Saturday, 19 October 2019

Write ... Edit ... Publish ... Bloghop: Horrible Harvest ...




I had all kinds of ideas for Hilary’s Horrribile Harrrvesting Horrorrr … but haplessness held her in hostile hubris of being pickled …



… life intervened – too much going on, needed to make time for meetings … and then the dreaded happened – my network went down … there’s now’t to be done … but be patient: I was.



Potato Blight

Horrible Harvest went west … I gave up worrying and here I am with a brief update … I’ll be around to read all the WEP entries – this one is out of bounds!


The Emigrants Farewell  - from an
engraving by Henry Doyle (1827 - 1893)



I have a good #WATWB post for Friday … and then a fun one for Halloween … I’ll be taking November off – I have to sort life out here … but will make appearances, no posts though … and then #WATWB for November will kick-start my postings.





Harvest is usually the most wonderful time of year … especially with the generosity our marvellous plants offer us … which we too need to share ... 




Come, ye thankful people, come,
Raise the song of harvest home!
All is safely gathered in,
‘Ere the winter storms begin;




See you all soon …

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Friday, 4 October 2019

How to Handle Books – circa 1937 …




A very small exhibit at University of London’s Senate House Library drew my attention … the instructions are dated 27 September 1937 …

Senate House Library
looking up 


Having got waylaid with my ‘Heads in the City’, and now this small display case of instructions … I’ll get to the main reason for visiting the Library shortly!





Bumblebee carrying pollen -
its sweets ... 
I love the quote: 

“We should make the same use of a Book that the Bee does of a Flower; she steals sweets from it, but does not injure it.”


The instructions - sorry slightly
out of focus ... 



There were a few books in the display case – showing what happens when we mistreat our ‘tomes’ …


… while here are the instructions (1937) to library readers (which I hope you’ll also read fully from the photo) for ensuring a new book, or any book is not damaged:




First – how to open a new book … so the spine will not be damaged – i.e. will be bent evenly at all points; handle it gently, do not force it …


Spine damage



Second – on turning pages: do not wet fingers …



Third – suitable book marks are slips of paper: corners should not be turned down, nor should books be laid face down …





Fourth – if there are pages still bound together … use a thin paper knife working in a zig-zag motion.  Do not use fingers, pocket knife, or other unsuitable substitutes …


Antigone and Creon
(I can see what the Librarian thinks of this -
it's in the display!)

Fifth – books must not be disfigured by readers’ annotations or underscoring.  Also do not lay paper on book to write your notes.




Sixth – it is a reader’s duty to protect the books he uses: the next user will then also enjoy the clean, fresh copy.


Highlighting and thus
defacing McCarthyism

Then comes the quote – it’s a delight isn’t it … 


... while the instructions haven’t changed much, and still will apply to vintage or ancient books usually found in libraries, though some of us will have a few at home too –

Books with library's call numbers
on the spine



- protect our books, they are treasures of the mind, as well as for the future.


Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Friday, 27 September 2019

We are the World Blogfest # 29: Fish Scale Bioplastic …




James Dyson Awards … 2019 National Winners announced from over 1,000 young engineers, designers and entrepreneurs …



 … Lucy Hughes wins the British National Award while all 81 finalists from 27 countries and regions competing in their area will progress to the international stages.



… the University of Sussex graduate used fish waste and sustainable algae to create MarinaTex, a compostable alternative to single-use plastic …



She practiced to get the right consistency and result – by using her student accommodation kitchen!  Makes one wonder …



Common Red Algae used
for Agar


But what an amazing idea that was 'spawned' from looking into the fishing industry and its waste … she believed she could find value in the waste, and was able to discover resources that are renewable to use as the organic binder.




What it Does
Her Inspiration
How it Works
Design Process
How it is Different
Future Plans
    and the Awards she’s won …



Medieval view of fish processing ...
by Peter Brueghel, the elder 1556
Anything that aims to utilise fish waste, use organic and sustainable products to create this bioplastic deserves to be known about and applauded.


The James Dyson Award list highlights other winners, who will be whittled down to 20 for the international prize due to be announced on 17 October.




Lucy Hughes c/o DeZeen article
Here's to more like Lucy Hughes, her mentors and Sussex University who all deserve a huge applause for thinking out of the box and realising the wealth that can be obtained from a mountain of fish waste, and then mixing it with sustainable algae from the oceans to create MarinaTex.





