31 August 2017

Two bowlfuls, and two views

Greek salad that needs cucumber and feta (it was delicious)

Sue M's bowlful of gorgeous jewellery, awaiting fittings
From the microcosm of the bowlful to the macrocosm of The View ... the city seen from a hill. 

My walk started in Muswell Hill and encountered another ripple in the landscape that  you can see in the photo IF you know it's there -
From Muswell Hill
The second hill has a more constrained view -
From Crouch Hill (Hazellville Road, actually)
Downtown glistening in the afternoon sun, seen from the leafy suburbs ... is the attraction of The View something to do with being in our "own" known world, near home, and having all that otherness close by, to use or not, that makes views like this so appealing?

Or is it simply a matter of being up high and being able to see further?

30 August 2017

Another journal quilt

The deadline for the next lot of four JQs is tomorrow. As well as the two finished recently, another is ready -
and the final one "just" needs some handstitch and the edges doing -
That stitching time will give me a few hours to think of some titles. 

29 August 2017

Drawing Tuesday - sculptures in Regent's Park

The sculptures in Regent's Park are in anticipation of Frieze art fair in October. Some are very large, and some are (imho) predictable and graceless; others are "good in parts", like the curate's rotten egg. However, seeing these interlopers makes you appreciate the sculptural qualities of trees and incidental things like the waste bins and that orange plastic fencing!

My favourite piece is Big Be-Hide by Alicja Kwade - a simple presentation full of complex thoughts, "an invitation to jump into parallel worlds" -
 ... and situated to pick up reflections - this tangle of pink is Fiddlersfortune by John Chamberlain, who has been making metal sculptures from industria detritus in the late 1950s -
 I was immediately struck by Mimmo Paladino's bronze balls, "a combination of geometric harmony ... and an allusion to a legacy of destruction" -
(The quotes are from the Frieze Sculpture app.)

The grass was somewhat wet, which was useful for working with watersoluble crayons - just lay the page on the grass, before, after, or during ...
The big white cube by John Wallbank does look like a monstrosity from a distance but has subtle textile details - I took lots of photos and filled a sketchbook page -
It "engages contrasts of colour and texture, and qualities of rigidity and floppiness"
 Finally, back to the intriguing orange plastic fencing - it held still, but I kept losing my place and gave it up; unnecessary torture ...
 Najlaa drew Jaume Plensa's "Tribute to dom Thierry Ruinart" and Michael Craig-Martin's "Wheelbarrow (Red)" -
 Judith took many views of Miquel Barcelo's "Gran Efefandret", and also Ugo Rondinone's "summer moon" -
 Janet K got a good start on Eduardo Paolozzi's "Vulcan" -
 Sue's subject was Bernar Venet's "17 Acute Unequal Angles", which "explores significant sculptural issues such as equilibrium, control and the relationship with the environment." Venet says his sculptures are a test of strength - "a batttle between myself and the piece of metal" -
 Carol drew Janet drawing, and also Anthony Caro's "Erl King": "though the titl of this work refrs to a mythical forest being, Caro wrests from girders and a sea anchor an almost classical sense of balance and harmony" -
 Extracurricular activities

Janet had spent the past few weeks in Canada, at a cottage on a lake, and produced some "classic Canadian" views -

 Carol's machine embroidery is a view of her garden, and she also tried abstracting the scene -
 Sue had been making birthday cards, including this one for a three-year-old, who was surely tempted to do the "loves me, loves me not" thing with the daisy petals -

28 August 2017

Taking the camera for a walk

"[It] Who Must Be Obeyed" gets me out of the house and taking 10,000 steps a day. I've had It for three months and have walked at least 60 km a week, thanks to this motivation. Gotta meet the daily target! But this is during long days and good(ish) weather ... we'll have to wait and see whether this can be maintained in winter.
So It is on my wrist, and The Phone (aka The Camera) is always with me. I'm trying to take fewer photos, but old habits die hard, so here are a few found on this week's strolls.
Carefully cut

In Sunnyside Community Gardens. The text at the bottom is
almost obliterated but says "If you think you're too small to
make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito

Numbered gates seem to be disappearing

Disused building on Archway Road

Archway Road

Archway Road ... the chemist is long gone

Crouch End

The grand and the ordinary

"Marriage licence found!" in allotments on Shepherd's Hill 
Village(?) cricket in Crouch End

27 August 2017

Problems with The Cloud - and mice

On the one hand, it's so convenient to have photos taken on the phone automatically uploaded to the computer. On the other hand, when it doesn't happen, you do wonder what's wrong ... and today seems to be one of those "other hand" days.

