Sunday, 31 March 2013

Day 382 - The Mixing Bench


And so it was that I set out to recreate the mixing bench, the work area I imagined the Old Man had and where he might have extracted that mesmerizing blue from the now forgotten stones. 




Everything I needed was already in the house and I was able to find a use for them quite quickly by following the instructions and some drawings in the journal. The Old Man gave a fairly detailed list of what, where and how. Even the stool with a moth eaten cover which appeared destined for a junkyard found a place in the eventual ensemble of the work area. 


The bench was small but the list was long. There were even instructions for flowers so I did a dry run  to make sure all the required items could fit onto the bench. It wasn't long before I realised that there was one big missing instruction. There was no space for the journal!


It took me a while to figure out that a book stand could be the solution and so I carved a simple one out of a piece of log wood I found. It was just a strip to prop the book up so that I could read and mix at the same time. It also saved quite a fair bit of space. 


The floral pattern for the book stand came almost instinctively. This was after all the sanctuary of an artist and a gardener. Little did I know then that this theme would pervade the entire way I decorated the house henceforward. 


Now that the book stand was in place, I was finally ready to begin the exciting journey of making colours. With linseed oil, beewax and resin and what felt like endless, constant kneading, I started to make blue. I think eternity must have passed and returned before I finally managed to coax some blue pigment out of the good quality lapis lazuli the Old Man had collected. 


Thrilled doesn't even begin to describe how I felt when I first saw the 1st thin film of ultramarine powder. I thought it the most beautiful thing on earth. The brilliant blue made me weak in the knees and I had to sit down. With the bowl in my hand, I stared and marveled at each and every particle, not daring to breathe. Cennini, may I congratulate and then paraphrase you by saying how you were absolutely right about this surpassing everything. I felt like a super being for having been able to create this miracle.


With that sense of empowerment, I began to make the other colours following the instructions in the journal. Every colour that came into being through my hands felt more. The red was fierier, the green fresher, even the yellow seemed more dazzling. 


Then I went back to making more and more blue, each time producing an ultramarine deeper and richer than the last. 


I even found some gold leaf and silver leaf to make the colour shine forth as Cennini suggested.  Each sheet was placed carefully in the plates and held firmly under two precious stones, chosen so the colour on the sheets could be preserved.


I spent so much time at this bench that it felt like I could do practically everything right there in and around this little island .It was a small space but for that few days, it might as well be home.  I even started to do things to cozy it up. I labelled the  jars with vintage tags;


I potted plants;


and flowers; always there were flowers. The pot of miniature lotuses was in fact the first thing I put on the bench right after I made the book stand. 


I no longer have enough words to describe how this experience affected and changed my life after that. Suffice to say that every time I felt a little lost, a little helpless, I thought of my mixing bench in this sanctuary. 



For in that small world where big magic could happen, all my troubles seemed a lot less daunting, all the pains a lot easier to overcome. 

57 comments:

My Realitty said...

So Beautiful!!! Happy Spring Carol M

Sans! said...

:) Thank you, Carol! :):) Is Spring finally here where you are? Hooray!

Daydreamer said...

Oh, My Dear Sans! *Sigh*
You are a Dream Alchemist.... turning everything you touch into My Dreams.... The Blue.... Oh the Blue... could I make that Blue... I ask myself? Your work bench is so perfect... humble... utilitarian... filled with color... Flowering plants... Tea pot!.... and The Book that explains it all!!! And the moth eaten stool to sit on... And even the Silver and Gold Leaf... I am Swooning with Pleasure in this Dream....! Shhh! Don't wake me up.....

maria l. said...

Beautiful!
La flor de loto está perfecta

The Old Maid said...

I am in love with your book stand and lotuses! :) And these little bowls full of colours.... And the little drawings on the bench .... Okay I have to admit: Love it All! Can I join you there, please? :)
Hugs and kisses from The Country Ruled by The Big Strong White...;)

Josje said...

How beautiful everything looks! The mixing bench, the books stand, the lotus flowers, the bowls of gorgeous colours....just beautiful!

Fabiola said...

Your plants and flowers are wonderful. I like the atmosphere.
Greetings, Faby

Jollie said...

Great story... beautiful colors, beautiful pictures you took from your amazing scene!
Incredible work Sans!! Did you really carved out that wood yourself? ;)

Happy Easter!!
Hugs Jollie

Plushpussycat said...

I'm enjoying your story so much, Sans! Is that Indonesian music I'm hearing? The potted lotus flower is absolutely gorgeous!!! xo Jennifer

BiWuBär said...

Ah... what a blue... of course it all had to start with the blue... No surprise you felt like a super being... or should I better say Super-Sans! *grin* What a beautiful, fantastic workplace... everything with its own place and right at hand. This abandoned house has its own magic - and of course its own blue...

Hugs
Birgit

Ara said...

If there was ever anything that would convince me to make my own art supplies from scratch rather than running to the store.... it would be this post! Something so natural and peaceful about your words along with the photos! Love! hugs, ara

Sans! said...

WAKE UP, Bets :):)!

