(All photos courtesy of 'phone, as I forgot the camera - duh!)
There are quite a few shops selling vintage items, this one looked splendid with two vintage 1940's dresses in the window. The shop front itself is quite superb and a rare sight these days.
Just to confirm this shop's credentials, what do we see but stunning hats by the very talented Clare of Daisy Darling! Indeed, it was Clare's last post which made us think of making a little detour to Frome (thank you!)
At the top of the hill, I rather liked the look of this very minxy shop, sadly closed too! Well, there's nothing like a little tease, we'll just have to return!
Off then to somewhere which I had checked was to be open, the Black Swan Arts Gallery. First off, we had a fantastic lunch here of delicious homemade food. On a detour from the loos, I could not resist the shop! This is probably the best gift shop at a gallery/museum type place that I have seen. I mean, it had things you would actually want to buy! Stunning creations from some very talented crafts people.
Including these. I know some of you will instantly recognise this work.
Upstairs then into the gallery space to see the "Smile" exhibition. It certainly put one on the Munchkin's face. I was so pleased to see that he enjoyed it, I had wondered if it was going to be "his sort of thing". Several of the displays were interactive which he liked. It impressed me that it was permissible for the children to touch the displays. I think children do know how to behave themselves around things which they perceive are special.
He was the only one who thought to open the little door in the middle of this (fetching) vintage table; he was rewarded by some "borrowers" type creatures inside!
More had taken over this (once lovely) chair!
It was all I could do, meanwhile, not to rush straight to the far end of the gallery. There was the display of work by a woman whom I've been quite fascinated by for some time...
Have you heard of Julie Arkell?
She is a folk artist who works with papier mache to create these fantastic creatures. I most love her fabulous attention to detail; look at those vintage fabrics, little trims and brooches, those embroidered words.
Julie doesn't have a website of her own but you only need to Google her to find a wealth of wonderful photos and blog entries of those lucky enough to have attended one of her workshops (that shall be me later in the year!) Get yourself a cuppa and a slice of cake before you start and prepare to while away a few (oh so pleasurable) hours...
I have a very strong urge to make little embroidered pinnys!
You've got to love Stanley!
Although he seems to have upset these ladies!
Not forgetting the two aunts. These reminded me of me and my sister!
On the far wall, there were many papier mache frames displayed, with photos of Julie's creations inside. Julie was inspired to create these by a book she found (I think it had belonged to her aunt), in which pages had been stuck together and then apertures cut out.
I liked this framed picture. My favourite papier mache doll had been sold though.
A book has been published about Julie entitled "Home" which is well worth a read. It can be tricky to get hold of but the Black Swan Gallery has copies in its shop at £12 (you will likely pay much more than this online, as I did!)
There was also a very interesting article about Julie in Selvedge magazine a few years ago (although I only picked this up as a back issue at the International Festival of Quilts because the article caught my eye). Julie apparently lives in a family home in Islington and uses her staircase to display her collection of belongings.
I must just show you a few snaps from "Home" of Julie's studio. Now you know, she is a woman after my own heart!
Do visit the exhibition if you get the chance, it is wonderful (entry is by donation) and is travelling the country so look out for it near you if you cannot make it to Frome.
The Munchkin and I are now feeling truly inspired this half term and it's fair to say, we hope to have some crafty creations of our own to show you. (Yikes!) However, if you would like to see some more really fantastic papier mache creations, you should look at the very talented Vanessa's beautiful blog.