Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Definition of a smidgeon

I spent today in Malvern with my bookbinding guru, being taught how to make a box to put my new copy of Alice in Wonderland in. And making a mess of it. The trouble was eventually diagnosed. I was told the size of the back and front was the length of the book plus four thicknesses of board plus four thicknesses of bookcloth plus a smidgeon. Being an engineer, I defined a smidgeon as about 0.1 mm. Investigation when the book did not fit into the box deduced that the tutor defined a smidgeon as 1 to 2 mm. So useless and the box has turned into a slipcase. I think I will make a box this weekend to make sure I get it right.

Yesterday we spent the day in London, visiting two exhibitions. The Caravaggio one at the NationalGallery and the Opus Anglicanum one at the Vnd A. Opus Anglicanum is English mediaeval embroidery which was highly thought of between 1200 and 1500. The.  V and A has a huge collection of these, copes and mitres and other bits of church garments.  Stunning.

The Caravaggio was pretty good too.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

A Project or Two Completed.

I have finished off two scarves for Rosie Price in green and beige. I am definitely off weaving twill.

They are very soft. I have no idea what the yarn is.
The other project I completed is binding three address books in text block form.

They have nice matching endpapers. The outer two are commercial fabrics while the centre one is cotton space dyed with Procion MX by my sister.

I now start on a round of hectic travel and  courses. Saturday is a Weaving Study Day, Sunday is making an album with the bookbinders, Monday is a trip to see two London exhibitions. Tuesday is another bookbinding course, only this one is to make a box to house my special copy of Alice. This all seems to involve a lot of driving and I will spend Tuesday night in Leamington Spa catching up with gossip in my daughter's family.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Designer Bookbinder Exhibition

Monday was very odd. The exhibition was odd, very cold, and lots of lovely books. Some are shown below. As far as the cold was concerned, I had taken a thermos of tea. Good for survival.

I took the photos but the books are (top to bottom) by Alice Adams, Theresa Wedemeyer and Kaori Maki. All were technically outstanding and sometimes very unusual.

I spent some time designing a cover for a text I have of the libretto of Duke Bluebeard's Castle with illustrations. I have had the book for 16 months without having any idea of how to bind it but I have now. Definitely a few lino cuts will have to be created. But first I need to bind some textblocks as Christmas presents.

When I got to Paddington to catch a train home, I found mayhem. There had been serious flooding in the West Country and, apart from delays, some trains were stranded in the flood waters. So, when I reached the station, No train was going beyond Swindon and there were one or two going as far as Swindon. At this point, the powers that be starting bringing in more coaches and making 3 coach trains into eight coach trains (I fear they had small engines attached. I learnt a new phrase 'full to standing'. It means even pushing hard, they could not get more people in the train. This announcement was always followed by 'the train has been closed'. I wonder how they did that.  I waited for 90 minutes for a train I could get. If the train was going to Swindon by way of Reading (my goal), forget it. They were not letting anyone on except those with tickets to Swindon. And the train was extra long with an under powered engine. 

Actually the railway staff have to be congratulated. Noone snapped or lost their temper dealing a mob of hysterical customers who could not see why they could not go home. Certainly someone had full-scale hysterics by my train.

Monday, 21 November 2016

Chinese Thread Box

I spent the weekend being taught to make a Chinese Thread Book by Lori Sauer. Great Fun despite the worries about flooded roads in Wiltshire

The bits decorated with roses are the twist boxes. Intensive work. All the heavy paper has to be cut accurately and then decorated.

Today I am off to London for the day to steward a book exhibition. Should get some good photos from the day.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Processing photos

It took a long time to sort out the photos of Japan. There were more than 400. The first thing to do was to unload them from the camera to the desktop and put them in date folders, one for each day. Then go through everything and weed out those out of focus, duplicates, and mispositioned. That operation got rid of a hundred. Later I will go through all that remain and check for errors. I will get down to about 150 in the end. Then pick the 30 best and put them in a separate folder. This is for showing to family and friends. I reckon people get bored after 30 photos.