You know about that blue, I was also a little unsure how I was going to make it. :) Not easy trying to find blue powder. (Did I just send reality back crashing with that sentence? :).

And about that stool, it wasn't fit for human weight anymore. I could only use it to put my bowls of paint pigments on. Reality check no.2 :)

The dirty teapot was for water. Water for paint work and not for consumption. I always use drinking vessels in my project to put water for art :). Check NO. 3 :):)

But you know what? It is my dream world too and I love it more than I dare admit.

carmen said...

cada fotografía es única!!!

Sab said...

I realy love the story of your pigment adventure, I can not wait for the next post:))))

Eliana said...

Wow, Sans! You got me! I was completely engaged by this chronic, you have created a perfect atmosphere.
Hope you had a great Easter Sunday.
A big hug.

Arantza Martín said...

Te ha quedado todo precioso, bonitos rincones, bonitas fotos... un abrazos

Ilona said...

Susan, you completely caught me in your abandoned house with this story about my most favorite color: the blue....
If I read your posts you always take me at the hand and lead me through it, thanks for sharing, my friend!
I am in love with all your flowers, especially the lotuses (of course ;)) and to see how you make those fantastic colors. That bookstand is gorgeous, what a find!
Warm hugs, Ilona

Piikko said...

Sans, your story and photos are like magic! Your colours are delicious and bright. All though..so peaceful! ♥ Hugs!

rosanna said...

Dearie, I truly thought that you might have mixed up your own colours!!
You might have done it.
Your bench is great, absolutely beautiful and stunning real.
Great, I loooooove it
Hugs, Ro

Drora's minimundo said...

I love the bench and the book stand and also everything else. What I like most is the way you spin your fascinating story and look forwards to read more.
Hugs, Drora

Dakota said...

Your scenes are beautiful and I love the "old air" that they have!!!

Hugs

Dark Squirrel Victoria said...

I love the blue and the story. I am in love with the mixing bench.

Hugs,
Victoria

Sans! said...

Gracias Maria I :) :). La olla de loto está hecha por un artesano de Tailandia.

Cinderella Moments Real Estate said...

Step by step this project is becoming so incredible with details galore. It's perfect!!
hugs♥,
Caroline

Kikka said...

O`wow! I Love the colors, the blue is so deep and touches my heart!

"Flowers are blooming
Bursts of colors come alive
Fragrant smells around us!"
(Himani)

Hugs
Kikka

Maria Ireland said...

Fantastic post the "blue" is wonderful. A magical story told by a magic Sans :) I love the little stool and the flowers are gorgeous.
Hugs Maria

Daydreamer said...

I keep coming back.... I can't help myself... it is the Blue pigment calling! Okay, I am awake now... and I see with Clear-eyed Vision.... Everything I will need to paint...! But on what will I paint...? There is no vellum or parchment or canvas stretched... no unbound pages of a book.... Ah, but there are walls.... you know how I love to paint on walls... Is this where we are going?
(Maybe you should leave me sleeping... so I do not mess up Your Dream...!!!) :)

Sans! said...

Ewalina, you definitely have a place here to build your new furniture :). I will clear the bench of all the colours when we want it for our minis :):).

Dearie, you got me googling "The Country Ruled by The Big Strong White..." Strong White what? Some facts I found out which could be remotely related that Poland is home to the largest population of white storks in the world. Is that what you meant?

Sans! said...

Josje, the bowl of lotuses is very small. It works very well as a miniature plant even in 1:24. It is made by an anonymous Thai artisan. I am in constant awe of their artistry.

Sans! said...

Thank you Faby. I believe it is getting cosier in there :)

Sans! said...

Haha , Jollie, I wish I can carve like that. Afraid that is beyond me for the moment. No, the book stand is painted metal. It is a piece of jewellery finding that I "distressed" as wood with paint. You will see it a few more times in the house :).

It is really good to see you here again, Jollie :).

Sans! said...

Jen, the music is a selection of music box music from Japanese anime :). I use them a lot. Very evocative of bliss and general light heartedness tinged with a dose of dreaminess :):)

Sans! said...

((((((((((((((Birgit))))))))))))))))

After yesterday's parcel from you, expect more magical additions to the house :). Thank you, Birgit. I am already playing with the endless possibilities I can have with your gifts :).

So funny how it is I look at the pictures and think everything look so big and a little out of proportion and when I am looking at them real life, they are all so small and finicky and hard to see:).

Ana Anselmo said...

How you do it!???? You can always surprise me!!!! you are gifted, Sans!
hugs
Ana

Ascension said...

....cada pieza es unica y perfecta, los colores preciosos y el conjunto un rinconcito genial.
Me encanta la veracidad que consigues y las historias que nos cuentas.
............son tan bonitos todos los detalles!!!!!
Susan te he mandado un email......
besitos ascension

Ana Anselmo said...

nothing new here....oh! :((((
love Ana

Sans! said...

Awwwww Ana! Your last comment must surely be for me one of the greatest form of encouragement and affirmation.

I am now totally charged with renewed energy and therefore aim to please :):).

Sans! said...

Ana, maybe I was not making myself clear. I was referring to the joy one experience when someone come visit and pull a loooong sad face when there's nothing new :).

