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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IN MEMORIAM: TOMATOES

Quimper weather, Monday 5th September 2011: Heavy rain early morning, cloudy rest of morning, sunshine afternoon, cloudy evening, midday 22°. This morning Tuesday there is a lot of wind and it rained during the night.

I made a sale in my etsy shop this morning! Only a tiny one, but I’m pleased about it.

It’s a week’s worth of washable, crocheted eye make up remover pads, comfortable to use (this is what I use to take my eye make up off with just warm water), economical and ecological. Funnily enough, last night I just finished making another set in sort of raspberry ripple colour.

There are no more tomatoes in the garden, all rotted and gone with the bad weather, but I did a watercolour before it was too late. Entitled “Tomatoes and dandelions”. Now I’m better at oils than watercolour, but I’m progressing. You can see they are tomatoes (Yves thought they were cherries… in French, we call that mauvaise foi).

Tomatoes and Dandelions

Close up, Tomatoes and Dandelions

Tomatoes and Dandelions

Tomatoes and Dandelions, unframed watercolour, 21cmx27cm

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Do It Yourself Divas: DIY: Baby Rag Quilt turned into a Crafthanded quilted skirt

Quimper weather yesterday Sunday 4th September: cloudy morning, sunny midday (24°C) cloudy afternoon, rainy evening. Today it poured at about 8h00, now it’s sunny. 14°C

The schools go back in France today. Do other countries make such a fuss about schools going back? But I felt sorry for the children who were dragged out of bed early this morning and had to go to school in the pouring rain. For me,  schools going back means instant calm, hardly any tourists left, no one on the beach, easy parking in town.

I was just about to make myself a skirt Sunday morning (I had opted for a wrap around with several panels) when I happened upon this : Do It Yourself Divas: DIY: Baby Rag Quilt.

Her method is well explained and really easy. And I thought, this is meant to be a baby blanket but would work just as well for a skirt (warmer too, with cottons in winter, to quilt them). Although it may add bulk to my already bulky silhouette, if I pay attention to the cut, and the thickness (or non thickness) of the batting, I think I could make something fun and warm. Keep you posted!

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COAT OF MANY COLOURS

So of course, having said I’d keep a weather blog, I forgot yesterday. Well it was dismal and cloudy, but not cold (when I went out late afternoon, it was 22°, and looked like we would have a thunderstorm (which we didn’t). But when I went out onto the terrace at one in the morning to see which of my neighbours was making all the noise, I got my feet wet. It was raining gently. Today it’s the same type of weather, not very bright, not very cold, but not raining yet. Oops, it just started. I think from now on, if I remember, I’ll put a line at the top of the blog entry with weather essentials.

Colours and textures

Coat of many colours

Sleeve detail

Full length

During the summer, I used up a lot of my stash knitting myself Jane Thornley‘s “Breeze” shrug, which turned out much larger than hers, a real sort of coat/jacket size. It is extremely flashy, and I haven’t worn it yet, mainly because it has been too hot. I am a member of Jane’s Ravelry group and her Inspired Knitting Club, where she tries to, and succeeds in, getting people to knit more spontaneously, without real patterns, to make it up as you go along. The results are interesting, and certainly liberating. My latest creation was much admired by the group anyway!

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LET’S GET DOWN TO THE REAL STUFF…

The first thing I do every morning, after feeding the dog and making myself breakfast, is look at my emails and a whole string of “daily” sites, like bank accounts, OVS (On Va Sortir) to see what’s going on in Quimper, Etsy to view my shop stats, Ravelry to see if anyone has commented on my projects, and then Pinterest. This if you don’t know it already is a wonderful imagery site, where people pin things of interest… just photos, of people, things, places, which are beautiful in themselves. But if you double click on the image, it takes you to the original site it was taken from. So that you can discover much more of the sort of stuff you like looking at, or doing, because often there is a whole tutorial “how to” behind the picture, giving you instructions, ideas, a pattern. I find a lot of my ideas on Pinterest. Painting techniques,

Diane Whitehead's Horses

Diane Whitehead's Goofy Cows

knitting patterns,

Brooklyn Tweed baby blanket with a lovely border

Such a beautiful wall hanging

hand made objects of all kinds.

Apple branch pegs

Felted embroidered leaf brooch

As well as beautiful photography, unusual places, and a lot of humour. Go and see for yourself. All the links to the above pictures, and instructions, are on my boards on Pinterest. Together with thousands more!  And you can also pin your own ideas onto your boards, or the general board, and copy other people’s onto your boards too. A really good site, but a terrible time consumer!

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