Until next year goodbye to the gorgeous peonies in my garden, sorry bees I’ve picked them all!
The albertines [hardy, scented, climbing roses] are still there so the bees aren’t totally deprived of resources. This has been my first summer in Glasgow for three years and it reminds me how much I enjoy gardening, off to Beijing on Wednesday so the weeding will have to wait…
not necessarily what might be expected of Beijing but it’s quite magical here now – the sun is shining, the air is clear, the trees have exploded with colour and the sky is filled with a gently floating snowfall of cotton wool
like hyacinth flowers to bees the Jue creative market on Sunday proved a magnet to image conscious Beijingers, many sporting matching bicycles… bamboo and string
I can hear the bees buzzing through the double glazing kite flying in the carpark knitted creation in the Hutongs children honing their marketting skills according to Robert Macfarlane, the 2008 Oxford Junior Dictionary excluded this list of words “catkin, brook, minnow, acorn, buttercup, heron, almond, ash, beetroot…gooseberry, raven, blackberry, tulip and conker”
Hong Kong’s pierced concrete patterns merge with surface designs from 1970s’ tableware in many of the pieces I made whilst living there – not always an easy fit. Now I live in Beijing and vintage elements can be spotted around the city.
Here’s a favourite Hong Kong building – a church in Garden Road – quite hard to photograph on a busy uphill dual carriageway.
According to Jonathan Adler, “the reckless disregard for convention…is completely liberating…When I’m feeling restricted by pottery dogma…I think of the organic, rule-breaking forms…and I feel inspired.”
Some baby blue concrete in Beijing.
Cylindrical earthenware vessel with pierced holes, scraffito, stencilled coloured slip and copper and cobalt oxide.
there are so many great vintage pieces of design to inspire – ceramics, textiles, crafts – I guess it’s a subliminal nostalgia thing – I’m drawn to explore the retro theme, to respond with my own work and experiment with juxtapositions that reflect the changing nature of contemporary life and new opportunities and influences…
With plans for studio Beijing, in the year of the goat, to be up and running soon I’m looking over images of some formative pieces as inspiration for the future and a reminder if what’s already been achieved…
There’s a tangible sense of excitement in the air here. The skies are clear and the pollution is absent, for the time being at least.
New Year’s Eve in China
Fireworks exploding in the street – misrule is the order of the night – lit by cigarette. Loud bangs definitely more important than visual display. Fire engines and street cleaners kept constantly busy. The local security guards all posed with fire extinguishers for a photo-op at the start of the night as we live within a historically important – and mostly built of wood – location.
Snow fell and settled briefly, a rare sight in Beijing and evaporated quickly, no lingering ice on the roads, thankfully.
As if being on the back of a bicycle in Beijing wasn’t quite hazardous enough, it seems that children sleeping on the way home from school are taking things to a new level, although the traffic is slow and the road surfaces are smooth you really need to have your wits about you as there are no traffic rules here when it comes to cycle lanes.
The Spring Festival ends with the full moon and of course another full night of fireworks!
The following images are from my visit to the world famous porcelain city in July 2014. Just a short flight away from Shenzhen, we had a great time and saw so much that it’s hard to pick just a few pics that give a small taste of what we saw. Jingdezhen is a truly amazing place that embodies living history not just for China but for the whole planet as ceramics is one of the oldest human activities and there’s a real sense of this in the town. China was obviously way ahead of the curve making ceramics on an industrial scale. I recommend the trip for anyone interested in the making process, not forgetting Britain’s own industrial heritage at Stoke on Trent.
here but before the ice melted ice skating was enjoyed on this frozen river in the city centre.
has become a new fascination for me as a way to explore colour combinations [thank you Kaffe Fassett] and I have discovered a local wool shop where the aunties who run it seem to know which ball of wool I want when I point and speak very rudimentary putonghua. They are no doubt bemused by the fact that I buy one ball of wool in each colour with no reference to type, thickness etc. Some images of knitting in Beijing…and thanks to Joe’s photos of the giant ball of wool xmas tree near Tiananmen Square I have at last made the link and see that it’s appropriate that I have taken up knitting in the year of the sheep!
A ceramic structure at a nearby historic park – the Temple of Heaven- and a luminous green foil car/tin can. Yes there’s a colour connection but so far I haven’t found shiny metallic fibre to knit with.
is almost here – the local Hutong where we buy most of our veggies has emptied out considerably, many of the usual stalls and restaurants have already closed a week before the event. We have had some debate around whether it’s the year of the goat or the sheep as the word in Chinese is the same, no consensus has yet emerged amongst those whose opinion we’ve sought. There are posters appearing near our flat warning of the dangers of fireworks whilst at the same time a large stall selling fireworks has been erected outside the Workers’ Stadium. More to come on this subject in the next blog.
The first image below is of Sham Shui Po, Hong Kong, showing sheep/goats [lama?] or possibly recycled horses from last New Year’s traffic island display and the second gives a taste of red lanterns in Beijing creating a sense of anticipation for the festivities ahead.