Bristol marvels – ‘The Line of Beauty’, a thousand plus feathers and gauzy banisters

Hogarth-line-of-beauty-palletteYou still have time to catch some of the work mentioned below (dates listed) but too late to see the Hogarth exhibition I saw last week at the City Museum in Bristol – a shame if you missed it as the satirical work (eg The Harlot’s Progress, ‘O the Roast Beef of Old England’ – The Gate of Calais) is entertaining, scathing and still holds some relevance today; but Continue reading

Bird tales – and a different election


This isn’t a topic I generally publicise but I am a bit of a bird lover; not a twitcher or even a proper birdwatcher (there are whole groups of birds I’ve yet to distinguish one from t’other) and I make no serious attempts to photograph them – I don’t have the long lenses and neither do I usually have the patience – I simply enjoy the sight and presence of birds; they’re the most readily visible wildlife for many of us, their various habits are intriguing to watch and I do like bird shapes, the Continue reading

Basket making / stick engineering

IMG_4224sectionI’ve been hankering after a new skill that doesn’t have a relationship with a computer screen and this one-day, beginner’s willow basket weaving course at Windmill Hill City Farm seemed just the ticket. A lot of information to take in over a short day but a really good course. It’s totally absorbing – you need to remember sequences of weaving patterns, learn some wonderful new words, like slipe, waling and slath and make judgements based on tactile and Continue reading

Ahead of the Curve & Window Wanderland – Bristol exhibitions

horse-1A satisfying dip into Bristol last weekend when practical chores were thoroughly enhanced by two very different exhibitions / displays: first stop was the City Museum and Art Gallery where we saw ‘Ahead of the Curve‘ a showcase of contemporary ceramics and glass from China. Some entertaining, and some sublime, ceramic pieces – beautiful vase shown below – but it was the glass that really grabbed my attention, don’t think I’ve ever come across glass used in such a wide variety of outputs and with such different forms of expression. The free show is on until March 1st so catch Continue reading

Englishness / England – Keep’n it shabby.

Is this a uniquely English pursuit? Nature tamed and tormented at the local flower show.

Is this a uniquely English pursuit? Nature tamed and tormented at the local flower show.

Over the last few months I’ve encountered a range of ‘stuff’ – exhibitions, books and articles – that has English written through it like seaside rock; some are featured here, more may follow in future. It seems there’s been increasing debate about this elusive quality of Englishness going on for a while now (centuries really), and clearly there’s been some specific focus on the topic lately – the forthcoming Scotland vote on independence is churning up an awareness of the UK nations; the wild aspirations of our national football team had some people’s blood up for a while in the summer and much was made in the media of the Commonwealth Games a few weeks back – I was intrigued to discover that the English ‘national anthem’ played at the Commonwealth Games was ‘Jerusalem’ – but it’s only now that I seem to have become attuned to the recent output on Englishness.

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Lindy Clark – seriously playful

51-birds58 years ago today Lindy Clark was born in Blackpool – she moved to Bristol where we met her a quarter of a century ago through various arts activities, and yesterday we celebrated her birthday in one of her favourite spots – a wood near Bristol vibrating with bluebells. Sadly though, she wasn’t with us this time. When we took her there in June last year it transpired that it would be her final visit to the outside world and she died in September after heroically and humorously living with a brain tumour for over five years. Continue reading