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Showing posts from May, 2017

Back in the USA, May 31

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Got home an hour ago - the quickest pass through Passport Control - new system in place at kiosks to do some of the work ahead of time before the re-entry stamp is entered by an actual person. Since I had only hand luggage of overhead bag on wheels (with my Egyptian/Greek goddess/kore inside) and my Celtic boar in the backpack I didn't have to wait for  luggage. Customs was a breeze. On the Heathrow side at London my  backpack was chosen for extra checking because of my little bronze boar but not my case with the big heavy bronze Egyptian priestess. I guess the x-ray image of the boar was unidentifiable to the TSA people.Maybe they suspected it to be some kind of brass knuckles or weapon of some other sort.

I drove home from the airport because my sister Liz was a  little traumatized with heavy traffic. It wasn't bad really and we were on the road just a little after 6 pm. The biggest plus was the traveling light to speed up the cumbersome process of getting one's  bag fro…

Tuesday, May 30

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I woke up at 6 am and immediately went back to sleep and then at 9:20 am decided to get up. I heard Tara moving about, she did some of my laundry. And I will be leaving a couple of tunics behind that I am extremely tired of.  We went to the Waitrose supermarket after having a breakfast coffee to pick up some things since A) it is fun to go to foreign grocery stores and B) Tara doesn't keep a lot of food around. or at least breakfast type food. We bought sourdough bread, I picked up a softer cheese. BTW I absolutely love the Welsh cheese Caerphilly. Greek yogurt, blueberries that are the size of my thumbnail, Yorkshire tea made for hard water that I'm taking home and museli that I've grown to love eating in the mornings here.

We ran into Wendy (Tara's mother in law) when we got home as she lives two houses down from Tara and she was able to have a quick cup of coffee. She is on her way tomorrow to the south of Spain. I took the time to take some photos of her place. She…

Monday May 29

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Finally in London (actually just outside London, called Bedford). I spent the day traveling from 11 am to nearly 7 pm after train changing, a bus, then more trains, the tube, then train again. It is great to see Tara. Her little house is wonderful. She has done such a great job with it and has plans for lots of other projects like the kitchen, extension, front yard which will be made into more parking . . .

In terms of my sculpture, now that I've shown them to Tara and Wendy, the Celtic boar is the most satisfying. He's real, he's active as if he is sniffing for truffles with his twisted snout to one side.

See what I mean? This is the bronze boar before getting all the ceramic off it and before being buffed with some beeswax. I liked its natural color and didn't want it patinated green. It will happen naturally over the years but will be a slow process. My boar is stockier with bigger ridges on his back. This image shows his support under his tail which we removed so t…

Sunday Day 2 bronze casting

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I knew what my Celtic boar looked like because the bronze was poured yesterday - all it needed with a little clean up after I used a hacksaw to remove the cup and bronze channels from the base. My boar, I think, looks a lot like the photograph of the actual Celtic boar. Well, maybe the ridges on its back are a little larger and it is in a kind of mid twist posture. I like its snout - very pig like but longer, sawed off the extension on its tail that was put there to stabilize it. It doesn’t have a curled pig tail but something more like a very small beaver tail. It’s legs are sturdy and it has a rectangular base. Decided to keep it the blackish bronze color and just rubbed it with a little beeswax.

Before this, we went through the procedure of melting a couple of bronze ingots in the furnace in readiness for the pour. I had done a pour yesterday so didn’t feel compelled to do it again. Besides, Kate needed the chance to pour and so did Quentin. Kate’s kneeling mother goddess based on t…

Saturday Day 1 Bronze Casting

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Day 1 of my two day bronze casting workshop with Mark. Mark is a sculptor and taught at Cardiff College but now works outside the academic environment teaching small (four or less) intensive workshops on bronze casting. He currently lives in Wales on a property that he has fitted out to fulfill his needs for personal sculpting and for the workshops which  are run on a demand basis through Craft Courses UK. I found the workshop under the Art listings. While bronze casting is certainly  not a craft (it’s one of the fine arts) but still, it gives Mark the opportunity to teach on a more intimate and meaningful level.  Caroline and Mark were very accommodating with my request to fit this workshop in my three week visit to the UK so that I would have enough time in between my 5 day Alchemy of Pigments and Sacred Geometry course and theirs since Wales is some distance from East Sussex.




