Planet Textile Threads

September 22, 2017

Neki Rivera


a textile (re)tale pardon the pun.

have a good weekend and enjoy the first day of the equinox!

neki desu
Creative Commons License

by (neki desu) at September 22, 2017 12:32 PM

Margaret Cooter

Sunny morning, Parkland Walk

The start

The view, revealed by a bit of tree-cutting near a bridge

The occasional jogger

Leaving the Parkland Walk

Descent to Crouch End

The destination

The coffee shop has some books available for perusal - I picked up Life on Earth by David Attenborough, published in 1979 and quickly reprinted 10 times that year. Amazing photos, in a pre-digital era, including this lacewing in flight
and the sort of fantasy island that you might find as a map on the endpapers of escapist reading for 10-year-olds -
 Back home (6000 steps before 9am), this surprise in the garden - one of the neriums planted some years back has decided to revive -

by Margaret Cooter ( at September 22, 2017 10:12 AM

September 21, 2017

Dijanne Cevaal


Recently someone mentioned to me that I had not blogged for 6 weeks- that was two weeks ago I think and finally I am getting to writing a post. I have simply been horrendously busy working at least 10-12 hours  a day or more and if not working travelling to the various exhibitions to which I had committed and meeting my commitments. It has not left a great deal of time to do anything else. I haven't written in my journal for more than two months and I am feeling the absence. I also managed to kill my mobile phone, though to be honest it was on its way out, but its replacement has a camera that is far inferior- or maybe it is just me the operator. As a result I am taking photos on my phone with which I am not happy and I haven't had time to give my good camera the attention it needs nor the time to take it out of my bag. I miss my old phone sigh...

Things have been very busy with the Aussie Bush Project. In the last month or so the project has been to Canberra, to Wellington in New Zealand and Hamilton in New Zealand and is at present being exhibited at the Adelaide Craft & Quilt Fair. Then after next week it goes on to Brisbane before having a rest and reappearing at Quilts en Beaujolais in France in April 2018.People have loved all the variations of the linocut printed fabrics and have expressed surprise and delight at how different each print looks in the hands of the different artists! Reasonably priced  accommodation was not so easy to find because one of the Adelaide football teams is playing in the finals in their home city.

Then last week I went to France for 8 days to install my exhibition at Villa Burrus  at the Carrefour Europeen du Patchwork and also to be united with my latest book Plaid Nomad ( I was so tired, plus I had caught a nasty cold from a sneezing and spluttering passenger in the seat in front of me- not once did he cover his mouth in all the splutterings he was engaged in, I forgot to buy myself a copy as my publishers copies were sent to Le Triadou  and I did not have time to go to Montpellier as I needed to be back in Adelaide for the Aussie Bush Project) So I think people liked the book, as the copies I had at Villa Burrus sold out by lunch time on the friday, as had the copies at the Edi De Saxe Stand at the Centre Commerciale and that was all there was!

I have started on a new Travellers' Blanket which is all but finished. I wanted it finished for the exhibition in France but I didn't quite get there. I did display it as it was almost finished but a few people did come and tell me there was still a needle and thread attached to the work! I think it will get finished this weekend. I know I started this blanket on the 9th of August and have put in 10-12 hours of stitching into it most days- so I now have a good idea of how long the blankets actually take and I am rather shocked by the amount of time they take- and in terms of  money/wages for hours of work the equation needs to change- that is for sure.

There was a moment when I contemplated making this smaller so that I could finish it- but then I felt it would not have the same impact at all. The  circles are appliqued bits and pieces of hand dyed and hand printed fabrics I have made over the years including my latest prints chopped up. Plus I have also made a linocut with circles- these panels will be for sale, I just have not had the chance to print up many.

I did actually use some circles cut from this panel in the blanket and they came up very nicely. I will share photos when I work out how to get them off my new phones memory card that doesn't involve fiddly file sharing arrangements. I will put it on my shop page soon in case anyone is interested.

I will try and be better about blogging in the next weeks as I go to East Timor and Boneco de Atauro soon- sooner than I thought and there are many things to arrange before I actually get there including getting vaccinations and malaria tablets. Will have to find a travel clinic on return to Melbourne to sort all that out! I have to keep reminding myself one step at a time.

by Dijanne Cevaal ( at September 21, 2017 10:47 PM

Margaret Cooter

Poetry Thursday - Flowers by Wendy Cope


Some men never think of it.
You did. You’d come along
And say you’d nearly brought me flowers
But something had gone wrong.

The shop was closed. Or you had doubts —
The sort that minds like ours
Dream up incessantly. You thought
I might not want your flowers.

It made me smile and hug you then.
Now I can only smile.
But, look, the flowers you nearly brought
Have lasted all this while.

Published in "Serious Concerns" (Faber, 1992), this poem is one of a series looking wryly at lost love(s). Here's another -


The day he moved out was terrible -
That evening she went through hell.
His absence wasn't a problem
But the corkscrew had gone as well.

