Sunday, 9 April 2017

Landscape and Literature at the Wealden and Downland Living Museum

Just back from a glorious day at Singleton at this event - incredible sunshine and bursting buds and birdsong, and a splendid gallery of speakers organised by writer Suzanne Joinson, author of two good novels I've enjoyed, The Photographer's Wife and A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar . In the morning there was a great presentation by Alexandra Harris ( Weatherlands and The Romantic Moderns) starting off a discussion with Suzanne which then widened out to include us all; then Clare Best introduced and launched her new book done with Mary Anne Aytoun-Ellis Springlines (available now from Little Toller) - from dew-ponds to ancient wells via hammer ponds and other hidden stretches of water; there will be an exhibition from the project 9th June to 23 September in Tunbridge Wells with Mary Anne's artworks.

In the afternoon poets Sasha Dugdale and James Simpson read from their work and discussed how the West Sussex landscape had inspired them and referred back to certain themes which had been cropping up throughout the day - a fascinating and in the end very wide ranging and pertinent discussion about the role of the artist and poet in difficult times and within a global perspective, enhanced by Sasha'a experiences at events meeting poets from around the world and touching on political and ecological issues.

All in all a really interesting day in a beautiful venue and the best possible weather.
Here are a couple of views of the Reddleman's Daughter books I did with James for those visiting this site after the event. ....

Here a some pages from the original book

and the cover

Monday, 3 April 2017

Back from BABE

As usual a very nice experience with good friends old and new on both sides of the table. The sun shone and the Arnolfini is in a beautiful spot ( the road works locally and part closure of the M4 the only fly in the ointment for some people). Sarah Bodman looks after us all brilliantly with excellent organisation and tea, coffee and cake. This year her colleague Stephen Fowler was running a BABE passport scheme for the public - visitors could collect an empty passport from the passport control office and have it stamped at participating tables. ( All very topical). My grandsons enjoyed collecting and stamping our communal passport as well as seeing the books at the fair.

I think this might be my first (and possibly last) ever selfie!
And we now have indefinite leave to stay at the Arnolfini - quite a relief. P is looking fierce because he's remembering the M4 and concentrating on willing the tea trolley to appear

Friday, 24 March 2017

BABE at Bristol Arnolfini

I will be exhibiting at BABE next weekend - it is always a reliably good book fair and a brilliant event. I sadly missed it last time as was in Boscastle talking about witchcraft, which was fun too - but really looking forward to seeing everybody again in Bristol; do please come and find me - I'm sharing a stand with Peter - Altazimuth Press; we are against the wall in Gallery Three - middle stand of 5.

And talking of paradise - I was at a lovely event at the Bodleian Library yesterday looking at medieval books all day....Redesigning the Medieval Book

a workshop and competition for book artists
at the Bodleian Library, Oxford

In winter 2017-18 at the Bodleian Library in Oxford, an exhibition Designing English: Early Literature on the Page will show the page design of English literature in handwritten manuscripts and inscriptions across the Middle Ages. It will range through the first thousand years of written English, from Old English picture books to early Tudor plays and manuals for handling swans, from stray notes scratched into Anglo-Saxon herbals and fragments of lost songs in the margins, to learned masterpieces placed centre-page and framed by illustration and gilded borders. It will celebrate the craft of the scribes, painters and engravers who designed these pages and other objects to make English writing speak to people clearly and with authority.

To complement that exhibition, they have set up a competition and exhibition for contemporary book artists: Redesigning the Medieval Book,inviting book artists to design and make new books inspired by medieval manuscripts from the exhibition. A meeting and workshop yesterday was for artists and craftspeople of any specialism who engage with books in their work, including bookbinders, papermakers, calligraphers, illustrators, graphic designers, handpress printers, sculptors, graphic designers, digital artists and other it will be interesting to see how the entries turn out....

Looking at the books and seeing how they work and are made was really inspiring; I am always fired up by medieval artefacts anyway - I like the organic materials and the sturdy straightforward approach. All the books we looked at were actually written and drawn by hand so I think I am looking forward to making something without printing for a change...

All the images are copyright of the Bodleian; more on this project as things progress. A shortlist of entries will be selected for a public exhibition at the Bodleian Library in Oxford from 1 December 2017, which will run alongside the exhibition of medieval manuscripts which inspired them. So some of these books will be shown then; worth making a note in the diary - the exhibition will be on until the 30th january 2018.

Friday, 24 February 2017

New Year Update

I have been meaning to write a post and the arrival of our local Linklater Wildlife Trust newsletter prompted me to post this - click on the link and go to page 7 to see an update on our Spaces in Between book and a talk I gave before Christmas very kindly  put in by John Parry.

Lewes Printmakers are currently fired up by thinking about our next book which will focus on Lewes Trees ( seem to be too many of them suddenly and inexplicably disappearing recently...) - we have some wonderful old trees, some with historical associations, such as those in Grange Gardens which once belonged to John Evelyn

In the same email batch was the good news that our local fight to prevent the Old Turkish Baths - a historic Lewes Building associated with George Gilbert Scott - has so far been saved from being yet another Italian restaurant -(I mean how much more pizza can Lewes folk eat ?) with the council splendidly agreeing to looking into it becoming more of a much needed community space.

