Cat carving

I know there are better carvings, but I really enjoyed creating this. We didn’t have posh carving tools, just a few knives. I’ve seen pumpkins where just the outer rind is carved away so you get a shallow relief effect. I like it but I guess you would have to use clay modelling tools?

Apparently wild animals can eat the remains of the pumpkin once its been use for decoration. I don’t think hedgehogs like them though? I’m not sure feild mice would like one carved like a cat? Anyway it was fun to do. And it works as a ginger cat, X

Black and white filter

One of the problems with taking photos in artificial light with a smart phone is that you cannot always get a good exposure. My solution after trying to alter the contrast and exposures of these two photos was to use a black and white filter. Once I posted them on my Instagram account I used the filter on there which bought out more details in the photos.

Maybe I should have used a fill flash or changed the setting to manual but I don’t know if that would have helped.

Carving pumpkins

I went to an Art lunch today with fellow artists. We had a spicy pumpkin soup and different varieties of cake plus extra treats that pebought along.

The lunch was held at the warehouse building at Etruria Industrial museum, Etruria, Stoke on Trent.

We were asked to carve pumpkins for an event this weekend at the museum where they will be steaming the Etruria Flint Mill beam engine between 11am and 4pm on Saturday and Sunday this coming weekend.

The photos shown are my four carvings. A cat, a dragon, an abstract pattern and a sunflower shape. It was the most fun I’ve had for several weeks!

Possible sculpture

We went for a walk last week and saw a fox carved into an old tree stump. Unfortunately the photo I took didn’t turn out (memory problem on my phone). I spoke to the person whose garden it was in and he told us the artist who had done it.

I decided to enquire about a carving, I have an idea of either an owl, a fox, or even a green man being carved into it. I’ve passed on my details and the size of the tree. Maybe in a few weeks I’ll be posting photos of a sculpture.

Crosses

Three crosses in Stoke Cemetery, seen on my walk today. I’m interested in the celtic patterns on them, some more pronounced than others. This ancient design style is subtle and complex. I want to learn more about them again. I wrote a thesis on pre- Christian celtic art for my degree, but I would love to learn how to draw the patterns. I get lost in the patterns. I need quiet and concentration I think.

Gargoyle

Or some sort of stone carving. Whatever he is, he’s a bit frightening!

Seen in Cherished Chimneys in Longport he was staring out from among the chimney pots and pottery. I had to take a photo as he was so cute (for an angry dog!). I was impressed by the carving of the chain round his neck and his huge canine teeth. I guess he is a piece of architectural salvage, though I’m not sure which building he would have come from. Or maybe he was on a gatepost at a large country house? I suppose Britain’s heritage means we have a lot of things like this from when buildings are torn down. A lot of old houses have been demolished, fallen into ruin, or just been abandoned over the centuries. Their loss is our gain.

Forgotten?

Sandstone is a beautiful stone, soft and porous, it can be carved into fine shapes. But as this gravestone shows it also dissolves, especially in out acid rain environment. In this case the stone has turned black, probably from pollution, as Stoke-on-Trent was a very smoky place, due to the coal fired potteries. And yet the church is clean. I don’t know if it has been cleaned but it has had some restoration.

The lettering on the headstone is almost lost. Its almost as if a layer has peeled off. Gone but not forgotten? It depends on whether the family still exists, and whether they still live in the area.

Other stones in the graveyard are in worse or better condition. Some have been turned into steps, gradually wearing away under foot.

 

Staffordshire knot

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The Staffordshire, or Stafford knot, the symbol of the county. It was painted on a  wall in the Beehive pub in Honeywall, Stoke-on-Trent. I had a look at Wikipedia and there is a lot of information there about it. It seems to have a celtic derivation and can be seen in celtic patterns. A noble family in the country town of Stafford used it as their symbol in medieval times. The design is also linked to the Saxon Staffordshire hoard of gold artifacts that was found a few years ago.

It is the simplest knot and this can be multiplied to create various patterns. There is an old stone cross in a churchyard in Stoke-on-Trent which has the symbol carved on it. Incidentally it was used as a surgical knot but was found to be dangerous and would slip if not used correctly.

It was also said to have been used as a knot to hang three men because the hangman could not decide who to hang first. This is not believed to be true and is probably an urban myth.