70th anniversary concert at Royal Festival Hall

An incredible end to a pretty busy Sunday of fun with friends, art, history, culture and now music.

We raced up to Waterloo and managed to squeeze my car into what must have been, judging by the looks we were getting, the last car parking space on the Southbank.

I had been looking forward to this concert for what seemed like a long time.  Partly because I knew it’d be wonderful but also because I wanted to see what my Proms friends thought of the Royal Festival Hall as a concert venue.  Sadly due to work commitments they had to cancel at the last minute.  However it was fortuitous for the mother and daughter who were making a beeline for the box office and to whom I donated the now spare tickets.  They were thrilled and clearly mother, visiting from overseas, was utterly delighted.

Tonight’s concert, conducted by Christoph von Dohnányi, was part of the 70th Anniversary Concert series at the Royal Festival Hall.

Piano Concerto in A minor – Robert Schumann
Symphony No. 9 in D minor – Ludwig van Beethoven

Clearly the pianist truly felt his way through the Schumann Piano Concerto and by that I don’t mean for the first time but more a feeling that with every note there was an emotion.  The speed at which his fingers crossed the keys and drifted from reflective quiet to decisive vigour.  Quite a performance and it certainly found us holding our breath and leaning forward to hear every note.

After the intermission we were treated to an amazing performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No 9.  Entranced as we listened and watched whilst the orchestra bought the performance forward and were then joined by soloists and an outstanding performance by the choir.  Incredible and deserved my ‘Wow, just Wow’ comment later!

RFH Programme Notes

The evening’s performance was conducted by Christoph von Dohnányi without any notes or music.  It’s no wonder that he holds the position of Philharmonia Orchestra’s Honorary Conductor for Life.

Telegraph Review – here
FT Review – here

 

Battersea Power Station Exhibition at BAC

Battersea Arts Centre this week was playing host to a wonderful exhibition of art work about the Battersea Power Station.   Those of you who know me well or have read my posts for a while now will know I did an Abseil in 2012 and also the reasons why.  I still laugh that they told me (and showed me) the ambulance at the foot of the Station as a reassurance… it was a mere spec from up there!

Anyway I was delighted to hear about this exhibition of works of art compiled in one place of the Power Station.  Hundreds of different works and different interpretations in different mediums.  There were professional artists, accomplished amateurs and children who’d entered work.  They varied from small drawings, photographs, pencils, pastels, acrylics, cardboard, patchwork, woodwork, glass and even Lego.

I loved that each artist had interpreted it slightly differently or caught a different light or angle.  Most of the work was for sale and I was pleased to see lots of red dots throughout the exhibition.

I spotted one piece painted by a lady, Laura, who’d been inspired to paint it following her abseil in October 2012!

It’s encouraging to think that there’s such passion for an industrial building that has, for decades been in danger or eroding and collapsing but now with overseas investment, is to have new life breathed back into it.  But no matter what the designers create in and around the Power Station, to me there will be no image stronger than the skyline at night with the towers reaching far in to the sky.

IMG_0294 IMG_0295 BAC WallLego pictureMade from Lego

Lego sculptureSchool Legoand the glass piece

Glass power stationGlass explanation Power Station

 

Saturday Images on Glass – results with decals

A little update following the firing from Images on Glass Saturday course.   Below are the pieces as they came out of the kiln…. now what to do with them?

Mum and Dad firedMum and Dad Fired 2

I cut up some strips of black glass and carefully fitted them around the pictures of Mum and Dad.  There were some very small gaps where the glass didn’t have perfect edges.

Mum and Dad together

I then carefully placed them into the kiln with a piece of 3mm clear glass over the top and fired it once more.

There’s the result.  There’s bubbles in it but this was to be expected with small gaps and a sheet of glass on the top (I quite like them!) but disappointingly the decals have slightly shrunk with the top sheet too giving them Mum and Dad a few more wrinkles than they’d like to have.

IMG_0284I’m quite pleased with it just the way it is however as I have 4 more printed images I’m going to try it again, perhaps this time with the sheet of glass below the images.  I’ll keep you posted.

