Friday, 27 December 2013
From which you may gather that the family has all gone home, having eaten the goose and the turkey and all the trimmings. We are reassembling, lots more of us, in Dorset tomorrow to have a week-long celebration of Ruth's birthday which is a special one. I am picking up a suckling pig from the Ledbury butcher, Mr Waller, early tomorrow morning.
Sunday, 22 December 2013
At the last Guild meeting, a member, Lesley Dunn, produced a book she had borrowed, 'Miniature Overshot'. A quick flick told me that this was worth buying and so I did. I have just finished reading it. Amazing! Marvellously interesting! All weavers should have one! Miss Bertha Hayes invented her own designs around the 1940s and kept meticulous records along with samples. Apart from an incredibly interesting history, there are copies of her records together with computer generated drafts from the records. The patterns are great. A lot of them are name drafts but some are based on current topics of interest. For instance, there is one called 'Bomber Flight' and there they are, though they look more like Vulcans than Lancasters. I must definitely do that one. If someone gives you a token for Christmas, spend on this book. A wonderful piece of work by the dedicated weavers who put together all the data.
And on the subject of Vulcans, I am reminded of the phrase 'VOG. Stand by your benches'. In the UK, this was used for years after the Vulcans went to the great airport in the sky. Somewhat equivalent to 'Houston, we have a problem.'
Saturday, 21 December 2013
It seems that one or two other weavers would like to use the same threading which comes from Marguerite Davison's book and has six different treadlings. Anyway I have done my bit.
The other way I am involved is not so painless. For the project, it is necessary that the yarn produced by the spinners should be dyed the same colours as the cottolin yarn the weavers are using. I have done colour matching several times before but that was always just repeating an initial recipe rather than trying to get a colour match to an existing colour. So I consulted the expert, my sister, Dorothy, and was told what to do. I have produced six sample dyed skeins in various blues and I know what I did to get each. The skeins are drying at the moment but it is fairly clear where the colour I want lies. That took all afternoon today. And I have another three colours to do. And the family arrives on Tuesday. So I need to start early tomorrow and try and get the other three colours done.There is a lot of doing nothing while the skeins are steamed. The method is sufficiently interesting that I am recording it carefully and will write it up with photos on my website.
Friday, 20 December 2013
Yesterday I set out at 1500 hours and drove to Blewbury where I visited some old friends - dating back to my research student days. A lovely tea in front of a blazing open fire and lots of gossip exchange. Then on to Moulsford Cricket Pavilion where a group of textile enthusiasts meet once a month. The objective was a lesson in spinning, wheel and fibre kindly supplied by Linda Scurr and advice supplied by Carol Crowdie and Linda. I managed (with a lot of help) to spin two bobbins full, very lumpy. Then I plied it, even lumpier. It is now in a skein. Everyone advised me to call it textured yarn. Hmph. It may well be textured but lot of it is not yarn. I am NOT showing a photo of the skein.
I stayed with Rosie Price overnight and drove home this morning with some red cottolin which must be warped up asap. This is for Kennet Valley Guild's entry to the National Exhibition next May and must go to the next Guild meeting in January to be passed on to the next weaver. I have wound the warp and must go and wind it on.
I have decided to go to Convergence in 2014 which will take a bit of organising as I have to get from Newark to Stockholm. This can be done very expensively in a nonstop flight or at a third of that cost if I stop at Rejkavick (spelling?) for an hour. Now to fill up all the HGA forms.
Wednesday, 18 December 2013
The weaving on the Megado is progressing. I can easily weave half a metre a day. The concertina book project was halted yesterday while I thought and I can see a solution which I will try out today. Yesterday I assembled all the Christmas cards and addressed and even posted them at midnight on my way back from Leamington Spa. Today I will fetch back my Bernina from its service. It is a nice machine but it does need servicing regularly. Which costs. I had a Cresta for 40 years and the servicing was done by me. The only reason for getting rid of it was one part wore out and the f irm has long since gone and I could not source a replacement part. I should got one of my subcontracting engineering firms to make me a replacement. It might have been expensive but cheaper than all this servicing. Bah!
Tuesday, 17 December 2013
I have taken photos of my poor eucalyptus which is leaning over alarmingly. I have had a letter from the Malvern Hills District Council saying my request to have it down has gone to the Planning Committee and I will hear the result on 13th January. I just hope it does not come down by itself before then. My trouble is that this is a Conservation Area and the tree is a very big one. The whole of the lowest three feet of the trunk is rotten. I am sad. It was Michael's tree planted 25 years ago. He decided he wanted a particular eucalyptus in that site - a Snow Gum - and we made two visits to Wisley to inspect their collection of eucalyptus trees before a Command Decision was made as to which species to buy. The tree surgeon says it has honey fungus so I will not plant another tree there.
