28 February 2017

Drawing Tuesday - Hunterian Museum

We wanted to fit in another session at the Hunterian before it closes in May. The entire building is being redeveloped (it was redone only 30 years ago), only the facade left; when it reopens, the museum will be on the ground floor, rather than up the grand staircase. Perhaps the august Surgeons don't want hoi polloi invading "their" spaces as they visit the museum?

As usual, there were things in jars and bits of bones and surgical instruments to draw - unusually, there was a loud "soundscape", including the piercing and unstoppable sounds of a machine, accompanying a film or some sort, somehow. Not much fun for the people who have to work there every day - and can't turn the volume down.
Jo found a quiet place and tackled the thing she could see best - the pamphlet rack

Carol found interesting details of instruments

Complementary fish by Najlaa

A quartet of Hartmann's crocodile forceps and scissors, by Judith

Sue's bones

The suturing instruments, found in a pull-out drawer, relate
to my "Suturing" book, exhibited last year

Janet B's many drawings included this display of instruments by
Austrian ophthalmologist Edward Jaeger

Janet K spent a long time with the first drawing, then
repeated it in a matter of minutes (the femurs look almost human, don't they?)
 Extracurricular activities -
Janet K has started drawing on the bus

Janet B was in Dundee last week and made many drawings in the museum
Carol is creating a storybook for her grandson

Sue put finishing touches on her complicated drawing from last week

27 February 2017


Graphic ...
... with a touch of colour.

Needs to be large-scale, don't you think?

26 February 2017

Moving along

"Ghost furniture" wrapped and ready

It made us smile
The van arrived mid-afternoon (we were grateful for the extra packing time). All that stuff, those big pieces of furniture, will fit into that little thing? The movers said they have 20 years' experience of doing this -
It's a puzzle how it will all fit in

Starting to fill up

Four strong men try to close the doors

 Another van will be picking up the leftovers and taking them to storage in Glasgow -
The 8-legged bedstead was built by Tony; the office chair came, during
an office refurbishment, from my old job (so many memories, and
so good that these items will go on to a new life
The house reveals its large rooms ...
The minimal kitchen/dining room
 An unfortunate incident during the moving - Storm Doris slammed the window shut and there was an almighty crashing, tinkling noise -
 120-year-old glass, shattered
 With the furniture (almost) gone, the clearup continues -
Books have been taken to the Oxfam bookshop, Portobello Road
Items like these are going on Freecycle -

Goodbye, goodbye... and on to a (slightly) different life, soon.

25 February 2017

Last lap

The house is ready for the moving van. Anything left goes to freecycle, charity shops, or the bin next week. End of an era!
These go home with me - except for the ironing board

The bags and boxes go to the charity shop

These go to Scotland, along with much more
Anything left in the loft?

What will happen to Esmerelda?

Tony's photos come with me, for sifting and sorting
Reminders of how it was, during the clearing -

During the House Clearing weekend - "take it away and leave a donation"

24 February 2017

The view from the mountain, of the mountain

The view of "the lower mainland" of BC was taken by my sister on one of her local weekend hikes. The glacial fjord, first explored in 1792, is called Indian Arm; Vancouver, first settled in 1862, is in the distance towards the right, and beyond it are the mountains of southern Vancouver Island. The hill in the centre distance is Burnaby Mountain, at the top of which is Simon Fraser University, opened in 1965 - I was one of the 2,500 "charter students", walking through muddy parking lots (everyone drove to "school" in those days) to unfinished buildings ... ah, those were the days, and don't these photos bring it all back ...

10 months before opening -from the back: swimming pool, concourse with library to right,
academic quadrangle [seminar rooms] with lecture rooms and laboratories to its left 

SFU 1965-6, on a day with few cars in the parking lots
(at right), no rain, and the North Shore mountains beyond
Most if not all student drove up to SFU -
the approach road revealed a latter-day Acropolis, but
don't be fooled, there was forest everywhere

23 February 2017

Poetry Thursday - Wallace Stevens, The Poem that took the Place of a Mountain

Wallace Stevens, "The Poem That Took the Place of a Mountain"

There it was, word for word,
The poem that took the place of a mountain.

He breathed its oxygen,
Even when the book lay turned in the dust of his table.