Lots of tidying up has been done and I have warped up Rosie Price's Regent Street project. It needs checking for errors and then I  can start weaving. That ought to be today.

I have been looking at the two pieces of silk I bought in Kyoto. I am aiming to reproduce a version of those which I reckon feasible. The first one will need a spaced dyed warp.

The second piece needs shaded dyeing and I am not sure I can get this good enough..

I have also turned photos of shutters into a black and white drawing. This is because the photos were taken through a bus windows and bits of the view were obscured.
I have created a simple draft for the shutters but it wants all 32 shafts not the eight I have used.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Coming Home

I am on a Finnair flight from Osaka to Helsinki where we catch a BA flight to Heathrow. All a bit roundabout if you ask me.

I shall be glad to get home. I have had enough of concrete underground bunkers where you are supposed to admire the roughness of one large rock against the smoothness of the concrete walls and the texture of the surrounding gravel. I am sorry to sound so old-lady-ish in my views but I have become suspicious and wonder if it is all a giant hoax. The one yesterday had a lot of long underground corridors. The concrete manufacturers and creators must have made a fortune.

We took the bullet train to Osaka and stayed the night in the Marriott. In a sky scraper. Lobby on the 19th floor. Rooms started on the 39th floor and ended on the 56th. The views over Osaka at night were stunning. And it has all the right things for a big city, Prada, Gucci, Armani! More important was what we saw from the airport bus this morning - an enormous port. With steel mills, oil refineries, containers by the million. I have always liked ports. To me, they make a city real.

Summary on the holiday? Not enough free time. I liked the screens and the painted doors and the temple gardens, in fact all the gardens but one statue of Buddha is much like another. The scale of the statue may be different but that is all. 

Ruth and I ate better three years ago. We had only one Japanese meal which was the equal of what we ate last time and that was on Naoshima where the marriage of the containers and the contents was exquisite (only word to use). I tried to buy the chopstick support which was a pottery koi carp but the restaurant would have none of it.

So here we are on the way home and I am making lists of jobs I need to do. And timetables. One nice thing coming up is that I have a class with Lori Sauer next weekend. I do enjoy her classes. This time we are making a folded paper Miao holder for needles and threads. I have always liked these and am looking forward finding out how to make them. I must look up her website and see what courses she has on next year.

Added later at home. In all my arrangements, I did not foresee that Helsinki would be snowed up. Piles of snow cleared by snow ploughs, icy roads everywhere, very slippery and dangerous. And bitterly cold. The plane had to be sprayed with anti-freeze before we could take off. However we made it home where it has been raining hard but the centre heating was switched off and it is cold here too.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Japan Day 12

This is Friday. On Wednesday, we were bussed across the country to a Western port and took the ferry over to an island, Naoshima. This is totally devoted to modern art with at least four museums. The hotel is in the same complex and was also built by the architect, Ando. The biggest gallery contains Richter, Hockney, four Warhol and so on. Quite a lot of other stuff as well.

The second one is totally underground and is lit by light funnels. No artificial light. It contains five Monets (I do not care for Monet). Three Tyrell's and one Maria. And the gallery is a disorienting experience, lots of very dark corridors where you have to feel your way and then dazzling outside spaces. It is enormous and contains very little. So you can guess I was not enamoured.

In the evening we had a grand Kai-seki meal in the first gallery. Very good.

No photos allowed anywhere so nothing to show you. I might be able to take some of the outside sculpture this morning. We are off to Osaka today, fly home tomorrow. On the whole an okay holiday but the trip with Ruth was much more enjoyable.o

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Japan Day 10 (I think)

I have reached the stage of losing track. I am sure which day we have got to or what day of the week it is. I do know we are off to the island of Naoshima today.