I am in the final throes of  writing my book about women artists - to be published next year - more details of this due course, and have two big artist book projects on the go for the rest of the year.
Again pictures in due course and some details of talks related to the women  later in the spring and summer - watch this space....

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Gone to Earth...

but first we went to water; have just had a wonderful trip to Amsterdam to see Dame Antonia Byatt receive the Erasmus Prize, feeling truly honoured and amazingly moved to be in Europe hearing inspiring speeches about the culture that binds us and the importance of recognising the importance of the arts and writing in these fractured times.
'The aim of the Erasmus prize is to carry the spirit of Erasmus - critical, undogmatic thinking, with an emphasis on the power of the imagination - into literature.'
The new laureate, praised for her 'life-writing', herself gave an enlightening, witty and wonderful speech and time for a moment stood still.

The next few days we spent at a life-affirming exhibition about Tingueley at the Stedelik


to the Meermanno Museum of the Book in The Hague, founded by two youthful cousins at the turn of the eighteenth nineteenth century, Wiilem van Weestreenen and Johan Meerman. The museum is in an original house decorated in the style of the time with their collections of antiques and collectables alongside their library of rare books dating from earliest times - even Egyptian papyrus - and there is a small display on the history of printing up to contemporary times. Its a treasure, alongside the Mauritshuis - two treasures in one day.

Back in Amsterdam we enjoyed a conceptual intervention in the Oude Kerk and the van Gogh Museum , where the early works were particularly interesting to see and there was an excellent special exhibition grouping Van Gogh, Monet and Daubigny ( among others). The Daubigny's reminded me of my early passion for being completely enfolded by nature, living well off the beaten track with my goats, ducks and chickens ( and children and cats) and painting incredibly green paintings of grass and leaves......

It wasn't always summer.......

which leads me on to my next up engagement - taking part in  the 2016 Theoretical Archaeology Conference in Southampton next week: exhibiting in the exhibition Sightations and giving a paper about my work in the session called Gone to Earth. I am really excited about this - it is just over 25 years since I was last involved with this conference when I was working on Rituals and Relics, an eighteen month residency on The Downs funded by ESCC and S E Arts...
now my life has spiralled around again, working with a different group of friends and colleagues and looking at my Artists Books now from this angle and seeing how my work has changed - or not - in intent, just in the way it now looks....

old style...( Blogger doesn't like vertical images so has squashed the Whitehawk Skeleton in an extraordinary way - but I rather like it.....)

and ( in horizontal mode only unfortunately...)

My talk is called, Sir Thomas Browne and the Man in the Moon, The Falcon Bride and an Elegy for Donegal - a look at some of my Artists Books as repositories of collective memory and buried beliefs.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Fun Fun Fun

More theatres, ( and see below ) and more in my head ....but I should be doing other things....

come and see them at the Tom Paine Printing Press shop 151 High Street, Lewes ( opposite the Bull House where Paine lived and worked) on late night shopping night thursday 1st December from about 5pm onwards until 8.30-9 or when we get tired and cold and crowds thin out. As well as packaged A3 and A4 digital sets to make up or give as gifts, there are also cards, singly and in packs - useful for the festive season?

Don't forget to come and see Lewes Printmakers book launch and meet the artists event and demonstration - at the Linklater Pavilion tomorrow Sunday 27th - 3pm - tea and cake in aid of the Linklater, which is at the end of Railway Lane, Lewes BN7 2FG at the entrance to the Railway Land nature reserve - all welcome. See two posts back for details and images from The Spaces in Between. The book is also now available in the Tom Paine Press shop.

19th - 21st December I will be exhibiting at SIGHTATIONS as part of the TAG (Theoretical Archaeology Group) conference at Southampton University, and speaking and presenting at the Gone to Earth session on the wednesday (21st).
It's a quarter of a century since my previous involvement with the Group when I was preparing and touring the work from  my Rituals and Relics residency and touring exhibitions, so I am really looking forward to it, especially as the Gone to Earth session is organised by people from the Women in Print group I have been involved with over the last 2-3 years - I love the way life spirals around adding depth to experiences. I have just digitised all my old slides of my work so I might paste some up here  after Christmas when I have more time and report back on the conference maybe....

Monday, 21 November 2016

Punch and Judy

Tis the season to be merry - nearly - even tho its all a bit grim - so what better than Punch and Judy to distract one; I have been trying to keep my sanity by living in paper theatre land, inspired by all the things I saw in Palermo.
I hope to do more as 2017 unfurls - plenty more trying to stay sane to come.

As I was filing away some images I found these from back in early summer - halcyon days. Started work to find a peacock peering in my window. He hung around for quite a few days - liked couscous, spurned cat food despite google recommendation. Thought he'd gone, but opened the front door a few days later and was eyeballed fiercely. What bliss.

Missed him when he moved on ; every home should have one.......