A Creative Show & Tell Night….

Friday (28th July) night was ‘Show & Tell/ A Creative Talk Night’ hosted by Modern Painters, New Decorators (MPND). MPND started in February 2017 and is a not-for-profit organisation based in Loughborough, Leicestershire; art and community are at the forefront of their aims, one of which is to give artistic people the chance to come together for workshops, advice, talks, as well as provide artists with the opportunity to exhibit and sell their work.

The ‘Show & Tell Night’ is the second event they have staged, the first being their ‘Top Dollar Affordable Art Sale’ in June. Held at loc8me in Ashby Square, ‘Show & Tell’ brought together three guest speakers – all Loughborough based creatives working at both local and national levels.

The first was Chloe Hardisty who runs Cotton Clara; she designs, makes and sells colourful, bright, craft décor. On Instagram under the name cotton_clara as well as having an etsy shop, Chloe’s talk was about how she has finally taken the plunge and handed her notice in to go full time as a designer, maker and craft writer. Very honest in what she has sacrificed to get to this point, and making no bones about what a commitment the work entails, she then provided six tips that she had had to learn, sometimes, the hard way…. The one that really struck a chord for me was ‘just to start – forget about your perfectionist tendencies’ -(I got a nudge from my husband along with a knowing look at that point…)… Other tips included arranging a mentor/business advisor, developing your brand, saying yes to things as well as researching successful businesses, listening to creative podcasts and practice, practice, practice….

Second speakers were Kev and Gill, (apologies if incorrectly spelt) members of a consortium trying to regenerate (apologies for the pun) The Generator Building, Frederick Street, Loughborough. Originally owned by Loughborough College and now by Loughborough University, at present, the building stands empty, decaying…. The aim is to create an artistic and creative hub; a place that has workshops, studios, offices, café, exhibition space – a flexible space to provide maximum opportunities for the arts in Loughborough. This is the third time that an attempt has been made to gain funding for this – and the present climate of uncertainty doesn’t help – and both Kev and Gill were open about the hoops they have to jump through, the time and money it takes along with the frustrations…

It would be fantastic to have such a space in the town centre; there is such a vibrant art scene in the Charnwood area – Charnwood Arts being the local community arts and media organisation – and if this project came to fruition, it would be a real focus of attention where the multitude of artistic,creative people and endeavours could come together in one inspiring space….fingers crossed.

Last to speak was Liz Clark, Artistic Director of Turned On Its Head; Liz, along with Oksana Tyminska, created Turned On Its Head, a dance company specialising in creating creative movement and dance opportunities for young children and their families both in the community and theatre settings. The hearing loss of her young son, drove Liz, a dancer and choreographer, to look for alternative ways that he could engage with his surroundings. A workshop with Oksana lead to a light bulb moment and the rest is history as they say….

They now run workshops and classes in Loughborough, Leicester and Nottingham as well as performing their shows up and down the country, from the Drill Hall, Lincoln to the Barbican in London…

Question and answer sessions followed each speaker, and as the event was well attended, there were quite a few questions…..

The next event for MPND is the Sun Goddess Crouching exhibition, a solo show by Loughborough alumni Colette Griffin. The show opens on August 12th in Unit 33, Carillon Court, Shopping Centre, Loughborough….everyone welcome.

Modern Painters, New Decorators are on Facebook and Instagram (mpndprojects) – definitely worth a look!!



Tidying up loose…dabbles…blog update

I can’t believe that there is less than a week to go before my Connecting Threads exhibition at The Charnwood Museum, Loughborough comes to an end. This time next week all the elements will be packed away in boxes and the bobbins returned to Sir Richard Arkwright’s Masson Mills Working Textile Museum! How time flies! It was fantastic to see the work displayed in the museum and I have received lots of great comments! Thanks to all the staff at the museum for their support and help!

Connecting ThreadsConnecting Threads








The rain this week seems to match my mood – I am trying to write two residency applications – something I really struggle with! Some of my proposals appears to be rather airy-fairy because unless I am successful in obtaining the residency it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what the work would be! Catch 22…

On a positive note – and this might be small fry compared to some of you out there – but I am really pleased to have had over a 1,000 views on my blog! A big thank you to all those who have helped me reach this figure!

The rain has been a hinderance this week as I really wanted to get out and about sketching more trees in order to submit some work for an exhibition at Blue Owl Art later in the year! Instead I am indoors, framing work whilst sorting out others that I need to re-do, do more work on etc.

I have continued dabbling with watercolours, experimenting with washes, techniques and adding different mediums. Inspired by the landscapes that I love i.e the moors here are a few of my dabbles!

Inspired by the moorsInspired by the moors






MoorlandAutumn hedgerows






Evening moorlandEvening sunset






I am really enjoying all this experimenting and am trying hard to keep the work loose and more abstract. I am tempted to work some of these dabbles into larger pieces – what do you think?

Okay I’ve procrastinated long enough – on with the applications…..

Tidying up loose connections…blog update

Having had time to take stock of the installation process for Connecting Threads and the exhibition itself at The Charnwood Museum, Loughborough I am really pleased with how it all went. The installation went relatively smoothly, apart from the previously mentioned dud cables, and I think the end result looks great – even if I do say so myself!!  Managed to get a photo from the mezzanine level looking down – although it doesn’t show up so good on the photo – the shadows and colours highlighted by the spotlights add another dimension to the work!