I decided to make a Celtic boar for my first solid bronze "test" sculpture

Sculpture is one my favo…

Friday and worn out in a good way

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I broke my official walking record for the year - 7 miles - whoo hooo - 10 floors (another record) and 16,754 steps. Had to ask how to run the shower - they are all different. I'm at the Glanrynys Farm which has their own website. Caroline, the sculptor's wife, picked me up at the train station and brought me to the farm - it would have been a long taxi ride - well, about 8 or 9 miles.


What I saw on my 5 mile circular walk from Glanrynus Fferm, past the art studio, past the White Hart pub, beyond the Prince of Wales pub and the Abadam Arms pub.

I passed a cow who licked my hand then all of the other cows who had been lying down, started getting up one by one and sniffing my hand.

Next  were the sheep and lambs; I also saw horses but they were camera shy. There is a dog at the farm, like a sheepdog. I met a tiger striped cat who followed me in the house but since I didn't know if it was allowed in the house, I had it leave.

Eluned and Mark raise dairy cattle and since it …

Gloucester crypt tour

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Gloucester Cathedral crypt tour, 3 pounds for an adult at 11:30 and every hour or so from then on.  There is also a Tower tour and a library tour where you ascend 38 steps to what was once the monastery library with some old manuscripts. with the intense destructions of the iconoclasts of the Reformation though, I wonder that there is  anything left. I asked the guide today about relics but he said that he didn't know and if there were, they were destroyed in 1540. The only reason Henry VIII didn't destroy the cathedral was because Edward II was buried there and he had some respect for ancestors.

It was nice to have a tour; I was one of six people. As far as crypts go, this one is pretty stark with none of the creepy atmosphere of many crypts I have been in previously. It may be because Gloucester is built over a swamp and they couldn't dig too deep as it fills with water down there at times. The columns, piers and arches are massive in the Norman style. However, it was p…

Bats in the Belfry in Phoenixville

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Liz emailed me with the horrifying news that a big brown bat came flying into the living room last night while she was watching television. It is in her room now and she sent me a photo. Yikes. But she found a great web site about bats in the northeast and it calmed me down a bit. All she has to do is keep the door closed, open a bedroom window and let it fly out. If it's a mother, which it probably is, it has babies and you can't really do anything until August. I had been keeping the little art storage door open upstairs because my cat Dionysus loves to go in there. I blocked off (I thought) access to the space where he could go way in the back but apparently bats can squeeze into a space as small as 0.5 to 1.25 inches. Now I know why he wanted so much to go in and would scratch at the door and cry. First a dead racoon the last summer I was gone and Liz had to pick it up with a shovel to dispose of it in the back of my property and now while I'm in England, the bat appe…

Bat in Pothouse Rd

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Liz emailed me with the horrifying news that a big brown bat came flying into the living room last night while she was watching television. It is in her room now and she sent me a photo. Yikes. But she found a great web site about bats in the northeast and it calmed me down a bit. All she has to do is keep the door closed, open a bedroom window and let it fly out. If it's a mother, which it probably is, it has babies and you can't really do anything until August. I had been keeping the little art storage door open upstairs because my cat Dionysus loves to go in there. I blocked off (I thought) access to the space where he could go way in the back but apparently bats can squeeze into a space as small as 0.5 to 1.25 inches. Now I know why he wanted so much to go in and would scratch at the door and cry. First a dead racoon the last summer I was gone and Liz had to pick it up with a shovel to dispose of it in the back of my property and now while I'm in England, the bat appea…

Wednesday in Gloucester

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I've been in the UK nearly two weeks now and am missing home but there is Wales to look forward to. Not much to do here in Gloucester but see the Cathedral so I am taking the time to write. Waiting for my laptop to completely charge before I venture out to the cafe down the street - a sort of a cooperative and recommended by Tripadvisor. My phone is charging too, and is good for taking pictures.