"Many of her poems have a tragic twist at the end,"says an interview torn form an unknown, undated magazine that I found tucked into my copy of the book, "but as with all good comedy, tragedy is at its core."

She says here poems are deeply felt "and just because they've got jokes in the, it seems to me, they shouldn't be dismissed as light verse." The volume addresses a range of concerns, from death and pain to poets and games. 

Her poems can help you to confront and laugh at problems, and especially relationships. Sometimes a person needs that sort of thing...

by Margaret Cooter ( at September 21, 2017 08:31 AM

Neki Rivera

time to settle down

i've been trying techniques and doing a lot of sampling,but technique alone does not make a piece of work. time to get to work and start thinking with pencil in hand what idea i want to develop.
as a warm up i finished the above, a small riot of stitching and surface design.more is more.
was looking for the beginning photo, but i guess i posted it on instagram.

neki desu
Creative Commons License

by (neki desu) at September 21, 2017 08:00 AM

September 20, 2017

Margaret Cooter

Upcoming exhibition, 28/9 to 1/10, central London

I have a little piece in the "A Letter in Mind" show, a fundraiser for neurology research. The show is on for only three days at the Oxo Gallery, and some people whose names you'll recognise (see below) have also contributed.
Work from previous years is shown in the galleries on the website, and the 2017 works will join them - with the artists' names revealed once the work is sold.

A Letter In Mind 2017 exhibition opens end of September
We have been overwhelmed by the sheer number of arty envelopes that have been sent in to us this year for A Letter in Mind: A Sense of Place. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to get creative and support the charity - we have a record-breaking 350 pieces up for sale!
A host of well-known artists have donated new works, including: Grayson Perry, Bob and Roberta Smith, Jessica Voorsanger, Frank Kiely, Natasha Kidd, Gill Rocca and Harry Pye; illustrator Chris Haughton; actors Kevin Eldon, James Fleet, Phyllida Law and Sophie Thompson; comedians Jo Brand and Jenny Eclair; architects Laurie Chetwood and Amin Taha.

"I'm delighted by the wealth of artwork we've seen this year. It will be our biggest show by far - with lots of choice to buy and support the charity" Eva Tait, curator, A Letter In Mind

All we need now is for you to come along and buy an original piece of art for just £85. Each artwork is exhibited anonymously and the artist’s name and biography will only be revealed online when sold. All proceeds will go back to Queen Square to support advances in neurological care and treatment.
When and where?
Thursday 28 September- Sunday 1 October 2017
gallery@oxo, Oxo Tower Wharf, Barge House St, London SE1 9GY


by Margaret Cooter ( at September 20, 2017 11:10 PM

September 19, 2017

Margaret Cooter

Drawing Tuesday - V&A

The current exhibition of contemporary Korean ceramics (till 11 Feb 2018) includes some strangely luminous jars, in "ancient Chinese" shapes. Turns out they are made of soap, by Meekyoung Shin, hence the tranparency-
In getting out her drawing materials, Mags found she had plastic water bottles in toning shades, hence the addition to the photo...

I fixed on these 3D printed pots in the onggi tradition

and was surprised to discover the tall dark one has seven sides. My renditions, in various media, lacked shape and veered between observation and impatience -
Mags got luminous results -
 Judith found an amazing snake pot, and did several dragons "quickly" -
Jo found a medieval kiln -
 Carol was in the fashion section -

 Extracurricularly, Carol filled many sketchbook pages during a quick trip to Lanzarote, including this "selfie" of a mermaid off the coast -

by Margaret Cooter ( at September 19, 2017 08:44 AM

Neki Rivera

will this one be the charm?

geezzz. undone again. this time i'm not going to enter  yet another war with shaping, i'm knitting a long 190 needle knit  to cut and sew the top.ordeal time bye,bye. on with life.
never expected linen to be so badly behaved in knitting. maybe it's this particular linen.

neki desu
Creative Commons License

by (neki desu) at September 19, 2017 08:00 AM

September 18, 2017

Margaret Cooter

Pick of the week

Sunday - under windy grey skies to the Thames Barrier, the excuse being its annual test closing. The park has some surprising planting and ways with hedges; the cafe was nothing to write home about but did offer shelter from the wind. 

Very few people there, but worth making the trip. When the sluices were (gradually) reopened, the wind whipped the rushing water into a froth. Seagulls abundant, and more birds on the mudflats as the tide came in.

