31 May 2011

SOMERSET LOVE 4/4: treasure hunt

Finding your own precious is a part of joy when visiting a new place. I look around everywhere if time allowed, local independent shops, charity shops, CAR BOOT SALE (oh yes!), streets and skips... (You know how much I love treasure hunt form this post.) Here are some gorgeous finds from Somerset. 
Old oil lamps were from school car boot sale right front of where we stayed in Farmborough. Only six cars were there with families with kids (sweet :-), nevertheless I was lucky to buy  them for just 50p! Cannot beat that! I love old jelly moulds (one of my collections :-) and a kind of nostalgic china cup & a miss matching saucer. Again all from the car boot bargain. Beautiful lines from an antique shop in Wells. Glass from a small vintage shop in Shepton Mallet. Beautiful blue letter press card from the Holburne museum. Salt glazed jug by the local artist in Radstock. All now started to settle here and there in our house. I would love to know how you would transfer into your home? Any idea and inspiration welcome! 
I love lines full stop. Simple stitches are my favourite. They are table centers and I am thinking of placing my collection of old bottle glasses with this years sweet-peas
Letter press is a new interest for me. Would love to lean how to do it. Does anyone do letter press? 
Currently jelly mould are holding herbs on the kitchen window sills. My aim is to make lamp shades out of them in the future. 
When I sew those glass and china cup, I already had this images in my head. I am so glad I found them. 
Remember Peter Blake’s collage that I mentioned here? Thought I would make my own collage of ‘somerset love’. This is fun and I want to do more often. 
from left top, clockwise; box label from Claire’s studio, flower petal found in Bishop’s garden (Wells), pine corns near Royal crescent (Bath), tree barks and Letter press card at the Holburn Museum of Art (Bath), illustrated parcel tape from Claire’s studio. receipt from a vintage shop (Shepton Mallet), jelly mould (Farmborough), duck feather (Farmborough), old metal caps found in the street (Keynsham), white lined stone (Cheddar)
Hope you enjoyed viewing a wee bit of my somerset love. Thanks for visiting. xm

p.s. where did May go???  

28 May 2011

SOMERSET LOVE 3/4: time to doodle

some random miniature doodling from Somerset.

Next post is Somerset treasure hunt! Have a nice weekend all. xm

25 May 2011

SOMERSET LOVE 2/4: meet arts and artists

Meeting artists you admire is such a exciting moment, isn’t it? It is wonderful opportunity to seek their insights and ask questions you always wondered. Visiting them in their studio would be a bonus, not just you may see the actual work process but also peek through their inspiration and all sort of fabulous stuff! 
beautifully 'weather effected' work by Claire
We are so lucky to have been able to visit Claire Loder in her studio, and it was a dream come true! Claire is an artist who makes unique ceramic faces and heads, and her work is widely recognised throughout Britain and beyond. I can still remember the excitement that I first met her at Origin last year, shortly after seeing her fascinating work in ceramic magazine. When she responded to my email, I was thrilled! 

Claire kindly shared many of her thoughts and interests, and we had a rather long chat all morning! She was also encouraging on my study and work :-) Thank you so so much Claire for giving us such a fab time! We brought one more head called ‘sitting tenant’ back home from her studio, now happily nesting in our room. Do visit her website and find ‘them’ in her mysterious mirror world. 
Thank you so so much Claire!
our new face 'sitting tenant'

We are also lucky to have visited Bath on this occasion, just in time for the current exhibition of Peter Blake at the Holburne Museum, which was also just opened after a three-year refurbishment. He is well known with Beatles’ jacket design; Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, but in this exhibition there were more of his personal collections over the years. He assembled everything together in to collages and displayed in collection boxes, from tiny beach combing with his daughter to a plastic elephant that you can get like a freebee. A total treasure hunt, and I LOVED it. 
a museum for myself by Peter Blake
The Holburne Museum is a mixture of old and new, its building itself and display too. (Collections of ceramics were hung from the ceiling, which I loved.) There was a sketch exhibition by Karen Wallis, which showing the images of during the construction in drawings. (You can peek a bit here.) Her sketches were stunning, I wish I could draw like her... Nevertheless I did do some doodling here and there in Somerset, which I will show you on the next post. Be there if you can dare. xm

23 May 2011

SOMERSET LOVE 1/4: inspirational wander

As I mentioned before, I will be sharing my view of Somerset in next four posts. Today, I would like to share a few places that we visited during our stay. Hope you can enjoy. (you can click to view lager images)

On day one, we went to Cheddar gorge, this massive rocky hill, much due to my husbands request. It was a beautiful sunny day and many people were having picnics. We hiked right up to the top of the gorge, walking through woodland. So refreshing.
view from the top of Cheddar gorge looking cheddar reservoir 
(can you see the car on the road? My legs went to jelly)
finding 'heart' in woodland walk
bluebells and ferns. I’m thinking of next screen print or transfer...