Still we have an even older tree which was his. When we moved into this house 30 odd years ago, my daughter, Ruth, gave Michael a birthday present of a Picea Breweriana = Brewer's Weeping Spruce. It was two foot high and just sat there for three or four years not doing anything which was very worrying. Then it got going. It is now 20 foot high and beautifully shaped.
Monday, 16 December 2013
Worcester Cathedral seen across the river Severn. Here there was once Roman bridge and a major Roman camp (hence the 'cester' = castrum). Here in the 8th century a church was built, the kings of Mercia were buried. It is not the best cathedral in England. To my mind, that is Gloucester with its soaring baptistry. After all, Gloucester was used as Hogwarts. I do regret that I have never seen Lincoln Cathedral. But Worcester Cathedral is a good setting for a concert of Venetian Christmas music. The choir were all in their best red robes - it has a Cathedral school. And there were cornets, crumhorns and early trumpets and people singing from odd bits of the nave. Generally a concert of celebration.
Sunday morning was spent on Midlands Textile Forum paperwork. Not quite finished as I must talk to the bank today. The rest of the day was spent in making books for Christmas presents. It is not quite working as well as I want, due to the Inkjet printer's nasty habit of twisting the paper so the photos come out squint. I am wondering whether to use the laserjet which does not do that but does not produce as nice a print. It is getting a bit late for posting for Christmas. And have I got any decent double-sided paper which I can use with the laserjet? I am using a nice photo paper for the Inkjet which is double-sided but I only have seven sheets left and I need seven sheets for the book. This twisting business means I cannot risk it and must use Bockingford inkjet paper which is nice and not glossy. The first book is glueing up at the moment and I have just had a look at it. Not perfect but okay. It should be completed today.
Friday, 13 December 2013
Thursday, 12 December 2013
I have done as much as I can to repair Webster's Dictionary until the next session in January. I inspected the two other two of my books under repair on Tuesday and decided the only way forward was to make totally new covers. They are both covered in bookcloth which has disappeared in places. But the front of Oglivies Encyclopaedia (1894) is heavily ornamented and my tutor told me I could get it off. I was very dubious about this but tried. The procedure was to lay the front cover, decorated side up, on a tray and cover it with a damp teatowel overnight. And it worked! It just peeled off!
Monday, 9 December 2013
The photo does not show them but there are hook and eye fasteners down the front. The silk lining was bought in Suzhou and the black and gold trim in Shaghai at the end of the Silk Route trip. So one deadline met.
The rest of the weekend was taken up with parties, the Guild one on Saturday and the local Braid Society on Sunday. I like the Braiding Society meetings as I can sit and gossip and do things. This time I was knitting fishes for the Midlands Textile Forum. All very enjoyable. I came home and started clearly up the studio. I managed that last night as well as starting on transferring the jacket pattern from tissue paper to squared stiff paper. The job is about half done. I am feeling very virtuous.
Friday, 6 December 2013
I have started weaving the modified four colour double weave using white and bright green 90/2 silk and it is working fine. I will use this to cover a book (Sweet Thames Flow Gently) but will experiment with weft yarns for the Convergence piece and I am going to start with silk noil. The way I created this draft was to take a four colour weave draft I created when at Bonnie Inouye's class in 2012, substitute a straight draw on 32 shafts for the weft and turn the draft. Of course the two warp colours are now both sage green. But the draft creates the rippling stripes I am looking for.
Wednesday, 4 December 2013
The outbuildings of a farm have been converted into a 'print shed' equipped with very large presses for an artists commune. If you pay an annual fee, you can use the presses freely. What was even better, they were having their Christmas weekend and lots of the artists' work was hung. A very talented bunch, lots of lovely linocuts by Ursula Prosser to which I succumbed in the end. The people were friendly and chatty and quite willing to let me join. So I will do so after Christmas. I do not see me getting there in December.
In the afternoon, I was at the Malvern printmaking class and have just about finished cutting all the linocuts for Sir Patrick Spens. This was the last class till mid-January but the tutor, Karen, has told me how to use my own book press to print the linocuts. I hope I will at least be able to do trial runs and correct/replace any of the lino cuts I do not like. The difference between the class press and the Print Shed is that the class press is very small and, since there are 12 students, I will never get enough time on it to do more than one book. It is my intention to do a number of them. Beware all friends!! I need to do a complete trial run because I have not really decided how to bind it. I am thinking of a single folio with a folded paper cover but I need to decide what weight of cover paper/card would be best so I can see several trials at the binding. There is also the decision about what to put on the cover. I am wondering if I am able to cut a lino cut with title lettering. Well I can always try.