This being, or having been, the industrial docklands, there are a few mills still existing among highrise "subtopia" -
Tate & Lyle sugar refining, still working

The "palatial" Millennium (flour) Mills, built 1905, partially destroyed in
the 1917 Silvertown explosion, rebuilt in Art Deco style in 1933,
 rebuilt after WW2, and currently under redevelopment
Just time to get to Stratford for a little shoe shopping -
Old Faithfuls - and new upstarts
Monday - a talk at the Royal Institution by Priyamvada Natarajan, about changing theories of the heavens, the stars, and all that - and how science comes to change its mind about theories. It seems a theory, especially if posited by a "quirky character", can be quiescent for 30-40 years, during which time independent lines of evidence can accrue, and then the theory is "rediscovered" and gains momentum.
 Tuesday, after drawing at the V&A I happened across photos by Frank Hurley of the Antarctic expedition, at the Royal Geographical Society -
and walked across the park to Bond Street, where the Fine Art Society had various exhibitions on every floor of its building ... including this view from the very top -
Wednesday, just as I left the house a few raindrops fell and by the time I got to the park they were coming down thick and fast - but didn't last long
 so it was a pleasant walk past the new apartments to historic Stoke Newington for a quick wander in Abney Park cemetery
 and a longer stop for coffee till it was time to walk through Clissold Park on the way home. These plane trees were imposing
 and I still haven't found out what this might be - metasequoia? mimosa?
 Thursday - a bit of shopping in Chelsea and a walk along the river to Tate Britain, past the back end of Victoria Station and a "gridded" view of spare trains -
 At Tate B we saw the Rachel Whiteread show (till 21 January 2018), which included "100 Chairs" in the central gallery -
 I would gladly have taken home this humble, unfolded cardboard box with its silver foiling and "true blue heart" -
 That evening, a talk at British Library on the Tree Charter, which gave common rights in the king's forest, and a new charter 800 years later, which seeks of save ancient woodlands -
 Friday evening I had double-booked myself again and chose the screening at LRB bookshop of Siobhan Davies and David Hinton's film All this can happen (trailer here). It's based on a novel published in 1917 by Robert Walser and the sotry is blended with images from films of the time, choreographed on a screen split into multiple parts, objective and subjective at the same time. "When has walking ever been interesting in a film? Here, definitely. A combination of formal ideas and emotional ideas, enhanced by the sound design - the silent films left a clean slate for the sound.But the main effort was finding "absolutely the right image" to be a genuine partner to the text.

Throughout the week, a bit of gardening - the dormant seeds are quick to sprout -
 and from behind the window boxes it looks like this now; the area near the house is still under excavation, sifting, and soil replacement -

The camera found some hazard-tape compositions in the Underground -

by Margaret Cooter ( at September 18, 2017 03:04 PM

Monday muddle

"No breakfast till you at least start looking for it."

Somewhere in the heaps of papers that have been ignored since I moved back to the flat in December is a vital bit of paper. Today I started looking for it in earnest - which means, first thing in the morning, in dressing gown and slippers and with only a cup of coffee as fuel - the breakfast (and its book) will have to wait.

So - set the timer for 15 minutes ... do you do that, when there's something unwelcome needing doing? I find it gets me going, helps me concentrate on the task at hand. 15 minutes isn't long, but you can get a lot done if you don't let yourself get distracted. And that's the problem - distraction.

First lot of distraction came along when I found some happy memories from the summer - a talk at the Royal Society, a concert at King's Place, a walk around Bloomsbury, a quick brush-lettering session at Kew Gardens (in the rain! "rain is beautiful") -
Take a photo, and release the objects.

More nostalgia, this time about my days in Manchester with Helen and Mike, the perfect hosts. Exhibitions and libraries - and a beer festival -
Same routine: remember and discard.

And then ... all these saved papers from months and years ago, spilling out of folders, and the stack of lovely little booklets from exhibitions -
I don't know what to do about all these, and the others that I know are elsewhere. I started collecting info about exhibitions during the foundation art course, 2009 - that's a lot of paper! Logic says "you'll never look at them again" and common sense says "go forward, not back", but they are fighting a deep-rooted desire to collect, to organise, to not waste ... whether that's a waste of experience or of information. In my childhood I did not dream of such riches as are now available, but made do with the occasional visit to the poorly-stocked library. Yet, writing that I see a loophole and a chink of illumination on the problem. It'll take some thinking through....

Meanwhile this delight resurfaced - I just love it -
 And here's a relevant passage from an old journal*, back in the "morning pages" days - 2003, ah yes that was a tricky time....
"Ah my little books. Ah my rich life! Remember M the aim is to have an INTERESTING life. Roses round the door - NO. Interesting life - YES. So it was once and is again. What one thing can I do today toward this -- blank -- oh dear! Read.... Clear away a few papers. Sort out that ... form. Declutter the workroom for 15 min. Contact a friend..."
And then there was this, from the very first CQ summer school I went to - a fun exercise in improvising with shapes and colours. I don't need it any more, and it's of no use to anyone else.
*The journal, on closer inspection, yielded a Portent -
which might need to be kept somewhere ... and the rest of the book can inked up interestingly (or therapeutically) in a spare moment - !

by Margaret Cooter ( at September 18, 2017 12:16 PM

Neki Rivera

partial to lilies

i buy them every friday at the market and they keep the house smelling heavenly.such a pleasure to have morning coffee with sunlight hitting the table and that scent.
 nevertheless their stamens stain  your clothes if you brush past them and it is difficult to get rid of such stain.
you see where i am going right?

on cotton

on a scrap of silk organza.
was too lazy to prepare soy milk, but it is essential.what i'll do is seal the color in some way after brushing off the stamens.
there is going to be stitching  too.

neki desu
Creative Commons License

by (neki desu) at September 18, 2017 08:00 AM

September 17, 2017

Margaret Cooter

Open House weekend

What a wonderful thing is Open House. The book is full of places to visit that aren't usually open to the public - how to choose? 

