Friday, 24 April 2015
Tuesday, 21 April 2015
Tuesday, 7 April 2015
Wednesday, 1 April 2015
Wednesday, 25 March 2015
Ode to City and Islington College Thursday Evening (and one yearofWednesday evenings) Ceramics Class
I have attended this class since academic year 2006/07 which is an astonishing 9 years (I always think its more like 6).
The first term I attended there was an influx of us - a couple working in regeneration, an architect, a couple of secondary school teachers. Large personalities, talkative. The class was lively, friendly, we learned from each other as well as from our tutor.
The second term had quite a few of us returning but also some other new people. It kind of reverted back to what a traditional pottery class is like - lots of people into their individual endeavour, rarely looking up from the clay, little interaction. We practised our skill. I missed the camaraderie of the previous term. With the tutor we invented the "5 minute exercise" - a short slot in the middle of the class where we did a group activity which was designed like 30 second life drawing exercises to loosen us up, meet one another and do something less navel gazing for the briefest period of time. Some of them gave me ideas that I expanded - make 10 things in 10 minutes, coil as high as you can in 5 minutes - others were just silly but fun - throw a pot with a partner - one hand each, in a group without looking at each other, one makes a head, one makes a torso and the other makes the legs, then join it all together. We even made a minute version of Antony Gormley's field using the instructions he gave for making the little gorms. We also started a blog - first a flickr page, later a blogger blog when the college system banned flickr. It grew into a valuable community of practice where each member of the class could load up their own pictures, describe the making and glazing process (if they chose to) and get feedback. These additional activities brought back the fun of the first term and made the class less cliquey. The blog also charts the progress and achievement made by the individuals in the class (if they chose to upload their work) over time.
In the last term I decided to round off the work by going back to where I began to truly like ceramics. The first pot I thought was pretty successful was the first naked lady pot. I used life drawings from the previous class I did to make motifs for pots - I used them over and over refining across a number of different objects. This term I made a naked man pot. A full circle.
|Naked Lady Pot|
|Wavy Stalked Urn|
|Frozen Planet Pot|
|Hour - 60 things made in 60 minutes|
|salt firing - pinch pots|
Monday, 16 March 2015
Tuesday, 24 February 2015
Monday, 23 February 2015
So I read the first book. It was on the shelf of a lovely house in France where I was staying and we laid by the pool sunbathing for hours and I read all my books before the end of the holiday. So I read this just to see what it was like. I thought the writing was poor, the sex scenes were pretty repetitive and used some irritating terminology over and over. And in essence it was a love story where a virgin falls for a man and they eventually get it together. With some lightweight sado-mascicism thrown in - all be it in a female clichéd fantasy of red velvet 'play-rooms', leather horses and mechanical winching devices. I had no desire to find out what happened next.
I'm upset that women are falling into this trap of thinking that its such a risqué fantasy to play a submissive to this powerful rich man. Isn't that just an old rehashed 1950s female desire (marry a man who will look after you, have children, be chained to the kitchen sink). Aren't there any more exciting, nay modern female fantasies we could explore?
Sunday, 15 February 2015
It turns out that this is indeed one of the perils of cleaning the cooker. Normality restored by morning when it had dried.
Tuesday, 10 February 2015
Tuesday, 3 February 2015
Saturday, 31 January 2015
Wednesday, 28 January 2015
Monday, 26 January 2015
I wanted to answer to some of these assumptions. Starting with the one about achievement and progress.
Friday, 23 January 2015
Thursday, 8 January 2015
Monday, 5 January 2015
Wednesday, 31 December 2014
Thursday, 25 December 2014
Tuesday, 23 December 2014
Monday, 22 December 2014
Friday, 5 December 2014
I’ve always known open plan hot-desking is bad for me because I can clearly recognise the impact it has on concentration and increased irritation. Other people’s phonecalls at the top of their lungs, desk-side meetings, talking (well, sort of talking – not quite shouting) to colleagues across the space rather than going over to them, uncontrollable temperatures – blasting air conditioning or way too hot, and the need of the window-seat-hoggers to close the blinds on a sunny day to the detriment of those working further inside the building (if they don’t like the light why do they insist on sitting by the window?).
http://stevemaslin.wordpress.com/2014/12/03/place-working-vs-open-plan/ - interesting article by an architect and access consultant (access consultant – no idea what that means) which says
“Our needs vary – but are significantly influenced by:
· Physical comfort,
· Our ability (or not) to cut out extraneous noise,
· Preferences for access to daylight
· Our commonly held preference for access to views of the natural world, and…
Our need to:
· Adjust artificial lighting intensity, position and colour,
· Adjust what is in our visual field and to reinforce a sense of familiarity and recollection to aid our memory”
Its not so much the need for privacy I don’t think but I had never considered that in addition the reduction in concentration there might be an impact on recollection, memory and productivity due to not being able to see a view that includes vegetation or have natural daylight. Our office rules include not eating at the desk (you are allowed a drink and maximum two biscuits, otherwise you are supposed to eat in the designated areas), no plants, no clutter, nothing left on the desk overnight, no fixed positions, no storing things on top of the lockers. This makes it look nice and clean, reduces likelihood of mice infestation (although we have had visits coming up the cabling of the computers from the floor to have a peek at the working desk situation, but not regularly), and enables people to sit wherever is available when they get in.
