Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Robot Unicorn

I was asked recently by Joe Learmonth (very nicely) if i would contribute a drawing of a robot unicorn to his blog of the same name. I duly obliged with this offering. i was feeling the C3-P0/Lady Rainicorn vibe when i drew it! Lady Rainicorn comes from the fabulous Adventure Time (for those of you who don't have kids and aren't students!!)... though i can also highly recommend Gravity Falls, it's my cartoon of choice these days... and the Regular Show. Anyway, just thought I'd share it here.... yeah, i don't know why either... but that's blogs for ya!

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Joshua Tree Inn

The boys outside reception

 One of our favourite places to go, is all around Joshua Tree out in the Californian high desert. This time we stayed at the actual Joshua Tree Inn and the place that housed Gram Parsons final hours, so of course we stayed in room 8. To start with the boys just knew he was "a musician who always stayed in this room and then he died"... eventually it was "Yes, he died in this actual room", they were cool with it. I didn't want to freak them out too much, but they really just don't care that much about things we worry about. It's a lovely place to stay if you don't like the corporate hotel thing, we always prefer the older, more authentic motel experience. It's just so peaceful and calm up there, despite being on the 29 Palms Highway. The room has it's own little fenced off back courtyard to sit out in and relax (with it's very own gold plated door...well, gold leaf door). The rooms guestbook is a good read and there's also a pile of music left by other folk that have visited... some better than others! I didn't have a cd to leave behind but i did leave one of my little packages of mini books and prints, hope they stay there for other guests. We never had time this time to go out into the actual joshua Tree National Park.

Tex feelin' the Gram vibe

The reception/lounge

sculpture garden...and for those living in England that blue stuff in the background is sky!

The Gram Monument, which sits directly outside room 8.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Cabazon Dinosaurs...and Religion!

Wow, this is now a weird place! We've dropped in on them before, even once it had been taken over by it's religious owners, but boy they've done a job. It's funny how they are retro-fitting dinosaurs into the religious story. Evolution obviously has no place, birds didn't come from dinosaurs, primitive man didn't evolve... they were just all different types of man at the same time! I kind of lost track of their viewpoint as i read various bits of 'information'.

However the boys loved it! They loved the old concrete Claude Bell dinosaurs and they loved riding a modern one inside. They liked climbing up the stairs inside the T-Rex and into his head to look out of it's mouth.

Inside the T-Rex mouth

Knights, chimps and dinosaurs... display perfection!!
It made for an interesting tour of the displays outside, there was a dinosaur with a lion laying nearby... there was even a lamb next to another!... ha ha. Anyway, i guess that has just added to it, beter than just a couple of nice old roadside dinosaurs to pose in front of (which, of course, we did)... and that was our introduction to our drive out into the desert for three days in the middle of the trip.

... ahem...

Monday, 18 February 2013

Studio Music cont.

I'm on! My selection has made it on to the studio music website (a proud day ; ). Now you can head on over and listen to the whole lot. I'm glad i just did it for my blog initially. If I'd known it was going up I would have over-thought it all! The way it is, it's not like my all time Top 10, or trying to pick an artsy, leftfield selection... it really is just those tunes i always enjoy when they come on in the studio. There, done. Enjoy!

Friday, 15 February 2013

America Trip

View from window of The Reel Inn, cold beer and relaxed.

Ok, I'm going to start running through our recent trip America. I'll try and keep it brief, so I'll skip over most of the family stuff. We flew into Vegas (well eventually after we got to the airport. We got on the wrong train by mistake and didn't realise for 30 mins or so!... and then panicked for a few moments trying to figure out how we detour back! eventually involved changing 3 more times and dragging two kids and all the cases across many platforms!!). I was relieved when we finally caught our flight and left the ground. Anyway we spent a few days in Vegas, the boys got to meet their grandparents and also their cousin, Denali (15) and Tex developed a bit of a crush. Then we headed to LA for a bigger family gathering the following day.
The rest of the time we just got to hang out, the boys got their visit to Disneyland and we got to do some driving around and soaking up the scenery, which included Topanga Canyon (and Top O' Topanga, which has amazing views). I'd quite happily live up there in Topanga... if only my finances matched my dreams!! Then headed to The Reel Inn in Malibu for some fish and just to enjoy the vibe as the sun set on another sunny day. It was a pretty family orientated trip and jakki got to meet up with some old friends. Then in the middle of our trip we took 3 days out to head out to the desert and take the boys to a few places that mean a lot to us.... and they'll be coming up next.

