Saturday 30 November 2019

Mudlarking Morning

I went to Rotherhithe this morning and it was just beautiful. There was lifting fog, with bright sunshine and it was freezing cold. I have been to this part of the foreshore a few times now, and have found a lot of small pieces of tin glazed pottery, also called Delft ware, lots of pipe stems, some very long. I found a really good piece of stem, embossed with the name of the maker, and I have found a few bowls. Quite a lot of shoe soles, and good driftwood. I looked at the map last night before I went, and there is a lot more of the foreshore to explore than I had realised. It is on a convex curve of the river and there are a good number of stairs. The first part of the beach near Surrey Docks farm is always quite busy with other mudlarkers and people just enjoying it. This morning I planned to walk around the corner that Andy and I reached a few weeks ago and see what was there. There is a clipper dock and once you are past that,  the shore becomes sandy and looks just like a seaside beach. There was nobody on that part and it was lovely. The combination of the cold and the sun was so invigorating. It was me and the gulls, with the occasional clipper or Thames rib boat passing by at great speed. As I walked on, the beach became increasingly covered in bricks. I found an interesting piece of what I think is a brick, but huge, with mica sparkling in it and lines impressed in almost a pattern. I have no idea how old it is but it is interesting. I decided to walk a little further and then go back to some nearer stairs and walk back to the car on the road, as by then my bag was pretty heavy! I still had time to go back down the other end and have a further look around. On the way to the steps, I found a lovely pipe bowl with a little stem. I will put some pictures of my finds tomorrow. I also picked up a brass object, with lots of little cogs inside, but quite rusty so I am not sure what that is either! In the bricky area I saw a piece of glass sticking out of the mud. I had a little dig and pulled out what I thought was a pressed glass vase. When I had washed it at home, I discovered the tiny word 'celery' impressed at the top-a celery vase! Usually, I just pick things up from the surface. But I have dug a few things out of the mud. The vase today, a nearly complete Chinese porcelain Batavia ware bowl, a pipe with some stem, and  a lovely bottle. None of them massively old, but it is very exciting to pull something out of the mud itself!

Sunday 17 November 2019

I have been making...

...a frog cushion-almost finished now. It is for my Dad's wife, and was requested after she saw the tortoise I made for my sister. A tortoise is fairly simple to make-lots of crocheted hexagons, and some tubes for the head, legs and tail. A frog is a whole other proposition! I started with sketches, trying to get the shape of a frog clear in my head. Then I made a few attempts at starting to crochet it, but decided knitting would be better and easier to invent a pattern for. Once I had the shape of the head and body, doing the underside was easier. The thing I have found the hardest is the back legs. I have not attached those yet, so I still don't know if what I have done will work! Will put a photo up when it is done. 

Next is Deptford the bear. I found him looking forlorn and damp on a Deptford market stall. I bought him for £2 as I couldn't leave him behind. (When I was trying to think what to call him, I thought of how Paddington was named and stole that idea.)
He had a nose that was falling off, one remaining small felt eye, and one that had already gone. I gave him a wash and sat him on the radiator to dry. 
But then he looked like the picture below, so I decided to open him up and un-stuff him. He was filled with either kapok or cotton wool, which was very dusty and not usable. He also had lots of little balls of yarn, which had been unravelled from something else, so whoever had him was good at re-using things. They reminded me of a bag of vintage yarn I bought once that had been unravelled form other things and was full of lovely 1940s looking colours. I made a little scarf for him from his contents, and stuffed him with modern polyfil. He now has glass eyes and an embroidered nose, and is a much happier bear!

Here he is competing with the frog for my time!
My Mum gave me a toy knitting book for my birthday, so I got distracted by making little cute dolls. They are quick to make which I like! In the book, they just have eyes, but I wanted a whole face.

Then I made a failed lantern out of cheap frames and a glue gun. The idea was from a craft video, and it just didn't work that well. It fell apart immediately and as I was trying to fix it I broke two of the frames. So I used wax and small glass pieces to use the two pieces of glass that didn't break to make this picture.
And I painted a grumpy doll face surrounded by collage to use up some of my birthday papers which I can't bring myself to throw away as they are too pretty!
Now I have written this, I am going to have my lunch, then finish the frog cushion and start a present for someone. I am also making Christmas carol singing mice, but they are not finished yet!