Saturday, February 16, 2008


i've had a fit of the blahs lately, but here i am back again.

i've had a nastily compacted bottleneck of work to find my way through, with not really enough time for anything much.
i've had some other moody "Stuff" on my mind.
i've been missing sunshine and friends and my mother.
i've not blogged much at all for a couple of weeks, but it feels like much longer.

I have kept going and am nearly ready to splurge out in an exhausted heap.
I have mostly managed by just keeping on putting one foot in front of the other, not looking too far ahead, but pausing now and then to take notice of sparkly cobwebs and interesting shadows on the pavement.
I have felt out of touch with you and your blogs, but hope to catch up with you soon.
I have noticed and appreciated snowdrops, crocus, daffodils everywhere and green- and goldfinches in my garden.

some of which is sort of related to my last instalment on the exhibition I saw at the Victoria & Albert museum which I need to post in any case before it is completely past its sell-by date.

V & A Part V (the end)
"Better days" and "Why we dream" by Susan Collins.

Along with the glass etched blocks by Annie Cattrell, I think these were my favourite pieces in this exhibition.

An installation which looks like the remains of a decorating job is hardly new.

the paint stains and splatters on the dust-sheet in the corner have been embroidered onto the cloth by hand in silver and gold threads. This is 'Better days', and it made me smile.

'Why we dream' is the table, which I loved and wanted to bring home and use every day.

The wood is inlaid with precious and semi-precious stone, shell, gems, seed pearls - even some diamonds i think - in replication of the kinds of patterns which might be spilled or splattered by painting or baking.

This "paint ring" is inlaid mother of pearl (or something similar) and the large splotch in the picture below is opal.

"I have always wanted my work to bring together two different opposing terms, like tidy and untidy, clean and dirty - to bring them together and see what happens. I think this ties into my feelings about craft. Craft in my mind, has that 'good' label and that's what draw me to it. To make something look bad, dirty or stained using these processes that are usually deemed to be good and worthy, to jumble up the two." Susan Collis

I just loved this, the way it brought together the precious and the ordinary, the extraordinary and the everyday, the random and accidental with the painstakingly crafted and carefully executed.

How wonderful would it be to have a table like this upon which to write or bake, to eat your breakfast?


kimy said...

welcome back to the cyberhood! missed you! but I always understand absence - life happens!

you wrote: "I have noticed and appreciated snowdrops, crocus, daffodils everywhere and green- and goldfinches in my garden." now if this doesn't help with the blahs nothing will! how wonderful! so far these items are only in my dreams! but soon, snowdrops should be showing their little white heads.

before I read the narrative accompanying the pictures - I thought this was your table and was thinking - wow, what a project to refinish and what a table lettuce has, she must really have a big room to hold it! now I just say wow.

have a great weekend and thanks for the marmite smile! xxxx

Reya Mellicker said...

Glad you're back, too, but of course I understand the need to take a break here and there. One foot in front of the other is an excellent strategy when all hell is raining down nonstop.

Brings a tear to my eye thinking of how you're missing your mother. Gosh. Of course you are!

Love to you!

Ms. Wollstonecraft said...

Glad you've made it to the other end of the blahs. These blahs come and go, and I'm happy you were able to come through it OK. Winter is a time for memories, introspection, and sadness it seems.

Ex-Shammickite said...

The BLAHs can be beaten just by observing those glorious signs of Spring that you have described. I adore Spring flowers. You are so lucky to have some in your garden already.
And that table, at first I thought it was a table that's in need of a bit of TLC, but now I see it already has TONS of TCL lavished apon it, what a work of art to inlay all those stains and marks.... lovely!

kate said...

I love the table ... but, at the moment, I'd love to see crocuses, daffodils and goldfinches in my garden!

Gary said...

Letty, you can't help yourself can you. Even with a touch of the blahs you continue to express yourself in such a beautiful way. If you keep noticing the small wonders in life the blahs really can't touch you can they?

Sending good thoughts your way.

Lee's River/Zlatovyek said...

here, Letty, have a bunch of violets from Graulhet. They would be perfect on the inlaid table.

tut-tut said...

I certainly know what it's like to miss your mother; it's taken me years for the true weight of loss to lift so I can feel a bit freer.

I would love to see that table in person; the more I think about what she's done the more intriguing an idea it is.

Donna said...

Sending you a big virtual hug Letty. X

dennis said...

Dennis wants to sit on you to comfort you.

ramblingwoman said...

Now, Dennis has a point - I think a cat might be just the ticket! How about it? Go on, go on, go on - you need a mouser AND a ratter in the house!

Sometimes it seems that winter just won't go away and proper warm days are a long way off. But we are half way through Feb and March and can very warm - the black thorn is out here, and all the early cherry blossom - it's all amazingly early this year.

