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 …
My Friday snapshots from the library have become of late a little bit dreary ; I am wondering how I can incite a little more imagination on my part.
This one for instance, I found while researching this week’s nursery rhyme. These images are from The baby’s opera ; a book of old rhymes with new dresses by Walter Crane ; engraved & printed in colours by Edmund Evans ; the music by the earliest masters.
They are lovely but just a bit Walter Crane!!
So over the weekend and coming weeks I must rethink this vital spot and take advantage of my position in the library; and look at illustrators that are a little more sparky!!
Upon Paul’s steeple stands a tree,
As full of apples as may be,
The little boys of London town,
They run with hooks to pull them down,
And then they go from hedge to hedge,
Until they come to London Bridge.
An apple tree on the steeple of St Paul’s seems to have been an old joke, or a popular imagery. In a ballad Tom Tell-Truth printed 1676 appears,
Atop of Paul’s steeple there did I see
a delicate, dainty, fine apple tree
The apples were ripe and ready to fall
and kill’d seven hundred men on a stall.
The origin of this and the nursery rhyme presumably predates 4th June 1561, when St Paul’s steeple was destroyed by lightning. The apple tree may even have been a real one for curious things did happen on the steeple. Strutt in his Sports and Pastimes (1801) describes rope dancing on the steeple battlements (1553), a Dutchman standing on one foot on the weathercock (1546), and an acrobat being killed while sliding down (1554).