Monday, 23 July 2012

So What Is The Big Tent Festival?

I can now tell you all about The Big Tent Festival after having had such a great weekend there!

The Big Tent is a weekend festival held in lots of tents on a designated site within Falkland Palace Estate.

Entrance to the festival

 The emphasis is on making this event have less impact on the environment than an ordinary weekend festival and for there to be lots if interactive and educational stalls, workshops and events going on over the weekend as well as great music and entertainment.

As a stall holder I didn't get round the festival site to get a good look at everything that was going on but my husband took some photos for me. 
The highlight of the weekend for him was sitting in a yurt watching the film 'You've Been Trumped' with an opportunity to put questions to residents affected by Donald Trump's golf course development that went ahead despite massive opposition on an area of out standing natural beauty and scientific interest. A film worth watching if you get a chance.

I love all the different tents, tipi's, yurts and huts that were on site as well as the innovative use of vans, trailers, buses, bicycles and horse boxes.

 This trailer was beautifully kitted out inside with eco fun clothing from Fox and Bhut. Look out for them at other festival events and in St Andrews at weekends.

The Pillars of Hercules Organic Farm and Cafe is situated near the festival site anyway but came on site with a massive tented cafe complete with colourful bunting and hay bails to sit on.

 Cute huts for sale

 This yurt was all closed up by the time I had time to look at it. There had been things going on inside and I'd have loved to gone in. It was so teeny wee and cute!

There were lots of environmental debates and talks going on as well as interactive things for children and adults to get involved in.
You can see the full list here

I was really impressed by the variety of visitors that the event attracted. Lots of local people as well as people from far and wide and it was wonderful to see whole families enjoying themselves including the Grandparents.

Here are me and Lizzy at my stall late on Sunday afternoon.

There had been a mad rush on cuffs which is why they are looking a bit untidy here. I'm also looking a bit worn out as I had to set off really early each morning to get set up and stood ALL day each day chatting non stop but having a great time. Visitors to my stall were delighted to see handmade items that are made locally.

My fellow stall holders were all lovely. We bought beeswax candles and handmade soap.
Gill from Artisan Threads is a real gem of a woman. She took time with her customers to teach them how to knit with big needles, crochet and how to use a drop spindle. Adults and children alike went away with new skills and inspiration. My daughter loved her and learnt how to use a drop spindle and made her own little ball of wool.

We got the spindle home with us too. It's made from a painted CD, dowelling and a screw in hook. My daughter can teach me now! Gill said she picked it up very quickly.
I also bought some beautiful silk fibres to use in my work.

We made our way to the main stage area after closing up shop around 6.30 each day.
It was very relaxed as the stage was set on a hill with a dip so while there was a small crowd right in front of the stage, there was a whole sea of people on the slope opposite sitting on deck chairs in family groups enjoying the music and getting up for a wee dance of they felt like it.

I didn't get to hear that much music but enjoyed the Treacherous Orchestra and it was great to hear The Proclaimers but the highlight for me was Karine Polwart.

This rainbow came out half way through Karine's set and rounded off what had been a really nice weekend. We could have stayed to hear the next band and Salsa Celtica after that but I was way too exhausted as were the rest of the family.

If you are visiting my blog here after picking up my leaflet, welcome and thank you very much!
I'll be taking some time off now to enjoy what's left of the summer holidays but I'll answer any emails and list some new things in my on line shop this week.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

The Big Tent Festival 2012

The Big Tent Festival 2012
Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd July
Falkland Palace Estate

I will have a stall at The Big Tent Festival this weekend in the Craft Unplugged Tent.
I'll have a wide range of Aileen Clarke Crafts on display including lots of new wrist cuffs, new felt pendants, textile pendants and earrings, brooches and more!

Lots of purple in these photos but I have been working in some other colours as well.

I will also be taking along some felt pictures and wee boxes with sheep as well as my range of printed cards and some new handmade cards made with 100% recycled materials including old plastic carrier bags.

I'm looking forward to meeting up with some old friends as well as meeting a few fellow artists that I have known on line but never met.

The music line up is great and there are so many things to do and learn about. If I wasn't having a stall I would definitely be going on a Wild Food Walk.

Read more about The Big Tent here and if you are going along I'll see you there!

Hope you have a great weekend whatever you are doing.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Some Colour To Brighten Up These Dull Days

It's the height of summer and yet could it be any darker in my kitchen?
It's north facing and doesn't get much sun at the best of times but there are south facing windows on the other side of the room and yet it is still so dark.
Grey skies, continuous rain, cool temperatures, it all adds up to too much time spent indoors so I put up some bunting to cheer us all up.

