Enjoyed it as usual... well maybe not quite as much as I used to, but after ooh, 18 years or so it's not surprising if it gets a bit samey? One day didn't used to be enough but this time I didn't need to linger long.
I always ask myself, which piece would I take home, if money and space were no object? This time I think one of Clyde Olliver's hand stitched slate "Strip" pieces. Like a curvy spine comprised of graduated slates with simple zigzag hand stitches up the centre. Two of my favourite things, embroidery and geology, combined - irresistible.
In the Graduate Showcase, it was Brenda Parsons' "paper lace" that stood out for me. Handmade paper, machine stitched then washed so it disintegrated into a delicate holey fabric. No colour, just the purity of the creamy paper, in small 3D corsage/sculptural forms as well as huge floaty hangings.
One thing that really struck me was how many of the artists used frames without glass, and often raised the work off the background with hidden blocks underneath. It always seems a shame to shut textiles behind glass, but in my experience most buyers seem to prefer them protected?
As for shopping, it's always the same - so much temptation, gorgeous materials and essentials I can't buy locally, but it's NEXT week I'll realise what I really should have bought. I did get some lovely space dyed perle threads (to use on the machine bobbin), wool roving and bamboo fibres (for the embellisher), things that are hard to choose by mail order. And the new "Stitchscapes" book by Beaney and Littlejohn - packed with gorgeous big colour photos, plus techniques and sizes (yay!) for each piece so you can really understand them.
Overall I'd say inspiring, but not awe-inspiring. Fired up to get on with my own work... until I get stuck for something absolutely vital I could've got so easily at the show!