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Friday from the Library …

November 28, 2014

I have the perfect job, not just the stuff ,I do but the people I do it with!  There is a lot to do and few of us to do it etc etc.  I know, its not high power, no one is going to die if it doesn’t get done. Nonetheless, we are of a public service we have ideals to keep (the Vice Chancellors tells us so) and we work hard to maintain them.

Still, I love my job especially at Special Collections … I should tell you about it more; perhaps?

This week I began working on a little collection of books, donated recently ; books about the publishing, not elderly or rare (21st century) but they will compliment our earlier collections perfectly. Suffice to say,  they are unpacked and almost ready to go … be classified and onto the shelf that is!

Also, this week I finished my part of  smaller collection of books relating to the art of Charles Mozley … I am not to sure of the copyright implications so I won’t show the covers yet. They are, to be on honest, not my cup of tea … but will, I hope be of interested to researchers in book jackets, illustration, graphic design etc.

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Alphabe Thursday … B is for Matsou Basho (1644 – 1694)

November 27, 2014


It would seem that Japanese people are among the most avid mountaineers and walkers of mountains in the world.  However, it has not always been this way.  Japanese mountains have been sacred since prehistoric times, they were too holy for the steps of ordinary peoples.  So, shrines and sanctuaries were built at their feet instead from where they could be worshiped at a dignified distance.

In the 6th century Buddhism was introduced from China and new practices were allowed.  The devotees would climb to the highest peaks to communicate more closely with the gods.  Although monks and aesthetics continued to wander up, down and among the foot hills; climbing the mountains became a central part of the religious practice, particularly among the Shugendo; a Buddhist mountaineering sect.  So, while there were festivals, ceremonies and prolonged rituals, a kind of priestly guide service emerged.  The 17th century Zen poet Basho with is companion climbed some of Shugendu’s  most sacred mountains, during his wanderings he tells us in his epic poem The narrow road of the deep north ‘ … I set off with my guide on a long march of eight miles to the top of the mountain. I walked in the mists and clouds, breathing the thin air of high altitudes and stepping on slippery ice and snow, till at last through a gateway of clouds, as it seemed, to the very paths of the sun and moon, I reached the summit, completely out of breath and nearly frozen to death.’

After Shugendo was banned in the 19th century, it was no longer a major religion in Japan, but the shrines can still be seen and Mount Fuji remains a busy pilgrimage site for the remaining practitioners and devoted mountaineers.

alphabet thursday

Wednesday’s Wood engraver …

November 26, 2014

I have been looking at these prints by Gillian Tyler in Patricia Jaffe’s book about Women Engravers  for a while, I know nothing of this engraver so I waited until I could find some information.  I was particularly drawn to them as they seemed to be less rigid than some engravings I have featured over previous weeks.  Patricia says, ‘ … rich… wild net of lines and finely contrasted textures … ‘ and she is right.  I think they are bold too.

Gillian Tyler (1935) was born in Baltimore, Maryland, wood engraver and painter; graduated from from Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts ; which I understand is one of the oldest American colleges and still remains exclusively for women.

Gillian runs her own small Cricket Press  where she lives in Thetford, Vermont. I have no more information and would love to know more.  


Weekly Photo Challenge … Angular

November 25, 2014

As a print-maker I have a treasured set of gravers, some are new and others are quite elderly but no less valued. Each has been precision engineered and their steel blades have been honed to perfection.  They are ground to fine angles to engrave very hard wood to produced delicate designs. This is the idea, for me it doesn’t always happen.  

However, each would be worthless without the cleverly turned handle that fits snugly in the hand of engraver.


Monday … last week I learned …

November 24, 2014

After a topsy-turvy week , I ended with a Life Painting lesson not the best I have ever had.  I was not entirely comfortable standing a round for a couple of hours or more gawping at a naked bloke; contemplating the shadows around his eyes, the tone of skin warm or cold? Does this mean I have failed as an artist? That’s a shame ; at the first hurdle.

Silent Sunday …

November 23, 2014

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November 22, 2014

is the day when I offer heart felt thanks to those who have been of service or not within and without the cyber-world of Nela Bligh. The world of Postaday where she holds forth in an unseemly fashion dragging information from that quarter and spurting in this.  So thanks to you all and those who comment  extra thanks xxx

And thanks to Peter Hay.

Sometime, soon after I started to work in the Library at the University of Reading, I came across a little collection of books published by a local company called Two Rivers Press. It was founded by the late Peter Hay, an artist and illustrator.

His work and one in particular called  Apples, Berkshire and Cider inspired me; not only is it a beautifully illustrated and annotated alphabet book , the images are hand printed. A couple of years ago I began printing myself and without the skills and know-how of Peter, I began having art lessons. So a wondrous  journey began. that has taken me further than I could never have imagined.  

These images from the above mentioned book that I enjoy ; now sadly out of print.  

Today in way of a celebration I will go to a sale of Peter’s work and buy a picture that I can look at without fear of breaking copyright rules.  







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