This week’s knitting and pottery

I went to my pottery class yesterday, not to attend, but to collect a few pots that were finished. I went on a few kilometres from there to walk on the beach with Ellie at low tide.

Oyster dish

My oyster shaped dish, about 20cm long

Oyster dish 2

I use these for serving a few freshly cooked shrimp, or tapas

Bol beau bleu

Round heavy blue bowl, about 12cms across

And this one, which I brought home in November I think:

Galaxy pot

"Galaxy" pot, about 40cm tall

I like it a lot, but I don’t quite know what to use it for. It is smoke fired on top of several layers of pinky and white enamel. It looks all bulgy at neck level, but it isn’t actually.

And then I have been knitting. A coat for my dachshund Ellie in case the weather turns cold. I didn’t realize she was so long. I measured but mostly just estimated. It looks a bit silly doesn’t it? And she very definitely didn’t like modelling it.

Ellie's sweater

Ellie's coat

Ellie modelling

Ellie modelling her new coat

Ellie cowl

And here she's showing how versatile it is, it can also be worn as a cowl...

I’ve also been spinning.

Spinning

Flower garden coloured batts for spinning

I ordered a few batts before Christmas, and they are spinning up well, the colours are very pleasing!

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Lost sock photo

Here is the photo of the socks I finished for myself last week. It is the first pair of long socks I have done. Why are my socks always too large? I used the same wool as for Steve’s Christmas sweater.

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Knitting for me

Start again, somehow the publish button pressed right in the middle!

Having finished things for other people for Christmas, I’ve gone back to knitting for me. Actually this scarf/wrap/stole I finished in time to take it to London with me at Christmas. The colours are really Christmassy and so I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to wear it.

 

Christmas wrap

 

 

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I’ve been painting a lot

It has been quite compulsive. But as oil paint takes such a long time to dry, finished canvasses are few and far between. Here are a few that are ready to be photographed (some are for sale in my Etsy shop).

"Blue Vase", oil on canvas

"Méridien Rouge", multimedia, acrylic on canvas, with map collage of Greenwich Meridian

"Frozen", acrylic on canvas

And here is Steve’s Christmas pullover that I couldn’t find yesterday:

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Knitting for Christmas

The trouble about knitting for Christmas is that you can’t unveil your creations until after the day. I’ve been preparing Christmas presents since last July. Here are a few of them:

Cécile's shawl

Cécile's shawl

Nico lens bags

Bags to protect Nicholas' camera lenses

Mittens

Fingerless gloves for the photographer

Nico scarf

Scarf for Nicholas, with my favourite McCartney line... and in the end,

Nico scarf two

...the love you take is equal to the love you make

I can’t find the photo of the sleeveless pullover for my brother Steve. I’ll put it in a future post.

Happy New Year!

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I’ve started a new blog for Project 365 – One French Word

Having thought about it for a couple of hours I have started a new blog just to deal with Project 365. The blog will be entitled One French Word and I shall try to explain one word in French every day, meaning, pronunciation, use in a phrase, maybe a quote or an expression. See how long I can keep it up! Do please sign up and encourage me.

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A new year is about to begin, and I shall welcome it with Project 365

…Project 366 actually as there are 366 days in 2012.

Oh dear, has it really been three months that I have been silent? I have sooo much to write about, and loads of photos to post. I’ll catch up I promise.

But first of all PROJECT 365. WordPress has launched a project for next year to get us blogging each and every day. Now you may laugh a bit, given my very irregular habits, that I even consider blogging every day, but you never know, it may be just what is needed to get me back into the swing.

There are some pretty good ideas out there for a post a day, like a breakfast a day, photographing a stranger a day, photographing people in t shirts with funny logos… photography is a good idea, and just think, although you are probably going to get a lot of refusals from strangers, you might just meet (and stay in touch with) really interesting people. But I don’t think I can personally be bothered to go out and find a complacent stranger every day. On the other hand, I might manage a food photograph a day. Or what about a French word a day? I think I’m going to do that. And maybe a photo as well. Decisions, decisions. Oh well, I have a few hours left of this year to decide.

But I’ll also go back to the primary reason for this blog, which is showing all the things I am making, have made, art, knitting, sculpture and pottery. I’ll look out some photos this afternoon, and share them with you tomorrow. OK?

