Hearts and Crafts

The Hearts and Crafts exhibition is open until Saturday 29th June in the Exhibition Space next to the Art Library (above the Central Library next to the Town Hall). and is really worth a look. Perhaps the most interesting idea was from the Wetherby Library knitting group, who decided to knit a David Hockney painting of East Yorkshire – ambitious!

Also in the slide show there are Crossgates Library’s crocheted blanket; the Art Library Craft Group’s Tile Quilt and Rag Rug; Armley Library’s Crochet Blanket; Holt Park Library’s Knitted Blanket; Wetherby Library’s Bunting and Quilt (they knitted the bunting for the Jubilee and Olympics in 2012, then made it into a blanket – keep your eye on that Wetherby lot); the Art Library’s Amish Quilt (which was my favourite – dark and moody and very beautiful); and Garforth Library’s ‘Teddies for Tragedies’ and Christmas tree decorations.

The amount and variety of activity going on amazed me. If it interests you to get involved in any of this there are craft workshops at the main Art Gallery – next one on Wednesday 3rd July, 4 p.m. to 7. Call 0113 247 6016 or visit http://www.leeds.gov.uk/libraries for more info.

If you live in Cross Gates Library the Spin a Yarn group welcomes all knitting abilities, 1.30 to 2.30 every 2nd and 4th Thursday. In Holt Park you can ‘Knit and Natter’ every Wednesday (6.30 to 7.45) or Friday (10.30 to 11.45). The Seacroft Purls (great name) meet at Seacroft Library from 2-3 p.m. every 3rd Wednesday. Contact the main Art Gallery for any of those. If you’re in Horsforth the Craft Club meets at the library there from 2-3 on the last Tuesday of each month, ring 3781872. There was other stuff but my hand started to hurt writing it all down.

If you haven’t been to the library for a while there’s probably quite a lot there to interest you, apart from all this wild knitting and cool craftwork.. There’s another exhibition running at the moment, which I didn’t have time to check out, including some political cartoons from Eastern Europe. You can book free sessions on the internet on one of the library’s roomful of computers, or buy cheap discarded art books from the little room next to the main desk in the Art Library.. I bought a book of Tracey Emin’s today for £4 with loads of colour plates, for instance.

Get on down the library. It’s cheap or free and there’s lots going on there.


Carers Week 2013

WHO TAKES CARE OF THE CARERS? WE ALL CAN! but reading groups could be an interesting project for aiding their wellbeing in Leeds

The Reader Online

Carers-Week-2013-logo1This week (10th-16th June) is Carers Week 2013, a UK-wide annual campaign that has the aim of raising the profile of carers, recognising and celebrating the contribution of the nation’s 6.5 million carers to the people they care for, their communities and society, and helping the public to identify themselves as carers, accessing the support they need.

Carers are amongst our hundreds of readers enjoying Get Into Reading groups across the UK each week. Sharing reading with others offers carers the chance to relax, take a break and enjoy some much needed time for themselves, with the company of others. Benefits of our Get Into Reading groups include reduced social isolation, stability and support, and increased personal confidence, all of which are of significant value to the lives of carers.

As well as being able to come along to our open community groups, we currently run a number of groups…

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Considering Lilies

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Writing blog pieces about wellbeing is hard, mood fluctuation often leads me to be less than well. I don’t necessarily think that means I have a diagnoseable illness, a disorder as some are want to call it. I don’t know enough about other peoples’s experience to speculate how they wish to couch their mood changes, I think most likely many people are affected by mood change, but it may be heightened for those whom life has thrown particular difficulties their way, and/or they are sensitive and intuitive of  non-materialistic pursuits.

I had commitments this week, motivation to keep them was low,  but a bunch of flowers relit my enthusiasm sufficiently well to contribute this blog post. It was intended to coincide with Leeds and Yorks PFT http://www.leedspft.nhs.uk/home week long event, 10th June, on the use of digital social media, and its potential to aid some aspects of recovery from mental health issues,.http://digitalmentalhealth.co.uk/wp/?p=955 The flowers were a reduced price bouquet of scented flocks, and bunch of Oriental lilies, still with closed buds, only one revealed a hint of pink. There was no indication whether they were the highly perfumed kind. A visitor bearing a gift of brightly coloured mixed carnations, added an additional part of what was to be a showy display. Each day, mainly overnight one or two buds started to peek open, revealing the delicate white/pink petals and rust tipped stamens, by evening their perfume, overwhelmingly heady, I find Oriental Lilies so exciting, since they open to reveal their unashamed flamboyant nature….(I openly admit to praising them once or twice,) perhaps that’s why twelve blooms rewarded me with their glory for over a week. I’m still awaiting the thirteenth to honor me with its presence, and have now added maroon alstromeria (Peruvian Lilies) to the display. Enjoy them!

The photographs were taken with a bloggie camera.

Sue Margaret

The UK’s first national competition for marginalised and disabled writers is launched!

Here’s an interesting opportunity for budding ‘marginalised and disabled’ writers. I wasn’t too impressed that you have to pay a fiver to enter, since the entry form refers to ‘funders’ anyway, but the project does look pretty good. Closing date is midday Sunday 16th June. Terry

Creative Future Literary Awards


Today we launch the competition for great writing by marginalised and disabled writers. We can’t wait to see your entry so get writing!  We want to show the world that having a disability or being marginalised and socially excluded doesn’t stop you from being a great writer (perhaps it even gives you greater insight or a wider range of experience to draw on). We want to challenge people’s preconceptions of what disabled and marginalised people are capable of, so send us your entries and let’s show the world how great you are.

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The Lilacs of Golden Acre

It’s a well kept secret, but it’s finally out. One of our intrepid reporters sneaked into Golden Acre Park yesterday and took the above photos, and we can reveal that an amazing spectacle is unfolding there over the next two weeks. Golden Acre, (just past Bramhope on the road to Otley) is home to a national lilac collection, about 60 different types, and this is their moment. For 50 weeks of the year lilac trees are a bit anonymous, but when they blossom they do it in style – they look great and smell gorgeous.

They’re very late this year. It’s a good job T.S.Eliot didn’t write The Waste Land in 2013, as  his famous lines ‘April is the cruellest month, breeding lilacs out of the dead land, mixing memory and desire’, wouldn’t work so well if you substitute ‘June’.

Lilac has gone out of fashion a bit, but apparently in Victorian times it was as popular as the rose in the national imagination. Hence such songs as Ivor Novello’s ‘We’ll Gather Lilacs In The Spring’ . I always think of Walt Whitman’s poem ‘When Lilacs Last By The Dooryard Bloom’d’ with it’s lovely lines that describe the lilac well:

the lilac-bush tall-growing with heart-shaped leaves of rich green,

With many a pointed blossom rising delicate, with the perfume strong I love,

With every leaf a miracle

The rest of the poem is pretty good too – a lament for the death of Abraham Lincoln which ends up being a celebration of how great death is (that’s Walt for you).

I don’t know why lilacs should be associated with sad things, but that seems to be the case. One of the all time great weepy ballads is of course Lilac Wine, especially as performed by the wonderful Nina Simone or Jeff Buckley. It’s not all gloomy though. In my research I found a lovely piece by Rachmaninov called Lilacs http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYOtxyWReM8

One way and another lilacs are pretty powerful. , so if you have a spare hour in the next couple of weeks get on an X84 from the bus station and get to Golden Acre. The lilacs are just behind the cafe to the left as you come under the Otley Road tunnel into the park. The best free show in town.