Yesterday we were bussed in heavy rain to the Miho museum which was designed by I M Pei. They removed the top of a mountain, built the museum and put the mountain and its trees back. The result is a stunning museum and the contents are not worthy of it. Lots of lovely autumn colour but I see no point in posting photos of yet more coloured foliage.

We then returned to Kyoto and visited the Raku museum. Lots of rough tea bowls. Then we diverged from the group and visited the Textile Centre. Various changes since last time. The catwalk show is much better organised but the braiding demos along with the demos of cutting stencils out of mulberry paper have gone. I have the impression much more odds and ends are on sale. I had trouble finding the yardage. I did buy some small pieces of silk to take home and study the weaves.

Then packing. I seem to have bought a lot of books without noticing it. Oh well. I can always throw out a few Tshirts.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Japan Day 8

Yesterday we bussed to Nara, a very ancient capital of Japan, about 8th century AD. We saw two spectacular Buddhist temples where, for a change we were allowed to take photos. Not that it was any good as it was very dark inside. I think I can process them when I get home.

However there were a lot of Zen and other gardens.

One thing I got very excited about was a set of 12 statues from 734 AD which were painted and quite clearly were silk brocade patterns. So I have bought a book in Japanese but full of photos. It all looks like donsu with pickup.

We were taken to a very posh hotel in Nara for a Japanese which was much the best meal we have had. All the temples were in Nara Park and, since it was a sunny Sunday afternoon, all Japan was in the park. Food stalls, knock knack stalls all very busy and tame deer wandering about, stealing sandwiches.

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Japan Day 6 and 7

Yesterday was spent getting from Tokyo to Kyoto by bullet train. In the afternoon we visited two temples then went to the hotel. Most people were shocked to find the hotel was several miles out of town and up a steep hill. I was looking forward to wandering around the city after we returned from the day's outing. That is just not possible. It means organising a taxi instead.

This morning we visited a museum where most of the exhibition were about a man of no interest to a Brit. Fortunately there other galleries which held displays of ceramics and archeology exhibits. A lunch in the sunshine and a seat by the fountain made for a restful day. The afternoon saw a Buddhist temple with 1001 statues of Buddha which were not beautiful. Oh well. Every day cannot be perfect. We are about to go to a lecture on Buddhist art.then a Japanese evening meal.

What we have done is a mass of Christmas shopping in the museum shops and a ceramics shop we happened across.

I had an email from a friend commenting on the autumn tints so I will not bore you with more but instead attach some zen gardens which are supposed to represent a tiger and her three cubs crossing a river. I do not see it myself. But I do like the proportions.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Japan Day 5

We went to the Nezu museum yesterday. No photos allowed which was a pity. Wonderful 17th century screens and equally interesting (to me) were the utensils for the tea ceremony. Some were wrapped up in 17th century kinran which is donsu with pick up. I did buy a book and a load of postcards. The garden was lovely and rather large given that Prada, Gucci etc were two minutes walk.

We walked the Main Street, just like every city's Main Street. The side streets were more interesting and the street furniture was appalling. Even if they do have earthquakes, you would have thought the Japanese could do better.

Off to Kyoto this morning. Not enough time to explore by oneself. And lastly a manhole cover.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Japan Day 3 and 4.

Yesterday we went to the Tokyo National Museum and viewed the Treasures of Japan. Not allowed to take photos. I will just say it was good.

Today we were bussed north for several hours to see Nikko and its shrines. And as a wonderful bonus, the autumn colours were  fabulous. I had not realised that the forests were a mix of conifers and the maples showed up against a background of dark green.

The shrines were very bling, pile on the gold leaf. But there were some lovely carved wooden panels.

In amongst the shrines, there was a coffee shop in a courtyard and the courtyard was occupies by a show of chrysanthemums. The big ones. I have never seen any as big as these. But no I am not going to start growing them. They look difficult, not least because the heads were so heavy that each flower had its own support.

Back at 1900 hours and we all slept on the bus back.


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About Me

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.