Thursday, 31 December 2015

Towers Against the Sky

My camera roll always seems to be full of shots of these - I never really want to go up inside the towers, but I'd love to take a crane ride outside to see the detail on top up close...

This last one wins because it has a unicorn

Thursday, 17 December 2015

The Fabric of India

I went to this V&A exhibit a couple of weeks ago and really enjoyed it. For me, the most interesting parts were detailing the traditions to do with dying using natural dyes - the bolts of gorgeous indigo and turmeric dyed cloth are stunning - and the videos about cultivating different silk worms with examples of the differences in the woven cloth were fascinating.

Here's a quick round up of some Indian inspired bits and bobs I love

Botto is a textile art studio in Bombay, who do some interesting stuff - I love how this embroidery takes typical Bollywood colours and gives a contemporary twist with the background choice. The shapes and simplicity keep it feeling fresh too.

A super simple sari-as-curtain idea from the book 'Cloth'; gorgeous fabrics need no extra help to show off, and the light playing through them will just add an extra dimension. Now to get on ebay for some second hand saris to hang...

Kantha is a Bengali technique using running stitch to layer together fabrics (traditionally a way to use scraps or reuse part-worn cloth). Even the simplest patterns give a wonderful tactile quality to the cloth, as the stitches create little waves in the dense pad of fabric.

Aari embroidery, from Kashmir, is similar to punch hole embroidery, using a hook to create a sort of chain stitch. I love what the artist here has done combining curved and straight lines - there's a tutorial on her blog too

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Burano Blues

I realise that for most people, Mondays are the baddie of the week, as everyone returns to work - but in theatre, the first half of a Monday is still the weekend, and the day only gets dull in the evening when we all troll in for the first show of the week. (Before you explode with jealousy, remember we all work all day every Saturday...). For us, the midweek matinee is the real slog - twice the work of a normal day, and no imminent reprieve in sight.
To cheer up my Thursday matinee day, I've decided to start a series of Thursday blog posts about cool stuff  (admittedly a pretty broad remit)... so here we go

I love colour - bright colours boldly used - so on a recent trip to Venice, my favourite area was the island of Burano. I loved all the smooth painted houses, set against broken brick exposed by cracked plaster

The best thing about this photo is that, unbeknownst to me, my buddy Emma (a great photographer) took exactly the same shot of this chimney breast on her holiday last year, validating the excellence of my taste.

We got there pretty late on the last afternoon of our trip, so the light wasn't great for capturing all this gorgeousness. If I ever go back I'll be hot footing it straight onto the vaparetto out there.

Top tip: weirdly enough we also found that the nicest examples of Murano glass were being sold here (not on Murano) - mostly smaller pieces and touristy stuff like tree decorations and magnets, but given that all we really wanted was a little souvenir that was perfect. If you want a glass sculpture chess set with the pieces shaped as Roman Catholics verses Jews, you'll need to hit Murano itself.   

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Thinking Socks Rethought

One thing I especially love about knitting is the way that items come to represent memories of what you did whilst making them - they are a slice of your life. The striped strata above are a narrow boat holiday in the sun, evenings snuggled up with The Walking Dead, and weekend in Brighton catching up with old friends.
Whereas below, the geological progression are a few days in tech rehearsals getting to know new colleagues, some hours stood in theme park queues laughing at my niece's impatience, and a handful of stolen minutes on the train looking forward to home.

Monday, 3 November 2014

30* for 30 Reading Challenge

My 29th birthday looms, and not far behind that lurks my 30th... so I've decide to celebrate by setting myself a reading challenge: between those two dates I'm going to read one book published in each year I've been alive. 
I've tried to choose a mix of fiction & non, a few graphic novels (even one manga), and I've aimed for a mix of genres that reflects my normal tastes, the idea being that whatever my mood I'll be able to find something from this list to work with (I'll not necessarily read 'in order')

Here's the books... some years are blank where I haven't picked anything out yet (suggestions welcome!). Some have more than one option, where it'll depend what I can get hold of easily. 
Books in italics are ones I haven't yet acquired... so if you happen to have a copy I can borrow that'd be nice

85 - Ender's Game (Orson Scott Card) Completed 7th April
86 - Howl's Moving Castle (Diana Wynne Jones)  Completed Jan 2nd
87 - the Shell Seekers (Rosamund Pike) Completed 15th May
88 - The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho) Completed Jan 5th
89 - An Awfully Big Adventure (Beryl Bainbridge) Completed 31st Jan
90 - Possession (A S Byatt) Completed 5th June
91 - American Psycho (Bret Easton Ellis) completed 6th March
92 - Irrationally (Stuart Sutherland) Completed 26th Fen
93 - How Are We To Live (Peter Singer) Completed 20th April
94 - Politically Correct Bedtime Stories (James Finn Garner) Completed 17th April
95 - The Demon Haunted World (Carl Sagen) Competed September
96 - Berlin (Jason Lutes) Completed.June 10th
97 - God of Small Things (Arundhati Roy) Completed 16th May
98 - The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver) completed 20th Jan
99 - No Logo (Naomi Klein) Completed 10th July
00 - House of Leaves (Mark Danielewski) Completed Oct 30th
01 - The Shadow of the Wind (Carlos Ruiz Zafon) completed March 25th
02 - Any Human Heart (William Boyd) Completed 9th Feb
03 - Death Note (Tsugumi Ohba) Competed October
04 - Case Histories (Kate Atkinson) Completed Feb 14th
05 - Tamara Drewe (Poppy Simmonds) Completed 5th May
06 - The Road (Cormac McCarthy) Completed Feb 13th
07 - The Raw Shark Texts (Steven Hall) Completed 9th May
08 - Suspicions of Mr Whicher (Kate Summerscale) Completed 13th April
09 - Sixty One Nails (Mike Sheldon) Completed 2nd May
10 - Daytripper (Gabriel Ba / Fabio Moon) Completed 22nd Jan
11 - Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal (Jeanette Winterson) Completed 28th Feb
12 - Wonder (R.J. Palacio) Completed May 30th
13 - Maddadam (Margaret Atwood) completed 15th Jan
14 - The Opposite of Lonliness (Marina Keegan) completed 20th Jan
15 - The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace & Babbage (Sydney Padua)  Completed 4th May

*ok, ok, it's actually 31....

I'm done! I sort of got distracted along the way and stopped to read a quick 51 other books between these  official one, but still finished in plenty of time