Cassiefairy's thrifty lifestyle blog

Cassiefairy's thrifty little lifestyle blog – DIY crafts, sewing, food & fashion – what more does a girl need??

snape maltings Sarah Lucas public art Perceval bronze horse 2006


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Stunning shire horse sculpture in the Suffolk countryside

I recently visited a sculpture that I’ve never see before. That’s not to say that I’ve never been to the location before – I have been to Snape Maltings many times (only last month : see my blog post on the Henry Moore sculpture here) – and that’s not to say that it’s a new addition to their art collection. This public artwork has been standing in position for years and it’s not as if it’s easy to miss: Perceval is a life-sized bronze sculpture of a Shire horse pulling a cart carrying two giant concrete marrows (which looked like massive peanuts to me before I found out what they were). The piece is almost to the scale of a real Shire horse at 2.3 metres tall by 4 metres long including the cart. So how did I miss it before?

snape maltings Sarah Lucas public art Perceval bronze horse 2006

I guess I’ve just never walked that way around the reed beds before. I must have always stopped short of going into that field. Maybe the grass or reeds had grown so high that they had masked the sculpture in the past? Whatever it was, it meant that I was experiencing this artwork for the first time and I loved it. At first I couldn’t believe what I was looking at across the field -  a full-size version of the classic ornament that I’d seen on many mantelpieces over the years – and I sped up as I approached it. I literally skipped towards this massive monument. And that’s because I actually owned one of these china ornaments as a horse-crazy youngster. Quite an unusual choice for a 10 year-old’s bedroom I know but I was SO into horses that I loved it just as much as all the My Little Ponies on my shelves and my Horse Sense magazine collection. Back then I never could have imagined that I would one day stand beside a full-size version!

Perceval scupture by Sarah Lucas

The sculpture is by British artist Sarah Lucas, now a Suffolk local living in Aldeburgh. The piece I visited is one of 5 massive versions of the china horse made in 2006, which reflects Lucas’s fondness for British culture. Lucas regularly examines everyday objects in her artwork and I found this particular sculpture both amusing and heart-warming. Perceval is the artist’s first and only piece of public art and she claims that the idea came about when Damien Hirst saw the small version of the knick-knack at Lucas’s home and said, “You really ought to make that big”.

sarah lucas british artist sculpture 2006 perceval at snape maltings suffolk

 

It was quite surreal walking around the scaled-up ornament. Had I shrunk..? Or had my childhood china horse really grown?! I even patted the horse as if it was real – that’s how lifelike the size of it is. I thought I’d got away with doing this in secret but it turned out that hubby had captured the moment on camera.

sarah lucas perceval scupture

Perceval has been received with great affection and it’s nice to see a familiar item in a suitably rural landscape. If you get a chance to have a look at this sculpture, please do – it’s behind Snape Maltings Concert Hall in Suffolk. The concert hall itself is a fab venue to experience orchestral music (I’ve even seen comedian Tim Minchin perform there during the proms – read my review here) and The Pearl Fishers ENO production by the English National Opera is another performance not to be missed!

Another second Perceval owned by Damien Hirst was displayed near the southeast entrance to Central Park in New York and another is installed in Aspire Park, Doha, Qatar. There are 2 more Percevals out there, but I’ve not been able track them down – and now I know just how lucky I am to have seen this rare piece of art, and I can’t believe it was at a place that I’ve visited often before!


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Decorating my living room using personalised posters

In my living room there is wall which hasn’t been wallpapered and that doesn’t have a piece or art or mirror hanging on it, and every time I sit on the sofa my eye is drawn to the big blank empty space. I knew that I wanted to include some photos of my friends and family in my home (there are no photos of my favourite people anywhere, rubbish I know) and I liked the idea of hanging a photo collage. I’ve seen plenty of examples online - I am addicted to Pinterest, after all – and I’ve been thinking about doing this for a while but until last week I had no idea about how I could go about doing it.

