It's been a weekend of contrasts. On Friday evening I went out for a nice civilised meal with a couple of my friends (Joe was staying overnight with his grandparents). The civilised meal somehow ended up in staying out dancing until 4am. And the hangover from hell on Saturday.
Cue the whole 'Never again' thing.
Yesterday I headed across country to the Yorkshire coast. Staithes (those of you with little ones may be familiar with it if you watch Old Jack's Boat with the wonderful Bernard Cribbins).
I was actually there to do a printmaking session with Stef Mitchell of Staithes Studios Gallery. Her blog, Field and Hedgerow, is one I came across via Pinterest and I knew I wanted to learn how she produces such beautiful work.
So, a very early start and a two-and-a-half hour journey. We arrived in good time and had a mid-morning snack and cup of tea before I went off, apron in hand, to find Stef.
She was actually in her studio which is situated up a little walkway. You can see rooftops and hear seagulls. There are big work surfaces and an etching press, whitewashed walls and timber. A far cry from my humble dining table set-up.
Without going too much into the process... Stef was a great teacher and I really enjoyed learning about monoprinting with plants. I also realised I have everything I need at home to do it - well, apart from that press - but hopefully one day I'll acquire one (plus the studio space to house it).
I came away with some prints to frame at home, lots of little hand-pressed ones and a notebook with plenty of scribbled-down ideas and tips. I'm now desperate to get out and find some things to work with. Maybe a few snowdrops before they finally give up for this year.
Staithes itself was a great place for a visit. Despite the gloomy skies we had a wander up and down the little streets and footpaths, admiring the higgeldy-piggeldy cottages and houses which all seem to be built on top of one another.
I took an inordinate amount of photographs and have actually been quite restrained about putting them on here. I'm thinking maybe a look back at March with some more pictures. Trust me, there are many. Many.
One thing that struck me about Staithes: it isn't all pretty-pretty. There's grit and decay too - shabby old buildings and neglected, wild bits here and there. Lots of tastefully-painted doors and neatly-planted gardens but plenty of faded, flaking old facades too.
There were so many little details hidden away up those winding, narrow streets. It could well be a good place to visit as part of a long weekend in the Dales.
Thank you for your lovely comments on my previous post. I'll go back and reply this evening but right now it's time to go and collect Joe from preschool.
Have a great week.