Category Archives: Norwich Inspirations

Project Finished! New Creativity After 60

Look at this amazing purple beast! The final result from my beginner’s stab at upholstery.

 

Here’s the shabby, dishevelled item it used to be – some transformation, eh!

A chair in need of re-upholstery

Before, it was hidden away under a blanket, too tatty to see the light of day. Now, I drag people off the street to admire it, and every morning take my lovely new velvet brush and perform the satisfying ritual of pile-alignment .

My only problem is that people, and cats, are drawn to it like a magnet – they want to sit on it, for heaven’s sake!

Happy with my creative project, I did learn that I am not a born upholsterer. Tools and I don’t really get on. Tacks and nails fall out or go in on the wonk. I’m too scared to cut. The best bits  were anything to do with fabric, smoothing on wadding, stitching a horsehair lumbar support with string.

None of that mattered though, because I was so well taught by Libby at Bungay upholsterers Perkins & Gibbs.  That woman has the glorious knack of the born teacher of enthusing, demonstrating  and quietly helping (a lot!) so that any hapless student who has bitten off far more than she can chew still ends up full of a sense of achievement.

The real joy, has been in working with others around, all of them are grappling with their own projects.

Even more fun than the process of bringing my weary old chair back to life has been the pleasure of being in the studio amid the quiet buzz of talk and banter, with the interesting people who go there, the dogs who wander in and out, the swags of fabric hanging up, the air of creativity, the sense of connection that Libby and Tam create.

That studio’s a life-enhancing place and I quite fancy upholstering my entire house now, just so I can go back there every couple of weeks for another dose.

It’s great to take on long-neglected creative projects now that there’s a bit more time in life, and some can even be tackled alone. But what I learned this time round is how much more enjoyable it is to go and share the whole thing with a bunch of people who, just at the moments when I was thinking anxiously, this is very purple, had a knack of saying – gorgeous colour.

Do you get a tingle of desire at the thought of making something? Got a project you want to start? Where does the joy lie in creativity for you? Do comment in the box below. And if you enjoy exploring the ins and outs of life beyond 60 with us, enter your email in the box up at the top of the page and you won’t miss a thing. 

Two inspiring Norfolk artists

Annie Hudson and Anthea Eames: Unearthed

Annie Hudson and Anthea Eames

Artists Annie Hudson and Anthea Eames

I encountered Annie and Anthea one bright but chilly October morning in Anteros Gallery in Norwich, as they were enjoying a coffee in the sun dappled gallery.

On the walls, in their exhibition Unearthed, hung a mix of Annie’s drawings and Anthea’s paintings, complementing each other perfectly.

Anthea uses earthy colours, beautifully textured blocks of subtle blue, russet brown, dark red and creamy yellow, while Annie draws in bold sweeps of charcoal higlighted with smudges of chalk gathered on Cromer beach.

Annie moved to Norfolk from Cumbria 2 years ago. Her heart’s still in limestone country, but she loves the coastal erosion on the Norfolk coast and is excited by its artistic possibilities.

Natural pigments made by Anthea, including a bowl of her own richly black charcoal

Natural pigments made by Anthea, including a bowl of her own richly black charcoal

Anthea collects pigments from all over the world, and was displaying Sahara sand and ochre from Cromer as well as intensely black charcoal that she makes herself.

Her son lives in Australia and she also goes to Africa to teach, which gives her an opportunity to gather raw materials.

‘Drawing on linen was like drawing on a grater,’ says Annie, and she found that Anthea’s  charcoal was the perfect medium to show off the texture of the fabric.

Karst 1 by Annie Hudson

Karst 1 by Annie Hudson

Both women returned to art after bringing up families. Annie says, ‘I brought up my kids single-handed, it was an intense time, and I didn’t start working full-time in art again until I was 50.’

There’s a lot to explore through art at this time of life. ‘I don’t think you know what you want to say until you’ve matured,’ Anthea says.

‘Young artists now are told if you haven’t made it by the time you’re 30, you won’t make it, but I didn’t graduate from art school until I was 40! Now there’s a sense that time is precious, and I say to myself, “Come on woman, get on with it!”‘

A collaborative piece by Annie Hudson and Anthea Eames

A collaborative piece by Annie Hudson and Anthea Eames

I felt very inspired by the collaboration of these two artists on this stunning exhibition, both by the confidence and expertise shown in their work, and by their attitude towards making and showing their art. Embracing their maturity and wisdom,  they use those layers of experience help them to create works with depth and meaning.

I visited the exhibition right at the end of its run, but you can see plenty of examples of Annie’s and Anthea’s work, find out more about them, and arrange a studio visit on their websites:

Www.antheaeamesart.com
Www.anniehudson.co.uk
Elizabeth Martyn: Beyond 60

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