I had loads of printed photos that have I haven’t yet got round to adding to an album or framing, but I remember making a ‘physical’ photo collage with my sister for her living about 10 years ago and it took days, maybe weeks, to add all the photos and frame it. I guess that if I don’t have time to frame one photo, I certainly didn’t have weeks to dedicate to the project! I thought about making a digital collage but I didn’t want to spend hours editing photos and using a program on the computer to create a photo collage, nor did I know how I would get it printed; I won’t be able to use my home printer as it will be too big; and I don’t want to spend a fortune on art printing or canvas wraps etc. I started to research the ways in which I could achieve this tiled photo look and one of the pins that I came across led to a review of PosterFriend. I hopped onto their website and found that all my requirements could be met by one company so I set to work creating my artwork.

posterfriend wall art photography

This website connected to my Facebook and Instagram feeds and allowed me to choose any of the photos that I’d ever uploaded. This made creating the artwork super-simple: it was just a case of opening an album on Facebook and dragging-and-dropping the photos that I wanted. Of course, I looked in the “Photos of Cassie” album first and made sure that all my favourite snaps of myself and hubby were included before adding loads of photos of our friends and family throughout the year. I shifted some of the photos around within the standard layout so that my photos were roughly laid out as Spring photos at the top moving down to Winter and Christmas photos at the bottom of the poster. A couple of clicks later and the poster was ordered – I couldn’t believe how quickly I’d managed to achieve exactly what I’d wanted, without having to faff around with uploading individual photos or formatting the layout myself.

decorating with wall art posters by posterfriend

During the following week the poster arrived and it was even better thank I’d expected – and bigger! Even though I’d ordered an A1 poster, I didn’t really realise how big it would be and how many photos would be on it, but it was just what I wanted and it does look excellent! I’m toying with the idea of buying a big frame to hang it in, but in the meantime I’ve tacked it up and it is proudly displayed in my living room. I no longer have to look at that blank wall and now I smile when I glance at the poster and see loads of photos of my family and friends all neatly displayed on one gorgeous poster!


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A sunny weekend – bargain hunting, art & digging

I had a rather outdoorsy Saturday planned for this weekend and thankfully the weather has stayed pretty good here. To kick-start the weekend hubby and I set out alarms for normal weekday times and dragged ourselves out of bed to go to the local carboot sale. I love rummaging for a bargain but my husband is much quicker at glancing over the stalls than I am. So inevitably I get left behind while he whizzes off to find lovely treasures, then we meet up for a cup of tea and he shows me all the bargains he has bought – usually nothing I’d ever choose but he only ever spends pence rather than pounds so he can’t get it too wrong! Our haul this weekend included some small half-pint pewter tankards, which we’ve taken a shine to since seeing lots appearing on the hooks of our local pub, so maybe I’ll get to have one engraved and have my very own tankard in the pub – however, I’ve heard that cider doesn’t mix well with the pewter so perhaps I’d better stick to having my half in a glass for now rather than going over the ‘the dark side’ and drinking ale from now on!

A normal feature of any sunny weekend is us going in search of an ice cream and stopping off for a country walk around the marshes. We like spotting artworks during our weekend jaunts and here are some snaps of the Henry Moore sculpture, entitled Large Interior Form which is located on the lawn outside Snape Maltings Concert Hall.

henry moore art at snape maltings

I also enjoy looking at the crumbling old malt buildings and we took been taking photos of the area for a few years, documenting their development – it’s interesting to see which buildings have been renovated and saved and which are continuing to crumble away.

The plan for the rest of the weekend was to head home to get on with our gardening work. I don’t think I’ve mentioned it before but now that summer is approaching (and we can get out into the garden without getting rained on!) we have turned our attention to the garden and have drawn up some plans to make it into a little haven by the summer holidays. I’ll share more about our plans on the blog soon, but in the meantime I’ll just tell you that we’ll be spending the rest of the weekend shovelling wood-chippings and digging over the borders! I’ll share some photos of our progress with you soon and I’d love to hear what you’re getting up to this weekend so please leave me a comment below :)


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Have you wiped your feet on the Comedy Carpet?

