Wednesday, June 5, 2013: Enormous Clarendon!

Slept in, spent the remainder of the morning on hold with Virgin Atlantic. Waste of minutes, waste of time, flight still unchanged. Told me I had to call the US office but I’d have to wait three hours for their office to open. Bunch of lying losers. Many thanks, Dad, for changing my flight. You are great.

Finished binding all the bloggy books! Perfect timing! Except I had a little problem with March so that will need to be revisited tomorrow…I’ll post pictures of the finished series! I’m lying! Another nice day, so I walked home once again and spent the evening mentally preparing myself for packing. Many hours later, I am packed. Still have some lose ends to deal with, but those will have to be sorted out by this time tomorrow. I’m not dealing with shipping boxes of boots, books and art supplies on Friday. Nope.

On the bright side, I just booked a trip to Bruges for next week! Hurray for trains! Hurray for pretty European cities! More on that later. Bierman, out.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013: Little Clarendon!

Ignored the signs and spent another full day in the bindery. This time, I had to stray from my hideout to the media lab to print. On my way there I saw the person in charge of media and I thought he’d send me away and out of the Slade. But he’s like “oh yeah go ahead and print.” So that worked out. Printed April and May of the bloggy book and went about binding them. Headed out around a quarter to 4, got an iced coffee from Nerd and walked home with Mom! (On the phone.) Then I picked up my glass panel and took the Tube to City and Guilds for the last time (and the first time in a long time) to pack it up with Carey. It was so wonderful to catch up with her, but I’m sad that the rest of the regulars weren’t in the studio today! Sad times! I wanted to say goodbye to everyone! Sigh. Rebecca, Alan, Renata, Susan, Rosie, David, Ellen, anyone who might be reading this, I hope to see you again! It’s been so nice getting to know you!

It looks like my window is in good shape for flying and I spoke to the airline this morning and they promised me that I can put the window in the hold and no one will deny that when I check in. Let’s hope that’s the case. When I got home, the three things that were on my to-do list didn’t go so well which meant I went to bed with a sense of incompleteness and that doesn’t bode well with me. Ah well.

Monday, June 3, 2013: Great Clarendon!

 When I got the Slade this morning a sign on the door read: EXAMINATION IN PROGRESS. CARD ACCESS ONLY. NO ACCESS TO EXHIBITION SPACES.

Okay. I have a card. My card works. It let me in. I have no intention of going to the exhibition spaces. I just want to go to the bindery. Following that logic, I enter the building and I barely make it down the steps before Alan the Studio Manager asks me where I’m going. I tell him the bindery and he says that’s fine. Make note of that. Alan said it’s fine.

I get downstairs and walk down the corridor to the bindery and some lady is like what are you doing here do you work here it’s the examination period for the graduating masters students there are very tight security measures in place. So I say, I’m just going to the bindery, Alan said it’s fine. But this lady still wasn’t fine with it. However, if she just let me slip into the bindery I would no longer be trespassing this alleged exhibition space (hallways count, apparently) but she kept me in the hall against my own will. Anyway, I won, because I always do. And because British people don’t speak their mind with as much assertiveness as Americans. So I just do what I want because I know that nobody will stop me.

I spent most of the day locked away in the bindery binding books because that’s what one does in the bindery. I took a break and met Phil at the British Museum and got a tour of the highlights. In conclusion, the British are shameless thieves. I went back to the Slade and eventually finished everything I could work on that day so I left and went for a walk and realized that I’m Londoned out. There are no walks I feel like taking, I know the pros and cons of all neighborhoods, London can’t offer me anything right now. It has once before, it will once more, but right now, I’m done. So I walked to the British Library because it was nearby and went to the gift shop and an exhibition about a British composer almost as important at Purcell but not quite but wasn’t really feeling it so I left and went home and took a nap and as I was napping the fire alarm went off and I woke up screaming. It was absolutely terrifying.

Fortunately there was no fire.

Next, I made my way to Fabienne and Ezra for a relaxing evening of Britain’s Got Talent, delicious home cooked food and great company. I told Jacqui I was leaving the country. I think she handled it quite well. See you next time Fabezra + Jacqui!

I don’t expect you to read all of this in one sitting.

Finally, at long last, all caught up. And it’s not because I feel bad for neglecting my readership. It’s because I’m leaving soon and I need to print out all my posts for the month of May and bind them into a book before I lose access to the Slade facilities. But also for Phil.

 

Tuesday, May 14-Thursday, May 16, 2013

As I said, I was in Jewish holiday mode in Oxford. This consists of mostly sleeping, eating, and socializing, as well as a variety of religious rituals. Also, I got a mandolin.

