Well, I’m back and I seem to have brought back some sunshine – not as warm as California sunshine but very welcome nontheless. I managed to twist my knee playing tennis on the my last day so the 10 hour journey home in my cramped seat, followed by a 3 hour drive home to Dorset was really uncomfortable and painful. It was a price worth paying though for the wonderful time I spent in Venice, Los Angeles.
It’s hard to pick out a highlight as I have so many happy memories but certainly one great day was spent at the J.Paul Getty Museum where we went to see an exhibition by the Italian sculptor Bernini, but also saw an astonishing exhibition of photographs by a German photographer called August Sander, which I thought was truly magnificent. Here are some photographs which #1 son and I took of the museum and gardens.
I also made a pilgrimage with my very patient friend, Claire, to Paper Source and stocked up on very lovely paper so expect a new burst of bookbinding activity!
I went to a party at the home of the composer Michael Brook and his wife, Julie. Michael writes wonderful music , including the scores for the movies ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ and ‘Into the Wild’. He showed me a beautiful book about the work of Pierre Legrain and Rose Adler whose Art Deco bookbindings are absolutely exquisite and very inspiring. I found the book on Amazon and have ordered it, I’ll show you some photographs of these fantastic leather bindings, when it arrives.
Claire and her husband, Colin and I went to a great restaurant in Culver City called ‘Vinoteque‘. We had a great meal which was also a tutored wine tasting, comparing Old World and New World wines. The food was tailored to match each wine and it was so interesting to see how the wines complemented and added to the wonderful food. The wine tasting was followed by the US equivalent of a ‘pub quiz’. Astonishingly, our team, ‘The True Brits’ came second and we won a $10 voucher towards a future visit!
Anyway, I’m back now and I’m trying hard to catch up on the blogging front. I’m starting to get round all the blogs I normally visit but it’s a slow process. What with dodgy knees, unpacking, laundry and jet lag, it’s all been a bit mad. I found today, I had been tagged by Kim over at Laketrees. Actually she was sent three tags by Mariuca@Mariuca’s Perfume Gallery but I’m actually only going to do one today. The easiest one (and I think the most fun one). It’s called the Handbag Tag, and in Kim’s words:
The Handbag Tag is from ECL and here are the rules.
Find a safe quiet place free of significant others, nosey meme makers, priests, nuns, all things religious and men in general. (If you’re a guy just reverse this process to male and tell us about your wallet, tool box, briefcase or metro sexual accessory.)
1. Dump the contents of your handbag in a pile.
2. Take a photo of your handbag and the contents.
3. Be brave and ‘splain to your fellow bloggers what lurks inside the handbag.
4. Tag others who might want to embarrass themselves.
5. Answer these questions:
Describe the contents of your handbag. See my list below.
Purse, iPhone, earphones in wallet, camera, spare battery and memory card and case, sunglasses, reading glasses and spare pair, car keys, my Moo card mini cards and wallet, tin of M&S mints, Japanese wallet full of photographs of my boys and my passport, 3 Moleskine notebooks, 7 pens – various colours, 2 pencils, (1 automatic, 1 with sharpener and eraser), Prada perfume, lip balm, travel tooth brush and paste, mosquito repellant, hairbrush, Glastonbury Festival wrist band, various hair ties and clips.
SO MUCH STUFF! My only excuse is that I haven’t had time to empty out the holiday stuff and I don’t normally carry a lot of those things around. No wonder that one of my shoulders is lower than the other :-)
What’s the most important thing in your handbag? My iPhone
What’s the most embarrassing thing in your handbag? Too many pens, pencils and note books! Too much everything!
What’s the smallest thing in your handbag? Hair tie
Is there anything illegal in your handbag? No, although I notice that the pharmacy no longer sells the brand of mossie repellant I like – I think it probably contains something illegal…
So there you have it, I’m going to tag all my commentators, male and female. Show us your handbags, purses, briefcases, wallets, holdalls whatever.
