Saturday, July 1, 2017

gentrification on a shaky waterfront

See the short building, painted blue, to the left, That is where my studio is. The building has now been painted beige. It has always been called the BLUE MILK building for generations because it was blue and it is a dairy building out the back. With the granery across from my studio getting reborn, the entire water front is becoming gentrified, as predicted...

Of course the character has been removed, slicked back, windowed and sided. 
Getting made ready for an influx of high end  offices, retail, restaurants, along the waterfront , in old town. 
 The cool funk removed entirely.
This rather bland shot is from my studio window now.

Ivy heart torn out entirely.
replaced with a sad little wire frame.

The frame intended to be a trellis for wisteria , but every time one is planted it disappears.  A homeless man, who speaks loudly to himself - always shouting to the folks only he can see. is the thief. 
At least there is some character left here, in old town. 

This is a helicopter   view of studio building (blue), and the granery in process of renovation, the heart still there for this shot. Georgia Pacific plant all but gone. Glad to see that go, it poisoned the sound and the city for decades! Along with the good comes the not so great, I guess. Most people are stoked with the "improvement".


 So these are the mock ups for the new life across the street...
I miss the character, the funk, the loveliness of weathered wood , the soft lighting of the old street lamp, and the activity of gulls in and around that cool building.
I assume Starbucks  and other cheesy corporations will move in soon, and it will become just another white folks hang out. Safe and sterile, predictable, except for ....

- global change and the unpredictability of flooding- The above "mock up" of disaster may occur. Highly likely if the waterfront is not dealt with sensibly, what ever that may be, Some say a walking park is the only option. The land is not stable, the sea -a force.
The geology department at the U. on the hill has painted a grim picture of what may happen, and of course there is the fact that we are on a shifting fault, as well as the entire downtown area being honeycombed beneath the streets due to old mining shafts. Shaky at best, but the millions of dollars poured in to renovated the granery continues.
I have paid my studio rent well into next year even though I will be gone for four.5 months.
Who knows what I may come back to. For now, it is all OK, and NOW is all we have, really.

Friday, June 30, 2017

rocks and flowers

Felting wool to look like stones. They "resemble" river rocks and are about as big, I like to use them for pin cushions as the wool receives pins and needles well, does not dull the sharpness or either.  Plus they look kind of cool, pin in a pebble, like sword in the stone.
It is all illusion, so they say.

I have been on a white flower jag lately, these are large, needle felted from raw roving,  I intended  to make them small , for lapels or on coats, but got a little carried away. The largest one is seven inches across, too big for a lapel , unless you happen to shop at clowns are us. 

I will try again... 
Getting carried away is one of my most annoying character flaws. 
I have so many to choose from, but "carried away" seems to top the list at the moment. 

Back to the studio today. 
will try to make smaller flower pins , will try to reign in my enthusiasm for "some is good, more is better"- Slow learner....

ahead of myself

Because I will be in London through the Christmas season, I have been thinking to get all of my presents done now, leave them before I go for the folks I love. Mr. Man and youngest son will likely meet me in London - Skating, lights and London at Christmas time sounds grand, will be so nice to spend it with family in my favorite city.

Mug rugs with matching mugs are nice little gifts,  as are wall pockets for keeping bills and other mail.

I do not often give vessels , they are a little bit strange for most people to appreciate, and are utterly useless for everything except maybe holding keys and coins- if there is a playful animal in the house , wool vessels are too enticing and end up in shreds.

These two vessels are felted from low grade wool that I could do nothing else with, though they are not the best they will do  .
I have a favorite very large smooth stone I use to make these. The extra weight of the stone seems to felt inferior quality raw wool better than I could do using a squish ball. 

Lately I have made table runners, nuno felt on silk which is a lot of work physically- loads  of wool, layer upon layer six times is used. Pounding, rolling, squishing, hot and soapy, over and over to obtain a good, cohesive felt has challenged my arthritic hands. Not sure if I will make many of those! 

  Needle felted flowers are always good, seem to be a crowd pleasers. So, getting things taken care of before my trip is a good feeling.
Christmas , already covered, in wool! Family joining me for Pudding. Life is awesome!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Let's go meet the gang!

One day Sarah of circles of Rain Blog fame, and I were driving around Plumstead, parked the car, she said " I have something to show you"...
In an otherwise normal quiet little neighborhood, we came upon this large white home of  questionable taste!
Much like a forgotten attraction at an unattended amusement park , stands this monument to gangster wannbe's in South London , belonging to Dave Courtney,, someone I knew nothing about.

