New Inspirations – Tree Themes

10390038_10152323059957133_2866024385991924260_nPleased with the work-in-progress on a new range of hand-illustrated earthenware… It’s my favourite way of working and I was thrilled to be commissioned by a good friend to produce Christmas presents for her extended family featuring favourite trees. The pictures here show work in the green ware stage – at present they are in the kiln cooling after their first bisque firing and will be glazed by the end of the week – must remember and post up some photos of the final pieces! Maple, Oak and Beech feature on these pieces, with some hidden personalisations such as imprints of leaves from family gardens inside the mugs.10610717_10152323309352133_3436202340150921515_n 10730999_10152323061527133_8483336425447139595_n 10734214_10152323062652133_6369216000558981153_n 10744022_10152323333202133_757224287_o image006

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adventuring…

Well, despite getting my camera all happy and serviced last week I didn’t take it out with me this weekend on my numerous adventures around the cube, stokes croft street fest, the lido, the dancing-round-your-living-room party, leigh woods, more lido and easton.  So here is a picture of some pea soup i made recently – it has the tenuous connection of being the last time I picked wild garlic in the woods which i also did today… and its the kind of thing that people seem to expect from blogs.  Utterly irrelevant.

Trying to sift out all i wrote today and make something sweet and beautiful out of it before my untidy mind and inbuilt nihilism make it feel ragged and tired and less worthwhile.  Lone soul wandering I find myself on a word journey.  Parcels of words seem to flock together in a way while cycling through woodlands that forces me stop and record them every time I come to a patch of sunlight in trees.  Often I smile into the air to myself at thoughts I’m having; little impromptu incarnations of the now, recessed and looked at through the inner kaleidoscope.  The world refracted through me – no-one else will ever know it.

Navel-gazey morning drinking coffee on the sunlit sofa turns into navel-gazey afternoon on two wheels; passing through woods and suburbs, by turns the rankling whiffs of sun-stewed car upholstery and the divine breaths of hot mayflower from the froth-blossomed hawthorn.  I am happier than I was Thurs/Friday:  I have met new people and old faces; bumped into nascent frineds; spent time with good friends who I see little and had unannounced visits from best soul mates.  I need these little pots of interaction to stand me as fuel for the solitary days.  Fill my mind with something to think about, turn over… the trouble is, I love to wallow in melancholia, touch everything with an elegiac mournfulness – and what better day to wallow than a sultry sunday afternoon?  Its definitely some kind of perverse pleasure in life but i need to keep a hold of when to put the brakes on, when to stop my malicious psyche turning these things into sources of self doubt.  I met someone on Friday whose collarbones proclaimed that ‘everything in life is a balloon’.  I love this thought – it has so many uses.  Think i need to internalise this idea as a possibility.  Remember that everything can be filled with air and let go on the breeze and that its all brightly coloured and beautiful; shiny and transient.  (ok, go no further missy, stop envisaging the sad balloons in the corner of the party that are half-deflated and a little baggy around the edges…)

I can’t make sense of my two sides, the creature of such terminally tragic thoughts walks hand in hand with the self-reliant entity wrapped up in my own impenetrable world which no-one sees.  Sometimes I am both all at once.  I wonder if it is the fear that no-one might ever discover what I really think that creates these vacuums of dystopia that I can disappear into for days….

Its all about nature at the moment.  My senses are filled with hawthorn flowers.  I wrote a list of things I like today, including finding slow worms, and an hour later found one curved in a flourish on the path in front of me.  A big beetle hit me in the face as I cycled.  A bumble bee was swept up as I biked into its trajectory.  Kate and I decided that my flat is on the Maybug flight path due to all their unwanted clumsy buzzing traffic through the wide open windows.  I look up from beside the fishing pond at Pill and all I can see are oak leaves in the most intense shades of luminous green and shadow black against a sunlit sky of pale eye-blue. The path along the river is all glaring yellow hedgerow flowers which I try and fail to pick with my left hand as i cycle, blue horizons, thick grasses and hazy rolling flats.

I have had the most fantastic of ear worms today, so good I sing along as I ride my bike too fast for a winding pedestrian sunday path.  Air Algiers by Country Joe, ‘hopped on a plane from oakland new york, oakland new york, new york to marseilles, hopped on a plane oakland new york to marseilles, pigs on my trail, hey I got to make my get away.  I got a one way ticket, I’m flying air algiers; think i’ll go to the Kasbah, cool it for a couple of years’  and Blackbird by the Beatles, ‘blackbird singing in the dead of night, take these broken wings* and learn to fly, you were only waiting for this moment to be free, black bird fly, into the light of a dark black night.’ (* i always wondered if the bird had broken wings already and was being told to go out and fly them anyway or if it was being given broken wings as a present…not sure which is the sadder picture in my head)

Chance and felicity smiled on me yesterday as I went several times to the door of the cube and rang the bell to retrieve my lost phone… i was met each time with the pitch black square letter box of silence until I was rescue by an unscheduled keyholder…would have been quite a different weekend if i had been incommunicado for the whole time. i shudder to think, and shudder to be so dependent on such a little slip of black plastic wizardry.

and so may begins…

today in Leigh Woods… the beech trees are blessed with the palest lime green or copper pink leaves, screaming out their newness against a carpet of resilient autumn orange.  Knee deep in wild garlic listening to the birds i felt the healing power of the outdoors soothing my bruised soul; not the most momentously cheerful of bank holiday weekends but i’m not going to digress into navel gazing wallow…  Saw pink and red campions, garlic mustard, dog’s mercury, the nascent blue glow of imminent bluebell groves alongside the fairy whiteness of ramsons’ star flowers dominating patches of the woodlands.  photo below of primroses from westonbirt last weekend; an entirely springful day full of primrose and cherry blossom, violets, lesser celandine, speedwell and wood anemones…

Last night i volunteered at the cube cinema for a showing of the Coca-Cola Case -a really inspiring film about the ongoing trial and negotiations of a group of Colombian trade unionists (Sinaltrainal) attempting to bring the despicable giant to book over massive human rights violations and their implication in paramilitary killings of trade unionist leaders and members.  Sadly the young workers for the local bottling plant perceive the union to be the preserve of the old and, reading between the lines, those with less to lose – depressing attitude when they then reveal that they make $1 per hour and work 15 hours each day…

Quite a battle; in the end the trade union members refuse their hard won offer of pots of dirty dollars because of the attached restrictions and clauses that would impede the integrity of their union actions.  The film was mainly an uplifting documentary of the fairly successful struggle of oppressed workers against an unscrupulous corporation but there were 2 highly demoralising moments:  one was watching a bunch of pathetic fat american students wearing sandwich boards proclaiming things like ‘we love coke’, ‘fuck human rights’ (yes, really!!), when activists on campus tried to ban the drink in light of the company’s widespread labour and human rights violations across the globe… oh dear.  The other was witnessing an American court discrediting an extremely hard working human rights lawyer by mentioning that he had a poster of Che Guevara in his office…

Live skype discussion with Ray Rogers followed the film; he has been running the Killer Coke campaign since the mid-noughties so that was interesting.  Still intrigued, as a worker for a labour rights campaign, as to how he and his comrades scrape together the funding to front such a huge and successful campaign.  Mild envy given LBL’s parlous financial state…