And talking of old films, I was lent a set of Powell and Pressburgers DVDs by my daughter, Anne. The one that surprised me was Tales of Hoffman. I have always been fond of this opera and realised that I must have seen this around 1951 when it came out. Certainly before 1955 when I left Edinburgh. But the treatment in the film has influenced my views on every performance of it I have seen since. Yes it's dubbed and yes the singers are not that good. But - - - the Barcarolle duet where Julietta sings a duet with her reflection is magical and of course I always expect the candles to be turned into diamonds, rubies and emeralds. The dancing is fabulous, much better than you ever get in an opera house but then it was Moira Shearer and Robert Helpmann.
No photos but I have taken the donsu off the Megado and, will take photos today. The next bit of weaving (for Convergence) is turning out well and apart from worrying about what yarn/colours to use in the weft, I will be busy for the next few weeks.
Sunday, 1 December 2013
I woke up this morning feeling disgruntled, because I have several jobs I need to do for other people. And decided not to do any of them. Instead I finished off the book made of mulberry bark paper. Photos of the inside and outside are shown below.
The paper is very irregular in size and thickness and some sheets are practically tissue paper. The fabric cover is of Atlas bought in Khotan. Atlas has a crammed warp of tie-dyed cotton woven as 1 5:1 twill with a weft of fine silk. The texture is very smooth and luxurious. As a book it is fairly useless because any writing in ink promptly spreads.
There are lots of processes involved in making a cased-in (=hardback) book and there is a waiting time for glue to dry between each step. So I wound up more skeins of handspun. There is a whole large rubbish bag of yarn yet to do.
Last night I wove a header on the Megado and then looked for errors. These were very difficult to see with the waistcoat fabric but I had a feeling there were a few threads missing. The errors are marked up now and I need to check out each one. I have a draft ready for the Convergence yardage entry but am also thinking of binding a book with a similar fabric. In fact, the binding is a bit ambitious and needs a copy of ThermoFaxes making. I will not do these until I am sure the fabric is going to work.
Thursday, 28 November 2013
Wednesday, 27 November 2013
Tuesday, 26 November 2013
When I was thinking of going to bed, I got sidetracked on the Overshot drafts. I dyed some silk for this on Sunday and will warp up as soon as the skeins are totally dry. They were dry this morning and I have carefully washed them in Woolite and hung them up.
I went to bed past midnight, having sorted out the draft. I wanted to have two stripes of different overshot and to get that both overshot patterns have to be turned. So the two above are (left) Mary Ann Ostrander and (right) Johann Schleelinein No 120 both from Marguerite Porter Davison's book. In the first draft I did, I did not match up the two patterns carefully enough. This time, the weft repeat for the right one is 60 and the left one is 30 throws and it looks okay. So the repeat for weaving is 60 throws. Tedious. There will a lot more plain weave. I only put in enough to show up that I had it right. Each pattern needs 6 shafts and this project will be woven on my 12 shaft Meyer.
This morning, I started the day by weaving for an hour on the Megado. It is coming along. I am wevaing with 30/2 silk and so it is not growing at a great rate. But I reckon that if I weave for an hour and do something else for an hour, I might get it finished by Thursday.,
Monday, 25 November 2013
I got home at 1630 and set to preparing for Sunday when I was running an acid dyeing class for Kennet Valley Guild. This involved making up new lots of dye solution. The class was very successful. I had a larger class than I like and so had asked one of the most expert if she would be an assistant and that worked beautifully. So thank you Marie FitzSimmons. Most people were dyeing fibre or yarns. But two or three were dyeing silk scarves.
I have a great feeling of freedom today. I have no more commitments until the end of January. The household needs some attention. Today I shall deal with paperwork which I have not touched for more than two weeks. I hope to get some weaving done on the Megado as well. It is time I got on with the sampling needed for the Convergence yardage submission. This is going to be fun. Even more so because I am going to put a bound book into the Society of Bookbinders challenge in 2014 and have come up with a design which uses some of the Convergence yardage!! It is a set book challenge (everyone binds the same book) and I suppose a lot of the other bound books will be in leather (see above for my thoughts on binding in leather). There is a website (Sweet Thames Website) where the problem of designs are being discussed. Well, what I do best is binding a book in fabric so I will do that. I may stencil on to the fabric. It is not needed until next April but I am far enough ahead with the design to see it in my mind's eye. I might even use some of the Japanese gold foil on paper yarn I have stored away. As you know it takes me two years to do a book from the moment of inception. Six months is definitely marginal.
Which reminds me that the College has had some of my books on display since July 2013 and does not want to give them back - the Inspectors are due in December and they want my books to stay on display. Which is all very well but I do get anxious. One is the Omar Khayyam I rebound in stencilled and painted fabric and I would like it back. I have another Omar Khayyam to rebind. My sister was left a 1920s version with etchings and paintings by Frank Brandwyn. I am furiously jealous but have agreed to rebind it. The textblock and covers are okay but someone/thing has eaten the spine cover.
