Friday, September 30, 2011

Bouncing Back

Today the sky is the sort of heart-stoppingly beautiful pale blue that should be reserved for tiny wild flowers growing in grassy meadows.  The japonica bush is hung with pink flowers that look warm in the sun, and two small birds are peering into the flowers, attracted by the sweet nectar.  It is spring and nature is running in wild circles like a dog on the beach.  Even the air seems to bustle and swirl with urgency and life.  The garden has been reborn.  It seems like an artist has awakened and is splashing red, yellow, orange and green in the places winter had turned brown, black, and beige. How lucky we are to have the contrast between winter and spring.  How much more joyful spring can be, because it is replacing what was cold, dark, dead, sleeping and silent with colour and life!

I am getting back into throwing on the wheel again after rather a long time away from my studio so these are practice really in the form of 1 kg pots, each one made from the same weight of clay.
Regarding my health, things have taken longer to come right than I thought, I had another setback last weekend with what was probably a return of the infection.  Another trip to the doctor and more antibiotics and I appear to be progressing better now.  I did try to do some work in my studio late last week, the first day managing only to clear some things off a table and give it a wipe before realising that I was already too tired to continue.  Laura wisely gave me a book to read, put the cat on my lap, and I fell asleep until lunchtime.  The last three days of this week have been a lot better, and I have managed half a day of throwing on the wheel each day. I have also been out for a short walk in the late afternoon, trying to extend the walk a little each time and to build up some strength again.  It is important to get outside and to breathe fresh air, to set some goals, and also to see new things. 

I continue to get a huge amount of pleasure from listening to music.  YouTube has been a real asset of late.  There are some really exciting, and weird, musical instruments out there too!  I like to track down some of the stranger looking ones.  It is fun finding ancient instruments with three necks, or violin-like things with keys to press instead of pressing the strings directly.  I am currently in love with the baroque Lute and the hurdy gurdy. 

"The Wren"

Hurdy-gurdy concert by virtuoso players Patrick Bouffard and Gilles Chabenat

Above should be links to music played on the hurdy gurdy.  The hurdy gurdy is a stringed instrument, and the sound is made by a wheel turning on the strings, a bit like a mechanical violin, with the wheel replacing the violin bow.  The instrument has several drone strings that make it sound a bit like the bagpipes, and the melody is played by pressing wooden keys which activate a simple mechanism for pressing on the melody strings to change the pitch of the note. 

It is fascinating to do a search and to listen to a large selection of pieces for the hurdy gurdy, there are so many musical styles and interesting sounds.

Sorry to those of you who's blogs I usually visit and sometimes leave comments on... I've been rather neglecting everyone of late.  I will return!!


Tracey Broome said...

You poor thing, wasn't it about this time last year that your ears attacked you!? It's been quite a rough year! It's funny to hear you describing spring and I am looking forward to a beautiful fall weekend. Hope you are on the mend soon!!!!! I am a youtube addict, so many fun things to find there :)

gz said...

gently getting back there, little by little, just like Spring.

The hurdy gurdy gets you "just there" in the solar plexus, just like the music on a steam driven fairground.

I remember hearing one for the first time, played live by a Galician musician at the first Pontardawe Folk Festival in 1977.

Peter said...

Hi Tracey,
I was a amused at the sudden image that I had of my ears attacking me ( I must remember to keep them well sedated at all times!), but you are right, they certainly did get up to mischief a year ago. Blogs do open little windows and give glimpses of other places and seasons, it is one of the very special things about them.

Youtube is great, I've just discovered Jordi Savall who is a fantastic viola de gamba player, and his lovely harp plying daughter, Arianna, is singing to me as I write this!

Hello Gwynneth,
That's rather a nice thought about Spring and "getting back there", it is a bit like that!

I've 'gurdy envy..., lucky you having actually seen a "live" one in action. So much history tied up in instruments like that, and it is marvellous that their voice is still heard.

smartcat said...

WADDADRAG !!! But I'm glad to hear that you are back on the road to good health. It's so easy to overdo when you start feeling better.

We are heading into Indian Summer....sort of...true Indian Summer is warm weather after a frost!

That's a neat family of pots you threw.

Judy Shreve said...

Nothing like a beautiful spring day to make you feel better - and I hope the warmth of spring allows your body to heal that infection! Do go slow & you are smart to get outside and walk.

I really enjoyed listening to those instruments! I was not familiar with them. Very cool. It's amazing how folks create instruments to get their songs out into the world!

Hope you are feeling strong soon. That half-days work of vessels is looking good!

cindy shake said...

NO FUN to not feel well :) Us artists are such sensitive creatures even when we feel well! Though it sounds by your lovely prose that you are on the MEND or at the very least have the RIGHT OUTLOOK :) xox

love the new banner look too!

Arkansas Patti said...

I am so sorry you are still going toe to toe with that infection. I command thee infection to leave Peter alone. Begone.
Do get better soon and enjoy your Spring as we enjoy our Fall.

ang walford said...

i had wondered what had happened peter a dose of the nasties is totally uncalled for!! do rest up..the slightly warmer weather should inspire you... :))

Peter said...

Hi Suzi (smartcat),
Some of the best weather we get here can be just before winter. There can be some beautiful warmish, still days with frosts at night. I confess that the "half-days work of vessels", was in reality my 3 half days!! Going very slowly I was! Feeling Lots better today, and did 14 coffee mugs in part of the afternoon.

Hi Judy,
Good to hear from you, glad you enjoyed those instruments. Hearing them is a bit like time travel where you are taken back about 500 years to what music sounded like then! It is a marvellous thing really. A lovely spring day again today! We're having most meals outside sitting on my shed's little front veranda.

Hi Cindy,
Lovely to hear from you all the way from Alaska! An old Dutch friend of mine, who had a lovely way with the English language, once said that I was born without calluses (meaning that I am a sensitive soul!).

Hi Patti,
The infection is shaking in its boots, and is running away as I read your comment! Lovely to hear from you, and things are improving here, I've had a good productive day.

Gidday Ang,
We actually had 18 degrees C today, and lots of lovely sunshine (Gee, if it gets much hotter the locals here will be keeling over with heat exhaustion!) It certainly makes a change from winter's chills, and I'll be bouncing back soon!

Armelle said...

Hi Peter,
Nice to know you are better now finally. Your pots are wonderful, I found the time to listen to your music-video and I love these old medieval instruments, nice sound.
Indian summer here too, we enjoyed two sea bath this week-end. I finally went back to the wheel after some health diseases, (too sensitive ???) and I really enjoy it.
Best wishes to you, Laura and the four legged compagny

Peter said...

Bonjour Armelle,
I am glad that you have managed to return to the wheel again, I was sad to read of your health problems. What fun having a chance to have a swim in the sea, and nice for you to have some summer weather at last, after what has been rather wet and miserable by the sound of it.
Kind Thoughts from us all here, P

Amy said...

I haven't been checking blogs lately, so I've missed out on yours. REALLY like the new layout! So bright and clean and that picture at the top of your pots is wonderful. Hope you're well. peace!

Peter said...

Hi Amy,
Lovely to hear from you. I am way behind with blog reading too, life gets a bit full sometimes! Glad you like the layout. I find the simple light background makes it easier to read than the one I had before, and hope others find that too.
Best Wishes, P