Tag Archives: art

Been a bit busy


Back soon …


The march of the blue labels


They have reached W now.  Hurray!

In another vein, I found this little treasure.

I expect everyone else knows about Tan, but I didn’t.  Grandpa’s story had great charm, and Night of the turtle rescue was brief and bold (and tough).  But I think my favourite was Distant rain, about the reciprocal gravity of unread poems; close to my heart.



We only have the edge of the storm, and the sea has often been more spectacular; however, there was plenty of white water and the horizon was lumpy and vigorous.


Someone had been having fun.  I pottered in a convocation of beach art.


The moment of sun expired and the reed beds heaved in the freshening gusts, and the spindly trees leaned and moaned and thrashed.


Full day


Today I had enough to do.  (Click a thumbnail for the gallery)

First, make your terra sigillata



Still in denial about the date, especially as we have scarcely seen daylight.  However:  no resolutions, but one can make an action of intent.


First try.  Inlaid with beach clay medallion, bought animal bead, glass beads.  The white candles came slick from the moulds, the smooth finish making them look more incompetent (I thought) than the woggly hand-dipped layer I subsequently added.  Don’t like the maroon (hand did literally slip) and it was also full of tiny bubbles, due to maker ignorance, I presume.  That left me fooling about with the white beads, so as not to quarrel with the bubbles.


Has a claim to be the earliest SF story going, as an imagination of gravity and Copernicus’ theory form part of the story.  Also has in a slightly immature form the classic SF twist:  the lunar civilisation seems utopian, with food, shelter, ordered society without friction, no need for legislation or punishment, until you find out that the newborn are inspected for signs of incipient deviancy and, if dodgy, are deported briskly to planet Earth.  This neatly places a query over utopia, while marrying new science with the mediaeval world view in which change and imperfection reside in the sublunary world.


Also a particularly enjoyable title page, especially the verso.


And then there is this one, which is rather like being given a cordon bleu cookery book, though much more interesting.  Instructions about how to modify your propane burner or construct a flue with your angle grinder place most of this beyond my skills, and I didn’t much care for the casual references to vaporised hydrochloric acid.  I have used a top hat raku kiln, though, (supervised!), and have done naughty raku from my electric kiln, and made bonfire clamps to fire beach clay pots, so a good deal of it spoke to me.


So start where you can:  make some terra sigillata.  In theory it is a perfectly simple levigation process, requiring only water and patience.  If emulating the ancients, I won’t even need a rubber tube to siphon, as it should be possible to decant the layers.  Luckily beach clay is free and plentiful for experiments where you don’t know what you are doing.  As I, of course, do not.

A case of travelling hopefully?   Happy *** ****, fellow bloggers.



Knew I was ailing by the way the blobs were outnumbering the things with holes in the top

1-throwSo I had lunch with these

2-owlyand other birdyness.

3-birdnessIt’s tricky to do simultaneous handles and sneezing, even for these pusillanimous pots

4-handledSo with hail storms thundering down outside I settled for puzzling.  I was repelled by these emasculated unicorns and etiolated females and their very questionable symbolism (a gift – sorry, giver) but was too obstinate not to finish.

5-unicornCash from the charity shop was ok and had all its pieces, which was a surprise,

6-cashand it was interesting to review the Ladybirds, making me remember the comics of childhood, conspicuously post-war even twenty years on.  Also a complete puzzle; good source, if I could remember which shop it was.

7-armedSo I burrowed in the cupboard and found an old favourite, top notch all round, which I do every five years or so, holding my breath to see if any of the pieces have leaked out and been lost.

8-suspenseWill find out soon.  And outside the weather is building.  Hail, I think, again, out there in the buffeting blackness.

Five go to an island


In the hot grey morning, the boat was our best idea of the day. Puttering sedately over an almost motionless blue, we coasted past porous limestone, were inserted into one of the caves to admire its knobbly depths, and pottered on to land briefly on the island.

On the ridge of this small eminence a little air moved, and we looked up the coast past small sandless beaches and bays.  A few bugs and butterflies moved through the beige rock, dusty brown skims of soil, dry stalks and stems, and surprisingly rich green and juicy-looking tufts of new leaves, rather like hyacinth (alas, failure to botanise properly).

It was too soon to leave but time was up, and we motored away under the arms of the saint.

13th November:  the gallery





The afternoon was three hours of my life I will never get back again. If I wanted Brighton in the high season, I would go to Brighton in the high season.

So let’s only remember the morning.

The canopied stones gave us room to breathe and rest, to try to unpick the patterns of wall and passage way. Purists might boggle at the reconstructions, but these did allow us to see the design, and the fragile original carvings would soon have wasted and dwindled away without shelter. Even with the concrete intrusions, the ruin felt free of our time:  impassive.

Then the cave, undulant of ceiling, with stout stalagmites and a beautiful section preserved. (I turned the camera off auto and personally adjusted the shutter speed. See how I am coming along.) In the coolth one could value the troglodyte life, when in Britain cave dwellings seem merely an exaggeration of the climate’s dank dark misery.

And lastly the windy platform where scattered slabs and columns and paving spoke of three great cultures – only we have not yet learned the words.

We crushed a thousand tufts of wild rocket underfoot, and their scent rose pungently into the sunny air.

11th November – the gallery