22 July 2018

One thing leads to another


Sometime during the making of this panel (in a class at Camden Arts Centre) I remembered the big reel of rick-rack that came from a charity shop a year or two ago, and this morning I finally added some here & there, using white paint both to cover the painted red lines and to glue on the trim - two birds with one stone.

From an angle you can see that some areas are shiny (acrylic) and some are matte (gesso), without rhyme or reason, so work on this hasn't finished yet.
While refilling my coffee cup I noticed the pattern on the teatowel that's used to help keep the coffee jug warm -
 ... and drew out some ideas for stitching on pots -
 Two versions are on the way, the hexagon graph paper supported by sinamay -
It's an experiment - how will the clay interact with the paper layer?

21 July 2018

Studio Saturday

Just two days at the studio this week, and short days at that. But the stitching of the pots at home continues.

On Monday these four emerged from their plastic bubbles -
 Two, the darker ones, had been covered by an overturned plastic bottle; the others by bubble wrap, which doesn't do as effective a job in slowing down the drying. The tall one had been dipped a second time, on account of having lots of little cracks - this time it has fewer, but larger, cracks. An opportunity to use the repair medium (paper clay with a little gum arabic).

This small one, made of silk organza with lots of textural stitching, also has a little metallic thread.
 It's a bit frustrating to have to wait for the next stoneware firing in order to see what kind of fabric, stitching, etc to continue with. Meanwhile my "investigations" are somewhat random...

These four were dipped on Monday - a silk tube with thickish metallic thread; gathered synthetic organza, steamed to hold its shape, with some vertical lines of thin metallic thread; sinamay with linen thread and a little metallic; synthetic organza in a bias tube, with loops of heavy linen thread -
 Supported, and about to be covered with bubble wrap -
 Two days later ... once again, those under the "cloches" are still quite wet; I tried simply adding more slip to the areas that needed repair, eg filling in the loops -
 Just two for dipping, but large ones -
 The twist on the red linen thread makes the loops stand away from the fabric - this could make them fragile once they are fired. Next time I'll put some padding under the loops, or pull them tighter.
 All four are under cloches, waiting till Monday for further rescue -
 These are more or less ok, just need the bases trimming -
They join the growing group on the window sill -
 But some need drastic repair - are they getting too dry?? -
 That window sill, from outside....
 ... and inside ....

20 July 2018

Apron du jour

Thanks to Erika who sent this delight from Australia - those animals make me snort with incredulity (and joy!) and when unfolded it amply covers front, sides and most of the back of me.

Plus there's a large and useful front pocket, the pattern so carefully matched -- today in the "100 Drawings in a Day" course (at City Lit), that pocket held my phone/camera ... the course went at such a pace, there wasn't time to dig around in a bag for a camera, or hardly time to remember to take a photo! Which leaves one rather exhausted at the end of the day....
The chicken ... ah the chicken!!

19 July 2018

Poetry Thursday - a bit of Wordsworth

Quite a lot of unattributed poetry passed before my eyes this week, as part of a novel called The Home-Maker by Dorothy Canfield Fisher. Published in 1924, it's the story of a family of unhappy individuals and a turn of fortune that sends the micro-managing wife out to work and keeps the husband in a wheelchair to look after the house and children. He has a lot of poetry running through his brain, no doubt part of the literary currency at that time but rather tedious and/or obscure now. As well as the claustrophobia of the small-town setting, the social givens and constraints at the time, which come across so well in the book, make me so very glad to be living now, not 100 years ago - sisters, we really have come a long way....
DCF writing
Dorothy Canfield Fisher (via)
 "The scene where [Lester, the house-husband] surreptitiously watches his youngest child learning to use an egg-whisk is one of the great scenes in the literature of childhood" and this snippet comes from that scene:
Why with such earnest pains dost thou provoke
The years to bring the inevitable yoke?
It turns out to be from Wordsworth's "Ode on Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood" - a good choice for the context, as the spirit of the poem comes and goes throughout the book, not just in that scene. Read all 202 lines of it here; it won't take long, and you'll recognise some familiar phrases. The excerpt is from the middle of the poem -

Thou, whose exterior semblance doth belie
        Thy soul's immensity;
Thou best philosopher, who yet dost keep 110
Thy heritage, thou eye among the blind,
That, deaf and silent, read'st the eternal deep,
Haunted for ever by the eternal Mind,—
        Mighty Prophet! Seer blest!
        On whom those truths do rest 115
Which we are toiling all our lives to find;
Thou, over whom thy immortality
Broods like the day, a master o'er a slave,
A Presence which is not to be put by;
Thou little Child, yet glorious in the might 120
Of heaven-born freedom on thy being's height,
Why with such earnest pains dost thou provoke
The years to bring the inevitable yoke,
Thus blindly with thy blessedness at strife?
Full soon thy soul shall have her earthly freight, 125
And custom lie upon thee with a weight
Heavy as frost, and deep almost as life!

