Week 28: Creative Challenge 52

Telenas black felt dress

Classical oboist and textile designer, Telena Routh, has had an impressively creative week, particularly when you consider that her daughter's wedding is now just a week away.

Telena met with her felting group early in the week, and enjoyed a relaxing day felting around foam to create different bead shapes. Some of these remind Telena of sugared almonds. She's been playing around with various combinations and will make some creations with them soon.

Telena has also made another felt dress, this time in black. It looks stunning and sophisticated, creating a stained-glass effect when worn over colours.

Telena is hoping to find some more felting time in the coming week, but with rehearsals, teaching, Easter and a wedding, her schedule is looking rather busy.

telenas felt beads

Trish Urquhart

Trish Urquhart, who runs Allaboutwriting, works as a documentary producer for Left-Eye Productions, and tries her best to live up to the title chef extraordinaire, is currently in Oxford attending Oxford Literary Festival events while managing her usual workload remotely. Trish has already attended a number of food related talks, and some with a connection to Venice/Italy (relevant to Allaboutwriting's forthcoming Venice writing retreat), and today she's hoping - weather permitting - to go on a literary walk.

Trish in Oxford

Trish has been busy with her camera, and her creative contribution this week is a collection of photos that she took in Oxford.

Trish and Richard will be spending a protracted period of time in Oxford while their narrowboat, Patience, undergoes much needed repairs - rust removal and a fresh coat of paint. Trish plans to photograph this process so we may get some before, during and after photos over the coming weeks.

Heralds in Oxford
Trish in Oxford

Kanen Breen

Opera singer and Strange Bedfellow, Kanen Breen, has submitted an offering from his Flash Gordon/Iron Man collection this week.

These were (are) his all-time favourite boots, made from a really gorgeous soft leather. Unfortunately, Kanen helped a friend move house in them and squashed both of the toe caps under a couch he was carrying. The leather itself had an already distressed patina when he bought them so they ended up looking scruffy and sad very quickly.

Well, it's all too obvious how he chose to revive them, but his original plan to paint only the toe was as short-lived as it was optimistic.

Out of respect for the boots Kanen so loves, he actually did the right thing and pre-treated the leather, as well as stripping the wax and colour from it before using proper leather paint. Funnily enough, he says, when you do the recommended prep, the results are better, long-lasting, and easier to achieve - who knew???

As promised, Kanen wore his gold-lapel jacket to Jacqui's Aida debut last night, and it was a satisfying hit (he made a few additions that he'll share next week), but Jacqui was the real star of the night - fabulous. Bravi tutti!

Kanens boots

Keryn Clark

Keryns backyard

South African born writer, florist and cake whizz, Keryn Clark, had a beautiful backyard in sunny Perth - check out this You Tube clip from last summer to see for yourself. The same, however, cannot be said for the backyard in Keryn's new Gold Coast home, and she's revealed all this week in a Creative Challenge photo exclusive.

The terracotta pots and the frangipani tree were given to Keryn a couple of days ago by a friend, out of pity, and because he didn't want them in his new white-marbled Hampton's style patio by the river. So...there's a tired frangipani, some chipped terracotta pots, a collection of hanging baskets, a gas cyclinder, some water tanks, and Keryn.

Keryns backyard
Keryns backyard

In a fit of gloom, Keryn has turned to her favourite gardening sites, which are Garden Bleu in Johannesburg, and Gardenista, a really good gardening blog. Between them, they are going to help Keryn transform her backyard. Keryn has created a mood board on the wall of her office in the shop using pictures from Garden Bleu and Gardenista and, so far, she's thinking of erecting a black fence around the perimeter, a wall garden to cover the tanks, a gazebo over the deck, and a pergola down the side of the fence with wisteria and lots of boxed greenery. She'll move the washing line into the garage.

Keryn has challenged herself to add something each week to her horror backyard with the intention of having a big reveal in the next few months. Either that, she says, or she's moving!

Keryns mood board

Stephen Bennett

Stephen Bennett passed a happy half hour photographing the Comet Inn at Hartley Vale - a mid 19th Century pub - with his pinhole panoramic camera and his Hasselblad. Something weird happened to the bottom right photo, as the image isn't quite what he expected. He thinks he managed to both over-expose and double-expose the image, resulting in an unusual low-fi picture that he quite likes - a happy accident, perhaps.

Comet Inn Hartley Vale - Stephen Bennett photography

Scarlet Bennett

I found this lovely vintage ring in an antique shop yesterday - at an absolute bargain price - and it inspired me to try my hand at a design I've been contemplating for my niece, Samantha.

Samantha is a voracious reader with a particular passion for the classics, and she'll be celebrating her birthday in late April. Pride and Prejudice is one of Samantha's all-time favourite books, and when we were discussing classic P&P quotes recently, she told me that this is her favourite: [Charlotte Lucas] 'Mr Collins tends the gardens himself and spends a good part of every day in them...I encourage him to be in his garden as often as possible.'

I've been working on a design to feature that quote in a vintage piece with a classic, aged feel. Here's what I've made. I'm very happy with how it's turned out and I'm hoping Samantha will love it.

Pride and Prejudice pendant