Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Do you remember the old adage, "The camera never lies"?  You don't hear it any more because it's now commonly known to be untrue.  These days the camera and its associated software can be made to tell all kinds of extravagent lies.  The saying was useful, though.  It was shorthand for so many situations where you thought you'd taken a photo of one thing (a friend at her 21st birthday party) and found instead you'd perfectly captured the disgusting state of a row of teatowels distastefully displayed behind the birthday girl's head.)  Or a photo of what you thought was a beautiful view which turned out to be of several pylons and numerous cables strung right across your eyeline.  Well, here's another good example of the camera not lying.  My old bag.

As an aside:  I was never really a rebellious teenager.  The most I ever got to was calling my mum an old bag occasionally.  She usually retaliated by reasoning that if she was an old bag, I must be a baguette.  It took the steam out of the insult and annoyed me very much.

This, however, really is my old bag.  I've had this bag for possibly 15 years.  When new the colours were rich purple and pink.  Now even the leather section (what's left unshredded, that is) is more grey than purple.  The thing is that it has probably looked disreputable for some time but I've chosen not to see that.  This photo makes it unavoidable.  I've loved this bag.  It has the right dimensions.  It takes all the usual financial essentials like purse and cheque books plus emergency medical supplies (including insect repellent and antihystemine cream for when the former fails), camera, umbrella, dog poo bags, keys, pens, pencils, emery boards, and tissues.  When required it can also hold small shopping and/or a wine bottle.  Its days were clearly numbered, though.  A couple of the straps had split halfway across and it was only a matter of time before one of them continued its journey and the aforementioned contents were distributed across a car park or supermarket floor.

So, choices.  No, not choice of bag.  Choice of how to spend a small pocket of time.  There were so many things I could have spent this time on that I have not seemed to find time for over the last year or so.  Highest on my list has been visiting friends but there are other things I wish I could get back to doing also.  But instead I chose to spend the time making a new bag.

It is rather splendid, though I say it myself. It's not that obvious that the leather is synthetic and it is wonderfully purple.  It cost me £5 for the main fabric for a piece more than a metre square (more than half of which is left over) plus about £6 for three zips. 

Inside is a central compartment which is zipped and has a rigid central divider so those important paper items like cards don't get crushed.  The central compartment doesn't go all the way to the bottom so that a couple of rarely needed things can lurk underneath, across the whole width of the bag.  There are two small pockets on the outside of the central section too.  The lining is specially created patchwork.  There is a zipped outside pocket for keys and pens.  The base is reinforced for rigidity to stop the whole thing falling over.  There's a handy loop for pulling the bag towards you when you feel lazy.

I can't remember the last time I actually sat down and made something that wasn't work.  The fabric was more difficult to work with than I expected but still I had fun making it and will have even more fun using it.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Beastly pots

It was Another Beastly Art Exhibition last weekend.  Sadly, not a great success because Painswick has become a very quiet village.  We'd hoped that there would be plenty of people about for Open Studios but it turned out that there is only one Open Studios venue in Painswick this year.  Add to that the weather - horizontal rain on Sunday - and it was never going to be busy.

Sitting in the exhibition with no customers meant some time to spare, though, and I took my camera, my laptop and my (fairly) new graphics tablet.  The reviews I read before buying the graphics tablet did mention time needed to get used to it and I haven't really had that time available until now, so a rather small silver lining must be admitted in that I was able to start to get more familiar with the graphics tablet.  And it's really rather nice.

Anyway, here's a small selection of recent beastly pots, all of which appeared in the exhibition and all of which, sadly, came home with me, starting with a rather better picture of the lizard vase I blogged about under the heading of "Work in progress".

I like all of these, in different ways for different reasons. This last vase, though, is possibly my favourite.