Friday, 11 October 2013

Woolly warm autumn benches


When I think of autumn I think of fire and then I think of artist Roger Hiorns and the fires he makes on benches.



Roger Hiorns, Untitled, 2010, photography by Gert Jan van Rooij at www.dehallen.nl 

It's the time of year when you're going to need a warm fire. 

My real husband, His Excellency: Oh winter! King of intimate delights, Fireside enjoyments, home-born happiness!  

According to my imaginary husband Mungo, a good bench by the woodstove is very important. 



http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Claystove



And a good supply of logs.



http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bench_in_Hartberg


Mungo: Sometimes there is a fine line between a log and a log bench . . . 



http://www.flickr.com/photos/caribb/


. . . so where benches are concerned, you need to make sure you burn the right logs.


http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidjthomas/


His Excellency: Well said. Anyone could have accidentally burnt the designer log bench in the fire. 

Mungo: You could have checked the price-tag that was still on the bench though. It was twenty thousand pounds.

His Excellency: Blow me over with a feather! I never knew a bench cost that much. 

Oh well, His Excellency. Lesson learned.

My imaginary friend Miggy moved her house off the beach a couple of weeks ago so we know that autumn is here. Also, the benches are taking on a distinctly autumnal mood. 



http://www.flickr.com/photos/finbar/

All over Britain the benches are putting on their winter coats.



http://uncustomary.org/

Here on Paradise Island though, it has been pleasantly warm. 




I'm still swimming in the sea most days and a few pumpkin-heads go on having their picnics. But the snow on Sunday, I think, will be the last straw.


photo from very old clipart file


From Sunday on it might be a good idea to put on a wool coat and wait for spring.


www.etsy.com/shop/flapperdoodle

The benches will need to get all wrapped up for winter.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ilovememphis/

Here is Lady Jessica, wife of Lord Brassica of Drizzly.





Lady B is prone to displaying herself in skimpy clothing. But now that the weather has changed, she's wearing a warm tracksuit when she goes for her run around Drizzly Manor.






Joop, Lady Brassica's personal designer: don't you know, darhllling, it's fashion suicide to wear white after the August Bank Holiday.

Miggy: Golly, my Halloween ghost costume will be a fashion disaster then.

Joop:  I'd recommend a smart grey wool. It's bang on-trend and what all the best benches will be wearing this autumn.



http://www.flickr.com/photos/n0nnahs/

Miggy:  This is the Naomi Campbell of benches.

Could we stop the fashion talk and look at some autumn benches now please. 

At Drizzly Manor and all across Paradise Island the trees are losing their leaves. 



There are oak leaf benches everywhere to scuffle through.


c Jonathan Kington at http://www.geograph.org.uk/

There are pretty little pink and yellow fairy leaf benches too. 


https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/MysticDesignFactory

Forget bonfires. These leaf benches are too beautiful to burn. 



The nights are drawing in and every day we lose a little more light.


http://www.flickr.com/photos/rafiqs/2129015005

Before you know it, we'll be putting candles in pumpkins to light up the night.



http://www.flickr.com/photos/frankpierson/

It's that time of year when everything is being brought in.



photo by Sheila B. 

It's the last of the corn and Colonel Maize, quite rightly, wants to get his cobs roasted for the harvest festival.  





The cob bench works well but it doesn't last long. A more robust bench is achieved by canning the corn and adding a strong plank of oak.





On the other hand, you could forget all that and just get yourself a lovely oak leaf bench like this one.



www.treeart.co.uk

I've brought in our bounty from the garden of La Casa Perfecta.




My cat Rosie: Hey! That trug is my bed!





Sorry, Rosie. I needed it for the picture.
But benches are like dahlias: do you bring them in or not?





Some people think not.




Lord Brassica, Fifth Earl of Drizzly: The icy showers at my boarding school never did me any harm. These benches need to buck themselves up. 


Parks benches, of course, stay out year round.  