Next day, we visited Bath, one of the most famous cities in Somerset. The sandy colour of Bath stone walls were really soothing to my eyes, whilst we are used to grayish Yorkshire stones. You can find lovely features everywhere in Bath, like these windows and balconies. I was also attracted to lines of chimneys on those terraced houses. Made me want to doodle (which will be coming soon!). 
Roman Bath is probably the most popular place to visit in general so I won’t write too much here, but it was fascinating to go back so deep into the history. I was very impressed with the underfloor heating system throughout the whole area, which was created with piles of terracotta tiles. I really wanted to have a bath in the end. What was the point of looking at them without actually enjoying them? Or is this me being Japanese? I do miss the public hot bath! Counting down to the next trip to Japan.
Somerset has many classic gardens that are open to the public. We went to Kilver Court Gardens in a village called Shepton Mallet. With a stunning backdrop by 19th century viaduct, you can enjoy the traditional English rose court-yard and massive rockery garden, where water cascades into the lakes and millpond. I am not much into rockery garden to be honest, but this scale (3.5 acre) definitely is worth viewing. I loved the ‘rose’ patterns created by those alpine plants, too. If you are garden lovers, you cannot miss it. 

We stayed at a lovely guest house called ‘school cottages’ in Farmborough, about 7 miles from Bath. They have beautiful garden and water feature that I totally enjoyed walking around, watching little ducklings following their mum (so cute!). Breakfast with fresh egg laid from chickens in thier garden, hosted by Tim the lovely owner. Well recommended. 

'children must be supervised' - well followed
Next post, I would like to share my dream visit to the artist studio. Watch this space! xm

22 May 2011

SOMERSET LOVE: coming soon!

We just got back from Somerset for our anniversary-two-night-getaway. It’s been ages since we had a short break together. (never mind the long holiday?!) Wandered around and relaxed with no plans. Just what we needed. Plus, visiting a new place is always great to find inspirations. Somerset certainly did to me! In next four posts, I’m going to share a bit of my SOMERSET LOVE (similar to the previous travel post ‘LONDON LOVE’). Hope you enjoy Sunny South England with me. xm

16 May 2011

HELP JAPAN donation complete & my thoughts will continue

Finally (yes, finally!) the donation from HELP JAPAN 1000 BIRDS PROJECT and HELP JAPAN Handmade Art Sale has been forwarded to Japanese Red Cross via the Japanese Embassy. We have raised £4933.20 in total. The receipt from the Japanese Embassy is below.
What a fantastic result! Without everyone of you, the project would not have achieved this so thank you very much. I’m pleased that I could be a part of help toward their recovery. Of course, YOU are the biggest part! 
My husband has been ‘camera-videoing’ some of me making birds. I thought this can be a message video for people in Japan to express our thoughts, so I edited into a short documentary film (approx. 6 mins), which I would like to share with you. (This is an English edited version. The original Japanese version can be seen in my jp blog.) I hope our wish will reach those affected by the earthquake. 
Two months has passed since the earthquake, when the whole nation shared the sadness. Somewhat ironical to see the huge difference between those who are affected directly (and secondary) continuing hardship, and those who are back to normal. Even we say ‘thinking of them’, they may not yet be ready to move forward positively. That is why we must not forget what happened to them. That is why we must continue our thoughts. I would like to continue doing whatever I can do to support them. I would like to thank you all for helping me be strong. xm

13 May 2011

b****y blogger or is this Friday 13th nightmare ???

I cannot believe the loss of my long awaited publication about the completion of 1000 birds project! As you may know by now, Blogger had a huge trouble worldwide today and has removed my post published on 12th May, INCLUDING all of your 22 kind comments! (I haven’t even read them all!!!) They say it will be restored and it seems to be happening to some people, but I am not one of them. Mine has still disappeared from the publication window, which they put back to an older version before the final post. I really do hope they will do the good job to return my precious post including your voices asap! (patience is a virtue, I know!)
This is what they said today........  (s i g h) xm

May 13, 2011
Blogger is back (NOT!)
What a frustrating day. We’re very sorry that you’ve been unable to publish to Blogger for the past 20.5 hours. We’re nearly back to normal — you can publish again, and in the coming hours posts and comments that were temporarily removed should be restored.  Thank you for your patience while we fix this situation.  We use Blogger for our own blogs, so we’ve also felt your pain.
Here’s what happened: during scheduled maintenance work Wednesday night, we experienced some data corruption that impacted Blogger’s behavior. Since then, bloggers and readers may have experienced a variety of anomalies including intermittent outages, disappearing posts, and arriving at unintended blogs or error pages. A small subset of Blogger users (we estimate 0.16%) may have encountered additional problems specific to their accounts. Yesterday we returned Blogger to a pre-maintenance state and placed the service in read-only mode while we worked on restoring all content: that’s why you haven’t been able to publish.  We rolled back to a version of Blogger as of Wednesday May 11th, so your posts since then were temporarily removed. Those are the posts that we’re in the progress of restoring.
Again, we are very sorry for the impact to our authors and readers.  We try hard to ensure Blogger is always available for you to share your thoughts and opinions with the world, and we’ll do our best to prevent this from happening again.
Posted by Eddie Kessler, Tech Lead/Manager, Blogger