19 August 2017

Saturday roundup

This week it was great to reconnect with Hilary via her wonderfully thoughtful blog - about fashion! - just when I felt a bit of garment sewing and bold wardrobe revitalisation coming on. The most immediate benefit is the (re)discovery of Laurie Anderson - here is her "Sharkey's Day".

Some vignettes and vistas from last Saturday's visit to the mega-garden centre -

This walnut tree was planted a few years before I moved to Sparsholt Road, my first north London home, in 1983, where housemate and friend Vicky still lives. The little tree is quite sizeable now, but I have no idea whether any walnuts have been harvested from it. In the meantime "the railway" put up a fence and we don't have access to it -

A Crouch End charity shop was offering a set of 12 linocuts for £399 -

Also in Crouch End, twilight walks back from The Garden In Progress revealed some lovely doors -

Here's a situation (reflections at Horniman Museum) that I fantasize is called "Mr and Mrs Gorilla go to the Zoo" -

And here's where N4 and N7 meet - other side of Finsbury Park station - there may be other such coincidences as well -

Strolling in the City, I found inspiration for my "Gridded" journal quilts -
 and couldn't resist snapping these creatures on Holborn Viaduct -
 In west London, Kew yielded this bike shed which is just a roof with a bit of tasteful planting -
 ... must get some of this ...
 Sadly, another pair of abandoned shoes, in Kew -
I was in Kew not for the gardens this time, but for a talk at the National Archives. In this Summer Series, documents relating to the talk have been laid out, with explanatory labels - some go back to the 1200s and this week's back "merely" to the 16th century. Click on the photos to see the lovely handwriting -

What an amazing resource.

A short walk with Living Streets had us noticing the environment in a different way.

Hedges planted near the road to block noise - and sight of traffic

Different types of paving ... which is for the pedestrians?

A street without activity - does it feel safe?

Are railings actually functional?
Seen in the Hampstead Heath area -
Summer weather

Window washer

Safebreaker 1, locksmith's window display

Safebreaker 2

Locks and keys

18 August 2017

Surfacing in the studio

What, I wondered, would make my studio more welcoming? It is bright and spacious, and contains a treasure trove of mixed-media materials and an arsenal of art tools, but I'm not enjoying being in there. 

Basically this is because I'd rather be out of the house altogether, but some deadlines are almost upon us and I need to spend time in the studio.

So, for now, let's blame everything on the mottled brown lino floor ... fortunately there's a spare rug and it's now in place -
Not very practical for dropping ink on (inadvertently) or losing pins in, but it's mad the room look much more cheerful. And it's led to a bit of going-through-bags and putting-things-away, so perhaps it's a magic carpet?

Various things were found in the bags -
Silky start for a cushion cover? Early 2000s - I'd planned to embroider
four chinese characters in the centre, and free-machine the outside

Painting from a class in 2013 or so, done from a photo
I took in an unmemorable seaside town; size is A2-ish

Inky squiggles, done on the Extended Drawing course a couple of years ago
 And then there was the cardboard box full of these, packed up before the renovation - I hadn't missed them in the intervening couple of years, but each item has its memories ....
Still, none have much use so they may well be on their way to the charity shop soon.

17 August 2017

Poetry Thursday - inkwell Daybreak by Jean Valentine

Drawing by Vija Celmins (via)

Inkwell    daybreak

Inkwell          daybreak


Dear girls and boys,
would you go with me and tell me
back to the beginning
--so we can understand!
the journey of our lives
where we met with cruelty
but kindness, too,
and nosed up out
of the cold dark water,
and walked on our fins...

I heard this on the Poetry Foundation's Poem of the Day podcast - listen to it online here, or - along with many other of her poems - on her own website.

Jean Valentine was born in Chicago in 1934 and published her first book of poems in 1965; it won the Yale Younger Poets award, and another dozen books have followed. "Her lyric poems" says the Poetry Foundation site,
 delve into dream lives with glimpses of the personal and political. In the New York Times Book Review, David Kalstone said of her work, “Valentine has a gift for tough strangeness, but also a dreamlike syntax and manner of arranging the lines of ... short poems so as to draw us into the doubleness and fluency of feelings.”

16 August 2017

Fabulously felted

When Jill Hutton started combining wire and wool, one idea led to another and she found herself with a menagerie of felted animals ... and some "characters" to keep the wee beasties in order -

Now she's plunged heart and soul into felting people - and what characters - they remind me of characters out of Posy Simmons 

 She's also made more animals -
 And she's exhibiting at Painswick Valley Arts Festival, 19/28 August, so if you live out Gloucestershire way, do go along.

15 August 2017

Drawing Tuesday - Docklands

I was early, the sun was shining, and there was a sunny bench just behind the Change Please coffee van 
 So I sat with my coffee and - emboldened by the sketchbook course the previous weekend - had a go at the van, and the building (but not the trees, thanks) -
Soluble graphite, and coffee wash
And then what? I wandered through the Crossrail gardens ...
 and looked at ever so much architecture, especially those wonderful cranes, remnants of the days of Britain's empire, when goods flooded through London from all around the world -
 But now we have offices, and intangibles. Ah well ...

I find that if you start with a small point of interest, the rest can grow outward. The turquoise rope caught my eye, and as I got into position, the two birds deflected my attention. So I started with the one standing on the convenient rudder, and both soon moved out of sight ... not to mention he's now in the wrong place AND too large. The architecture of the boat took over, and I felt very bold using wash over such large areas with the small waterbrush on a quick-drying day -
Grey Posca pen, indigo Inktense pencil
I deliberately took along only water-soluble materials, in order "to boldly go".

 As we sat outside with our sandwiches, this machine was grinding and thumping at the building site across the water; what a relief when it stopped! Jo had the fortitude to sit with it long enough to catch its image -
 Judith had been making order from chaos in the gardens -
 And Sue perched on a bench to get this multifaceted under-bridge view -

Janet B found a chair -
and also brought along her work from last week, when she went to the Design Museum -
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