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By: Elena Thomas
Recounting the adventures of my humble garden shed as she wings her way around the Midlands, playing host and providing shelter for artists, musicians and poets.
# 26 [17 May 2013]
Below is the link to my website, where you can keep track of bookings and developments for LOAF 13.....
But if you can't be bothered, here's the list of performers as it stands so far... this one's going to be great!
DAN WHITEHOUSE - www.dan-whitehouse.com
Rob Lane - www.robertlanemusic.blogsp ot.co.uk/
Angela Armstrong - http://www.myspace.com/angiearmstrong1/music
Kim Lowings - http://www.reverbnation.com/kimlowings
Alex Vann - http://www.alexvann.net/
Heather Wastie - http://www.heatherwastie.co.uk/
Paul Liddell - http://www.paulliddell.com/
Anja McCloskey - http://www.anjamccloskey.co.uk/
Andy Richards - http://www.myspace.com/andyrichards
Kate Wragg - http://www.katewragg.co.uk/
# 25 [6 May 2013]
It’s that time of year again. I’m in the process of booking people to play in my shed for LOAF (Life & Other Art Festival) on July 6th and 7th. The weather is good over this bank holiday, so I’ve been out to carefully inspect her… Oh dear…
She is in need of a little tlc… she needs a good scrub, inside and out. Some fabric has fallen off under the pressure of snow upon snow, frost, wind, hail, rain and even sunshine takes its toll. I have assessed that the red, white and blue jubilee theme from last year has faded to paler pinks and blues, and the wood, once a pressure treated orange, has now faded to a grainy silvery colour between the strips of fabric. So she’s looking rather subtle and lovely really, so any fabric I replace I think will play along with that. But I think, next year, to ensure a long life, the wood will need to be treated, so I will, after LOAF 13, strip all the fabric off, and possibly paint her yellow, and brighten things up considerably for 2014!
When I have confirmation of performers, I will post a link to my website events page so you can go and see how great the line up is going to be!
# 24 [16 July 2012]
The shed has now come home, and is in her rightful place at the top of my garden. She's in need of a little tlc, and probably a lot of sunshine to dry out her boggy bottom!
This is probably my last "Shedding" post for the season, unless she gets a surprise invitation to go somewhere else... you never know...
# 23 [15 July 2012]
LOAF has been amazing.
I don’t know if it is because I’m tired, but I could lie in a darkened room and have a little bit of a cry before I fall asleep.
I feel so grateful for these people. My life drawing group, the Rebellious Quilters, my friends, and my hard working, long suffering family, who have spent the last month supporting my shed-related activity, culminating in the mini arts festival that is LOAF.
The exhibition of artwork was better this year than ever before, the standard of work just gets better all the time. We have had so many compliments and kind comments, offers of help, support and so on.
The quilts were indeed, rebellious. I have realised that our happy band of stitchers are quite unusual: We have part of the group that are wonky and spontaneous and hugely creative and inventive, and we have part of the group who are precise, particular, and hugely skilled, and some of the group do both. We swap skills and ideas, and the result is a collection of quilts and other related textiles that are not of the mainstream at all. We are quite an unusual group, but I don’t think our members realise it.
The tea and cake display was extraordinary! Highlights being Niky’s really gooey ginger cake, and Tess’s brownies, and Moira’s bread.
Thank you to everyone who helped and who visited, you made our weekend!
But for me, the astonishing thing is the contribution the musicians make. In my next life I’d like to be a musician instead of an artist I think.
Some of them had come hundreds of miles to play for us. For nothing other than the fun, the cake and just the opportunity to play in our lovely little venue.
A group of people told me they thought the music was amazing, and they hadn’t expected such a high standard from a little festival. A rare treat, they thought.
What was evident between these musicians was the support they gave each other, the prospective, possible collaborations, the swapping of cards and cds, the playing together, the offering of a guitar to the youngest musician of the lot that snapped a string, an offer of a tuner, and SuperDan, who swooped in to set up a mic quickly for Anja, so that her gorgeous voice could be heard over her gorgeous accordion! Heather had written poems especially for the occasion, and dipped in between to read an extra snippet about a double bass, after seeing Anja’s band. They were all brilliant, and I am proud and privileged to know them all. Thank you all.
I told my son on the way home that it felt like they were all playing just for me, an incredibly self indulgent affair… special people, chosen by me to play for me. It’s as if the rest of the audience are just added extras.
Lucky, exhausted, exhilarated, over-caked, me!
# 22 [13 July 2012]
I have to be in control of this. When I started and it was just a whim, favours and maybes were fine. “Sometime Friday” just doesn’t cut it any more. I am grateful for the generosity, but need to be more organised I think. So I need a van of my own, or a trailer might be best, and someone to teach me how to drive the bloody thing. I only get stressed about this shed-moving palaver when I’m at someone else’s mercy.
Everything else seems to work fine. I delegate the tasks that I know will get done by the people I delegate to, or don’t mind if they don’t get done as I would do them, or in some cases, don’t get done at all.
I’ve spent a fortune on printer ink.
My hall and dining room are currently full of other people’s quilts, drawings, raffle prizes.
And I’m thinking, how great it would be to rock up on Sunday afternoon with a guitar!
We probably need a float for the refreshments and the raffle.
I can’t remember who is going to buy the tea/milk etc.
I need to get rid of my grey hair before anyone takes any photos of me.
I should probably iron my clothes.
And use copious amounts of the little magic brush that makes these dark circles round my eyes go away… temporarily.
My family are smoothing my path, making me tea at all spare moments, ignoring snappishness. They are poised to spring into action once we have to dismantle/reassemble/dismantle the shed. My son says I have a "Stress Blast Radius".
Once it’s there, the exhibition is hung, the cakes are displayed and the urn is on and the first musician has arrived, I shall sit down with a cup of tea, take a deep breath and watch and listen with a big smile on my face.
P.S. All hung, draped, baked, arranged and dangled… all exhausted, but it’s up and ready. If you come, seek me out and say hello… it won’t be hard to find me!
# 21 [11 July 2012]
I've been a bit of a slacker, forgetting to put the tracks here! So here are tracks 5, 6, and 7
and today's Thursday treat is poet Heather Wastie:
All great performers, with their own distinctive style!
# 20 [7 July 2012]
This is the fourth free download being made available by these lovely generous musicians in the run up to LOAF. People seem to be getting quite excited now... please pray for dry weather...
However, we will be well equipped with gazebos and umbrellas if that doesn't happen, so come anyway, it won't be muddy, as it is a paved courtyard, not grass!
This track is by Lee Mitchell, who you will get an extra dose of, as he will be performing with Dan Whitehouse on Sunday 15th too!
# 19 [6 July 2012]
Another short post, to enable you to listen to this musical gift from Kim Lowings:
I love her voice. It's going to make my shed sound very English-Summery.... glass of pimm's please!
# 18 [4 July 2012]
The second free download is from Anja McCloskey. She has a great sound - accordion, guitars, violin, double bass... wondrous combo!
# 17 [2 July 2012]
In the run up to LOAF, I'm going to be spreading some lovely music about.
The wonderfully generous performers have allowed me to make some of their music available to everyone as free downloads, so you can join in the countdown and get excited about the event with us.
So please click on the link and enjoy. The first track had to be from Dan Whitehouse, of course!
More loveliness to come in the following two weeks, so keep checking back for your presents, then come and see them all live in the shed... it's going to sound great!
I do all sorts of things with bits of fabric. This was one of the things I did. It now has a life of its own, and a blog of its own. I don't know how it's going to work having it separate from the rest of my work, and my other blog. We will see!