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Recycled music

riciclare-001

Every now and again I make an assault on my collection of books in an effort to organize them a bit better. Don’t usually have much success as books are one of my great weaknesses and Amazon frequently drops a few more onto the doormat – vicious circle really.

But this one caught my attention and I thought I would bring it in here. It has been used quite a few times surprisingly enough in spite of its ‘unusual’ content.

I belong to a non-profit association, and have done for some 20 years now. As inspiration strikes, each of us over the years has suggested various activities which we prepare for the ‘locals’ of all ages. Maybe it’s down to my cultural background and traditions that my events are often considered ‘strange’ but are usually embraced with bemused enthusiasm by the rest of the team.

And this is where this book comes into the story, because one year I convinced everyone to collect ‘rubbish’ for a couple of months – clean rubbish of course – from the kitchen roll carton tube (no loo roll tubes thank you), to the empty coke cans, to the corona bottle caps, to the old inner tubes, saucepan lids, shells etc.etc. We had mountains of the stuff – and we made a sample series of musical instruments using what we had found with the addition of some dry lentils, beans and so on. Then at Carnival time, we set up a local hall with tables all around the hall with mounds of the ‘rubbish’ and all the tools necessary to create and decorate the ‘instruments’ – and then waited for the onslaught of kids and adults which followed. Where there is free food and drinks and a party, very few people hold back!

It was fascinating to watch (and help) as the parents, with a little assistance from ourselves, helped their kids make all sorts of instruments over the next couple of hours, and then join in as our guest percussion band taught the kids to ‘play’ the instruments.

Great day – and my suggestion is, if you have anything to do with children as teachers – or just as parents, this is a great party piece and I’m pretty sure that you can find a similar book in English. If you want any specific ideas about the instruments, just give a shout. Some of them are pretty obvious, like hammering saucepan lids with wooden spoons, but there are others which are a bit more complex …

NB. Not much of the material is suitable for very small children as a lot of recycled bits have sharpish or jagged edges – just think of drink cans or bottle tops for instance. Adult assistance is essential for this activity.

Out stashing

little-drill-300x193Feel almost bad about having had such a good day yesterday – we went off early morning on the bike and only just got back indoors in time for evening meal.

Visited a big regional market where I bought some nice yarn and haberdashery bits – and we picked up some nosh which we ate on a park bench – then we visited an ‘outlet village’ where hubby hoped to pick up some Timberland flip flops, but we were too early seasonally speaking.

Then we went to visit our favourite Guzzi agent, and then found a big hobby/craft/DIY store where I stocked up on a stash of seemingly useless bits which I am certain will inspire me for weeks.

My face is even burning from all the sunshine!

So briefly, what is in the stash …

A couple of big canvases for my paintings
some braid yarn – not quite sure what to do with that, though I do have a couple of ideas buzzing around
a handful of polystyrene eggs
a cork board for pinning when I create decorative knots
some super glue
a little squeedgee (spelling???) roller and tray
some large silver coloured rivets
30 meters of beige cord
10 meters of heavy beige braid
and last, but not least, some super glue

And now I have my thinking cap on!!!

Check out the dustbins

Might seem a little bold and osé, but give careful consideration to a thorough rummage through the dustbins of your local clothing (and not only) chain stores.

It is common practice for them to change the store display quite frequently, and most of the old display will end up in the dustbins. It goes without saying that an awful lot of what they chuck out will be of very little ‘aesthetic’ interest, but just a small percentage bears giving a second thought – and in many cases, a second chance.

My hubby works very close to a well-known clothing store which has just changed its display and thrown out a couple of dozen large, cardboard based, photographic images. Each of them is about 70 x 50 cms. My daughter has already taken away a couple that she likes for the bare walls in her new apartment, and I am waiting to see what others hubby brings home from the collection to make a final decision about what goes up in the studio.

What’s left over I will offer to neighbours and some students across the way. I reckon quite a few people will be pleased that we went garbage picking!

NB. You would probably be wise to ask for permission to ‘rummage’ so as not to infringe any laws on privacy etc. Better still ask the manager to give you the stuff before they throw it in the bins!

Divine

felting-fashion-100x128This most divine book dropped onto my doorstep yesterday and has me drooling. I have mentioned that recently I fell in love with felt, but if I thought that was love, I just hadn’t been prepared for this new surge of passion that this book has brought through the door. If anyone is interested, I picked it up at Amazon, and it’s called ‘Felting Fashion, Creative and inspirational techniques for feltmakers’ by Lizzie Houghton. For the time being I have limited myself to just devouring the images of Lizzie’s incredible garments, and the brief passages I have read already make me aware that I probably just don’t have the kind of work area to be able to make any of the bigger pieces. But maybe I will be able to attempt a brooch or pair of earrings – who knows. Anyway, if you get a chance, take a look — you won’t be disappointed.

Collecting a rainbow

A couple more of the gorgeous colour pigments to add to my collection. I just wish I had taken a pic of the shop window to show you what a fantastic display these powders make. I was wondering around town with my photographer friend Mark, and whilst I was chatting to the shop owner and making my purchase, he was outside taking a pic of the shop window. Can’t have it all …so Mark gets the pic and I get the pigments!

Anyway, on the subject of Mark, we had a great few days wandering around town doing a couple of exhibitions and getting in a couple of nice meals…catching up with our news and meeting up with some of my old friends too. A couple of them own a lovely restaurant called “Il Covo” where Mark and I ate a delicious meal yesterday…I can hardly believe that some 40 years have gone by since I first met Cesare the owner! Anyway, if any of you are ever around these parts looking for something local to do in Venice, Cesare does cookery lessons for small groups…he has a passion for food and can make even an omelette sound like heaven!

Mark has just called me from the airport… as a travel photographer, he is off on…well…some more travels. I think the next few weeks see him in London, France, Turkey and then the States again. It’s a hard life!!

Made by Hand

When you buy something from an artist, you are buying more than an object. You are buying hundreds of hours of failures and experiments. You are buying days, weeks and months of frustration and moments of pure joy. You are not only buying a thing, but a piece of heart, a part of the soul, a moment in the life of someone.

by Giacomo Cinque
'La Sartoria Antica'
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