You guys, I'm really sorry about missing the recent meetup in London, but frankly if Edinburgh calls in the month of August, you had better make sure you were there. I vowed to drop the stitching for a week and half to work, socialise and see shows at one of the world's largest arts festivals. I even managed to squeeze in a spot of guest blogging for my venue, Paradise Green, which you find on George IV Bridge.
As usual, we had a lot of excellent shows from young companies eager to show off. Plus there was a new venue added, the Kirkhouse, with its own shows too. We seem to have a habit of hosting excellent professional international companies and I was totally blown away by East, a woman shifting on time axis. It's something totally unexpected for a bright fringe venue.
Anyway, you remember the Frucket List? As expected, it was impossible to see all the ones listed due to diary/schedule issues, but I did get to see some fantastic stuff. As with last year, some of the more surprising and affecting shows were the ones that where chosen fairly last minute! Going back over my stubs, I actually have to say that none of the shows on the Frucket list made it into my favourite five. Oh well! So of the 23 shows, which ones really hit home?
- Are You Sitting Comfortably?, The Dryden Society, C Nova - A love story between the tiny people who live in your radio. Plus a really psychotic tape deck who has no respect for personal space. Maybe it's the radio buff talking, maybe it's the closet rom com fan...
- Each of Us, Ben Moor, Pleasance Courtyard - Another love story! What's going on?! Well...not really...it's part love story, part conspiracy theory, part series of verbal tableaux. An hour of zen loopy storytelling by a performer so calm and reflective you forget what the world outside is really like.
- Everything's Elsewhere, Thisegg, C - Two girls used to be flatmates, they're not anymore. They explain why. This was the second year I've accidentally seen the company and they have an incredibly unique and appealing style. They do an excellent job of taking our tiny quirks and neuroses and then stretching them to some sort of surreal exaggeration.
- Gramophone Jass Band's Late Night Speakeasy, Henry's Cellar Bar - I'm a sucker for old school, Orleans-style jazz and blues. I seriously doubt you could get much better than a sweaty cellar bar, where the ceiling was not only too low for the double bass but also one of the band members. The only way to describe this gig would be to ask you to imagine this song at double speed
- Miles & Coltrane Blue, Concrete Generation, C - I know a lot of jazz gets a bad rep for seeming inaccessible à la Fast Show, and it nearly broke my heart when someone said they were put off going to see the show because they thought Miles & Coltrane were a comedy double act. But this show did an incredible job of shedding light on the stories of two jazz greats, giving us an opportunity to understand the music that we hear. The narration was incredibly powerful too, bringing in strands from black history, politics, gospel, biography...poetry...
It's true that these shows could really be classed as 'pleasant watching'. I don't know about you, but I'd much rather see a show and enjoy watching it than sit through something difficult to watch. But Marty Ross in 21st Century Poe really deserves a nod of approval too. He reworks classic Edgar Allan Poe stories for the 21st century, in a tiny cellar performance space. He. uses the area so effectively and is so vivid in his descriptions that I was pretty ready to vomit and a few punters had to leave the room. As the tale was reaching its peak there were a lot of nervous glances towards the door, had we genuinely been locked in The Vault with a madman?
Some of his other work is available on the BBC Radio 4 Extra site at the moment too. Take a look, here's hoping it's engaging listening again.
In terms of craft, making and exhibitions (which, let's face it, is probably why you're here) I was lucky to stumble upon Craft Scotland's Summer Show, and hear Ebba Goring and hear how she makes her jewellery. She began with vintage lace and textiles, wanting to preserve the details and delicacy of some pieces that had been handed down to her. This also spawned out into making pieces from very fine crochet too. this style has become her trademark, and she's gone through a lot of challenges to establish this as her trademark. She also showed off some of her own incredibly delicate crochet. It's definitely worth checking out if you're a textile fan!
The one bit of stitchery I did give in to was checking out the Scottish Modern Quilt Exhibition at Avery Homestore. This was after spotting a Klimt print somewhere and realising that he was almost definitely a quilter. I mean, look those designs:
Once again the quilt exhibition was based around some local makers. There were lots of ideas floating around in quite a small space, and some of the pieces looked to me to be veering towards e more traditional ends of quilting. I'm no quilter but can definitely appreciate there must be history and folklore behind blocks and styles, two which caught my eye...
First was this quilt called Stained II. I love how the black and the blocks help break up the individual panes of colour, it's such a good idea to break up print scraps and lets your eye rest on each of the different designs. If you were feeling particularly bold, I bet you could put a secret picture in here...or something to annoy the colourblind...
The texture and 3D effect on this cushion really sets it apart. It's precise and deliberate but is very good a showing off the individual scraps. They almost literally jump out a you, would you agree?
Theatre seasons are kicking off again, there are some events kicking around to fight off the approaching winter nights and lots of new exhibitions are beginning to open again. I wonder what the next few months will bring in the form of inspiration?
Also, the Bournemouth Arts by the Sea festival just kicked off. In its 3rd year now it's going from strength to strength. Stop by and take a look what's on!