Sorry: where was I? Oh, yes. Art. There is a splendid event going on in our county at the moment called Northants Open Studio Trails, which continues until the last few days of September. It is an opportunity to visit artists in the wild in their studios to see the creative process in action and to talk to the talented folk about their inspiration and their work. Many of these studios are in their homes, and some are in rooms and sheds that have been cleared out and converted for the duration of the exhibition. There are painters, photographers, jewellery-makers, carvers, knitters, patchworkers: name a creative technique and there's someone in Northamptonshire doing it.
I am in awe of anyone who can create with their hands. I can barely draw a straight line with a ruler, and my idea of handicrafts begins and ends with some carefully applied PVA and perhaps a stapler. One such talent is my friend Elaine, who is not only a fantastic photographer, but also a talented and prize-winning author. A group of us went to see her open studio event in her space that she is sharing with a couple of crafty types.
On our 'grand tour', we also went to our town's permanent art gallery and into a bar, where they had several works for us to consider as we sipped our margaritas. We also went to a heritage centre in a nearby village, which has gallery space upstairs. I was all set to put a few coppers in their collecting tin when one of my friends spotted something rather shocking. There was a rack of greetings cards boldly labelled as 'hand-made', and there amongst them were some of those cards that are given away by the British Red Cross when they send out their appeals for money - like the one pictured here, which was sent to me. They were on sale at 50p a time. Is it just me, or is this a bit off?