I have been working on lots of colourful wrist cuffs for my stall at The Big Tent Festival and they are cheering me up enormously.

These are great fun to make. For some I have used denim from old jeans as the base fabric and recycled sari silk ribbon for the coloured strip. The leaf motif is made from my own handmade felt. I have lots of different colour combinations going on so it never gets boring making these. It's also good fun getting all the buttons out and choosing just the right one for each cuff.


I fancied a frayed edge on a few of the denim cuffs and found it very satisfying tearing the jeans into strips. Rrrrrrrrip! I hope that doesn't reveal anything peculiar about me through psycho analysis!

Another blog that I enjoy reading is Heather's Woollove- Functional Fiberart blog.
Heather recently attended a felt makers workshop in Portugal which looked absolutely fantastic. You can see lots of photos from her trip on her blog. Not just of the felt projects but of the place, the food and the people she met.
I liked Heather's photo of a bowl of hard boiled eggs garnished with pink geranium flowers and it inspired me to make stuffed eggs for some visitors we had at the weekend.

It's such a simple recipe.
Hard boil some free range eggs and let them cool in cold water.
To get the yolks in the centre of the egg rather than at the side, gently turn the eggs regularly during boiling.
Cut them in half length ways and scoop the yolks into a bowl taking care not to damage the whites.
Mash up the yolks with a little mayonnaise or salad cream, a wee bit of grated cheese, salt, pepper and paprika.
Spoon the mixture back into the egg whites and arrange on a bed of shredded lettuce.
Garnish with parsley, basil, geraniums or whatever you want really.
Nasturtiums would be pretty too.

Excuse my old chipped bowl but it was gift from a friend when we were at college. It came from a shop called Ware On Earth and I love it.

The tutor on Heather's Portugal Workshop was Nicola Brown from Ireland. I have been a fan of Nicola's work since I first 'met' her through Flicker back in 2009. As she was taking part in a Masterclass Workshop here in Scotland last week at Big Cat Textiles in Newburgh, she invited my friend Kirsty and I along to say hello one evening. It's always so nice to meet people you have known through the Internet in person plus we had the added bonus of meeting in such an incredibly inspirational place!
Take a look round Big Cat Textiles here
And visit Nicola's blog here

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

July Update

I have had to get up at the crack of dawn today in order to update my blog here as time seems to be running away from me these days.
The school holidays have started here in Scotland and it has rained every day so far. Boooooo!
So keeping children entertained while trying to build up stock for my next event is a bit of a juggle.
My next event is The Big Tent Festival in Falkland, Fife.
The emphasis at this festival is on environmental awareness while offering great live music and lots of activities for all ages.
I will have a stall in the Craft Unplugged tent and plan to have the full range of
Aileen Clarke Crafts goodies with me.

First thing to do when making any new stock is to make the felt.
Below is some nuno felt I made a couple of weeks ago and I am just now getting around to making it into wearable items.

Nuno Felt Wrist Cuff

The beauty of these cuffs, like all felt really is that you never get the same effect or colour combination twice.
The texture in this cuff adds a unique feel to it too and I have used a big felt bead instead of a button.

Cuff £12

Also hot off the work table are these new leaf pendants.
I have teamed this one up with a length of hand dyed felt cord which can be tied at the back of the neck as a nice alternative to a chain.

Chains are still available though.
Wrist Cuff to match.

I have lots of new sheep pendants and earrings on the work table just now as well.
Here are some that are finished.

Sheep Pendant

I love making these textile pendants as well and have lots on the go just now.
I also make earrings in this style so watch this space or my Etsy shop for them.


Moontide Pendant

Also in stock are these printed cards.
There are lots of designs to choose from all featuring Bothy's and Sheep, Harbour Houses and Boats or a simple Seascape.
Great for all sorts of occasions or just to say Hello and Thinking of You.

Everything you see here is available in my Etsy Shop 
(unless it has already sold by the time you are reading this)
Remember that it is free to join Etsy and you can shop for all sorts of amazing handmade things from all over the world as well as vintage items and crafting supplies.

Last Saturday we took a wee jaunt up to Ceres for the Highland Games.
Watching the Highland dancers really brought back memories for me. I used to go to Highland dancing as a child and got as far as owning a turquoise kilt and velvet waistcoat and won my pre bronze medal for the Highland fling. I didn't stick at it but I do remember learning the sword dance.

Loving the concentration here.

All contributed content © Aileen Clarke