Toot le Monde

I have a Toot post for you this week even though I won't actually be doing the market. I'll be working with one of my favourite artists instead, so that's nice, and I shall tell you how that goes another time. But my week does seem eerily calm without a market day in the middle of it and the Toot is piling up around my toes.PhotobucketSome African beads - the necklace is my favourite, it's real big and chunky.Photobucket PhotobucketA little beaded purse.PhotobucketA pewter flask. I keep buying pewter these days, I think it's the colour and that it gets beaten up so nice.PhotobucketA A sweety jar with a bobble.PhotobucketA Swedish horse, I like them Swedish horses.PhotobucketA handsome woven plastic mat, when I say handsome I mean that it's got yellow on it. I'm a sucker for yellow.PhotobucketA fish trap, though maybe it isn't a fish trap - I can't decide.PhotobucketAnd two beautiful big platters, perfect for Christmas. They nearly weren't mine because I bought them and left them under a van a fortnight ago, what a dunce. Luckily a nice chum rescued them for me and I finally got to take them home this week.
In the middle of each plate it says - 'Deptford Ragged School', which I love - it sounds very gangly and Dickensian. There's not much on the web about the Ragged School but I reckon I'll poke around a bit and try and find some more.PhotobucketIn other news. A nice chap called Brian gave me a pat down at the market . . . I told him to F**k Off and that that was harassment in the workplace. He laughed: 'ha, ha, ha'.
And then at the car boot (where he also works) he let me in for free, at peak time too - when it's normally a fiver. I thought it was his way of saying sorry for his poor conduct but, with hindsight, I suspect that in his mind it was a reciprocal act - a pat down for free car boot. Dammit! He got a bargain there.


Last week I went to see Thomas Heatherwick's Bleigiessen sculpture. (Heatherwick's the chap who made the cauldron for the olympic flame this year - clever boy.)PhotobucketThe sculpture lives in the main atrium of the Wellcome Institute and is only available for the public to see on organised tours.PhotobucketIt's such an incredible sculpture and much too big to take in really which makes it seem to be constantly changing. You can take the lift up to the top of it (five storeys). It was only a twenty minute tour but very good, I'd recommend it. It's also nice just to be in the Wellcome Institute building, I like to see where people work. Photobucket
Bleigiessen is a German new year tradition that involves heating up lead on your stove(!) until it's molten then pouring it into water - then you use the shape to tell about your future. What a fine tradition, and my chum Marina says she will get me a little Bleigiessen kit when she goes home to Germany. Perfect.

Come into my nest.

I thought I'd show you my studio. I've been spending a lot of time there recently and haven't told you much at all. It's not a tidy place at all, mostly it looks a bit scrappy.PhotobucketThen sometimes it turns into a complete arse-pit and I sit in there eating peas and salad cream and feeling a bit embarassed as my fellow studio members pass by.PhotobucketIt's grown a lot, the furniture is steadily piling up. I don't have many hoarder instincts when it comes to my house but in the studio I'm a chronic gatherer. I've ended up with some pretty nifty bits though - two plan chests, a light-box table, loads of pegboard, a 1940s house coat (see below) and endless trinkety bits that I use to kick-start my brain when it gets tired.PhotobucketThere are lots of lovely folk around in the studio too; who make tea for each other and even leave flowers sometimes. It's quite a quiet studious atmosphere with a lot of people doing very different things.PhotobucketHaving flowers in the studio is lovely but probably a slightly futile act of decoration to be honest: a bit like garnishing a sick-up.PhotobucketHere is my untensil pegboard, it's since become completely overcrowded but it's so handy, you can almost just throw things at it and they stay up there.
You will see some studio produce online soon - and I'm going to be selling at a makers market in December too. I'll keep you posted.

Making drawings.

Last week I was lucky enough to go and work with some dancers and actors. They were making movements and preparing for a performance - a very interesting performance. We spent a lot of time talking and eating olives then I got to sit on the floor and scribble whilst they improvised some movements. Very good.Photobucket





PhotobucketI like the legs at bottom middle best and also the person looking up at top right.

The Strange Story of False Teeth

A nice book for bedtimes this week . . . PhotobucketOk, so I haven't been reading it much - just dipping in and mostly looking at the pictures.PhotobucketSeems false teeth have been around longer than you'd imagine.Photobucketand would often have been made of ivory - poor elephants.PhotobucketPhotobucketThe pictures make me think of that Sweet Toof who's got stuff all over East London . . . because it's pictures of teeth I guess but have a look at the website anyway: I found it interesting.PhotobucketThe illustrations below are my favourite, they're quite hauntingly beautiful in their regularity and the composition is incredible.PhotobucketBut the picture I keep coming back to is this one of a man putting his hand in a young boys mouth, I think it's funny because he doesn't look much like a dentist and putting your hand in someones mouth is such an odd thing to do - so invasive and personal but also ridiculous.PhotobucketYour homework this week is to put your hand in a friends mouth - report back here. Good.

Hop on the good Toot and do the bad thing.

