish, but a way of sending a message, too - that's a special pen on the right, you can write on the dish and it can then be wiped off, and either just used as a practical dish, for dainty sandwiches or whatever, or you can use it for sending each other loving messages! Much nicer than a post it note!
Of course, not all female guests are going to look good in a hat, but anyone, even with really short hair, can look good in a suitable fascinator!  Kez Kurg has a lovely range, of unique, delicate headgear to suit the most picky!
At the same time, Kez also has the most spectacular 'occassion' jewellery, to turn the simplest style of gown into a jaw dropping statement! She also has tiny felt hearts and brooches, which would make ideal gifts for guests and bridesmaids.  The shop has a wealth of potential presents, each unique and special, to help a special couple embark a new, joint life.
Perhaps the prefect present might be a unique clock, to measure the years as they grow closer together?! Do come in and see if we can inspire you to have a wedding, and a new, married life like no other!