The listing is by borough, so I looked only at Haringey (where I live), and Camden and Islington (nearby). Blue House Yard, in Wood Green, caught my eye - I'd seen it from the distance while out walking, so that was the first stop, artists' studios and shops for artisan products -
 Products including "Swedish candles" from the coppicing shop -
where I bought a box of straight-from-the-maker charcoal -

It's described as "A collection of new creative workspaces. Framed by a bright blue refurbished studio complex, nine tall, slender standalone worksheds and a double-decker bus cafe, the Yard will be a much-needed social space in Wood Green."
I had to hurry into town to be in time to see the Thames sailing barges pass under Tower Bridge, which was lifted for the occasion -
 They "sailed" upstream ...
and I got in the queue for City Hall ... 'cos I was there and it was there ... "Home of the Mayor of London and London Assembly, an environmentally-aware building with innovative spiral ramp and fine views across London" -
 and by the time the queue had moved to the entrance, the barges were sailing back again ...
 After airport-style security (London is on critical terrorist alert at the moment) the first thing you see is the giant map downstairs, along with the cafe -
 The lift takes you up to the 9th floor viewing gallery -
Looking downstream, towards Canary Wharf (the "new downtown")

Looking upstream, across to The City
 Then it's down the spiral staircase, with all its irresistible angles and reflections, to the council chamber, with purple carpet, on the 2nd floor -

 and beyond that to the map and cafe - everyone has to find where they live ....

On the way to Tom & Gemma's (for a little gardening and supper) I had a final few minutes in a private house "remodeled and extended on the ground floor, creating a lovely, open plan, light filled, family space, opening out onto the rear garden" -

With spaces like this, don't you find, it's all about being there in them, rather than seeing a photo. 

Sunday: another day, more viewing decisions. I was also getting in some of those 10,000 steps and took a diversion down Doughty Mews, a pleasant backwater near Gray's Inn Road -
The turquoise rectangle in the distance turned out to be an Open House sign - it turned out to be Adaptable House - " self-build conversion followed by 35 year occupation, from party house to office to family home for 6, and now home and studio".  I was entranced by the studio arrangements (6-8 people work on the ground floor) -
 and enchanted by the spaces upstairs, the collections of delightful things -
How did they get the Aga upstairs?
 the use of the spaces, eg the greenness of the little room behind the wisteria -
Reminds me of this Matisse painting (and note the "hot seat")
 how you climb up and up, beside a fig tree, to the roof garden -
 the many books, some cleverly tucked into the I-beams -
The doors are open during the daytime and closed at night -
How generous of the owners to let people wander through their home - and how inspiring for those of us who are not of a minimalist bent or who struggle with space restrictions.

Finally to Lamb's Conduit Street for Connock & Lockie - "Refurbishment and extension of a Grade II Listed property for a traditional tailor's shop. Bespoke design elements enable clinetele to experience every step of tailoring and become familiar with every member responsible for making it."
Paper patterns kept since the 1950s, and stairs to the lower rooms

Fabric samples and details

A fitting area folds out from the wall at the back of the ground floor

Panelling from the 1820s; the wallpapers are some decades later

A kitchen in what used to be a coal-hole!

A two-storey extension at the back of the property ...

... the top floor includes the required accessible toilet, behind folding doors

The specially-made exit signs had to pass inspection as suitable for a Listed building
I am overwhelmed by seeing just five of the many buildings open to the public on this special weekend. It was very much worth making the effort, despite the difficulty of "choosing". 

by Margaret Cooter ( at September 17, 2017 08:20 PM

September 16, 2017

Margaret Cooter

Domestic details - Breakfast with book

Somehow I've become enmeshed in a five-volume family saga, the sort of thing (family sagas) I've always shied away from. No excuses need to be made - it's by an esteemed "literary" author, and it's a cracking good read. Tentatively mentioning this, I find that a surprising number of my friends have read these books and even reread them. 

What better time than a leisurely weekend breakfast for reading? And for second cups of coffee while reading. So I made some apple pancakes, to use up a slightly-withered apple ("waste not want not") and got another of the five-a-day via a nectarine (they seem particularly luscious this year, ripened in the bowl) garnished not just with the usual yogurt (source of calcium) but with a meringue from a box found at the back of the cupboard and still - just - within its sell-by date ("waste not" etc). 
The maple syrup is used sparingly, and I found the meringue very sweet. The tablecloth is a charity-shop find, one of those cloths with a message in Swahili - mungo ndiye mtoaji tumshukuru (mungo thank the giver, says google ... hmm ...)

It's Open House weekend in London, many places to go see, for the nosy parkers among us, and isn't that all of us. Some are domestic places - conversions that architects are proud of, or live in (or both); others are commercial buildings with a few areas open, a few barriers that can be bypassed just this weekend. 

