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Its Saturday …

May 16, 2015

So, Saturday is here again;I am attending another Open Studio event this time at OpenHand OpenSpace at Brock Keep, here in Reading. I am not sure what to expect the workshop is called  “Lines and Forms from


While this concerns me a little,  it is the premises themselves  that worry me.  I have been there several times and it is a fine building, in a prison sort of way; but it is cold even on a summer’s day the protective walls do not allow the sun to penetrate; it is of course difficult and costly to heat such a place.  I know that in time I  will become acclimatised and not notice my  icy breath.  I will be start to apply the layers and pack my tea that is always comforting on such occasions soon.  

The subject matter is very intriguing.  I worked high in the Andalucian mountains in a voluntary capacity for a little over 6 years, so the area is familiar.  I liked it very much, so much so that I hoped to retire there  and and fulfil my retirement as a librarian in a Buddhist retreat.     This didn’t happen  not only was it not financially viable, the direction of my devotion turned to the Americas.  

Nonetheless, Andalucia still holds a place in my heart so the class will be lovely … if not as warm as I would like.  

Friday’s Snapshot from Special Collections …

May 15, 2015

For the last few weeks I have been working with a work experience student while she only comes one day a week she has really made a difference in the library at Special Collections here at the University of Reading.  

We do many ‘background tasks’ for lots of reasons to do with staffing levels and also usage.  It is no good spending months or years cataloging a collection if it has no interest at all. But, then one man’s meat is another’s poison, we have no real way of knowing what is going to be the next interest. So we each beaver away hoping that someone some somewhere will ‘discover’  we have a fine collection of something super-duper.

Such are our dreams.

So with an extra pair of hands and a willing mind we decided to finish a background task.  We have a collection of Wizard of Oz books by L. Frank Baum around 400 items. We have the first editions and many since so you can imagine it is an interesting collection and perhaps not everyone’s cup of tea. Nonetheless it has now attracted some interest with students; so we are delighted; especially as we draw to a close as other collections and background task need to be completed.

As I said; the Wizard of Oz is almost finished so we haven’t been ‘finding’ so many gems … but this one made us smile it is not by Baum but W.W. Denslow the illustrator of the first editions of the Wizard of Oz in the late 19th century.  

The images and text are funny …


Alphabe Thursday … Z is for Friedrich Nietzsche

May 14, 2015

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So I reach the end of my journey through the alphabet of walking and cannot find a nice reference for ‘Z’ So forgive me as I fail but not so miserably.  I found this nice image in A philosophy of walking by Frederic Gros and very suitable quote

‘Sit as little as possible, do not believe any idea that was not born in the open air and of free movement – in which the muscles do not revel. All prejudices emanate from the bowels. Sitting still (I said it once already) – is a real sin against the Holy Ghost’  

I don’t altogether hold with this saying as I thinking sitting still as many benefits but walking we have discussed is wonderful. 

alphabet thursday

Wednesday’s wood engraver

May 13, 2015

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Today I celebrate Sally Hands; I bought one of her wood engravings recently at the 77th Royal Wood Engraving exhibition at Kevis House Gallery in Petworth, Sussex. I was drawn to the image and knew nothing of the artist. I have since  discovered that she is a printmaker of many years and has recently returned to spinning and weaving. As I am a lapsed spinner, I decided to reunite myself with my wheel that I had unceremoniously demoted to the loft, since it  began to gather dust and take up valuable space.  

So while I may not take up spinning in the near future I will make some sketches and maybe make an engraving … So thanks Sally Hands!

Weekly Photo Challenge … the Forces of nature

May 12, 2015

I live in Reading UK; we have discussed this before pretty much; it is as far as you can get from the sea although we live near the river Thames that might break its banks during VERY heavy rain. The autumn leaves sometimes stop the trains running but this in minimal.  Also in Berkshire we will not get altitude sickness. All in all, I am not exposed to the power of nature. I smile, as I look at the gardens and front drives of the houses whose owners have gone to great measures to protect themselves from nature and her unsightly (so they say) infestations of greenery with concrete and brick paviour.  Such is the force of nature! So with the utmost respect to those who endure the power of nature daily some in fear I count myself lucky; and enjoy the little seedlings that find their way through the urban protection against nature and her unruly force.  

On Monday …

May 11, 2015

On Monday; I look back at the previous week and the happenings in the world of Nela Bligh.  The events that stand out and have made an impact maybe not consequential in the big world of Helen but have buffeted Nela a bit and she feels the need to share and unload.  

I am writing this on Sunday with a cup of new black tea delivered this week. Enclosed with my usual order and the requirements of my daughter to take to Brazil, there were some added extras.  Ann, my supplier know our needs. For, me I prefer my tea as it comes White, Green, Black etc so she included some Jasmine balls and ‘M’ who prefers mixes, like brain boosting, relaxing etc she added some White tea mixes that are kind to ‘M’s’ troublesome skin. So a lovely interlude before the result of the recent elections here in UK; another 5 years of a Tory government with continued austerity measures and strident immigration laws, among many other fears, my family and I are very sad. I have always been a Labour supporter and struggled with the inequality of our country and now the differences will be increased.  So with sadness, especially as I cannot see a way to address the above mentioned difficulties; even as a trade unionist I feel unheard and neglected by the current regime.   

So, the week continued I researched the artist of the wood engraving I bought last weekend. I discovered that Sally Hands is not only a printmaker but a spinner.  I am also a spinner although a little lapsed … there are only so many hand spun sweaters a girl can wear. So when taken over by more pressing events the wheel was removed to the loft.  

However, after looking at Sally Hands website I was inspired to fetch it down and use it; not perhaps as tool more a model and then we shall see what happens.

Then, there has been Caverham Art Trail; where I was exposed to some great local artists and inspired by couple … I learned to use a needle felt making machine better known as a embellisher; nice but at the moment economically removed from the dream.  Then, Sunday I learned the joys of monoprint ; it was not only successful but also no expensive tools required!  

Today, I am off to a drawing class; which involves a bike ride, train ride and a further trek on the bike so a bit of an adventure …

So another week begins with some challenges; some insurmountable in the near and distant future … so put on the back burner. The others joyous and exciting.  

Cup half full or half empty? The jury is out.

Love to all especially those who bought great joy this week.  

Silent Sunday …

May 10, 2015

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