Missing the Boat


 Before setting out for School Sports Day, I painted the concrete workshop loo floor with tile red paint so it would be dry enough for a second coat in the afternoon. It was the usual medley of novelty races, long jumps, ball skills and relays. The field does not have loo facilities so I had to find a nice rhododendron bush during the afternoon. Mission accomplished and I came out of the undergrowth trying to look casual. I am convinced that wearing Doc Martens makes me saunter which is why I managed to trip over a branch and go flying headlong across a gritty path. I was lying stunned for a minute before I got up to survey the damage, hoping that no-one had noticed my clumsiness. I had grazed both hands, both knees were stinging under my jeans and my green Docs had also not fared well. I tried not to limp back to the sports field and opted out of the tug of war competition. Freya told me that I was far too old to be falling over and she was relieved that no-one had seen me. It was a bit painful when I reapplied the floor paint later on.  My knees got worse as the week progressed. One felt twisted and the other one was all scabby. After several days of hobbling along I even looked up the symptoms of tetanus and blood poisoning on Wikipedia. I think I have damaged a ligament – crawling under my longarm frame to check tension and make adjustments has been very uncomfortable.

 I saw the article “Meet a Quilter – Linzi Upton” in July’s P&Q magazine and was really pleased with it even though Mo tells me that I look blokey in the photo. I rather like the picture of me in the yurt casually drinking coffee while being interviewed and Judi has kindly agreed to let me have a copy of it for The Yurt Book.

 I have made many more phone calls and emails this week trying to raise the profile of the Yurt and ultimately find some sponsors to help with travel expenses. I contacted Aberdeenshire Council to request the logos that I am meant to attach to any literature that I produce about the Yurt as a condition of my initial grant. I felt somewhat chastised when asked why I had not attempted to take the Yurt to the Portsoy Boat Festival with 30 000 visitors, and extremely remiss when told that I had missed the deadline to register for North East Open Studios in September. I thought it would seem churlish to point out that the Yurt is neither a boat nor waterproof. Apparently it is part of the learning process that I should find out about these opportunities myself without having to be sent any helpful information by a mentor. I was advised to take time out to write a statement about my aspirations for professional development. This should not involve ideas for touring America, writing a book and working on Yurt2 but instead focus on my vision of being an arts practitioner. This was the point at which I stopped concentrating and felt like Charlie Brown from the “Peanuts” cartoon whose teacher’s voice droned, “Fwa, fwa, fwa, fwaaa…” I realise now that I have always wanted to be an intellectual but I don’t seem to have the academic stamina for in-depth discussions on symbolism and imagery. I always wrote too concisely when I studied English literature. I would argue that authors were not necessarily trying to convey hidden meanings but simply telling their story. That logic didn’t wash with my lecturers who always wanted me to elaborate. I’d rather get straight to the point. Will fewer people buy my book if there isn’t enough artyfarty flannel in it? Maybe the publishers won’t let me pad it out with recipes for roadkill stew.

 Andrew Salmon from Twisted Thread phoned to discuss how to squeeze the Yurt in at Festival of Quilts 2010 as they are already “full to the gunnels”. I offered to put the APQS stand inside it or even set the Yurt up in the cafe area as a way of saving space. They are still thinking about where it could fit – it would be really exciting to take the Yurt to a big show. I will worry about the logistics of being in two places at once later if the Yurt is allowed into the show. Yurtman says we could swap vehicles for the week so I could borrow his van.

 I have been trying to think of fund-raising ideas for getting the Yurt to America but my project is not classed as a charity therefore I can’t run a raffle. I think that it would be possible to embroider a sponsor’s name or logo onto fabric and turn the pieces into an advertising yurt panel.  Another idea involves staging a fire-walking event to paying guests. I wondered if I could set it up at a stone circle and hire it out as a wedding venue except that it could rain. The stone circle idea made me realise that this would be a good place to take outdoor photos for potential magazine articles and The Book. I have now approached the Forestry Commission for permission to do this as I need to drive the Landy up as close as I can. The Ancient Celts would have had more manpower for carrying gear up hills than I have at my disposal.

 My workshop needs to pay for its own running costs so I have approached some freelance tutors to see if they would like to hire the space for classes. It is clean, light, easy to find and I provide good coffee. Several quilters have expressed a keen interest in a “Strip Club”, making quilts using pre-cut jelly rolls. Some children from Durris Primary School were here this week to work on the class patchwork project. They made far better progress in the workshop than they had in their classroom with all of the right equipment and space. I was surprised at how difficult they found using the rotary cutter. It made me wonder if I should eventually invest in an Accuquilt cutting machine. Maybe then I could make my own jelly rolls from Hungarian dyed fabric.

 I have finally finished embellishing the Yurt panel called “Slinky” made by Corey from California. She had used invisible thread that didn’t show up much so I added additional quilting of her original designs using a more noticeable purple. I added a few subtle accents of gold Lumiere paint in the quilted curves. As an experiment I swirled round and round in a one inch spot and formed little peaks like volcanoes or limpets. They can be poked in or out and so appear concave or convex. When they stick up they look like the round rivets found on Celtic shields. I thought that I should use poetic license to describe this interesting imagery and include it in a paragraph about inspiration in The Book…



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