Artist in profile: Claudy Jongstra

At Spannum, a few kilometres south-west of Húns, you can find the Farm of the World studio. Students from around the globe compete for prestigious apprenticeships. The property has a compact garden and a medicinal-smelling workshop in which plants are dried and treated to create dyes. Wool is carded and brushed to straighten wool fibres that will be utilised in artworks. Coloured wool is strewn on tables in the workshop across the yard where works are painstakingly created. Hues and textures are central to Jongstra’s artworks.

Sculpture in ceramics: an interview with artist Johan Creten

“I know for sure that in my world I have been a pioneer. I see the number of young people who have taken me as an example, not only for the changes in what you could do with the material, but also how you could run a career in the contemporary art world. To say I always show in a contemporary art context — that has been very important as an example for young artists. There was subject matter that was not talked about. Whether it’s justified, history will tell,” suggests Creten frankly.

12 August is World Elephant Day

I hope that many more generations of humans will be able to experience the sense of awe and joy that I have felt while watching elephants in the wild, in both Africa and Asia. Hopefully initiatives such as World Elephant Day will play a role in encouraging regulation of encroachment into their habitat and action against poaching.

Experiencing a residential boot camp in Northumberland with Northern Bootcamp

Northern Bootcamp was founded by Dan and Caroline Smith, a husband and wife team who ran their first boot camp, for friends and family, in Weardale during 2010. Caroline gained experience of working in the outdoors business in New Zealand while Dan spent 13 years as British Army physical training instructor. The camps run by Northern Bootcamp are non-military, so there’s not shouting to drive participants on. “I think it’s not for everyone…even when I was in the army that wasn’t always a good thing to do. You can encourage people hard without shouting and screaming every five minutes. People want to feel like they’re being cared for. At the same time, we do push people,” explained Dan.

The Douglas Bader Trail in St Omer, France

“Who’s Douglas Bader?” asked my girlfriend upon realising I was planning a trip to St Omer, in northern France, that would include a guided tour of the new Douglas Bader Trail. The tours show where the Royal Air Force’s Spitfire pilot was shot down plus locations associated with his subsequent escape and recapture. Disclosure: Stuart...