Thursday, 2 June 2011

Artistic Northumberland

Sis and I had fun visiting some of the alternative (to Hadrian's Wall) attractions in Northumberland.  This beautiful and diverse county is a magnet to talented artists and craftspeople who draw their inspiration from the land and seascapes and the resourceful people in the North East. 

We had a wonderful day at 'The Hearth' in Horseley Village

We visited on one of their open days.  Everyone with studios and workshops there were happy to talk about their work and methods and answer my daft questions.  Obviously retail therapy opportunities were available.  Most of the artists and craftspeople run workshops around the North East, so if you are lucky enough to live locally or fancy having a great summer holiday learning a new skill I can't think of a better place learn it.  There are 'Art Tour' open events throughout June and July.  To find out more go to  I'm sure you will have all your cultural, creative, spiritual and historical needs satisfied and have great fun participating. 

Take a few extra layers.  The sun shines brightly, but the wind can cut across from the North Sea.  If you are like Sis and me you love warm and cosy clothing.  Sis spins wool from natural fleeces and then knits it!!  One of her favourite suppliers was to be found at The Hearth.  Was that why she suggested a day out there?  Anyway glorious fleeces with natural dyes (done in a tin bath the night before) were purchased and are being stroked and contemplated right now by Sis prior to actual spinning and knitting.  If this appeals to you too go to

Mandy Patullo at Work
Mandy Patullo who does fantastic applique, embroidery and handstitching work had so much to show and was happy to spend time with us. Sis has already been on one of her workshops and plans to do more. 
David Holliday in his Studio
I loved David Holliday's watercolour paintings - if I had money, his work would be some I would choose.  His landscapes and townscapes remind me of places I grew up in and near.  I was particularly drawn to his painting of the Swing Bridge across the Tyne.  See it on

Sis bought me irrisistible Earl Grey Tea handmade soap from Ceri at the Oakwood Soaperie  All the soaps and skin care products are made with gorgeous essential oils.  I also found another great use for Ceri's body butter cake.  Not only is it very moisturising on dry skin, I found it great for smoothing and separating newly washed hair.  It definitely calms my frizz!

Everything I saw and learned on The Hearth open day was fascinating.    Click on the first link to find out about the artists, jewellery makers and printmakers I haven't mentioned here.  We also enjoyed homemade soup and refreshing elderflower presse at The Hearth's cafe.  If you fancy a bar meal and a drink with more kick, the Lion and Lamb pub is right across the road.  Free WiFi is offered there too.

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