From the diary: Kirov

lazure in Kirov
For a few weeks in 2001, I was voluntary lazure painting in Kirov, Russia. It was in a State Orphanage that accommodated up to seventy children aged 4-5 years. The photo (two together for a better view) is from a section of the entrance area but we also managed to lazure the corridors leading to the bedrooms.
When the work was finished, the staff organised a tea party and I was given cards drawn by the children and a couple of beautifully crafted gifts. Later, when music started playing, a cute little girl took me by the hand and led me to the front to dance…I still blush when I think about it!

Lemniscate

A figure-eight shaped curve whose equation in polar coordinates is ρ2=a2 cos 2θ

In algebraic geometry a lemniscate may refer to any of several figure eight shaped curves. The word comes from the Latin “lēmniscātus” meaning “decorated with ribbons.”

In lazure painting it is the ‘brushing out’ technique of the translucent glazes.

Herr Diesbach

One day in around 1704, a Herr Diesbach was settling down to make carmine lake according to a tried and tested recipe – mixing ground up cochineal, alum and ferrous sulphate, then precipitating it all with an alkali – when he realised he had run out of alkali. He borrowed some from his boss, but did not realise it had been distilled with animal oil. Suddenly, to his amazement, he found blue instead of red in his flask. The clue is in the ‘animal’ element: the mixture had contained blood, which contains iron. Diesbach had unwittingly created iron ferrocyanide, which was dubbed ‘Prussian blue’ and was instantly popular, particularly as a house paint.

From Travels through the Paintbox by Victoria Finlay.

Dracula - northern ballet