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Sunday, 4 May 2014

Out of sorts revisited, angels and Butchery Lane in Canterbury

Here in UK, we are having May Day Bank holiday weekend. Today, the second day of a long weekend, warmth has finally returned, thankfully. While I was in Japan, bank holidays could be on any day of a week.

Here in UK, all bank holidays are on Monday, except for Christmas. Even the Queen's birthday is moved to the nearest Monday, for the convenience. It is called the Queen's official birthday. To me, it should be celebrated on the day she was born. But I think peculiar British rationalization and unique logic of convenience rule here. So if they have moved Her majesty's birthday so that they could have a longer weekend, it was just the most natural thing for them to move May Day to the nearest Monday.

After I left Japan, the then Japanese government made an unspecific holiday to make a long holiday from late April to early May. Bank holidays used to be the 29th of April (the Late Emperor's birthday),  the 3rd (Constitution memorial Day) and the 5th of May (Children's festival). Now the 4th of May is also a bank holiday. Unlike here, in Japan, sadly workers still find it difficult to take a long holiday because of social pressure, so this was the a bit of a solution from the then government. Two countries and two solutions to make longer holidays.

Although I am not under such pressure, I seldom take a break from ceramics. If I do, I tend to get bored. I have to find something else to occupy my mind. Last night, I loaded the kiln and started bisque firing after finishing this chicken totem! I did some sgraffito on her body.

Out of sorts (2012). Sold  
About 18 months ago, I made this chicken, Out of sorts. An art tutor purchased her on the first day of installation of the MA show last September. Since then I have had requests for her from a couple of galleries. I had enjoyed making them, and I would like to expand on this series more.

My latest Out of sorts
I do a mock-up of loading, and take photos before taking them to the kiln in the cold garage so that we wouldn't have to spend unnecessary time there. When I did for this shelf, they reminded me of terracotta army! :D Mine are all hand-built from a scratch; everyone has his own character. They are angels.

Five angels and three chickens
This is as tight as I could load in this kiln. There is also a lower shelf with porcelain wreaths and a few wings. The tallest boy only had less than 2 cm above his head to the lid; mine is a top-loading kiln. Having said that I was amazed that this small kiln actually can fire as many as these.

It's full! 


Late this morning, we popped into Ecco to buy me a new pair of walking shoes. I have worn some Reebok's nubuck walking shoes for several years. But they are discontinued now, I had to venture to find a replacement. Well, I had to thank Reebok. Ecco has my size, 3.5, as a standard, and the pair I bought are very comfortable, light and soft. What else could I want? My dog walks would be much easier on them. (Our dogs pull a lot!)

Here are some photos of the city centre this morning. There were lots of European tourists, especially French. First, we decided to have some cakes before shopping. We found this new Turkish cafe.

Turkish coffee house with Turkish deserts. 
 From the window seats, you have a glimpse of the Cathedral.

******Edited 21/07/2014
We bought 4 baklava to take out. We were charged £9. We will never go again!

£9 for these! 

It is on Butchery lane. It is a narrow lane with several independent shops and cafes.

The sign from the past is still here. 

Some shops still uses old signs. Charming! 
There is also Roman museum. You can see the excavated Roman mosaic in here. Canterbury used to be one of the important cities since the Roman period.  

Canterbury Cathedral gate is just there. This place used to be a cattle market. Tourists were queuing this morning. 

Cathedral gate
 On the way to Ecco, we saw these peculiar Morris Dancers. They are all in black and covering faces!

Next to them, ordinary Morris dancers were waiting for their turn. I love their cheerful costumes! 

We had fun today. I hope you had good weekend!

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