It spent years in Malawi.
Saturday, 23 November 2013
Somewhere in all of this I wove off the rest of the double weave warp on the Voyager. It is narrow but I would like to turn it into a carpet bag like the one Cally Booker made at the Association Summer School in August this year.
After which we went to the Victoria and Albert to see the Chinese scroll painting which were out of this world. I could have stayed for hours. Very well selected running from painted Buddhist banners of 950 AD or so from Dun Huang (been there, done that) to lengthy scrolls in black ink. There was a lovely one of dragons with detailed swirls of cloud. Black and white and grey four-colour double weave? We were all bowled over.
After a cup of tea, two of the party went back to Paddington to go home and Marie and I departed to Shepherds to buy sheets of Chiyogami, mull, Japanese book fasteners and so on.
Today I am going to a one-day class on Endpapers run by the local Bookbinders group. Tomorrow I am running an acid dyeing class at Kennet Valley Guild and must lay everything out in the garage ready for an early start tomorrow. I may have to make up some new dye solutions so have better go and start. The garage is going to be very cold and I will do it in the kitchen this evening with lots of plastic laid down.
Monday, 18 November 2013
Friday, 15 November 2013
I drove up to Dundee on Tuesday and got here rather late. Wednesday was spent walking the dogs and applying paper to fabric. I am running a class on Japanese style bookbinding on Sunday and have to back the fabric for 13 students. It is a bigger class than I like but that is due to pressure at this end rather than my wishes. I did six pieces on Wednesday, took them off the boards this morning and did another eight. Now I have just discovered there are 14 students and have to stop this. I just have not brought enough materials for 14.
Yesterday Dorothy and I went into Edinburgh and visited two exhibitions. The first was in the National Library of Scotland. It was on miniature books. One of them was less than one mm square!! They supplied magnifying glasses. A beautiful little bookcase with tiny books each containing a Shakespeare play. Some are bound in leather. No photos were allowed but I managed to buy a poster which is very informative. After that we visited a Kabuki print exhibition at Museum. This did have an illustrated catalogue to buy.
All these prints have NEVER been published. I did not know that the Scottish Museum has a very large collection of Japanese prints. I must return and look into this. After that, we had a first rate Indian meal and then went to see Don Giovanni done by Scottish Opera. Very good.
This was all in the vicinity of the Old Quad which is the heart of the University. So I inspected the site of the Mathematics Department, now Geography. And I was so taken by all of this that I persuaded Dorothy to take a small diversion and check on the Natural Philosophy Department (Physics to non-Scots). The building is still there and still part of the University but that department has moved out of town. It is a dark grey large building in Scottish baronial style built as a fever hospital. Robert Louis Stevenson had a stay there before he did Travels with a Donkey. All very full of memories. It is sixty years exactly since I went up to University. I did enjoy my years there. The pavement between the Nat Phil Dept and the Old Quad has a groove in it where I trekked back and forth to the caff.
The other thing that has happened is that I am now kitted out for the family game of Murder Mystery at New Year. We went round to an antiques centre and I bought a velvet wrap, a black beaded clutch bag, a 1920 s bandeau in blue velvet and a cigarette box. Everything 1920s. Very satisfactory - especially since I can see me using the velvet wrap a lot.
Tomorrow I am lecturing on Far Eastern Textiles. Not very restful.
Saturday, 9 November 2013
In the evenings, Christmas and New Year were discussed. To be honest I had forgotten about Christmas and have done nothing about it, not even a thought about Christmas presents. Ruth and Robin were more interested in the food and the planning was all ready. Charlotte, my eldest grand-daughter, has taken to organising things and had written a plan. With her and Ruth and Anne (who is the world's most assiduous organiser) there is no point in me getting involved, except of course when I feel strongly about their decisions! It all ended up at Majestics (a wine store) where I spent a lot of money buying wines for a wine tasting that has been set up. I have a huge to-do list which was generated by Ruth. Oh well.
I drove home on Friday morning and got here at 0815 am. Did a huge amount of small jobs, realised I need to do the accounts for the Midlands Textile Forum which has become this morning's job, went down to the local furniture and bought two beds, two mattresses and a chest of drawers for the upstairs office which is well on the way to being a spare bedroom. Next week, the new lighting and power sockets are installed and the room is decorated. I also got everything ready for goign to Dundee where I am teaching Japanese bookbinding. So there is a huge pile of stuff in the hall ready to be packed in the car.
And what have I done in the way of textiles? I have been weaving off what is left on the Voyager of a garish double weave. I am using a grey cotton as the weft to tone it all down.
Tuesday, 5 November 2013
Today I had bookbinding and did a second sewing on two of the three books. This is needed to put tapes on the spine. I will add the endpapers before I go again.