Lord Brassica: Yes, it's character-forming. Stiff upper lip and all that.


Miggy:  Besides, Snow Persons need somewhere to sit in the winter.





Can these Paris benches survive l'hiver?



With picnic benches, the odds are definitely stacked against them.






Lord Brassica, who loves picnic benches: This is no way to treat a fine picnic bench. They should be under cover for the winter. 






Lord Brassica: No, plastic will never do. I'll get my man to sort out a heated shed for them.

A heated shed? For a picnic bench? 

Mungo:  The words global and warming come to mind.

Some benches sort out their own warmth for winter, like this little white bench in its pretty woolly coat.



http://www.flickr.com/photos/beckayork/



His Excellency:  I think you'll find this is a Lactarius Torminosus, otherwise known as a Woolly Milkcap. 

Miggy: Can I eat it? Can I make a cake with it?

His Excellency: Torminosus in Latin means cause of colic. Does that answer your question? 

OK, fair enough. You can't eat it and you can't sit on it. But it's still brilliant.

Miggy:  Once it's autumn, my thoughts turn to a good sturdy cake and a nice comfy place to curl up and knit.

Good idea, Migs. Why don't you knit yourself a sensible hat? You look ridiculous in this one. 




Benches everywhere benefit from generous knitters and yarn bombers.


http://www.flickr.com/photos/ilovememphis/

Here's a sofa and two chairs which could do with a bit of yarn bombing.





Lady Jessica Brassica: A sauna bench offers all the warmth you need on those chilly October nights. And you don't have to wear anything.




I just love my sauna. It's in the basement of Drizzly Manor, right next to my replica mall. 






Very nice, Lady B. But most of us have to settle for central heating. If we're lucky, we have a fireplace or a woodstove or one of those fake flames made out of orange paper that gets blown around by an electric fan. 

Mungo: The words C and O2 come to mind.

Miggy:   Once settled by the fire, you can enjoy a nice hot bowl of pumpkin soup.





Oh, dear, Migs. You've opened up a discussion I didn't want here. It's about Jench de Bench, who was my French vegetable editor last spring. 






Since Jench disappeared in March I keep hearing from French people demanding to know if I made him into pumpkin soup. 


French people: We are concerned for the safety of Jench de Bench and would like some reassurance that he is safe and well.

Oh for heaven's sake. Here is his house in Potirons in France. Does this satisfy you?


www.lejardinetdesigns.com

Non.

I thought I made it clear that no French editors or translators were harmed in the making of that Soup du Jour. Anyway, pas des problems, mes amies. JENCH WILL RETURN!

I don't normally shout but it's justified this time because October 22nd is CAPS LOCK DAY. 

CAPS LOCK DAY and the seasonal pumpkins remind me how time moves on. 

It seems like only yesterday that Root, son of Lord Brassica and heir to Drizzly Manor, was supposed to marry Tamsin Pink. Raucous Root and Timid Tamsin were ill-suited from the start but fortunately sweet Tamsin had cold (and very large green) feet. She called off the wedding at the last minute, so Root married Innocent instead. He didn't want to waste a good Scottish wedding party.

Lord Brassica:  By jove, Innocent is a rather plain girl. Doesn't do herself any justice by dressing like Florence Nightingale.



image from The Pilgrim's Progress


Root and Innocent had a honeymoon in Bracknell, which was relaxing, apparently. That's the best you can say for it. 



www.thecaravangallery.co.uk

So where are they now? Has Root changed his drunken ways? 

No. Most nights Root still gets off his face with his mates at The Dustpan and ipod.





And what about Innocent? Is she really as innocent as she appears?  

Miggy: After the Bracknell honeymoon, Innocent started looking more relaxed, even though she still dressed like the downstairs staff at Downton Abbey.




Root's mother, Lady Jessica Brassica: I didn't think much of Innocent at first. I fainted dead away at the wedding and spent the whole of the reception being revived by my therapist, who was ordered in from Young Male Therapists dot com.



