The return of the wet weather saw me confined to the attic studio yesterday and today, which was for the best considering I had still to complete the first page of my new book.
It took me the whole of last summer to floor my loft, construct a partition between my mine and my neighbour’s property then have a large velux window fitted; an investment in my happiness by making a dedicated space where it would be easy for me to kick start my creative practice.
The investment of hard grafting and money has paid off. I now have a private space where I can be creative once again. I am now surrounded by the objects that I have collected, the books that inspire me, music playing, paints open, easel set, brushes at the ready and a flask of green tea.
This afternoon I completed the first page of my book with the second page blocked in. Mixed media collages sit patiently half constructed waiting for the addition of cyanotype compositions exposed onto glass. I cannot describe how amazing it feels to be making again.......
Blue skies and sunshine visited the east coast today as if to celebrate the first day of spring. Not wanting to waste the clement weather and an opportunity to discover more beach treasure or take photographs an expedition to coastal shores ensued. In a bid to tread new ground and walk a little further than usual I took the bus to Auchmithie so that I could walk along the cliffs back to Arbroath.
A most pleasant afternoon was spent walking slowly homewards. Coves where explored, photographs taken and treasure collected. What surprised me was that there wasn't as much to collect as usual in relation to the distance travelled. I don't know whether it is geography that effects how much flotsam and jetsam arrives on a shoreline. I have favourite locations where I know I will be guaranteed a good haul and other locations that have proven to fruit less.
When talking to my specialist tutor about the treasure I have amassed to date I commented that I could remember where most of my items had been collected from. This led onto a new idea to document each find like an archaeologist in a handmade book. Since then I have constructed the book, begun my first page and have four pages more waiting to be sketched. It will be interesting at the end of the year to own a document that records my finds and I will certainly continue the exercise after my Masters studies have ended.
It is fair to say and will be corroborated by many that my days at work are busy. Even so, when the bell sounds for home time it doesn't necessarily mean the end of my working day. This Tuesday saw me driving to Stonehaven for an introductory course in glass fusing at Mearns Art House. The evening workshop was taken by the proprietor Fiona who has been running the shop and holding classes for the past five years.
My intention in attending was to discover whether glass could be a suitable medium for me to use as a support for my emulsion transfers. In class we learned about the requisite equipment, how to cut both straight and curvy lines and why glass from the beach could not be mixed with the glass in the shop.
It amazed me that very quickly you could proficiently and confidently learn how to cut glass. Fiona's shop was stocked with lots of beautiful colours of glass in sheet, powder and rod form. However I kept my palette muted as I wished to add an emulsion transfer later......that is except for the colourful tile I made for my daughter.
Less than a week later my tiles emerged from the oven ready to be pushed further. I had a lovely time at Fiona's workshop and discovered much about the properties of glass that will help me in future projects.
Saturday morning saw my teas maid alarm clock emitting it's rude call for awaking at six of the am. It's not that I love to awaken and hear the dawn chorus on purpose but I had a mission, the acquisition of a glass plate camera. The event; an auction of 'fishing and camera equipment'. The venue; Taylors Auction Rooms in Montrose.
The day for viewing had been on the Friday but I was unable to attend as I was in Aberdeen at University. A small window of opportunity to view was still available to me though on the Saturday morning from 8am till the sale at 10am.
So there I was just before 8am ready to view the lots. On arrival I registered for my bidding number then made my way straight to Saleroom 3 to immerse myself in all things analogue. Disappointed I was not and I was surprised by how many glass plate cameras where in the sale. Although sleep deprived the decision to arrive early had been wise as it gave me the opportunity to inspect each of the cameras, making sure that bellows where intact, mechanisms in order and the lenses had no mould.
The decision was easy as I fell in love with Lot 4084 - a single plate mahogany camera with Thornton Pickard timer, Beck symmetrical lens, 4 plate holders and canvas bag. I identified another camera in case I was unlucky with my bidding and then I waited nervously and patiently in the front row for the auction to begin.
Ten minutes before the bidding began I was joined by my friend Caroline who had been equally excited for me about the auction. Her role, to offer moral support and make sure I kept my cool.
Then 10 am and we were immersed in the theatre that is The Auction! As each of the large format cameras came up I noted the price that they went for and was surprised that each one was sold. I had no idea that so many people would be interested. Then my lot came up but I stayed cool like The Fonz and won the camera that I had set my heart on.
It is fair to say that I left the Taylors Auction Rooms almost floating. Another of the bidders asked me if it was going straight into my cabinet at home and I was so happy to say 'not so, this camera would be loved and used.'
Starving and high, Caroline and I set off for lunch and a glass of Merlot to toast bidding success.