Friday, 26 February 2010

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Soup wheel

The Soup Book is a very nicely written book, from the fifties I think. I got it for 10p from the Fara charity shop bin, and was pleasantly surprised by these lovely fold out 'soup wheels'. You use one can of the central ingredient, then half a can of one of the next, half again of something from the the next ring, and a smidgen from the outer ring. How beautiful is that.
Also, Richard Wentworth speaks well about menus:
"I like menus, I like the gap between desire and text and interpretation. It's a social thing, coursing across the print, watching the maths, eyeing the props, taking pleasure in my ignorance, editing and re-editing. You plan a risk, you rehearse a conservative choice, you plunge in. It's only ingredients, processes and procedures but there is room to extemporise, to play clerk of works, to write a short play, to paint by numbers. Talking is the same, just quicker. I like using words to order and I like unfamiliar words. I have, for want of language, pointed at other people's dishes and, very occasionally, I have ordered by numbers."

Saturday, 13 February 2010

FINALLY Richard Dawkins

Yesterday I finally, finally finished a book I've been reading since I went to Germany in August. It is by Richard Dawkins, and is called 'The Ancestor's Tale: Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Life'. Oh it is such a brilliant brilliant book. Here is his blurb because he says it better than I could ever paraphrase.

'The Ancestor's Tale is a pilgrimage: a journey of four billion years. We. modern human beings, are the pilgrims, and we are travelling back in time to seek out our ancestors. Simultaneously every living creature is setting off on its own journey with the same mission. Each pilgrim tells its tale along the way, and covers the processes involved in the unfolding of life on Earth.

Onwards we go, squeezing precariously through mass extinctions. Eventually we pass that fundamental turning point for life on earth, the combining of a single celled protozoan-to-be with a bacterium to form a cell with a nucleus. Once we have done so, all living things take the final strecth of the pilgrimage together to the origin of life'

I've never read a book that makes me actually gasp out loud in amazement, there are just so many things you could never imagine about life. Dawkins bases his pilgrimage on Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, instead of the miller's tale there's the marsupial mole's tale, the barnacle's tale, the redwood's tale... He writes in such a beautiful, non-patronising way. It is science but not boring science. He even refers to The Subtle Knife, talks about the creatures that use seed pods for wheels, as a lovely aside.

I did get very bogged down near the end and strung it out for months - once it got to bacteria level I didn't understand very much. But still there were bits and wonderful pieces. The Ancestor's Tale is, I think, one of my all time best books I have ever read.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Monday evening spent in IKEA Purley Way, the first section of my self directed drawing project on shopping. Oddly deserted, I felt very conspicuous and so was not so brave as I thought at brazenly drawing people about their business. But it's a start. Interesting to observe there is a definite 'Ikea walk': slow, funeral march pace, very leany side-to-side. It's the shoppers saunter. My drawings don't succeed in describing this, yet. I had meatballs for dinner of course.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Natural History Museum

On beautiful 'goffrata' paper, the yellow book in the fabriano '7 senses of paper'.

Body parts and rear views

Body Parts and Rear Views are two quick books made from a folded sheet of a4 in the British Museum. I had a laugh making them last term on location drawing, just after doing a big serious museumy drawing. Momentously worked out how to use a scanner to make them appear like this, the magic of computers.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Paris Pairs

This weekend I excitedly went to Paris for the first time, I was visiting my friend from longtime who lives there now. Here are some pairs I saw in Paris.
A quick note about the middle one, the orangutan and the man. In the zoo there was a monkey house, circular in shape, with glass walls. The orangutan was up against the glass, so close. And the man appeared. He did not wear zoo uniform but maybe he did work there. He tapped on the glass gently, not like a tourist - he leaned in to the orangutan and opened his mouth wide. And wider. And the orangutan opened her mouth, and wider. They were gaping at each other, mimicking each other and I watched the smile of the orangutan right up close.