©Charles Shapiro@Dreamstime

Miggy:  Golly, this looks like a guy who really knows how to listen. 

Lady B: Now that it's autumn and the season for reading, I have a Young Male Reader every night.





Lord Brassica: The therapy and/or the literature have done wonders for my wife.

Keen to get her new daughter-in-law more stylish, Lady B sent Innocent over to Overbearing in Holland for a makeover by Joop, her personal designer. 

Joop: I have already achieved some surprising results for Innocent with this Yarn-Bomb dress from my autumn collection. 







Lord Brassica: What ho, Innocent scrubs up nicely.

Miggy: If I looked as good as this I'd give up cake.

No, you wouldn't, Migs. You would never give up cake.

Miggy: True. Here are some cakes from my autumn collection.





We seem to have a lot of autumn collections going on here.

Miggy: Yes. It's autumn. 

Lady Brassica: I'd like to model the Downton Abbey Dress now that it's trending. Here is a perfect frontcover photo for Vogue where I am in a cozy domestic scene with the Aga and my husband's dog Pru.






Joop: Too late, Lady B. Innocent has already taken the Downton Abbey Dress to a new level. 





Lord Brassica: I say, Innocent looks smashing in that dress.

Miggy: I think it's just an apron, isn't it? An apron with nothing on under it.

Lord Brassica: Tally ho, Migs, I think you're right! 

Lady B: It's after August Bank Holiday, dahhhhling. Doesn't she know wearing white is fashion suicide?

Joop (with a deep sigh): Of course the apron dress is from my spring collection. 

Tamsin liked the look of Joop's Yarn Bomb dress so she got in touch with her friend Norah and asked for some wool. Here's Tamsin's version of the dress.




And here's another Yarn Bomb dress from Joop's autumn collection. It's made from Joop's lovely angora wool with its soft and delicate threads.




Lord B: By jove, that Innocent is jolly presentable!


Joop: Innocent has told me she likes the thought of the delicate threads of this dress unravelling. 



Hmmmm . . . 

Miggy:  And speaking of unravelling, we need to get started knitting for our benches.

Miggy's Mum: I've already organised some Yarn Bombing Thursdays. Bring along your needles and hooks and we'll all get to work. 





Oh yes, there are sooooo many cold benches out there needing our help.






Credits

Have you fallen for autumn benches? If so, you'll be surprised at how much stuff falls in, on and around benches  http://benchsite.blogspot.co.uk/2014/10/falling-for-autumn-benches.html   If the log benches here have warmed your heart there's a special post about log benches at http://benchsite.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/log-benches-just-logs-and-cake.html   Warning: this post also contains cake.

Roger Hiorns is a British artist, born in 1975 in Birmingham. He attended Goldsmiths College and the Bournville Center for Visual Arts. He was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2009. He creates fictional scenarios which are made real through his use of ordinary objects and materials, such as benches. In his 2010 Youth series, which is untitled, a scene is activated at intervals, involving a bench, a small fire and a naked young man who contemplates the fire. The photograph shown here is by Gert Jan van Rooij and is shown courtesy of the artist and his representatives, Corvi-Mora, London. It comes from the Hiorns exhibition at the De Hallen Gallery in the Netherlands; thanks also to Annelieke van Halen at www.dehallen.nl  Roger Hiorns is currently exhibiting at the Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield.

His Excellency is quoting from William Cowper's 1785 poem The TaskThe blank verse poem includes six books, three of which are set in winter: Oh winter! King of intimate delights, Fireside enjoyments, home-born happiness!  