Here it is on my fireplace.  The images are much stronger at night interestingly as if Mum and Dad are ready for a large G&T and a hand or two of Canasta!

Mum&DadFirePlace

Handmade Fair 2015

I managed to get some early bird tickets to the Handmade Fair for the second year.  Last year’s Fair inspired me to do more crafting and not to be afraid to try new things. It does help that my friend Miranda has been with me for both years too.

There were a heap of people who’ve benefited from things that I’ve made since last year or gift wrapped or received cards.  So I was hoping that this year’s Fair would introduce me to some more crafts and reinspire me further.

Collages12A little origami lesson.

20150919-094456And now I’m hoping to create the swan below… reckon I’ll do it?

Collages11And a class learning redwork embroidery… I’ve still to finish the pincushion.

20151011-171359A fun day out.  Great weather and lots to see, buy and do.  However all the workshops and demonstrations are definitely geared to crafting beginners.  Although it was lovely to learn redwork emboidery the workshop was called ‘Quilting’ which isn’t close.

I do hope that next year they run some more intermediate/advance workshops or perhaps extend the time (currently 45mins) so that people can get their teeth into some crafting and come away with something finished.

Richmond Hill 101

Number 62 on Greig’s list of 101 Things to Do When you Survive is “Enjoy a hot chocolate whilst watching the sun go down on Richmond Hill in 2015”.

I’m quite sure when Greig created the Facebook event on 5 August inviting some friends to meet him at Richmond Hill on 6th September for hot chocolate, he expected maybe 50 or so people would be able to make it.  Hmmm I’m not sure that Greig truly understands the impact of his 101 Journey on all those who’ve read his blog or followed his social media posts on Twitter and Facebook.  If you’ve not read why then click here.  What’s different about Greig’s journey was that not only was it about him and for him, he chose to do something around the world for others and managed to include and inspire us all along the way.

Yes it was inevitable that there’d be a heap of people on Richmond Hill having hot choccie.  They’d traveled from everywhere and even from the other side of the world to be there.  Many people were sporting 101 t-shirts/sweatshirts (another project that Greig had organised to raise funds for Cure Brain Cancer Foundation and raising no less than £1,668.

Even the hot chocolate day at Richmond Hill was raising funds for another charity North of England Children’s Cancer Research and with donations and an auction raised £1,100 on the day.

AND we had an amazing day.  The sunshine was out, great friends (old and new), virtual and real.

Typical Greig… tick off something from his List but achieve so much financially for charity but also for others to be part of this exciting day and visit a place that means so much to him… and now to all of us.

11059710_831675516931100_1402973801470713459_n 12118708_831675463597772_117158383957624384_n 12042999_831675606931091_6862644271470986015_nGreig, hope you now know that you were never alone on our journey… we all came along for the ride too!

La Boheme at the Royal Opera House

I know I say this a lot… but WOW!

Im ready for La Boheme

Tonight I was treated to a night at the Royal Opera House to see La Boheme.  No ordinary production either.  Conducted by none other than Pacido Domingo who has performed this opera many many times but whom you could clearly see was proud to be conducting a flawless performance from both orchestra and singers alike.  An incredibly gifted man leading gifted actors.

But there’s more.  Just before curtain up, we were told that this was to be the final John Copley’s production and therefore there would be a couple of ‘added extras’ (as if we needed more!).  The whole cast would do an extra curtain call between Acts 2 and 3.   (Usually the child actors and many extras for Act 2 are long gone by the time of the curtain call.)

AND as this would be the final time the set was to be used (after 40 years), the set change between Acts 1 and 2 would be done with the curtain open.  Wow and Wow again.  I managed to video most of it and I think you’ll agree it’s an incredible skill to create such intricate sets and then to orchestrate the changeover swiftly, precisely and, it seems, effortlessly.  Click here for video.

The whole performance was spellbinding, glorious, magnificent and emotive.   Truly never fails to disappoint.

And the final curtain….

IMG_9622An amazing evening and such a gift for me to have been there.

