I forgot to photograph the brick that I worked on in week 6 of the project, but made sure I did in week 7.
It was a gloriously sunny day and we were out in the farmyard, with feather-legged chicks near us, little ducks wandering around and quacking, pigeons startled out of the barn and whirling round before resettling, tortoises looking as though they were plotting the great escape from the bantams’ enclosure, and a quail calling.
There was an air of excitement around Ouseburn Farm as staff and volunteers got it ready for The Late Shows. First, we stuck some of our work from previous work into our books so, hopefully, we can show it to visitors on the second evening of The Late Shows in Ouseburn.
Then we got on with our bricks. I had planned to do a Maling Pottery one, using a photocopy of an illustration from one of their old catalogues as a stencil. I traced round the shapes, incising the line into the soft clay with a sharp tool and then scooping out the clay around it. The lettering was done by pressing old wooden letterpress lettering into the clayThe brick will be red when fired (you can just see the edge of a fired brick at the top). I painted white brick stain on the jug and lettering to make them stand out more.
I used to do sculpture many years ago but had never attempted low reliefs previously and decided to keep it very simple. The clay looks smooth but when I started making shapes in it, I found that there was quite a lot of grit in it (which I knew there should be), so it is quite difficult to carve very fine shapes or make very smooth lines in it.
SInce we had a plentiful amount of bricks, I did a couple more quick-ish ones. Porters Hill is a ‘lost street’ in the area. Much of the 19th century development in the central part of the Lower Ouseburn Valley was cleared by or during the 1960s and the names of the streets and buildings have tended to vanish from the landscape too.
Ouseburn is a place of music as well as visual art and design. There are rehearsal studios, recording studios, performance places, and festivals. I enjoy seeing the musicians coming and going with their instruments and hearing them rehearsing as I stand by the river, looking for kingfishers and bats on summer evenings. Evolution Emerging is the name of an annual music event which gives people the opportunity to discover emerging musicians in numerous venues in the Lower Ouseburn during a May evening.
I am undecided as to whether I should paint stain on these lettering bricks. I quite like the idea of the lettering not being so obvious from a distance.
I need to work up my ideas for some train themed bricks, some wild bird ones, more lost streets, and more music bricks. We have lots more bricks and not much time left on the project, so I had better work hard on these ideas before next week.