Today I'm tired (understatement!) late last night Cliff and I got home after 3 days at FolkEast where I had a stall in the Art Arcade – we were in the long marquee you can see in the background of this photo . . .
As you can see, this year the dance floor for the Morris Dancers is located right in the centre of the Art Arcade, which meant we were almost constantly entertained with very energetic dancing (video by paper cut artist Claire Knight), music, clashing sticks and thudding drums. It made us feel even more part of the festival.
That huge domes tent is the home of The Social Knitworks, oh how I wish I'd had time to spend inside! Early on Saturday before the Art Arcade opened for business, I ran across to take a peep inside . . . LOOK! a beautiful cool shady world - an allotment, guinea pigs in a hutch, a shed! all created in yarn AND they were serving proper pots of tea at lovely little tables.
Most of the time I was demonstrating linocutting and chatting to lots of lovely interested and interesting people – that's what is so fabulous about FolkEast, the people! Musicians, dancers, techies, crew, stallholders and visitors were all such a great bunch.
This was my view for most of the weekend while Cliff restocked the stall with cards and served customers.
If there was a quieter moment one of us looked after my stand while the other dashed round to grab some food and have a quick look around. On one such circuit I met some delightful Suffolk residents . . .
. . . donkeys revelling in the sunshine, taking time out to snack on the grass
. . . and this gorgeous lady, Olive the Suffolk Punch mare, isn't she so beautiful?! She was wonderfully placid and her air of calm as she muched her hay in the sunshine, seemed to sum up the mood of the weekend.
After closing up our stall at around 6.30pm we were free to wander round and enjoy the music. There were 5 stages this year, above you can see the aptly named Sunset Stage with the Suffolk sky on Friday evening almost upstaging the performances.
For most of the weekend we basked (almost melted) in the hottest temperatures of this summer. But on Sunday afternoon the heavens spectacularly opened with a deluge! The dancers took cover, some in our marquee, but the performances continued in the rain. There were a lot of very soggy costumes!
Over the weekend, inspired by the array of head wear that paraded past my stall, I cut a set of small blocks featuring folk dancers' hats. I think they turned out well, so I'll make some prints and maybe cards from these.
It was difficult to choose what to buy as a souvenir of the weekend, there were beautiful ceramic cups and saucers, baskets, hats, sea-glass jewellery . . . in the end I bought a snowdrop card from my neighbouring stall holder Sue Sullivan; a pen fashioned from a Golden Syrup tin and a Ribboned Ash wood spoon by Ed Mitchell-Finch; and a hand woven purse made from plant-dyed yarns and waste fibres by Zoe Wood.
The rain stopped before the final evening performances so we could sit outside to eat our supper and enjoy the music in the misty darkness. I particularly enjoyed the energetic music of the French-Canadian trio Ten Strings and a Goat Skin - you can find a taster of their music here.
Thank you to Mandy Walden for organising the Art Arcade, to John and Becky for marvellously inventing FolkEast and making it better and better each year and the thousands of folk who gathered together to make it happen.