I am still here !

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Well this is what happens when the teaching cranks up! Everything else falls out of my head !

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I am working the same hours, but every morning now, so there is no let up. In this new year I will resolve to start making my glass regularly again and post monthly once more.

I cannot totally blame teaching but also this little fella…..

DSC_0405He is now as big as Basil but he has taken up a lot of time. Firing kilns in your kitchen isn’t conducive to small pups scampering about.

Also on a plus side. I did set up an Etsy shop in the flurry of a half term and not really paying as much attention to it as I should.

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To my surprise, when I had forgotten I had a shop, I sold some pieces to complete strangers in the run up to Christmas. So I should really aim to make some more.

My Etsy Shop

Hopefully this link will work if you are interested. I only popped a few pieces on and I have other glass to add and some to take off. It is interesting to get feedback in the form of views and follows.

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Starting small.

Just UK at the moment,  but looking into practicalities of sending glass abroad. Lots of people seemed to like my least favourite glass coasters in red and white. I think I lost a sale because I only made two…not four. I am learning.

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I had to call my shop Glasstrinkles as Trifles and Trinkets was too long….can you see what I did there ?

Actually when you think about it I haven’t been that remiss these last few months. I do miss regularly catching up with my fave bloggers. I will change that.

Very many good wishes and much health and happiness to you all in 2016

 

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Subversive Sniggerings..

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Nice reflections on a new, ironic, temporary, `bemusement ` park near Bristol, England…. would love to go there….

Maison Bentley Style

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Far, far away from London, inside the walls of a derelict seaside swimming resort in Weston-Super-Mare, Banksy has waved his magic, irreverent wand, and with the help of various artistic friends, transformed the once decaying ruin into a decaying, satirical parody of twentieth first century subculture. Welcome to Dismaland

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The enticing brochure reads:

Are you looking for an alternative to the soulless sugar-coated banality of the average family day out? Or just somewhere cheaper. Then this is the place for you—a chaotic new world where you can escape from mindless escapism. Instead of a burger stall, we have a museum. In place of a gift shop we have a library, well, we have a gift shop as well.

Bring the whole family to come and enjoy the latest addition to our chronic leisure surplus—a bemusement park. A theme park who’s big theme is: theme parks should have bigger themes…

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Did I tell you my great grandma was an artists` model ?

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Here she is on our fridge…sitting on the world.

Agnes Kirby nee Mac Kenney

Our father died young so we lost the little contact we had with one of his sisters. She had close contact with this G Grandma.

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My dad as a child and his dad on the right…look at G Grandma`s face shape and long, elegant fingers.

When we did finally meet there were intriguing conversations about  G Grandma being an artists` model for some Pre-Raphaelite artists. She was a friend of one of their daughters and she lived in the same part of London- Chelsea- which wasn’t so posh then and lots of artists lived in the area. Her family were from the Scottish Isles ( possibly pushed out by the Highland clearances ) and her father was a brewer. She said being a model  wasn`t spoken about much as it really wasn`t the thing a young lady should do. She apparently had beautiful long hands and feet and the classic PR long auburn wavy hair. She looks amazing as an older lady.

Close up of G Grandma

Close up of G Grandma

There was talk of a famous painting …she was sitting on the world…hope…

I immediately did loads of research..

At first I thought it was Edward Burne -Jones but couldn’t find a painting that linked  ( she did however sit for sketches with him )

Just a stained glass window called Hope.

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But when I saw this painting by George Frederick Watts it all fell into place. You could see the likeness and her beautiful long fingers and feet.

Aunty confirmed it was the one.

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We have since read up on it`s story and it is such a significant and important painting. GFW wasn`t a PR but was in the circle of artists around them.

Many years later during the First World War crowds would flock to gaze at the painting for comfort. It was printed and became familiar in many homes.

Recently we found out more …

A quote or two from The Telegraph online….

`Watts’s melancholy painting of a hunched and blindfolded girl who sits atop a globe and tentatively plucks at a single string on her crude wooden lyre.`

`It is Barack Obama’s favourite painting: this famous canvas by the visionary Victorian artist George Frederic Watts arguably set the President-Elect on his long path to the White House.`

`But the painting’s message of faith in the face of adversity fascinated Wright. (rev Wright- Obama heard a sermon by him about this painting ) “The harpist is sitting there in rags,” he preached. “Her clothes are tattered as though she had been a victim of Hiroshima… [yet] the woman had the audacity to hope.”`

`Obama is not the only black leader to have been inspired by Hope: Nelson Mandela kept a reproduction on his wall while he was imprisoned on Robben Island.`

Read the whole article here.

Wow! what a powerful painting !

We have tried to verify this…books we have read allude to other possible models and indeed apparently GFW used to sketch parts of different models to make a whole figure. No one actually knows for sure.

Watts gallery, Compton

Sadly our Aunt is no longer with us and we just don`t see why anyone should make this up … it is such a random and unique claim to fame. G Grandma seemed in later life a well to do victorian lady who had no reason to even admit to being a model. I have written to the Watts gallery and the Tate but not had a reply. When I have more time I will push this further. Not only did GFW bequeath his art to the Tate but his diaries. Maybe there will be a clue there to this proud and intriguing family legend.

Back to glass soon …

Gone all 3-D…back to my roots…

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It has been a few weeks since I made any glass. I had a few days of back to back firings and then along came this little fella.

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It is like having a new baby about, so am concentrating on him and work and will be back to the glass very soon.

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Fortunately the gorgeous one, back from Oz, is about at the moment to help out and the rest of the gorgeous ones are chipping in help too. Summer holidays beckon and although this means no work, hopefully, we can get some puppy training in and a few firings.