Tennessee taking time out from the fish tank

Tex enjoying some January sun (me too!)

a visit to Pinks and a splendid chilli dog.. it was very sunny too.. in January!!!

Thursday, 14 February 2013

It's a Bruin!

..... Bear.
Ha ha..... I have a new pottery crush! I LOVE this crazy creature.

I popped in very briefly on my way to pick the boys up from school and there it was in the temporary exhibition. It solved the puzzle for me as it had BRUIN written across it's belly. That's a Bear then. It's an old English word derived from the Dutch for brown. He has a long tail for the handle, which i doubt any bear has actually had! I shall definitely be making a version of these one day. It said it was probably made in Sussex, but I doubt it, from the very little knowledge i do have. I'm going to see if I can get my hands on it and have a closer inspection. Mystery solved. Well, as to what it is, but not about it's maker. Pottery, slipware, sgraffito, form, function, lovely bold direct mark making, great galena glaze with it's beautiful rich colours... and a bear... a bruin!!! when's our next date?

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Museum Mystery Slipware Pot

 I came across this in a magazine that came home from the kids school.... and now I'm intrigued! I've studied the Museum's pots often and I can tell you this isn't amongst them... what is it meant to be? A bear? a slipware monkey? Haven't seen one anywhere before though... have any of you potters? I have to locate this pot and try to see it in person. I shall call the museum later and let you know what i find out. It seemed a very odd choice of image for their Animal Antics, especially if it's not on display. Maybe it is now, I'll pop in on my way home!... by the way I like it, I like it a lot!

578 Feet Later

Here's a nice little local film by Jay Bartlett of a small stretch of St Leonards, along Kings Road. Come and have a stroll around my neighbourhood, you may even recognise some of the art!

578 Feet Later from Jay Bartlett on Vimeo.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Sketches - A Starting Point

Thought I'd put up a few scribbles from my notebooks to show how these recent Folk Custom characters started out. I guess my mind kind of has a pretty good idea from the start! Working visually day in day out trains you well. i can often see the finished thing (pretty much) in my mind's eye before i pick up a pen/pencil. It's just a matter of capturing that and refining a few points, extra little ideas/touches etc. I guess, if anything, that's what I'm trying to undo these days. trying to find a way of having less of a fixed idea of the finished piece. To find a way where only a guide is laid down and then i can let the process take me along. It's certainly what I'm trying to figure out how to do with my 2D, illustration work. I haven't figured it out yet though! I'm still stuck in the direct 'think it, draw it, colour it' method. Anyway, I'll try and put a few more sketchy things up here if and when i think about them.

Whittlesea Straw Bear and Jack in The Green

The Earl of Rone... coming soon!

Friday, 8 February 2013

Back To Clay - Jack In The Green

The holes in his chest are for me to add ribbons after it's glazed and fired.
He's about 10 inches tall.

