Return to Kiev

For the past few days I’ve been working in Kiev. As instability and violence continues to grow in Donetsk, my employers and many of my friends have relocated – hence my change of location too. The circumstances are permeated with so much sadness and worry for those families fleeing and broken up by the violence in the East, and Ukrainians across the country anxiously forseeing an invasion by the Russian army.

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St Sophia belltower

The reasons for being in Kiev are far from ideal; however, it’s been wonderful to have an excuse to visit this beautiful city so soon again. I’ve visited a few new places, discovered some incredible Ukrainian folk music and seen ballet and opera for the first time (and done some teaching too!).

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Street art. Chicken Kiev..?

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A protest outside the German embassy

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The son of Yaroslav, a struggling artist who sells his work on Andrii’vsky Descent, shows off his dad’s paintings

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A gala concert performance of opera and ballet at the National Theatre

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An exhibit in Ivan Gonchar museum, woven from corn. I am keen but yet to find out its name!

kievjuly09A chance encounter at the Golden Gate led to a pretty magical evening sitting on the grass, drinking kvaas and listening to singing and kobza-playing by Taras Kompanichenko and fellow folk musicians. More to follow on their music! In the meantime, here’s one of their songs – ‘De Libertate’ (On Liberty). Thanks to John Doe for the comment and additional info.

Goodbye London (for now)

On Saturday, Sayed and I moved out of our little flat in Walthamstow. We’re sad to say goodbye to the area, our fantastic neighbours and friends and the daily life we’d settled into. Nevertheless, it’s time to move on.

moveSo, I spent most of last week scratching my head staring into boxes, then forgetting what was inside as soon as they were taped shut. Now, after a sweaty day packing and unpacking the van (kindly driven by Sayed’s cousin John!) I’m back at my parents’ home getting ready for the next stage – Glasgow!

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On Monday, my moving zeal extended to hoovering the bat droppings out of my parents’ attic. Needless to say, I’ve calmed down a bit now.

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Living with parrots again – involves sharing your food..

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..and tea!

 

Embroidery practice

Earlier this year I attended a Jacobean crewelwork class at Hampton Court Palace – a Christmas present from my benevolent sister.

I’ve finally just got round to finishing off the piece, being in need of a) a kick up the backside and b) some serious needle practice for the textile conservation course starting in September. Conservation stitches are quite different to embroidery – the priorities being support and discretion – but I think any practice is useful.

The course was fantastic for learning a variety stitches in a short space of time, and from a professional embroideress. However, I was a bit disappointed we weren’t shown some original examples, and used cotton rather than the more traditional linen.

peacockThe piece includes the following stitches:

  • back stitch
  • satin
  • stem
  • split
  • french knots
  • chain
  • seeding
  • bullion
  • long and short
  • padded satin
  • fly
  • herringbone
  • closed herringbone
  • ermine
  • battlement couching

I added a stitched epitaph, inspired by the Victorian samplers that usually read something along the lines of this, for example: “Elizabeth Irwins work age 10 March 5 1848. All you my friends who now expect to see A piece of work performed by me cast but A smile on this my mean endeavour Ill strive to mend and be obedient ever”.

I make no such promises!