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I am excited glass-wise as I was brave enough to attempt using moulds to slump glass into . The moulds were old ceramic pieces from charity shops I covered in layers of kiln wash. It worked perfectly. Two of them were too high sided and resulted in the glass being too thick. But the other two were gentle sides and look good. I feel I am getting back to my roots of three -dimensional design/ceramics although the process is so different. What is interesting is that a lot of speciality glass moulds are made of bisque fired clay. So this means I could model and fire some more intricate moulds and slump glass into them. That would be a good summer job.

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I placed the moulds into the bottom of the kiln where the temperature is a good deal cooler, just right for slumping, and this means I have a full kiln being fired.

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The coasters mostly came out fully fused although one kiln shelf was tack fused…or is it contour fused ? I do quite like them though and they still seem to be able to take a mug okay.

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Loving the lighter glass particularly….this continually reminds me of watercolours being dropped into water. Beautiful to look at in the light. I will do more of these.

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Beginnings again…

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Finally inspired by a lovely bit of sunshine !!!!

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I got the kiln shelves scraped off and repainted and sorted the glass. I like to sort the colours and then decided how much clear glass I have and what I could make.

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I never wanted to go down the coaster route but have made some gorgeous squares that have a natural edge …I use them as coasters and they look good. I don`t have the tools for cold working apart from taking rough edges off and I like the natural glass shapes. Whilst in Portsmouth at Christmas I found some work from a glass artist that consisted of a simple flat piece that could be used for tea lights-great idea !

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That led to trying out some colour ways and fiddling with a bunch of broken pieces. Matisse inspired again I enjoyed placing and moving the shapes and adding some stringers shaped and bent by holding them over a hot tea light.

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It was late when I filled the kiln so didn’t take pictures, well truthfully I forgot to. Fortunately the firing went well – I still have cool spots on lower shelves that mean I have more of a tack fuse and not a flat full fuse. I was surprised how much I had forgotten since my last firing at Christmas time.

I decided not to do the Open House  this year ( have I mentioned that already ?) and my main aim to build up a batch of consistent work for plans ( not yet made ) for later in the year. I really hope I can be strict with myself and get firing and making in between teaching days.

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I finish with a few pictures of things that caught my eye in the sunshine. The first is some dishes I have found in charity shops and have bravely kiln washed as per instruction of websites telling me they will make great moulds for shaping glass. I am going to add another layer before trying that one !

I still enjoy looking at my spiral pot I made `against the odds ` last year and still have a hankering for my original love of clay.

I enjoy looking at the colours in the small blown glass ball given as a christmas gift, hanging on an iron poker- I watched being made at a blacksmiths( on a school trip )….love the spiral.

Finally the last picture is an old one -a dear couple of furry friends one of which – the king of the castle -sadly left us recently,  I understand those that don’t `get` dogs but the friendship they bring is beyond measure, I have especially appreciated how they helped `bring the kids up `, they certainly listened to our tales of joy and woe in equal measure. Love them.

Missed a month I think….head spaces and kickstarts……

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Back in a temporary middle school job….teaching….job-sharing  to be precise at the moment….and my life has been absorbed again ( although I do basically love the job it can be all consuming…)….how I would love to be able to make a living just from creating….

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I have drawn ideas and know what I need to do to get those kiln shelves ready for the next batch but the practicalities of paying the bills have taken over.

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I am very blessed that the current job is enjoyable with really super, fun, bright, pleasant pupils and staff …I have regained my partly lost confidence with excellent feedback and have confirmed to myself that I must trust my judgements….don`t know when I stopped really.

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The son is back from his travels and the house is filling up for a bit which is nice. Last year it was full of visitors from around Europe (mainly) and that was enjoyable too. I like positive change and am always planning next steps or next experiences.

I have improved the pc problems with a lovely reconditioned baby so no excuses to keep up the blog, as it is instant access and not the half hour of warming up my old laptop needed.

So a year ago I was watching the outdoor temperature rise to get clay work sorted and now I am more organised and just need the headspace to get a kickstart.

To sum up, I have moved on immensely and should be proud with that, I really need to make the time for being creative and give myself some deadlines, time to get that calendar out.

I finished with squares on clear glass (see pics) and this is where I shall pick up from…pictures of progress to appear soon.

Murmerings and musings a year on….

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I think it is a year since I accidentally started a blog. I wanted to know why everyone knew about fun looking events at Brighton Museum and I didn`t, somehow ending up with a WordPress account.

It gives me an immense sense of satisfaction looking over my photos and writings and seeing what I achieved in that significant year. The first year of `down time ` in 30 odd years of regular work whether, part, full or looking after the gorgeous ones. I have come out the other side after trying new things, meeting new people and learning new skills. I am grateful for a supportive immediate family and circumstances that conspired and allowed me to do this.

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I have had to find different ways to earn a living using the skills I have and am enjoying where I am now.I adore everything digital and hope I will always embrace new technology. I love the way I can share interests and keep up with friends and family.

Now nearly 15 years old my trusty kiln with wheels.

Now nearly 15 years old my trusty kiln with wheels.

It is half term now and I have time to scrape the old kiln wash off the shelves and refine my designs and have a few firings. I will post pics. I still go to eldest gorgeous one`s  life drawing class and hope to develop some ideas based on the human form. I have decided not to do the local Open House this year as I am working more and there is a new music festival happening half way through that many of us will be attending !! It is a big commitment to open up your own home so may aim for bi-yearly.

It is four o`clock in the evening AND still light so spring must be on its way …thank goodness.The Ozzy  gorgeous one has almost been away for a year and is now, in fact, exploring Thailand before he returns. We cannot wait.

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