segunda-feira, 5 de maio de 2008

potters turn

I know that michael as the horrors of Zoe setting up a kiln in France and myself building a forge, when Zoe returns from her night class with another bowl he mutters that it is yet more junk that he will have to lose somewhere, not true about Zoe's ability for the pots are nice pieces but I know what he means. The house can get very over run by new buys and craft magazines, Zoe is into renovation mags at the moment so that must be driving Michael a wee bit potty.
When Jacky and I lived near hexham and she had the part share in a shop, Lizzy ran the antiques side and some beds in our part, Jacky sold Liberty furnishing fabrics and made to order curtains and cushions. We also sold pottery and small table lamps , which I made quite a few, metal folliage chandaliers as well as a varied range of decorative items. Jacky liked the Emma Bridgewater sponge ware and by all accounts so did a lot of ladies in Hexham, the pottery was fun with little chickens, pigs and cows gently printed on with sponge or cork or something else. We had what ever was not sold in the kitchen at home, as part of our collection as well as a lot of pottery that had been collected in Exeter and London. In Exeter we had a lovelly cider jar with a tap and six pottery goblets made by a local potter, later in London we found a new potter that was producing similar work and started to buy their pots for use in the kitchen, the potters were Joanna and Andrew Young. David Mellor was a strong influence on our kitchen and I see from the A & J Young web page that he is still supporting them. I also collected antique French glass and loved to buy odd calvados glasses when ever we where in France, ususlly Dieppe as it was a quick crossing and we would go there to do some shopping and have a nice meal.
I am all for encouraging Zoe to explore art in what ever form it is and even better when the art can be used for day to day.

As a frequent part of set designing was to create outdoor scenes it was also a frequent part of the work for David and myself to create life like hedges and trees that were also fire proofed to give a minimum of 30 minutes escape time. Anything that is in front of the iron curtain needs to be inherently fire proof (every theatre as a drop down metal screen which is to stop any fire on stage from entering the auditorium, most then have some wool or better silk curtains that are the ones that most people see and are lifted in an elegant scissor motion, this allows these curtains to be dropped rapidly) all that is on the stage behind the iron can be flame retarded by spraying with chemicals.
For several years David and I would sit there cutting out calico leaves, lots and lots of leaves, with scissors, scattering them on the workshop floor and then spraying them with what ever colour was needed for the season of the play. One play that certainly springs to mind was Anton Chekov's 'Three Sisters' but there have been many plays requiring the stage to be littered with fallen autumn foliage.
David hit on the idea of us looking up any small company that produced artifical flowers and see if they had any cutters for leaves as well the the flowers, the company we found was Burt Brothers in Bow, London and they had everything there, it reminded me of Exeter were there was an old merchants shop selling vertually anything you needed from a wick for an old oil lamp to an out of date cycle chain, the youngest chap in the shop was about 75 years old and the older brother was in his 90's, this was the same for Burt Brothers.
They cut calico or silk leaves and then veined the leaves for us and we only had to colour the little gems.

Cloth and Paper Flowers

Paper flowers
Paper flowers

Five main processes may be distinguished:

  • The first step consists of putting the fabric in gelatine in order to stiffen it.
  • The second consists of cutting up the various fabrics and materials employed into shapes suitable for forming the leaves, petals, etc.; this may be done with scissors, but more often with stamps that can cut through a dozen or more thicknesses at one blow.
  • The veins of the leaves are next impressed by means of a die, and the petals are given their natural rounded forms by goffering irons of various shapes.
  • The next step is to assemble the petals and other parts of the flower, which is built up from the center outwards;
  • The fifth is to mount the flower on a stalk of brass or iron wire wrapped with suitably colored material, and to add the leaves to complete the spray.

Paper and cloth flowers are also made with origami.

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