18 March 2018

Mark making (long gone)

Some close-ups of "old work" found recently. Mostly charcoal ... what fun it is to use charcoal ...

These had been stored, protected by tissue, for at least 12 years; hence, a certain amount of blur...


Tiny marks on blotting paper, perhaps seeped through from a top layer -

 From a large pastel abstract -

What pleasure it was to spend a couple of hours on filling an A1 sheet of cartridge paper with colour!

17 March 2018

Society of Bookbinders Book Arts Day

 Book artists had set up their tables
 and chairs were out for Tracey Bush's talk, which took in her books on the Thames and also the making of her prize-winning book "Dusk", based on moths and resembling a moth trap used in doing counts for surveys -
"Dusk" is the centre of attraction
 Batool Showghi had a range of her luscious unique books, based on photographs -
What struck my eye was the one about picnicking in Iran, the photos held down not by glue but by the Iranian textiles and machine stitching -
 ... which looked so graphic on the back of the page -
 Good to see Camberwell Book Arts students represented -
Some artists - quite a few! - were new to me -
Louise Weir, with illustrations for Dickens' "Great Expectations"

Domitilla Biondi uses a scalpel to sculpt the surface of paper
... and many more...

In the afternoon, at the monthly meeting of Hooked in London, I tried out a new book structure that was being demonstrated by Anna Yevtukh, a single-page binding. I had to use the papers on hand ....
... and the result smelt of cherry liqueur ....

Subtle factors like smell and tactility were mentioned by Tracey in her talk. She had planned to do the cutouts in Dusk with a laser, but when it came to it she didn't like the effect ... because of the smell. [In library school, Prof Ettlinger pointed out this property of books to us neophytes - something we hadn't thought of before, but something he had relished for years!]

"Dusk" was enclosed in a japanese-style case, with velvet inside to increase the tactility - instructions for such a case are in this book -
which has been on my shelf for years. Shortly after buying it I used its instructions to make bookcloth backed with japanese paper -- and coincidentally this bookcloth turned up during the recent clearout of my papers (it wasn't thrown out; I still hope to use it for a book one day).

16 March 2018

Another dustcloth day in the studio

The clearout project continues. Yesterday the bottom shelf of the paper storage got "the treatment" -
Not only has at least half the paper gone (via freecycle) but there is some clear floor - wrought out of this sort of chaos -
It's much the same for any studio clearout, isn't it?

Today's first task is the top shelf of the paper storage, which doesn't contain paper - it contains tools and ... surprises ... and rather a lot of dust, because it hasn't been disturbed for a few years!

I knew the stamps were lurking in the back, but had misremembered how many -
Various charities ask you to cut around the stamps and send them along (they get £20 a kilo for them). That little task would take me forever - I remember how long it took to tear the corners off the envelopes. They come from manuscript submissions at BMJ in the days before digital submission, when everything came double-spaced in several copies, in envelopes, hundreds of them every week. I'd seen Tom Phillips' use of stamps to frame some of his Curriculum Vitae series and realised that it was time to revive my stamp-collector activities...

Postage stamps are, after all, a craft material - some good ideas here - I'm sooooo tempted to put them back on the shelf and relegate them to the semifinals of the Studio Clearout game.

Another surprise on the top shelf was several boxes of postcards -
and there are bound to be more in another part of the room. Again, these hark back to the pre-internet days, and to the days when I was discovering all sorts of art and craft  and "needing" all sorts of "inspiration".

(Looking back on your younger self, there are things you wish you'd known - "focus on one thing at a time" is what I'd tell myself. But maybe the scattered-enthusiasm phase is something everyone goes through ... and some get to the focus-and-develop phase more quickly?)

The stamps, the postcards, and the tools had sat ignored on that deep shelf for at least 15 years. The tools did get used - I had a little trug from Ikea with the necessities, hammer, screwdriver, pliers, etc, and they all fit nicely ... but once Tom started using the room as a carpentry shop, it was a case of The Invasion of the Space-Snatchers. I shall empty that trug and put back what I need, and let Tom look through the rest -
The unwanted items can go out on the wall for someone to take home. (A very handy recycling method!)

Even with the stamps and postcards temporarily replaced, there's room for the ceramics materials, and a place to put more once they're found and sorted -
Isn't it wonderful to see empty space?

Now, a few of the "historical" finds along the way ....

.....life drawing (A1 size, charcoal).......

 ...... still life (charcoal)..........
............using pastels (thank you Veronica Slater for the demo at City Lit) .....

 .......reduction lino cut (Ormond Road Workshop; late 80s?)............
Senufo inspiration; also printed on fabric for cushions
 .......screen print...........
based on Braque's birds 
 ...........watercolour (A1 size)...........

..........botanical illustration.........

I did keep some of these, "for now".

Trial run - chips and dip

Trying out a recipe for hummus made with butternut squash and harissa.
Butternut & harissa houmous
The photo that comes with the recipe shows some flatbread for dipping, and there's a recipe for that as well, but it includes yeast and seems to be quite time-consuming. Gone are the days when I'd effortlessly whip something like that up - or need to.

Instead of chaining myself to the stove I bought some seeded tortilla wraps and turned them into tortilla chips - very quick - but you DO have to keep an eye on them or they can overbake very quickly -
Cut into triangles and brush with oil, transfer to
heated baking tray andbake for a few minutes
As for getting hold of ingredients - the largish supermarket across the street had harissa, but not tahini ("what's that?") - whereas the smallish "organic" shop up the road had EIGHT kinds of tahini -
So lucky to have great local shops (and cafes)! And a farmers market every week! It was not always thus........