30 September 2017

"Future Dust"

The ropes festooning the fences at St Katherine's Dock looked very festive, as part of Thames Festival's display of classic boats. 

But they were something else entirely - made of plastic lids, they were a sort of prelude to a collection of large bins and baskets holding plastic sorted by colour and type -

The display, Future Dust, is the work of artist Maria Arceo, who for the past year has been collecting plastic from over 40 beaches along the tidal Thames down to the Estuary.

The work responds to the sheer scale of plastic litter that is being deposited into the Thames. The installation has toured to different riverside locations across London. It finishes off at Canary Wharf today, adjacent to the Pier.

The piece invites theviewer to question their perception of the environmental impact of plastic, whilst challenging Londoners towards a more sustainable future.
Specially lit at night (via)
The project has included a residency in the departments of geography and chemistry at King's College London.

29 September 2017

Art articles

One thing leads to another ... I took a few moments to look at the art articles listed in the Guardian's weekly email and oh my, what a lot there is to see and think about.

Not least in the Natsiaa 2017 art awards - wonderful contemporary Australian indigenous art. Two of my favourites -
Lines by Nyapanyapa Yunupinu, bark painting award winner
Malpa Wiru (Good Friends) by Tiger Yaltangki, general painting award finalist
And a third - love the stitching and shapes -
I am good woman! by Rhonda Sharpe, 3D award finalist

Also I enjoyed an article about Rachel Whiteread and her new studio (a place of "cultivated peace", isn't that what we want in our studios?), which also talks about here dolls' houses collection, now in the Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green -

These works, submitted alphabetically by readers  will amuse you for quite a while..

But your art agenda may differ, so here's the rest of the list from the Guardian's "art weekly" email -

What we learned this week

28 September 2017

Poetry Thursday - a surprising relevance to trees

Most of my day was taken up by going, on the spur of the moment, to Kew Gardens for another Tree Walk, which they have been offering in September. What a lovely day for it, the grass still dewy underfoot but the sky mostly blue and the air warm. And the trees turning towards their autumn colours. 

So today's poem comes from the "Trees Be Company" book that I often turn to. The arrangement of poems in the book is alphabetical by title; this is the one nearest to where "Kew..." might be.

Lucombe Oak at Kew Gardens

'It is not growing like a tree'

     It is not growing like a tree
     In bulk, doth make Man better be;
Or standing long an oak, three hundred year,
To fall a log at last, dry, bald, and sere:
          A lily of a day
          Is fairer far in May,
     Although it fall and die that night;
    It was the plant and flower of Light.
In small proportions we just beauties see;
And in short measure life may perfect be.

     -Ben Johnson (1572-1637)

27 September 2017

Japanese woodblock printing - again

New term - I'm so glad classes have started. Only the one this time, another stab at Japanese woodblock printing, which I tried out in mid-July and really enjoyed ... to the extent of going immediately to Intaglio to buy boards, paper, etc, and signing up for this course. (The materials are still in the bag! - but not for much longer.)

This time we're starting with a single-colour print, to get a feel for what's possible with cutting - the shina plywood we're using for the blocks isn't dense enough to hold thin lines with certainly. I've experienced this already, but fortunately my drawing is infinitely corruptible. Its elements are taken from a splishy-sploshy, rather frustrated, ink drawing which I rather like -
The drawing needed tracing to reverse it - and I remembered to flip the tracing over before transferring it onto the wood (using carbon paper), so that it would print the right way round -
 After a demo -
 it was time to start cutting. Blocks stay at college, but I have some at home to be getting on with...

As it was a lovely mild autumnal day, I walked over to the Tate, intrigued to see people (and a dog) on the foreshore -
 These are the stais giving access - the sign warns children not to play on them -
Instead of wandering round Tate Britain, though, I stopped for a quick coffee and had a chance to exercise self control by not visiting the jewellery shop - 
At home, I played with some other parts of the drawing, scaling them using Photoshop - 
Next step is to trace off some the squiggles in new configurations, avoiding thin lines, and see what happens.

26 September 2017

Drawing Tuesday - Petrie Museum

The Petrie has so many objects in it ... and some are, it turns out, tucked away in drawers. These are pear-shaped mace heads from Hierakonpolis - they are Very Old, in the range 3100-2181 BCE -
 And these faience models (scorpion, lotus bud, lotus flower, baboons, pot on stand, etc), are also from Hierakonpolis -

"gridded" - !

I used soluble Stabilo for the shapes and soluble graphite for the details

Carol filled her page with pots -
 ... as did Joyce -
 Janet K captured some canopic figures -
 Sue's choice was part of a coptic tombstone -
 Michelle found pottery figures and a "limestone human-headed canopic jar" -
 Najlaa found patterns among the pots -
 Extracurricular activities
Janet K has embarked on a drawing a day

Michelle has been learning pop-up folds from youtube
 Tool of the week -
"It's hard to find a cream pen" - this is from the Tombow range

25 September 2017

Mend and make do

The other day this Work In Progress resurfaced -
It's a bit of almost-finished mending on my favourite teatowel, which was an irresistibly useful extravagance many years ago. Made in Sweden by Ekelund, with an interesting four-colour weave to be double sided, it was much used and now, let's face it, it's pretty well worn out, appropriately in the area of the coffee pot.

But I'm not afraid of darning - indeed, it's a peaceful activity with lots of scope for listening to the radio or podcasts. I'm trying to make time for peaceful activities with a listening component...

And there is a growing pile of mending - hems needing fixing, moth-holes needing disguising, hanging loops needing adding, that sort of thing. So instead of heading off to a coffee shop, I "should" be settling down to get on ith it. (Wouldn't it be "interesting" to sit in the coffee shop and do some mending there - a "mending morning" sounds like a community-minded monthly event that coffee shops, libraries, or bookshops could undertake ... but I dream ...)