I'm in two minds about wonderful events like Open House weekend, or the Thames Festival, or the BFI London Film Festival that's coming up - there is so much to do (and there are so many people wanting to do it) that it's hard to choose, and what are the chances of getting a ticket to the desired event unless you book early? Sometimes it seems like Too Much Effort. But in the absence of a structured life (or absorbing project), it's as well to get out, and in London there are so many things to do - use it or lose it, as they say.

Bits of domesticity, therefore, fall by the wayside. They'll still be there when you get back - the dusting, the ironing, the alphabeticisation of the bookshelves, the cupboards and drawers that need clearing out.

Another domestic detail, part of the slow process of "straightening things out", is the way pictures are gradually finding their way onto the walls. 

The addition, between the windows, is a screen print called Evanescence, by Sara Muzira. It represents an old sugar factory (in Norfolk or Suffolk) and the smoke emanating from its chimneys. And while the picture-hanging tools were out, "Dan Hays", over the desk, got lifted a little higher, which looks better on the wall but removes it from my sight line ... I look at it quite often and find fresh things in it, even though it's just a bunch of dots  ...

by Margaret Cooter ( at September 16, 2017 04:39 PM

"Monoprinting" session

Monoprinting has many possibilities, and youtube has many how-to videoa. In fact I've done a two-day course, years ago, and used the process in the "drawing painting printmaking" course last summer, and another couple of courses in 2014 ... but still I'm averse to making monoprints.

I had in mind to use map-grids (as here, which arose from another 2014 course*) but none of those I'd already made (some time ago) could be found, so it was a matter of improvisation.

(*In 2014 I overdid it on summer school courses at City Lit - three courses of at least three days each in the space of four, or maybe only three, weeks. There was overlap, like the use of monoprint in each course, but really any one of the courses would have given me plenty of ideas and impetus. Having them so close together was overload and it felt like a burden. Since then I've been more careful about spacing things out, and about focussing and following up.)

Fabric printing ink was rolled onto perspex, and the fabric laid on top ... think "grid" 'cos it's easy ... use the end of a paintbrush and just make lines across the fabric -
 What are those interesting little bumps? The fabric has stretched and the line has skipped....
 Delightful. The plate gets denser as each new piece of fabric is used -
 but because the ink was rolled out thinly to start with, printing direct from the plate wasn't successful. It might have worked if it could have been put through a press.

Trying out different fabrics (hint: iron the fabric first!) -
 Masking - consider width of masked area in relation to density of grid -
The samples soon mounts up -
 ... and I even did some silly things on paper ...
But it didn't feel like there was a "real purpose" to it - no proper "intent". Monoprinting continues to be a struggle - pushing aside brambles in a pathless wood.

Never mind, the (short) session yielded enough fabric for some more wee quilty pieces. Dipping into the scrapbag has started moving the next journal quilt towards its birth -
My thoughts go between deciding on the big pieces for the bottom layer and thinking about what sort of stitching might be used. Choosing and adding "bits" is the part that seems to just happen.

by Margaret Cooter ( at September 16, 2017 10:19 AM

September 15, 2017

Neki Rivera

the poetry of threads

reiko sudo, arai junichi,chiaki maki, michiko uehara and all the textile stars of japan
have a great weekend,

neki desu
Creative Commons License

by (neki desu) at September 15, 2017 08:00 AM

September 14, 2017

Margaret Cooter

Poetry Thursday - The Onion, Memory by Craig Raine

Divorced, but friends again at last,
we walk old ground together
in bright blue uncomplicated weather.
We laugh and pause
to hack to bits these tiny dinosaurs,
prehistoric, crenelated, cast
between the tractor ruts in mud.

On the green, a junior Douglas Fairbanks,
swinging on the chestnut's unlit chandelier,
defies the corporation spears--
a single rank around the bole,
rusty with blood.
Green, tacky phalluses curve up, romance
A gust--the old flag blazes on its pole.

In the village bakery
the pastry babies pass
from milky slump to crusty cadaver,
from crib to coffin--without palaver.
All's over in a flash,
too silently...

Tonight the arum lilies fold
back napkins monogrammed in gold,
crisp and laundered fresh.
Those crustaceous gladioli, on the sly,
reveal the crimson flower-flesh
inside their emerald armor plate.
The uncooked herrings blink a tearful eye.
The candles palpitate.
The Oistrakhs bow and scrape
in evening dress, on Emi-tape.

Outside the trees are bending over backwards
to please the wind : the shining sword
grass flattens on its belly.
The white-thorn's frillies offer no resistance.
In the fridge, a heart-shaped jelly
strives to keep a sense of balance.

I slice up the onions. You sew up a dress.
This is the quiet echo--flesh--
white muscle on white muscle,
intimately folded skin,
finished with a satin rustle.
One button only to undo, sewn up with shabby thread.
It is the onion, memory,
that makes me cry.

Because there's everything and nothing to be said,
the clock with hands held up before its face,
stammers softly on, trying to complete a phrase--
while we, together and apart,
repeat unfinished festures got by heart.