Photos from this morning are there,  but none since noon. I'm tired of waiting (and wondering).

On the way to my son's I had to stop at the pound shop and buy some mousetraps. What a selection!

The good-old-fashioned type are 4 for £1.50. He'd asked for 20. He had also read that it's a good idea to wear gloves while handling them, as mice can detect human scents. Fortunately the traps were packaged in plastic packs, so perhaps my scent hasn't  permeated the contents and put the critters off.

The bait is to be peanut butter. A little - not a lot - is said to be more efficacious.

As for the ethics of the entire thing (should we live and let live with these tiny creatures?) - I simply don't know. We humans feel we should be In Control. We want to hygienise our ecosystems. We are arrogant. I think we need to think about "simple" things like this a little more.

And I think we need to be less "twitchy" about other creatures - mice, spiders, insects, earthworms....

Well, I'd thought to be showing you the lovely rose that finally got planted, and instead you're reading about ways of getting rid of vermin. Sorry. If the photos finally land on Planet136A, you'll see the rose soon. Meanwhile, I'm truly sorry about those little mice, and hope their entrance points can be found and plugged, so that traps will become unnecessary.

26 August 2017

The week in review

The Saturday morning walk to the grocery store led me down some unknown streets and revealed these jolly garages somewhere to the west of Crouch End -
beach huts gone awol?
Later a visit, in its final week, to the British Watercolour Landscapes exhibition at the British Museum - here are two works by John Craxton -
using frottage

pollarded trees, very surreal
 "Vintage Sunday" drew me out to see a film (love those Busby Berkeley sequences - what amazing staging, breathtaking geometry!), and on the way to Screen 5, this bit of make-do-and-mend -
 Another in-its-final-week exhibition was at the Society of Antiquaries, portraits and objects from Tudor times. This portrait of Mary Tudor (1516-1558) shows her soon after her coronation in 1553. Behind her is a velvet hanging - one of the Cloths of Estate that were carried in the monarch's entourage and hung up, behind the throne and elsewhere, as a potent symbol of majesty. The creases in the velvet come from being folded for travel.
 The the foyer of the Society of Antiquaries is a sofa that had belonged to William Morris -
 Building site in Fitzrovia - all that sky will disappear -
"Our sale," announces this charity shop, offers "even greater prices" - hmm yes, they were already quite steep! -
The Police Museum has a number of curious objects - along with truncheons and rattles, and uniforms, is the gold medal won by the team in the tug-of-war in the 1920 Olympics - after which tug-of-war was dropped as a sport -

Dangerous weapons - the definition depends largely on intended use
It's in the same building as Guildhall Library, which specialises in the history of London -
"London's Burning" - old print of the Great Fire

Ironwork outside Royal Courts of Justice
 Exhibition at Somerset House of Extraordinary Objects (ends 3 Sept, free) includes an ingenious solution for straightening plants that have grown at an angle -
...and the story of a silly man who gambled his mansion away on the turn of a card ... but kept the cards ...
 Talk of the week was at Daunt Books, Hampstead - allegedly it was Sam Kean talking about his "Caesar's Last Breath" a book about the air around us, but turned out to be an "in conversation" with tv presenter and physicist Helen Czerski, who seemed to do most of the talking! - and very interesting they both were, but I resisted buying any of their books at this point in time -
 At the CQ London meeting, we did that uncomfortable (to me) exercise of arranging snippets of fabric according to tonal value; thank goodness for group decisions -
and other fun things relating to colour. Walking home, I serendipitously found a colourful street in Kentish Town - Kelly Street (much photographed) -
 Unusual items in a charity shop included dozens of dummy books, the spines stating title and weight of paper -
 Aladdin's Cave, a "vintage" furniture shop near me, had some unusual items too -
 Years ago - last century, in fact - I'd bought a solid wardrobe there, for storage in the studio; since then, the shop has acquired a rather nice coffee shop.

Yesterday, in Islington (Angel), bales, or at least bundles, of hay were on the move ... rus in urbes? -
 and in the courtyard of Candid Cafe, the Cafe Sketchers were drawing ...
 I couldn't cope with all the leaves and shadows and other scenic bits, but my snack was an easy target, sitting on a splendid bit of tablecloth -
This morning, the downstairs neighbour's landscapers are removing the trimmings from his overgrown trees
The dead bit of privet hedge is mine, though - it's currently supporting some weedy periwinkle, while new hedge plants either side try to fill in the gap.