For more cold benches, indeed frozen ones, check out these Frozen! benches from Snowvenia  http://benchsite.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/frozen-ice-cold-benches-from-snowvenia.html

The cozy claystove with a bench is in a house in northern Germany. It was photographed by  Ralph Oesker in 2005

The log bench is in the main square of Hartberg, Styria. It was photographed by Herzi Pinki in 2008
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bench_in_Hartberg.jpg?uselang=en-gb

And speaking of logs, His Excellency had another mishap with some log benches the following year http://benchsite.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/log-benches-just-logs-and-cake.html

Doug lives in Montreal and photographs lovely things in Quebec like autumn leaves, and luscious-looking food, and the log bench with white chairbacks. This design of bench is not unique to Quebec though; Dutch designer Jurgen Beys made a very upmarket Tree Trunk Bench back in 1998, which is one of my Alphabet of Dutch Benches Doug's photostream is at  http://www.flickr.com/photos/caribb/  and he's also on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.  

I have two husbands. One is Mungo, my imaginary husband. The other is His Excellency, who is a philosopher rather than a practical person. It would be fair to say that everything he turns his hand to ends in disaster. See what happened to my designer log bench in autumn 2014. But you'll understand if you know his history. See how my two husbands keep their workbenches.

Dave Thomas is a biology professor at Lyon College in Batesville, Arkansas. Given his profession, his photostream has a lot of amazing stuff, like closeups of frogs and bats and the walls of caves. And logs. You can find a lot of wildlife in and around logs, whether or not the logs are benches.    http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidjthomas/  He describes himself as an avid (rabid?) amateur photographer. 

Sean Rutter, aka misterpulcri, is from London. He took the autumn photograph of the bench with leaves, entitled Bench. Woolies. Bracknell in 2009.  Woolies in this context has nothing to do with yarn: the bench was located near the Woolworths store in Bracknell and Sean got the photo shortly before Woolies closed down. I can't help but wonder if the bench is still there and if so, might it be one of the Relaxing benches shown on the Bracknell postcard. Sean's photostream is at http://www.flickr.com/photos/finbar/  It includes, among other things, bicycles, travel, and an amazing number of English breakfasts. 



The yarn-bombed bench is from from Mary, who customarily celebrates all kinds of things, including benches http://uncustomary.org/   Mary makes human rainbows, decorates public parks, covers dumpsters with colourful stickers and yes, yarnbombs benches. Mary England is 25 and lives in Baltimore. She has a degree in psychology and used to work in a psychiatric centre but now she has time for creating and celebrating. All good wishes, Mary! And many thanks for the reminder about CAPS LOCK DAY. 

Waiting Patiently for Spring is one of the many great flapper drawings by Kate Gabrielle at Flapperdoodle in Princeton, New Jersey. There is even a flapper jumping into a pile of autumn leaves. Kate makes Flapperdoodles for cards, calendars, paper goods, and gifts. You'll be amazed at what you can do with a flapperdoodle!  www.etsy.com/shop/Flapperdoodle

If spring is more your thing than autumn you can spring into some springy yellow benches at http://benchsite.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/springy-yellow-benches.html

Memphis CVB, aka I Love Memphis, photographs all the people and things that makes Memphis awesome. One of the things I like about Memphis is the knitters who yarn bombed the Brooks Museum of Art in March 2013. The benches around the museums, and the handrails of the steps and just about everything else were wrapped in beautiful colours of wool. Memphis CVB was fortunately there to photograph it. Her photostream is at  http://www.flickr.com/photos/ilovememphis/

The bench in smart grey knit is by Shannon Robalino, previously of California, now living in the UK.  http://www.flickr.com/photos/n0nnahs/   It's part of a set of benches across England using local breeds of sheep to make the wool and knit by local people. Benches are set in the countryside as usable public art. They were all brought together for the Shipley Lates night on crafting in 2010. What a great project! You can see the whole flock of benches at podprojects.org/projects/current/a-flock-of-benches 


The beautiful autumn forest is near Heidelberg, photographed by Adiel lo in Nov. 2008
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bench_forest,_Heidelberg.JPG

