Sunday, 13 August 2017

Hello reader,

Well this is going to be one of these really speedy posts due to better weather, a zillion things to do, new bags and ancient history. 

After what happened to me earlier in the year, discussed in previous post, I've been different.  You know good 'different'.  

So there I was tending to my darling plants:

My fig is starting to grow figs:

My strawberries are still pumping out fruit.  They were a little quiet earlier in the year, then I realised they needed diluted white vinegar each time I water them.  In fact all my fruit bushes need acidic water.  Especially the blackberries, which have turned out to be delicious this year.  As they're thornless they're never that sweet, but cooked they're sensational.  Acidic plants grow where there's a lot of rain, whereas alkaline plants grow where there's hardly any rain.  Its funny to think rain is thought of as producing 'sour' soil, when its described so often as sweet rain.  Well, from what I've discovered, where there're a lot of rain, there's also a lot of algae and its the algae rotting that produces the acidic content.   

My Mother's hydrangea are still looking perky.  Not my favourite plant, by any means, but good 'fillers' in any patch.

And my pelargoniums are sprouting more blooms and less leaf, thanks to a tip I learned recently that if you want more flowers, take out large leaves once a week, so that all parts of the plant can receive sunlight, water just inside the rim of the pot, not the plant itself, and constrict the roots so they produce more flowers by planting them in small pots arranged within a big pot.  

Alas, I had to pull out this darling thing, only because its going to turn into a tree and I don't really have room for (big-ass) trees. Such a shame, I felt dreadful about the whole thing.  It was a gift from someone that obviously hadn't seen my 'pocket handkerchief garden'.  

It took quite a while to pull it up, very hot work I can tell you. Afterwards I took it to the dump and placed it in the corner there where a lot of people leave their pre-loved plants.  I also had to get rid of my dwarf palm tree this year because it fell prey to Spider Mite.  I think those creatures were residing in the bark when I bought the thing.  

Then I saw this ancient Minoan Snake Goddess and was transported!

Its a long story, but basically I visited the British Museum wanting to see some Neolithic Jomon pottery.  I saw some really fine pieces with jagged edges which to my mind represent the teeth of now extinct animals.  Its funny how the further you go back in time, the more you can visually understand what you're supposed to be looking at.

So this snake Goddess hit me like a thunderbolt.  She's not in the Museum I visited but she's in a new book I came across in the Museum Bookshop, aka the place where you end up really poor!  

What an arresting image!  All an artist ever wants to do is create the elusive 'arresting image', as we're told in art school, and this is certainly it.  Perhaps because I now get to keep my own 'curves' (!), her bodice region seems to me such an amazing statement of triumph and defiance!

But more than that, its her face, the way she's staring back at us and making us feel 'different'.  This is not the classical sweet demur image of chocolate-box-femininity, this woman is someone who makes you feel humbled before her, someone to revere.  Not in the first flush of youth either...hehehe.

At first I thought she was made of ivory, because clearly she's trying to resemble that precious material.  But actually it turns out she's made of clay and covered in plaster in a process called 'faience'.  

Neolithic plaster is an amazing substance and the Minoans were incredibly creative with it, not only using it to make waterproof coatings on baths and cisterns but also as an artistic patina in which to carve into.  

I don't know if I've set myself an impossible task, but I think I would like to reproduce this figurine?  I have three really good images of the artefact, displaying different angles, front, back and side to work from.  When I found the side image, I realised I could do it.  

My first thought was to draw or paint her, but as I peered more closely, I realised all the evidence is there from which to really learn e.g. "To copy, is to understand".  

Comments most welcome.

P.S.  I'm going back to sewing the Victorian Couple soon, as everything is a lot less busy now and I hope to take the piece on holiday with me.

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