Balnacra Arts by Vicky Stonebridge

Autumn gives way to Winter storms.


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It has been a beautiful autumn. The days have rushed past too fast, and winter has pushed in, crisp blue sky days giving way to stormy winds and heavy rain. Above are some photos of Rogie falls where we stopped for a walk one day on our way East. Someone kindly pointed out to us that there were sporadic salmon leaping, both attempting the falls and the stepped fish ladder to the side. We stayed a good while watching them struggle upwards, it is a wonder any salmon make it to the spawning grounds at all. It was the first time I’ve actually seen this and quite wonderful, Nothing caught on camera though, their movements were too fleeting for a phone camera to snap.

viksOn Friday I ran a workshop at the community owned Smithy site. The story of the willow structure is on the community groups website ( yes, that I run, hence a lot of overlap ) . The weather has been awful and my health is far from 100% so i’m still anxious about managing any commitments or planning much. But when the day came it was such a pleasure to get away from the computer and the list on achievable work piled up on it. A day working outdoors was a great relief and treat! In a couple of hours there would only ever be a quick overview of some ideas that could be achieved, but I had fun, and hopefully so did everyone else. We practiced some willow ties, because it seems ugly and incongruous to use string outdoors when sticks will make some lovely ties. We then started building up a second layer of a wall on the existing structure, to try and prevent the deer just eating everything, we packed it densely in a hurdle style to practice weaves and protect the inner branches.

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Part of me would love to just spend everyday working outdoors like this. but the new less healthy version of me isn’t so sure…

The next day was a volunteer workparty for the Community group, sometimes we get a few new faces and helpers. the weather was atrocious, so it ended up the same stalwart five of us as usual, three of us organisers and two welcome regular helpers. There is always a massive job list, it is hard to know how to best motivate others in the community to come along and muck in, of course ironically having so much to do, leaves little time to organise and do the things that need doing, let alone finding new innovative ways of engaging others. But again, in many ways i’m happier digging ditches, than dealing with all those enquiries ” when will you? why haven’t you? why isn’t? why don’t you?” . It was too wild and wet for a bonfire, and cleaning jobs weren’t helped by mud and leaves trailing around so I opted for some building maintenance. the gravel silt and mud of the mal-formed car parking area has been allowed to build up a lot against this timber clad building, which houses our meeting room / office & kitchen. With everything being run on a voluntary basis, who conducts regular building maintenance? the active ones of us are stretched to our limits, so things easily slip. Saturdays wet weather was a great day to dig this out though, because the usually compacted mud and silt easily came away, and it was easy to see the water’s direction of flow. I had to get down on my knees and scrape mud out from under the timbers with my fingers. The site has no real drainage in place, we managed to get this water to flow into an existing drain that goes to a septic tank. but did find that someone had created another down pipe & drain which, just went a few inches into the ground to…nowhere, then we wonder why the old stone blacksmiths building floods?  Much to be done, but at least the office & kitchen is now sitting above the water, not in it!


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One of the things we get right as a community group is the food, always great soup and sandwiches on hand for the workers !  The next event is a halloween party for the kids in the treehouse.
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here is the poster i did for it, using some resurrected Halloween artwork.

so winter is here with a splooosh. Time to nestle in & nest down, getting cosy in the evenings with hot water bottles, quilts and trashy films to watch- day dreaming about having a heating system or wood stove one day, one magical mystical day when the housing association start the repair work to the house that has been in the offing for 6/ 7 + years now. One day our windows will be wind and slug proof, one day our stove will come. meantime i crocheted a new pair of extra thick fingerless gloves this week, they took three films to do, so no i won’t be doing them to sell! The films were Shutter island 4stars. Lightforce 1star. Sword of the valiant -2 stars, but +5 for Sean Connery in a preposterous costume. I wonder how many films it will take to do a jumper?20141025_212906

Then i got more ill, all that working outside seems to have bought on a cold, on top of horrible toothache and all my tummy aches. I am not amused.  Hopefully this will be the winter cold out of the way & i can get on with something more interesting that sneezing and saying “ouch, woe is me”.

stay safe & cosy you all, this wind is awfie wild!

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This entry was posted on October 26, 2014 by in Blog and tagged , , , , , , , , , , .

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It was great to meet Yogesh Mahida today, an artist from Gujarat. He's worked with a few mutual friends so it was lovely to meet him myself at last. He threw a cracking big bowl while at the studio, great skills! #masterpotter #artist #ceramics #pottery #wheelthrown #bowl #clay
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