I have a new obsession and it’s all the fault of my son-in-law Matt. When he and our daughter Frances paid us a visit a few weeks ago he gave me a jar of his sourdough starter. Now, if you’ve never cooked sourdough bread you are probably unaware of the responsibility this involves. The starter has to be fed to stay alive. It has to be nurtured like a pet. Like most things, as you feed it it grows. Not a problem you might think – how little you know! It grows rapidly until, if you don’t dispose of most of it (or give it away to an unsuspecting relative) it will engulf the kitchen. No family could possibly consume the quantity of bread this quatermass of a ferment potentially produces. I haven’t even mentioned the timing issues yet either. Sourdough relies on the natural yeasts in the air. They seem to be rather unpredictable in the time they take to aerate the dough. The first loaf I baked was ready for the oven at 6 in the morning – this meant getting out of bed at 4.30 to prep the oven. I’ve made two more loaves since then and all of them at antisocial hours. When the dough is ready it waits for no man and if you ignore it it collapses out of spite.
I’m not one to be beaten and I shall persevere in pursuit of the holy grail of breads. I think I almost got it this time but those holes are enormous – no good for holding a sandwich filling in place!
I did a lot better with the present Frances gave me! She’d made this beautiful quilted roll which she told me was for all my make up brushes. I had to break the news to her that I’m a low maintenance kind of woman who only has three brushes to her name. No way could I fill all those pockets.
I do however have plenty of pencils! This will be a perfect way to take my Graphitint pencils out and about. Much better way to keep this points intact than just throwing them into a bag!
I really enjoyed a visit to the RBSA gallery in Birmingham last week. They had exhibitions showcasing the many different printmaking techniques favoured over the years and up to the present day. My favourite works were the cat portraits by Chris Salmon. He obviously knows cats with all their character and attitude. This big boy was one I’d love to take home! Sorry about the quality of the photos – it wasn’t possible to avoid all the reflections on the glass in the brightly lit foyer. It’s funny how an exhibition can inspire you to do more work isn’t it? I’ve had a printing press for years and never seem to have time to use it like I should – I must dust the cobwebs off and have another go.
Back in the studio I’m working on a portrait of my own. This is destined for the next Through Our Hands exhibition at the Festival of Quilts in 2017. I know it seems like a long way off but deadlines have a habit of creeping up on me so I’m trying to be organised. This images shows the quilt top draped over a table as it’s being block printed. I’ve actually moved on, done some more drawing direct to the cloth and made a start on the quilting. I’ll keep you posted on progress.
Thanks for reading today. Talk to you soon,