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It’s taken me a while to get around to writing this post but rarity makes things more valuable, right? Since my last confession I’ve been out and about; prised out of my nest to visit the mountains, walk my feet off in the city and even go to a concert (Elbow in Leeds this weekend). I’ve been bombarded with sights and sounds and contrasts and it’s taken me over a week to recover!

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I love London. It feels like home but it also feels like another country. My daughter and I spent 4 days in the Barbican , surrounded by “brutalist” architecture and modernist furniture. It’s always fun to exchange the life of a country hermit for that of a city explorer and this time we explored places we’d never been to before; discovering the Fashion and Textile Museum in Bermondsey (where we also found the perfect building for a dream business premises- see below), the Book Art Bookshop in Shoreditch and dodging over friendly squirrels Kensington Gardens. The thing that did my head in was Liberty’s…

We’ve been to Liberty’s loads of times and particularly enjoy squeezing the balls of wool and marveling at the outrageous prices but, perhaps because I’ve never been so poor in all my life, this time it just seemed depressing. How can a mug be £150? If it’s made by an artist? By hand out of precious materials? The ceramics were gorgeous but not that gorgeous that a set would cost the same as a small kiln and you’d want to shoot your friends if they chipped one… or is it just me, am I just getting resentful? The contrast between real life for most people and the conspicuous show of excessive luxury just seemed too harsh. The ceramics company is called John Derian if you want to check them out and put me straight (or it’s my birthday next week and I rather like the teapot!…) Anyway, we both managed to survive the temptations of our trip with the only extravagance being some vintage fabric ribbons from the Cloth Shop on Portabello Road and the fact that we were staying in a rather swish flat in the Barbican which feels a bit like a piece of the Overlook Hotel ( a fact that stopped us roaming the corridors alone at night).

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And so home to the moors, where I’ve been rediscovering my love of cyanptype. Combining hand drawn pen and ink transparencies with natural elements such as leaves and flowers to make prints on the rare and precious sunny days. Gradually I’m getting better at it;  realising now that is must be sunny and that I probably need to save up for an exposure unit or move to Mexico. I’ve been using some wonderful, extremely thick Arches watercolour paper…off-cuts donated by my dad.

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And in between rushing about with plates of glass and rinsing prints with bated breath I sit in my new favourite place, the Freecycle greenhouse, where me and the tortoise listen to the radio and keep ourselves to ourselves…he has his dandelions and I’m happy so long as there’s coffee and cake.

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2 responses to “Adjust Contrast

  1. It’s NOT you, there is conspicuous consumerism all over the place, here in Australia too. I tried to check the ceramics on the John Derian link but it goes to a ‘problem loading page’…….so I was spared looking at overpriced goods!

    I don’t mind paying a good price for handmade and artistic things but some stores just take ‘hand made’ and ‘artist’ to be a license to print money.
    That’s ok for folk who have it pouring out of their pockets, but that’s not me, never has been, even when I was working full time in a well paid job, so we must be talking about seriously wealthy people, who seem to be increasing while the poor are also increasing.

    Enough! Lovely to think of you and the tortoise enjoying your days.

  2. I know what you mean about such exorbitant prices. Absolutely ridiculous. At the end of September last year we visited Fortnum & Mason, killing time before we met up with a friend at the Royal Academy across the road. It was the first day of the “Christmas Room”. Couldn’t believe the prices for Christmas ornaments, and most of them were so over the top they were horrid. I kept trying to visualize the sort – and size – of house where they would fit and look less ostentatious! Failed miserably!

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