Friday, 23 December 2011

Last minute Christmas Card!

I'd decided that this year I wouldn't have the time to make any Christmas cards. But, well you know how it is - two weeks to go and I think 'That's plenty of time' . . . . what!!

So last Saturday I cut some lino and got to printing, pronto.
Making a plate for the snowflakes.

Impatiently waiting for them to dry - I positioned a heater underneath which did help a little.
Sunday morning and making the proofs for the second plate while listening to Coope Boyes and Simpson. Being 'guarded' by Rufus, who likes to snooze in the doorway so he can pretend to keep an eye on the world and young Flynn who is much happier sitting outside keeping an eye on the path to my shed, so he can be the first to welcome any visitors.

Hanging up to dry on Sunday morning.
I took them all into the house and propped them on the radiators to dry off over night!

Wishing you a Very Merry Christmas and all the things you'd wish for yourself for 2012.

Friday, 16 December 2011

An Inventory of Al-Mutanabbi Street

I last mentioned this project  back in August, where has the summer gone!? It is so nearly Christmas. . . . now I sit with two small dogs curled up beneath my desk and listening to a Cold Play concert.

My trusty little wooden press.
These few images show me putting together my ideas for An Inventory of Al-Mutanabbi Street.
Family grief lent a bitter edge to my thoughts for this project which grew out of hurt and death. I thought of all those that lost loved ones and the fragility of life and the strength of a family to endure such loss when it is out of time. The project is both a lament and a commemoration of the singular power of words; words said, words not said, words remembered. . . .

The targeted attack on this 'street of the booksellers', such indiscriminate brute force to maim and kill, is ultimately futile. 

Books and libraries have been destroyed countless times, since 48 BC with the destruction of the Library of Alexandria, through Nazis Germany up to and including al-Mutanabbi Street. But, books will persevere because of the people who make them. 

And, as reliable as the turning of the seasons more poets, writers, artists and philosophers will bring their ideas into the light. 

My root goes deep,
far deeper than any History.

I belong in this place;
belong to this place
So pull me up, and
discard me even

and always a little bit of me
will continue into the light.

although the children
of my children’s children
will not know my name,

still, I remain
like cherry blossom,
falling gently

into a clean blue sky.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman

I went with my friend Diana to see The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman, a Grayson Perry curated exhibition at the British Museum

He sets his new work alongside items, from the BM's collection, made by unidentified and anonymous crafts people. He uses these objects as a way of scrutinising a range of themes connected with our notions of craftsmanship and pilgrimage, ranging from holy relics, magic and shamanism to identity and contemporary culture.
Oh, and motor bikes. . . . .
Alan Measles' stunt double enthroned.
My absolute two favourite pieces. The delightful Our Mother and Our Father. Both pilgrims on the road of history, carrying the weight of many different cultures and conflicts . . . and, er, pretty much the kitchen sink in the exemplification that is, Our Mother
Tomb is well worth a visit, although I must admit to feeling a little envious that Perry could rummage at will through the museum's collection. The exhibition continues until the 19 February 2012

The BM is stuffed so full of goodies it's always worth a sketchbook trip, and the building itself is interesting. An impressive use of space, the Great Court in the BM is the largest covered public square in Europe, enclosed under a spectacular glass and steel roof.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Advent calendar for grown ups!

Now the children are grown and flown the nest buying an advent calendar isn't quite the same (calendars are just tooo cutesy) and anyway, I certainly don't need extra temptation to eat chocolate. 

But how could I resist this Lovely Letterpress advent calendars from Hazel Grainger.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Froxfield winter exhibition

I'm glad to say I finished the teasel woodcuts in time to include them in our winter show. 

This was a good thing, because the blue and brown combo was the first print to sell.
Here we are (the fabulous four!) just before opening the doors to our visitors. Me, trying to hide behind Normandy, Arran and Lorraine.

A big thank you to everyone who dropped by.

We had a good time this weekend. Visitors numbers somewhere between 250 and 300, more than in previous years, and our Saturday evening party was buzzy and great fun. 
Our village hall scrubs up nicely for the exhibition. Hungerford Camera Club loans out the screens to us, and I think the black shows the work surprisingly well.
This shot shows some of my work and my ongoing preoccupation with landscape. 
Arran's work, you can see she's a very adept painter.
Normandy's work, this year showing his new 'Drip' paintings.
And, a passionate photographer, Lorraine's work shows a great variety of subject matter.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Last minute linocut!!

I decided yesterday to make a new linocut, we hold our winter show this weekend and I don't think I have enough new work. Arrrrrrrrgh.

Over the years I've collected various dried seed heads and bits of interesting looking plant material, which I keep in the shed. From time to time I make thumbnail sketches so I enlarged one of those and got to work.
As I work I change colours. 

Keeping the background colour the same or similar throughout and over printing with cool colours or warm colours changes the mood of a print. Each becoming different from the rest.
I pushed on and printed three colours today, they'll have a bit of time to dry tomorrow when I'm invigilating at New View the BANA Arts annual show, and I can finish them on Thursday.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Block printing with linocut

We need new curtains for our snug and I've been toying with the idea of printing my own design. But it's an awful long time since I printed any textiles which means I'll need to do plenty of experimentation - this is good, it will be fun to play around for a bit. 

We also need a very small blind for the downstairs loo, so that's what I'll start with. That way I only need to print a couple of metres of cloth as apposed to printing about 12!
I don't have easy access to screen printing equipment and studio so I went back to my roots and played around with some simple block printing onto cloth. 

I used existing bits of lino because I wanted to experiment with the technique but once I feel I've mastered that, I'll work out a design and make the plates specifically for this project. It will give me the perfect excuse to get my old textile books down from the shelf and pay the V&A a visit.

By inking each plate individually you can achieve really 'clean' shapes, then printing onto paper or cloth the ideas start to form and I can see how printing 12 metres is possible!

I think I've just found a new use for our kitchen table, hurrah!

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Froxfield Winter Show

As the year turns full circle it's time again for our Winter exhibition and last week I collected 1000 invites.

Almost all of them are now distributed so Arran, Lorraine, Normandy and me are all keeping our fingers crossed that both old and new friends drop by to say hello, look at our recent work and join us for a glass of wine on either the 26th or 27th November.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Glorious Autumn Colour

Yesterday was the most glorious day. A soft blue sky and a warm sun - amazing considering November is only 3 days away.
I think the garden colours rival those we saw at Westonbirt last week.
I'm not a big fan of spiders. 

I have been know to exit squeaking and at speed at the sight of large and hairy specimens, but aren't spiders webs just wonderful?
A gentle stroll takes us out of Froxfield, passing by a pretty, rickety gate and up and over the hill to the canal.
En-route there's an autumnal bountifulness of old man's beard and fruiting ivy. It is a really luscious day.
Mr B and me with surprisingly well behaved puppy dogs.
We had such gentle sunshine, such warm still air and perfect reflections in the water, that on such a day as this, we could do no other than be grateful and to count our blessings.