The first leaf bench is in the Coombes Valley Reserve in the Churnet Valley near Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire.  It is owned by the RSPB as a nature reserve for birds and other wildlife. The leaf bench was photographed in 2011 by Jonathan Kington for Geograph, shown at http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/2275108

The pretty leaf agate pink and yellow fairy bench is from Faelinn's Mystic Design Factory in Colorado Springs. Faelinn creates faerie houses, furniture and accessories like leaves and mushrooms. There are lovely seasonal faerie scenes for autumn and Christmas, plus handpainted jewelry, pendants, cigarette cases and faerie houses. Faelinn's mystical shop is at www.etsy.com/shop/mysticdesignfactory  

The leaf seat in West Bromich was taken in 2009 by Tony Hisgett from Birmingham, originally for his Flickr photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/hisgett/3613470189/   It also appears on Wiki Commons at
On a Park Bench is a 2007 photograph of a Christmas light man by Rafiq Sarlie in Sandton, South Africa. I found it at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:On_a_park_bench,_Rafiq_Sarlie.jpg The original source is  http://www.flickr.com/photos/rafiqs/2129015005

The lit up pumpkins were at The Pumpkin House in Kenova, West Viriginia in 2010. The 3,000 pumpkins were photographed by Frank Pierson at 2 am so he could avoid the crowds who came to see them. Frank is a paramedic from West Virginia who says he has discovered photograph and totally fallen for it. He does pets, portraits and lots of night shots. And he also likes to play with fire. His photostream is at http://www.flickr.com/photos/frankpierson/

Sheila B took the photo of the stacked up lounge chairs in Cyprus at the end of the tourist season last October. She's living in Cyprus again this year so I look forward to another collection of colourful and brilliant photos.

Colonel Maize is retired from the Royal Air Force. During his long career in the RAF he was known for his husky voice and his corny jokes. He also has a good ear for rap music. His Kernel of Truth DVD is yet to be released on Youtube. 

The oak leaf bench is by Andrew Frost, a wood sculptor in Derbyshire, UK. Andrew sculpts all kinds of beautiful things out of wood; animals, totems, furniture, storytelling benches - he'll take commissions for sculpting anything you like. www.treeart.co.uk

The trug with my harvest is actually our cats' bed in the sunroom here at La Casa Perfecta.  You can read all about cat benches at http://benchsite.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/cat-benches-for-world-cat-day.html    Once or twice a year I requisition the trug* to gather in our harvest of vegetables, fruit and berries. After a cold spring and a slow start, 2013 has been a bumper crop.  *turf cats out

The dreary bench would not have been picture-worthy had it not had a question-mark behind it, questioning its very existence. In fact, I question the existence of many benches here on Paradise Island. Most of them are distinctly lacking in imagination. As I spend every day online looking at fabulous benches, I am dismayed to live among ugly benches like this one. For a real mess of British Brexit benches see http://benchsite.blogspot.co.uk/2016/07/a-fine-old-mess-of-british-benches.html

The autumn benches in Frydek-Mistek were photographed in October 2010 by Daniel Baranek. Frydek-Mistek is a city in the Moravian-Silesian region near Ostrava. As far as I can tell, the bench has something to do with the Czech composer BedÅ™icha Smetany http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:M%C3%ADstek,_sady_Bed%C5%99icha_Smetany,_podzim_04.jpg

The lovely snow couple were photographed in Edinburgh Botanic Garden in 2010 by Magnus Hagdorn. They are available on Wiki Commons at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Snowmen_at_Edinburgh_Botanic_Garden,_Edinburgh,_Scotland-5Dec2010.jpg   You can see more frozen and snowy people at home in Snowvenia at http://benchsite.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/frozen-ice-cold-benches-from-snowvenia.html

The Paris bench is in Park Monceau in October 2010, photographed by Paris Sharing Flickr, which I found at   
 http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Parc_Monceau_in_October_2010.jpg

Lord Brassica has become something of an authority on picnic benches. With a great deal of upper-class je ne sais quoi he will guide you through the what's-what of picnic benches at http://benchsite.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/lord-brassicas-guide-to-picnic-benches.html  Being a gentleman farmer, he knows a thing or two about horse benches. And sheep.  And dogs. Not so much about cows.  

