I surprised myself this week when I discovered I had not featured the work of Gwendolen Raverat (1885 – 1957). So I will amend that today.
Gwen Raverat; the wife of Jacques Raverat, a French artist, is the daughter of Sir George Darwin (Professor of Astronomy at Cambridge University), and a grand-daughter of Charles Darwin.
Working for 3 years at the Slade School under Henry Tonks, she became interested in wood cuts and according to Herbert Furst writing in 1923 ‘ Raverat began to practice this craft with extraordinary … inborn dexterity. Mrs Raverat’s work is distinguished by that rare quality, creative imagination combined with a craftsmanship of originality and unusual skill. Whether she works with knife or graver, on a soft or on hard wood, her technique is always in deep and instinctive sympathy with the material. Her cuts are never drawings transferred to wood but seem to have been produced, as Rodin said he produced his sculpture, by merely removing irrelevant matter from the block and so revealing what was already in it. Her imagination ranges from the representation of the beauty of light in nature to the realisation of profound emotion and soaring fantasy’.
Praise indeed …
Oh dear I am getting near the end of the alphabet and clutching at straws.
Hannah Bantry, in the pantry,
Gnawing at a mutton bone:
How she gnawed it,
How she clawed it,
When she found herself alone.
Frederick in Maria Edgeworth’s story the Mimic (1796) sings ‘Violante in the pantry’ and then in Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic opera we have Iolanthe!
I know … not the greatest post but ‘V’ is a difficult one!
I haven’t yet spoken about Gwen Raverat (1885 – 1957) and her work; but I will soon. Just to say, she was not taught to engrave at art school she was it seems self taught. Raverat began wood engraving after being at the Slade School for a year where she studied painting. She was inspired by Bewick; at the time there was no one at the Slade who had any interest in the craft. However she had the luck to obtain instruction from her cousin, Eleanor Monsell (Mrs Bernard Darwin) who had begun to cut and engrave wood blocks as early as 1898 but had to give up due to pressure of other work. I know nothing more about Eleanor Monsell except that she did illustrate her husband’s books for children. I am looking out for more of her work.
But I love this little engraving called the Bath …
I think that is unnecessary for me to say that ‘you should not expect an arty farty dreamy composition from me this week’. Instead I say ‘I have a dream’ or rather I am now in a position to attempt to fulfill dream.
As a girl I wanted to paint and become an artist ; no more no less. I was encouraged until I left school and was considered ‘able’ but not good enough to make a living pursuing a creative career and Art School was not an option.
I did go to Southampton Art College on Saturday mornings for many years in the early 60s. This I believe set a tiny seed to lay dormant for 50 years.
So now I am in a position to allow the seed to germinate. Allow the dream to come true.
This little scene represents my dream and the project this week.
After a busy weekend my blog post is late today. I attended a wood engraving weekend workshop and returned with a nice little print and much self doubt.
I had such hopes that my previous practicing would have prepared me and that my work would be amazing if not much improved.
I supposed there were , improved that is and in that respect I am pleased.
The social side was perfect and for that I am grateful. I have been to Badger Press before, and taught by Kate and there were faces I remembered from a previous session. So I was more than comfortable even with my own and recent ‘disorder’.
We wasted no time in learning the rules and fundamental lessons from a professional engraver and soon able to create our little works of art.
There were mice, cats, an otter, a seashell, a woodland scene and me unable to move away from utensils … Oh dear.
I had some good news and some news this week.
The later was not news, but facts I already knew but had it confirmed … Alopecia is not life threatening or even harmful to me or anyone else. Physically that is! However, the treatment that is not effective is harmful, not life threatening but is painful and has side nasty effects.
So I am not considering taking action. The consultant said the either way I cannot expect a favourable (what ever that is) result soon; if ever.
I, on the other hand am happy with this alternative … and salute the choice to be ok!
The former ‘news’ I have been expecting for a long time has been confirmed ; I no longer work a 5 day week. I work part-time. I don’t care if this is life threatening or has bad side effects ; I welcome this with delight and thank those who put this in place. It has been a long process as this opportunity to ‘apply’ for flexible hours at work is a new for those of us who do not have dependents who need care. My application was long and well thought out. While I wanted to reduce my hours I had to suggest ways in which my ‘other’ hours were employed.
So I feel pleased with the result in more ways than one …