 

Friday, May 17-Saturday, May 18, 2013

Hermano Josh Bierman arrives in London! I stuck around in Paddington Station after my train came in from Oxford and greeted Josh as he alighted the Heathrow Express. After he put his stuff down, we went to Carphone Warehouse the best care your phone can get a sim card/ phone and then we made our way to Hendon and had lunch at Pizaza and caught up over garlic fries. Then we picked up some foodstuffs for Shabbos and made our way back home to get ready for the Slade Degree Show! Truly an impressive exhibition. So impressed with all the final year students, especially the sculptors, whose work I’ve seen materialize and develop over the past couple of months. Felt part of something great. Woohoo Slade pride! I went straight from the Slade to Friday night services at Great Portland Synagogue. Not where I usually go when I’m home for Shabbos, but it was much closer to UCL, so it made sense. Then I went home and had dinner with Josh and Rosie! Before Rosie arrives, Josh read me a few chapters of The Great Gatsby. He was reviewing for the movie. Which I have yet to see. Anyway, it was a late night full of laughs and Daniel Henkin arrangements, and Teeny Bits.

Went to services Saturday morning and came home and promptly collapsed in bed and took a nap. Josh and I didn’t manage to coordinate too well today with waking and sleeping, so there was no formal Saturday meal. Then I woke up ate lunch and took another nap. Record amount of sleeping. After Shabbat was over, Rosie came over and to make a long story short, I wrote an essay on her back.

 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Josh and Rosie took a day trip to Bath! Windsor! Stonehenge! And I spent the day with John. We saw Iron Man 3 and then went for a walk around Regents Park. So many lilacs! So fragrant! After John went home, I worked some more on my sculpture, which is never-ending, labor intensive, and full of glue. But this time I had a mandolin to pass the drying time musically. Huzzah!

 

Monday, May 20, 2013 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY HERMANO JOSH!!! 20!! Next year in Vegas! Says you!

Josh and I went to St. Paul’s Cathedral. Didn’t manage to whisper in the Whispering Gallery, but we did walk all the hundreds and hundreds of steps to get as high up as you can get. By the way, Julian Olidort, if you are reading this, I checked the book at the front of the Cathedral and they do in fact seem to turn the pages! Greetings from page 45! I think it was in the 30s when we visited…Then we walked across the Millenium Bridge to the Tate Modern where we split up—Josh went to see the Lichtenstein Retrospective and I saw Ellen Gallagher’s show AxME and an exhibtion of Saloua Raouda Choucair. Loved Ellen Gallagher’s work. Amazing, mind-blowing works on paper and works made out of paper. When I get around to uploading pictures (how does never work for you?) you’ll be able to see what I’m talking about. Didn’t really care so much for SRC’s work, but it was neat to see how work developed from drawings and paintings to sculpture and the vastly different approaches she too to her art. After spending a while in the bookshop, I went home and worked on the never-ending sculpture for many hours and eventually went to bed.

 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Funny story. In a last minute effort to put finishing touches on my sculpture, I decided I would wake up very very early in the morning and catch the first train to Covent Garden Flower Market because I was absolutely certain than my sculpture needed it’s own lush garden abundant with lilacs. So I woke up BEFORE 6 and dragged my tired body to Bakerloo Station and I get to Covent Garden only to learn THAT THE COVENT GARDEN FLOWER MARKET IS NOT IN COVENT GARDEN. IT’S IN VAUXHALL. ROOKIE MISTAKE? HELLS NO. I WILL NOT ACCEPT THAT. I was already awake, so being the fool I am, I decided to walk home. Somewhere near Oxford Circus my legs decided otherwise, so I got on the Tube and passed out on the couch as soon as I got home.

Desperate for lilacs, when I woke up, I walked around Bloomsbury because I seemed to recall a bunch of flower stores in the area. There were a bunch of flower stores. There were no lilacs. However, I did pop into Pollack’s Toy Store and got the La Vie En Rose music box I saw months ago when I stopped by with Yael Stern. Exhausted and annoyed re: Lilacs, I went to the Slade (and bought a class picture! My head’s not blocked!) and sat on a bench outside and contemplated my next move. I decided to go to Robert Dyas (hardware store) and see if anyone there knew anything about constructing rotating music boxes (failed idea for sculpture). There was no one who knew such things. So I returned to my bench outside the Slade and Minghy, also in Sculpture, sat next to me and we talked a while about Outsider Art, the Slade, London, and a variety of fascinating things ranging from the philosophical to the existential and back again.

The Sculpture department was having a farewell dinner endless curry thing so I stayed there a while and chatted and rubbed elbows with the crowd. Afterwards, I met Josh at Leicester Square for some ice cream and then we saw a play called Relatively Speaking. Very funny and entertaining. By the same guy who wrote the Normal Conquests. On our way home we stopped off at Sainsbury’s to get something to eat and then spent the later part of the evening hanging out with Lizzie and Dana and heard all about their travels to Prague and Amsterdam.

 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

I avoided getting out of bed this morning because today was assessment day and my sculpture felt incomplete. I knew it would be unfinished, but there is a difference between incomplete and unfinished. Something can be unfinished, but at a place where it can be presented and discussed. It was not in that place and I didn’t know what to do. So I pulled myself out of bed and decided to just replicate the sculpture some more. My version is much different, but for simplicity’s sake, I referred to the original. And it worked out. Usually casting and drying takes a while but thank God for Dana’s blow dryer it took a fraction of the time! Should have done that all along! Ah well. You live and you learn. I used to use a heat gun to make my paper casted bunnies dry faster, but I’d always wind up burning them.

