30 September 2014

That glazed look

The final stage for the colourful pots I made during the Contemporary Crafts course at City Lit in the summer - a morning of glazing. I brought along some other bit as well ... could it take 3 hours to glaze 2 pots?
Stoneware glazes set out, ready for use -
 and the colours they can produce -
Different colours obtainable with the earthenware glazes -

Pots and other bits, waiting for transformation by fire -


The porcelain plaque needs a cloud of thin wire threading through the holes

29 September 2014

Discoveries and decisions at Studio136

Aha, a Plan B for the CQ Winter School, in case the folded maps don't turn up -
continuing with "The Journey to the Studio"

Moths got to my beloved red suede, silk-lined gloves ... can the holes be repaired in some audacious way?

The "olive" JQs from last year...

... and some JQ-sized pieces that vaguely resemble landscape ...

Their temporary home is between the artists books collection and the dyeing microwave

On the left, a JQ based on a spiked apple done by my young buddy Nod in the foundation course, 2009;
on the right, a collage made several years earlier by 90something Lucy Tristao of Brazil

"What was I thinking" department - the screen printing was fun but is ugly ...
I thought to rescue it (why?) by adding stitch, hence the wool backing pinned ready

Cuddly and colourful - made an a workshop with Karina Thompson, 2009

These might become cushion covers

These experiments are in the bin

These will never become chenille, but the one on the right might turn into a JQ

Paper and fabric collage made in a workshop with Cas Holmes, 2010;
I'd like to work further on this (at the upcoming CQ weekend, perhaps?)

More bits destined for further work 

And these are now in the "make into cushion covers" box

28 September 2014

Street food, Amsterdam

Finally we stopped and bought one (pistachio)
And now for something completely different -
(french fries)

27 September 2014

Usefully occupied in Amsterdam

Testing fire hoses

Dredging for bicycles

Filming an interview (two cameras running; it's all in the edit)

Mending the pavement

Milling about in the Rijksmuseum

Pre-concert drinks at the Concertgebouw (included in ticket price)

Being photographed among the 3D Night Watch 

Doing a little painting

Washing windows

Fishing on a windy day

Being lifted on board (some boats are so long they use bicycles to
get from end to end, but the cars are for use in port)

Tinkling the ivories in the foyer of the central library

Walking the dog

Exhibition-visiting (Marlene Dumas at the Stedelijk Museum)

Snoozing in the sun (or trying to)

Re-gilding bits of the Royal Barge - Tom van Loon was at the Maritime Museum for a week

26 September 2014

Reorganisation progress in Studio136

...the studio formerly known as Cloud Cuckooland - I feel real hope that it will be a place of joyous work again. Already I have sullied the whiteness of the pristine worktops, by doing a big drawing, and when it comes to the sorting of materials I'm trying to be more ruthless - for instance, yesterday my stash of coloured tissue paper was halved. Whether what's left is really needed is a question for consideration "later", in Phase 2.

The hunt is on for the folded maps project that I worked on at last year's CQ retreat - I'd like to continue with it this year, and have two weeks to find the safe place where I put it...

So the plan is to take every box and bag out of every cupboard, to open every drawer - put them on the vast expanse of clear surface, and SORT, touching each bit of paper or fabric only once. Is this possible? ... we'll see...

Today I came across some unexpected things.

First out of the box was the maquette for a silk wall hanging I made sometime in the 90s and sold at a Cloth&Stitch show held at the TUC building - ah, those were the days! - but I don't have a photo of the finished piece. The bits of tissue are coming off the backing, and I'd like to resurrect this, develop it in some way -
Next to it was a lidded box, which revealed scissors and threads that had belonged to the mother of a friend. Three friends have passed on to me their mother's sewing things - an honour and a responsibility, and much cause for thought -
Somewhat crumpled and still in its wrapping, Winter 2010 issue of The Quilter. It had arrived while I was absorbed in family matters in Canada, so I had a quick look through, enticed by the detail from a quilt by Lena Wik of Sweden -
 ... and found this image of a quilt by Elizabeth Brimelow, one of my favourite artists -
In among the sewing things (why?), this beautiful bowl by Mary Vigor, bought at Chelsea Craft Fair in the early 90s ... I used to buy something every year, support living artists, that sort of thing...

A traditionally-made wooden box from a jumble sale a very long time ago - it was empty, what to keep in it? -
 A battered tin box containing a collection of sewing kits and a pincushion made for me by my pre-teen son. Apart from the pincushion, and even that's a "maybe", I'm ready to let go of this - any takers?
 The box has a vintage pic of the Royal Yacht Britannia -
 This next item was a surprise, and more cause for thought - it dates back to some workshop or other, definitely last century. Laying out the cards, I could see some I'd move to other categories now -
 Photos of my parents round about the age of 80 - my mother's hair never did go grey - and a note from "chocolate auntie" who sent parcels of Ritter Sport from Germany before it was available in the UK -
Silk bags made from a pattern in the Omiyage book ... and in the canisters, film rolls from the half-frame Olympus family camera, 1960s -
Another collection, from a 1995 trip to Moscow and St Petersburg - of Soviet toilet paper! -
Embroidery from last century - I took chinese characters and split them up, then embroidered the shapes solidly with silk threads. The presentation leaves much to be desired ... I'll rework these somehow -
In a basket behind a box, a collection of little clothespegs and lots of pins ... and some yummy beads -
At the end of the session, a happy feeling to see things put away but available when needed -
Two "secrets" of reorganisation: clear (see-through) storage, and labels.

Also found, a scrap of paper with this quote -

"Every creative act involves a new innocence of perception, liberated from the cataract of accepted belief." - A Koestler