Friday, 26 March 2010

Fragile, Glass Beauties

As part of my course I have had to create a sample of stained glass (as well as the world's longest essay on glass, the history of it, it's structure, its relevance with religion and the arts, inventions, architecture.....). It may have taken around 8 hours to do, but I am fairly pleased with the outcome. As you may be able to tell it is not stained glass in the sense that the sections are cut to size, and then held together with lead. Rather, I purchased a piece of glass, cleaned it (with nail varnish remover!) and once I finally chose what I was going to do in terms of a design, used the ever frustrating stick on lead (3mm) to create the outline. Once this was done (which certainly took the majority of the time - and there was MUCH cursing involved!) it was just a case of using glass paints (available from most good art shops) to fill in the gaps and leave to dry.

Tips for anyone thinking of creating some stained glass:

1) try and avoid doing curves as much as possible - they are hugely tricky!
2) make sure that the glass is thoroughly clean and properly dry before using the lead - use a piece of scrunched up paper to wipe the glass and remove any residue
3) do it on a clean surface - NOT on the carpet as you will (as I did) end up with carpet fibres attaching themselves to the glass paint which goes highly sticky whilst in the drying process
4) either use very cheap paintbrushes which you don't mind throwing away after, or invest in some white spirit to clean the paintbrushes - DO NOT just run under that tap (again - from experience!)

Monday, 22 March 2010

Down The Rabbit Hole

Last week I finally saw Tim Burton's adaptation and expanding of Lewis Carol's classic Alice In Wonderland. It is one of my all time favourite books, and however much I admire and adore Burton's work, I was a tad trepidatious about what he had done to it, especially as a majority of it was done computer graphically.
I should not have worried however.
As with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (another favourite of mine) he has made it his own, whilst still maintaining
the essence of the original. To start with, there was the
compulsory 'Burton' feel to the entire film - the spindly font, the
quirky feel to the backdrop with gnarly trees and twisted plants, taking things as literal (the 'rocking horse fly' an actual
rocking horse) and the braiding of reality and and CGI. But best of all (in my eyes) is the costumes.
Yes, for anyone with a taste for bizarre, quirky, textual delights, Burton is the one to go to. Each of his characters has such a
sense of individuality, yet maintaining to merge with the rest of the characters outfits to conglomerate as one fantastical
piece of Burton eye candy. I think perhaps that my most particular outfit, is that which is created for Alice by the Mad Hatter
whilst she is in his teapot hiding from the Knave of Hearts, a delicate powder blue scrappy dress that resembles an elegant jellyfish.

Anne Hathaway as The White Queen

Johnny Depp as The Mad Hatter

Helena Bonham Carter as The Red Queen

Something that made me exceptionally happy though, was the fact that during the scene that the Mad Hatter comes running across the tea table, I noticed that he was wearing some boots very similar to my gorgeous red ones!
And I adore how the idea of pale blue dresses from a children's book a so many years ago still manages to influence fashion. The elegant 'girly' aspect never seems to get old, and keeps reappearing, a slight adaptation of the Victorian period. Fashion is never new, merely a beautiful recreation of what has been to bring it into the Now.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Travel Bug

I thought I'd got it out of my system. But apparently it was only lying dormant, waiting for the next trip.
I am talking about the Travel Bug, and once you get it, there's no way of ridding it, the only thing you can do is to keep fuelling your habit with new places, different cultures, exotic fashions and strange music. This particular trip was for our Europe Field Trip, predominantly staying in The Netherlands and Belgium for a week, with a (very) brief stay in France.
I have been to The Netherlands before (that's where I was born and spent the first 6 years) but Belgium was new to me, and I was especially excited to stay in Bruges (after having seen In Bruges). Arriving after dark did not bode well, as it was the architecture that I was most looking forward to, and even though it was very pretty all lit up, I was determined to see it in daylight. A 6 am start is most certainly worth it - although in early March I would strongly suggest wrapping up warm.

Our trip took us to a number of War Memorials. When we went it was a perfect day; crisp, bright blue sky with big puffy white clouds. It seemed to complement the overwhelming sadness of the hundreds of bright white graves (most of them unnamed) in a kind of beautiful peace.
It didn't however take away the point that war always has its victims - however proud they were to be a part of it.


Kroller Muller Museum

Easily one of the highlights for me was the architecture. Especially that of The Netherlands, in particular Lelystad; a place built on reclaimed land, with some of the most wacky and 'out there' buildings - both commercial and domestic.