An image of William Wordsworth
Young William Wordsworth (via)

18 July 2018

Jameel Prize 5

A quick visit to the V&A to see the Jameel prize show (till 25 November). Worth £25,000, the prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by Islamic tradition, awarded every two years.

It's spaciously displayed in the Porter Gallery, just off the front entrance, and there's a film introducing the finalists: Kamrooz Aram, Hayv Kahraman, Hala Kaiksow, Mehdi Moutashar, naqsh collective, Younes Rahmoun, Wardha Shabbir, and Marina Tabassum.

My favourite piece -
"House in Gaylani" by Hayv Kahraman

See examples of work by other finalists here.

And the winner? ... the first joint winners ... Mehdi Moutashar and Marina Tabassum.

17 July 2018

Drawing Tuesday - Tate Modern

Last week the Drawing Tuesdays group met at Tate Modern, and one of the first things I saw when entering the building was this preparation area. Preparation for what, though, I wondered ... never mind, get on with the work ... So I settled down on the bench behind the glass and focussed....

On closing the sketchbook and looking around I noticed a man in a white shirt in the preparation area -
Yes, it was He, The Artist. It was amusing to see that a pair of women who happened to be passing also recognised Him - they were exchanging quiet smiles (we British are a restrained lot).

Some of the props in the preparation area reminded me a lot of the shadows in the 2016 performance in Rome, Triumphs and Laments (now a permanent mural), and the back of the Tate's turbine hall was blacked out for "a rehearsal", so I went to see what that might be about. There was a decent view from the mezzanine ...
 Kentridge is very hands on -
The boxes open up into rooms, and an entire band occupies one of them at some point, if the snippet of the rehearsal that I saw was anything to go by.
 Many languages are used in the production, with subtitles projected -
 And yes, there are moving shadows -
It's a very ambitious work, and rehearsal time was short, according to this article, where you can also see a short video shot during rehearsal in New York (or catch on youtube).

The performance was 11-15 July; tickets were sold out for quite some time, and also for the talk he gave.

A second exciting event on the day was the RAF flypast of 100 planes - we got a front row seat at the riverside -

But back to the drawing..........

Janet B loves radios -
 Najlaa enjoyed Robert Indiana's sculptures -
 Joyce got involved in a textile piece -
 ... but didn't have red in her toolkit...
photographic rendition
 Judith looked across the river -
 and also at a Tony Cragg sculpture -
 (here's the real thing, or rather a photo of it) -
 Janet K engaged with Miro's Tightrope Walker -
 I was drawn to the "trumpets" and to the perspectival possibilities of the chair -
 Mags arrived late and hadn't settled to drawing (that rehearsal was a distraction!) but showed us some of the book in which she makes observations of exhibitions she's seen -

Homework - "draw some stairs" -

Janet K

My thoughts on perspective
Homework (optional!) for next week - based on this -
- "rub a leaf" .

16 July 2018

Birthday cake

A simple recipe, a wartime recipe -

It's from a book published for the Royal College of Art's 150th birthday in 1987, and ever since then I've used it for many a birthday cake. A simple filling of whipped cream, a topping of seasonal fruit - wonderful! 

The recipe is rather strange - it uses vinegar and bicarb as leavening, rather than beaten eggs, and I found that adding the liquid ingredients to the dry ones produced a lot of lumps ... and by the time they were sorted, the fizz had rather died down. (Perhaps this is why it's called Gunpowder Cake?)
Thin layers, waiting to be stacked up
With a bit (!) of whipped cream, and the contrast of the redcurrants, it was definitely palatable, delicious in fact.

The occasion today was Tom's birthday; we had a "special family meal", as you do...  Portuguese Pork with Peppers is a favorite - tenderloin is cut into medallions and pounded thin, then marinated in a mixture (made in a pestle and mortar) of garlic, peppercorns, coarse salt, and olive oil.

First the meat is cooked (it's keeping warm, in the photo, over the baby potatoes) and then julienned red peppers are added - in the cup is wine, which gets added next, the meat returned, and all simmered for 10 minutes or so.

 A squirt of lemon juice finishes it off, and if you want to be fancy, thin lemon slices are the garnish.

Along with the little potatoes, serve with a green salad or a green veg. Simple and delicious.
Birthday boy