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

A Bristol-mix Saturday

This set of photos resulted from an impromptu tour around a really odd mix of bits of Bristol last Saturday. No particular purpose, just decided to see how things were changing in the Enterprise Zone area around Temple Meads and moved on from there. Not everyone’s top choice for spending a Saturday but it’s good to take in a panoramic view of your Continue reading

Drawn across the hill – the White Horse of Uffington

IMG_0696sliceI don’t remember the first time I saw the mysterious chalk creature leaping across the downland turf at Uffington, but I was a kid, and probably under the inevitable ‘horse-love’ spell of girls of a certain age. But along with the more prosaic, and very recent, white lion etched into Dunstable Downs not far from my childhood home of St Albans, and the puzzling and spindly Long Man of Wilmington in Sussex with his parallel poles, these pictures scraped out of the chalky soil 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

People and stone-places

IMG_7480This post started out as a piece about a visit to Stanton Drew late one afternoon in November last year where I’d taken some photographs; but the process of selecting the photos (amongst the text) set off a sequence of recollections about previous visits, and that in turn led to memory detours into different stone-made territories, and dowsing….

Stanton Drew is a large, but little visited group of three stone circles just south of Bristol set in the fields next to the River Chew; legend has that the stones sometimes go down to the river to drink, they must, after all, be thirsty after all their cavorting – these are wedding guests who were tempted by the devil to carry on dancing into the Sabbath and for their sins were turned to stone. The long ridge of Dundry Hill provides a backdrop to the north that includes the sculpted Continue reading

Placescape #1 Southern England

SE montage header-2Now that I’ve invented an excuse for posting inconsequential items about place within this new ‘placescapes‘ theme here’s a throwback to September 2012 and a holiday spent largely in the Kent and Sussex area known as The Weald. I hadn’t set out to document this ‘touring holiday’ and I can’t remember why we chose to go there (apart from a middle-aged yearning to visit the gardens of Sissinghurst and Great Dixter), but it turned out to be a bit of a revelation.

Some places may have felt a bit over-preserved, others were just what you might expect in 21st century south-eastern England, with miles of bungalows and sprawling factory estates, but the remarkable variety of landscapes, architecture Continue reading

Introducing – placescapes

IMG_7061There’s an accumulation of notes and images that I’ve made, or had in mind that are loosely about ‘place’, that I’d thought would become a single post on this blog. They’ve been drifting around for while now – certainly since writing an earlier post on ‘particularity‘; but I’ve been waiting to unearth some keystone of information to bring the strands together in a coherent story-arc. No such thing has yet emerged and some de-cluttering of the desk and head are needed.

So, instead of a focused and considered piece of writing with illustrations, I’m going to put the notes and images in a series of occasional posts largely as they are, a hotch-potch of thoughts, memories and images about places – places I’ve been to, or that I’ve seen, or heard, through other people’s eyes and maybe ears – through paintings, prints, photographs, writing, music…often those places are landscapes but they’re also town streets, marginal land, gardens, places in transition such as demolition sites or scrub clearance in fields; or ‘temporary places’ where something stays only a while but transforms a space, like a temporary public artwork, or a street market. They’ll be under the title of Placescapes.

For decades now I’ve been having continuous conversations, usually with myself, about what makes a place and why Continue reading

A footnote to the Automatic Selfie


Slackers-Friday-1The last post on the algorithm topic for a while, maybe ever, but the theme has intrigued me and maybe I’ve learned something. After writing the last post and subsequently finding this article I thought I’d test Google stories further to see if I could work out what criteria might be applied to data and images by photographing a trip into Bristol and back on a bus with some Continue reading

The automatic self(ie) and the making of memories.

A '19 Moments' Story

’19 Moments’ – a Google Story, to be included in a future post.

All the features in the recent post (about the application of algorithms to popular online photo sites) have the potential to be ingredients in a story, so what algorithmic tricks might be available to spin your photos, your ‘moments’, into a yarn, automatically? For a start Google Stories can take the effort out of selecting and sequencing your holiday photos, locating them as ‘moments’ on a ‘fun timeline’ with a location …

Continue reading

‘Halloweenify’ special

Some seasonally spooky examples of the Google+ ‘Halloweenify’ effect (part of Google’s ‘Auto Aweswome’ enhancements as featured in my recent post), if there are faces in the photo that the software can detect they’ll get an undead makeover (or something less scary if you choose the ‘fun effect’), if it can’t recognise a face your image will be transformed into a ghostly scene. Continue reading