We are the World – in Darkness Be Light





Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Sunday, 22 September 2019

Heads in the City …




These appeared at places I visited, or had not intended to visit …


I got lost before I started - this is Brunswick Square ...
... lots of connections here too - anon!
My head too has wandered rather far and wide in looking things up for this post noting future articles … but for now we’ll stick to a few relevant heads …




Jeremy Bentham
(1748 - 1832)


I’d been to see an exhibition at Senate House Library … but on walking through to the exhibition area I passed some renowned heads … well I like to know who’s who in the library … so stopped to take photos and to find out … the first was:



Jeremy Bentham (1748 – 1832) the English philosopher, jurist and social reformer regarded as the founder of modern utilitarianism …


Sorry Mr B - I chopped
your head off
Bentham thought it was unfair and wrong that universities should be controlled by religious bodies and that they were open only to male members of the Church of England.


So he helped to found University College, London, a secular college open to all males, regardless of personal belief.



UCL's beloved treasure -
his auto icon
His other claim to fame was that he wished his body to be used for medical research, but that his skeleton, dressed in his own clothes, was to be preserved in University College, so that he could continue to attend meetings there!



His clothed skeleton, with sculpted head and hands, can still be seen in a glass case in University College, being one of their treasured possessions. 

Augustus de Moran
(1806 - 1871)


The other three sculptures that I saw were men associated in one way or another with reforming Britain:




Augustus de Morgan

Augustus de Morgan (1806 – 1871) – a mathematician and logician.   He formulated De Morgan’s laws (beyond me!) and introduced the term mathematical induction, making his idea rigorous.  (father to William de Morgan, the potter and creative designer, who influenced the Arts and Craft Movement.)


Sir Richard Quain


Next we see Sir Richard Quain (1816 – 1898) an Irish physician, who enrolled in medicine at University College London … and who, along with other members of his family, left funds with which the Quain Professorships of Botany, English Language and Literature, Law and Physics were endowed.  (He was a great grandfather of author Ian Fleming).






William Shaen
Last but not least the bearded sculpture (by Thomas Woolner), no extant photo of him appears, is of William Shaen (1825 – 1892) a radical lawyer, who helped found Bedford College – the UK’s first higher education college for women.



I then went round the corner to see an exhibition at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) on ‘Stolen Moments - Namibian Music History Untold’ … another post anon! 




Sculptures by Sokari Douglas Camp
But you couldn’t miss these two magnificent sculptures in the foyer of SOAS made from galvanised steel and paint by Sokari Douglas Camp …



Sokari Douglas Camp



… she works predominantly with steel (which she describes as ‘so elastic and flexible’), but also with plastic, wood, feathers, acetate, glass, paint, silver, and gold leaf. 







I quickly went to look at the Silver Vaults off Chancery Lane – I need a long time there, and preferably with a very long pocket – but I found some interesting facts for yet another post!





I was on my way down to Whitechapel, east London to the Gallery that, on Thursdays, stays open into the evening – I was defeated as the works on show or exhibited were beyond my ken!  but …




… as I didn’t actually know where the Gallery was … I had wandered into a large atrium, thinking that might be the Gallery, to ask.






I found myself with two more heads … and a delightful security guard … who - when I squizzed him about them – was somewhat bemused!



The atrium with 'Numen 2'
I understand the CEO was impressed with the sculptor –hence the placement of Numen 1 and Numen 2 in the foyer … they had been part of last year’s Sculpture in the City …




The sculptor, Thomas J Price, is a multi-disciplinary artist, London born and based, working across the mediums of sculpture, film, photography and performance.


Numen 1


His very individual work explores representation in its many forms – in addition to subconscious perceptions embedded into the human psyche …



Numen is a Latin term for “divinity”:  "the spirit of the place—its numen—was strong" – the spirit or divine power presiding over a thing or a place.




Price is talented … exhibiting at the National Portrait Gallery, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Harewood House and Hales Gallery (a contemporary art space in the Tea Building in London’s East End). 

Numen 2



Renowned artist Damian Hirst owns his work, while other works can also be found in the Rennie Collection (contemporary art) in Vancouver, Canada (but with global connections) – it’s no mean feat for an artist still in their 30s.





Heads, heads, heads and heads … including Bentham’s head (believe it or not) still preserved: mummified and securely locked away … gave me lots of insights into life in this great city from the early 1800s …



Study on proportions of Head and Eyes
by Leonardo da Vinci (1452 - 1519)

… including the advancement of education … as evidenced in Negley Harte’s quote: ‘All universities are different, but some are more different than others.  The University of London is the most different of them all.’   