Sending you a hug Letty.

That table is amazing!

Akelamalu said...

I so understand you missing your Mum x

Nice to have you back hon and congratulations on the new addition in your family.

I want that table - I love it!

Molly Bloom said...

Hello there Lettie. Just been looking over all those old blog posts. Goodness me, how strange to go back in time like that. All those old dillos. Hope you are ok.

I love that table too. It reminds me of the old table we had in our living room as kids. We hid under it and made it into boats and painted on it etc etc. A table can tell a lot can't it?

I was just thinking about you actually. Thinking about your lovely garden and wondering what is going on in there at the moment. The sun in the garden always reminds me of you.
Take care dear Lettiexx

Shelly Lowenkopf said...

It is a selfish good thing to have you back, blahs and all, among us, musing and being distracted by the small miracles you call so gracefully to our attention.

And thank you for making it all right to spill milk on my table.

Soozcat said...

I am reminded of a quote by C.S. Lewis that I've been seeing a lot lately--who knows, perhaps to pass it on here?--which says:

"It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship.... There are no 'ordinary' people."

I like this artist's notion that even the thoughtless mess and detritus of human life has a nobility to it if you care to see it, like the old tales of dragon fewmets or fairy wings or mermaid scales. Or, for instance, the way medieval Catholics would pay tremendous prices for relics that were claimed to be fragments of the True Cross or other ephemera of divinity. I am reminded of the messes my dad--long dead--would leave in his art work room, and how I've kept and preserved every random bit of scribbled flotsam of his that I could find. Traces of him have become precious to me.

Lynne said...

Ah, Letty. Hugs to you ! ((( XXXX )))
I know just how you feel.

Our only signs of spring are that the birds are singing again as I wake in the morning. I think spring will be early here.

The sign of a true artist is surely to take something like this table and turn it into a quirky piece of art.

Take good care Letty ...

Dumdad said...

Welcome back to the blogosphere, where blah blah is a way of life ("Not life as we know it, Jim").

dennis said...

Dennis suggests napping on a pile of sweaters. It works for Dennis.

Queenie said...

Sometimes you just need to Blah! Now if i owned a table like that don't know if i would let anyone use it, would that be a bad thing?

lettuce said...

kimy i wish it was my table! :o)

reya it is a good strategy. This has been my year of walking one foot in front of the other.

ms wollestonecraft! honoured to see you here, hello.

shammie, they're mostly round and about rather than in my garden, but there are "signs" there too. i hope your spring wont take too long to arrive.

hello kate, welcome!

gary, thankyou dear. :o)
and thankyou lee, they would look perfect.

tut-tut, i somehow thought you would like this too.

thanks donna - and dennis. (i'd be honoured by that too, dennis. will try the sweaters thing, in your absence)

RW i bet suffolk is looking lovely in the nearly-spring.

thanks lamalu - i've seen pics now, he's so sweet! (9lb 12!!)

hello lovely molly. I hope you are having a great (and healthy) half term.

you're welcome Shelly. Crumbs are good too. Esp. toast and cake crumbs.

sooz! hello again, its been a while. Thats a wonderful CSL quote - and i like your comment on the table, and about your dad. precious ordinariness.

Lynne, hugs to you too. see you soon, maybe? :o)

blah blah as a way of life dumdad? hmmm, not sure about that...

queenie.... i think it might be a shame!..... :op

goatman said...

Interesting concept; but I can see where it might be carried too far: as in a mercedes with bejeweled scratches and gold-leaf birdshit on the paint. But who's to say that that isn't art as well? Not me.

Steve said...

What amazing artwork! I love how she's created seemingly old, trashy objects with precious materials. Brilliant.

Glad you're back. :)

Sivle said...

Fab Table!

Now it seems to me that you need to do something daft??
After half term, let's do something daft together...

...either that or find a cocktail bar!?

And get Molly.

phd girl said...

feel better soon... feb 20.

lettuce said...

goatman - that does sound a bit too bling to be art, doesn't it? but, as you say - who's to say?

isn't it steve, amazing and brilliant!

daftness, yes please sivle. And cocktails. And Molly.

thanks phd girl.

Sally Crawford from London said...

Get one, lettuce: get a work/life table like this one. A large table stretches the horizons

(trestles and board work just as well as the solid variety).

Sandra L. said...

I've got an attack of the winter blahs myself at the moment. It comes and goes. Hopefully yours has gone for a while. Lucky you--seeing signs of spring! In Pennsylvania where I live, we don't have any signs of spring yet. Although I think I've been hearing some birds that were conspicuous in their absence until very recently.

Love the photos of your neighborhood!