It reminded him how he had needed
A place to go to in his own direction,

How he had recomposed the pines,
Shifted the rocks and picked his way among clouds,

For the outlook that would be right,
Where he would be complete in an unexplained completion:

The exact rock where his inexactness
Would discover, at last, the view toward which they had edged,

Where he could lie and, gazing down at the sea,
Recognize his unique and solitary home.


A fascinating review of a new biography of Wallace Stevens (1879-1955) appeared in the New Yorker in May 2016:
Paul Mariani’s excellent new book, “The Whole Harmonium: The Life of Wallace Stevens” (Simon & Schuster), is a thrilling story of a mind, which emerges from a dispiriting story of a man. It’s hard to think of a more vivid illustration of T. S. Eliot’s principle of the separation between “the man who suffers and the mind which creates.” For most of his life, Stevens was an elaborately defended introvert in a three-piece suit, working as a Hartford insurance executive. He came slowly to a mastery of language, form, and style that revealed a mind like a solar system, with abstract ideas orbiting a radiant lyricism. ... He is certainly the quintessential American poet of the twentieth century, a doubting idealist who invested slight subjects (the weather, often) with oracular gravitas, and grand ones (death, frequently) with capering humor.
And later, among the biographical details:
Stevens took to composing poems on slips of paper in the morning while walking to his office, where his secretary typed them up. The results made him a regular and imposing presence in literary journals, starting in the nineteen-thirties.

Eventually there is a sad end:
Stevens continued to go to work each day into his seventies, even after surgery for a stomach obstruction revealed a metastasizing cancer. He was too august at the firm to be let go, but he was never popular there. His boss remarked, “Unless they told me he had a heart attack, I never would have known he had a heart.”
Insurance man with honorary doctorates (via)

22 February 2017

Jeux d'esprit

It's surprising what turns up during a thorough clearout. These smallish, double-sided bags were made about 10 years ago and have so far resisted all attempts to move on...

... so why not send them into the world via a blog giveaway? If you'd like to enter, send me your details via the contact form in the sidebar. This is open for a week, till 28 February, to be drawn on 1 March.

I did enjoy making them from bits of this'n'that, starting with a long strip of fabric and collecting various "bits" to decorate it, and handles, then sewing the sides together and adding handles (as you do).

21 February 2017

Drawing Tuesday - "Embroidered Dreams"

"Embroidered tales and woven dreams" is a wonderful show of textiles from Central Asia and India - it's on till 25 March and is a nice quiet place to draw - not many visitors, which is unfortunate as the works on show are gorgeous.
My first choice was in a side room that might not be part of the exhibition, an early Islamic textile from Central Asia, 8th or 9th century, silk -
Reindeer with antlers surrounded by S motifs for protection
Inside the chequerboard, the squares are composed of several sections, almost like a log-cabin patchwork design. The colours have faded and what is now dark may have been green and blue, as well as the yellow and red and brown or perhaps black -
Yet again my good intentions to finish this off later in a colourful way came to naught -

A "Safavid chasuble in lampas" from 15h century Iran next caught my eye -
Worn sections were patched with more fabric, carefully pattern-matched

White silks as well as gold-colour, on that blue background - a complicated bit of weaving

I started with fine felt-tip pen and then switched to the freedom of pencil -
The crisp line of the pen is an invitation to lose oneself in ever more detail; it also can be used in a sort of hatching to represent the actual threads in the weaving. Perhaps it's a better idea to start with the pencil and add those hatched threads later with the felt-tip. Next time, maybe?

Jo's models in traditional middle eastern dress

Najlaa's "orange cloth"

Mags' close look at furniture and its shadows (more on her blog)

Sue's complicated fabric pattern

Judith's versatitility

Joyce's notes on embroidery

Michelle's details of patterning

Carole's "strange jewellery"
Extra-curricular activities -
Mags continues with her "train stitching"

Carol drew ancient statuary at the British Museum

Sue went to another Veterinary College evening session

Judith tried out different backgrounds on a copy of last week's work
Najlaa produced more marbling on fabric
Janet's Mexican bag is very much in the spirit of the exhibition

Tool of the week - 
Very fine Mono rubbers; the slightly chunkier one is from Muji

My good intentions and conscience met in a moment of early-morning insomnia and I got the crayons out -
After sharpening every pencil in sight and dithering about colours, in the end I used only the red, a bit of grey, and the remains of my coffee.