Friday, November 26, 2010

taps, mice, paste

Posted by PicasaI can never resist looking into skips, and seldom resist a photograph of their content. I like the slogan here,  the eyes and nose where the taps used to reside and the plughole  among the cast-off carpets.

Any thing wild in these urban surroundings appeals to me for the relative freedom of its existence. Even mice or the evidence of mice have their charm. In the shed in the vegetable garden I left three sacks of potatoes harvested in September, where I thought they would be safe from frost, but this morning I find holes nibbled in the sackcloth and one or two potatoes half-eaten with tell-tale tooth marks in the skin and white flesh. I transfer the sack to a garage where they may be more secure, but leave the half-eaten spuds for the marauders to finish off.

Encouraging responses to my thoughts about scrapbooks has prompted me to embark on a scrapbook venture. It will be far removed from my childhood recollections of the genre. This one will make of use of an A3 size sketch book with a hard, black cover. In it will go all the bits and pieces that don't go in my pocket notebook - post-it tabs, sketches and spontaneous drawings and doodles, as well as pictures from newspapers and magazines, leaves, yes definitely leaves, perhaps protected by a sheet of transparent paper, all sorts of ephemera and detritus which catches my fancy.  I might also consider  the odd pressed flower,  a Victorian habit long ago discarded, but one which I might briefly revive, with the help of a flower-press, that has sat in the house unused for too long.
Yes, CC, I think of this blog as something like a scrapbook.  my book will contain many of the blog's sources.  It will like the blog  reflect as part of its scheme chance and random juxtapositions.
One link with childhood scrapbooks is the paper-glue which I found in the art shop. It is a white paste very like the sort of thing I  remember using as a child.  When the silver coloured tin is shown to me, I say, prompted by memory, "won't I need a squat flat brush to apply it?". And behold in the tin, in a cylinder in the middle of the paste, is precisely the sort of brush I remember. The  name of the petroleum-smelling glue that was used in publishing offices, before computers,  escapes me for a moment, and  I could have gone for something like that, particularly as you could easily slide around whatever you are sticking until you found its desired position. But today nostalgia wins the day. "Doesn't it smell nice!", says the girl in the art shop.


Lucas said...

The Scrap Book idea sounds great. Especially as it would have a function as a source for the blog.
I have a scrapbook where I stick interesting photos from magazines and snippets on photography+interviews.
The composition of photo is so unusual I thought of architecture rather than a skip at first.

Roderick Robinson said...

The second type of glue is, of course, Cow Gum which I am sure you have since recalled. It had a rubber base and dried on one's fingers like a second skin. Often I would tear this skin away with my teeth as an aid to composition.

The first type of glue may have been Gloy which came in a bottle that resembled a robust version of a flask used in chemistry labs. It had an acrid, unpleasant smell which hinted at the relationship between glue and horses. Gloy bottles, once empty, were refilled at the Bradford newspaper offices with a substance that can only be labelled - unequivocally and unashamedly - glue. Here the link with horses was even stronger. When it dried it formed a friable, transparent crust which, when tapped, flew into glistening shards. A glue with literary pretensions you might say. Or is it just me?

Lucy said...

I think the modern scrapbooking craze which Dave mentioned in the last post's comments is something of a reaction to the digital and virtual, a need for solid, concrete, manipulated and put together things. However, it is a commercialised version of this, rather like the marketing of special fabrics for patchwork, which actually contradicts the ideas of salvage and serendipity which underpinned both activities, and a lot of the scrapbooking merchandise is horrid, synthetic, overproduced, overpriced stuff.

Your real, organic scrapbook idea sounds marvellous, though. You cold photograph it from time to time and show it to us!

A couple of years ago a young art student blogger I followed had an idea of a travelling journal, a big sketchbook which she and some friends decorated on the outside, which would be sent around the world and kept by about a dozen people in turn for a couple of weeks at a time. You could do what you liked in it, draw, paint, write, collage etc. I volunteered for it but it never showed up! Perhaps it still will...