York Open Studios – 3 days to go!!

3 Days to go to York Open Studios. I’m not nearly ready yet (but I have two full days of working time ahead of me so I’ll get there!).  Check out the YOS website to see details of my and the other artists’ venues. Opening 6pm on Friday and then all day on Saturday/Sunday. Then the same again the following weekend. I will be ready (but I have a lot of work to do).

The last two days I’ve been in Sheffield for work – at a ‘Collaboration Colloquium’ organised by the LIFE-SHARE project, on which I have been working until this week. It was held in the Endcliffe Village campus of the University of Sheffield, in the west end of Sheffield. I’ve been there before, and it’s a part I like walking round a lot. It’s a mostly a Victorian area, similar to parts of Glasgow where I was a student (I’m thinking of places like Dowanhill, Hyndland and parts of Pollockshields). Big Victorian villas and terrace houses set on a varied, hilly landscape. The Victorians did space really well, somehow. I think that maybe part of the heritage of modernism is that we tend now to make places open unless there is a real need for enclosure. New houses near where I live have odd bits of space in front of them, perhaps a couple of feet deep. The current answer is to throw down some mulch or gravel and plant a hebe and a couple of cotoneasters. The Victorians would build a little wall around it, to create an essentially useless but nevertheless ‘nice’ space. I like Victorian front gardens and the walls that enclose them. For a child, they would be nice spaces to hide in, like the odd little corners that Victorian houses always seem to have. They are essentially mysterious.

I went the wrong way last night trying to get to our hotel on Glossop Road and ended up outside the Botanical Gardens. No big deal but I had to cut across to where the hotel was and this involved ascending this delicious, leafy, shady,  mysterious street with big stone houses either side.  Mature trees, including a yew and a huge 20′ magnolia made the place feel enchanted. I like odd architectural details; crumbling stonework; the way a house sits on a corner which is also on a steep hill; large windows with high-ceilinged rooms glimpsed within.

The gerbils are out. We let them run about the living room floor and they are terrorizing us and the room. Little acrobats, they scale the back of the recliner and run up our trouser legs. They have a fascination with my feet and nibble furiously at my slippers and socks whenever they can, even actually biting me.  They play games with us, approaching to see that we chase them and then running away. Then they run up our legs and onto our laps, as if they’ve forgotten they were trying to escape from us.

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