31 October 2018

Saw this and...

... wanted to make one immediately! 
By Erica Waaser (via)

Is it a traditional quilt, or is it "contemporary"? The slight irregularity in the pattern might remove it from the traditional category... as might the colourway.

And it's the colours that appeal to me. Though - "tone does the work and colour gets the credit" - it's the dark/light contrast, and the distribution of the slightly different shades of light and dark, that works the magic. 

I also like that it's made of plain fabrics, and am fantasising making one out of wool. 

30 October 2018

Drawing Tuesday - Vestry House Museum

Though I'd deleted 500 photos to make room on my phone, it wasn't letting me take photos at the museum. Fortunately it was more cooperative at the cafe; maybe having wifi made the difference?

The phone took this photo entirely of its own volition -
 Najlaa's love of pattern -
 Jo's growly bear - at least we assumed he's meant to be growling; there's a wind-up mechanism but no possibility of moving body-parts -
 Janet B's second drawing of the wheelbarrows with their tricky angles -
 Sue's autumnal blooms in the balmy garden -
 Linda's satin gown -
 Janet K's still life of wooden objects -
Carol embraced the joy of scraperboard -
Whereas I was so distracted by the camera problem (and one or two other things, but aren't we all) that I wasn't really able to focus on the drawing. Result: a basket, and some negative spaces, hmph. "Must try harder..." -

 Extracurricular activities -
Najlaa's enlarged version of last week's work

... and her well-proportioned door
Carol's continuation of colour-on-colour

Janet K, waiting for a plane, captured fellow passengers

29 October 2018

28 October 2018

Quick meals for one - an Anatolian omelette

"Vorpi jash" means "the orphan's meal", referring to its simple ingredients, says Arto der Haroutunian in Vegetarian Dishes from the Middle East, one of my favourite cookbooks. "For centuries the Anatolian peasants lived, and still do, on such dishes."

In the book the recipe starts with 8 eggs and serves 3-4. This recipe cuts it down to a single serving.

First make the yoghurt sauce. (You may wish to go very easy on the garlic, though I suspect even just a little makes a flavoursome difference.)

Mix a tiny clove of garlic, crushed, and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Add 75ml plain yogurt (full-fat Greek yogurt is the best, imho). If you have a spring onion on hand, finely chop it and add. Sprinkle with 1/8 tsp dried mint.

Now for the eggy part -

In a bowl, mix together 2 eggs, 2 Tbsp milk, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp black pepper; beat lightly until just blended. 

Melt 1 Tbsp butter in a frying pan over moderate heat. Carefully pour in the mixture, stir, and leave to cook for a few minutes till the top is just set. (I turned the heat to low and put a plate over the pan to help the top set.)

Transfer onto the nice warm plate - the photo shows it flipped over - and add the yogurt sauce. Eat.

Over the years the people I cook for have come to have yogurt with a lot of dishes - curry, chili, to garnish soups - but this is the first time I've tried it with eggs. I put in rather too much garlic and next time will finely grate just the tip of a clove.

Also I'll use a slightly larger frying pan, and will give the egg mixture a good stir at the start. The golden bottom does look lovely, so flipping it onto the plate is worth the effort.

The chopped spring onion (green bit) will also add to the eye-appeal.

This is really quick to make and has protein, calcium, and all sorts of other nutritional necessities. From the eggs "vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B12, vitamin D, selenium and iodine. They also contain vitamin A and a number of other B vitamins including folate, biotin, pantothenic acid and choline, and other essential minerals and trace elements, including phosphorus."

84 kcal per medium egg
5.7g fat, of which 5.6g saturated fat [and the butter will increase this!]
8.3g protein

From the yogurt (75g; based on these values for full-fat greek yogurt)
82 kcal
6.4g fat, of which 4.2g saturates
3.6g carbohydrates, of which 3.5g are sugars [milk contains lactose]
0g dietary fibre
2.8g protein

Perhaps a bit high in fat for the modern diet, but those calories would have been important to the hard-working peasant.

27 October 2018

Studio Saturday

The first part of the week was eaten up by the need to get the windows painted, but on Thursday I spent the entire day at the studio.