The rest of the day was my own. And I spent it weaving, half time on the Megado and half on the remnant of the double weave warp I have on the Voyager. There are so many games you can play on Warp and Weft Interchange on Double Weave. What I have settled for is a single shuttle in mid grey in order to calm the colours down. And it is looking good. I will take a photo tomorrow when it is daylight. Thursday I am going to London to a day course given by Bonnie Inouye. I am looking forward. There is always something to get your teeth into with Bonnie. The title of the course is Turn the Tied.
Monday, 4 November 2013
I got through all the items from the Kennet Valley Guild meeting on Saturday - emails flying out to everyone concerned and then tidied the contents of my car away. A bit of filing left to do and then (maybe, fingers crossed) I can weave on the Megado.
Sunday, 3 November 2013
In running other courses, acid dyeing, Japanese bookbinding, it does not matter whether they are knowledgeable or not, the purpose of the course is for all the students to go home with stuff ready for a textile project or a completed book or books. So I am happy about those courses. Anyway I have done those two courses so often that a fallback plan comes naturally.
I think the moral of today's course is that teaching a basic technique to an unknown group is not a good idea since you do not know what they know already. The only positive aspect is that I have 1.5 metres of loudly coloured warp on the Voyager with which to do Warp-and-Weft Interchange. It is loudly coloured because I was using up some yarn. It was okay for samples but I think toning it down is needed. Black? White?
Thursday, 31 October 2013
Tuesday, 29 October 2013
Sunday, 27 October 2013
I would write up my day at the Guild exhibition but moving photos around on the iPad is proving difficult because the Marriott's system is so slow. So you will have to wait until I get home.
On Saturday, Madi, my granddaughter, and I set off for Vienna. Today we have done four exhibitions and an opera!!! Three of the exhibitions were in the Albertina and were Matisse and the Fauves, Russian modern art and modern Art in general. The Matisse got a bit samey after three or four rooms. There were three artists who turned into something else shortly afterwards for which they were justly famous. In the case of Braque and van Dongen, their later, more famous, work was so different that the Fauve stuff was not easily identified. But Raoul Dufy's paintings of later were developments of his Fauve work. He was unable to hide his essential cheerfulness about life!!! The Russian work belonged to Gazprom. The nicest thing was a set of photos of knitted berets being worn. These were photographed from the back and were printed at three times life size. Mounted side by side, they looked like barrel cacti. The last exhibition in the Albertina contained a number of Richters.
Then we visited the Mozart house. They have a problem because they do not own much that is relevant to Mozart, a couple of autograph letters and a letter appointing him as court musician. So they fill the space with Goethe and his colour theory which is interesting but not relevant.
The Opera House is very large and has three rings of boxes with two galleries of the gods above that. Lots of marble statuary and gold paint. And a very good performance with Renee Fleming as the Countess. Sold out. Nothing else to say except that there is still music inside my head.
Tomorrow we do Schonbrunn Palace. The biggest problem is finding places to eat for Mafi who is vegetarian. So tomorrow we are going to try a recommended vegetarian restaurant.
Thursday, 24 October 2013
Now I must go and lay out clothes to pack for tomorrow ready for going to Vienna on Saturday. I remembered to go out this afternoon and buy a black sweater and an airline bag which is a replacement for a scruffy canvas shoulder object with American Airlines written on it. A freeby from 30 years ago when an airline was an airline, by gad. The shoulder strap disintegrated on me 18 months ago and I have not been happy without it. It is for the iPad, magazines and books to read and shoving last minute presents in it bought in airports. It is much posher than the airline bag but I wonder if it will last 30 years.
Talking of lots of years, last night I had dinner in a Cheltenham hotel to celebrate a friend's election to the Royal Academy of Engineers. People I had not seen for years were there, including one I met first 40 years ago. I can remember his marriage and meeting his young son who is now studying string theory for his PhD. He himself is an eminent professor in London now. The group was a collection of academics and business people with one thing in common. We all worked on the same kind of scientific spacecraft! Because of looking after Michael, I have dropped out of the engineering/physics world and do not keep up. On the drive home at midnight I decided I ought to. I might subscribe to Scientific American as a start. I don't read the journal sent to me by the Electrical Engineering lot (rather boring but then I was always halfway between physics and engineering) but I do read with great care the Journal of Royal Academy of Engineering. Oddly enough I recently had a missive from the Institute of Physics wanting me to take part in some shenanigans which I declined.
I am halfway through reading Penelope Lively's new book 'Ammonites and Leaping Fish' which is about growing old, well sort of. The combination of these two events is unsettling. Do I have to stay at home and do textiles? Suddenly I have itchy feet. Perhaps I should relocate to Arizona and run a diner in the desert.
A long time ago, British Aerospace sent me to SouthWest America, in particular to Arizona. I was enchanted, the desert was in flower. I scandalised the Company management when I got home and they asked how I got on. I think they were thinking of 'have you brought a contract home'. I said 'God has promised me that, if I am very good, when I die, I can go live in Arizona'. An enormous number of people still quote that back at me. Actually I did bring a contract home.
Tuesday, 22 October 2013
I have completed all the framing and hung the pictures. Finding a space was difficult but they are all up. I have resolved to stop buying works of art, pictures and ceramics.
Yesterday I went to the print class and cut two lino blocks out of the eleven needed for Sir Ptarick Spens. Next time I will practise printing on the press. The tutor is very keen that Hot Pressed paper is used but I may not be able to print the poem on such paper so we are agreed that the first thing to do is just to print on all the suitable kinds of paper I can find in the house. The fall back position is that I print the lino cuts on the correct paper, scan them into the computer and print that but the effect will not be so good. One thing I have realised is that mentally I had decided that Sir Patrick Spens would be a hardback but bound in Japanese style. That makes a big difference to the print layout are I need folded paper. I am wondering about a one section book.
Malvern had three glaziers until recently where I could get picture frames glassed but one went bust, one abandonned doing picture framing and the third uses too thick glass. So I took four frames to Leamington Spa over the weekend and had them properly done. I finished off two pictures last night and am about to finish off the other two. At last the nice piece of gold work bought in Kuala Lumpur is framed!! Now all I need to do is find somewhere to hang the pictures. The other pictures are an interesting selection, an ink drawing by Michael which is tiny but lovely, a print from the Brussels Print Museum and a photo from the Blue Mountains in Australia. Trouble is that I cannot say the framing project is completed because I have one more frame which was not quite ready for glassing last week. That one frame is for a rather nice batik of fishes, again from Kuala Lumpur which I miss visiting.
Today is bookbinding day. I am repairing three books for Derek, my son-in-law. One has the spine present but hanging by a thread and unusable, the other two had no spines at all. So I charged Derek with getting pictures of the spines in good condition for me. He sent them within 24 hours. He got them by looking on ebay to see if any were for sale and using the photos there! I would never have thought of that.
Sunday, 20 October 2013
Friday, 18 October 2013
Not at the moment anyway. For the last six months they (unspecified who) have been digging up a main road just along from my daughter, Anne, in Leamington Spa and have had a major cross roads blocked. Yesterday I came over to look after Alex and Madi for the weekend while parents go to Venice. The unspecified ones chose to move on a bit today and have blocked off two additional major junctions which are close to the first one. The result is gridlock in the city and it takes a lot of extra time to get anywhere. Since I only have two functions here, taxi cab and food provider, I am a wreck. Anyway it is worse than that.
Yesterday was crisis evening. I arrived to find that Anne and Derek's flight had been cancelled by British Airways and they spent a frantic hour trying to get on another flight so instead of a civilised departure from Ruth at Heathrow, they were leaving Stansted at 0630 hours. I have had a call from them -- in Saint Mark's Square outside Florians to say they were happy.
Which was more than I was. I taxied Alex to swimming on Thursday evening and the Saab Dashboard had a weird symbol. On consulting the manual, it means Engine fault- see to it at once. I drove home very carefully. This morning I set out for a garage which was a saga in itself but eventually managed to get it looked at, diagnosed and repaired. So now I am somewhat poorer but definitely happier.
Somehow I have managed to warp up the Pioneer which is a saga to itself and is definitely weird. I have no means of transferring photos with me but will post some as soon as I get home. There are a lot of pluses in the process. Basically you warp up directly on to the loom and you can do this for warps of several yards. I have put on 1.5 metres of 2/10 cotton. Wendy Morris told me that 24 to the inch was as much as you could use without threads jumping out of their slots. My sample is only six inches wide and I have woven a few inches. I will start playing with it tomorrow.
This is just to cheer me up. Two icecreams at Florians in April 2013. One for Debbie and one for me.
Tuesday, 15 October 2013
Then I picked up Kirsten Froberg on my way home past Swindon station and we spent a happy two days discussing weaving topics. She had an appointment with a robemaker in Pershore (just down the road from Malvern) on Monday so I drove her over and stayed to listen. Very interesting. If you have just been appointed Vice-Chancellor of University X, you order your robe from him. So the place is full of black velvet, red and yellow silk, ermine, hat moulds for tricornes and so on. Fabulous ribbon, heavy gold motifs - - indeed everything that a textile nerd finds attractive. Kerstin has a photo which I am hoping she will email to me.
If that was not enough, the robemaker took us into Pershore Abbey and showed us the embroidered copes and altar cloths which were stored away. Quite breath-taking.
It was raining hard so we went Beckford Silk Mill and looked around. Then home to steak and kidney pie. Today we walked on the Malvern Hills before she caught a train to Gatwick on her way home.