I finished and packed everything together with no time to spare. Got in a taxi to Woburn Square (the Slade’s other facility) and fortunately the tutors were running late with the assessment before me, so I had time to catch my breath and unpack. Because I’m an affiliate student and not a full time time degree student, my assessment is a bit different. Instead of all four tutors, only 2 have to be present. Mel J and Kieren stayed and Mel C and Graham took a break. I have a better rapport with Mel J and Kieren so that worked quite well. It wasn’t so much a critique as it was a conversation. Discussed my experience and process, how vastly different the whole approach to art is here than it is in the states and how my reasons for being an artist differ from the other artists at the Slade. It was a wonderful conversation and it gave me a lot of closure. And now I’m a rising senior! I feel so free! Even though I’ve basically been free the entire semester! Then I packed everything up and decided to brave the Tube with all my stuff because I couldn’t imagine paying another 13 pounds for a taxi. When I got home, Dana, Ari and I ordered burgers as a last hurrah of sorts and then I had a lot of nothing I needed to do so I did that.

 

Thursday May 23, 2013

Before I begin, let me tell you that this story has a happy ending. When I got home from my assessment yesterday I couldn’t find the little glass girl from my stained glass window. I was almost certain I knew exactly where I left it at Woburn so I wasn’t worried and decided I’d go first thing in the morning. So I went back to Woburn and my glass girl was not there. I retraced my footsteps and it was nowhere to be found. Not in the Tube. Nowhere. As I walked through the front door of my flat I knew that I could check the bag I put all my work in one last time, in vain. So I did. AND IT WAS THERE ALL ALONG. So my day turned around quickly. Hooray! I bid Dana and Ari farewell and then made my way to the bindery to continue work on the bloggy books. I met Josh in Leicester Square some time around two and we got tickets to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory—second preview show! Then we went to Pizaza, source of my constant cravings. Stopped to get food for Ireland and then I went back to the flat to chill out before the show. So the show. The first act was good. A bit long, though. But clever and the sets were great. The second act was full of gimmicks. All in all, eh-ntertaining.

Once I got home I had to make sure everything was all set for Ireland. Not really sure how I could make things more set than they already were, but I found what to do. Eventually went to bed for a few hours. Heathrow Express at 5:30 for a 7:30 flight! Woohoo!

 

Friday, May 24-Sunday, May 26, 2013: IRELAND!

Let’s cut to the flight. We landed in Dublin a little before 9 and miraculously made the 9:15 bus to Galway. If we missed it, we would have had to wait 2 hours until the next one. And it was a double decker bus. I lover double deckers! With Wi-Fi! And outlets! And I slept the entire time! Found the B&B easily and once we arrived we sat in the dining room area until they were ready for us to check in. After about 15 or 20 minutes, Seamus, the manager/power that be told us that there were some people here to see us. Ah first some background. Josh and I went to Galway on this particular weekend to represent the Alper-Bierman clan at Geraldine McGinty and John Greally’s 25th wedding anniversary celebration. So naturally, I assumed John and Geraldine knew where we were staying and were popping in to say hi.

But it wasn’t John or Geraldine.

IT WAS MY PARENTAL UNIT!!!

THEY SURPRISED US!!!!

I LOVE SURPRISES!!!!!!

Was in a glorious state of shock for the next couple of hours. We went on a bus tour of Galway and walked around and I got a sweater and then we sat at a café for a while and I simply could not get over the fact that my parents were with me. I didn’t even entertain the possibility that they might come. It was the most perfect most unexpected surprise ever. My parents are better than yours. The end. This is a nonversation. AND THEY BROUGHT A WHOLE MEAL FOR SHABBOS! AHHHH! GLEE! JOY! HAPPINESS! AAAAAND THEY’RE COMING BACK TO LONDON FOR THE DAY!!! AHHHHHH!!!! HOOOORAAAY!

After our Galway outing, we went back to the B&B and got ready for part one of the anniversary festivities. And in the time I found out I was awarded another grant for my summer plans in Poland and I didn’t even know I was submitted for consideration! Thank you, thank you Tory! The excitement continued with dinner at a lovely restaurant called Ard Bia (means good food in Gaelic) and they made us beautiful salads to accommodate our kosherness. Josh couldn’t have been happier. Shabbos didn’t start until 9:30 ish, so even leaving the dinner at 9, we still had plenty of time. We had the first family Shabbos dinner in forever. The unexpectedness of it made it even better. Was still in shock (the good kind) at this point. After dinner, we retired to our beds and fell into food comas.

