Glass, gardening and more birds.

Last week I went to see Breath Taking, an exhibition of innovative blown glass, at Bilston Craft Gallery in the West Midlands. It’s such a good gallery, and hosts some fine shows. This was no exception; I didn’t like everything but I certainly admired it all. Glass must be one of the most difficult materials to work with. Whilst I like and would like in the future to try different media, glass is not one of them. I just enjoy looking at other artists’ work. There were a lot of pieces in the show, so here are just a very small number of them.

The cover of the little book that came with the show.

Blob, by design collective Committee.

A detail of Apartments, by El Ultimo Grito, another design collective.

I particularly liked this life sized pate-de-verre and mirrored pomegranite which was part of a work called Inverted Vanitas by Joanna Manousis.

Witty and slightly worrying, I hope my lamp never does this. By Elaine Sheldon.

I was impressed by Monty Donn’s garden in the new series of Gardeners’ World on Friday, and happily this has made me enthusiastic about gardening again. I was off it last year but had a lot of family stuff going on then so that was probably why, too. I read and liked his book The Jewel Garden a couple of years ago, and as the weather was so good I was out rebuilding a rockery edge and doing quite a lot of sorting and organising this weekend. It’s a small garden of many parts though, all of which need attention. I should have been working of course, and I couldn’t get out there today as I was actually at my paid teaching job. Also the old back needs a rest, but it was a lovely day again, so I know where I would have preferred to be. I did buy some gravel though, for my new elegant gravel border, which I will be sad enough to post an image of when it’s done…

I did however manage to move on with a new piece for The Stone Bird book, in fact the double page spread of the river and kingfisher is finished now. Here are a few images of its early stages and the start of some new pages featuring moorhen chicks.

A few ideas and fabrics, including some digital images from my photographs. I thought this piece was going to be very rich and painterly but it’s turned out to be cool and monochrome.

I resisted using a kingfisher as I thought it a little obvious but as I am trying to use birds I have seen, except the tropical ones, I decided to dig out an old drawing I did about 20 years ago. I used it on a painted dish back then, when I used to make ceramics. I have only seen a kingfisher once, on the River Severn.

A nifty leap to the laid down double page spread. The large gap on the right is where the text now is.

The very early stages of the moorhen chick piece.