Some of the bee creatives have been frequenting a certain artisan bakery for quite a while now. We have eaten cake, drunk tea and coffee and often taken our crafts in there too. Xulia has always given us such a genuine welcome that we have felt ourselves returning again and again. The Doughmother can be found on the outskirts of Beeston and has a steady flow of discerning customers, who are drawn through the doorway by the aroma of baking bread and freshly brewed coffee.

From the afternoon of February 13th, we gave visitors to the bakery another reason to hang out in Xulia’s cool cafĂ© space. We installed a small selection of our artwork on shelving units, the resident organ and along the wooden panelling that covers the lower half of the yellow ochre walls. They sit well in their collection of charity shop frames, kindly donated to us by Martha, who came to the group a few times at the start of last year. You could almost say that they look like they belong there.

Our framed works of art compliment Xulia’s reclaimed and vintage style really well I think, and the space allowed me to group the paintings and prints into themes. The watercolours, in their patterned picture frames, rest neatly along the back wall – carefully fixed with Blutak to avoid them slipping off. All of the artwork was considerately framed by Helen and Linda, who are long-term members of the group, and who made an excellent job of picking out just the right frame for each individual piece of art.

The cherry blossoms sit in the opposite corner, where the long comfortable bench seat invites customers to order a cuppa, pull a book from the nearby shelves and escape for a few hours. You can find the step-by-step instructions on how to create your own cherry blossom painting in the ‘How To’ section of the website. I hope to add some more of these to the website at some point, I just need to work out how to use that time machine I am planning to build later this year…

There aren’t too many of the prints we made in one of our experimental sessions. However this one by Jet is fun to interpret, as you try and decide what everyday objects made what part of the print. The gold frame pics up the gilt paint she used and the fairy lights only add to its luminosity. I met up with Jet this week to do some origami and strategically seated myself, waiting for her to arrive, so that I could see her face when she spied her handi-work resting by my left shoulder.

Of course as it was almost Valentine’s Day, I couldn’t resist folding some hearts and leaving behind some instructions and recycled paper for visitors to enjoy making their own. There were also some little ledges to place a few of our mini artworks on, including the sweet wax-relief pictures we made in the spring. I am hoping that the exhibition will remind customers of warmer days and spring colours to come.

DU