Category Archives: Ceramics

A Great Weekend in Oslo, Norway, and a Visit to The Astrup Fearnley Museum

The Asstrup Fearnley Modern Art Museum

Loved our trip to the Astrup Fearnley  Modern Art Museum on the bay. Couldn’t understand why the collector bothered with so many of Damien Hirst’s half animals in formalin. When there was a scandal about keeping children’s brains I turned out my mounted specimens of cancers but I thought of offering the museum the head of my fractured right femur. I still have it in a jar in my bathroom cabinet – much more interesting and educational that half a cow.

Oslo harbour

Lovely view of the harbour complete with two-masted sailing vessel. Just not enough time to go across to the Viking museum.

Cindy Sherman as demure lady

 

 

I very much liked their collection of Cindy Sherman’s photographs. Amazing what she can turn herself into.

.

 

Untitiled #152

 

 

Hard to realise that this painting Untitled #152 of what apprears to be a bald man is also her.

Michael Jackson and Bubbles 1988

We both liked Jeff Koons’  porcelain Michael Jackson and Bubbles, his chimpanzee,  in white and gold. Seeing Koons’ name reminded me of the hallucinations i had in the High Dependency Unit (HDU; dependant on care not on drugs) following my heart attack last August after I came off the ventilator.

Memoir extract from Chapter 28 of Woman in a White Coat

Continue reading A Great Weekend in Oslo, Norway, and a Visit to The Astrup Fearnley Museum

MADE Craft Fair Bloomsbury Part 2

Alexa Simone Cushions

I had only recently made new covers for our scatter cushions or I’d have been very tempted to buy some of these cushions by Alexa Simone.

Jane Sedgwick Beads

 

 

Jane Sedgwick’s stand reminded me of kindergarten and how satisfying it is to thread wooden beads .

Sally McGill’s delicate ceramics

 

 

Gorgeous delicate ceramics by Sally McGill. Alas, absolutely no room in our flat for any more.

 

The sweet smell of lavender

 

Delighted to smell lavender as we passed Prilly Lewis’s stand and so pleased my sense of smell is getting stronger all the time.

Didn’t realise that some mixtures of Herbes de Provence contain lavender leaves as well as savory, marjoram, thyme, rosemary and oregano, but of course, rosemary and lavender are closely related.

My I remind you If you email me at abby@abbyjw.com I will send you the first chapter of my memoir Woman in a White Coat, and if you comment I will send you another. Hope to hear from you.

MADE CRAFT FAIR IN BLOOMSBURY

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

This year the MADE Design and Craft Fair was held in the Mary Ward House Grade 1 listed building in Tavistock Place. Founded by the Victorian novelist Mary Augustus Ward and financed by the wealthy philanthropist Passmore Edwards, it was built in 1898 as a settlement for the wealthy to improve the education of the urban poor. It is now a conference centre.

There was a wealth of different crafts on display – woodwork, wirework, pottery,  jewellery, clothing and more. Unfortunately by the time you get to your 80s you have so many ‘things’ there is little incentive to buy and we just admired the beauty and craftsmanship of much of the work.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

We loved the beauty and varied wood grains of the Shaker boxes by Murray Markovitch and have fond memories of the Shaker shop in Marylebone High Street we used to visit when we lived just round the corner – unfortunately long since gone, like so many of the craft shops in the area.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

An eye-catching display of wired figures was just inside the door with this leaping winged figure ‘Wishful thinking’ by Linda Lewin, whose website also shows off her silver jewellery.

 

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Amazing striped plates, bowls and jars by the ceramic artist Jin Eui Kim which he says are inspired by visual phenomena. We wished our cupboards weren’t already overfull of the ‘things’ we have collected in 60 years of marriage,

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

It was too early for us to have coffee and sandwiches or cake, but the food display in the café looked so elegant and appetising we were sorely tempted.

HIGHLIGHT TOURS OF THE BRITISH MUSEUM

The Great Court opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000
The Great Court opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000

Not free, but very good value at £12, the British Museum runs 90 minute Highlight Tours of some of the most well-known of its millions of artefacts from all over the world including the Rosetta Stone, the Lewis Chessmen, the enormous Easter Island basalt statue known as Hoa Hakanai’a, the fabulous human-headed winged bulls from Assyria and much more.

Kind Ramesses II about 1279-1213 BC
Kind Ramesses II about 1279-1213 BC

For me, the British Museum has above all been about the wonderful sculptures and wall paintings from ancient Egypt – though as a child the mummies in their sarcophagi used to terrify me. The Pharaohs may have been cruel and incestuous and probably quite ugly to boot,  but their statues and masks  speak of a transcendent serenity.

THE QUEEN’S GALLERY, BUCKINGHAM PALACE (1)

Dutch Artists in the Time of Vermeer
Dutch Artists in the Time of Vermeer

There are several great things about the Queen’s Gallery. The paintings and other exhibits are in excellent condition, the signage is clear and informative, and if you agree to have your ticket stamped to say than the fee is a charitable donation you can come back as many times as you like for one year.
There is only the one Vermeer (1632-1675) Lady at the Virginal with a Gentleman shown in the flyer but several Rembrandt (1606-1669) portraits, royal portraits, indoor Dutch scenes with their slightly wicked suggestiveness and much more –  drawings, etchings and a pair of flower vases.

This Tulip Vase made in about 1694 by Adrean Kocks
This Tulip Vase made in about 1694 by Adrean Kocks

This was the time of the Tulip Mania when rare tulip hybrids changed hands for thousands of Dutch guilders. Brought originally from the gardens of the Ottoman Empire the craze reached extraordinary levels before suddenly collapsing. Expensive blooms required expensive, elaborate vases.

Free tours at London’s Museums – the V&A

Decoration at the entrance for Diwali and Christmas
Decoration at the entrance for Diwali and Christmas

Trying to decide on which further education classes to enrol on for the New Year I saw that there were several courses of gallery visits at major London Museums and Galleries.  Now funding has been cut for Further Education these courses are now expensive so I decided to investigate the free tours, starting with the V&A. the purchase of the land for which was funded by the Great Exhibition of 1851.

Victoria and Albert at the Great Exhibition of 1853
Victoria and Albert at the Great Exhibition of 1853

Once again the tour guide took as to rooms I had either not visited or just passed though. I had no idea there was such a vast collection of ceramics or that the galleries showed their development over the ages with so many excellent examples.