If we let ourselves, we shall always be waiting for some distraction or other to end before we can really get down to our work. The only people who achieve much are those who want knowledge so badly that they seek it while the conditions are still unfavorable. Favorable conditions never come.
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
There is an innovative new project in Vancouver called WeMakeStuff. I was really surprised to be invited to be a part of it. My submission is based on my Saint Series that I am only just starting. It is a coffee table book featuring 100 innovators. The book launch is on October 30 which I will be in Vancouver for. Check it out below.
We Make Stuff Video
WeMakeStuff Volume 01 is a stunning book that will showcase one hundred artists and innovators from Vancouver exploring the collision of faith and creativity. It will be a historical document showcasing creative people expressing their process, intent and the tensions of their reality.
The one hundred are artists, innovators, inventors, engineers, architects, designers, film-makers, dancers, programmers, entrepreneurs, chefs and writers. For the first time, their collective voices are being recorded in one ground-breaking publication.
at 10:47 am
Sunday, October 14, 2012
Above are the medium and small pieces each hand built by myself.
I accidentally give myself a stigmata with my screwdriver while working. Rather significant given I am painting saints, don't you think?
I finish at 11pm. The tubes reach their last stops at about 1am so as long as I get on a tube by midnight I will make it home. I step on a double decker bus instead and head for Brick Lane.
Brick Lane is a small winding street that makes its way from Algate East Station to near Liverpool Station. A lot of artists live in this area and it is known for its curries, retro clothing shops and Indian fabric shops. It is heaving with Indian eateries that are still serving people.
A little further on I hit the night clubs and pub/outdoor grills.
I forge on further down Brick Lane so aptly named after the brick cobbled streets. For the Olympics someone decided it should be paved despite protests from all the shop owners. And it was paved.
I reach what I am looking for: the famous 24 hour bagel shop. There is a winding queue inside. The bagels are made fresh in the back.
The place is packed. I get my £1 decadent cream cheese bagel. There is no need to think about Food Safe here because none is observed whatsoever. But whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right?
I take a peek in the back where they are making bagels. They all invite me in to chat, take pictures and enthusiastically let me question them about their process. The weekends are their busiest times when they make about 2000 bagels a day. Whatever hour of the night or day I have come to this shop I have had to queue.
The process starts at the big mixer. Unfortunately there is nothing that gives reference in the photo to how big this mixer is. It is unusually wide and shallow and I could comfortably fit in it.
It is then fed into the rolling/donut shaping machine.
You can see the dough going by in a blur. It rolled into a snake by the big metal paddle on the right which is then wrapped around the white round bit on the left to form the donut shape.
They then come out on the other end on a conveyer belt. These are stacked on wooden floured racks.
Next they are dumped into the boiling water and cooked for two minutes.
In the draining sink beside the boiler the long wooden planks are laid out.
The boiled bagels are dumped out onto the boards and briefly hosed down to cool them off slightly or to stop them cooking perhaps.
The boards are then each slid length-wise into the deep oven and left there while the bagels bake on top. I am told this is a traditional Polish/Jewish method.
Once the top is a bit dry and crisp to the touch the boards are flipped over and removed while the bagels are left in the oven browning on the second side. To get all these bagels out a big piece of plywood is slid underneath them and pulled out.
There is a bit of tussle over how to pose for the photo and who is to be holding the tray.
Okay, back up a little bit so I can get you both in.
Perfect. I am fed bagels in the back and given a bag of hot ones fresh out of the oven.
Then each tray is dumped into a big basket between the kitchen and the shop where the women out front cut them and fill them.
And finally the shop.
At this point I look at my watch and it reads 12:15am. I say good bye and walk as fast as my expanding 3-bagel-belly will allow. As I approach the tube I notice a lot of other people walking very quickly there as well. But alas, there is an announcement that the last train has already departed from this station. It is now 12:35am.
It is Night Bus time. London's Tube and day bus routes may shut down at night but you are never stranded. All through the night the night buses run. They run on different routes and times than the day ones. You can get places a lot faster at night on buses. From Trafalgar Square I can take Night Bus N87 all the way to my house in 30 minutes. This route just doesn't exist in the day and it actually takes longer on the tube. The buses seem to directly hook up all the outlying areas with the city centre. The roads are also quieter at this hour.
I have two buses to catch as I am not quite in the city centre. I am standing in East London. The buses and streets are very busy despite the hour. The seats are all taken on the first bus and there are many people standing. London is a 24 hour city.
I make it to my transfer bus depot and get on the N87. Somewhere along the line we pick up a group of inebriated friends. One vomits on the bus and we are all kicked off. All of us! The entire bus. Thankfully another bus comes shortly and I am home at 2:30am. Excellent! Another good day.
Thursday, October 11, 2012
Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.
C. S. Lewis
C. S. Lewis
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Monday, October 08, 2012
(News item on www.bbc.co.uk)
Sunday, October 07, 2012
Raymond Briggs grew up in a terrace house just like mine just around the corner from me in London it turns out.
The name didn't ring a bell for me until someone said he wrote and animated the famous book and film short, The Snowman (pictured above). Of course!
Wednesday, October 03, 2012
We camp at a coastal town slightly further up the coast called Deiva Marina. From here a coastal train runs right through all the villages including these five. You can extend your walk to include a number of other towns on either end, but these are the main five. To hike these 5 you need to purchase the Cinque Terre Card for 5 Euros at the start of your journey (or actually at any number of booths along the way that check for your card). We take the train to our first town called Riomaggiore (pictured above) very early in the morning to use as much of the cool of the day as possible.
Above is the town map of Riomaggiore. It is always handy to find this as soon as you enter a town to have some notion of whether or not you are in the main bit.
The first thing I notice in the town are the murals. Mostly done by Mario Andreoli (pictured above).
Apparentley this first town is the easiest to get to by road making it the most crowded. But at this early hour it certainly isn't busy at all. Although before long a few tour buses start to arrive.
The harbour is really nice and we wander around since the office to buy our passes has not yet opened.
This town was settled in the 8th century by Greek settlers fleeing persecution in Byzantium.
The view with the harbour.
The first walk between the villages is the shortest and easiest. Named Via dell'Amore (Lover's Path), it is a gentle and paved 20 minute walk. Somehow we delude ourselves into thinking that the rest of our journey will be relatively the same. In fact, before I came I always thought the towns were so far apart that you had to spend a day hiking between each with your tent and sleeping bag on your back, finding a campsite each night to bed down. Very Canadian thoughts, I now realise. Nigel on the other hand thought it was a nice easy stroll on paved ground between each and even said he expected to be back at our campsite just after noon. Well, the reality was somewhere in between those. Or another option that a lot of tourists choose is to get a day train pass between all the towns and just train it to each. As we arrive after hiking between each town we repeatedly note the same young American couple sitting at a new restuarant in each town. Clearly someone is not walking those trails!