Sans! said...

Queridos Ascensión, creo que ambos entendemos muy bien porque somos amantes de los detalles y de acción. Veo sus pequeños duendes y siempre, hay una historia, no, un drama. En ese instante, algo está pasando allí. Es por eso que estoy tan enamorado de su trabajo :).

He respondido a tu correo electrónico. No estoy seguro si usted entiende lo que escribo. me escriba de nuevo si necesita ninguna explicación.

Sans! said...

I hear you, Betsy and I can totally understand how an urge to create, if unsated , can lead to extreme frustration and deep despair. So please, let me tear away the wallpaper, rip out my tiled floors,whitewash the surfaces so that you can paint on these blank canvases to your heart's content! :):)

And you can't mess up my dreams, Bets, you can only make them more beautiful.

Sans! said...

I am really happy to see you here Maria Ireland :). And thank you for loving my little stool.

Have I said that the "moth eaten" cover was in fact termite eaten. I bought the cloths when I was in Holland . 2 pieces and both were eaten by termites. Never had the heart to throw them out..LOL.

I need to kick that hoarding habit bad.

Sans! said...

Kikka, a spring haiku? :):). Is it spring where you are already? Or maybe it's the blue?

How wonderful it is to be able to inspire the recitation of a haiku. :):):)

Sans! said...

Caroline ! :):) Thank you for such sweet words. Very honoured that you think so :).

I was reading about your last project and thinking maybe our houses are of the same size? Of course, I don't build from scratch like you do. :) Can't wait to see what's next with you.

Sans! said...

Victoria, thank you :):). Making this mixing bench was like giving birth. I now have a bad back, from all the bending over while making it but I love my baby nonetheless. :):):)

Sans! said...

Sandra :):), you and me both, we just love that "old air", don't we?

"Old air" is a truly charming yet succinct way to describe it.

Sans! said...

Drora, you guys are what make my stories special. They come alive only when you read them.

I was just reading this book "The art of not making" . It is essentially about artists who don't make their own art but collaborate with artisans (eg glassblowers etc) who make everything for them.

The author related how many of these "appropriation artists" (very clever description I thought) are influenced by Barthes. He was a French theorist who declared "the death of the author" . In a nutshell, what he is saying is a story does not have a single interpretation, ie that of what the author intends. It's the reader who with each reading gives the story ts meaning because the work depends on the impressions of each reader, rather than the passions or taste of the writer. It is therefore the reader who "writes" the text, he said . :):):)

Sans! said...

Rosanna, when I was making the bench , I was really thinking of how I might have tried to extract the colours from the lapis. And you know what I was thinking when I was "kneading"? I was thinking of the story you told me about how to make bread and how you had to keep bringing the dough out to knead everyday and how after a while, you feel like you had a relationship with that dough so much so that the pile of dough even had a name. What was it? Ro-meo? teehee :):)

Sans! said...

Pikko :):). I am using the subliminal force of the music to make you think it's peaceful..heh heh.

Although a friend walked into my room today and asked me what in the world kind of music was that. He said it made him want to gorge his eyes out. hahahaha.

Sans! said...

Ilona, thank you for taking that walk with me. I love how you have put it so nicely in words because it is truly how I feel sometimes. Each time, one of you write to said you have read my story, it is like taking that special walk , side by side, just you and me, sharing something very specifically mine. That's such an honour, really, for every storyteller, isn't it? To have someone willing to listen to your story. :)

Ilona, I was told when I bought the lotus that in Thailand, they use a special kind of clay for their flowers. It is thin and can be made rather realistically. I use to only love paper flowers but the lotus had helped changed my mind.

Sans! said...

Arantza, gracias por tus hermosas palabras :)

Sans! said...

Eliana, it was such a pleasure for me that I could tell my story to you :)

Sans! said...

Thank you Sab :). By the way, I too was planning to make an exterior water point in this house. Let me know what you think when you see it because I think you are a master "plumber" :):):)

Sans! said...

Gracias, Carmen :):) 10 000 besos :)

Sans! said...

Ara, I know you can make those colours if you wish! The real life me is quite different from the me who makes mini dreams.In my mini world, I can do "most anything"!! That's why I love it so much.

The Old Maid said...

Hahaha Sam, dear, no. All I mean is this snow which is still over here. Sometimes I think it was good you arrived here last year, if you come here this year you would be freezing like we all do.;)
Poor storks they have arrived as usual and stand in the snow, people must feed them otherwise they would die...
Hugs and kisses

Kim said...

sigh. It seems to me that you have created a little tiny corner of heaven right there in the little house. Beautiful! I now want to leave work and go somewhere to mix minerals for paint♥

Ana Anselmo said...

New post! yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I love old books, there is somthing special in how they smell when we open them....
I love your bookshelves, i just want one (in real scale) just like the one you have done to seat down..to put all my art books too.
i love to buy second hand books, another day one of them arrived and inside were lots of cut out, pieces of patterns, etc, of the prevuous ownwer, a little bit of his/her life inside the book, it is so beautiful...
Lots of hugs (I read your message in the previous post :), now i am smiling)

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