Thursday, 21 July 2016

Mudlark Finds - French Backstamp Ceramic Fragment

I found this small fragment of china at the weekend on the River Thames foreshore with a French backstamp. Although I have not been able to trace the design I was able to track down some interesting details from the backstamp.
Emile Bourgeois (1832-1926) was the owner of the Grand Depot at 21 rue Drouot in Paris which was a department store selling ceramics. Shops at other locations included the one at 33 rue St-Ferreol in Marseille which can be seen on the backstamp of my fragment of china beneath the Paris address. 

Emile spent time in England between 1856-1860 studying commerce and after trade agreements were signed he became the main representative of British ceramic manufactures in France. He was also responsible for initiating the Grand Depot magazine/catalogue displaying the china he was selling to encourage customers to place orders or choose their items before visiting the shop. 

If you look at the shopfront (on the left and above the entrance) you will see advertisements for English Iron Stone, English Majolica and the words ‘Stoke on Trent’.

Monday, 18 July 2016

Mudlark Finds - china fragments, dolls leg and sharks tooth.

Early morning mudlark to catch the tide on the River Thames yesterday. Plagued by midges and a film of mud but here are a few of my finds.
Left - Right 
Black transferware pottery fragment depicting buildings (I will try and research the design), ceramic Victorian jointed dolls leg (love the painted shoe which still has it's heel and if you look closely she has a white knitted sock too), fragment of china cup with bird design (looks hand-painted but I think it is transferware and probably modern), partial sharks tooth (probably somewhere in the region of 55 million years old I've been informed).

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Blue and Turquoise.

Photographed yesterday walking past an industrial area by the River Thames. 
Blue, turquoise, rust and peeling paint. What a beautiful combination!

Friday, 17 June 2016

Tea, Cake and a Walk along the Thames

I walked along the River Thames path last week with a friend stopping at the Plough Way Cafe, Surrey Docks for refreshments.

 We sat outside as it was so warm but the interior was very attractive with gold mosaic on the back wall, a lovely old style station clock and an eclectic mix of tables, chairs and light shades.
HMS Bulwark was moored up on the Thames at Greenwich after commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Jutland.
Manze's traditional pie and mash shop in Deptford.

View towards the city of London from the disused lock at Surrey Docks.
Foot tunnel entrance under the River Thames at Greenwich.
Managed about 8 miles in total so think I used up the calories from eating the cake....hopefully.

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Dendritic Monoprint

A monoprint I did recently inspired by a lovely fragment of Mochaware I found on the Thames foreshore. The design technique on ceramics is called Mocha diffusion and this fragment is an example of the red seaweed design.

Friday, 3 June 2016

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Combining Drypoint Printing and Photo Transfer techniques.

Original self portrait image using a laser printer photocopy. This technique will not work with inkjet photocopies.
Cut out of face.
Photo transfer which will be a reverse of the original image.
Drypoint print added to photo transfer image.

I love combining these two techniques & think I'll be experimenting more with this in the future.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Mudlarking - Clay Pipe Bowls

Here are some clay pipe bowls I found by eye on the Thames foreshore recently (I can't dig or scrape the foreshore without a permit). 
I've discovered by reading the history of pipes that as tobacco became cheaper the pipe bowls became larger which is a helpful way to date them. The oldest pipe bowl in the photo is the smallest one probably mid to late 17th century judging by the pipe dating chart I found online. I'm no expert though so please correct me if I'm wrong. 
The little buff coloured cube in the photo below is a ceramic 'knuckle' or spog. They were used in a child's game when one would be thrown up and the child would pick up as many as they could while it was in the air....19th/20th century (Thanks London Mudlark for confirming that). Sounds very much like the game of 'Jacks' that I played as a kid at school.
I also discovered yesterday that pieces of pottery are called 'sherds' (whereas pieces of glass are called 'shards)'. 
I never knew that! 
I quite enjoy looking up the designs & attempting to date them. Even though they might only be a very small fragment of history it's still fascinating. If you look very carefully you may see a tiny butterfly on one of the 'sherds' at the bottom.