Saturday began as a lazy day. Twelve whole hours of sleep. Hm. Great! Had lunch for breakfast and then we walked it off on a bayside stroll in the rain. Still can’t believe my parents are here at this point. Then we got home and napped because that is what you do on Shabbos. We woke up and ate because that’s what you do on Shabbos when you’re not napping. And then we got ready for part two of the anniversary festivities. Dinner and dancing at the Galway Rowing Club! Such great fun! First of all, the room. Gavin and Triona, friends of Geraldine and John decorated the space.  Billowing white sheets with rows of fabric garlands covering the ceiling and an installation in the front of the room filled with vintage knickknacks and toys and random things. Each object had it’s own cubby. Triona said the inspiration came from the boxes printmakers keep their letter bits. Unbelievable. John introduced me to Gavin and Triona and I had a great conversation with them about all things visual. So the room was perfect. And the traditional Irish dancing! And the traditional Irish music! Such fun!! And the Guinness! Not my drink at all! Should have had Baileys. But wow! What a fun evening. In conclusion, Geraldine, I love your dress.

Moving along to Sunday! Had breakfast with Mom and then we headed out for some late morning shopping followed by a walking tour of Galway at noon. After the tour, we had lunch and sat around for a while and did some last minute window-shopping. Then Josh and I got on a bus to Dublin, the parents got on a bus to Shannon and we met up in London and ate meatloaf.

 

Monday, May 27, 2013

A lovely day in London! Spent the morning with the Parental Unit and went on a walk/lilac hunt in Regent’s Park and then had lunch at Reuben’s with John. And also Josh. Hi Josh. Perk up, kid.

A lovely lunch followed by the Unit’s send off at Paddington station. Then John and I walked around, stopping first at Paddington Green and being unimpressed and then we decided to return to Regent’s Park because it’s nice and also lilacs. May or may not have taken one to go. Then we walked around Euston for a bit in the general direction of Denmark Street where I assumed John wanted to window shop guitars but seeing that everything would be closed because the bank holiday I just kept my mouth shut. And then we walked down Denmark Street turned the corner and passed the Phoenix Theatre, where Once is playing. AND THEN I WAS SURPRISED WITH TICKETS TO SEE IT! THANKS JOHN!!! Ahhh! It was wonderful, of course. And Gold will always be the best number. Energy unlike anything else I’ve encountered. After the show we headed to Paddington Station so John could get the next train to Oxford. GREAT GREAT GREAT BANK HOLIDAY/MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND. FULL OF SURPRISES. I LOVE SURPRISES!

 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

This morning I went to see an exhibtion called Outsider Art at the Wellcome Collection.

In their own words:

Our spring exhibition brings together more than 300 works for the first major display of Japanese Outsider Art in the UK. The 46 artists represented in the show are residents and day attendees at social welfare institutions across Japan. The wonderfully diverse collection comprises ceramics, textiles, paintings, sculpture and drawings.

‘Souzou’ has no direct translation in English but a dual meaning in Japanese: written one way, it means creation, and in another it means imagination. Both meanings allude to a force by which new ideas are born and take shape in the world.

The exhibition has been organised in association with Het Dolhuys, the Museum of Psychiatry in Haarlem (the Netherlands) and the Social Welfare Organisation Aiseikai (Tokyo). It reflects the growing acclaim for Outsider Art – often defined as works made by self-taught artists perceived to be at the margins of society – while questioning assumptions about the category itself.

Eschewing a purely biographical approach, the show will be object-led, with a startling array of works offering singular and affecting explorations of culture, memory and creativity. A series of documentary films featuring a selection of the exhibiting artists will play at the end of the exhibition.

For more about it: http://www.wellcomecollection.org/whats-on/exhibitions/souzou.aspx

After the exhibition I headed to meet Josh to see The Mousetrap, the longest running play in London. 60 years! Anyway, I’ve been sworn to secrecy and can’t ruin the ending. Unfortunately I can’t tell you much else because I may or may not have fallen asleep for some but really most of the play. After the play I made my way home and attempted to tidy the flat and then gave up and took it easy the rest of the evening.

 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Today I attempted to pack things up to ship to the states and it all got very stressful especially when I kept remembering about my stained glass window. But fortunately Carey from City and Guilds said she’d be happy to help me pack it up next week! What a relief…After moving some of my stuff from one part of the living room to another I made my way to Covent Garden where Josh and I were meeting up with Iris Davies, the person who had been cutting our hair for our entire lives until she moved back to England four years ago and we haven’t seen her since then! We sat in a café and caught up for a while. SUCH A PLEASURE TO SEE YOU IRIS!!!! COME BACK TO NEW YORK!!!!! After our get-together I headed over to the Slade and ended up staying there for a couple of hours and made a few covers for some of the books I’ve been binding. Then I practiced embossing the titles so that was new and exciting. Then I went to Reuben’s because I hadn’t really eaten anything all day and I thought I should be entitled to an absurdly overpriced dinner for all my toiling in the bindery.