Spent a couple of hours at Roots Coffee and Community at 69 Alvin Street,  GL1 eEH, Gloucester, UK. They have a facebook page. it's a community cafe that is all volunteer with profits going to charity. Has an upstairs lounge with comfortable leather couches, books, tv, etc. and a downstairs area - also outside tables. Everything they make is from scratch from sandwiches, soups, to cakes and breakfasts. They are open until 5:30 pm. It's just down the street from where I am stayng at my Air bnb. Down the street, I could see the upper towers of Gloucester Cathedral. It has a very long…

Dartmoor Zoo, Sparkwell, Devon

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Couldn't resist the lions, tigers and bears oh my from the Wizard of Oz. This lion now sleeping peacefully was awake when I first saw him but before I could get a photo, he put his head down and went to sleep. His was the only noise I heard at the zoo except for the sound of many birds. He was making that chuffing sound but closer to a growl. I could never catch him in the act. There was a lioness sleeping nearby.  As for the Amur tigers, I  saw three. Vladimir was the largest one by himself. The other two were in a different area. They look larger than the male lion, beautiful faces and if hunting, would bite their prey on the neck to kill it. There has been only one documented escape from this zoo and that was the Carpathian lynx - a male who was gone for 24 days but after he killed four lambs was caught. They got him a girl friend named Willow who I saw later.

This is one of two Amur (Siberian) tigers in this particular enclosure. They were playing in a small pond of water wit…

Tuesday - en route to Gloucester for 3 nights

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Top image: lapis lazuli, ground, made into watercolor with gum arabic, a bit of honey and tiny amount of water then panned.
Lower image: a rainbow of panned watercolors of yellow ochre, red ochre, terre verte unheated and heated to make a darker green, malachite (the paler green), azurite (a beautiful blue), soot black and bone black, plus chalk white.

After a brilliant breakfast of home made fruit compote of figs and raisins and flavored with cinnamon stick and orange peel, yogurt, my rolls and coffee - I gathered my things and had my host call for a taxi. Tariff to the station was only 12.10 pounds. Didn't have to wait long for the next train - to Dundee but I get off at Bristol Parkway, change trains for Gloucester. This train is 2 hours so I purchased internet access and with the help of the train ticket checker, he loaned me his phone so I could get the Access code since my phone doesn't work here and I couldn't check my email without Internet access. So that sorted,…

Monday, Artisan Bakery day

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Today was my private lesson in making gluten free bread items - 6 different types. I am coming home with a notebook of recipes - white sandwich bread with sesame top; wheat bread - two styles: one with fennel and fig and the other with apricot and coriander; sourdough bread; soda bread with garbanzo flour and onion - great with cheese - had it for lunch with asparagus soup; bread dough that we made into rolls - braided, pretzel shaped, regular round ... topped with sesame seeds and black poppy seeds. If I lived here, I would take them all home and freeze some but will have a sampling tomorrow and take just some so I can eat bread all week.

All of the recipes were completely done by me by measuring in grams on a scale that I have to get. We used honey, yogurt, milk, butter, molasses, agave syrup and a variety of flours in different configurations and amounts from chestnut flour, to teff, almond, garbanzo etc. I learned about different leavening agents and things that can be used (or sh…

Sparkwell, Devon, England on Sunday

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The Treby Arms: "A delightfully rustic Michelin Starred country pub which holds a hidden secret. An exquisite freshly prepared menu designed to tempt and delight anyone looking for fantastic food. Whether it’s an intimate meal for two or a family friendly evening meal there’s something for everyone to enjoy. "The Treby Arms was voted County Dining Pub of the Year 2017 (gastropub). 


 The interior of the Treby Arms pub. I sat at the small table in back right in front of the bookcase. At the bar were two guys drinking beer. As soon as I saw the tasting menu for 70 pounds, I figured I was in a very high class place despite its plebian atmosphere. I was given the choice to eat upstairs in the dining room or downstairs in the bar area - choose the cosy bar. While I was tempted to try the tasting menu, reason ruled because there is no way I could eat all that food and secondly, there was no way I should spend $90 or so on a meal even if it was a Michelin winning gastropub.

A truly i…