Rode Hall is a beautiful place and the gardens are blooming with bluebells. The last day of the bluebell walks is today. 8th May 2019.
There are other plants on display including rhododendron, campion, tulips, and even some narcissi that are still flowering.
The hall is open on Wednesdays and Weekends. They have a farmers market which I think is on the first Saturday of the month? They have a good tea room that offers hot food, cake and drinks. They are having a plant collectors fair on 27th May. (Bank Holiday).
Rode hall is off the A34 North of Stoke-on-Trent at Rode Heath. It is along a road on the left hand side and is signposted.
This was taken in the 1980s when I was at college I remember. I think it was done with a pin hole camera? Take a sheet of photographic paper and put it in a tin with a tiny pin hole in it in a darkened room. Have a flap of paper or card to cover the hole, then you can take a photo by removing the cover over the pin hole. You will need to experiment with exposures because the paper will react to light. You need to know how quickly the paper will darken. Once the picture is taken you cover the pin hole again and develop the picture. As it’s 40 years since I did this I don’t remember what the chemicals are that you need. I do remember that if you are developing film you have to take it off the reel in complete darkness and you end up with a negative which you then project onto photographic paper. With a pin hole camera you use black and white paper and the image comes out as a positive picture.
There are other forms of pin hole images. You can project a live image on a wall using a tiny hole if there is bright sunlight outside. The image cast will be upside down. This is called a camera obscura and may have been used by painters in the renaissance and onward to project accurate images onto their canvases..
A warm evening in March, out at Westport lake. One of my favourite places for a walk. Over the last few years the trees have grown and the management of the lake has been taken over by Staffordshire Wildlife Trust. The sun reflects off the water and ripples from the swimming birds make it sparkle. The lake was artificially created from the remains of a marl pit (where they dug out the clay for potteries) and old mine workings. It was created for wildlife in the 1980s I think when Shelton Bar Steel works closed ?
Life spreads and grows. Greenery overtakes the tallest buildings, ivy scrambles, buddlea infiltrates. And beauty comes from waste and destruction.
My picture of pink blossom today, photo bombed by pigeons! I might turn the top half of the photo into a painting, the pigeons just add some movement to it. This year the blossom has been amazing. My cherry blossom is starting to fade and blow off the tree. I don’t know if that’s due to cold nights or drought as the weather has been very dry. There are thunder storms due later in the week. I guess that will remove the blossom.
I had the pleasure of meeting an artist and photographer called Cyril Tilstone at his exhibition at Centre Space tonight. It is based at the Spode heritage visitors centre at spode site, Eleanora Street, Stoke-on-Trent. It started tonight and is on for a month.
His images are photo collages of bottle ovens or historic buildings like cherished chimneys at Longport. With interesting and intruiging compositions including things like chimney pots, doves, paintings by Joshua Reynolds and even marbles. The images are colourful and show the industrial history of Stoke-on-Trent in a new way. There are time travelling Dr Who characters dotted about. This is a gentle and gently humorous look at Stoke-on-Trent past and present.
I would recommend it to you.
I’m thinking of painting something like this. It’s a window in one of the buildings at spode. Goodness knows what the paint is made of. It is just so old. The wood looks dry and decaying. The putty holding the glass in is probably made with lead. Surprisingly the window looks quite clean and the building opposite is reflected in it. Capturing the detail will be a challenge.
Today I started a painting for the first time in months. I saw an image by photographer David Tipling of a Barn Owl from a Staffordshire Wildlife Trust bookmark and just had to paint it.
Why the owl? The photographer has captured it in flight beautifully The sinuous curve of its wings seems to scythe through the air. Its face is both impassive and intent.
I hope the photographer does not mind me painting his image.