Tuesday 1 December 2015

September - December 2015

A great deal of my time has been spent looking for somewhere to live where I can also have Bella
and Fizz, a seemingly almost impossible task. My studio has been filled with books for months, books and more books, stacked under tables and desks, leaving just enough room to perch my toes, whilst I work. I discovered that storage units do get damp, the slightest drop of moisture transforms towards damp mould and multiples. Beware of even the lightest shower when decanting things from car to unit. Minor problems and now all resolved as beautiful, old, character filled town house is now ours and for a long let. 'Our', however does not involve Fizz unfortunately, who is now a studio cat and soon to be a London cat when he goes to live with my daughter. Hopefully I can persuade the owner that he is not only beautiful but also very civilised, which he certainly is and he can live with his family of 14 years.
And as from today, the internet is connected. I have an enormous red Aga, wooden floors and white walls, oak beams and beautiful Georgian windows. There is also a courtyard garden, thankfully rather neglected, that I am planning great things for. It has a mix of stone walls and brick walls, some of which are old Dutch bricks used as ballast in ships returning to Topsham from Holland, having delivered wool from Devon. There is a rambling vine with black grapes that the neighbouring starlings swoop down upon in chattering and happy hoards. I have always loved the chatter and whistling of starlings in winter and now they gather on the rooftops all around me. And yet I think that the most defining quality of this house is a deep pervading sense of peace. I also have fairly close neighbours, which is a new experience for me. 
So what happened in September and October? Pretty much rooted in Devon, some forays onto Exmoor and down to Cornwall and East Devon. Stone step above is at the entrance to the Hybrid Gallery in Honiton and looks like an image of a sheep set against the Dartmoor landscape is engraved into it. 
Honiton is an old market town in East Devon, famous for lace and loved by me for pavements and gutters, especially in autumn. The thing about keeping this blog is that it does raise up my minor addictions and pre-occupations.

Rusty and long since neglected iron railings in Exeter, now with a definite and certain beauty of their own, reminiscent of ink cap mushrooms - well, vaguely.

An unofficial road sign at Beer in Devon - no dogs I presume, although I have only just realised and Bella had a wonderful time.
Detail of tapestry in Exeter museum - resting ewes birds amongst a carpet of flowers. I have always liked the details of flowers in

medieval  paintings and tapestries and am working on a painting 

where I can have areas of details. It is about refuge and the edge of 

safety. It is slowly brewing in my imagination. The canvas is on 

the easel and the ground work is being done.

Detail of painted mummy board of Au-Set-Shu-Mut in Exeter 

museum. Another pre-occupation - fragments, erosion and 

brightening colours in photo shop to catch a glimpse, perhaps, of 

what they might have looked like.
Detail with falcons of the mummy board of Au-Set-Shu-Mut - colour combinations.
Circle of chalky white flint pebbles on Beer beach - until the tide comes in.
A contemporary interpretation of the craft of cobble stone laying but somehow beautiful.
I have decided to put up a few groups of beach combing and mudlarking finds on my my Etsy Shop
Blackened Roman oyster shells and a rusty metal wedge - a nail or vine nail perhaps, time will tell if the rust is removed, I like it as it is, straifgt from the River Thames. Sea worn plastic from little 
harbour of Marina Piccola on Capri, the bay where, 

they say, Ulysses was seduced by the sirens.
flint and sandstone pebbles from Beer beech in Devon, scallop shells smoothed by the sea to resemble bird's wings from the beach at Newlyn in Cornwall and a couple of beautifully marked pebbles from Charlestown beach, famous for beautiful and unusual stones from many different places that where used as ballast on ships and decanted on the beach, then mixed up by the tides. 

Mother of pearl from the age of mother of pearl button makers in London. By the mid Victorian era the pearl shell trade had reached its height in England with some 2000 tons of shells being imported in 1859 from the East. By the 1890's there were over 200 factories in London and 4000 -5000 people employed in making buttons in Birmingham. 

Looking forward to making video tutorials from the kitchen and the studio. 
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