Black and White in Bakewell

Summer has been amazing and sunny and long but now there is something in the air and a few crunchy leaves on the paths giving away that Autumn is coming.  Which is my perfect time of year. We have just moved house, I have taken on a much bigger role at work and I’m going to be a grandma in a few months. It’s all very exciting but this week we are at a cottage in Bakewell in the Peak District to have a rest and recharge.  It’s taking longer to wind down this time.  Can’t think why!


Bakewell is famous for the Bakewell pie or pudding.  I hate it as I don’t like almonds.  There are so many pie shops in the small town centre but I can forgive that as it’s very peaceful and pretty with the river running through. We just sat gawping back at the size of the rainbow and brown trout in the river Wye a few feet away, and so many of them! I did wonder what they made of my turquoise nail varnish on my toes when I dipped my feet in after a long walk, but I think indifference best described it. Which about sums up the expression on a trout.  

Him Indoors couldn’t remember if salmon could be ticked or whether it was a practice reserved for trout. He couldn’t detect any signs along the river prohibiting trout tickling and therefore deduced that he could probably legally do a bit should he wish to. He was promptly informed that if he so much as twitched in their direction he would find himself in the river alongside them.

But now to arty endeavours and my ‘bag of unruly thoughts’ (India Flint) that I took away with me. My head is always less peaceful, although I’ve been trying hard not to think too much this week.   I took away materials for exploring ‘noticeable edges’ where I have limited myself to working in black and white.

Out t’back of the cottage is a wonderful set of roof tops which caught my attention. Yes, it was me hanging out the toilet window trying to get a camera round the double glazing several times – sorry Bakewell. But it had to be captured in the light, and mist, and dark… I did a bit of sketching one morning (not out the toilet window I might add). I don’t really like sketching because I still believe it won’t look like it should do like so many of us, but I think I’m getting better and it’s just a very good way to understand what you are looking at. It gets into your brain and finger-tips.

This is my original sketch.

And to prove it was still in my visual memory, this is a quick line sketch a day later without looking at anything.


I do believe that over time observation from being interested in whatever you feel  connected to grows your brain. I don’t know about seeing differently as they say, but I think artists see better.

I like playing with photo apps and this was made using Pixlr where you can create multiple exposures with different effects. 


 Layering the roof tops with the ‘difference’ filter creates these odd colours and isolating small areas suggests some possible designs.  If you work from a photo that is in your photo stream as opposed to your camera roll where it offers you a ‘duplicate and edit’ choice, you never lose your original by accident. But the apps are all pretty good and despite saving an edit, if you go back in to the app you can usually undo any changes. 

I started this at home which I have been stitching into. I wanted to explore the inked edges that I’d trialled in my sketchbook. 


This is made with acrylic paint rather than ink and torn bits of fabric. The base is the lining paper I was working on with painted scrim bonded on top. The fabric has all been dampened down and placed on plastic so that I could run a brush down the edges. It’s best to lift paper or fabric that’s been painted with acrylic when it’s still just damp because the paint will stick a bit, especially if it’s not thin. There are some small pieces of chiffon that have painty lines on them made by printing the left over paint using the edge of an empty mixing palette.

I think it might end up as a tall cylinder. So far so good I think, but I don’t want the stitch to compete with the edges. I’m trying to work with darker stitch at the bottom and lighter at the top.   

I took Val Holme’s ‘Collage, Stitch, Print’ book away with me, and thought perhaps my itch hadn’t been scratched, but it did make me want to try a collagraph plate with some available threads. I used the Amazon packaging as the base and made something…ish…sort of…and had a go. I didn’t really like anything as it all looked such a mess, but in order to explore all possibilities before ditching it I started layering the offerings over each other and could see a bit of potential.


Half a pot of gel medium later and many taking offs and ons, these were made and I think I might like them – not too sure about the white?  I will live with them for a while to see if we become friends.  I have bought some double-sided carpet tape from the market to make some more collagraphs at some point. Another path to explore.  


Packing clothes doesn’t take me long. Packing art equipment is a whole other ball game, but I managed to bring my nuking appliances, thank goodness. I harbour a secret desire to burn edges as many of you do…they are just delicious, aren’t they? This week though, having torn up lining paper and made painted edges, I decided I liked them and didn’t really want to burn them, so how was a girl to satisfy her desire? 

By making holes I decided.
I had waxed the strips of paper and did wonder if burning holes would work or whether I’d set the cottage on fire as they turned into great balls of fire. Happily, not. One heat tool on the back doorstep gently singeing away in the afternoon – very nice.  Just playing around now to see how to progress things and how best to show off the holes.   


Maybe some landscapes? Maybe small tea light wraps?

These? Well no idea what I will do with these yet, if anything.  Just a little compulsion to make a long row of them.  It will probably pass once I return home. 

Finally, I made this with the newspapers from under the strips and some layout paper. Sewn, painted, stitched.  Unlike much of the above, this just worked for me and I was ‘in the zone’ quickly plonking bits on and whizzing up lines with the machine.  I enjoyed making this the most. 


I think I have annoyed myself quite enough now with all this playing in monotone. Sometimes you can just go at things until you have completely irritated yourself, or maybe that’s just me?

Anyway, I’m off home today back to real life and having emptied my bag of unruly thoughts for now, I will see you when it’s full again!

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12 thoughts on “Black and White in Bakewell

  1. I love how you keep exploring something that doesn’t seem interesting & come up with a nice piece. Great example of perservering & really exploring a theme.

  2. Oh I do love your posts, really inspiring, hard to pick out one or two as I love all of them, but the rooftops and holes really appeal. Having just completed my C and G Diploma in embroidery and stitch, I have spent the last few months contemplating where to go next and your black and white edges appeal so I think I will have a wonder down that route and see where it takes me. Looking forward to the next post.

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