Negley Harte is an Emiritus Professor in Economic History and has written widely on the foundation and history of the University of London.



My head is bursting … to get this posted … as you can tell rather more articles to follow … so for now I’ll leave Heads in the City … in the City …

Apologies – this is long … but I wanted to at least highlight various subjects (as no doubt you can gather) referencing some background for future posts.

Here too are some links … on the artists …

Thomas J Price – website

Sokari Douglas Camp -  the sculptor


Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Hammering Silver at Goldsmiths …




I saw that Goldsmiths was having an exhibition of silver, entitled ‘Renewal … and thought how wonderful I can go to London and check out other exhibitions … well no: I was thwarted – this particular event would be held in Dundee, Scotland …


The advert for the Exhibition
I just checked and it’s 550 miles from here … but when I first googled - what popped up was 16,870 kilometres (over 10,000 miles) to Mount Duneed, Geelong, Victoria, Australia – something’s wrong I thought! 



Google’s guesswork (prescriptive interpretation?!) for my ‘Dundeed to Eastbourne’ … !!  (I might have put the extra ‘d’ in … but who’s counting – common sense should rule – I guess AI hasn’t got there yet!).


17th C Goldsmith -
hammering away

Fortunately later on Goldsmith’s exhibited the winning pieces at their Design Centre in Clerkenwell, near Smithfields in London: so I was able to see their amazing work.





Hammer and Silver don’t seem to be compatible ‘word partners’ … but here they are: the HammerClub is a forum for silversmiths from across Europe … who get together to showcase their workings, in conjunction with the year’s exhibition.


Showing the forging of the 'common bowl'
at the Hamburg 2018 HammerClub forum

This is the first year the Club has come to Britain - the highlight being the communal forging of ‘a common bowl’ by the silversmiths, at which the public were invited to attend … so I was sorry to have missed that.




The new V+A Museum at Dundee's waterfront -
designed by Kengo Kuma: considered to be the
quintessential Japanese architect of today.
(he is also designing the Tokyo Olympics stadium 2020)
The Victoria and Albert partnered with Dundee to open their first V+A Museum outside London … then in conjunction with Goldsmiths of London and Edinburgh, invited the HammerClub to hold their ‘Renewal’ event as part of the regeneration theme for Dundee’s waterfront.


Fragments from treasure
found at Traprain Law,
East Lothian  found in a
Roman era pit
Silver has always been renewed, re-used … probably in pre-history, though more recently since Roman times when ‘hacksilver’ became a way of life … nibs, clips and scrapings were ‘silently’ accrued through exchange, payment and barter for goods along the trading routes.


Small bowl of two - fine silver hand raised by
Carsten From Andersen, Denmark 2019


Silver has never been mined in Scotland … yet in the first millennium AD, silver was the precious metal of choice.  The Roman army’s influence spread as far as the Pictish tribes from marching north, or plying the seas …







1st and 2nd prize winners - the two bowls won first prize,
while 'Breath' by Yuki Fernadendsen, Denmark is of Sterling
Silver, Hand raised, Arare decoration

This is how silver became a symbol of status and Roman favour.  Vessels, tableware and other objects were ‘hacked up’ – to be turned into bullion – fragments carefully cut to standard Roman weight measures and then often folded into handy packages to be used as gifts, bribes or payment …




… unlike coins, 'hacksilver' was designed to be reused and remade.

Larissa Thiel's 'Bolle III' - this was made from a 'thank you
gift' from 2018 ... see here for her story ... about
the leaves ... 



Throughout history precious metal has been bartered, stolen, confiscated for nefarious means … greed, raising funds for war … buried for safety …







Drawn Connections: 3rd prize by Peter Musson
Silver and vitreous enamel

… and in our day – when the archaeologists either rue past generations pillaging any treasures found, as historical research is then almost impossible, or delighting in being able to bring to life a small part of our heritage through the finds.









The few exhibits on show were exquisite both in beauty, creativity and design … reflecting our next generation’s social, cultural and economic influences.








'Lost in Space' - three small playful patinated objects ...
by Cecilia Moore, Dublin - see more hereon renewal and childhood ideas



It was wonderful to learn about the re-use of materials, also to know innovative and emergent technologies were being explored, as well as thinking forward.





A selection of objects created for the 2019 Hammerclub


Renewal in all its forms should be considered and remembered so that change can improve things leading to economic renewal. 



It was a treat to visit Goldsmiths to see the HammerClub prize winners and exhibits …

Cecilia Moore's interview is very interesting ...  

Goldsmiths HammerClub information ... 

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories