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?
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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.