Where to start?
In May we made a return visit to Venice. You know how sometimes, after the perfect holiday, you're almost afraid to go back in case you're disappointed? Well, I was feeling a little bit like that as we'd had a completely perfect time there two years ago. I shouldn't have worried, Venice was just as perfect as I'd remembered it. The weather was just as beautiful, Murano was just as inspiring, and the icecream was just as delicious.
We'd had a fairly frantic start to the holiday. Remember the weekend where the volcanic ash cloud made an unexpected reappearance? Well, that was the weekend we were due to fly to Venice! Our flight was delayed by one day, so we missed one night of our holiday, but at one point we thought we wouldn't get there at all! It was a real rollercoaster of a weekend! We'd heard stories of passengers reaching the runway and then being told their flight was cancelled, so until I saw the familiar sight of Venice from the aeroplane window I wasn't quite convinced we'd actually get there. But despite Eyjafjallajokull's best endeavours, we eventually made it. I'd rather hoped our return flight might be delayed and we'd have to spend longer in Venice than anticipated, but Eyjafjallajokull wasn't on our side that week, and sadly we departed right on time. Typical!
We spend a beautiful day island hopping, visiting Burano, famous for its lace, and of course Murano, glass capital of the world. We found this spectacular glass sculpture as we were strolling through Murano. Just gorgeous.
We also found the Effetre factory, where most of the glass I use in my beads is born. It's a real pity they don't have a retail shop there, as I'm sure it would do a roaring trade as Murano is a mecca for lampworkers worldwide. Effetre used to be called Moretti's, and you can still just about make out the old signage.
I loved these blown glass balloon animals.
and this fabulous glass paint and brushes art piece. The pretty blue hat you can see just in front was stunning too.
On Murano we visited Andrea Giubelli's studio again. Andrea makes fabulous hollow glass beads, which are blown. Despite the fact that I speak no italian at all, and Andrea speaks very little english, we managed to have an lengthy and in-depth conversation about glass beads. He pronounced my beads 'molto bella', which completely made my day!
I bought this enormous hollow lentil. It measures 6cm across and is about 2cm deep.
I like the neat clear sticky labels that Andrea uses to sign his beads.
So, would I return to Venice again? You bet! The gondaliers alone are worth the trip, but the glass/gondalier combo is an absolute winner! On reviewing my holiday photos I discovered I'd taken rather a lot of the gondaliers. I wonder why...
If you're a National Trust member you can get two tickets for the price of one for Art in Action if you book before 11th July! That's a saving of £14. I love a bargain!
I will shortly be visiting Cornwall, and there's an exhibition I'm particularly keen to see in Falmouth at the Here and Now Gallery.
With thanks to Dolly Daydream for alerting me to this.
Well that's all for now folks. As I mentioned at the beginning, I have a kiln full of beads today, so check back soon to see what I've been making.
Enjoy the sunshine!