So as well as sewing, the odd bit of sketching here and there and cooking the odd bit of interesting food, I also enjoy taking photographs.
Back in 2010 my town was getting involved in the Britain in Bloom scheme – getting local areas to make their gardens look beautiful and in turn the council made the effort with hanging baskets, floral beds and planters around the town. As part of this they decided to hold a photography competition of shots of flowers. My husband and I decided to enter a couple of pictures and after a while I had a letter inviting me to the awards ceremony – not just for the photography competition but also for the local garden prizes. When we got there and looked around at the photographs up on display I was amazed to see that my photograph had been awarded first prize! I won some vouchers for a local garden centre and was really pleased! Sadly this seemed to just be a one off as they have never run the competition again.
My town also hosts an annual Arts Festival and I’d never really known much about it until I met my husband. The first year we were together we had gone into town to have a look around the local Heritage centre that hosts a gallery of the photography clubs best photographs of that year. You could go around and note down the numbers of your three favourite photographs and I guess the most popular one would win a prize. It was in going round that gallery that we found out there was a photography competition as part of the arts festival and the final day for entries was that day. We took down the details and headed home to look through our recent photographs and picked up to three to enter each. I was pretty surprised to get an email the next day to tell me my photograph had been chosen as the winning shot! Twice in the same year!
I was presented with a glass trophy on the final night of the festival. I think the organiser was expecting me to be a man – with the name Alex – I get that a lot!
Since then I’ve not been as lucky and haven’t won any other photography competitions, but my husband did come third in 2012!
These have been some of my previous entries:
Close up of a peacock feather and wintery Cow Parsley by me Alex Cleverley.
Grass seed and Sycamore seeds by me Alex Cleverley.
Pony on the Ridgeway by me Alex Cleverley
The festival also has a poetry competition and the first time I entered it I ended up with third prize – a gift card for Waterstones Book Shop – that I used to buy some poetry books with. I’ve been writing poetry on and off since my early teens. Of course back then it was pretty much angst ridden rubbish. One year my school bag was stolen and I lost a book full of poetry I had written – with no copies anywhere else. I was pretty upset. With it went my Walkman and most of my school books and my purse. I had to call my Mum to collect me from school as I couldn’t get the bus home without my purse. It was never found and I always wonder to this day whatever happened to it.
I don’t really write so much poetry these days, but I usually try to do some to enter into the poetry competition, although last year the organisers decided not to run the poetry competition, which was a real shame. I hope they reinstate it this year.
My third prize entry was as follows:
Art for Art’s Sake
He sits with charcoaled fingers
The room dimly lit
Face smudged from self-dejection
Hollowed eyes – empty canvas
Sketches patina the stippled floor
A thousand masterpieces in miniature
Discarded, inadequate – so he thinks
His muse lies in another room, inked black
Drawn to death
Her pastel hues foreshortened
Nude lines upon the paper
By such artful time etched hands
Capturing her ample shadows
Her slender tones
Practised, tangled limbs
Seated – reclining – erect – genuflect
Eraser worn to a stub
Rubber fragments strewn
Tell the tale of the conquered artist
The toughest critic – his own
Palette not intense enough
To arrest her beauty
To inhale, exhale, reproduce her bloom
Each crumpled piece a miscarriaged image
Their amalgamation in art – desolate.
by Alex Cleverley