Earlier this year I joined the Society of Wood Engravers, included in the subscription is the receipt of a quarterly journal called Multiples and I believe a monthly newsletter. I received the Multiples and you can imagine it is filled with articles, essays, poems, information about past and future events and illustrations; it is perfect companion to a cup of tea and a biscuit at the close of a busy day.
I came across some back issues in the Reading Room this morning couldn’t resist a browse during my coffee break and I scanned some images that I wish to share. I am going to search for the Bad Child’s book of beasts that looks like fun.
Broken was not a reason …
We live in a throw-away culture; items are discarded for a multitude of reasons and broken is not on the list. Things are binned (recycled) when the wrong size, colour, shape and even usefulness is considered long before ‘it’ becomes broken.
I come from a generation who finds this attitude abhorrent. My father made a living by salvaging items to build and repair boats. Wood, metal, engine parts, nuts, bolts, canvas sails and even upholstery fabrics, found about, bartered for or bought for a nominal price, sometimes left by the incoming tide, were put to good use. This was not unusual but necessary. My mother made our clothes from hand-me-downs and made good, those in need of repair, Bed linen and curtains made from most unlikely sources. She was able concoct meals; not perhaps wholly nutritious, but enough to fill our bellies from simple ingredients using a battered primus stove and salvaged utensils.
I, of course am the last to blab on about the so called good old days … nor want to return to those days of rations and uncomfortable lack.
However, they have left an indelible mark, I am reluctant to throw away or discard items that have lost their usefulness or even broken. In fact I am likely to rescue unloved items from a skip or dustbin. Some may call this shabby chic … perhaps merely shabby shabby but not not broken.
I subscribe to a monthly art journal called Artists & Illustrators; I have mixed feelings about its contents. Some months I struggle to find something that really ‘presses the buttons’ I am a new artist and eager to learn about others and with utmost respect some are just too clever and while their work is just fine, often it is not something I aspire too. Also, like most glossy magazines there are too many adverts for products that, no matter how new, better or WOW they might seem, are very expensive, and quite frankly are no better than the ones I bought last month! So the magazine is tossed aside for later (or not) when my mood maybe more receptive and that too also happens … like I said my feelings are mixed.
However, this month’s edition has reach the top of the ‘hit parade’ it is a joy and already well thumbed.
When, I returned to regular art classes a couple of years back, (the first since 1966) I began with mark making and we still return to it occasionally. My teacher gives me all sorts of tools and mediums and allows me to throw, dribble, spin, plonk, shake, stand, sit, crouch, straddle and even dance! The results have been used in stand alone works and some used in other more complex pieces, most put away never to see the light of day.
I don’t think I saw the relevance of this behaviour (remember I do come from old-school) as a serious artist; maybe only as way of practice and play, thinking perhaps real artists didn’t need such futile distraction; until now.
This month’s magazine is full of methods of mark making and ways in which we can apply paint and other mediums to a surface and ‘be’ artists. I still have long way to go and the likes of Jackson Pollack have nothing to fear … Artists & Illustrators … Namaste.
It has been a good week, beginning on Sunday with a lovely afternoon in London in the locality of Soho Square. It was near perfect until we discovered our usual tea time haunt had upped the cost of its champagne by almost 30%! So we decided to decamp and after a stroll in the warm sunlight we found another bar that proved to be more suitable all round with more fairly priced sparkles. So we ended the afternoon in our usual pursuit of gossip and people watching. Such joy!
Monday, as reported was successful and I’m looking forward to playing with paints on Monday next.
The next day at work I had a good session with my line manager and my Personal Development Review; now my workload is balanced with my new working hours.
So if I were to write this in the up and coming language of emoji it would look like this.
When we receive library of books as donation or indeed a collection we have purchased ; we sometimes come across a random set of journals often there is only one. When the item relates to the collection then it is easier to classify. This item was quite difficult to place and while I attempted to make some calculated decisions I thumbed through it and what a delight! The 1944 edition of the Capuchin Annual had some lovely illustrations mainly wood cuts; it made me smile … still not classified it !
My alphabet this time may have a Brazilian flavour as I begin to count down to my next trip. I was hoping that I would have learned a little more of the language this time but it didn’t happen. Books, I bought last time are read slowly and clumsily with the use of a dictionary, a simple grammar and google translate. It hasn’t spoiled the experience; I attempted to read the Dicionario Brasileiro de litteratura de Cordel, lovely book with gorgeous wood cuts, much like the ones we might have seen in Chapbooks of the 17th, 18th, and 19th century in UK and Europe.
The first entry is A is for Abece (ABC) and a prayer that a poet might say as he sits down to write.
A is for agradeço a deus … o brilho da poesia ; I thank God … for the glow of poetry
B is for bendito seja louvada o dom berço ; blessed be praised; the cradle gift
and C is for Como seu servo agradeço, esta luz que de deus ; as his servant; thank this light of God.
While I might not offer this particular prayer, I am truly grateful for the opportunity to spend time in this daily practice of blogging; not poetry perhaps.