Connecting Threads

Connecting Threads









It is so nice this week to be able to take a little time to have a bit of a tidy up – just while all the component parts of the installation are temporarily elsewhere! I can actually get into the garage and not have to squeeze along a narrow passageway between plastic storage boxes!! There is also room to fit two people in the study…

Even managed to squeeze in a bit of garden tidying too – and being out in the garden gave me time to take stock of the other piece of artwork I created for my Degree show and subsequent exhibition at Cromford Mill – my laser-cut spinning mule Obsolescence.  Having been left outside over the winter it is really beginning to rust creating that feeling of the machinery becoming obsolete. I like the effect of the rust – what do you think?

ObsolescenceNow, my husband is saying, if you could just sell this piece we would have more room in the garden!

With the installation up and running I can get back to considering future projects – there are a couple of possibilities in the pipe line but I wont say too much in case I jinx them.

In the meantime I am continuing to draw and experiment with watercolours – if I am happy with them I might even post some pictures of them!



Charnwood Connected…blog update

Well I am pleased to say that Connecting Threads is now installed at The Charnwood Museum, Loughborough. Between the two of us, my long-suffering husband and I managed to install the work in four and a half days – a record – well they do say practise makes perfect! The exhibition opens tomorrow, 5th April (doors open at 10.00am) and runs until the 1st June!

Connecting ThreadsConnecting Threads

Connecting Threads




Can I say a big thank you to all the staff at the museum for making us feel so welcome!




If you are in the area do pop in and see the exhibition (and perhaps partake of coffee and cake in the cafe!)

Connecting Charnwood…blog update

Just a quick update on the Connecting Threads installation at Charnwood Museum, Loughborough! We had a good day on Monday – the scaffold tower arrived early as well as the man with the van so we were able to get started as soon as the staff let us through the doors. The photographs are up, the televisions fixed in place, the maquettes are in the display cases and the cables were fixed! Today was electrics day – and yes you’ve guessed – even though we tested the cables before installing them (and they all worked) when we hung them up two of them didn’t work! Having learnt our lessons from previous times we had only loosely fixed them up but it was still a nuisance. Much huffing, puffing and sighing later they now work!

Connecting Charnwood Carolyn J Roberts

Connecting Charnwwod Carolyn J Roberts




Connecting Charnwood Carolyn J Roberts






Tomorrow will be wool winding and hanging bobbins day – and this is when you can actually start to get an idea of the finished work!

All being well we should be done and all ready to open on Saturday – will keep you posted!

Counting down…blog update

Well we are now in the final run-up to installing Connecting Threads in The Charnwood Museum, Loughborough next week so I am busy making to do lists! Business cards ordered and delivered – tick!Business card image Artists’ blurb done and printed off – tick! Signs printed and mounted – tick! Photos remounted and framed – tick! Tower scaffold organised – tick! PPL emailed – tick! Last minute visit to museum to check all is okay – tick!


Loughborough CanalLoughborough Canal








Workers' Cottages

It’s about now that I worry we won’t get it all done – especially when the space seems so much larger than I remember! However, I counter the butterflies in my stomach by telling myself that this is now the third time we have installed the work so we have got all the teething problems ironed out – fingers crossed!

Will hopefully post photos next week of the work in progress!

If you are in the area do pop in and visit both the installation and the rest of the museum – and you must have coffee and cake in the cafe!! Connecting Threads will run from the 5th April – 1st June!

Connecting Threads

Scottish sojourn…blog update

Before the hustle and bustle…and stress of installing Connecting Threads at the Charnwood Museum in Loughborough next week we decided to have a week’s R and R; so we took ourselves off to The Barn at The Bakery in Moniaive, Dumfries and Galloway in Scotland – probably not the obvious choice in March – but we only had one day that was a wash out! The journey home was another matter…

The Barn is perfectly placed for exploring the glens and lochs of the area as well as the beautiful Solway coast. The view from the back garden isn’t bad either and the neighbours aren’t much trouble!

View from The Barn

The neighbours!











It goes without saying that the weather plays a large part in shaping the landscape and as we explored the beautiful countryside I fell in love with the moss-covered stonewalls – nature reclaiming mans’ intervention!

Moss-covered stone walls

Forest plantations abound in this area and even though we couldn’t help noticing that there were lots of dead trees, it was fascinating to see that, even in their dead (or in some cases, dormant) state nature still saw fit to decorate them with lichens – sparkling in the watery sunshine like a faded christmas tree.

Lichen decorated trees

Brighouse Bay on the Solway coast is gorgeous; a great place for a stroll and a bit of beach-combing – oh the driftwood – if only we had a bigger car!

Brighouse BayNear a waterfall called Grey Mare’s Tail (I think) we found this fantastic moss covered tree that looked as if it had been placed across the water in some Andy Goldsworthy type intervention – beautiful!

Tree across the water

We even managed a couple of picnics – one at Brighouse Bay, and one when we had travelled over the glen. All in all we had a great week in Scotland – I even managed to get my paints out! On the way home though we experienced every type of weather imaginable – snow, wind, hail, rain and sunshine with the obligatory rainbow! Although it made for hazardous driving conditions at times, it did provide some fantastic scenes across the North Pennines and down through the Yorkshire Dales!

North Pennines

Yorkshsire DalesNow I’m home and it’s only a week before we start installing the exhibition! Along with a last minute trip to the museum, I am now in the process of ensuring all the signs are ready, ‘blurb’ done, mirror plates on photos…all those things that can be done at home in order to speed up the installation process. It’s about this time that I begin to hope that everything still works…

Connecting Threads will be at The Charnwood Museum in Loughborough from 5th April – 1st June – if you are in the area do pop in!