 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Bid farewell to Josh early in the morning, fell back asleep, and woke up very late. Went to the bindery for a little while and then I made my way to Oxford to surprise John when he got back from work. He was not expecting me. The surprise involved bunnies because all good surprises do. It was a great success.

 

Friday, May 31-Sunday, June 2, 2013

Spent the morning walking around the city centre (Oxford has the worse shopping opportunities I have ever encountered) and then in the afternoon I took Eliana to the park. Then Shabbos came along and we did what one does on Shabbos. These activities include but are not limited to sleeping, eating, walking, sitting on swings, lounging around and eating cold mushrooms. Shabbos ended incredibly late but not too late for a little get-together at Jacob’s. Fun times! I now have a special spot in my heart for Islamic fundamentalist boy band music videos! Went to bed after the birds started chirping. Terrible idea, but it was worth it. Mere hours later, I pried my eyes open, got ready to go, got back in bed, and then John picked me up and we headed to London and then went our separate ways for the day. I sat in Costa for a while, reading my book (IQ84. I’ve read Haruki Murakami before and I think he’s weird and pretentious but I’m giving it another go because I wanted a really long book and this was the longest one I could find) and making some plans fall into place. Then I stopped at Pizaza for garlic fries and a salad to go, made my way home and then headed to the Closer to Israel gathering in Trafalgar Square. YAY ISRAEL PRIDE! KEEP CALM AND MAKE ALIYAH!

When I got home, I took a nap (in response to this morning’s wake up experience) and woke up to the sound of a blaring fire alarm. And this wasn’t just a siren. This was like having an ambulance in your ear. I woke up screaming. It was the scariest thing ever. I’ve never actually screamed before. Gasped, maybe. But this was a full out scream. That was awful. So I ran out the flat and waited outside with everyone else and came to my senses. Well, no going back to bed now. So I did laundry, tended to my to-do list and here I am, finally caught up.

Monday, May 13, 2013: Glue and In the Criminal Justice System the people are represented by two separate, yet equally important groups. The police who investigate crime and the District Attorneys who prosecute the offenders. These are their stories.

Greetings shnarf (and shlinky!)!

I didn’t set an alarm today because why should I? But I woke up at 9. So I went back to bed because come on really? Also, one nightmare after another. One involved missing Hiatt training. Should out to my friends at Hiatt–I miss you dearly and can’t wait to see you in August!

I started the day with some paper cast removal. Felt like a surgeon, scalpel in hand and cutting with foresight. Even if this sculpture doesn’t make it to the end, I’m still quite impressed that I was able to remove the paper cast from the mold. Not a simple mold. Nothing like the bunnies from last year. I removed it in 4 pieces and now I’m putting it back together (off the mold) which is a slow, slow process and I have nothing to do while the glue dries so I might impulse buy a stringed fretted instrument tomorrow to help pass the time musically. It’s just really annoying. I glue one bit of paper which takes all of 2 minutes. And then I wait HOURS for that one section of paper to dry. And when it’s dry I do that again. AND AGAIN. And this is just practice. I’m doing a test run on a miniature version, a maquette. And when I remember that the blood sweat tears and glue I am shedding ISN’T EVEN FOR THE REAL THING I GET EXHAUSTED. I wish I had a mandolin. To pass the time. Musically. But in the meantime, I will continue to play Mumford and Sons on repeat. You know, uploading a month’s worth of pictures to the blog would be a good use of the glue drying time, but that’s overwhelming so I’m just going to put that off some more.

I got tired of watching the glue dry so I went out and met Phil, King of Revisions, at the Sir John Soane museum….which happened to be closed. But do not fear! Phil has so many sites to visit up his sleeve! So we walked through Lincoln’s Inn Park to Lincoln’s Inn Court where all the lawyers/barristers hold fort and he told me about the way the legal system works in this country. In wikipedia’s own words: Inns of Court. Then I had such a Law and Order moment–we went to the Royal Courts of Justice and watched the proceedings of case where a terminally ill and handicapped patient probably will not have is wish of a doctor assisted suicide granted. Because this is real life and not a TV show, you can’t pause it. You just get up and leave. But also, THOSE WIGS! Law is so much more regal in this country. I saw a lady wearing one of those wigs. Couldn’t get my camera out fast enough. What a look. Insert sheitel joke here.

Next stop was King’s College where Phil showed me around and told me a bit about the history of the school. We went up to the 9th floor where you can see a stunning view of London, etc. This little excursion was Phil’s break from working on his revisions so eventually he had to get back to them AND HE WILL POWER THROUGH AND ALL WILL BE FINE! AND THEN YOU CAN WATCH A REAL LIFE LAW AND ORDER MARATHON! HUZZAH!

Made my way home via Tube because of my stupid heel that won’t stop hurting and glued some more and polished off the pint of Ben & Jerry’s. Many hours later, the gluey paper is almost dry. About time.

