Painting with stones and metal – part one

20130728-152905.jpg
View from Matese national park

As a ceramicist I’m interested in the colours in the earth, and when I travel I’m curious about the colour of soils and stones; from the rich reds of South Aberdeenshire, Angus and Perthshire, Scotland to the white soils in the South of England. I always wonder how the land is formed? what gives it its colour? and what makes it change?

20130728-151951.jpg
Pietraroja – matese massive

When i walked the length of the River Deveron I collected samples of earth and clay, I’ve collected some bedrock soils from recent archaeological digs, soil samples on walks with Helena and Vittorio during this residency and people are now donating samples to me as well (I recently received some clay soil from The USA!)

20130728-152249.jpg
Collection of soils and stones from Pietraroja.

Eventually when i get a pottery workshop back up and running I’ll explore these materials in the kiln, in slips and glazes. In the meantime, I will explore these stones down a microscope and make them into paints.

20130728-153448.jpg
Mineral samples ‘painted’ using water.

Artichoke paper – part three

The last instalment of the paper making adventure finishes with transforming the pulp into paper with a little help of some mesh, sun and patience.

20130718-184910.jpg

Once we were happy with the mesh coverage we then went into full production. Leaving the paper to dry out a little….

20130718-185057.jpg

Before transferring it to the ‘couch’ for drying out…

20130718-185200.jpg

Building up layers of paper as you use up the processed pulp

20130718-185253.jpg

An additional little squeeze out of extra moisture….

20130718-185343.jpg

And then leaving it to dry….

20130718-185423.jpg

All our hard work was worth the effort and patience of making when the final paper was dry….

Artichoke paper – part two

The quest to make paper from what i find around me continues…

20130717-171027.jpg

Now that the fibres have been cleaned and steeped, i gave them a bit of a jzijz, with the blender and we then pressed what water we could get out of them.

20130717-170840.jpg

The frame was made from found fabric and wood, and fits perfectly in the sink

20130717-171236.jpg

Then add the fibre…and after a few tries we get the fibre, mesh and paper pulp mixture correct and start to make paper.

20130718-112530.jpg

Once the pulp is ready the making process begins!

20130718-112734.jpg

After going through this lengthy process i reflected on the effort going into making paper and asked helena ‘why would anyone do this’, her reply ‘well i guess it’s preferable to chewing bark’, she has a point!

The rhythm of Guardia

Walking around Guardia at different times of day has given me a small insight into how the residents spend their time together.

Mornings are busy. From as early as 0600 people are going to work, doing chores, going to market and out and about. The day starts with the sound of the vegetable man calling out on his loud speaker that he is in town, bin collection trollies bump over the cobbled streets (EVERYTHING is collected on a complicated weekly rotation). I guess this early start is to do with the temperature of the day as it gets really hot in the afternoon. Ive been trying to get as much done as possible in the mornings as well as any trips outside Guardia before it gets too hot.

Around 1300 – 1330 shops close and the town changes dramatically. The streets are quiet, the crane stops moving, the builders stop shouting and the streets are only filled with sunshine.

Guardia’s people seem to have lunch and then a siesta, something i’d like to take home with me to Scotland! A bite to eat, lay down, read a book and have a snooze, a perfect way to break up the day. After siesta Guardia is beautiful, it is the best time to go out for taking photographs of the medieval town and also for getting some work done.

By 1600 it is no longer ‘bon jorno’ or ‘bon jour’, which they say in Guardia dialect, but ‘Bona sera’ and this is a great time for walking about seeing what people are up to and catching up on news of the town.

As you walk around you see the older men and women doing their hobbies, crochet for the women and botchie or petanque for the men, but equally bus stop or shop front ‘newsing’ is an art in itself.

People eat late in Guardia, often as late a 2200 if you’re out for a meal! As those who know me, they wont be surprised that i’ve yet to last until that late to have my dinner!

The town is quiet again by 2300 and the day starts again, only 6 hours to sunshine…

Painting with plants

Over the past few days i have been finishing the dyeing and watercolour experiments. It seems to be going well. The colours are surprisingly rich in both watercolour and dyeing, although it’s usually the plants you least expect to give colour that give you the best.

20130713-185704.jpg

The growing collection of experiments.

20130713-201045.jpg

One of the richest colours, particularly good on silk.

20130713-201235.jpg

Watercolour painting with plants….

20130713-201416.jpg

The next stage is to work our how i’ll bring everything together and also prepare the stones, collected from my walks, into oil paint!