And afterwards, I blunder with the washing on the line--
headless torsos, faceless lovers, friends of mine. 

The poem's title was used for Raine's first published book of poetry (1998); he remembers it being panned:
"or more accurately, they said I had previously been over praised and so made the negative case. But no one reading the review knew anything about me being praised, so I was cut down to size before I'd even been built up". 
At this time Roger Fenton coined the label "Martian" and Raine's second book, A Martian Sends a Postcard Home, published the following year, got positive corrective reviews, and Raine found himself at the head of a movement associated with making the ordinary strange again through close observation 

So says this article, written just before his retirement from teaching at Oxford. As well as poet and teacher, Raineis also an editor and in 1999 founded the triannual literary magazine Areté, which he still edits.

My discovery of this poem came via one of Alexander McCall Smith's "Isabel Dahousie" novels, which put the words It is the onion, memory, that makes me cry in the mouth of a character who was cutting onions during a domestic scene that was, as so much else in the novel, intercut with ruminations put into the mind of the philosopher heroine in that way that McCall Smith has - which is surely annoying for readers who want him to get on with the plot, and who thereby miss the point - a philosophical novel needs these stop-motion moments.

by Margaret Cooter ( at September 14, 2017 11:25 AM

Neki Rivera

devorè revisited

looks pretty unappealing oi? wire knitted  and linen knitted together in a technique called plating.
each yarn knits on one side so you have a *double knit *the technique presented some issues that i'm sure practice will sooth.also tested a thicker cotton yarn with the wire at the top.being thicker, the cotton covers the wire better.

linen and mono-filament, my latest best friend.

 the devorè part using fiber etch.

 the linen mono-filament needs more tweaking in terms of temperature.if hot enough to dissolve the linen it will melt the mono filament :(

wire presents no problem. however the frayed edges need some treatment to appease the architects surrounding me. or not. next will be aging the wire.

had tried devorè on some woven silk linen pieces time ago and on commercially woven silk linen fabric.
 all the knitting activity is because i'm waiting for more heddles to arrive.the thinner the yarn i use the shorter i am on heddles. and to think my dobby loom is just 70 ms wide.

on the life in general department started aqua gym this week.quite a workout!
and got great tickets for the opera.thrilled that in my new town one can enjoy opera without having to sell either the firstborn or the spouse or both.

neki desu
Creative Commons License

by (neki desu) at September 14, 2017 08:00 AM

September 13, 2017

Margaret Cooter

More than one way to ...

... cross London by Underground - eg from Waterloo to King's Cross -
>>…… 19 hours ago · Twitter The Gospel Oak-Barking service will close from Sunday 17 Sep to 22 Sunday Oct 2017. Find out more at…… 1 day ago · Twitter Hear what @AlzSocLondon has to say about our #dementia friendly walk on Sat 23 Sept. Have you booked your place?… 1 day ago · Twitter Just 1 week to get your application in for £10,000 of funding with Cycling Grants London - apply now >>> www.cyclinggrants.londo…… 2 days ago · Twitter Experienced Tube commuters angered as TfL's green platform ... › News › London 2 hours ago - Experienced Tube commuters have been angered by new green platform markings - which they say spoil their ">>>…… 19 hours ago · Twitter The Gospel Oak-Barking service will close from Sunday 17 Sep to 22 Sunday Oct 2017. Find out more at…… 1 day ago · Twitter Hear what @AlzSocLondon has to say about our #dementia friendly walk on Sat 23 Sept. Have you booked your place?… 1 day ago · Twitter Just 1 week to get your application in for £10,000 of funding with Cycling Grants London - apply now >>> www.cyclinggrants.londo…… 2 days ago · Twitter Experienced Tube commuters angered as TfL's green platform ... › News › London 2 hours ago - Experienced Tube commuters have been angered by new green platform markings - which they say spoil their "competitive advantage" by showing everyone where best to stand. The trial on the King’s Cross Victoria line platform is intended to reduce congestion by urging people ... TfL - London Evening Standard Latest TfL news from the London Evening Standard. Transport for London - Wikipedia Transport for London (TfL) is a local government body responsible for the transport system in Greater London, England. Its head office is in Windsor House in the ... Job Search - Sign in to TfL Save this Search Job list in multi line view. Press ENTER to switch to single line view. Multi-line. Access the online help. Sort by. Job Title, Posting Date ... Searches related to tfl tfl oyster tfl careers tfl plan a journey tfl buses tfl map tfl live bus tfl status tfl contactless 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Next Transport for London Government office" target="_blank">tfl tracked signals from mobile phones trying to connect to wi-fi, in a pilot study working towards providing live information on which routes are busiest, or easiest. 

As this article explains, data were obtained "by logging the individual Media Access Control (MAC) address numbers that all smartphones emit when trying to connect to a local Wi-Fi hotspot, and by logging each point where a smartphone tried to connect to the Wi-Fi service".