Beck calls herself Girl Interrupted Eating and her Flickr photographs show why. Beck lives in Bristol and looks to be something of an expert on British fungi and lichen. Her photostream and sets are full of beautifully photographed food and growing things, like the Lactarius Torminosus, or Woolly Milkcap fungi to you and me. I did honestly think this was a sweet little woolly bench when I first saw it. Goes to show what you can learn from benches, doesn't it? http://www.flickr.com/photos/beckayork/


The Three Carved Benches were near Llangollen Canal, photographed by Paul Farmer for Geograph in 2009
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Three_Carved_Benches_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1243928.jpg?uselang=en-gb

The aspen sauna benches are from a Finnish sauna, photographed in 2009 by Riisipuuro
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sauna_benches.jpg?uselang=en-gb


Jench de Bench was recommended to me from vegetables editors dot com. He edited my post in March about Edible Benches and it didn't end well. Let's just say that the post ends with two bowls of pumpkin soup and Jench has not been seen since. However, he hails from Potirons in France and a photo of his house is shown here. The pumpkin garden house was designed by Dallas Arboretum. The image is from Karen at www.lejardinetdesigns.com  Details of the garden house can be seen on Karen's blog. 

Sadly, Tamsin, though cute, has very short legs and big green feet.  Joop therefore finds her unsuitable for modelling his collections. Indeed he had a great deal of trouble trying to fit her in a wedding dress for her ill-fated wedding to Root. But come autumn, Tamsin likes to be on-trend. with a Yarn Bomb dress. As she couldn't afford to buy one from Joop, Nora kindly donated her own wool.

What can I say about Innocent? She appeared out of nowhere and married Root on July 8, 2013. Her picture comes from The Pilgrim's Progress, 1683, by John Bunyan. Innocent in that story was a character who . . .  But in my story, now that she has been re-styled by Joop, Innocent is taking on a life of her own. Lord Brassica seems pleased with the results. I expect Root is too, though he may not have noticed as he is rather drunk and rather slow to pick up on things. Lady Brassica, I think, has yet to be convinced. For more about Innocent's nursing and fashion past, see   
http://benchsite.blogspot.co.uk/2016/05/nurse-benches-for-international-nurses.html  Lady B, meanwhile, has moved on to run her own fashion house at Ballyfrumpy in Ireland.

The Caravan Gallery describes itself as seriously thought-provoking, distressingly perceptive, beautifully absurd. If you have a look at their gallery you'll see why.  Relaxing Bracknell was sent to me by Jan at The Caravan Gallery www.thecaravangallery.co.uk I have been saving it all this time and then what do you know, Root and Innocent decided to go to Bracknell for their honeymoon; serendipity or what?

Having looked at thousands of images for Benchsite, The Caravan Gallery is still one of my favourite places. Jan and her colleagues travel all around the UK and elsewhere finding, capturing, and exhibiting little slices of life. Here is the Caravan Gallery in London.



www.thecaravangallery.co.uk

The Young Male Therapist is called Guy Waiting for You and is by photographer Charles Shapiro at Dreamstime  http://www.dreamstime.com/guy-waiting-for-you-free-stock-photos-imagefree247718 

Miggy's Autumn Collection of cakes includes ginger cake, banana and walnut cake, and Apple Chai loaf. The latter is delicious with a dollop of applesauce and a whirl of whipped cream. Go easy on the whipped cream though, otherwise you won't be able to squeeze into a Yarn Bomb creation. For some tasty cake benches see  http://benchsite.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/log-benches-just-logs-and-cake.html

Winding the Skein is a painting by Lord Frederic Leighton, made in about 1878. It is currently in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, made available on Wikimedia through the Google Art Project 





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