Tomorrow evening marks the beginning of Shavuot, the Jewish holiday where we celebrate receiving the Torah at Mount Sinai. It is customary to stay up all night studying and discussing Jewish things. I’ll be in Oxford doing just that. But before I head for Oxford I will  play with glue and paper. Probably won’t write for a while seeing that Shavuot ends Thursday night and then JOSH WILL BE HERE and then it’s Shabbos. I’m going to neglect you, but you’re probably used to that by now.

If you are in New York and you are reading this GO GET YOURSELF A BLUTH FROZEN BANANA! And remember, THERE IS ALWAYS MONEY IN THE BANANA STAND.

 

 

 

Sunday, May 12, 2013: A bunny day in Londontown!

Today was the London Pet Show! Huzzah! There were lots of animals of all shapes and sizes but I only came for the bunnies aka Small Furries. I got to watch a rabbit hopping competition. 8 bunnies were flown in from Sweden to show us how high they can jump. This is my kind of entertainment. After the hopping, I got to meet some of these bunnies, the cutest being Benjamin and Trick. So fluffy. Also, so huge. But still cute. Then there was an activity. You know how I love activities. I learned how to make a willow ball. Basically you put hay in it and give it to your rabbit and they have fun and food rolled into one. You make it with wet willow reeds. Kind of sculptural. Anyway, seeing that I don’t have a bunny, Jacqui and Sprinkles will have to duke it out. After 2 hours or so, the crowds invaded, so that was my cue to leave. I walked a while because the weather was nice and because walking is something I do. I found something I need for my sculpture and then walked some more and my heel started to hurt enough that I got on a bus. Ended up on Oxford Street and got a haircut. And now I’m home, getting ready for a lovely evening of paper casting.

Friday, May 10, 2013- Saturday, May 11, 2013: “So how do you know each other? …OH you’re married!”

FIRST, MAZAL TOV TO EVA AND ELAN!!!!!! AHHH HAPPY RICE PUDDING!!!!

Spent the morning and most of the afternoon at the Slade helping Jess put finishing touches on her installation. Looks fantastic! It’s been a lot of fun being a studio assistant. I got to poke and prod at sculptures with no penalty. In fact, I got to move and sew sculptures and I didn’t set off a single siren. For those who are missing the reference, I sat on a sculpture at the Met a few years ago. It was an honest mistake.

At around 5, Dana and I made our way to Fabezra in Hendon. Needless to say, Jacqui was thrilled to see me. We ate dinner at a couple that randomly agreed to host us. Ask Dana if you want more information, I just go where she tells me to go. Had a lovely time! Shout out to Katie! It was great to meet you! Walking from Hendon to where we ate in Golders Green is like living on the Upper East Side and eating a Shabbos meal on the Upper West Side. Fortunately, we had nice walking weather.

Then I slept in the second most comfortable bed I’ve ever slept in. (Gina, you know number 1!)

Slept late-ish, but it was definitely worth it. Best sleep I’ve had in weeks. Had to leave shul a bit early to walk over to Golders Green and get to lunch on time. Lunch with Cowan’s was great fun! Nice find, Dana! Then an epic nap, followed by Fabienne’s epic cooking, followed by the first hot shower I’ve had in a week. The boiler in our building is in broken and they don’t seem to be in any hurry to fix it. Dana and I made our way home and I stayed up late with Ben & Jerry. Good times.

Wednesday May 8, 2013- Thursday, May 9, 2013: Slade set-up!

These two days are kind of blurred together in my mind. So here you go.

Today was the Slade class picture! So exciting! I hope no one is blocking my face. We also painted the floor in Jess’s space for the 5th time. Having some issues with oil based stains thank you MA painters! But that was finally solved and we were able to start moving around Jess’s sculptures. Also had a look around the Slade to see how set up was going for everyone else. It’s an exciting time! We’re transforming the studios into gallery spaces (hence the floor—and wall—paint jobs) and all the undergraduates are assigned to a final year student to help them set up for their degree show. A great bonding experience, too. Reminds me a lot of pre-camp. No better way to get to know people. Shame it’s now and not, say, 4 months ago. The best way to share this experience with you is through pictures, so you’ll have to wait until I get around to posting.

Spent the evenings working on my final sculpture. Details to follow, maybe.

Friday, April 26, 2013-Tuesday, May 7, 2013: LET’S CATCH UP!

Friends!

It’s been so long. Sincerest apologies to Phil.

Let’s test my memory.

So Friday, April 26 was spent finishing up a time sensitive piece of writing and I’m happy to say I managed in the nick of time. Had a train to Oxford to catch! Also made that in the nick of time. There are a few trains an hour but I made the train as the doors were closing and didn’t have to wait half an hour for the next one. Didn’t get a seat until 10 minutes before the train got to Oxford, but that’s okay because I was listening to Florence and the Machine. Upon arrival, I walked to where I was staying and settled in and eventually made my way to shul. Chilled with John and Jean and shout out to Esteban! After dinner, the Oxford Belles (a capella group) performed. They were okay. I don’t LOVE a cappella, so I’m not easily impressed. On Saturday, April 27it was still Shabbos, so the activities were pretty standard. And also a lot of walking. Sunday, April 28 was Lag Ba’omer, not really a holiday but a day of celebration that frequently involves open fires and live music so John and I did just that. After a walk around Oxford we went to a park not to far from the OJC for a BBQ. Didn’t set a hot dog eating record, but did sing a lot of Beatles songs. After singalong in the park featuring hot dogs, John and I watched You’ve Got Mail and then a bit of The Voice but not much of it because I was talking the whole time. And then it was time to go and I got the station about 30 minutes before the next train and then I may or may not have missed the train while standing at the turnstiles because I was distracted. 40 minutes later + more minutes later because the train was delayed, I was London-bound.

