29 May 2008

Ah, Paris...

Instantly recognisable even on a grey day (actually it was raining quite hard) - The kiosks all seemed to be advertising only the film Sex and the City. This city is full of graffiti, but then aren't they all? -
It also offers surprising encounters with street art -
and trompe l'oeil -

At the Louvre

These bird studies are by Pietr Boel, 1622-1674. The Louvre has 81 of his works.
One of my favourite paintings - 16th century Florentine, showing past masters: Giotto, Uccello, Donatello, Antonio Manetti, and Brunelleschi.
Here it is in context. Most people walk past, but it did catch the eye of this couple -
The Louvre was open till 10 on Friday, and the setting sun shone into some of the rooms -
(The speck in the sky isn't a UFO, it's my ageing camera's "floater".)

New art at the Louvre

Jan Fabre was invited to install his work among the Louvre's Flemish paintings. He's a Belgian artist known for his use of beetles, with their irridescent carapaces, in his work. This is a bed that was the height of a table - And here's an effigy made of thumbtacks and nails -
People liked to have a close look! This coat (or exoskeleton) is made of various kinds of beetles -And here are some strange owls' heads (with human artificial eyes) being captured on video. The Louvre had no "no photography" signs, and people were happily snapping - especially those queuing to get a front row look at the Mona Lisa!
At the end of the Fabre exhibition were these flying vermin and their mess - made of murano glass and Bic (ballpoint) ink. Fabre also used a blue ballpoint pen - or maybe dozens - for some very large drawings, carefully and thoroughly scribbled, until the paper heaved and buckled with being worked on.

A "modern" exhibition like this is bound to be controversial. Here's a typical conservative view.

More Parisian sights

While it was raining I was happily wandering round Africa and Asia in the Branly museum. The gardens are very grassy, watery, and reedy, and it takes a while to realize that the brown reeds are actually an iron fence - Another of my favourite museums is the Guimet -- wonderful Asian art. The current exhibition is Hokusai and showed that he did much more than those many views of Mount Fuji -
It also had his sketches, which showed how he used collage (of thin rice paper) to move elements around when preparing to do a print.
I didn't buy the catalogue (too heavy!), nor did I indulge in any of the silks on view in the fabric shop area (metro Anvers), which Tonya showed me round after lunch on my first day there -
And speaking of fabric, here's an update on May '68 - 40 years after the student uprising, we're being told "nicely" to "stay politically incorrect" --

20 May 2008

A conversation of kettles

From thumbnail sketch -To an 8"x8" collage of pieces of iron-on interfacing. The silk I planned to use was too floppy, and by using the interfacing for the finished shapes, the edges could be ironed under -If you're using this method, remember to cut the templates with the iron-on side face up - otherwise you'll end up with your picture reversed.

OK, here all the pieces have their raw edges ironed under - and to get the pointy bits to behave, I lashed the seams across the template underneath - no stitching showing (in this silk, extra stitching might leave holes). The handle on the left is printed velvet and on the right, some polyester damask -The next photos show the kettles sewn down and padded, ready to quilt. I suspect the vast expanse of copper kettle might need a scattering of interesting stitches (after all, the original is battered and scratched, and there's even a hole near the top - we use it on the narrowboat).

My first idea was to mount this piece on a ready-stretched deep canvas, but maybe a border is a better idea. So, which one??

A: B:
- or something else? This is the decision point at which things start to morph into UFOs...

18 May 2008

More hexagons

Nearly gave up on this one - the individual hexagons took forever to cut -but evenutally they were all pinned in place
and then held down by little cross-stitches, some yellow, some orange -
At last, time to put it under the machine -
Then, french knots added to intersections where there weren't already cross-stitches:
Finally, the narrowest binding possible, 1/4" of doubled black sheer. Next time, I'll add a layer of tulle before machining. But as this was so fiddly, a "next time" is in doubt!

16 May 2008

Hexagons - endless chain

The new stamp went to work on some silk dupion. First step, once the stripes were together, was to delineate the hexagons with hand stitch. Next, I machined all the daisy/star shapes, then added a narrow binding (in the fluorescent orange) round the back.
It didn't photograph terribly well: you don't get the wonderful shine of the "metallic" orange bit, or the limeyness of the green. But while making it I had various ideas for other uses of hexagons.

12 May 2008

Getting started with hexagons

Found this in an old magazine and started thinking about the challenge for the June "Quilting in Action" regional day in London (7 June, Maria Assumpta Centre; details on the Region 1 website)My first impulse was to stamp rather than sew, and the erasers were the right size for half a hexagon -
One eraser was big enough for a whole hexagon, but the pattern didn't go together quite the way I remembered it...Lesson: don't rely on memory, have another look at your source. This is more like it! -
The fabric was (and is) intended to be used as stripes a la Margo Selby --
but I ran out of time and that will have to wait till another time.

Gerbera and amaryllis

At the florists -
and at home -

11 at once

Great excitement the other morning when I checked to see if posts had uploaded right - and found 11 blinking red circles on the map -Readers from all around the world, at that moment -
Do leave a comment - I'd like to visit your blogs...

09 May 2008


... has finally arrived, with three days of warm weather. But there have been signs along the way -- amid the rain, the green-leafing of trees, with drifts of cow parsley beneath -and chestnuts in blossomah yes lots of blossomdrifted into guttersAnd the odd thundery hailstorm!

Bluebell woods

THE most gorgeous thing about spring, and England, is the bluebell woods. Lately I have walked in them -been photographed in them (dressed for mud underfoot and the possibility of rainstorms)and come upon them unexpectedly while driving -
Though their blueness doesn't come through properly in photographs, perhaps they look their best when rain darkens the trunks of the beech trees --
There are even bluebells in central London -