Wednesday, 9 October 2013
I went to the bookbinding class in the morning and have started on repairing three old dictionaries, doing them in parallel. Bookbinding is all about hanging about waiting so I need to have several things running in parallel. I reduced all three books to the textblock and removed the glue on their spines. Next week. I shall repair the pages which are not bad. One book needs nothing, one has something wrong with one section and the last has the front two pages in a real mess.
Robin arrived after the class and we spent the afternoon framing pictures. I stripped down an existing one, cleaned it up carefully and reassembled it. Then stripped down another one, threw away the picture (faded beyond belief) and cut a new mountboard for one of Michael's pictures. it was reassembled and both were hung. I use the downstairs toilet as a crammed gallery. A long time ago, I installed a museum style hanging system in there which makes it dead easy to change pictures around. So three works by me have been removed and will be disposed of. Today I have two frames to make and another existing frame to deal with. These are much more important pictures and will be hung in the studio. Robin has equally busy although he got very cross. I have a cutter to make the bevelled inner edges in mountboards and he got the bevel round the wrong way on the same piece of board - twice. So he gave up and had a beer.
I am also hoping to clean up the room upstairs this morning. I can't even walk across the room at the moment.
Tuesday, 8 October 2013
On Sunday we went into London and looked at the Antique Textile Fair in Chelsea Old Town Hall. Much more interesting than the one in Manchester in March. There was a French dealer there selling a small piece of quilting which was Indian 17th century and he wanted a lot of money for it. He also had a large piece of French flowered silk which was 18th century and even more expensive. Lots of lovely things. I bought an obi for £10.00. It is badly marked but it looks like mould and I think I might try to clean it.
Then we went round to the Chelsea Physic Garden and took a garden tour which was very good. It was a warm cloudless day, nore like summer than October.
Due to Robin's arrival, I cleaned up the studio yesterday and sorted out all the little skeins I have made up into boxes. These are for sale at the forthcoming Guild exhibition. The paper boxes were made by Chris Fletcher and are lovely - so much so that I don't want to write a price on them or indeed stick a label on. I was given some handspun wool to use in these boxes and, after sorting out what I had already, I decided what colours to dye the handspun - and got up at 6 am to do the dying. So it is coming up to 8 o'clock and the steaming just about finished!! I will post some pictures when the yarn is dry.
Bookbinding starts up today. I have three Victorian books from my son-in-law, Derek, to repair.
Friday, 4 October 2013
Two books made using the same marbled paper. The right hand one has endpapers of the same marbled paper from Venice as the left hand one's cover. The picture of Venice on the right is by me!! These are fine but I am not sure about the one with mulberry bark paper. I have sewn it but the paper is very fragile and some sheets are very flimsy whereas a couple are much thicker and are okay. It is currently being pressed. Also the book does not have as many pages as I like. But what I do have cost me $50 in Samarkand. I have to put the Atlas cloth onto paper for the cover which I hope to do today.
Thursday, 3 October 2013
I have acquired several books in the last few days. The Midlands Region of the Society of Book-binders is having an internal competition to bind a Japanese book and is prepared to sell copies of the textblock to 'outsiders'. So I have bought two copies. It is properly done on very thin paper with two prints to each page. The pages will be folded and the fold goes at the fore edge. I fancy binding this and will have fun designing the covers. I still have not used some paper printed in gold and bought in Kyoto. It is to have a box too. The Society itself is having a free-for-all in 2014, binding a book called ' Sweet Thames, Run Softly' by Robert Gibbins. It is illustrated with his own woodcuts which are lovely. The idea is that anyone who wants can bind a copy and enter it at the 2014 Conference. There is no judging. I am not a Book Designer and I am sure there will be superb designs on show but why not do what I can do, which will be to design as piece of fabric for the cover. I am sure there will lots bound in leather. That's is beyond me. The book itself is very good and I read it is two sittings.
The other book I have acquired is something I have wanted since 1981. I was ill that year and could not work for several months. I borrowed a very early copy of Ruskin's The Stones of Venice from Gloucester Library, three volumes bound in leather and worked my way through it. Over the years, I have looked at second hand copies but they were either abridged, missing the illustrations or too expensive. Yesterday at Aardvark Books, I asked if they had a copy and they produced two. One abridged and the other a Folio Society version of 2001 in a case - complete. I bought it for £20.00!!
I have been clearing out in what is known as the Fax room, although we have not had a Fax machine for several years. The shelves need to be taken down before the builder starts in on doing something about the damp in that room. The shelves on that side go to the ceiling and were Michael's province and I had no idea what was there. So after 2.5 years, I found all sorts of strange things. A whole lot of tools for making stringed instruments (I know a good home for them), stones for sharpening tools (I need them), innumerable fancy drills, far too many power extension leads, and more cable ties than I will ever use. Oh and lots of internet connections which will go to a good home. So the shelves look quite bare now and at least I know what is there. One day soon I must do the same to the cellar. Another 2.5 years?