Guardian Review
Telegraph Review

Don’t you just love this bar… everyone SHOULD be dressed in evening gowns and black tie to complete the picture!

Bar ROH

 

Saturday Fusing & Slumping Glass

I signed up for a short course at the College.  10-4pm for four consecutive Saturdays.  This course was all about learning how to cut flat glass and then fuse with other pieces of glass, powder and frit to make some flatwork.  Then either leave the piece as a flatwork or, if you wish, to slump this into shapes to form bowls, plates, signs etc.

Some photos to demonstrate what we covered.

Picture 1 – using pencil and paper we considered what we’d like to make.  Drawing out exactly what we wanted to achieve.  Then cutting out plastic pieces to match this.  When I was with David Mitchell a few years ago he taught me to draw out the design precisely and then use the paper and pencil as a template.   Personally I’m not sure the plastic pieces helped whereas measurements and precise paper template would suffice.

Glass Slumping RACC Saturday

As you can see from my piece below I didn’t follow the design but did end up with a fun piece that had many sharp lines and angled cuts.

Glass Slumping RACC Saturday1I also created this.  I wanted to see what would happen in a high fuse when I had pieces laying over one another.  The blue pieces lay on the top of the green for the firing.

Glass Slumping RACC Saturday2Making the piece below, I used transparent and opaque glass together with frit, powder, confetti, stringers and a copper flower (made and donated by another lady on the course).  I’ve left the piece flat and enjoy the light coming through it when on a stand.

Glass Slumping RACC Saturday3Our tutor also showed us how to make our own moulds.  Firstly using clay to get the shape, wrapping clay around to dam it, then adding plaster to become, once set, the mould.

Glass Slumping RACC Saturday4Then I tried my own mold.  I was keen to use a shell for some shape but was, it turned out, too gentle and should have pressed much harder to get the shell shape in the clay.  The second thing I learnt from this exercise was not to wipe around the clay so it’s damp when I pour the plaster… it sticks to the board and will break when removing it!  But I was determined to use what was left of the mold, hence below.

The red piece Dad now has against a window in his conservatory.  I thought I should use the smaller mold piece and created the blue dish which I think I’ll incorporate into something else in time.

Glass Slumping RACC Saturday5I created a small round piece with opaque and transparent glass and then using the tutor’s mold slumped it to give a funky shaped piece.

Glass Slumping RACC Saturday7I wanted to experiment with rods and created a triptych for a friend.

Glass Slumping RACC Saturday6Then a little experiment using float glass and frit to then slump over to get a handkerchief piece!

Glass Slumping RACC Saturday8Finally a few pictures of some of the other work created by my classmates… so much more gifted than I!

Glass Slumping RACC Saturday9

Glass Memories of Washington

When I visited Washington at Easter, we (Andi, Sam and I) chose an object that I could use to create something in glass.  The object we chose was a pine cone.  You’d think that’d be simple to use.  Perhaps to create the object in glass?   Perhaps use the texture from the cone?  Or something else?  When I showed the tutor she dismissed creating it in glass as the cone was open and difficult to cast.  She suggested I use the base to create a latex mold and then add these ‘flowers’ to a piece.

Over several weeks, I’ve been making the wax ‘flowers’.  I decided that I’d like to do a bowl with the flowers around it.

The process is the same, create the was ‘flowers’, create a wax bowl, affix the ‘flowers’ securely and try to close up the gaps to reduce risk with plaster.  It takes an age to get the completed wax model.

Then I mixed up the plaster and flint mix to pour over the wax model.  Next stage is to steam out the wax.  I purchased some emerald green gaffer glass which flows faster than bullseye glass.  I then handed it over to the technicians to fire in the kiln.

All the above I did without telling Andi how I was creating the piece.  I was excited to create it and then present it to Andi as a completed piece in the future.  In June I’d not heard from Andi for a few days and was worried.  A few days later she messaged me from the hospital… and told me she was wrapped in her AnnaBlanket which made me smile.

AndiBlanketAnd I let her into the secret and told her what I was doing with the pine cone and a few photos.

