31 January 2019

Daily this and daily that

Inevitably January is a time of new starts and often these are tied up with (imho) the silliest of all things, New Year's Resolutions. 

But how else do you decided when to start something that you hope to continue, or make a habit? Apart from the convenience factor of the start of a year or first day of the month, probably you just decide, on the day, and you might set some sort of time frame - a week or a year or whatever - and see how it goes.

I quite like the idea of 90 days, but have never managed it! (yet...)

So, at the moment I'm engaged in some "daily" things. 

First, the 10K steps, which my fitbit has been instrumental in supporting. In the past couple of weeks I've not been hitting the heights of 2018 and have slipped up on daily targets because of being at home - being creative! - which involves sitting (or standing) still. It takes about two hours to fulfill the daily walking target and I've become a bit lazy and idsorganised. Getting out in the air and sun and light yesterday, though, reminded me of how good it is to Keep Moving.

With the purchase of the Art of the Fold book I dreamed of making one of the structures each day, working through the book. Well, first of all I started in the middle of the book, and made three the first day, and none since. But a home-day stretches ahead and the paper is laid out and waiting....

Some daily things consist of burdens that need shifting. These may be with us for shorter or longer times. For instance, the past couple of weeks have contained this thought, at one or more times in the day: "Must write that article today; goodness how long would it take; oh for heaven's sake, just do it, eh?" ... and then something appears that's more urgent. (This is why we love deadlines: suddenly the avoidable thing becomes the only priority!)

Having despatched that article First Thing this morning, I had a moment to reflect on how important it is to "do the most important thing at your best time". Gosh isn't it difficult to sort out what that most important thing is, though! Maybe it's the new "daily" task that needs to be slotted into the daily routine; maybe it's something that you rashly agreed to do and now regret. Maybe it's getting out of the house and escaping it all for a while!

Which brings me to Daily Clutter Removal. This is a task I'm sharing with a distant friend - the idea is that we each work on (or in) one or other room and get rid of "some" (quantity unspecified) clutter every day, and report progress to each other. I'm very pleased to have gone from this -
 through this -
 to this -
leaving the knitting and sewing baskets, 'cos that's where they get used.

Most of this DCR consisted of removing (unread) magazines and resolving to "read" (thumb through?) them, over breakfast, and pass them on -
Hmm, where next? But first, a reward - choosing the colours for the next pair of socks -
Top rib will be paleish and darker turquois, with a little stripe in lime before the purple rib of the main sock, with (nylon reinforced) heels and toes in turquoise.

Actually that's another daily activity, the knitting - one that is somewhat automatic and thus not regarded as a daily chore. 

30 January 2019

Woodblock Wednesday

 A new term starts. Carol's 1855 woodblock-printed book gets passed around and we marvel at the skill of cutting both text and illustrations -

The inside front cover (read from right to left) and the start of the story
Looking at the moon (possibly from  Hokusai's Lost Manga)

 Mixing up the available colours to get "the" red -

My ersatz registration system - using masking tape to centre the image on the paper -
 ... was not terribly successful -
Large prints are tricky, and thin paper doesn't help. This is a project for continuing at home, where I can spread out a bit more.

Another highly desirable book -

29 January 2019

Drwing Tuesday - Museum of Childhood

The floor at the Museum of Childhood has a certain fascination for me; I've written about it before - the sections made by imprisoned women (mosaic was seen as "a suitable job for a woman" in the later 19th century), the one tile that was placed slightly wrong, the variation in skills shown in the individual tiles, or was that a variation in materials? -
I sat in the cafe area and studied that floor closely, experimenting with some of th random materials found in my art-bag -
Others did more sensible things -
Janet K's warm-up of high chair on rockers, and little
"mushroom" table and elephant

Janet B's facade...

... and doggy-walker

Jo's toys are cheerful despite the totally uninformative labelling...

... and  the coal-wagon advertises coal from Wallsend, near Newcastle

Sue's toy (and its shadows) is activated by squeezing it...

... and the panda  - well, what can you say?

Despite having to retrieve a bag from the bus depot, Judith
documented her encounter with a dragon marionette puppet

Joyce investigated the dollhouses donated by Rachel Whiteread

Carol 's fascination with stuffed toys continues...

... and she brought along some machine embroidery she has embarked on
Before leaving the museum I found some objects that needed to be added to my sketchbook -

28 January 2019

Yesterday's search for "the right paper" for making folded books was somewhat successful, and one book was produced, following the detailed and excellent instructions - the medium-sized one that didn't want to stay closed for its photo -

Today, enthusiasm continued and now there are three -
Finding things to insert into the pockets took a while. Usually you'd make this sort of book because you already had some things that you wanted to keep together, rather than the other way round. I like the way the book shows matching blank cards as inserts, but some old postcards were lying around so I used those in the first instance.
The largest book (about 5" tall) is made from an A3 sized sheet of "letter weight" paper, and the smallest started life as a colour-catcher (its cover is yet to come).

27 January 2019

The way is clear...

I'm very excited that this book has come to live with me. So many exciting "blizzards" and "accordions" - and other structures - and cases and wrappers ... I want to make them all!
 First some Space must be Cleared -
 and at the end of the day, Space has been Cleared - goodness, what one finds along the way, but that's another story -
Now, the right paper must be Found. It's here somewhere... lots of paper has been gathered and kept, over the years, for just this moment.

26 January 2019

Studio Saturday

Getting pots ready for "Aurora"s first firing -

 ... and out ...
The cones show that it would be a good idea to try a lower temperature, 1220 perhaps, and save some electricity. This firing used 11.6 kWh.

Some results - using fabric strips and oddments of wire -

No metal, just gathered synthetic fabric and heat-setting
The rest -

All very light=fragile; one crumbled when I picked it up. Next time, thicker slip!

25 January 2019

"Distinctive wildlife artist"

An artist new to me - though it was rather distressing to discover Greg Poole and his work through the obituary column. There's a tribute from a friend here, and artistic appreciation here.

He wrote about how he came to his art here:

"I was fortunate to be able to rent a house on Bardsey Island for 6 months in 1988 where I really did draw all day every day but ended up realising that I didn’t know how to take the drawings forward.
The block of work made on Bardsey got me a place on a foundation course at Manchester polytechnic and there I realised how thirsty I was for knowledge about materials and ways to go beyond just drawing what I saw. That year was by far the best academic experience of my life and there aren’t many days when I don’t refer back to some aspect of that course."

Monoprint of gannets (via)
Other gannets (via)

RSPB Award 2015, Short-eared Owl Flying
near Diggers (via)