Here’s just one for today – a painting called “Goat grazing beside a stream”, which I completed in November. It’s quite a large oil on canvas, very thick and textured, done mainly with palette knives, just some brushwork. It started as a very dark background which I did with odd paint left on my palette. Then I added a bit of acid green and some flowers. I propped it up on my woodstove and looked at it for a while, thought I saw the beginning of a stream, with exuberant banks of summer vegetation, so I put that in. Then more flowers. Then I could clearly see the beginnings of a goat, so in she went. And then the waterlilies at the end. I like it, the colours are very vivid against a dark background. It is for sale in my etsy shop http://www.etsy.com/listing/86609729/goat-grazing-beside-a-stream-original

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Pottery, sculpture, monsters and such…

I haven’t told you about my pottery, have I. I started doing pottery in 2005, in the countryside near Le Mée, with a very nice group and a very competent teacher. I still use the little bowl which was the first piece I ever made, for my cereals every morning. When I moved to Quimper, it was one of the first things I fixed, finding a new pottery class. Most of the year I go once a week for about three hours. The group is a good one, and I get on well with the person that teaches us, even if, most of the time, I just do my thing, which is a lot of very weird sculpture! There is something so appeasing in working with a lump of clay. It absorbs quite literally all the tensions of body and mind, and I come away tired and satisfied, and cleansed somehow in a way that no other craft can do.

Virtually the only utilitarian stuff I do is pots for the garden, but they are never standard, always a bit tortured…but useful, pots cost such a lot of money. I’ve done a couple of dishes, but I don’t really have room to house such things.

Shell dish

Bonsai dish

Recently I did a plaque, which I really like but is not frightfully useful, based on an idea Jacques gave me when he showed me a whole lot of little fishes he had done. I stuck my little fishes to the plaque as I went along, in about three layers, trying to get a wave effect. I enamelled it three times to get the proper degree of colour change, as if the light were coming from the surface of the ocean above.  Photos do not really do it justice, I’m quite pleased with it.

Fishes

One really useful piece I did earlier in the year was a sort of hedgehog doorstop, I say “sort of” because it has no spines whatsoever. I use it absolutely every day to keep the door to the terrace open for Ellie and UP (pronounced Youpie…) to go in and out. I have done other animals in the past, a tortoise (which was so realistic that Oslo barked at it the first time she saw it!) and a water buffalo with a mermaid’s tail…

Hedgehog doorstop

My artichoke is one of my favourite pieces, the glazing was very laborious, but I’m pleased that I’ve got what I consider to be a perfect colour.

Artichoke

My first monster, dating back three years, is my favourite piece. He is sad and pensive, deformed and ugly, but he sits by my chair in the sitting room and keeps me company. He now sports a pair of ancient round eyeglasses (even though he has only one eye), which makes him look even more vulnerable! If you click on any of the pictures, you will get an enlarged version.

Monster

I have another sort of monster, that absolutely no one likes, that I shall be fetching from the workshop tomorrow. I’m going for a special one to one class on the construction of large jars and urns. This recent monster is, I have to say, a bit monstrous! I have called it “Bernard”, because it is based on a Bernard l’hermitte idea (that is a hermit crab in French), a sort of large scrolley shell out of which emerges half a skull, or rather with only half the skull it contains showing. I’ll photograph it and show you soon.

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EYES RIGHT…

Weather in Quimper Wednesday 7th September 2011: Cloudy morning, sunny afternoon, rained during the night. 22° at midday. Thursday cloudy but not cold. Friday rained all day, 19°. I’m going to stop doing weather on the blog, it makes no sense. I’ve bought a little notebook in which to keep a record, day by day weather in Quimper interests no one but me!

Wednesday night I finished another set of crocheted cotton eye make-up remover pads to put into my etsy shop to replace those sold at the beginning of the week, this time in sort of crushed raspberry ripple colour. I make seven at a time, one for each day of the week, to be thrown into the washing machine each evening and washed along with the family wash (easy for me, my washing machine is next to where I take my make-up off in the evenings!). I really like this solution to eye-make-up removal, which works perfectly with plain warm water (unless you wear waterproof). It’s comfortable, and a great saving on cotton wool and remover.

Pink make up remover pads

While browsing Pinterest yesterday,  I came across the blog of a Belgian lady (Aventures Textiles) which is absolutely astounding. She is a fiber artist, a lot of complex embroidery, some weaving, some crocheting. The results are breathtaking, judge for yourselves:

There are loads of other examples, do go and have a look.

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ROSE GARDEN SCARF

Rose Garden ScarfWeather in Quimper, yesterday, Tuesday 6th September 2011: pretty awful really, gale force winds, lots of rain, little sun, temperature at midday 19°. Today it looks sunnier.

I knitted this scarf in feather and fan with three skeins of Noro Silk Garden 265 in June. It went curiously off the square, but the result is very attractive.

Rose Garden scarf

Rose Garden Scarf

Rose Garden Scarf

Rose Garden Scarf

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I am a fanatical Noro fan. I love the colours, the way they change, the beautiful mixture. This one reminds me of a garden of old fashioned roses.

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