Monday, April 29. The trip I have been waiting for since last June. Paris in the springtime. May Day. GIVERNY! Took the 12:25 Eurostar from Kings Cross St. Pancras to Gare Du Nord. Took me a while to find my hostel because of Paris’s stupid urban planning but I did find and it was not a dump. Never stayed in a hostel in a room with a bunch of strangers but nothing got stolen so it was a positive experience and I’d do it again. Spent the rest of the day (at this point it was around 4 PM) organizing how I’d be spending the next three days and making a list of ten or so restaurants and their Metro stops. After my organizational activity, I went to a restaurant called Tib’s. Took a while to find it–not my fault, Paris’s fault–but fortunately I found someone who was without a doubt Jewish and I asked him if he spoke Hebrew or English and fortunately he spoke Hebrew and was able to direct me to the restaurant. Very good food, but I over-cheesed myself. Dinner for one, read my book, such a treat. Not the book, the book was terrible, the experience was a treat. Then I made my way back to the hostel and eventually went to bed.

Tuesday, April 30. First stop, Musee D’Orsay! Waited on quite a queue, but it moved fairly quickly. And then I got to go in for free.  I just flashed my Slade ID card and they let me go through. Cool. Saw a lot of art. Saw many paintings by Caspar David Fredrich. Had one of his paintings (an original, obviously) in my dorm room. Love it. Lots of Seurats, Van Goghs, Degas’, Monets, Manets, Delacroixs, Corbets, Rodins…but I saw EVEN MORE RODINS at the Musee Rodin. Glorious. Divine. Makes marble looks as versatile as Play-doh model magic. I was entranced for many hours. Started a new sketchbook and sketched the same sculpture from every angle. Sigh. So beautiful. Then I tried out another restaurant, called Stella, which wasn’t supposed to open until 7:30 or something and I came earlier than that but when they saw that my alternative was waiting out in the rain, they let me in. Really good food. Had these fried mozzarella pancake things and mushroom cream risotto. Went back to the hostel and learned that I mistakenly booked my Giverny trip not for May 1 BUT FOR THE WEEK BEFORE. Thanks Dad, for averting that crisis. You are my hero. And then I booked a half day trip to Versailles for Thursday because if I came all this way I should probably go there.

Wednesday, May 1. MAY DAY MAY DAY MAY DAY THIS IS THE DAY I PLANNED MY TRIP AROUND. WHY? BECAUSE ON MAY DAY IN PARIS, THERE ARE VENDORS EVERYWHERE SELLING LILY OF THE VALLEY WHICH IS MY FAVORITE FLOWER. So I bought one huge bouquet and about 6 little ones. Also bought a potted one but left it in a shop by accident…but I think that could be a nice thing to find on a shelf in your store. Today was also the day I took a train to Vernon and biked to Claude Monet’s garden in Giverny! Almost missed the train because of some really bad directions to the train station, but upon arrival, I learned that because of MAY DAY MAY DAY MAY DAY the trains are all thrown off schedule and I had 2.5 hours to catch my breath, get something to drink and eat the lunch I took out from the restaurant last night. Perfect. Even came up with an idea for my final sculpture. But it was less like coming up with an idea and more being liked smacked in the forehead. In a good way. There was a piano in the middle of the concourse for anyone and everyone to play and fortunately it attracted many talented performers, so that was good company. Finally, it was time to board the train, where I met Bob and Kay, a couple from Seattle, and had a lovely conversation with them. The train to Vernon was about 45 minutes and when we got there the walked a block or two to pick up our bikes (I booked this trip with a company called Fat Tire Tours. Highly recommend it) and set off for Giverny. No words. None. The ride was just perfect. Everything about it. I would do it again and again. I wish that path never ended and Giverny was always at the end of it should I decide to make it end. AND THE GARDEN. THE GARDEN WAS NICE, TOO. The New York Botanical Garden replicated Monet’s garden last summer and I was so struck by it that I promised myself I’d go to Giverny if I got into the Slade. I did, so I kept my promise and the NYBG replica is nothing like the real thing. The real thing is like nothing else. I think most of the excitement it evokes in me is simply the way it is Monet’s painting in 3D, and not just 3D, but in real leaves and real flowers and real dirt and a real pond. It was perfect. Also, crazy, I bumped into people from Brandeis! How often do you bump into people you know in Giverny?! Shout out to Rachel and Harrison! So nice to see you! Hope Scotland was lovely! Had dinner at this restaurant near the Louvre. Can’t remember what it’s called but it was AMAZING. CAMEMBERT! BREAD! WINE! AH! And I got there about 40 minutes before they opened so I walked along that bridge (Pont des Arts?) with all the love locks.

