Sunday, October 21, 2012

Last pics from the US

Last pics from Connecticut. The top ones are Alice and me with Dona and Lynn and skeletons made from plastic bottles, coming back from the New England Booksellers' Conference and stopping for milkshakes. Halloween was in full swing in the US from the moment October arrived. The bottom photo Dona took of Alice and me on our last day, in front of the house.

In New York I got to see my friend Yunmee, which was really wonderful. We took a ferry from Williamsburg to Dumbo, windy and beautiful.

Alice and her friend Kimi and I found a super proto-American bar, and got involved.

** Fashion Extra **
New York outfit. When travelling in a Big City (even if you live in one) it is important to wear a bumbag and all your wardrobe at the same time, to show you mean business. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

New York

It's been quite a shock to the system, coming from the woods of Connecticut and very few people, to New York City and all the people - a good kind of shock though. I've done quite a bit of walking already.

On Sunday I went up the Empire State, which I'm so glad to have done despite its fairly hefty price and assault course on the way up of shops and enforced photos.

Yesterday I went to the New York Museum of Natural History, and the Planetarium too. Both were really super, the museum in particular was wonderful. I hadn't intended to spend much time there, but got absorbed by all their displays - their dioramas are brilliant.

Birds of South Africa - realistic!

I spent most of my time in the Mexico and Central American section, as they made such lovely things. Look at all these guys!

Clay god figurines. Please don't smite me, Bat god, for my rubbish portrayal of you.

This furious bottle man is from the Pacific, where they also made a lot of bowls depicting people having sex, but "not in a way likely to cause insemination" - museum speak!

Then I went to the reptile room - this isn't a great photo, but I had to take it to show how big the biggest salamander can get, as I had no idea! And now I'm scared. So for context, that dot in the circle is probably about 10 pence size - then comes the world's biggest frog, then look at that salamander!!! He is Japanese, thank goodness, so not likely to run into him soon.

The displays were all so good that I found myself staring into them looking for things, trying to spot extra hidden stuff. But the thing that found me, that ALWAYS finds me in these places was... the pipa toad! I'm not extra squeamish, but the pipa toad has always horrified me since I saw a photo of one years ago - the female toad has holes in her back in which she deposits her eggs which then grow into babies IN HER BACK - it's every Cronenbergy, flesh-creepy horror you ever had. And here they had an EXTRA LARGE model, urrrrgh. I was too traumatised to take a photo to show you.

Afterwards I walked down through Central Park past wholesome New Yorkers jogging, cycling and playing baseball. Then I sat on a big rock and drew the view - it was peaceful bliss.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Da da dadadada daa da

Crocodile Comic

Nick, Lynn's son, drew this comic. I like everything about this!

When my sister was younger her favourite thing to draw was sharks, I think because she finds them SO scary. I still have a dinner plate she made which has sharks eating people out of shark cages by a beach - showed how she rated the efficacy of shark cages. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Rainy walk

Look at this great frog Alice found! It really was a good spot, you can see how camouflaged he is. 
When we found another frog last week, I was about to pick him up and Alice said you shouldn't touch frogs with dry hands - I'd not heard that before, I know it's true of moths and butterflies... anyway Denise agreed with me but Alice found some dubious internet "proof" so now we NEVER dry-handle frogs round this way! I was just rubbing my hands with wet leaves in prep to pick up the guy above but he made a break for it...

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Monday, October 1, 2012

We've had a lovely busy last week. Highlights have included a very interesting talk about Beatrix Potter from Betsy Bray, a trip to New Haven for a private view, eating pizza to the point where I can't look at one again for a week or two [edit: just had some more for lunch] and a lovely bookbinding class and talk about the book trade from Dennis David and Justin Schiller. We've also met two super ex-Fellows, Robert Weinstock and Denise Saldutti Egielski, and Denise is staying with us at the moment. 
Here are some of our recent pics, courtesy of Lynn, Dona and Alice (not me, because I am hopeless and forget.)

Clockwise from top left: Lovely brush pens * good times on the vibrating chair * a Beatrix Potter watercolour in the flesh (this was exquisite, the hairs all in amazing detail, and I know this is clich├ęd, but it really did look as if it could fly out of the page) * beautiful books * kit for our bookbinding class * bookbinding papers * me, Gerardo and Alice pre-pizza * more beautiful paper.

Yesterday Alice, Denise and I went to a local diner where we spent about half an hour reading the menu and then had lots of pancakes, which were BRILLIANT! The menu made me laugh a lot though, this was my favourite bit...

I like the way it's all in capitals except for the "and", nice emphasis: lump AND claw meat? - no way!! AND broiled scrod! A re-visit is obviously in order.

On Monday Gregory Maguire, the author of Wicked, among many other books, came to see us and gave us a really thought-provoking talk. 

Denise, Dona and Gerardo in the woods out front * Mao, Justin and Dennis's dog * our woods * me, Mao and Maura * bookbinding with Dennis * talking with Gregory Maguire

Then today the New Yorker cartoonist and children's book artist Harry Bliss came to spend the day with us, show us his super work (his work is really great) and have a look through ours. The generosity of our visitors with their time and advice and thoughts has been really special.

Me, Harry Bliss, Alice, Denise and Gerardo - please note Denise's very excellent holey socks