Have you stomped your mucky boots all over the carpet? Have you laughed as you scuffed your trainers over the floor? Did you wipe your feet? I am of course referring to Blackpool’s Comedy Carpet, a seafront installation by artist Gordon Young which forms part of the seaside town’s regeneration project and is now a must-see feature of the promenade.

I visited this artwork/landmark/feature a while back (as you can probably tell from the photos it was very cold on the seafront during the winter and I was well bundled up!) but I wanted to share the photos with you and let you know what a great addition to Blackpool’s promenade it is. The artwork’s blurb reads as follows “the Comedy Carpet is a celebration of comedy on an extraordinary scale. Referring to the work of more than 1,000 comedians and comedy writers, the carpet gives visual form to jokes, songs and catchphrases dating from the early days of variety to the present. Sited in front of Blackpool Tower, the 2,200m2 work of art contains over 160,000 granite letters embedded into concrete, pushing the boundaries of public art and typography to their limits.” And I have to say it is a pretty amazing sight to behold. My friends and I spent hours walking over the comedy carpet, reading all the jokes and calling each other over “Have you seen this Tommy Cooper one?” etc.

comedy carpet blackpool peter kay eddie izzard chuckle brothers

I took the above photos because they are all my favourites: I got kinda excited when I spotted the Eddie Izzard birds quote and my pal Kerry and I had fun recreating the Chuckle Brothers’ “to me… to you…” with our invisible ladder! I photographed “Next Muffin” not knowing what comedy it referred to, but simply because my cat is called Muffin, so if you know what the joke is please let me know. We all had a really great time looking around the comedy carpet, even though it was dark and very cold by the time we started walking it. I’d like to come back in the daylight so I am planning on incorporating it in my trip up north this summer. Apparently there’s even a map and guide book to the Comedy Carpet and I’m sure I missed out on seeing 100s of quotes what with all the running from one joke to the next, so I’m really looking forward to going back and keeping myself amused for hours on end!


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Dream a little dream… books in the bedroom

Hopefully you’ll have already read all about my sleep challenge and how it got me thinking about making some changes to my bedroom decor. Last Sunday I wrote about my plans to wallpaper the bedroom wall using book pages and here’s how I got on with putting the plan into action:

 diy book pages and sheet music wallpaper to decorate bedroom

I chose to use a mixture of three books along with some sheet music, which would give me a variety of sizes, texts, images and page colours – each book was slightly more aged than the last. It started off quite formally, working around the edges of the wall to make sure I had a neat edge, and then I began overlapping the pages and positioning the colours randomly as I worked across the room. I found it easy to create “organised chaos” with the different sizes of paper, but my neat-freak husband was less keen on my ‘just slap it on’ approach! He did however agree that it was starting to look pretty good by the time we’d covered half the wall and we could really see the ‘patchwork’ of pages taking shape.

DIY wallpaper for bedroom makeover using pages from old books and sheet music

The books I used were a really old, yellowed Marilyn Monroe biography, a book on growing roses (which is where the rose images came from) and a book on feminism which had faded around the edges. I picked up these books from a charity shop, so I was happy to slice out the pages and I will probably read them more now that they are on the wall than I would ever have done before! I used postcard images from The Edwardian Lady’s Diary and choir sheet music with cute titles including “Oh hush thee, my babie” and “Oh, lovely voices of the sky”. I positioned the pages that meant the most to me on ‘my side’ of the bed, such as chapter 4 in the biography because 4 is my lucky number and the sheet music titled “I love to play among the flowers”.  I really liked how the end result turned out and am much more happy to have created my own version of the expensive book-page wallpaper without having to spend a fortune – plus I’ve got something completely unique to me!  

 

diy book pages and sheet music wallpaper to decorate walls

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