24 March 2019

The week that was

Coincidentally in the Science Museum's "The Sun" exhibition, on the same page as reports of nuclear fusion, the great hope for energy production, alas not be be achieved then, or yet (and not to be confused with fission, the dangerous stuff) was a topic of interest closer to home ... large babies ...
 Nice long toes on this large one -

Well it's spring and the blossom is fabulous. Camellias and magnolias in front gardens ...
 ... and street trees of various sorts ...

 There's been a super worm moon - close to Earth and close to the equinox -

Indoors, there's been a removal of "the albatross" - 20 square metres of solid-wood flooring that it seemed we almost couldn't give away -
Some of the inaccessible treasures that are now returned to the light of day are the photo albums of Tom's childhood, including very early photos -

This one is even earlier ... it's me, all those years ago ...

Moving on to other topics - "How much is that doggie in the window" - !! This was in a charity shop in Crouch End - Binkie and mirror and doggie-friend (in basket in mirror) - these doggies weren't for sale, though -
N8 - in Crouch End's capacious greengrocer, enormous lemons - Italian bergamot lemons, £5.50/kg -
 N1 - topiary on Copenhagen Street -

 Back in N8, please indulge me in today's family photo -


23 March 2019

Studio Saturday (not)

Instead of pots being made, preparations continue for the MSF fundraiser, which starts next weekend. But pots, and a return to the ceramics studio, are very much on my mind, especially after the visit to Ceramic Art London....

"Sewing companions" for sale -
 12" square quiltlets, mounted on canvases -
 6"x12" pieces mounted to fit A3 frames -
 7"x10" quiltlets mounted to fit A3 frames -
They contain "travel lines" fabric, screenprinted in 2011 when I was doing the art MA at Camberwell -

22 March 2019

Ceramic Art London

As much as seeing the actual pots at Ceramic Art London, I love to sit in the lecture room and take in whatever is on offer.

First, some pots -
Rebecca Appleby

Richard St John Heeley


Rowena Brown

Justine Allison

Alison Gautrey

Anna Lambert

Monika Debus
Now, the talks ...

Tristram Hunt was once an MP but is now head honcho at the V&A, a world-leader museum with 2.3 million artefacts in its collection, which was started as a "museum of manufacture" in 1852. With an increasing number of sites (eg Dundee with its Scottish galleries), the museum is an example of cosmopolitanism in an age of (increasing?) chauvinism. One of the questions from the audience was, instead of or in addition to sending physical exhibitions out to various venues, could the museum make films of the exhibition, to be shown in cinemas perhaps to a paying audience?

John Wilson of Darwen Terracotta revealed his rescue mission - the skills of 40 workers at when the "heritage restoration" section of long-established Shaw's of Darwen was closed by the company's new owners, the skills of 40 workers were about to be lost - so John and a colleague started a new company to employ them. It is now getting a shed-load of work and apprentices are being trained to fill in when the older guys retire. Fabulous project and an inspiring talk -- as well as an eye-opener for ceramics used in new-builds and as restoration (eg in the Natural History Museum).

Grant Gibson, former editor of Crafts magazine and interviewer of many craftspeople, was interviewed in the final talk of the day. He has started a podcast (Material Matters with Grant Gibson) which has makers talking about their materials - eg Edmund de Waal on procelain, Peter Layton on glass, Celia Pym on darning. Let's hope it continues.


21 March 2019

Poetry Thursday - Syptom Recital by Dorothy Parker

First published 1952, this edition 1965 (love the cover!)

Symptom Recital

I do not like my state of mind;
I'm bitter, querulous, unkind.
I hate my legs, I hate my hands,
I do not yearn for lovelier lands.
I dread the dawn's recurrent light;
I hate to go to bed at night.
I snoot at simple, earnest folk.
I cannot take the gentlest joke.
I find no peace in paint or type.
My world is but a lot of tripe.
I'm disillusioned, empty-breasted.
For what I think, I'd be arrested.
I am not sick, I am not well.
My quondam dreams are shot to hell.
My soul is crushed, my spirit sore;
I do not like me any more.
I cavil, quarrel, grumble, grouse.
I ponder on the narrow house.
I shudder at the thought of men....
I'm due to fall in love again. 

Dorothy Parker (via)


Sounds rather like cabin fever, that sort of state of mind....

20 March 2019

Woodblock Wednesday - last class this term

At home I reviewed my circle work and thought ahead to what to do next, then enlarged the "penumbra" of one of the fuzzy circles cut earlier.
In class - printing -
messy edges

Using a mask around the edge, and inking up in two colours
I also used the mask to print the lines in the centre and the fuzzy edges around them, but the registration was ad hoc and very sloppy. The mask should be the exact size of the paper! -
 End of term means we lay out our work and have a look -
 Some close-ups -




 At the start of the class, while we were waiting for blocks and papers to reach the required degree of dampness, we learned a little about bonsai - what a huge topic that is! Also on the table, natural pigments for printing experiments - some are said to need no nori...
I dug out the remaining "binders keepers" - what was intended as a way of carrying around the essential bookbinding tools turns out to be just the right size for woodblock cutting tools -

When I make more, there will be wider slots to accomodate tools with bigger handles.

19 March 2019

Drawing Tuesday - Petrie Museum

We hadn't been to the Petrie for quite a while, and there's always lots to choose from. And tables to sit at, right in front of the cases!

The 2nd-century funeral portraits always captivate me, and there's a book about them lying on the big central table. An earlier effort to "get a likeness" had (ahem) mixed results, so I decided to have another go.
Warm up:  continuous line drawn blind with non-dominant hand

Drawn with biro. It's worth getting the proportions right!

Then and now...
Janet B's pots, large and small, in one case -
 Carol's fragment and entire portrait head - "getting it to look ike gold" -
 Sue's reconstructed tile floor -
 Mags' accumulation of pots, using her new earth-coloured marker pens -

Extracurricular acitivities
Carol had a go at the life-drawing on the RA website

Mags had a great time at a textiles retreat, "mapping"
her walks on long strips of fabric

18 March 2019

Almost spring

The cold winds of the past wee while have been ... unpleasant. Today was definitely an improvement, weather-wise. After an afternoon indoors watching Freya asleep and awake - the big arm movements during sleep; the just-getting-focussed gaze - I had a lovely walk home, the long way round, through some of the grander back streets of Crouch End (note the almost-full moon) -
 and those luminous clouds will soon disappear behind trees-in-leaf -

All is not always bliss with new babies - already she doesn't seem to like being labelled "tiny dreamer." - and who could blame her? -