I dare you!
PS You may notice that the menu at the top of my blog is looking a bit untidy. I have expanded the tutorial page to include a gallery of all my books (130 in the slide show I’m afraid!) as I realised that readers who were coming to my blog following ‘bookbinding’ links were probably hard pressed to actually find any, so I decided to include the gallery. Now just need to sell some of the buggers!
I made a book! The weather has been very iffy again so I took the opportunity to use some of the lovely paper I have hanging around. I think I am back in the groove…
Now I know I promised not to bang on about Italy again but that was before I decided to sort out a cupboard (looking for #1 son’s passport) and came across some old photographs from 1999. In fact, the date stamped on these photographs is 09.09.99. and as we are approaching 08.08.08 and I have just paid the man who cuts my lawn £108 on 01.08.08 (I am coming over all numerological. Is there such a word?) Anyway, it also happens the photographs were of a magical trip to – you’ve guessed it – Italy! Portofino, Carrara and Siena, to be precise. So for what I promise will be the last time I mention Italy for AGES, here are some highlights of the trip.
First Portofino, a picture postcard perfect village in Liguria, on the Northern coast of Italy. My ex and I drove there for a wedding anniversary – 23rd I think…
The harbour at Portofino
We left Portofino and drove to Carrara to meet up with a friend, Stephen Cox, who is a sculptor. He wanted to show us the marble quarry where he buys the marble for some of his work. It was one of the most memorable days of my life – for all sorts of reasons.
All images here on in can be enlarged by clicking on them
You can see Carrara as you drive along the motorway that follows the coast in Northern Italy. The mountains behind the town look as if they are snow covered but in fact, it is the white marble that the area is famous for, gradually being revealed by the quarrying which has been going on since Roman times. In fact, the Pantheon and Trajan’s column, in Rome are made of it. This is my favourite photograph of the Pantheon.
The interior of the Pantheon
When we reached Carrara, we drove to the place where Stephen buys his marble from. It’s a huge yard with an enormous machine like a band saw which saws the huge marble chunks into appropriate sizes.
The owner of the place then drove us in a Land Rover into the mountains to see where the marble originated. We drove up to the edge of town and then suddenly started to drive up a rough, gravelly track, barely wider than the Land Rover. This is the road we were driving up.
The road up the mountain
Whenever, we got to the end of a section, we had to do a three point turn to get round the corner. The back of the car was hanging over a precipice as we got higher and higher. If you enlarge this photograph, you can see cars parked at the bottom – see how tiny they are! After a terrifying journey, we arrived at the quarry and we were astonished to see the scale of the operation up there. HUGE earthmovers and dumper trucks (which had obviously done the same journey at some point – in fact the trucks do it several times a day – loaded with giant blocks of marble) were cutting away at the mountain face, carving enormous cubes of the stone.
Here are some shots of the process.
After we left Carrara, we drove to Siena, where Stephen had an exhibition in the square in front of the Duomo (cathedral) called ‘Interior Spaces’. He had placed 4 huge hollow marble boxes which resembled sarcophagi in the piazza. It was wonderful to see people interacting with them – peering through openings, looking at the light shining through them or even just using them as somewhere to sit and enjoy the sunshine.
We spent a few days in Siena which, as I have already mentioned in my previous post, is a beautiful city. It is famous for a horse race held there twice a year called the ‘Palio‘. It is hotly contested by 10 of the 17 ‘contradas‘ or districts of Siena. Each contrada is named after an animal or a symbol and has it’s own flag, colours, uniform and traditions. The race dates dates back to medieval times and during the year each contrada parades in the streets playing music and waving their flags to drum up support. I saw the ‘Aquila’ (Eagle) contrada parading through the streets.
Here is a video I found on YouTube of a Palio race. It is my ambition to see one but perhaps not in the middle of this crowd – on one of the balconies overlooking the Campo would be my choice!
