Sunday, 2 June 2013

June 2013



The long, late and rather chilly Spring here in Cornwall has meant that we have strange and wonderful mixes of trees and flowers all out in abundance at the same time. And the sun is now shining so once again we are living in paradise.
Yesterday I  worked on a table in the old greenhouse at Potager  - making necklaces, brooches and rings from found fragments - pottery shards, old metal washers rescued from the pavements, wonderful sea washed stones, shells and glass frsm beach-combing forays, fragments of clay pipes from explorations of the Thames foreshore at low tide, together with my own experiments with papier-mache - an ever evolving adventure - as is this life! I met so many interesting people there. The sun shone all day long and birds sang - everything was intensified under the glass to Mediterranean temperatures and I felt I was in my element - bliss.

I find the occasional large piece of mother of pearl whilst mudlarking and add them to necklaces sometimes. This one together with some fragments of mother of pearl and a few mother of pearl beads that I have re-used from an old discarded necklace. The clay pipe stems always add so much by virtue of their history as they have been washed by countless tides ebbing and flowing up and down the River Thames for centuries and who knows who last smoked a leisurely pipe whilst sitting on the Thames Embankment?

Sometimes I add semi-precious stone beads that accentuate or compliment the pipe stem fragments. 
Whilst working on my table at Potager Garden - people wander into the old greenhouse and sit down with me and chat. Today I met someone who sold up and lived on a barge whilst holding down a 9-5 job on her own. She also reminded me of the canals of France and the possibility of mooching down there! Then another lovely woman came along and sat down and told me of something called www.france-passion.co.uk where you can stay for free after a nominal joining fee - '800 wine-growers, 800 farmers and market gardeners, 150 craftsmen and motor home owners await your visit. You will discover the hidden secrets of France when camping on their properties.' Mind you I would need a bijoux style motor home. But I had just been thinking about that possibility the day before - a studio on wheels with room enough to sleep. Perfect timing. 


The skies are Cerulean blue and the trees are bright green with an occasional cloud drifting by -
Solitude - I am a natural introvert or at least I am quite content to spend considerable swathes of time alone. This is where I find inspiration and seem to be able to access the world of imagination so easily. An interesting TED talk around this subject.
The sunny weather has taken me out to beach-comb and make jewellery with my finds. Also adding things that I find along the way in shops and on line.

























What can I say? I am making lots of jewellery - all my mudlarking and beach-combing pieces have been snapped up by galleries. I have got a pretty good balance of work and forays out into undiscovered - at least by me - places down here. 

Now in Devon working on papier-mache work that I have completely run out of. Will have to return shortly to resin them in my resin cabinet that is currently sharing my digs - that is small bedroom! It really is like a Tardis. It is quite amazing just how little floor space I need. To be honest I would relish more of it - may be when I go to Oxford. I reckon on another couple of months here and then it will be time for the next stage of my journey. Meanwhile I am still finding new galleries and exploring.
 Porthleven - walking along the cliff tops.
 Early June - thrift.
 Port Issac


Back to Devon for a couple of days and up onto Dartmoor with Bella.








 A heart shaped rose bush - Topsham.
 Renovation - Topsham.
 Exhibition poster - Topsham.
 Down to Durgan beach with Bella.


A few new pieces of jewellery using found objects. Delft fragment and clay pipe with mother of pearl and moonstone.
Fragments of clay pipe that almost reassemble to make a complete pipe - as a necklace.
A sliver of smooth Cornish slate from the beach with small quartz heart shaped stone ditto + old washer from the street + silver leaf and epoxy paste.
 Papier mache clay and resin ring with gold + silver leaf.
Black plastic - sea washed beach find with added silver leaf. Reminding me of the legend of St Pirin I am working on some Cornish slate with crosses.
St Michaels Mount Marazion looking pretty and wonderful as I walk to Out of the Blue to stock up my work.
Old boat in Newlyn harbour. Alas the wonderful Badcocks Gallery is no longer in Newlyn but is still on line.
House sign of copper daffodils in Mousehole on my way to see if I can exhibit with Julia Mills in her lovely little gallery. It's a yes.
Sparrows singing overhead on mathematically spaced wires of communication.
Next to Penzance to top up my work at The Alverton Gallery.
Friday night I had literally no sleep what so ever as revellers stumbled homewards in full song from the first night of the sea shanty festival. Not quite sure why stopping just outside my window is on the itinery but it certainly is. So I am now packing my car and leaving the high life behind for a few nights of peace and quiet and the option of a dawn chorus in Devon with my son. I can take care of my now potted garden - repotting and feeding. Only lost a standard gooseberry and one old rose so all is good. If I can keep them happy and alive Then I will have the makings of a new garden when I find another home.
Now to London and a few days with my daughter and naturally another spot of mudlarking -
This is Tilly the tug boat - the hard working little red tug as seen from the Millennium Footbridge as the tide rises after a good days mudlarking and I make my way to the Tate with mudlarking finds in the form of new friends for lunch. 


