Wednesday 28 July 2010

Time-Life's British Isles, circa 1969

Above: Kentish sheep and spring apple blossoms. Spring!

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Above: That's what happens to a greedy pig.

Above: so kitsch and genuinely lovely at the same time. Champagne and strawberries by the arbor at Petersham.

Above: Grouse hunters. Observe that devoted spaniel!

Above: the young butchers, who no doubt count the minutes to Saturday night, when they go the the local hall and dance to The Beatles.
Above: the more serious set, who no doubt keep the boys in line. (The boss is the second lady from the right.)

Above: the lads gather for their fish and chips in Richmond, Surrey.

Images from The Cooking of the British Isles by Adrian Bailey, Time Life Books, 1969. Most of the original captions published underneath the pictures are still there and can be read if you click on the pictures to make them larger.

Saturday 24 July 2010

A scarf, stuck

Inspired by the colours of this beautiful Sandra Juto scarf on flickr, I decided to knit something a little more subdued than the usual, e.g. below. However as I had already made a pact with myself to use only yarn that I have in the house, my palette has ended up nothing like Juto's at all. Funny that. I have also decided that I want to knit a word into this scarf next, but I'm not sure what that might be.
Time to get some expert advice:
Praise the LORD and pass the Ammunition, graph by artist Lisa Anne Auerbach from her Charted Patterns for Sweaters That Talk Back, New York 2008. She advises: "knit your twisted perspective into a sweater. Parade your patent disregard for humanity everywhere you go. Don't be a coward." My lovely sister-in-law discovered this great artist/book a few months after I knitted my First Date Vest. I haven't expressed my twisted perspective much lately, but I am thinking about doing it in the next few rows of the scarf above. I can see the word "bacon" in front of me on a postcard. I like that word. Alot. Given that I have knitted most of this scarf while watching Masterchef, it seems appropriate. And given the theme of the post below, there might be a pattern emerging. A scary one.

Wednesday 21 July 2010

Introducing Mr Jones, Meat Purveyor

Introducing Mr Jones, Meat Purveyor. I am working from home again today so he will have to wait until next weekend to be cut out at the studio and placed on a stand like his friends. Mr Jones will be rather more advanced than his friends though, as he will have a moveable knife-wielding arm, as soon as I can work out how to facilitate that. O Brother Where Art Thou?
Above: part of my inspiration, a 1960's London butcher "wearing the straw boater of his trade".
From The Cooking of the British Isles by Adrian Bailey, Time Life Books, 1969.

-- I'll have to post more from this gem of a book soon.

Saturday 17 July 2010

A new shirt

I don't normally post my sewing; perhaps that's partly because I don't sew often anymore, but also because the clothes I have been making are usually so simple that they are hardly worth sharing. I did decide recently however to sew more seriously again, for a number of reasons. The first is that I already have alot of lovely fabric around the house. The second is that I know what I like and I care less about fashion so choosing what to make is easier knowing that I will enjoy it for longer. Thirdly, the question of the environmental impact of the ever increasing speed of fashion is really getting to me. In fact, a (fashion industry) colleague of mine said just yesterday that she freaked out recently when confronted by the volume of "fast fashion" at Topshop etc., wondering where it would all go when the next look took over within weeks.
I felt vindicated.

So, the sweatshop in which I am the only employee (and customer) has re-opened. For those who are interested in details, I handstitched the tucks in much the same way as I handstitch the linen scarves that I make. I say why not add a detail to show that your clothing is handmade?
And here is the 1969 pattern that the shirt was based on.
Thanks very much to my friend JP who helped me to adjust it from a 1969 size 12 to a 2010 size 12. (It was a disconcertingly big adjustment!)

Actually, there is another reason why I have taken up sewing again: Jenny Gordy's Wikstenmade blog, which proves that home sewing can be both accessible and cool at the same time. I am a big fan. And like Gordy, I love the French label A.P.C. -- another great source for simple, classic and cool sewing ideas.

Wednesday 14 July 2010


Part I. I'm not quite happy with this: mainly because the model for my chicken meat skewer was a tiny photo from an 80's Women's Weekly cookbook which in retrospect was too small and unclear to be useful. Or maybe I have just learnt that cooked meat is really hard to draw. Maybe next time I will make the model myself? (Um, minus the lady's head.)

Part II. I have realised that the more surreal moments of Peanuts are my greatest (and until now unconscious) artistic inspiration.
Funny how your childhood never leaves you.
Does anyone else out there see their childhood interests crop up in their own work in an unexpected way?

Images from Charles M. Schulz You're Something Special, Snoopy, London, 1972 (selected cartoons from The Unsinkable Charlie Brown, Vol. 2 first published in 1965). When Schulz was clearly into hallucinogenics.


Saturday 10 July 2010

The special lady that guards my bedside

The Gut Fried Lady guards my bedside table and keeps me safe from harm while I sleep. But I don't dream of butcher shops or illustrated pigs with meat markings on them. (In fact last night I had a rather odd romantic dream about Ricky Gervais, but I would prefer not to go there right now.)
I realised upon viewing this recent and troublesome lady again, that she might in fact form half of something I am yet to complete. A bit like the Gut Fried Lady perhaps?

Saturday 3 July 2010

Rags or riches?

Above: I'm not sure about this one. Not sure whether I like it or whether I don't; what my intention was, let alone whether I have succeeded. What I do like is that bits are missing; and what it says (although I subsequently Googled the phrase and realised it was hardly original*).
Above: Voila! There is always the back to paint on! (Or not.)

I might set this one aside for a while and get back to it.

* Googling is dangerous like that. It can make you feel like everything has already been thought of already -- or worse.