Decorating with brass knuckles- with  birds of prey standing guard over what is called ....

Right. Camelot Castle!!  a plaster hit man peering over the fence , dead eye Dick, to be sure.  Do not mess with plaster man, and know that you are being watched.

Recently Dave had a heart attack, age 59, and yes, he has had a scrappy life ,  crime, associations, a little bit of murder - time in the slammer. A legit gangster, I don't think so,  a fringe character of bad character, more like. 

No mobster would live in a house like this, number one. Number two, No mobster would drive a V W. You can look at photos of the interior , on line, as well, looks like more of the same  "theme" - A police box shower, a torture bedroom...It is like some seventh graders set up what they think MIGHT be a gangster's crib .
We had a  laugh, though very quietly, respectfully...because, remember I did mention  that " little bit of murder."

On the side of his house is this mural of his heroes, The Kray twins , whom he claims to have been a friend of, now that would have been good company!
Al Capone, Howard Marx,the Krays, Freddie Foreman, Roy Shaw, DC, Al Pacino, Lenny, Lenny Mclane, Joey Pyle, Charlie Richardson, Ronnie Biggs, John Gotty. 
and of course brass knuckle throne for Dave himself. 

 And then some guy drove slowly by and flirted with Sarah- he wanted to marry her or something. 
We moved on, rather quickly!

If you are in the Royal Borough of Greenwich sometime, Plumstead, S.E. London , you might want to drive by, and by drive by I do not mean "drive by" gangster style.

Monday, June 26, 2017

sushi for crow

Having returned from another stay in London,  a stay that saved me from the worst of the American election, feeling secure in the polls , knowing that this was Hillary's  win, only to find the country in turmoil, shock, utter chaos, having elected the most unthinkable ! Time  has rolled on into the darkest winter ever  politically, weather in compliance to general abysmal mood of a shattered country , dark, cold non stop rain, no light at all, pallor close to death. The carrot that is all fluff and bluster is America, and it is toxic.

Broken, everything is Broken!
Dangerous, threatening, gassed by the orange terror.
I immediately booked another flight to London in September, enough time to organize my life here , rent a flat, buy a ticket. 

Mr. America in a straight jacket.

At least the weather has improved, took it's time, through a blustery dark cold rainy spring.  Nothing else can be made sense of right now, Sun has arrived,  sushi on the rail to feed my new friend.

Mr. Crow,  whom I have named Sushi, for obvious reason,

He comes every morning to let me know it is time for breakfast.

Biding our time. Fight or flight? You guessed it!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Well mannered and sorry

The one word  said most often in England, is "SORRY". Sorry /not sorry but well -intentioned.  The civility of the British is admirable,  Understated rage, understated joy, understated insults, they are well practiced and use exquisite vocabularies to  dismiss you or dress you down, and make you feel very good about it.

Reading "SORRY! The English and Their Manners" by Henry Hitchings,    taking it in small doses, packed with rules,  contrivances , historical and outdated hilarity , frustrating, but most of all Charming- civil.

Where to draw the line between being mannerly- and being disingenuous. Not sure.  America is such a baby with it's habit of blurting without too much thought or regard for the other person's  feelings -  without   delicately  dancing around issues using gentle language and a bit of  self depreciation . Blurting is messy, though genuine, and passionate, generally speaking- one can pretty much trust that what is being regurgitated is truly what it is, and isn't that why we are in the pickle that we are in... There is no code breaking, which the British have plenty of:
 "interesting"= tedious nonsense. 
a BRAVE plan= an insane one.
"Quite good"= disappointing
"It's my fault"= It's your fault
"I shall bear that in mind"= I'm going to forget that immediately
The intention is not to deceive, it is to be civil, to be kind. 
  England's well mannered lives make coming back to America feel like re-entering  a very  bad middle school specializing in bullying ,  a thick skin is essential, otherwise there will be crying all day, every day and the wringing of hands until  they become ineffectual stumps.
Discourse has become extremely  volatile since this Orange administration has shat on the entire nation, hand in hand with the KKK, the NRA, and the Bannon agenda of " scorch the earth". 
America is such a child with a toddler at the helm- little wonder Britain offers respite.
Yes, yes, May is a jerk and Brexit sucks, but, the population remains as they have always been, delightful, charming,  thoughtful...and sorry. And will offer an old lady a seat on the tube every time!!

whales in the yard

The photos of the Orca in the bay are from yesterday, nicked from Bellingham page. The top one is right outside my studio. It is ...