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.......

Monday 31 October 2016

The Spaces in Between

I've just been on Rocket Radio talking about the publication and launch of our new Lewes Printmakers Book....

                                                             image by Cynthia Eraut

Lewes Printmakers Printmaking Demonstration Event and Book Launch

3pm  - Sunday 27th November   -  Linklater Pavilion , Railway Lane, Lewes

refreshments available – teas, coffee, cakes

We will be exhibiting the original hand-made and printed copy of our book, made up of all the original prints, alongside launching our limited edition copies of the new publication, available for sale at £12.

The Spaces In Between is a communal project, the work of eighteen local artists. It comprises a set of twenty-six individual print reproductions in a folder, and an integral sixteen-page booklet with description and notes for each print. It’s the ninth in our series of publications about Lewes – the last three including Railway Land and Ouse: the Sussex River and The Battle of Lewes.

 Left is Charlotte Matthews
St John sub castro churchyard - very suitable for hallowe'en

right is Simon Wood's view down a twitten

below Miki Brightmore's
Woodruffe's Yard

The book is available now in the Tom Paine Printing Press shop
151 High Street, Lewes....

This book celebrates wild spaces and unexpected vistas around Lewes as it changes, increasingly rapidly. Change can be exciting; it can jolt us out of well-worn ruts and
encourage a spirit of optimism, but it is not reactionary to make a positive case for the importance of some wild and fallow space to be left in the centre of the busy towns
for the unexpected to happen - for an impromptu event, a sudden encounter with wildlife, for a space to take a minute to relax and recover equilibrium, and just enjoy the wonderful glimpses of the countryside. This is a book about our less well-considered and ever-changing gaps,
and a celebration of our beautiful twittens*.

*It was Peter Linklater of course who wrote the forward to the Friends of Lewes survey of Lewes twittens in 1991.

We will talk briefly about the subject and why we chose it, and show the printing blocks – wood, lino, collograph and drypoint plates, and demonstrate how we make and print the images.

Lewes Printmakers’ Books are a not-for-profit enterprise, supported by seed money from the Town Council, and our home has been for the last few years the exciting space of the Linklater Pavilion. Free entry or small voluntary donation to this event, in support of the Linklater’s future projects.

Friday 7 October 2016

Autumn resolutions

I suppose one of my new resolutions is to put up things on my blog more frequently - so here as an opportunity is the publication of the new issue of the London Magazine with a detail from one of my images of a woodpecker on the cover - which they have done very nicely - it is always exciting to see a new take on one your own images (as long as it turns out ok!)...

This time last two years ago ( how time passes) they used my Rook from Who killed Cock Robin....
perhaps I should try and keep up an autumnal sequence of slightly melancholy birds...although autumn - I love it - makes me feel even more creative.....
Am working on too many projects to itemise, even more so after a wonderful trip to Sicily with churches like stage-sets, marionettes galore and processions in the street with fireworks, lights and doves...manna to the heart of a girl from a Bonfire this space.....

Wednesday 17 August 2016

Reddleman, Robins and Peepshows

Art Wave starts this friday with a PV trail in Lewes High Street 

which I will be open for  - do come and join me  6-8pm

see previous post for more details

Saturday 6 August 2016

Lewes ArtWave - Open Studio

Reddlemen, Robins and Peepshows

I'll be opening my studio again for Lewes ArtWave 2016 - check out

I'll be open 10-5 on the August weekends of 20/21,  27, 28, 29(bank holiday)
and 3/4 september
and in the week by appointment...

Maps etc are on the artwave website but I'm really easy to find - head for the top (Brighton end) of town and go just past the 'bottleneck' traffic lights and the 15th Century Bookshop on the other side, to the sign that says Con Club, sandwiched between two bits of Lewes Old Grammar School - if you get to Shelleys Hotel you've just gone too far. On the way call in at The Tom Paine Printing Press at 151  High Street by the traffic lights - prints and typography from a replica wooden 18th century printing press - right opposite the house of Thomas Paine. You can park in Westgate Street if there's a space or use the County Council car park at weekends further up near St Anne's Church.
The Con Club has a bar and a garden - open after 12 usually, and I will have brochures with all the other open venues in town and around.
Don't miss Fishpond Studio at Cooksbridge, just out of town, where my Lewes Printmakers latest book The Spaces In-Between will be on display alongside other prints and cards  - this is the one-off version with handprinted pages - a digital version will be on sale in time for Christmas and you can order in advance.