Ok so names for Toot posts aren't coming along great but you guys weren't much help. PhotobucketA nice week for Toot - I befriended a metal-detecting enthusiast. He had lots of stuff to sell, he separated it into piles of cheap and expensive bits and all my favourite pieces were in the cheap pile. Very good. (Victorian ink bottles above)PhotobucketI bought a lot of poison bottles. These weren't actually always for poison directly - it's just there were a lot of poisonous things available to Victorians for use around the house or for treating or beautifying your hair and skin.PhotobucketThe bottles were always made to be distinctive in colour and shape and texture to avoid mix ups.PhotobucketI like the shape of this perfume bottle - probably also green to signify that it's poisonous.PhotobucketPhotobucketA gaggle of stubby ink bottles.PhotobucketThe lady that sold me this told me it was a butter dish but it's obviously part of a special dinner service for mice.PhotobucketThe best clothes dryer ever: it's arms all fold away. Isn't it beautiful?PhotobucketA  few tiny, Mickey teacups.PhotobucketA handsome jug with splendid staples. Which is funny because just today I was reminded of my last mending post because it got linked here - which led me to find this wonderful blog. And, while we're on the subject of mends, look at this beautiful example by a new friend I met at the Knots pop-up (who will take me to a jumble sale soon).PhotobucketAnd here are some beautiful pot lids.PhotobucketI love the fonts and the patterns.PhotobucketAnd for even more fonts, big curly ones - these horse brasses.PhotobucketI love to fondle things that have been under the ground for a long time (this sentence could be taken badly out of context). The patina and the quality of something that's survived that long is wonderful. I also got a lot of Crotal bells, which really get me because they make such beautiful sounds - hear what tones being buried for hundreds of years can produce.
Thank you.


A pair of long-cross pennies, franked in the thirteenth century, made of silver. The cross design in shows how big the coin should be - that's to stop people clipping off bits of silver from the edge . . . hasn't really worked, the one on the right has had it's edges pilfered.PhotobucketThey were probably worth about £10 in goods, you might not to spend it all in one go - and instead of giving change people might just snip them in half or quarters, which I think is quite funny.PhotobucketSo eventually they made the voided-cross penny - the void in the cross acts like a serration to snip along, to make it all official like.PhotobucketAnd this is a very beautiful token - which would have been made by a local shop, a bit like a voucher. (Here are some other bits about cash if you're interested)

Page Three

My Dad runs his business from home, and when I was younger there always used to be one or two people working (repairing pianos if you're curious) in the back shed. I remember one chap especially. He had large white trainers that were done up so tight their toes always strained upwards - towards his belly; which looked like Golden Syrup just about to fall off a spoon. He was balding, and the light smattering of hairs he did have on top of his head were always trying to escape upwards. He had fingers like bundles of chipolatas that he would use to smoosh his glasses back onto his face at regular intervals. He was a very animated speaker but, in fact, a very sedentary person who would trundle around in an office chair to save from getting up.

His most defining attribute, to my young self, is that he would buy Kinder Eggs like you would normal eggs - by the dozen. He was living with his parents at the time and working a good job so I guess he had cash to splash. I was there a lot, naturally, after school or on days off - just helping to eat all that chocolate and make plastic toys. Eventually there was a whole bin-liner full of Kinder toys, imagine that.

Anyway, you would not guess what his newspaper of choice was? . . . That's right! It was The Sun. (For those of you that don't know The Sun - it' a family newspaper that always has a picture of a topless girl on page three) I used to peruse The Sun whilst consuming delicious chocolate shells in fast-forward -om-nom-nom-om-nom-nom. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this newspaper wasn't impenetrable like others, it was easy reading, I could easily educate myself about affairs of the world. I developed a clever knack of flipping the pages so I could casually skip Page Three, or I'd work backwards from Dear Deidre (hilarious) and skip over looking at 'the boobs'. Then when no-one was around I'd have a good look at 'the boobs', read the caption and absorb the overall ambience of the page: the smiling girl in the news.

What did this education give me? A horrendous, stomach-grinding fear. Sometimes I would lay awake, feeling sick with worry that my boobs wouldn't turn out alright. Maybe one would be bigger than the other or they would hang like cushion covers missing their glorious plump. It was terrifying. I won't ask you to imagine the feeling because you know it exactly - it's the feeling of things being out of your control. It's that long shallow breath you take when you don't know if the money will come through in time to pay the bills. It was a fear I couldn't quantify and that I knew I could only resolve years down the line, when the anticipated tits would appear. This is a worry any pre-teen can conjure up but the presence of The Sun cemented it in my mind, it was how I knew that tits were important. I could almost cry just thinking about it - that I was so deeply worried.

Of course I could see boobs other places if I put my mind to it, if I searched them out: which I did. And bums. And willies. And fannies. And my friend did quite a satisfactory re-enactment of Ken and Barbie on their honeymoon. The Sun was different though because I didn't seek it out, I didn't tip-toe into adult territory for a stealthy glance: it was presented to me. I felt the weight of expectation - my chest suddenly was of such gravitas, it had social standing independent of me - it had more social standing than me. It was a make-or-break area. Shit-a-brick . . .

The reason I'm telling you this is because I'm 25 now and I want Page Three gone by the time I have children. It is quite obviously backward and embarrassing. There is a brilliant petition (sign it if you agree) and campaign happening now. I'm behind all the actions completely and I'm going to chase the cause until change happens. Shall we do it together? Maybe you could help? - Make a blogpost or Tweet or do a mucky Facebook all over your friends.
What do you think?

School Posters.

A lot of old school posters going out on the stall tomorrow. Beautiful things.

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Also, a funny thing. I keep selling things to a very nice man at the market and last week he told me he buys them for Helena Christensen - she just loves my stuff, which is pretty amazing . . . only I didn't know that because I didn't really know who she was at the time. Then I looked at The Selby and there she is: a very famous model and Selby photographing her apartment for Vogue . . . her apartment which probably has authentic Toot toot in it. Not bad eh?
If you'd like to purchase some authentic Toot toot just like Helena Christensen pop down to Spitalfields tomorrow.
Thank you.