This has been rather a long post but I had to get it all in – promise I shall move on from Italy now.
I was tagged by Mimi over at Mimi writes… to take part in this meme, she tagged a whole lot of people and I noticed I was included over at Kim’s. Mimi was originally tagged by Travis, who created this – just as well, as a Mimi meme is too much of a mouthful :-)
Here are the instructions for Trav’s Staying Out Of The Dungeon Trivia Meme:
He said: A meme needs ‘structions.OK…here’s your ‘structions:
Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to:
1. Choose a category from one of these: Television, Stage & Screen, Nightly News, Publishing, Lives & Times, Music
2. Find 8 bits of trivia about your selected category
3. Be sure to let me know when…ok, if…you decide to play along so I can see what you come up with.
4. You may tag, or simply offer the meme for borrowing or stealing as you like.
So here we go. My chosen topic is Stage and Screen.
1 Tom Selleck was the original choice to play Indiana Jones. He turned the part down as he was too busy with ‘Magnum PI’ and it went to the lovely Harrison Ford.
2 Daniel Craig is the first actor to play James Bond, who is younger than the series itself.
3 Johnny Depp only had 169 words to learn in ‘Edward Scissorhands’.
4 Daniel Day Lewis and Russell Crowe were considered for the part of Aragorn in the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy. Even though he had never read any of the books, Viggo Mortensen took the part, after being persuaded by his son who loved them.
5 ‘The Last Samurai’ was not only Ken Watanabe’s first American Film, it was also the first time he had spoken English in a film. Tom Cruise took no ‘up front’ salary for making this film and trained for two years before film making began, learning sword fighting and taking Japanese language lessons.
6 Bette Davis was the original choice for the lead role in ‘Mary Poppins’. Danny Kaye and Fred Astaire were considered for the role of Bert, which was played by Dick van Dyke (and his atrocious Cockney accent….)
6 In the Coen Brothers film, ‘Intolerable Cruelty’, George Clooney plays a talkative character who is vain about his teeth. In his previous Coen Brothers film, ‘O Brother, Where Art Thou?’, he plays a talkative character who is vain about his hair.
7 Only days before the role of Batman was cast in ‘Batman Begins’, eight actors were asked to audition for the part. The actors were Christian Bale, Joshua Jackson, Eion Bailey, Hugh Dancy, Billy Crudup, Cillian Murphy, Henry Cavill and Jake Gyllenhaal. While Bale won the part, Christopher Nolan liked Cillian Murphy’s audition so much, he cast him as Dr. Jonathan Crane/The Scarecrow.
8 Due to his part in ‘The Machinist’, Christian Bale was vastly underweight (about 120 pounds on his 6 foot+ frame) when he was under consideration for the part of Batman in ‘Batman Begins’. After being cast, he was told to become as “big as you could be” by Christopher Nolan, the director. Bale underwent a dietary and exercise regimen and ending up weighing about 220 pounds (about 40 pounds above his normal weight). It was decided that Bale had became too large (friends of his on the film’s crew dubbed him “Fatman”) and he quickly shed about 20 pounds to have leaner, more muscular frame.
So there you have it, 8 perfectly random facts (largely culled from the Internet Movie Database) and a wonderful excuse to have a look at some of my favourite movie actors. Yum!
I’m not going to tag anyone as it’s quite task compiling this list but if you’d like to have a go, please feel free!
While I’m at it catching up on tags and things, Dunn over at Simply Dunn, passed on this lovely award, which she received from Crissy, called the ‘Arte Y Pico’ award. Thank you so much, Dunn!
Arte Y Pico Award rules :
1. You have to pick 5 blogs that you consider deserve this award through creativity, design, interesting material, and also contributes to the blogger community, no matter of language.
