Tuesday, April 28, 2009

flashes of inspiration

I'm hoping to get back to visit Barcelona again sometime because I love the Gaudi mosaics and architecture. I think I would be very happy if I lived in Guell Park!
More inspiring work comes from this man's lifetime of mosaicing. It is in Chartres, and a visit there is also due. I like his work because he too used other people's rubbish to create great pieces.
“I followed my spirit as one follows one’s path (…) Before coming to my work site, I would often walk for several kilometres in search of my raw material : broken plates. The materials I found were the bases of eau de cologne bottles, medecine bottles, whathever people disdain and throw away in pits and dumps but could still be of use. I picked up that which others had rejected (…) I went everywhere to retrieve what no-one had a use for (…) Many people could do as much : but no, they don’t dare. But as for me, I took my hands and they brought me happiness. I would like to be an example”.
Raymond Isidore (1900-1964)

Monday, April 27, 2009

dips and sips

This little object was given to me by a friend a few weeks ago. It was a cast-off as it had a hairline crack, so water just slowly drained away, but I liked its simple shape and size, all the more so because it is made of concrete. I put it on a couple of little supports and topped it up every day - the cats adopted it as a drinking bowl in the recent hot weather, and I've seen sparrows drinking from and splashing in it in the evening. I decided to fix the leak by covering the inside in bits of crockery which came out of both my garden and a friend's when we were digging over our respective patches. I kept most of the pieces the shape and size in which they came out of the ground, which is why there is no real design incorporated, but I had to trim a few bits for the rim. I hope the cats and birds appreciate its new look!!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

feet first!

Last year I had my friend Bruno in stitches when I talked about table 'legs' - they are 'feet' in French. Like any good language learner, I made a mental note, and never made the same mistake again!
Back at the end of last autumn, I decided to make myself a garden table to fit in the space by the granite lintel 'benches'. They used to be over the original back window and door, before the wall was rebuilt in the 40s. They were left lying around behind the house, probably because of their weight! I managed to acquire some granite blocks to sit them on, and with help from friends, they became seats.
I made the concrete table top on the floor of my neighbour's garage as it was a convenient flat surface to spread the polythene sheet and wooden frame on. It's heavy, and spent the winter resting on some granite boulders to keep it of the ground and until I got the right legs for it. They turned up at the tip one day - concrete cast-offs from someone's garden. Unfortunately, there are only two of them, so I've had to make some concrete bracers - hopefully they will work......The legs are now covered in old crockery which all came from one recent tip visit. I've left a cup handle on one leg - it looks funny! The table top is resting behind the legs at the moment. Ironically, the crazy-paving indent pattern is from the garage floor it was made on.
I've included a picture of my biggest fan in his 'Mademoiselle' box. He's easily the most handsome bloke around these parts.....

Fired up!

I just had to add this picture of my 'new' Deville woodburner, bought 2nd-hand from a family near Dinard. Because it is full of heat-retaining bricks, it weighs loads, and it took me and three tough assistants to get it up my steps and in place.

six-section story

Late one sunny Saturday afternoon at the end of March, I put the finishing touches to the path/patio. I thought it looked lovely and called for a celebration, but I was aching after spending all day on all fours once again, I'd spent the last hour in the shade, cold at that time of year, and I had all the tools and materials to clean and clear away, plus the cats were stalking about, impatient for food, the woodburner needed lighting and someone had to wash the day's dishes and cook supper - tough living alone sometimes! So the path remains 'unchristened', apart from a cup of coffee I spilled on it, and several Spring downpours and some hedgehog poo. Only a couple of people have seen it so far, and currently, only me and the cats are enjoying it! I wanted the mosaic to reflect the six concrete sections I'd laid, so I made it look like six giant panels, rather than merge them all to make one long section. This way, each section has its own character, made up on the day, and depending on what bits and pieces were available. Notice the Breton dancers in the broken plate circle - I found them at the bottom of one of the big containers at the tip, but I couldn't find the other half of their plate, so some of their dance party are missing!