Transition Stroud

This is a shared history blog. Together we can write the history of our process of transition as it happens.

Monday, 19 May 2008

Tour de Presteigne - electric bike rally


Myself, Nigel and Maisy travelled to Presteigne on Sunday (19 May) to visit the electric bike festival. I took along my Kalkhoff Agattu and had fantastic fun riding the the Tour de Presteigne - the world's premier electric bike rally. Very pleased with myself managing to complete 19 laps and having loads of cheers from the spectators, especially the children who liked my puffin helmet... See pics of the event at - tourdepresteigne.co.uk Photo Gallery

Many of the top electric bike brands were at the show and plenty of folks got time to try bikes but only for short rides. I've been busy lending out my bike to interested local people who want to cycle more but find the hills and valleys around Stroud to be a bit off putting. So far rave reviews... people keep falling in love with the bike, it really does put the fun back into getting around and flattens out those hills.

Getting to see lots of other bikes at the show and talking to other owners I'm quite happy I made the right choice in the Kalkhoff. Although it seems expensive at first it's getting ridden a lot and will last many years I'm sure. The cheaper electric bikes I've seen are very inferior bikes in terms of frame and components and not up to serious everyday use, never mind being able to power up the big hills.

So if you're after a transition vehicle you can't go far wrong with a Kalkhoff Agattu - www.50cycles.com (I've got the medium stepthru frame and it can be adjusted to suit almost anyone - great for a bike shared by various members of the family) and by buying on the Cycle to Work Scheme you get it almost half price. If you're in Stroud and would like to borrow my bike for test ride please get in touch.

Saturday, 10 May 2008

Make do and mend


It is fascinating how climate change is seeping into all areas of life. This year's annual Textiles Festival included both a special day on the Transition textiles group and an art installation called Make do and Mend by Studio Seven, a group of textile artists based in Stroud. Here is what they say about it:

Inspired by the local textile heritage of the Stroud Valleys area, Make Do & Mend focuses on the themes of weavers and weaving, woollen mills, the use of the Stroud Scarlet cloth for military uniforms, women working in industry during wartime, and the ethos of 'make do and mend'. These thematic threads are brought together by the seven artists into a unified world of images and ideas which the audience is invited to explore.

The exhibition is a celebration of female skills - those of our mothers' generation and those of the present-day artists, who do not need to use them practically but are keeping them alive. My new resolution is to 'patch with pride' - making the mends to my own clothes obvious and artistic rather than trying to hide them for the shame of not having enough money to buy new.

The ability to mend is something to be proud of, as this quotation from an 1934 Encyclopedia of Needlework I found at the exhibition tells us:

The best method of repairing damage caused by the wear and tear of use or accident is an art quite as valuable as that of skilfully fashioning new articles

The Textiles Festival also features this poem by Jane Weir:

1914, Working with Red in a Field Hospital, Belgium

Back in the workshop I look
for any kind of flux, discrepancy,
or break from the uniform,
when dyeing wild madder with gromwell,
or common sorrel with bedstraw - but not here.

The men lie, abstract shapes and sizes
angled and shattered in beds
a fraction between types and ages.
Without exception all dye red,
grimy sheets, make do blankets.

I notice little variation in shade
or depth of shade, or length of spread or seep,
or smear or splatter;
where the bandage unravels,
or the flesh stitches bloom and split.

Take this boy - he won't mind me showing you -
His wound replicates early nineteenth century anilines -
look closely at this right buttock,
see mauve going green, going flinch black -
no amount of handiwork can stop
the corruption that imprints flesh -
there are no mordants for miles around.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Alternative Textiles Day


The Textiles Group put on a wonderful alternative textiles exhibition in John Street on Saturday.

A steady stream of people, both informed and otherwise came to visit and some excellent networking went on.

It was good to put faces to emails and meet some of the members while the sun shone. Emily, omnipresent as ever, was in two places at once (Stroud and Nailsworth). Only two you cry!

The stalls included Daylight Rubbery (Tara above), Emily's buttons and old lace, Jane's beautiful 'tea bags' (Patsy left), Imogen making flags for the bike ride to Chalford, the Disabled Workers stall, a facinating rag rug being made by Cathy from old clothes, Ricia's hedge dyes (below right) and the transfer stall where you could paint the Transition logo on a tea shirt. Molly set up a hemp stall and Rose sat and span on a beautiful spinning wheel and sold her delightful clothes made from bits and pieces she had put together from other clothes and material. Jessie's stall draped with the most gorgeous hand dyed clothes made up the exhibition and lots of Transition brochurs were given out to passers by. The Make Do and Mend exhibition in the Art Space seemed to attract a lot of interest throughout the day.

On Bank holiday Monday one or two transitioiners made it to Hawkwood College for their open day. We spent a laid back, mellow day on a stall in the tent at the bottom of a field. Yes well, transition? me? It's the closest I'm getting to camping.