Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Incredible Ancient Stones Found

A  giant human sculpture has been unearthed at an excavation site in southeastern Turkey, which may have represented a Neo-Hittite King.   The pieces date back to about 1000 B.C. to 738 B.C. and belong to the Neo-Hittite Kingdom of Patina in what is now southeastern Turkey.  They were found at what would have been a gate to the upper citadel of the capital, Kunulua. An international team of archaeologists on the Tayinat Archaeological Project are excavating the ruins.

The head and torso of the human figure is intact to just above its waist and stands approximately 5 feet tall, so it likely had a total body length of 10 to 12 feet. The figure's face is bearded, with beautifully preserved inlaid eyes made of white and black stone, and its hair has been coiffed in an elaborate series of curls aligned in linear rows. Both arms are extended forward from the elbow, each with two arm bracelets decorated with lion heads. The figure's right hand holds a spear, and in its left is a shaft of wheat. A crescent-shaped pectoral adorns its chest.

 Images:  Jennifer Jackson

Professor Tim Harrison,  from the University of Toronto comments  "They provide a vivid glimpse into the innovative character and sophistication of the Iron Age cultures that emerged in the eastern Mediterranean following the collapse of the great imperial powers of the Bronze Age at the end of the second millennium BC."

The detailing is fantastic, what a find.  We keep learning how much more sophisticated early man was than we thought.

More about the find.

Monday, 30 July 2012

I Love Handmade

I had a lovely surprise this morning when I received an email from the blog I Love Handmade.  They have featured my stone sculpture Bee Eater carved in Opal Stone.  It is a fabulous site, lovely clean lines (wondering if I can emulate this on mine?!) and a feast of things hand made.  Very inspiring and lots of other makers to explore. 

Thankyou I Love Handmade

Home Grown Veg

I've just finished in the workshop for the day, feeling a bit tired and hungry.  Soon soothed away by picking some of my vegetables.  I can't say what pleasure I find in this simple harvesting.   The broad-bean plants look rather straggly, but are producing pods and there are enough for a meal this evening, so now I'm sitting in the garden in the evening sunshine preparing my beans.  Mmmm they smell good!  Parsley sauce?  Or just fresh beans?

Sunday, 22 July 2012

The smell of fresh cut grass

A big blue tractor and cutter arrived in the field next to my workshop to make hay from the grass, scythed it down with a whir and faint clouds of pollen dust.  The sun dried and the breeze brought heavenly wafts of fresh meadow to me as I worked.  I lingered by the fence in the aromatic heaven.

Friday, 20 July 2012

What a difference .... a little bit of sun!

My vegetable growing this year has not been going so well - everything seems very slow.  Lots of my plants went from weakly seedlings to bolting, without any good produce inbetween.  Things stayed in the greenhouse longer than they ought as it was so awful outside, and then they were rather weak and weedy when I finally dared to plant out.

With the sunshine over the last couple of days, have come flowers bursting forth and rapid growth - so perhaps things will turn round from now?

Lovely sights.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Olympic Stones

A sculpture created to mark the Olympic Games in Dorset celebrates the beautiful stone of the area.  The Jurassic Stones sculpture is a collection of 16 prehistoric boulders mounted on steel plinths on the approach to Weymouth and Portland.  Each boulder weighs between two and nine tonnes. The sculpture is near the Jurassic roundabout in Littlemoor, Weymouth, and is close to the venue for the Olympic and Paralympic sailing events.

The sculpture was designed by Devon-born artist Richard Harris who said: "I was inspired to work with the large Bencliff Grit stones when they were revealed by the road excavations on Southdown Ridge, to preserve them and to give them a new life after millions of years under ground."

What do you think?

Howsham Mill Stone Carving Course

Howsham Mill is a special place - lots about it at Howsham Mill - restoring the past to create a future.

Fantastic work is going on to save the mill from total dereliction and make it a place of activity and usefulness.  As part of this I was asked to tutor one of the Heritage Courses run there.

The volunteers were fantastic and made me feel very welcome, even carrying stone and my work benches over the bridge to our workplace.  They also kept us going with tea and coffee when needed.

The mill is on a tiny island, making use of the wide, fast flowing river Derwent for its power.

Lots of people turned up for the 'Have a Go' session in the morning and some wonderful carvings were done by young and old.  In the afternoon we had a Letter Cutting session, with participants who had booked for the workshop.  What a beautiful place to concentrate and carve - in the grounds of a beautiful stone building with the gurgling river a few feet away.

These carvers showed some of the wildlife found at the river edge.

This carving is of the Archimedes Screw, which is located just at the river's edge and provides all the electrical power at the mill.

One person carved an image of  Jenny Greenteeth  - I had never heard of her - but apparently she is a figure in English folklore - a river hag who would pull little children and the elderly into the water and drown them!

Thanks all - a very enjoyable and happy day!

Preview Night - Ryedale Open Exhibition

I felt very excited arriving at the Milton Rooms for the preview of the Ryedale Open Exhibition and scanned around quickly for Brandon's piece.  

The organisers had done a very good job in setting up the exhibition and the plinths for ceramics and sculpture were all painted black, in fact the whole exhibition appeared dark background, so the works of art just leapt out, and they were what you saw in their glory.  

I felt very proud too, and emotional when I spotted the Fish.  I got told off (by the official photographer for the event) for taking pictures, so only managed this one.

Then had a good look round and was so taken by a little ceramic sculpture - English Bull Terrier, by Hester Salt, that I made a purchase!  Alby is sitting on my computer as I type and giving me great pleasure - I adore this beautifully sculpted piece of white clay.

The exhibition was a wonderful mix of artwork from the area - great to see.  A couple of others I particularly liked were Foal Drawing by Andrea Bailey and some masterful watercolours The Brown Rooster, The Pheasant and The Old Rooster by Vivien Wilton-Middlemass.  Look forward to next year.

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