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Thursday, August 24, 2006

...and my head buttons up the back.

The latest button creation. I made this back and white necklace in a completely random way and didn't like it. Felt it needed some kind of repetitive element. I had a roll of corrugated paper that just happened to be one metre wide so I cut myself a strip of that and laid the buttons out with just a touch of repetition here and there. I find my eye feels happier if it can identify some kind of symmetry.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Russian about

Only a tiny little adventure today I'm afraid. Believe it not there is on the Island of Bute in the middle of the river Clyde a Russian cafe. I've been dying to check it out for months but could never drag my dearly beloved over the threshold. He wanted to check out an imposing hotel high on the hills above Rothesay. We tossed a coin for it and he won.....or so he though.

The Ardmory didn't have much in the way of kerb appear or cars in the car park at lunchtime which should have run alarms bells right there. Empty except for the resident paying guest whom the maitre di addressed as Major, this was not all it had in common with Faulty Towers. The grub was pretty obviously straight from freezer to deep fat fryer.

As his penance I dragged him a little further along the coast to the Russian cafe for drinks so he could see it wasn't nearly as scarey as he anticipated. Not only was it small and friendly but the owner told us he baked his own bread, had fresh crab and lobster on offer and home made puddings(sigh) Next time.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Button it

The orange necklace on the left is the very lovely Jackie Brazil which I sell in my shop. The red/purple necklace on the right is my own bead and button version. If you want to try this, take four metres of some kind of waxed twine for a finished one metre length. I used waxed whipping twine from the chandlers. Thread a button on the centre as a fastener and tie an overhand knot. I learned how to ease my knots into place when restringing customer's pearls (ghastly job, avoid it at all costs). You lightly tie your knot and slip a large needle in the centre, then ease your needle up tight against the button or bead. Knot slips quite nicely when your twine is waxed. From here you thread one piece of twine through the button/bead, lay the other over the top and overhand knot as you go. Have fun!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

A new flavour of coffee

We had an excellent awfully big adventure today but I forgot my camera so no pics I'm afraid. It was sunny, calm day and we cycled for an hour and a half round the Isle of Bute from Rothesay to Colintrive. The ferry crossing, all of five minutes, took us to the Colintrive Hotel where we sat outside in the sun watching the ferry continue it's fifteen minute shuffle back and forth. I had the most excellent Thai green tiger prawns with coconut and ginger noodles followed by amaretto bread and butter pudding - with custard of course. It was obviously freshly cooked and the best meal I've enjoyed in a long time. A lovely young Latvian woman was serving us but when we decided to round off the meal with a Gaelic coffee, she looked crestfallen. I'm sorry she said, we don't have any garlic coffee, just ordinary coffee. I explained that Gaelic coffee was ordinary coffee with whisky in it and topped with cream. Oh, you mean like Irish coffee she asked? Yes, but that would be whiskey and we would like whisky. A very important difference.

Anyway, the coffee came and was much enjoyed along with the rest of the meal. The hour and half cycle back to the boat didn't seem nearly so arduous with a tummy full of warm warm coffee and whisky (no e). This drink will of course be known from now on as garlic coffee. Will try and remember my camera next time and show you some of the lovely scenery.

More Muppets

Here are some of my summer school classmates with their muppets. Also Trish Mathieson from Telford College, Edinburgh who won the City & Guilds medal for part one. Trish was making a glove puppet bat. She still worked in a very C & G way, with lots of structured design which didn't leave her much making time. Personally I'm more materials led, which translates as if it doesn't work, hit it with a big hammer.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


Latex foam guy becomes latex/foam gal with itsty bitsy...and teeth. My kind of woman.

I saw a great fringe show while in Edinburgh. An adult puppet improvisation by the Jim Henson puppet troupe. The puppeteers (puppet ears?) stood on the stage directly in front of you holding their muppets aloft at arms length which is seemingly the way it's done. What arm muscles these guys must have and what energy they powered through as they grabbed an assortment of puppets to turn vulgarity into hilarity in response to audience suggestions.

In their opening number there was a line about how disconcerting it is that muppets never have teeth. Ever noticed that and might you know why? If so, please tell me. Anyway, always a gal to rise to a challenge mine became dentate (wonderful word I learned from my dentist recently. Told me I might well manage to remain dentate all my life. Hmmmm, something to look forward to). If not, the rim off some plastic bottle tops reinforced with hot glue makes an excellent set of nashers.

Some of my class mates made more cuddly wuddly muppets. These gals came from Japan and could only communicate with the tutor via an interpreter. They did a grand job despite this.

Puppet Up

Just back from Edinburgh Art College puppet making summer school with David Wilcox. Fabulous! Made puppets all day and partied all night. My ideal life style. David dropped us in the deep end by presenting us with a paper bag and telling us to get on with it. Guess which one is mine?

From there we graduated to a more sophisticated rod puppet than I have made before. David was superbly well organised with everything cut, drilled and ready to roll. After assembling the skeleton I didn't get much beyond modeling the head which is a polystyrene ball with brown paper features covered in gloving leather and PVA. The leather I have had for a million years. Sending for a bag of leather off cuts seemed like SUCH a good idea at the time. Apart from smelling it occasionally, the leather and I haven't had much creative interface over the years, until now. Attempted cardboard hands with the idea of covering them with leather too but feel they are a bit clumsy. Progressing this guy is on the to do list.....but don't hold your breath.

The star of the show was definitely the muppet. David had lots of fleece and fluff with which to cover our muppets but I don't do cuddly. I had taken along an old piece of PVC raincoat materials picked up for a couple of quid another thousand years ago and it was ideal. A lot tougher than it looks. You can sew and pull it about pretty relentlessly.

We started with a modeling technique I hadn't come across before, foam and latex (Copydex). If you paint the edges of foam you want to join and leave it for an hour, it becomes self ahesive. Stick it together and leave it overnight and it's forever.

To be continued in next post. Blogger is being stroppy about uploading photos...