Monday 23 January 2012

Mad Hatter's Tea Party

On Saturday we did something rather special... 

It was the 34th Worldwide SketchCrawl Day but, here in the UK, it was way too cold to work out on location, so we tried a new idea. At 10am, the Sheffield SketchCrawl team all brought their best crockery and silverware, plus a food contribution to our house. 

Pam raided the local antique centre, so we had very posh candelabras, some extraordinarily themed tea-pots and a very unusual, Russian tea-urn that looked not unlike a prototype diving bell: 

We had so much wonderful stuff, we were able to set up three tables around the house, all heaving with food and packed to capacity with suitably crazy props.

And since it was a Mad Hatter's tea party, we all wore hats (some of us had several hats to choose from and so changed throughout the day).

Once we were set up, we all sat round the tables and drew. I decided to stick to my Inktense watercolour pencils, which are great for very quick but very colourful work. 

There was so much going on, I didn't get around to doing a headcount, but there must have been 20 - 25 people in all. We were all concentrating so hard, it was surprisingly quiet most of the time.

Except every 15 - 20 minutes, when John stood in the hall and rang a bell, shouting 'All change! All change!' and (despite some sighs of despair) everyone moved round one seat, and began a new sketch. 

Every so often he, and our invaluable helper Wendy, served mugs of tea to everyone - quite a feat, since one table was upstairs in the converted spare bedroom and the third was set up in my studio, way up in the attic:

Rumours filtered down to those in the dining room that some of the sketchers at the upstairs tables had given into temptation and began nibbling, so we stopped for elevenses and all tucked into the goodies.

At lunchtime we were spoilt for choice. People wandered up and down between the rooms investigating all the different food on offer. Several sketchers had baked specially. The Davies family had made biscuits stamped with letters, laid out on a plate spelling SKETCHCRAWL, as illustrated here by the wonderful Andrea Joseph

Andrea had created jars of potted-eyeballs and allotment-antipasti, all beautifully packaged, with hand-drawn labels in her own inimitable style:

After lunch we swapped rooms, so we had different things to draw, but John was just as vigilant with his bell, so there was no time to get complacent!

You might remember me mentioning our very talented young member, Tom, who has come to almost every event since we started in 2009. Well it was great to welcome his younger brother Harry with us this time too: 

Joshua, aged only 9, was also taking part for the first time, and worked steadily all day, producing some lovely drawings: 

We drew until about 3.30, when people started to wilt. So we had more tea and squeezed in yet more cake (gorgeous brownies Tom and Harry...).

Then we took all our sketchbooks into the living room, spread them out on the carpet and - very excited to see what each other had done - dug in with relish! Here's just a sample:

Postscript: just been sent a photo of the biscuits, which were brought all the way from Hull - there's dedication!

If you want to see more of the work done, take a look at our Facebook group SketchCrawl North.


Penelope Notes said...

I can see that with all his dedication Josh could easily have a bright future as an artist if he wanted one. Those are ridiculously mad hats, by the way, and I can certainly see why Josh didn’t wear one. :) The sketches look delightful and the food absolutely delicious!

Balaji Venugopal said...

The sketches are wonderful, the food looks so tempting, and your post is delightful!

Unknown said...

What a fabulous and original idea. I wonder if I could arrange something similar here??!

The results are lovely!

AnA said...

It's fabulous and great idea..! I had like to be there.., whith hat., of course..!! sketches are brilliant

June said...

This is such a crazy and wonderful idea... I wish I could have been there in person to witness it! And to see the sketches and enjoy the nibbles too of course.
Well done everyone for such dedication to the event.

Anonymous said...

This is wonderful and what a talented group of illustrators. Wish I could have been there!

alison said...

What a wonderful day, go Josh and Tom, well done .
Great drawings too and can only imagine how full everyone felt by the end of the day.

Mary Walker said...

What a wonderful idea, this must have been so much fun for everyone.

Helen said...

What a brilliant idea and it looked so much fun (amd much warmer than going out). Loved the sketches and the vibrant colours. Your spotty teapot is fab!


winna said...

I wish I had been there (secretly drinking coffee) altho I love teapots---the laden table is such an eyefest...wonderful post to be sure..

Linda J said...

You all look like you're having so much fun I wished I lived there and could participate but since I live in Canada I am going to see if my city has a sketchcrawl group. I am just getting back into art after a long hiatus, that going with a group would give me the confidence to sketch in public.
So glad I found you on the internet, went to my public library and all the copies of your books have been signed out so I ordered a few plus the new Urban sketchbook book off the net - can't wait for them to come. Meanwhile I will have to be satisfied reading your blog and watching your youtube videos and interviews. Thanks for sharing your talents and knowledge with others!

Lynne the Pencil said...

Hi Linda - you're welcome and thank you for ordering some of my books! Re SketchCrawling: why not take a look on the Urban Sketchers site and see if there's anyone nearby you could look up? If not, why not start your own group? It's easy - just find one friend to draw with you and it will grow naturally, as so many people love to draw. Good luck!

andrea said...

LOVE the rooster teapot!! Oh my goodness that is so cute please tell me where you got that??
Thanks :)