Thames Tug Boats Reclaim, Recovery, Resource and Redoubt - this is Resource.
Old oyster shells - quite different to todays oyster shells - these to be made into jewellery.
Shards of beautiful iridescent old glass - hundreds of years old - ever so slightly tweeked in photoshop but only just enough to show their true colours.
 My last find of the day just as I was about to leave
Decorated clay pipe bowl - 99% are quite plain so this is a delightful find.
An assortment of mainly blue and white pottery shards to be sorted out - there are millions of them in layers of silt to a depth of many feet along the foreshore. Now are they shards or are they sherds? I quote -Definition of Sherd-n also Shard-n :  A fragment of broken earthenware. spec. in Archaeol., a piece of broken pottery. Phrase: to break, etc. into sherds : to reduce to fragments, break beyond repair.

Simply put, if you break a plant pot tomorrow you will have to clean up all the broken shards of pot. Come and dig up broken pots on an archaeological excavation and these then become potsherds.
Fragments of mother of pearl - perfect for jewellery - well mine at least.
Necklace incorporating old clay pipe stems.  Smokers would buy a pipe of tobacco and then throw the pipe - once smoked - into the river. Hundreds of years later they have broken into fragments and have absorbed the blue grey colour of the river clay and become smooth and beautifully interesting fragments of social history.
A day in Chelsea as it was raining - so walking and taking note of hidden places behind the Kings Road.
An espresso macchiato at The Botanist catching the reflected light through rain splattered windows onto my shiny metal table. I even went so far as to record 30 seconds of the whirring fan slicing through the air with the background noise of customers chatting. Every now and then I video 60 seconds of peace - birdsong, water etc - I will put them together as an hour of '60 seconds of tranquility for stressful times' I imagine New York cab drivers zoning out in congested traffic listening to a blackbird singing its heart out after a rain storm on Dartmoor! The whirring fan was anything but peaceful so will not make it into the sound library.


 Chelsea pensioners defying the rain.


 Foxgloves and roses in Paultons Square.


 The largest rose covered tree around the block.

A visit to my favourite art shop - Green and Stone 
to buy deep coppery bronze flakes for decorating the backs of the pendants and pins that I will be making from the shards of thick iridescent. A note here from Julia at  mudlarking.blogspot.co.uk - 'As I understand it the older the glass the more iridescent it becomes, so probably at least 400 years old, but I haven’t done my research here.' 
I have just finished using the last of my boxes of pebeo gold flakes so was delighted to find them.
Also a meter of delicate translucent paper - it is actually white though you would be hard pressed to believe me from my rather dodgy iphone photo. It has all sorts of definitions printed all over. I think a meter will last me for a decade as I only want to add the merest of scraps here and there now and again - perhaps. But it was too promising to not take a little away with me to my Tardis.
And finally sort of Cheshire cat made from slices of corrugated brown cardboard. 

2 comments:

Lynn said...

This is an amazing post, your jewelry and musings are both poetic and beautiful. I so agree with the above comment.

Cowboys and Custard said...

I stumbled across your blog whilst researching an item of antique papier mache. What a serendipitous find your lovely blog is. The TED talk was inspirational and has been forwarded to my son who shares my introverted character.. but is not as comfortable with it as I would wish him to be. I also shared it with my husband who is a head teacher and I know how much it will resonate with his beliefs. Your mention of mudlarking also struck a chord as I have just had a conversation with a friend about meeting up to go mudlarking in London. I have spent many hours as a child and adult, digging for treasures and sifting through flotsam and jetsam to find small shards of beauty.
I shall bookmark your blog and hope to visit again soon.
Michele x

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