On top of which I found a marvellous quote from Einstein (and who can argue with him…) which is a fantastic retort to the clear-desk police (to which we had to convert when we started open plan hot-desking), “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” Touche.
Sunday, 30 November 2014
Saturday, 22 November 2014
Tuesday, 18 November 2014
Tuesday, 4 November 2014
Anyway, I have one for you. Once upon a time. In a distant galaxy. Far far away.
No I jest.
It was October 3rd of the year 2014. (A month ago). Having just watched the opera Carmen in a church in Shorditch I was walking over a traffic island when I crossed paths with a black panther, who stopped me and said he liked my shoes. I stopped and looked him in the eye. It was a strong and solid look, held totally and intensely by the panther. I cocked my head, thanks. He said he was going into the Cornershop with his friends and he asked me to come, he'd buy me a drink. Eyes locked. I considered it. I should go home. I had to go to my brother-in-laws' wedding the following day. My head said fuck it, you're single do what you like. My mouth said ok, the panther took my hand and we ran across the street. Standing outside while his friends smoked I considered my actions. And then we went in. I bought a round of drinks and we talked. I can't remember what about. Mostly I remember the intense looking. Something in the eyes was telling me something. I'm unused to another person doing that. I've been in trouble before for staring too much. The panther went to the toilet. I talked to his friend Dave. And then he was back. I'm ready to leave anytime. I don't mind leaving this drink. Say 149 and we're out of here. I finished my drink. And helped him finish his. We left.
Outside he offered me the crook of his arm and we walked that way to the bus stop. On the bus we sat with heads turned to keep the gaze while he talked about places he knew on route. And about buses. A vaguely geeky knowledge of buses. Which makes me laugh - I am a bus siren - spent many hours riding the buses from home to the end of the line and back just to be out of the house and seeing the world. We spent the night looking at each other and stroking. In the morning he needed to leave. It took two coffees and a toilet break before he could finally tear himself away.
I slept for three hours and awoke to banging on the door. Blearily opening the bathroom window and asking who it was. A friend, came the answer. Downstairs I opened the door and there stood the panther in a sharp pinstriped suit and white shirt. I was overwhelmed and stood there in the doorway looking at him. Can I come in, he eventually asked. Of course, I said and stood aside. He said he was there to deliver me to the wedding I was going to and get some lunch beforehand. I got dressed. We left looking very Saturday night on a Saturday afternoon, catching a bus to Islington Town Hall where we found a restaurant. Over lunch we held hands across the table and he asked me if I believed in love at first sight. To which I glibly answered I didn't know. After lunch I went to a wedding. Two grooms, one in red, the other in blue. Lovely and full of love. I texted the panther.
The panther texted me on Monday. We met after work for a meal. We talked. In my head I considered the concept of love at first sight. My parents met on a blind date and got married four weeks later and stayed together until my mother died. I never heard them say a cross word to each other. It was a seemingly impossible romance to live up to. But it was real. Not a fairytale from a bygone era.
On Tuesday I didn't hear from the panther until late in the afternoon. I spent the morning in realisation that if I never heard from him again I would be upset, may even be devastated. Could that even be true after four days. On Tuesday evening he wanted to meet but I couldn't because I was at my dads having dinner. He came all the way there to stand on the street kissing for five minutes. I was totally relieved. On Wednesday I went to a classical concert with Susanna and she asked me what it was I had to tell her without me saying a word. And I told her I met this panther and I think I'm in love with him, but is that even possible? She said it can be. There was time spent again on Thursday and Friday. On Saturday morning he texted me and asked me if I believed in love at first sight. And I replied that yes, since meeting him I did. Then, he said, I'm coming home to galvanise that truth. And then he knocked at the door. I love you he said. And I love you back I replied.
And that, was that.
So it doesn't just happen in fairy stories. It's been a month.
Wednesday, 22 October 2014
Monday, 6 October 2014
Sunday, 5 October 2014
Invited on a pottery jolly, back in August, to visit Fran and Georg's new straw build house in Norfolk to camp, and do a pit firing in their garden. Unlike our previous jolly we didn't make anything in advance, so it was also green firing of pots that we made and dried on the day we got there. There was a high likelihood that nothing would survive the firing.
We made pinch pots out of grogged stoneware clay. Ate lunch and homemade bread. Went for a walk while everything dried. Tents were pitched. A pit was dug and filled with sawdust. The dry green pots were placed carefully (being extremely fragile at this point) and covered with more sawdust. Rolls of paper and kindling wood were placed over the top and then it was lit. Love a big fire. We sat round. Until we were tired and retired to a variety of beds in tents or in the house. A gale started - blowing in from a tail end of hurricane across the atlantic, and it rained. Never that keen on tent sleeping at the best of times but with howling wind and pumelling rain it was both cold and difficult to sleep.
The following day we extracted the pots, its a bit like an archeological dig. Most had survived. They were fired but not to anywhere near the temperature that they would be properly cured at. But - its the process that is exciting and the company that makes it always worth the trip, even when the pots are nothing to write home about in the long run.
And the scenery was beautiful and I swam in the sea with grey seals.
- Watched Salvatore Guilaino by Francesco Rosi at the ICA
- Went to brother-in-law's brother's gay wedding
- Saw Carmen at a church in Shorditch
- Watched Lucy at Islington Vue
- Watched Pride at Woodgreen Vue
- Watched Citizen Above Suspicion by Elio Petri at the ICA
- Watched The Tenth Victim by Elio Petri at the ICA