Back to reality and a zingy cardigan bought during the art foundation course (2009), which I still love, silly stitched-in writing notwithstanding. Its appeal lies in the colour - and yet, it's the colour that's the problem. Darning wool is wanted, but is not to hand, and my extensive cache of embroidery threads doesn't have a match.
The search for something that might just do started with the totally unsuitable rosy colour to the left, got a bit nearer with the perle purples, which are too thick. The stranded-cotton drawer had plenty of offerings and reminded me that "Tone does the work, but colour gets the credit" - so it became a search for the right tone. The red and the purple seemed the best candidates.

A tiny trial shows the purple to be too dark, as confirmed by the mend on the left -
Using one strand of red and one of purple seems to work (to the right of the buttonhole). It'll do...

Once the small holes are mended, the crunch will come with the frayed cuff -
Needle felting is a possibility - so is turning the cuffs under and stitching them down.

Plan A, though, is to try to get some (tapestry) wool to match, which involves a trip to London Bead Co in Kentish town, a 45-minute walk - killing two birds with one stone, to use an unfortunate turn of phrase - or three, if a pit-stop coffee and cake is factored in. Something to do before, perhaps, "making do".

24 September 2017

Patterns and passing shots

red chairs

blue chairs

nr Victoria

mind the gap

from Yemen

so many red berries 

construction collage

survivor nr Russell Square

gracious and undisturbed

23 September 2017

Busy week

A week with too much going on, and not enough time for reflection, or getting sorted - even though some of the busy-ness was about sorting stuff. A little every morning, before breakfast. (Not on the weekend, though.)

Monday, walking around Victoria - ah yes, Shepherds and all the wonderful papers and bookbinding equipment, must have a look ... the bookbinding exhibition included this lovely prizewinner, Dusk, by Tracey Bush
 A view of the shop -
 Disused doorway in Pimlico -
Following on from the Open House visit to Connor & Lockie in WC1, another tailor (SW1), Redwood & Feller, with a complicated entrance to the shop (love the pattern of tiling) -

 A symphony of brick and stone? Westminster Cathedral opened in 1903 and is the largest Catholic church in England and Wales -
It's not to be confused with Westminster Abbey, which is neither cathedral nor abbey - since 1560 it's had the status of a "Royal Peculiar" -
 The talk on Dorothy L Sayers (Anglican theology was one of her literary subjects) was held in Poets' Corner (rather a difficult acoustic) -
 Tuesday, on the way to drawing (afternoon session) I saw a couple of exhibitions at the Brunei Gallery that were about to end - the architecture of Yemen
 and a collection of early photos from a mining town in Namibia
 So much construction for Crossrail around Tottenham Court Road tube - this row of Victorian buildings is now a mere facade, seen here from the back - perhaps by now, five days later, they have been demolished too. -
 The Royal Society was giving its (30th) annual science book prize - they all sounded terrific, and four of the authors were present to talk about their books.
 Past winners and shortlist are here.

Looking up Lower Regent Street, the lit buildings are dazzling - photos don't do them justice -
Hot on the heels of reading about "drunken forests", I noticed the angle of the trees on Eversholt Street, down which I've walked hundreds of time without "seeing" them -
That was after hearing about research on social adjustment in young women with Turner syndrome, at the Wellcome - the talk was snappily billed as "chromosomes and health" which, when you think of it, is a bit of a riddle. Genes and health, yes ... but in Turner syndrome, a missing or incomplete X chromosome is the root of the problem.

Something completely different - opera at the cinema, Zauberflote from the Royal Opera House.
The serpent made a wonderful start
Image result for magic flute royal opera house
and the puppet bird was delightful, as was the rickety bird-gondola the Three Boys flew across the stage in. The singing was pretty good too!

Thursday - a spot of gardening - the big areas are almost all dug out, sifted and sorted; another few bags of soil might be needed,though -
 Walking home past the reservoir, newly mown, with glimpses of "downtown" in the distance -
To the RA for Matisse in the Studio, and the preview of Jasper Johns, and also to "Theatres of Memory", Dubuffet at Pace Gallery (till 21 October) -
The quote says "these assemblages have mixtures of sites and scenes,
constituent parts of a moment of viewing ... by the mind ...
if not the immediate viewing by the eyes"
 The "gridded" small pieces appealled most to me -

 ... and the hoardings outside the gallery provided interest ...
 Friday, walking past the palace just before 11, in time to see the crowds waiting for Changing of the Guard
 and hear the band playing -
 Later, on the way back, all was quiet, and the shadows were crisp ... I was intrigued by the density of trees, and their shadow-outlines -
 Ceramics in the City, at the Geffrye Museum till Sunday 24th, yielded  eyefuls of delight - and a little jar-shaped brooch by Miyu Kurihara -
 Cityscape near Liverpool Street -
 Friday Late at the Institute of Civil Engineers - live jazz, a well-used bar, a rollicking debate on the best infrastructure of the past 200 years ... transport to Olympics? Thames Barrier? London's sewage system? London Underground?  We voted on our phones and the sewers got 47% of audience votes.
Music in the Great Hall

The dome in the lecture theatre

A photo by Matthew Joseph, whose photos of tunnels are spectacular -
 but this is a recent winner of Doggett's Coat and Badge rowing race,
with which Tony's family, which included many watermen, was associated

In the library, explanations of tunnelling, and archaeology

... and a chance to build your own tunnelling machine!

As well as a former presidential chair, used by Thomas Telford