First thing in the morning, Tom and Kyle put in the trunking and cable for the new kiln. Next week a proper electrician will make the connections and provide a certificate.

While they stepped on my desk (etc) I sat, away from the action, and got quite a lot of knitting done.

Later there was a bit of photography of people's work that was sitting around, thinking ahead to making an invitation for the Open Studio on Saturday 24 November. More info later, such as timing, but I can reveal that the address is 3 Wedmore Street, London N19 4RU, off Holloway.

Kate M


Kate D
 As you can see, we're a diverse lot of potters/ceramicists.

Meanwhile my claim to being a potter/ceramicist took a small step forward as I looked carefully at what came out of the latest firing -

some 32 pots, 18 of which were ok structurally, though some of those did have broken bits upon close examination.
First each pot was photographed (for the record) and then I looked closely at it and thought hard about it and made notes, and gradually a list of "what to try next" formed in my studio notebook. (The little pot holds the shards. Those need recording too.)
More pots that are shards - or implosions - or "interesting" in that they can be treated in different ways, perhaps playfully, perhaps transformatively...
As the day wore on, I kept wondering "Will it arrive?" - and finally, after 4pm, it did the kiln was delivered, all the way from Stoke-on-Trent -
 Thanks to the helpful driver, who made sure it got safely into the studio -
 We unwrapped it ....
 ... and put "Aurora" in the kiln room, where she'll have to wait till next week to be connected up. And then the test firing. And then the real stuff can start!
More than a dozen dipped pots need tidying up before firing, and another dozen or so are stitched but not dipped. That's "the old stuff". 

Going forward, the list of what to try next (in the studio notebook) contains, as subtext, an implicit list of what not to bother with henceforth. For instance, I find the texture on the crochet pots too textured, generally (but they were easy to make, something to do while travelling) - instead I like the subtle textures of the bias pots, which unfortunately have a tendency to fall apart at the rim or crumble under less-than-gentle handling.

Also I'm (still; always...) thinking of ways to display - how about pots on "magic carpets"? -
 These are scraps with stitched marks - asemic writing, sometimes inspired by overheard one-sided conversations, interminable monologues on mobile phones in a train carriage...
Such conversations could erupt from the tranquility of the pot ....
On Friday, various rearrangements of the unbroken pots for the publicity shot for the Open Studio invitation 

 and yet another new arrival - some heating!
In fact we have two of these oil-filled radiators. I'm rather dreading the cold weather and it will be lovely to have somewhere to warm up the frozen fingers...

26 October 2018

Les Hortillonnages, Amiens

In Amiens, I stumbled upon the Hortillonnages. In fact when I looked at the map to see where Amiens might be, it was the configuration of blue that caught my eye - it turned out to be the river Somme, and what a lot of lakes etc...
You can walk for 7km along a riverside path ... but on the day my feet took me towards the park, and an instinct sent the feet along a different path, the sun was low in the sky. 

Les Hortillonnages are the area at top left - here's the satellite view, closer up -
An area of drainage canals and small islands containing gardens and summer cottages, accessible only by small boats. It's been like this for about 800 years; originally the area covered 10,000 hectares, now only 300 hectares are left, of which 25 hectares or so are used by a dozen of the remaining market gardeners.

A short way along the road was a sign indicating an art display -
 Over the bridge (the passerelle) we go, to check it out -
 What a lovely peaceful place.

 Part of Sheena Seek's installation -

Hopefully the text will be legible if you click on the image -
 The next one didn't work so well for me -

 This was hard to photograph -

 One part of the larger whole - it had a really good feeling to it -

 Not art, just someone's hidey-hole....
 Back to the installations - a hop yard -

 These lovely white branches, a skeleton that might be walking around in the forest -

 Some things that were there became part of "the art" ...

 A distant view of something jolly -

 More glimpses over the canals -

 Back to the art - this one was large and you only "got it" after walking around for a while -

 A view into the city, and this strange monster crawling out of the swamp...

 Back to the riverside and the calm reflections of evening -

 But it was the anarchic area of old cottages and leaping spans (high enough to pole a boat underneath) that was so interesting -