Thursday, 7 August 2008

stories without words

Did a painting workshop today with mainly 8 year olds for a summer school. It was nerve wracking for more than one reason - I've never run a workshop with such young children (I was actually relieved that the class for 5 yr olds was cancelled!), and I also don't really feel qualified to 'teach' painting....even to children. I thought we'd start off with the colour wheel, but managed to refer to secondary colours as tertiary and then the teacher had to point out that I'd cocked it up already and I'd only just started. An early set back but after that to be fair I think it went really well - the kids were very sweet, really focussed especially considering at 8 you wouldn't often paint for 5 hours on the trot. Right at the end of the day they went a bit mad painting each other but the very last painting that came out of that is brilliant. They all shared their stories and paintings at the end - I've made a slide show of the paintings and the captions tell their stories. Sad that after all that I came away feeling pretty disappointed - not with the kids, but with the arrangement - I didn't get paid (although JR did yesterday for the same deal so what's with my cheque?), and the school still owes my for the CP work which is months ago. It felt like MC was holding out on me and it kind of spoilt the day a bit.

Had nice chat to M and JR when I got back and the liked the work. They've been over to have tea with Steve Hurst - they had a lovely time and all three totally loving talking wall to wall sculpture techniques! M getting more confident now about the Portugal commission which is great.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

strange fruit..

Last night we were out in the garden measuring out the site for our new studio (watch this space). In the background I could hear a very distinct crunching sound - and round the back of the herb garden, where the green pepper plant is growing, we found Poppy the cocker spaniel with a vegetable obsession, ripping peppers off the plant and then carefully nibbling at them with her front teeth. She'd finished one and was on her second by then - they are still really tiny (about 2" long) but she was doing a pretty delicate job of eating round the seeds in the centre. Just the latest in a long line of fruit and veg obsessions....her favourites are carrots, tomatoes, strawberries off the plant, cucumber and now green peppers. So we fenced them off and wait to see what colditz like tactics are employed to get at the goods...

I was letting out Amy's chickens this morning, and one chuck was sitting on the nest box - they always lay in the same nest box and she was sitting on top of the eggs. I had to lift her off to get the extra warm eggies out! It reminded me of the time we were in Somerset at Lizzies when she had chickens. She was slightly concerned to see Poppy in amongst the chickens in case she tried to catch one. No need - not our dog. She squeezed her way into the chicken house and chased all the chickens out so she could eat the eggs in peace and quiet.

Meat has less appeal to her than say cheese for instance. I once caught her standing on the dining room table, with a huge wedge of parmesan cheese jammed between her back teeth trying desperately to swallow it whole before I could get to her - she's been obsessed with even the tiniest cheese grating that drifts to the floor ever since. Strange fruit indeed.....

Monday, 4 August 2008

Summerzet & mowing

Back from a top weekend in Somerset, marred only by my agonising shoulder injury which is still keeping me awake at night. Had an inspired moment on the phone to my mum last night when we realised that its probably been caused by the pull cord on the mower - its like a running battle between me and the mower, trying to pull hard enough to get it to sputter into life. The guys in the shop keep telling me now easy it is, but maybe my arms aren't as long as theirs? Third or fourth try I start yelling 'start you *******!!', which I find helps as it often starts at that point. But since you only get two laps of the lawn before you have to empty the stupid grass box, the whole maddening sequence has to be repeated about 15 times every time I mow the lawn. My mum suggested that what I need is a man (she meant a gardener but M took it to be a sideways dig at him...) or alternatively a mower with an electric starter - like she said in the first place of course.

So, agonising shoulder pain aside, we had a lovely time with my god daughter, my best friend and their ever expanding family. J. is easily 6'4" now, 17 and starting to look very manly indeed - all sideburns and tight vests to highlight his biceps. Looks like a Jean Paul Gaultier ad, although of course that's not actually the look he's going for! Everyone else on top form, lovely bbq lunch (beef skirt was fab) and M thankfully feeling 100% better now - so drove me and injured shoulder home last night.