My immediate, horrified reaction was, if someone was concerned about "being tracked", they would need to turn off their phone so that it doesn't try, unasked, to connect. My phone sends me messages about "wi-fi networks are available", and now I realise that there's a MAC address number available to ... someone ... or everyone ...

Not that I'm paranoid about this, just trying to figure out how this 21st century world works! There are people who only turn their phone on when they need to use it, which might make some sense.

All this makes me wonder, what useful things does one have to give up (or see as trade-offs) in order to be part of the modern world?

Fortunately the article goes on to explain that the data were double-scrambled to anonymise and then put through an irreversible encryption code. But "Whether [the systems used here to allay privacy concerns] will survive the government’s current desire to weaken data encryption though, that’s the big issue that could cause a privacy headache in the future."

by Margaret Cooter ( at September 13, 2017 01:30 PM

September 12, 2017

Olga Norris

Explanation or excuse?

Several years ago, when my nephews were young they used to spend every summer with my parents, and I would take them all on outings.  One such was to a nearby bird world.  Weather-wise it was a rather drizzly day, so many of the birds - especially those from warm climes - looked miserable.
There were not many photo opportunities, but I was struck by the sculptural form of the northern bald ibis on a boat.
I found this photo the other day, and was struck again by the attractiveness of the bird's form as well as by its apparent look of total misery.  Of course I am probably anthropomorphising its mood, as other photos I have seen do not show it looking much different.  But even so, when I think about what we humans are doing to so many environments in the name of progress, but really perhaps it turns out only for the comfort of a few - in which I count myself - I wonder how we would start to account for our actions.
Nature of course is well known for being raw in tooth and claw - it's just that we humans get the prize for having pursued this beyond any wildest dreams.  While I was thinking over how one could begin to explain ourselves to our fellow inhabitants of the planet, I came up with an image using the ibis.

by Olga Norris ( at September 12, 2017 04:03 PM

Margaret Cooter

Drawing Tuesday - Regent's Park

Another visit to the Frieze sculptures. I got sidetracked...
My collection
... included these

Leaf-printing with soluble crayon

I wanted to try printing with oak and foxglove-tree leaves
but it was rather windy

The finished page, despite the weather






Janet K

by Margaret Cooter ( at September 12, 2017 09:46 AM

Neki Rivera

star of the show

serger mono-filament thread, 17,000 meters of it.wonderfully liberating as it won't run out at least in this lifetime-famous last words.
 sampling like crazy and learning how to work with it.

your regular stockinette, now you see it,after you cast off you don't see it

keeping up with the wire trend, too bad this one
which knits very well is coated and does not patinize.

with metallic yarn. next step will be trying to zap it with the heat gun.

using a punch card pattern. it flows well from the cone, nothing jams in the k machine.

neki desu
Creative Commons License

by (neki desu) at September 12, 2017 08:00 AM

September 11, 2017

Margaret Cooter

Faux amis

English and French words that look or sound alike, but have different meanings, are called false cognates or "faux amis". Lists of them abound on the internet, eg here - some common examples are library and libraire (bookshop), journey and journée (day), money and monnaie (coins), location and location (rental). 

Are there visual faux amis? I suggest these two pairs, for a start.
Rachel Whiteread, Herringbone Floor (detail), 2001
Cornelia Parker, Black Path (Bunhill Fields), 2013, and Jerusalem, 2015
Whiteread's drawing of a parquet floor was transferred to a sheet of birch plywood, which was laser cut, leaving the lines that represent the spaces between the tiles. Their unevenness is meant to represent the wear and tear of a lived space. "Rachel Whiteread takes casts of furniture and even whole buildings, transforming into solid form the spaces in or around the objects of daily life. Such pieces have a strong metaphysical presence, often evoking a sense of history, of previous lives or deaths in particular spaces. Her sculpture is usually on a large scale; she famously cast a terraced house in the East End of London – a venture that won her the Turner Prize in 1993. The scale of Herringbone Floor is modest by comparison, yet conveys similar notions about space, history, presence and absence. The artist has used the pattern of a wooden-block floor as a medium for expressing the 'space' between the blocks." (via)

Parker's casts of the spaces in pavements are black patinated bronze, one of William Blake's burial ground, and the other from East Jerusalem. "Parker had often played ‘don’t step on the lines’ or Hopscotch while walking her daughter to school on a route that took them through the graveyard. These games rekindled an obsession with pavement cracks that had lain dormant since the artist’s own childhood. By pouring liquid cold-cure rubber into some of the gaps and letting it set, Parker was able to lift up this part the geography of the city that had been mapped out in stone many years before. The captured rubber cracks were upturned and then cast in black bronze. Placed on steel pins, they appear to hover just above the floor, creating an obstacle in the form of a petrified line drawing." (via)

Fred Williams, Riverbed, 1981
John Wallbank, Untitled (Sewn Cube), 2016

' work is about the Australian landscape, some of it influenced by aerial views. He used a "calligraphic shorthand" to represent elements in the landscape. As well as painting, he was a printmaker.

