13 November 2018

Drawing Tuesday - Horniman Museum

The structures on the roof of this building have always intrigued me -
and as there was a convenient bench, I tackled some -

Inside the museum, the Lore of the Land exhibition is showing till June 2019, and I found it wonderful, even the sounds in the background, which were very much part of the show. They were ambiguous and amorphous enough to help concentration, I thought - so much more pleasant than having an explanatory video on a loop!

 Many intriguing objects to choose from - and those shadows! -

Just what sort of a quandry did I get myself into when choosing this splendidly loopy, deliriously spotty, clay pipe -
 It looked quite different from a sitting position than from an aerial view, and transforming one to the other was a challenge -
"Ready to give up!"
 Not quite enough time (or desire, it must be said) to finish - and it's obviously too round at the far side ... but I learned a lot -
More satisfying results from the others -



12 November 2018

Autumn at its best

After a Saturday with torrential rain, Sunday's blue sky and gentle breezes diverted my walk home from the farmers market through the park. Still enough foliage on the trees, but lots underfoot in a riot of colours and shapes as well. You want to take home these scenes of gorgeousness, to keep them against the winter, and how better than with far too many photographs...

The lovely little white clouds, and the big old trees

The boating lake and a pleasing array of overwintering boats

To get the reflections you have to hold your phone/camera right down on the ground
Wildlife is mostly of the birdy sort -
A randomness of pigeons...
... and a regiment of seagulls ...

... and every park worth its salt has a swan or two
These trees reminded me so much of the walk along the Camino, six months ago -

 At the exit from the park, a fastigiate hornbeam looking splendid -
Later, up hill and down dale to dinner cooked in the rapidly-evolving, but not-finished-quite-yet, new kitchen -
 ... and back home through the leafy streets, taking in the panorama of "downtown" - always a pleasure, from a distance at least! -

11 November 2018


Just playing with what's lying around....


Central cavities

A bouquet of lacunae

Temperature gradients

Negative spacing


Rank and file

Emotional monologue

They are being pressed in an old phone book, perhaps for a further purpose, perhaps simply to be discarded later?

What a wonderful thing is a leaf - a "thin, dorsiventrally flattened organ" ... the most important organ of most vascular plants.

In case you were wondering about seasonal leaf loss, here's a bit of science from Wikipedia:

Various accessory pigments (carotenoidsand xanthophylls) are revealed when the tree responds to cold and reduced sunlight by curtailing chlorophyll production. Red anthocyanin pigments are now thought to be produced in the leaf as it dies, possibly to mask the yellow hue left when the chlorophyll is lost—yellow leaves appear to attract herbivores such as aphids. Optical masking of chlorophyll by anthocyanins reduces risk of photo-oxidative damage to leaf cells as they senesce, which otherwise may lower the efficiency of nutrient retrieval from senescing autumn leaves.

10 November 2018

Studio Saturday

A stoneware firing -
 ... my little pots among the big impressive ones -
 No shards this time - though some of the 15 had small imperfections - small, but imperfections none the less -
After photographing each one, the next step is to record and analyse -
 A bit of fun with pots-among-the-limpets ...

 And gathering some groups -
Before an after - except that one hasn't been fired yet. This shows how much they shrink -
 More fun with the broken pots - combined with woodblock prints?
Wrapped in thread but pieces keep crumbling away - perhaps dip it into wax... see what happens ...
 I invested in some gilding supplies and found some paperclay potlets to practise on -
 Midweek, I felt that things were starting to sort themselves out -
But on Monday the electrician who is hooking up the new kiln will need access to the fuse box above my desk, so the fragile pots have been put out of harm's way, after yet more sorting and list-making and some vague thoughts about The Way Forward ... but Action can wait till after the Open Studio, 24 November, has been prepared for and experienced.

A few dipped pots have been waiting to be "fixed" for weeks now. The tall ones have holes in the base, unfortunately, but other than that they're almost ready to fire -
 Here's a "before and after" ... dull, dull, dull ...
This little one has lost it's data sheet - or never had one - or there's been a mismatch ... it can get very confusing!
I've not been entirely systematic, and indeed the main aim of "my system" has been to identify the pots in terms of how they were made from fabric and what materials were used, and to match the ephemeral fabric pot (Before) with the end product (After). Keeping a record encourages close looking and identification of the problems - and good points! - through which I'm starting to find out what I want and don't want to carry on with. Gradually you get into a sort of rhythm and feel calmer and bolder, striding out into the unknown, hopefully - rather than going around in tiny fussy circles.

One of my plans for next week is to do some gilding of broken pots; this will include a good rummage among Old Work and possibly some culling. Even thinking about it makes me uncomfortable ... smash my pots?? ... well, we'll see....

09 November 2018

Walk in woollyness

After experiencing the delicious comfort of alpaca hiking socks, I have a yen to knit some woolly socks, and indeed my stash contains rather a lot of 4-ply.
Enough for half a dozen pairs in jolly colour combinations, you'd think.

But an imp is driving the sock idea round and round in my head. I've looked up techniques and methods - magic loop or double-pointed needles? Start at the toe or start at the top? Knit both socks at once?

So it was off to the nearest wool shop - Knit With Attitude in Stoke Newington, which involves a stroll through two parks and along streets lined with vivid autumnal trees, all very pleasant.

Then came decisions - 4ply or DK? hand-dyed? solids? And the small matter of the price point... can't have them all ...
And whatever happened to my plan to "use what you have"??

Xmas is fast a-coming, and like my mother before me I get pleasure from making, rather than buying, gifts, be they ever so humble. Quite possibly the first of the socks will be stepped out in by feet other than mine.

Here's a basic pattern on double-pointed needles for various sizes of feet, knit from the top down. This pattern has a little ribbing at the sides ... or I might rib throughout. Step by step tutorial about the basics of sock knitting; others are available!