18 July 2019

Poetry Thursday - concerning the bees

The book came to me via a library sale, and is not just a pretty cover (by Timorous Beasties), it's a jolly good read about (Professor) Dave Goulson's researches on bumblebees in various places around the world. Fascinating.

Halfway through, the chapters start to be headed with snippets of poems. I hope that, gathered together, they will provide a poetic picture of this important insect.

Burly, dozing bumblebee,
Where thou art is clime for me.
Let them sail for Porto Rique,
Far-off heats through seas to seek.
I will follow thee alone,
Thou animated torrid-zone!
     -Ralph Waldo Emerson

The music of the busy bee
Is drowsy, and it comforts me;
But, ah! 'tis quite another thing,
When that same bee concludes to sting!
     - Andrew Downing

Is this wretched demi-bee,
Half asleep upon my knee,
Some freak from a menagerie?
No! It's Eric the half a bee!
     - Monty Python, 1972

The cuckoo comes in April
She kills a Queen in May
She enslaves her brood
To gather up food
And in July she dies away.
     - Anon

Concerning the bees and the flowers
In the fields and the gardens and bowers,
You will note at a glance
That their ways of romance
Haven't any resemblance to ours.
     - Anon

To make a prairie it takes a clover and a bee,
One clover, and a bee,
And revery.
The revery alone will do,
If bees are few.
    - Emily Dickinson

17 July 2019

Woodblock Wednesday - small but tricky

The new blocks have become a bit of an obsession. I think this will work - eventually - but it's had a tough old time so far -
Hindsight is a fine thing - I should have been able to tell from the orientation of the blocks that trouble lies ahead;  the circles should be on a level, for a start -
My idea is to fold the paper so that when it's held up to the light, the other print appears because of the light shining through -
Quite apart from the mis-registration, the pair of circles weren't lining up no matter how much I turned one or the other ... or both. I got lost in the turns and totally confused, not to mention frustrated.

Next step - recut one of the blocks, carefully re-orienting it ... or so I thought ... but I forgot to flip the paper before tracing it onto the wood! Duh!
Never mind, print it anyway, learn something else - how to line up the prints with a floating kento, how big to cut the paper, how much space to leave in between.... yet to be resolved ...

Next day. New blocks. Third time lucky, maybe?

 First attempt to print the third set - YES the circles line up!

 A summary of progress so far -

Meanwhile Veronica has been having great success with her revisions to the lily blocks, and with doing the palest colour as bokashi. She still has several layers to add to these -

16 July 2019

Drawing Tuesday - Serpentine

What a lot of subjects to choose from! In the "old Serpentine gallery", work by American artist Faith Ringgold, who has been a multimedia artist pretty much ever since she graduated from high school in 1948 -
Feminist series

Windows of the Wedding series

From the cut pieces intended for their second collaborative quilt,
unfinished when her mother Willi Posey died, Faith Ringgold
made "Mothers Quilt" in 1981
In the new gallery, a variety of painting by Colombian artist Luchita Hurtado, catapulted into the spotlight at age 98 -
Crayon and ink, work from the early 1950s

A self-portrait

"Moth Lights"
 I chose this long one, which uses five sheets of paper, and really enjoyed looking at how the shapes related to each other -
Untitled, 1954

Colours had to be changed to use what I had available

And there was the pavilion ...



Janet K
 Carol looked along the Serpentine to the bridge -

Najlaa looked at Luchita's "moth lights" and  other patterns -

 Extra-curricular activities

Mags brought along photos of her work as shown in Meanwhile, the EDAM course show -
and also her workbooks, including how the colours of the tabs on the layered maps, based on her train stitching, relate to the train ticket -
She had printed one of the layered maps onto a cloth bag [I'm itching to extend some of those lines with a bit of stitch...] -

While away on holiday Joyce has been stitching -


turn it over and see...!
 ... and happened to be wearing some earlier stitching - splendid -

To end, some of the floral glory encountered on my walk through Hyde Park to the galleries, such a lovely walk -

15 July 2019

RA summer show, plus

Before the viewing, tea in the academicians' room as guests of one of the exhibitors -
... and a fern vista in an inner courtyard -
Left of the corner, the grey one, is Carol's large woodblock print -
In the same room, a huge four-panel print by Emma Stibbons, and these crows made from black plastic bags, rather chilling -
 Another collection of prints - so much to look at, and some of it so high up! -
 Left foreground, a subtle print by Rebecca Salter, long one of my favourite artists -
The jury was out on these naif birds by Humphrey Ocean - it's so hard to get the beaks right...
The materialist in me reallyreally liked these captured dense pigments that gradually fell off the paper and accumulated behind the glass -

14 July 2019

Picnic in the park

An annual assembly at a commemorative bench on Ham Common - the weather was good this year, and the company as agreeable as always.
I was busy chatting and forgot to take photos! Just that distant view, and these two - footwear and nail polish -
 ... and "man's best friend" -
On the way home, jackdaws havig a good squawk on the train tracks at Richmond -
 ... and a glimpse of unrelenting construction in the cityscape at Vauxhall station -

13 July 2019

Studio Saturday - clear workspace, new fabric pots

One morning this week, settled on the sofa with a cup of coffee, I stitched a little pot -

One evening, Tom came to fix a pipe outside the studio window and the table and sill had to be cleared pronto. What a lovely clear space -
All the stuff that was on the table is still hanging around, but I've been using that miraculous clear space to fabricate some more pots, using synthetic organza, wrapped shibori-style around ... well, what's small and light? I can't find any plastic pipes, just a bit of (thick) cardboard tube, a little glass, and an old film canister -

This is my steamer, a big deep pan with an inch or so of water, and a piece of cloth with the corners tied -
In use, the cloth dips in the middle, but hopefully not into the water - it's meant to be steamed not boiled -
The corners need to be kept well away from the gas, ie on top of the lid. It's best to lay the cloth on the counter, put the wrapped fabric onto it, add the lid, gather the corners on the lid, and put the whole thing onto the pan. Let it steam for 25 minutes or so.

Here they are, untied and restitched and almost ready for dipping -
The tiny clothespegs are holding a roll of fabric that will be couched down; they, rather than pins, happened to be on hand. However this bit of serendity has unleashed a stream of ideas on combining the fabric - or ceramic - with other materials.

Add in a bit of woodblock cutting, and within hours the clear table has been transformed into something quite other. A scene of creative activity.
For the first time in ages I'm enjoying going into the studio. There was a focussed 15 minutes during which some boxes were sorted, and lots of the contents ended up in the bin, which was emptied immediately.

Having an empty wastebin encourages me to ... hmm, what ... throw out more? keep less of the current project's detritus ("oh we can use that somehow" - no, not in this lifetime!)?