Wallbank's cube presents an expanse of whiteness from a distance, but put your eye to a crack and "the other side" of the sewing that holds the cube's cloth covers together is revealed. It's made of resin, fibreglass, pigment, plywood, polypropylene rope (photo here). Wallbank's sculptural objects often use lacing as a kind of drawing. 

by Margaret Cooter ( at September 11, 2017 12:40 PM

Neki Rivera

more on wire and patinas

my take using ammonia, acetic acid and uniodized salt. had to use glacial acetic acid as i just have balsamic vinegar in the house and that doesn't cut it.unless the copper wire knit doesn't get sprayed with a sealant it will lose some of the patina, but i really don't mind.

another sample. i used rock salt because that's what i had at home and i think it gives a grittier grainier patina.
now i can put this knowledge in my bag of tricks!

rant alert :
 it is evident that you get what you pay for. however a little consideration just for civility's sake doesn't hurt.
delicious got sold( for a pittance) and the new owner did not have the courtesy to notify users of the new scheme. one  just had to be into the tech blog groove to know about it.then after the acquisition a brief note appeared when one logged in
the bookmarks  one has collected over the years are *safe* god knows till when.
they can be accessed, but it's for reading purposes can't download them unless one subscribes to the new owner- platform .which means users  and their saved links have become captives.
end of rant

neki desu
Creative Commons License

by (neki desu) at September 11, 2017 08:00 AM

September 10, 2017

Margaret Cooter

Looking back on the week

This week has centred around my desk and the final stages of newsletter production, but even so I seem to have taken quite a few photos. They remind me of where I've been - and I've been to some interesting (to me - I seem to find too much interesting!) places. Of course the need to take 10,000 steps a day is a big motivator for getting out (today at noon there are still 9,700 steps to go, quite daunting....)

Sunday, walking to Tom and Gemma's via Wood Green. These jolly little houses -
are mere steps from an inhuman conglomeration of office buildings
 which does have a remnant of surprise.

Monday, to Kew Gardens for a "tree walk" - an hour of learning about some of the trees from a volunteer guide. I had to be quick with the camera, we went at quite a pace! These strange fruits are osage oranges -
(It seems I didn't write about these when first encountered, some years ago - but looking back through all the posts on my blog with "kew" in them took quite a while, and provided quite a few surprises. It's amazing what you forget...)

The story of the large cork tree, amid the living ones in Kew's Mediterranean garden, is that Kew got a phonecall - "we're about to fell our cork tree, would you like it?" ...
Later, wandering around, I took some photos of the outside of the water lily house, in homage to Tony -
 He took many photos of this wonderful glass house as well, and despite his dislike of heights would climb to the aerial walkway -
 Tuesday - impromptu purchase of a snuggly coat - this displaces two others from my closet -
 Wednesday - a bit more progress on T&G's garden -
 and the discovery of caterpillars in my own -
 Thursday - discoveries in Crouch End, at the Picturehouse
 and in a charity shop window -
An Orla Keily colouring book? It's all gone too far....

Friday - rain at lunchtime, exactly as forecast. I spent more time at the South Bank than anticipated, waiting for it to stop, which it didn't seem to want to -
...which gave me a chance to look around the Royal Festival Hall. I used to go there very often, but it's been a couple of years since my last visit. Or longer. Projections and amplified music (piano at this point) were happening in the ballroom space -
That sent me out to brave the weather, heading for the Woman's Hour Craft Prize at the V&A (till 5 February). The darned jumpers are by Celia Pym - "very conceptual", or are they ... it's about valuing objects and their personal connections in an age of bland consumerism, imho. The stories of the garments and their owners are given beside the photos -
 And this laboriously made clay bouquet, by Phoebe Cummings, is a fountain - the clay is unfired; guess what will happen...
 Another temporary exhibition at the V&A is "Plywood" (till 12 November) - so interesting - here plywood is being used for bodies of airplanes -
Walking round the museum, reluctant to head home, I took about a zillion* photos. Yes, I know - whatever will I do with them, and what good are they unless you DO something with them? I would contend that taking photos is, like drawing, a way of Looking Harder. Rather than going click, click, click, it's possible to look for the best composition, lighting that works, get the distance from the scene or object right, find the best angle, all those things.

*zillion = more than 20 but less than 40. Including labels.

In the Furniture gallery up on the 6th floor, this strangely awkward chair is by Eileen Cooper - it's a folding hammock chair, designed in 1938 -
 Adjacent to the National Art Library, a leather "chair" gets plenty of use -
I took the opportunity to renew my National Art Library card, and hope to spend time there regularly.

More plywood in the garden. Hours had passed, and the rain had stopped -
Saturday, waiting for boats from the Great River Race to appear, I wandered through the Classic Boat Festival and read about the history of the boats on show, including quite a few Dunkirk boats -
The race, 330 boats, started at Canary Wharf in a brisk wind and would end 21.6 miles later at Ham, by which time the rowers would also have had to battle the turning tide. Hard work - and high spirits, much encouragement from the spectators -
 Some of the rowers did it canoe-style -

by Margaret Cooter ( at September 10, 2017 02:04 PM