IMG_0362After all that work and with the terrifically important reason I was making this piece, the pressure was on for this to be perfect.  Only a few days later I was at college and the piece was cooling in the kiln.  I could tell that something had happened as the technicians asked me to look in the kiln.  The mold had cracked and glass leaked.  So incredibly upset.

GreenAndiBowlI love that damaged imperfect bowl.  It’s not useable and needs a lot of work to clean up or reuse the glass.  Right now, I can’t do anything with it except be disappointed and sad.  Maybe one day soon I’ll create something with the glass that will work and be an Andi treasure.

Saturday Images on Glass – results with screenprinted stacks

Following on from the screenprinted images, I retrieved the pieces from the first firing.  On the first picture the screenprinted ones are the Teddy Wolfe ‘line drawings’.

Mum and Dad fired

You may recall that I also fired a few as ‘stacks’ with multiple sheets of glass, each with the image on them.

IMG_8948

A few photos of the fired stacks.  The one of Teddy has images with both black and blue enamel.

 

 

 

IMG_9115 IMG_9116My next job for these pieces is to grind and polish the edges.. no quick fix for this one so I started with the machines.  You mark the edge up and grind it off, starting course and ending up with the finest grade.  It’s a long process and I’m still working on them.  I’ll post again when they’re finished.  I’m hoping with pollished edges the 3D effect of stacked images will be even more obvious.

IMG_9242

Images on Glass Course – Final Week

Firstly an update on the pieces that were fired during the week.

Screenprint after firingAs you can see the screenprinted images using black ink have worked well.  Sadly the blue ink is fairly pale on most and the orange ink has in most places burnt away.  Personally I love the unpredictability of some areas in glass and it’s why there’s a need to test everything as you go along and continually learn.

My small Teddy Wolfe images have been stuck together and will be fire again into a stack (see below).  Which, with a little bit of hard work and a grinder to neaten up the edges will, hopefully, mean that I have a sort of 3D image of the picture.

Our tutor also had back sheets of decals using images that we’d emailed to her.  I wanted to use some black and white images of my parents.

IMG_8970

As this was our final class in the course, today our tutor encouraged us to re-explore the different methods we’d learned in the short course.

I concentrated mainly on using the decals we’d had printed and screenprinting.  I was keen to revisit the idea of screenprinting one image and then laying them over each other to create a multi-dimensional image.

So that the images would be as close as I could get, to being in same spot on each piece of glass, I first set up my screenprinting area.  Under the screen I taped a piece of cardboard from which I’d cut the size of the glass pieces.  Masking tape was stuck around the image I was using on the screen.  The screen was then stuck to the table at one end and then each corner marked out once again with masking tape.  The rest was up to me and my dodgy eyesight!

IMG_8969First the area is ‘flooded’ with ink by carefully dragging the ink over the area.  Then the glass is placed under the screen (in the cardboard slot) and ink is pulled over.  As my images have incredibly thin lines I dragged the ink over it several times, hoping that it would be a clean thicker line without being smudged.

This time, instead of firing the pieces and then stacking them, I chose to leave the images to air-dry and stack them for a single firing.

Stacking GrannyEeek it was mightily difficult to get it lined up perfectly!

Some of my peers in this final class concentrated on using powders on glass.  Others drew with enamel and then used powders and frit.  Some used their decals and screenprinted.  Here’s a selection of what’s being fired this week (including a batt of my stacks).

IMG_8973 IMG_8972Fabulously diverse and once again will be interesting to see what comes out from the firing.

Finally we lay out a selection of our pieces that we’d finished so far on this short course.  (Obviously there are some in for firing during this week and attendees will need to pop back to the college to collect them).

IMG_8971I think you’ll agree there are some wonderful pieces demonstrating different methods.  Certainly something I’m keen to understand further and do more of but most of all I can honestly say we’ve had a huge amount of enjoyment on the course.  Thank you Richmond Adult Community College our tutor, Monette and not forgetting the technician, Sally, who ensures our pieces are fired for us.