2. Each award should have the name of the author with a link to their blog.
3. Award winners have to post the award with the name and link to the blog of the person who gave them the award.
4. Please include a link to the “Arte Y Pico” blog so that everyone will know where the award came from.
I’ve tried to find out what ‘Arte y Pico’ means but the nearest I can get from my translator widget is ‘art and tip’ (which makes no sense) I think it means like a tip of a mountain (the peak) so maybe it means ‘the peak of art’. I’d be glad for a good translation….
The weather here has been glorious, we had a wonderful weekend and I went to my first barbecue of the year on Sunday. It was a gorgeous afternoon and we played croquet which was great fun. Not quite like this game though.
I played tennis yesterday and today and have even been doing some gardening (not my forte, I must confess) but it is so wonderful to be outside in the warm sunshine. Needless to say, it is going to get cooler after today so I have been making the most of it – hence the lack of both bookbinding and blogging. I’m sure normal service will be resumed very soon.
I like this paper. I will confess I relented and bought some more from Paper Source as I still can’t find a source of funky modern designs here in the UK. However, I have found another good supplier of lovely paper called the Paper Studio. They are based in Tempe, Arizona and the studio ‘ is a teaching studio and paper arts shop created and run by Cindy and Gary who are mixed media and book and paper artists’. It’s no good, I am just going to have to move to the USA.
I have been tagged by Kylee over at Bijoux and Banter to tell you all about my studio. I think calling it a studio is over stating it a bit, it’s more of a work room. I do have to confess though that in the interests of making my fledgling business sound a bit more groovy and professional than it actually is, I have called it Limetree Studio. This is a business card which uses a photograph I took in my garden last summer.
Artist name: Diane Aldred
Business name: Limetree Studio
Website/blog: This is it! New one on the way. Honest.
Do you have a dedicated studio/artistic space? Yes. I used to work in my kitchen but I moved to a spare bedroom.
Where is it located? On the top floor of my house.
Is it a large or small space? It’s quite big, it doubles as a study and all my books are up there as well as a TV and a sofa.
What medium(s) do you work in? Paper, I am an addict.
Do you have a separate area for each? If I was organized I would have a separate area for gluing as keeping glue under control is the bane of my life.
What one word would you use to describe your studio? Comfortable.
What do you think is the best feature of your studio? My plan chest keeps me organized.
What would you change if you could? I’d buy more storage so it was tidier.
Can you share an organisational tip? Tidy as you go (that’s rich coming from me…..)
Describe the usual state of your work table? A disaster zone
Does your work table face out into the room or toward the wall? Towards the wall (which has a large painting of my lovely boys on it) and which I am going to paint soon (as soon as I can get someone to help me move the plan chest…..)
What’s one drawback of your studio/artistic space? It’s too far from the kitchen (2 floors away) so I am constantly running up and down stairs to make tea/answer the door.
Do you have an idea wall or inspiration board? No. I take inspiration from the papers I buy.
Do you listen to music in your studio? Yes, loud music which I sing along to.
Do you display your own work in your studio? No
Other artists’ work? I have paintings on the wall.
What’s one quirk or unusual feature of your studio? My desk where my laptop is, is always tidy but my book making work space is very untidy. Not sure why….
Whose studio space would you like to read about? I would like to tag the following artists to reveal their studio spaces….
And now for my weekend. Click on all images for a larger version.
I had a lovely weekend. The weather was fantastic, warm and sunny. I went for a walk around the Fleet on Sunday and then stopped for lunch at a pub in Langton Herring. I must confess I ended up watching TV as it was the last match of the football season and my team Manchester United were tied for first place at the top of the Premier League so everything depended on this last day of matches. Without boring you with too many details, suffice it to say, my boys won the title for the 17th time. All in all, a fantastic day.
I’m off to London for a couple of days tomorrow. I’m meeting up with some old friends who are visiting from Australia. The last time I saw them was about 6 years ago and before that I hadn’t seen them for about 20 odd years. I just hope the trains don’t let me down this time…..