... Not that I've really been away from it, I've just been using the little time i do get to practice throwing... and also trying to figure out this clay/glaze/kiln conundrum. I wish I just had someone around the corner from me that could just get me sorted!! I am being advised from afar though, so hopefully it's only a matter of time and I'll be firing another test in a week or two, which should get me nearer to the right finished pot. It's a continually frustrating period for me and then I read the other blogs and hear of great pottery workshops etc (All in the USA!).. and there's just nothing here like that. There's the college which doesn't offer much, but there's not all these potters putting it out there to share their skills and knowledge. Damn, it's frustrating. I just want to have my basic set up, so i can focus on learning and improving ( though I'm fairly sure this is part of that 'learning' phase!). Anyway, i thought I'd actually 'make' something, so I decided to continue my English Folk Customs and make a Slipware Jack In The Green money box, to go with my Whittlesea Straw Bear, which i posted about here. It seems to have gone alright. I still need to make him his crown which will sit on top, covering the slot for the money, so it's function won't be immediately obvious, which i quite like. I intended to just sgraffito the leaves over his body, but then i tried a couple of clay leaves on his face... and got carried away. I've used a thin white slip, to make the most of the sprigged leaves. I'll put a couple of picture up with him wearing his crown of flowers, once i finish making it. I might also start on the third Folk character, The Earl Of Rone, once i finish this one. I do like hand building these pots, but i know that ultimately I want to be using thrown forms... so I'm going to have to go back to the wheel again soon...and recycle a lot of clay! I'll get there.... eventually.

freshly slipped. The eyes were cut out later to stop me filling the bugger with slip!

making use of some letter stamps and a zester!.. it's good for crap-rustic.

The Whittlesea Straw Bear, just waiting for me to get my act together!

Thursday, 7 February 2013

What We Did On Our Holidays

(I do like a bit of Fairport Convention!) Anyhow, it's been two weeks now since we got back from three weeks in the States. It's a mad country! I love it ... and it annoys me in equal measure (well, more bias towards the 'love' end of things)... i guess I  watched too many of the TV ads! It's just pills and insurance.. and food! Sorry America, i know that's the mainstream and thanks to you fantastic bloggers i get to see the 'better' side, i was going to say 'normal' but i wouldn't want to label any of you that!! The trip was good, we got to catch up with Jakki's side of the family and friends and just hang out. The boys got to see lots of family for the first time, always an important thing. I won't put lots of family photos etc up here though, it's not that kind of a blog, i like you too much! I will though be sharing with you some of the places we visited... and re-visited. There will be Salvation Mountain, the Joshua Tree Inn, Noah Purifoy's art installations out in the desert and other cool stuff. It might take me a while, but I thought I'd better get the ball rolling. (bear with me though, i still have February to survive!)

Monday, 4 February 2013

Home Building- Log Cabin Simplicity

"I think ultimately there's a cheapening that happens with the way things are made today. Everything's made to look like something else." Paul Cutting.

Friday, 1 February 2013

My Studio Music- 10 Tunes To Work To

There's a cool website called Studio Music, where various creative folk give 10 tunes for listening to in their studios. You can listen to them there and read any info the artist wants to give on each, pop on over. A few of my friends already feature on it. Anyway, I thought I'd just do mine here... you'll have to spotify them or something! Now, these REALLY are tunes for working in the studio, not just a top 10, or tunes to show the breadth of my record collection, or a measure of my cool. Not that I'm saying that some of those on the website are ; )

Here goes:

• Neil Young- On The Beach
... any time any place!

• Electrelane- Gone Darker
... the 'heart attack song', blows my mind. I just love the build up, those girls made spectacular noise.

•Van Morrison- Listen To The Lion
...classic, a nice long vocal work out for 'The Man'. There's not enough growling and roaring in music these days!

• Endless Boogie- Jammin' With Top Dollar
... I was near addicted to this at one time, still get's me going.

• My Morning Jacket- Dondante
... a track of two parts, both impeccable, all I'll say is stick with it and wait for the reward!
(The last of my extended work out tracks)

• Grant Lee buffalo- Fuzzy
... a great tune and a big dose of nostalgia, love it.

• Tim Buckley- Make It Right
... groovy and puts me in an instantly better place, from the very under rated Greetings From LA album.

• Tinariwen- Chet Boghassa
...I defy you not to groove! caution: highly addictive (but watch your work rate increase!)

• Yo La Tengo- Stay Away From Heaven
... just the right side of madness, turn it up and get working!

• Guy Clark- Let Him Roll
... chokes me up a little every time, great story. oh, Alice!