30 September 2016

Strolling around Petersham and Ham

The fingerpost indicates the "Dry route during flooding" - we're walking near the Thames

A glimpse of Petersham Nurseries - the cafe is said to have excellent cake

Captain Vancouver (1757-1798) is buried at St Peter's Church

At the grand entrance to Montrose House

Quaint signage elsewhere

Baffling sign (maybe) near the German School

The Petersham lock-up

Built in 1894, the church was never consecrated . On the gate is carved:
All Saints Church | Private Residence

Lunch stop at YMCA cafe on the site of the former Hawker Siddeley factory

Grand houses (and boathouses, and boats) along the Thames

Another iconic signpost, this time including "Toilets ... Open Business Hours"

Marks the lower limit of the Thames Conservancy in 1909, when the
tidal Thames was transferred to the City of London

Around the corner is Richmond; the large building is the former Star and Garter Home,
opened in 1916; it's being converted to private residences

Hammerton's Ferry is the last privately-owned foot ferry on the tidal Thames.

Signage and a sitting place.
The Thames Path is 184 miles long.

An ideal day for canoeing. 

"Due to Submerged debris, Strong currents, Pollutants"

Making our way back to Richmond Station, across Old Palace Green

Ah, that late-day light on old buildings....

29 September 2016

Poetry Thursday - Not Waving But Drowning by Stevie Smith

Nobody heard him, the dead man,   
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought   
And not waving but drowning.

Poor chap, he always loved larking
And now he’s dead
It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,   
They said.

Oh, no no no, it was too cold always   
(Still the dead one lay moaning)   
I was much too far out all my life   
And not waving but drowning.

- Stevie Smith (via)

Just when you're bereft of a poem, or flooded with too many to choose from, serendipity hands you something particular. As part of Radio 3's 70-years-of-the-Third-Programme celebration*, Stevie Smith was broadcast, from 1965, reading her now-famous Not Waving But Drowning.

And via youtube we have her discussing (and declaiming) the poem - "I read about a man getting drowned once" was how it got started.

Serendipity juxtaposed this poem with something else I'd been listening to recently, an old radio programme on the imposter syndrome. Made in 2009, re-aired on Radio 4extra; available on the BBC iplayer (in UK) for 29 days from time of writing, here. Doing your job, your best, but feeling like you might at any moment be exposed as an imposter - that would leave you "much further out" than anyone thought. In terms of everyday life, it's not uncommon. Keep on swimmin' ...

*Today Radio 3 is starting a series of short poetry readings from the archive, "Three Score and Ten", at 21.55, starting with Dame Edith Sitwell - " She reads a section from Fa├žade, a series of poems Sitwell wrote to be recited over an instrumental accompaniment by composer William Walton. Then a complete change of tone with her poem Still Falls the Rain written in 1941."

28 September 2016

Dippy chimneypots, week 3

These have been stitched over the past week -

They have a new hanging system - the threads are tidily held by little squares of card (mountboard) with nicks in the corners, rather than spread over a wad of crumpled newspaper. Here they are, mostly threaded up - 
The pots dipped last week were bone dry, with some alarming cracks. In fact I'm about to conclude that the bamboo leaves (crumbling on the board) Just Don't Work - after all, aren't some plant fibres meant to resist water? If paper - my first dipping trial - is at the soggy end of the spectrum, bamboo leaves are right at the other end.

And here's what came out of the kiln! Clunky and boring, mostly - where's the translucency? But they do have a smoothness that "feels like fabric" -

Only one item contained metallic fabric -
"white ladies"
But at least the glass beads worked - sort of. This was a gathered bit of wool with beads in the folds. Removing the clay that covered the beads definitely made a difference - little puddles of glass formed, whereas the other beads often stayed buried -
A few pots were dipped this week, drying ... and hopefully not cracking too much -
I had trekked out to Tottenham to get a tub of casting slip of my own - to avoid the problems of the college running out of it, and to have more control over the consistency and drying. Dipping at home makes it possible to add bases, as I can adjust the height of the hanging system to support the chimneys/tubes to keep them straight until they can support themselves.

This project has a certain amount of engineering challenge in it. Which adds its own interest.

27 September 2016

Drawing Tuesday - Roof Garden, Docklands

Opened in May 2016 (via)
"The Crossrail Place Roof Garden, a 300-metre enclosed garden which is open daily to the public until 9pm (or sunset in summer). It references both the history and geography of Canary Wharf drawing on the area’s heritage as a trading hub and many of the plants are native to countries visited by ships of the West India Dock Company who unloaded their wares in this very location 200 years ago.

"Crossrail Place sits almost exactly on the Meridian line and the planting is arranged according to which hemisphere they are from with Asian plants such as bamboos to the east, and plants such as ferns from the Americas to the west. Information boards are placed throughout the Roof Garden explaining in more detail about the plants within it." (via)

It offers quite a bit of seating, and as well as the plants waving in the wind there are solid objects that stay still. Like these play-it-yourself pianos -

Representing every form of transport!

And throught the bus windows, the people jiggle when the piano is played

OK let's get on with the drawing ....
Find a seat and draw what you see
Much gnashing of teeth as the leaves waved gently in the breeze
This took 20 minutes, done standing up, starting from "the front",
 We all found the subject matter rather challenging. (But the more you do it, the less frightening/difficult/frustrating/etc it is...)
Mary tried out various new media

Sue used colour to advantage

Janet's graceful path gives depth, as does the paler distance

Carol went beyond plants to the structure and beyond
 Tool of the week - water pens. Most of us carry them, but how often do we use them?
The red one, with a solid fibre tip, seems to be a new product. The sets are available at various internet sites, eg this one.

26 September 2016

Day out in Margate

Meeting Mags to catch the "Seeing Around Corners: the Art of the Circle" show at Turner Contemporary (reviews here and here and elsewhere); Olga's post that prompted the trip is here

No photography was allowed in the show, so we each filled four pages in our sketchbooks, often with notes rather than sketches. 
Artist ... Richard Long

Taking a break, half time

View from the gallery out to sea
 Having looked intensely at circles for a couple of hours, we then saw them everywhere...
An exhibition about circles ... and cafe to match ...

Wonderful shadows on the terrace

Long's marks

Jetty and town
Within the Harbour Arm

End of the day

A handful of treasures
The most memorable exhibits?

- Theaster Gate's goat on wheels, first heard in another room, clanking its way round a circular track - it has a long title: A Complicated Relationship Between Heaven and Earth, or, When We Believe (part of his winning installation at Artes Mundi 2014)

-the big blue wheel leaning in a corner, which I tried hard to ignore - and have forgotten the artist's name

- Bridget Riley's yellow circles
 Two Yellows, Composition with Circles 5, 2011 by Bridget Riley (via)
- Nuremberg Chronicle, open to the spread showing days 1 and 2 of the creation of the earth and all that's on/in it
Day 4 of creation (via)
Navigating Moby Dick by Alison Turnbull -
Robert Mangold's Circle within a polygon - so simple... image not available, but some of his many circles are here.