Sunday 22 March 2015

MARCH 2015

I have been making large papier mache platters. This process involves many layers of paper and glue plus extensive drying time followed by making and applying numerous coats of traditional gesso. My present studio is rather small for my requirements so is challenging. As a consequence I have been working in four different places - different processes in different places - lots of walking back and to. Soon I hope to be moving into a much larger and much sunnier studio where all processes can take place in the same space. 

Sunny days call as spring unfolds at the allotment and by the river where primroses, wood anemones, periwinkles, violets, wild daffodils and the first bluebells are flowering. I am starting to make a series of plaques recording the unfolding year with flowers. The process is the same process as I have used many time over the years since I first pressed flowers into porcelain and put shards of coloured glass into the impressions before firing - my first product for sale in galleries when I was in my teens. I realized then that if I can sell one I can sell a hundred and one.

So the process is - roll out some clay - terracotta will leave traces of coloured stain that looks good. Press in the flowers that you have gathered. Then roll in with a wooden rolling pin. I have marked the edge here with a wooden frame though I prefer the less controlled edge of a free hand clay pinched wall.
Begin to carefully remove the flowers - use a pin to lift the stems.
Flowers removed and impressions left behind.
This is the example where I used a wooden frame. If you choose this method make sure to thoroughly apply a releasing agent - I use Vaseline. Frame repositioned and pressed into place. Clay drawn up around the sides to prevent Plaster of Paris from seeping out before setting.
Plaster of Paris poured into cover the clay - depth dictates thickness of plaque/tile.
I made a second impression from the clay without the wooden frame. I prefer this piece - without boundaries that are so defined. I have plans to make much larger pieces that can be hung in place over inglenook fireplaces - arches of old man's beard - wild clematis - catkins over grasses and wildflowers beneath. I will also take a silicone mould so that I can made repeats. Smaller ones will be made in chocolate. 

I have to take you to a garden,
It is essential that you tell our friends.
I only have one lifetime here.

There is a void 
And the a vision.
The summer rain is felt a music.
The water and the wind whisper through eternity,
A language that we dream of.

Above the mist,
Behind the storm,
Beneath the rain.
Together in a thousand moments.
A delicate symphony of light,
Like diamonds shine and play.
Shadows fall away.
Beauty would be these and death sweet, not sad.

All an elaborate chain of life.
All an elaborate chain of love.
We went up onto Dartmoor to watch the eclipse. I mainly wanted to record the light on the landscape rather than look at the sun/moon. It all began with cloud but cleared enough to see although via my phone I only have light and shadow.

To Hill House Nursery for tea and cake in the garden with friends and to pick up a couple of fruit bushes for the allotment. This little piece of heaven is on my way from studio to home so is a favoured place for meeting up. Photo taken from their website so not quite so abundant just yet.

New beds under way.
Fruit bushes in. When I began this allotment I had visions from flights of fanciful imagination of a form of idyll reminiscent of Marie Antoinette's farm at Versailles crossed with a various French Potager gardens, however I have come back to earth somewhat and am now more inclined to the side of the homely and very traditional ramshackled British Allotment. Although after conversations with fellow allotment holders/neighbours I can't help wishing that our planning laws were broad and generous enough to be akin to Dutch, Swedish and French Allotments where you are encouraged to spent the night and/or weekends in your shed. They are wonderful. 


The Queenhithe MosaicDown by one of my favourite haunts on the foreshore of the River Thames can now be found a most wonderful mosaic charting over 2000 years of Thames life. Designed by Tessa Hunkin and made by Southbank Mosaics - I have captured it's details, alhithebeit on my i-phone. More than one million tiles cut and layered onto the 30 meter long mosaic, bordered with mudlarked pottery shards, clay pipe stems, shells and fragments of our shared social history, developed by up to 300 volunteers bringing the history of over 2000 years of Thames life to life.

Gathering and Collecting

The Plan
The Work

January 2015
Short days and long nights hunting by moonlight.
Modroc - scrim and Plaster of Paris form for displaying necklaces.
Fizz settling into his new home.
Dartmoor horizons.
Painterly via photoshop tweaking.
February 2015
Boxes from Shepherds - perfect packaging for necklaces.

iphone photos - a little blurry - of tiles - birds from the fireplace surround at Birdwood House Gallery in Totnes - every week a new exhibition of work.
Very large and exuberant paper snowdrops by Heidrun Guest from PaperWorks - a wonderful emporium run by David & Heidrun Guest that is one of if not the most interesting paper shop in the U.K 
Down to the allotment today - the mown grass marks my boundary. The stacked wood is to be used for posts and possibly a shed but most definitely a shelter for Bella who relaxes and watches me work or sunbathes and dreams.
The Lasagna method is working beautifully - all the layers have transformed into an enriched mulch and many of the larger thistles and dandelions appear to have disappeared. Now to plant the roses that have been pot bound since leaving Dartington.
Adding compost from the compost bin.

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