Thursday 24 January 2013

Rebirth at the RA

I don't much like the dull grey mornings we've had recently, so the snow is most welcome as it lights everything up. 

Looking out over the garden gate,
. . . checking the girls before I shoot off, Elvis sensibly under shelter,

and our village winterbourne looking its best!

I was on my way to the train station, and on the journey into London I was surprised to discover that the countryside all the way from wild Wiltshire through to inner London had a covering of snow.

While in town I took the chance to visit the RA, Burlington Gardens and see the Mariko Mori exhibition Rebirth. It was wonderful, quite meditative and very beautiful, some pieces holding an echo of James Turrell.

Mori's research has taken her to prehistoric Jomon sites in Japan where stone circles exist from 2000 to 1000 BC and in common with the stone circles we have in the UK there's a great deal of mystery surrounding them. 

Often there is an alignment with the rising or the setting of the Sun (or Moon), hence their association with the solstice, and this exhibition was timed to coincide with last Decembers winter solstice. Which according to ancient calendars will mark either the end of the world or the birth of a new era. 

The exhibition begins with one of Mori's best-known pieces, Tom Na H-iu II, in the form of a large light monolith of glass and steel. A standing stone no less.

The lights within Tom Na H-iu are connected to a computer at the Institute of Cosmic Ray Research at the University of Tokyo. As the centre detects the particles, or neutrinos, arising from radioactive decay in the atmosphere so the lights within the monolith flash and fade and change colour depending on what sort of particle is being detected.
luminous version of Avebury . . .
returning home in time to take a small dog for a walk.

Wednesday 16 January 2013


Poet Beau Beausoleil read Turning to me and I felt the hair on the back of my neck stand up . . . it seemed to speak of much that has happened in mine and the lives of close friends over these past few years. So I couldn't believe my good fortune when I received an email to see if I'd like to work with it.

Usually it takes me a while to get started, turning thumbnail sketches into small mock-ups, knowing I'll discard most of what I initially make. 

However, I found myself tearing paper and stitching (something I haven't done for a while) an idea having arrived in a rush. And like a river carried along by the surprise of my own unfolding I just allowing it to flow through me, almost as if I'd disengaged my conscious brain . . . . 

Exploring my initial thoughts, with text broken up and sprinkled throughout.
Then as luck would have it, 1st born was working from Mr B's study today (fantastic! we got to sit and chat over a leisurely lunch) and mentioned that the hole I'd torn looked a little heart shaped, 

and a new page emerged . . .
and another
and another
another . . .
another . . ?
until we arrive at the complete poem.
Of course I must now give some consideration to production.

Will I tear each page individually? or laser cut? How will I print; letterpress? digital? relief? What size edition? How will it be bound? . . . is this the right format? or do I develop further prototypes? 

. . . actually, this may just take me some time!

Thursday 10 January 2013

Walking the New Year in . . .

I was lucky enough to visit Suffolk just after Christmas. Me and Mr B took ourselves off for a couple of days quiet mooching after all the hectic business of the festivities, lovely though that was.

Along the coast, just north of Aldeburgh, is the amazing and wonderful Scallop. An exciting sculpture by Maggi Hambling to celebrate Benjamin Britten.

Pierced through the steel is the phrase I hear those voices that will not be drowned which is taken from Britten's opera Peter Grimes, itself based on a work by the Aldeburgh poet, George Crabbe.
Looking north along the beach from the Scallop. The shingle and the immediate inland area is really very flat, so you may imagine the impact of this sculpture as you approach. And even on a cold grey winters day I had to wait a while before I could photograph it without other visitors in my viewfinder!
We're fortunate to have lots of local footpaths and bridleways (most days find me dog walking somewhere) Here on the edge of whitehill coppice the wild weather has brought trees down. 

I found myself wondering if this oak will be left for wildlife to make use of, rather than tidied away. . . it made me feel a little sad to see such a big old tree down.

I must warn you, I'm about to have a bit of a grumble . . . this is the road that runs up from the back of our house, as you can see fairly rural, (and a great walk if I only have 30 minutes to exercise Rufus)
why is it then that there is rubbish on the verges? It must be thrown from cars, so, why not take it home? . . . numpties. (and, yes I do collect it up)
On a more cheerful note, (away from roads and cars) there is nothing to distract from our marvellous countryside, lichen glowing in a sudden burst of sunshine. I included my shadow just to illustrate that we do get sunshine!
Although it's still fairly wet and muddy at the bottom of the hill,

this clearly shows where rainfall has run and cut a groove, exposing some old brickwork underneath.
I love teasels, sketching and photographing them summer and winter. I remember being intrigued to discover their use in the textile industry (when I was a textile person) in raising the nap on wool.

Nowadays, I like that they attract bees and finches. I think these may be germinating seeds from other plants that have fallen into the flower head. I'll wait to see what emerges.