I'm still working on a 'peepshow' of the The Reddleman's Daughter and will post up a picture next week - all the printing now done and waiting to dry before starting to assemble....

Wednesday 13 April 2016

Up and Running again - Thomas Browne and Norwich Book Fair

 Norwich PBFA Book Fair - 14th May 2016:

 The Forum, Millenium Plain.  Norwich NR2 1TF                                                                   10a.m - 4 p.m

 For the past few years I have exhibited with Turn the Page in Norwich I will have a special display of my books, prints and box art alongside other Norwich specialities at the

 new PBFA Book Fair on May 14th.

I have also made a new cut-out version of my original book......


When you come to the fair, do visit the church to see the memorial to this wonderful man – it’s a beautiful church and it sells an excellent booklet with many more details about Browne and his life and work.

Sir Thomas Browne 1605 – 82 was a physician, philosopher, writer, antiquarian and natural historian who also introduced large number of new words into the English language. He inspired painter Paul Nash to make the artists book - ‘Urne Buriall’ ;
The book contains Browne’s reflections on ancient burial customs and the transience of fame.
He had a questioning and non dogmatic approach to life; his humanity made him a good physician and his presence often made patients feel better.

W G Sebald ‘s Rings of Saturn is a wonderful evocation of the man and his life, and his statue is also mentioned in Hartley’s The Go-Between when Marian takes Leo on a shopping trip into Norwich, leaving him to wait for her near the market.

The statue on Hay Hill was erected 1905 as a marker of the three hundred years since his birth. He is depicted holding a piece of ancient pottery although it doesn’t look large enough to be an urn.
The surrounding sculptures representing his various books were commissioned by the City Council more recently.
He is buried in the chancel of St Peter Mancroft Church nearby –with a marble memorial tablet erected by his wife on the wall, and six of his children are also buried in the church. He died on his birthday aged 77.

His coffin was later disturbed and his skull sent to London in a special casket and five casts made; the original skull is now re-interred but one of the casts remains in the church.

There is a special collection of his works in Norwich Central Library at the Forum.

Last year Hugh Aldersey-Williams published a wonderful biography called 
The Adventures of Sir Thomas Browne in the 21st Century
well worth a read;
it makes Browne very accessible - you'll soon be won over by the man too.

Browne was born in London but moved to Norwich around 1636 and settled there for the rest of his life.  His large and rather splendid house was within the parish, near to what is now the ‘Pret’ on the Haymarket; alongside some more medieval buildings it was demolished in 1837. In it he kept a large collection of natural things, including birds eggs; he was the first person to study the migratory patterns of birds. He also kept a bittern in his garden for a couple of years, a well as growing vegetables and herbs.

He was a practising physician in Norwich during periods of plague. In the summer of 1666, ‘the present and daily increasing visitation of the plague’ was so severe that Justices of the Peace for Norfolk urged Henry Woods, the Mayor of Norwich, to consider holding a market outside the city, so that country people bringing provisions for sale might be at less risk of infection from ‘that noisome

A meadow I use in this city, beset about with sallows’, is how Thomas Browne described the little meadow in the Cathedral precinct which he leased from the Dean and Chapter from at least 1669 onwards. The lease was renewed in 1681. Eventually new houses were built there in the precinct and the remaining small plot is now used as a car park – there is a plaque on the wall there.

There is no evidence that he was an 'alchymist’ but I have used the term to try and convey the all encompassing metaphysical spirit of enquiry in his work and his fascination with growth, decay and decomposition and the passing of time. 

With reference to Kevin's comments below - I really enjoyed talking to him at the fair - I can assure you I only phrased my comment above to cover my back! I work in a very intuitive way and I am delighted if someone more qualified can show that indeed he was. The Garden of Cyrus certainly reads to me as full of that kind of  thinking; it's on my (long) list for further artistic activity........thanks Kevin!