Friday, 11 March 2016

Drypoint Printing - Self portrait

Drypoint printing. Described to me as the closest you will get to an etching without using a copper plate. It creates a lovely, soft, almost pencil like print. The only disadvantage is that you need a printing press so need to have access to one to create the final image.
I don't usually take selfies but the theme of the 10 week print course has been self portraits so I have had to take lots of photos of myself which has felt very alien.
I chose this image for my first drypoint print. The finished print will face the same way as the original image.
Use a drypoint needle to scratch the image into the perspex sheet which ideally should be 0.75mm -1mm thick. It does begin to hurt your hand after a while so I may invest in a electric or battery operated one in the future.
First place your chosen image under the perspex sheet and trace the main outline & details using a permanent marker pen.
Reverse the perspex & use the drypoint needle to scratch the image out using the pen lines as a guide.  Draw the needle towards use firmly & rotate the perspex to get continuous even lines. Lots of other tools can be used to create different marks on the surface. As you can see from the image below I have added more detail to the hair. The deeper the cut lines, the more defined the finished print will be.
Ideally place the image on a light box or hold it up to the light to see where you have worked or gently rub the surface to feel where the cut lines are. 
The perspex is then inked up using an oil based printing ink applied with an applicator (or a piece of thick card) to the scratched surface. The ink will gather in the cut lines & scrim material is then rubbed in a circular motion to remove the excess ink. The image below shows the ink removed on the upper section of the perspex partway through the process. It's very messy so wear an apron & use disposable gloves. 
My first drypoint print. 
The perspex leaves a lovely indentation similar to a copper plate etching.
The paper needs to be presoaked for at least 5-10 mins before printing & part dried (no visible water on the surface) by placing it between blotting paper & pressing with a clean ink roller. Remove your gloves & make sure your hands are ink free before handling the paper.
After the first image was printed, a small amount of white spirit was poured onto the perspex plate to make the ink run to make an experimental print. 
Perspex plate before experimental print.
Test print & experimental print.
Great fun!

Monday, 7 March 2016

Bird Monoprints

More monoprints I did a few weeks ago at home. 
Here is the original pen drawing from my sketch book.
First monoprint.
2nd monoprint with additional freehand shading to the bird and a hand drawn frame.
Only two weeks of my print course left but I have already signed up for the next course as I'm loving it so much. 
We have been working on self portraits in class using different printing methods so I'll try & post some photos soon.

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Mudlarking on the Thames

Found this lovely Victorian doll's head on the Thames foreshore. You have to wonder how something so delicate survives intact for so long.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Vintage High Tea

Lovely afternoon spent with my sister having a vintage High Tea as a late birthday treat.

Friday, 19 February 2016

Greenwich Peninsula - Ravensbourne and the Thames River Path

I visited Ravensbourne University yesterday with my daughter who had been invited for an interview and to show her art portfolio. Located on the Greenwich Peninsula right next to the O2 arena it is a beautiful building.
A view looking into the building through one of the many windows.
A view looking out of one of the windows, from the cafe located on the ground floor, towards the O2 arena.
I had a stroll along the Thames river path which is just behind the uni whilst she was being interviewed, This photo is taken just below the cable car which takes you to the north side of the river. Another thing on my to do list!
So much has changed along the river front over the past decades but there are still glimpses of the past which I just love.
Heartbreak Hotel on the Jetty. From what I can gather online this is now used as an arts venue. Unfortunately there was no access to the jetty itself.
Lots of new properties being built on both banks of the river. Probably way beyond the affordability of most Londoners though.
My daughter's interview went very well so we popped into the O2 afterwards for coffee & a celebratory lunch. Lots of hard work but first interview done & dusted. So very proud of her.
I did manage to sneak onto the foreshore to satisfy my passion for collecting. It also helped to take my mind off the interview for a little while (that's my excuse anyway). I hope there are other people out there who get just as excited (and I mean EXCITED) as me about river/beach combing? I just love holding pieces of glass & shards sherds of pottery in my hands that have been tumbled smooth by the water and imagining the history behind each piece. These pieces shall be added to my existing pieces along with my driftwood and all of my other fascinating finds......
I hope you all have a lovely weekend.