Ushaw (where I am privileged to have my studio) is open again to visitors. From Saturday (12 September), visitors can book in to do a guided tour of the inside of the building (see http://www.ushaw.org). It is a wonderful place, a genuine ‘hidden gem’ and if you are in striking distance of Durham in the North-East of England, I strongly recommend that you try to see it.
At the moment, however, there is much to enjoy outside the main building. I took time out from work last week to do a walk in the grounds and to enjoy an exhibition of glass pieces (called ‘Outdoor Windows’) mounted high up in the trees to the right of the main building.
They are by artist Stuart Langley:
Stuart created a life-size advent calendar in the building itself last year, by installing a light-piece in windows on the front of Ushaw:
The first piece in the current exhibition references the virus that is affecting us all at present. It also draws inspiration from a sculptured plinth at Ushaw and an embroidery by Dame Werburg Welch (from an exhibition I wrote about here.) Viewers are prompted to consider positive changes the pandemic may have revealed.
The next is ‘Eagle’ which drew inspiration from the brass eagle sculpture (representing St John) designed by Augustus Pugin and situated in the chapel at Ushaw.
The chapel itself is seen in window number four, both the exterior shape of the building and a superimposed cross:
Window number 3 depicts St Cuthbert’s ring, which is in the collection of Ushaw. St Cuthbert is a seventh-century northern saint, whose body lies in Durham Cathedral.
The fifth window draws on a detail in a painting by Karl Hoffmann, also in the Ushaw collection, entitled ‘Our Lady of Help’ portraying the crushing of evil, in the form of a snake.
Finally, a piece is included that has been made by the artist to a design produced by nine-year-old Charlotte Marsland as part of a competition for young people under 18.
There are many lovely plants (including roses) to be seen in Ushaw’s grounds. Visit if you can. As I mentioned, I saw the ‘Outdoor Windows’ in daylight, but seeing them at dusk is also something to consider…
On another matter entirely, this week advertisements are going out in the Metro magazine in the North-East region, for my small business Amanda Jane Textiles. This week’s ad will focus on the classes I teach.
If you can travel to Durham, there’s the ‘Quilt in a Day’ class – a beginner’s introduction to quilt-making and ‘Make Friends with your Sewing Machine’ a basic class on how to thread up and use your machine. If you live too far away, there is an online ‘My First Quilt’ class. You can find all of them here.