Thursday, May 2. Got to the pick up location on time. Not just on time, an hour early. So I went for a walk in Jardins des Tuileries and then sat in a cafe (outdoors, because that’s what you do when you’re in Paris. And anywhere if the weather permits. But especially in Paris) until it was time to go. A pretty short ride later, I arrived in Versailles along with every other tourist in the entire world. I’m glad I went, but not my kind of palace or garden. The gardens were too crop circley for my taste. Much prefer Giverny. The tour guide was knowledgeable and interesting and the palace was nice, but there were so many people around that it was distracting. Then it was time to go and upon my return to Paris I went to the Musee des Arts Decoratifs, which happened to be right across the street from where I was let off the bus. Saw the most inspiring exhibit I’ve seen in a very long time (Rodin Museum does not count).  It was a retrospective of the work of Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec. Look their stuff up and you’ll see why I loved it. Afterwards, I made my way to Le Marais and got shwarma from that world famous falafel place on Rue des Rosiers. Ate it in 8 minutes. A new record, I think. Then I found some actual kosher macarons and wandered around Les Marais until my feet decided it was time to get on the metro and head back to the hostel.

Friday, May 3. HAPPY BIRFDAY MUZZAH!!!!!!!! I WON’T TELL THE ENTIRE BLOGOSPHERE HOW VERY OLD YOU ARE!!!! WISH I COULD HAVE CELEBRATED WITH YOU IN PERSON! Took the train back to London, but first I had a baguette because you can eat the bread anywhere in Paris. Let’s move to Paris. And eat bread. All the time. Slept the entire time, woke up, felt kind of like a zombie, went home and dropped my stuff off. Was supposed to go to the Slade to help set up for the degree show but my left heel has been sore since the last day in Paris and I didn’t think being on my feet for a bunch of hours would help it so I unpacked and cleaned up and met John nearish to Paddington Station. It was a gorgeous day and Shabbos comes in late now, so we went out with the intention of finding a cafe with outdoor seating, but everyone had the same idea, so we walked and walked instead. Then Shabbos is coming we’re so happy so we went home got ready for shul and made our way to Western Marble Arch. Had dinner at Chabad. Shout out to the NYU crowd! After dinner, John and I walked towards the flat and then kept going to the canal behind Paddington Station and walked along side a bunch of boats but no ducks for a while. Then it was late and cold and we called it a night. Night!

Saturday, May 4. Pretty standard Shabbos morning and afternoon followed by an evening of quality youtube videos and curly fries.

Sunday, May 5. The day began with a quest for DDs sandwiches. Fail. So we got bread and peanut butter and sat in Starbucks for a bit. Then we wandered around East London. Bad idea. Too crowded. Not the Versailles crowded. Not the Puerto Rican day parade crowded. Something in between. The kind of crowded where you can’t really carry on a conversation because there’s so much going on around you. We didn’t stay very long. Found an art supply store where I got clay for my sculpture, then we headed back to the flat, sat around a bit, tried to decide on a movie to download (Argo) and then went to NW to get PIZZA! Walked to Hampstead Heath to get the Tube and when we got back and tried to watch the movie, the sound wasn’t loud enough and that wasn’t really working for us, so the evening became a part two of sorts and we watched even higher quality youtube videos.

Monday, May 6. Today I had to be at the Slade to help Jess set up for the degree show. Will explain more about that in a later post. But because it was a Bank Holiday, John had the day off and stuck around a while. When I finished for the day, we walked to Denmark street where there is a plethora of guitar stores and had fun there for a while and then walked home stopped at CAFFE NERD and ate PIZZA.

Tuesday, May 7. Helped Jess. Had a break. Read lousy book. Ate a sandwich. Came back helped out. Another break. Rest of day off. Nap. Wake up. Sculpt. Eat. No hot water. No shower. Sleep.

 

 

Thursday, April 25, 2013: Don’t leave my hyper heart alone on the water.

Keeping this short. Not in the mood to write. But I feel so obligated to you (PHIL).

Got the bindery at about 10. Bound March. Then I spent the next few hours going back and forth between book binding supply shops and fabric stores to find material with which to cover my book(s). Success! Wanted to start making covers for the books but James wasn’t around and I had a few technical questions to ask before I got started so it’s going to have to wait until tomorrow. Packed up a few things from the studio to bring home (need to move out completely by 7 May but because of Paris, I thought it would be wise to just get everything out of there by tomorrow). Got home. Spent the evening working on a the beginning of a project. Revived the sandwich maker after many months of not eating grilled cheese. Did laundry. I have absolutely nothing exciting to share with you.

Bye.