St John’s Sculpture Park, Waterloo

A stone’s throw from the Southbank (well, if you outstandingly good at stonethrowing anyway) is St John’s church. It’s an elegant building, with a graceful spire.
West Front
In the surrounding garden yesterday evening, I saw a couple arrive and set out a picnic supper on the grass, enjoying the warm sunshine. I sat for a few minutes on a comfortable bench before heading home.
But when the sun goes down, the scene changes outside this beautiful church. Homeless people gather and vans arrive with volunteers serving food.
The church is also the headquarters of Southbank Mosaics, an outfit begun by ex-teacher David Tootill, dedicated to beautifying ugly areas, and the garden is full of examples of its work.
There are planters:



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The Hoarding Gene

I have started to look at my books to begin a cull.
I don’t know where I got the hoarding gene from, but it wasn’t Mother. She loved to throw things out. I learned this to my cost many many times. I’d return from university to find, or rather not find, my clothes ‘reorganised’. When pressed, Mother would look wide-eyed and say she didn’t know where they were. She probably calmed her conscience with the reflection that by the time I discovered my losses – my black polo neck jumper, patched at the elbows with leather, unravelling at the cuffs and waist, and so old it was almost an antique, stands out in my mind – she would not have known. Papers I had carefully stored, letters, notebooks, old diaries; privacy was no match for Mother’s clearing zeal.
On one occasion, deciding I would not miss a treasured Edwardian parasol, and realising the next day I was looking for it, she had to make a hurried repurchase from the charity shop. I still have it. Continue reading

Salamanca Street

A dingy section of street under a Victorian railway arch is not the most likely place to find mosaics, let alone mosaics of important buildings in Spanish town complete with graffiti.

La Casa de las Conchas

I’ve been to Salamanca several times. I even spent part of one summer not learning Spanish there. It is very beautiful, but the scenes of hell in the cathedral make you remember the zeal with which the Inquisition purged the populace. And why London ended up with a Spanish and Portuguese synagogue. There is a rather lovely and peaceful convent, but the name slips my memory. It’s been a long day. Continue reading

Weekly Photo Challenge: Peaceful, Take Two

Some more pix on this prompt. I find it interesting how many of us associate water with peacefulness, though the photograph with the prompt didn’t strike me as peaceful.

So, to kick off, here is the marina under snow last winter. When there is no one about, the marina is the most peaceful spot I know. I feel my breathing change when I am there.

Marina Under Snow

Summer this time, still at the marina, and the swan parents have a new brood.

The Swan Family

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New Year, New Mosaic

Another in my postcard series. I need to finish around the edges, maybe using copper ribbon, or more likely painting it. There are a few, very small gaps. I may fill them with tiny shards. Originally I had being going to grout, but then decided against that. The ceramic pieces were given to me by London Potter, Barbara Wakefield.

Sea Shanty

Official: Mosaics Make You Hungry

Three Quarters Done

I may not be keeping up with NaNoWriMo, but this mosaic is on track to be finished by Christmas. It’s intended as a gift, and not in my usual style. I am far happier when working on something like the Autumn piece that I hope has safely reached Maria in Barcelona. For me, that’s my art, whereas this is craft and I am less absorbed in it, more detached.

So maybe that is why I was susceptible to the food conversation earlier than usual tonight. Continue reading