31 December 2017

Happy New Year!

Looking back, how was your year?  2017 was good to me - my books are on shelves, family and friends are at hand, the garden continues to grow, I've been able to take advantage of unexpected opportunities, and my enthusiasm for "making art" has returned.
The daily delight of the windowboxes
New year's resolutions? Pah, why bother? Every day is a new day. Well, maybe I do have one, it comes from the Hippocratic Oath: "First do no harm." [actually the oath says "I will abstain from all intentional wrongdoing and harm" - or in another translation, "I will utterly reject harm and mischief"]

Ah but from this stem other considerations - to do no harm, attention is required. To pay proper attention, distractions need to be put aside. To put aside distractions, self-discipline is needed. And so it goes on...

30 December 2017

Facets of life

Again this year I've completed the CQ journal quilts - though many of them are no longer to my liking (and that includes some that I made in recent days). The them is "gridded" -
"Less is more" - my favourites from 2017

All 12
Every day I go walking, to get the "magic" 10,000 steps - actually it's a sort of training for a long walk I hope to do in the spring - and sometimes part of this walk is in the direction of Tom and Gemma's flat, which is undergoing considerable renovation. The living room, replastered a few weeks ago, and with new windows installed many weeks ago, is finally in the stage of getting its lovely blue paint. The floor is sanded and sealed, the skirting boards are being installed, and there will soon be a picture rail -
The "turret" windows need cleaning before painting
During the weeks of turmoil in this part of the flat, unable to use the room, T&G seem to have forgotten what furniture is for -
 ... so after a bit or rearrangement and delicious cake with afternoon coffee it was straight into a long stint of painting those window frames. Renovations take a lot of time and effort, but it's starting to look wonderful -
Soon, some blinds for those windows...

29 December 2017

Deadline approaches

The final four Journal Quilts need to be posted on the CQ yahoogroup by 31 December. And the yahoogroup is not cooperating - it's not letting people post their quilts in the albums. Which is a shame.

To my own shame, the final four JQs for 2017, on the theme of  "Gridded", are not quite ready. In fact I started on them today... and had a happy morning in the studio, using whatever came to hand that would fit into the "Gridded" theme. Sometimes the connection was obvious -
Gridded: How Not to Do It
sometimes "simple is best" -
Gridded: Entrance
and sometimes it was a matter of one step forward and two steps back:

The more crowded it gets, the more obvious it is that it's going nowhere!
(That one's been put on the back burner ... maybe another time...)

Every good idea can be improved -

Gridded: Spiral

and some ideas are still "in progress" -

Gridded: Messages

28 December 2017

Poetry Thursday - Coat by Jane Duran

Stephen Wiltshire is an artist who draws and paints detailed cityscapes. He has a particular talent for drawing lifelike, accurate representations of cities, sometimes after having only observed them briefly.
New York by Stephen Wiltshire (via)


When it was bitter in New York City,
I would go out with my mother
past the icy buildings, stay

against her, just behind her
so she would stop the wind and snow,
and bury my face in her coat,

just there under her arm.
All winter, like her walk-in closet,
Its yellow light, I would walk into her,

Shake out my raw thoughts.
I didn't know who or what we were passing
or even if the city was still there,

the long radiant hairs against my face
like my grandmother's stole
with fox's head that lay on her breast,

me, clinging to my mortal mother,
our slow progress down that black, warm street.

 Jane Duran (via)

(found as a result of searching out the knitting poems)

 Jane Duran was born in Cuba to a Spanish father and an American mother. She was bought up in the USA and in Chile and after graduating from Cornell University she moved to England in 1966.

She has published four collections with Enitharmon Press.

27 December 2017

Unusual prints

The British Museum's exhibition, The Business of Prints, is full of curiosities and is worth a thoughtful look. It runs till 28 January.

The labels are succinct and informative, and really point out the interesting things about "just another print" that you might not give a second look. I found quite a few intriguing, not to mention unexpected.

This is printed on silk ... but why? - and how is this a "thesis"?

 Another thesis - a very elaborate one -

 An everyday item - watch-papers, when watches had covers -

 Why is this picture of a rabbit so rare? "Nothing like it survives"...

 Why is a cheap print printed on vellum, which is expensive?

 This famous print, nicknamed Eulenspiegel, was for centuries the most expensive print in the world -

25 December 2017

Snow-ghosts of north London

The flurry of snow a couple of weeks ago brought out the need to make snowmen...

 The last of the ice-boulders (anthropocene erratics?) in the park - solid snow takes quite a while to melt -
And goodness what a lot of city dirt gets caught up on it!

24 December 2017

Seen at Contemporary Ceramics

The shop is very close to the British Museum. If I have a few moments to spare, I go in and look at what's new (and if there's still time to spare, London Review Bookshop is also nearby, for additional browsing).
by Robert Cooper

by Jenny Southam

by Claire Ireland

by Hiro Takahashi

23 December 2017

Drawings by Antony Gormley

It was the two figures in the doorways that caught my eye ... and then more things caught my eye. They are from Antony Gormley Drawing (2002). It's so interesting to see sculptors' drawings ... a tiny hint about how they move from two dimensions into three.

This one is a bit different - I've seen it before and think it's wonderful. The sort of effect you see on a lot of those 18th, or even 17th, century ceilings -
Those little people don't know they're perilously near the edge of a big hole ... hmm, a metaphor for our times?