Monday, 30 September 2013
On Saturday I went into London with Ruth and Anne and we spent the day being shown how to cook by a Michelin-starred chef, Claude Bosi.
The original idea had been to go shopping in Bond Street but after all that food and wine we all felt decisions were a bit strenuous so went home!
On Sunday we went to Wisley Gardens where they had a scuplture show on. Not as interesting as at Savile Gardens because most of the pieces looked as though they would be happier indoors. But it was a lovely September day and we enjoyed walking round the gardens. After that I drove home.
Friday, 27 September 2013
I have been re-reading Sir Patrick Spens to remind myself of what I need to do in lino-cuts. I found a lot of notes which lay out which verses go on which page and shows a sketch of the accompanying lino-cut. So I am further forward than I thought. I am off to London for the weekend with great things afoot which I will describe when I get back. I am taking all the paperwork about Sir Patrick Spens because I think we will not be doing anything on Sunday morning.
I must say that, rereading the poem, some of the wording jars. Because it has been Englishified and it was written in Lallans. 'new' instead of 'braw'. 'to' everywhere instead of 'tae'. The last verse starts 'Half-ouer, half-ouer to Aberdour/ tis fifty fathoms deep whereas Sir Walter Scott says it should be ' Oh, forty miles from Aberdeen'. Stupid. Doesn't have the right ring at all. This is a Border Ballad and it should thump. I have decided to change the wording throughout. I might see if I can find an original.
Tuesday, 24 September 2013
I have worked hard over the last few weeks and have cleared off all the small jobs I promised people I would do. I am finding that being treasurer of two groups and chairman of a third is more onerous than I expected. The treasurer jobs are not difficult but it is all the meetings which are difficult to juggle. So I have given up the Complex Weavers Study Group on Tied Weaves which I am sad about but another set of deadlines is asking for trouble. I have however just started attending a local class on print making. This I excuse by saying that I must really get on with making the book on Sir Patrick Spens. I intend to have the verses on the righthand side and a lino cut on the lefthand side. What I forgot was that I should have gone to the class with the designs ready. So I spent Monday afternoon at the class drawing out some of the designs. I do not want to start making the lino cuts until the designs are all finished. There may be a problem in selecting paper. At home I have used thin Chinese paper of about 30 gsm which looks good but I could not put through my printer for the text. Those earlier prints were done by rubbing with the back of a spoon but the class has a press!!! So I may be able to use a much heavier paper. The tutor likes to use Hot Pressed waterolour paper which will be at least 120 gsm. I can see a lot of experimentation going on when I start on this in earnest.
One job I have completed is completing the sections on my website. So now all the old sections are present as well as one or two new ones. I will add additional sections as an interesting topic comes up.
Monday, 23 September 2013
Cally Booker but the big difference is that she is a perfectionist and her needlebook is carefully stitched whereas mine are done with glue but I have reinforced the cover with grey board so my excuse is that I am treating them as books!! I managed to make six of these at the Newbury Show. They are being pressed at the moment and I am not sure about a closure. I think it would spoil the appearance but they gape at the moment. You would be surprised at how much fabric you use up doing this.
Kennet Valley Guild has a stand (actually more of a sit) at the Berkshire Agricultural Show every year. Whenever I have done a stint there, we have had a place in the Crafts Tent as well as in the Sheep Lines. This year we were only in the Sheep Lines which was much nicer. There were all these spinners and knitters sitting in a ring in the middle of pens full of baaing sheep and sheep were being moved from pen to ring and back again. Some sheep took exception to this and dug their heels in, especially the Soy and North Ronaldsay. So it was all highly entertaining. What was a bit worrying and I still have to solve the problem is that of the Leicester Longwool. I rather like this - when it is turned into yarn. I was introduced to a man who has a flock of these and ended up with a sackful of fleece. I can't spin and it looks grubby. The effect is of dreadlocks. I can see a bit of bartering going on here.
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- I am weaver and - -. I dye my yarns with acid dyes, I paint my warps, put fabric collages and stencils on my weaving. I have three looms, a 12 inch wide, 12 shaft Meyer for demos and courses, a 30 inch Louet Kombo which is nominally portable but has a stand, two extra beams and a home-made device containing a fan reed. And last a 32 shaft Louet Megado which is computer controlled, has a sectional warp and a second warp beam and I am the proud owner of an AVL warping wheel which I love to bits and started by drilling holes in. I inserted a device for putting a cross in. I have just acquired an inkle loom and had a lesson from an expert so I can watch TV and weave at the same time. I am interested in weaving with silk mostly 60/2 although I do quite a bit with 90/2 silk. I also count myself as a bookbinder with a special interest in Coptic binding.