A truly amazing place with some very unreal qualities is Puzzlewood in the Forest of Dean. The site of ancient iron ore extraction, the geology is quite fascinating. Deep ravines with their own eco-system and flora and precipitous cliffs of limestone. The geological features displayed at Puzzlewood are known locally as Scowles. Scowles are a significant geological features and originated through the erosion of natural underground cave systems formed in the carboniferous limestone many millions of years ago. Uplift and erosion caused the cave system to become exposed at the surface. This was then exploited by Iron Age settlers through to Roman times for the extraction of iron ore. Puzzlewood is literally Clearwell Caves with the “lid off”. Several film crews have used the woods as a backdrop to mystical/magical and sci-fi tv programmes and films eg. Merlin, Dr Who.
In the early 1800s a local landowner laid down a mile of pathways which meandered through the trees and gulleys to open up this ancient forest originally for the amusement of his friends and children. Health warning: unfortunately not wheelchair friendly, with some very uneven steps.
Ledbury is beginning to hum with preparations for this year’s Poetry Festival. For Nick Alexander’s Talking Wall, (the next event at Tinsmiths), printer, Martin Clark is well on the way to a “wall’s worth” of large poem posters to plaster our alleyway. The programme for the festival will be up on their website on the 20th May when you will be able to book online. Do take a look, the poetry festival is a great excuse to visit Ledbury.
Following the earlier post about Merchant and Mills, we’d like to introduce another local supplier and artist, Michael Birch. A textile artist, Michael prints the most eclectic designs on beautiful chiffon and silk fabrics. As you can see, he is something of a magpie, collecting imagery from all over the place and creating some very personal mixtures.
“I use different pictures for differing reasons. Some are added for style, narrative and others to induce a movement, feeling or even a specific sound. Ambiguous images which contrast against each other are used to create a visual movement as they resonate in opposing themes and contrasting meaning. Depictions of birds and bugs are used to heighten my fear of fast animal motions, like fluttering and scurrying. Portraits of singers such as Edith Piaf emit a powerful associated sound and extracts from great poems give the textile a ‘holistic completeness’ adding to the melee of dancing girls, flexing muscle men and pecking birds.
I surround myself with observational drawings and paintings, found objects/ images, photographs, postcards, fabric scrapes. I draw to music and listen to descriptive poetry, give myself unrealistic time frame to complete work and of course think about my next creations-twenty four seven. A strong theme or themes naturally emerges linked to Beauty, greed, redemption or vanity and jealousy. Discussing more than one theme or intention allows the work to demand a conversation with the viewer as they get drawn in to a world of swirls and dots, figures and flowers, ” explains Michael.
Look up our stock of Michael’s scarves in our Accessories Shop – in the “treats” drawer……
We generally don’t do sales but over 8yrs of keeping useful offcuts/hoarding has brought us to our senses. Having swiftly taken advantage of the extra space that our New Year’s re-organisation afforded us, we NEED to make some space for more fabrics. So this is our early warning announcement of a short, sharp sale in June. We will put the dates on our Facebook page in a fortnight – so please go to our page and “like us” to receive up to date information. The sort of things that we will put in our sale are remnants of fabrics (some quite large pieces), odd discontinued lighting and accessories and a few of our current rolls. Don’t miss it - there may not be another for five years or more.