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Last but not least …

December 11, 2017

I have begun to embroider another sack; it is the third and final one of set begun a few weeks ago.  This recent set are ‘landscape’ the sacks opened up are 150cms wide and 100cms deep.  The previous sets were portrait 50cms wide and 200 deep; and together they work as a tryptic.

While these will perhaps will be a bit clumsy hung together will be perfect apart; also, the subject matter is fairly random.

The first is a self-portrait, the second is an odd piece looking a bit like game of Scrabble with missing pieces … and played by someone who would rather be drinking a cup of coffee.

This last one is in its sketch stage and will celebrate, I hope a day spent walking by the Thames at London Barrier.

All to be exhibited next year …


Be a tree ….

December 9, 2017

Today I am going to my local arts centre where we have a monthly book club.  Each month we meet, drink tea and eat cake while we look at books.  Books that we each bring in and to share for no particular reason; we just like them. So, you can image the ‘ingredients’ can be varied

Today for instance I am taking: Noa Noa a journal of the South Seas by Paul Gauguin, Wabi-Sabi for artists, designers, poets and philosophers by Leonard Koren, the Nature printer by Simon Prett and Pia Ostlund and Be a tree by Alice Peck … They are all perfect books and the latter reminded me today about being a tree … so added some leaves to some rather odd marks in my sketch books today !!!

Face the impossible … is best

December 8, 2017

For the past few weeks I have been in and out of difficult places and times; even though I have been working and quite productive in my studio and making concrete plans for next year.  My condition alongside the depression is complicated grief and like it says on the tin; is complex so I am often unable to have a sense of the cause or the cure. Acceptance of the impossible is painful; but the trick.

So, while I have been facing this enigma I have been drawing in a couple of A6 sketch books; with just two tubes of paint picked at random and a handful of brushes I make marks on each page until they are covered and covered again each morning. After an hour I close the books, not looking until I begin again the next day.  They are not and will remain unfit for human consumption but enough to say there are lots of empty pots, tables, windows that open out on to nothing -ness and as yet unwritten poems …

Boots don’t fail me now …

December 2, 2017

Yesterday I began walking beside the Thames.  I leave near the river at Reading and have walked it often during the last 30 years, and even walked the paths in London.  So, I have set myself the goal to walk it in sections and consecutively up river in the coming year.  It is 180 miles long; stretching from the coast at London to the Cotswolds.   It is not a long way by some standards; doable for me alone with or without my bike.

So yesterday I began a leisurely with a celebratory gang of supporters with a 14.5 kilometre stroll from the London Barrier to London Bridge it was wonderful.

I still have some time to change my mind …

November 26, 2017

only a black pot

Today I am going to do something that I have only dreamed about or it has been part of a hideous nightmare depending on the mood.

I am going to an ‘open mic’ evening at my local arts centre. I have been to poetry evenings and read my poetry at evening class too been hideous and a delight; but not something I have wanted to repeat in a rush.

Somehow, it seems a shame to let this opportunity go by without giving it a go.

Since beginning to do creative writing and writing poetry and not being particularly successful I have become more able at ‘other’ art so writing has become been less attractive.

However, since I have the ability to add narrative to my work with letterpress I have had the idea that I might begin to write again or better revisit some of my previous work.

I call it concrete poetry, but I am not sure it serves me well as title. For me, it is adding a haiku, and it comes after the image and allows me in 17 syllables and I am very careful about this to add something to a drawing, a pot, a painting, an embroidery or even a sack.  More colour, depth, texture, dare I say narrative; not by way of explanation. Just another layer much like any layer; a fashion accessory, more bedding, icing on a cake, a cherry, leaf mould on the garden.  It adds richness, insulates, warmth, then like a veil when it is removed reveals something else; and is illustrated in the poem today

An empty black pot

Until filled with fine blooms

Displays its darkness ….

So, this may be the beginning of something else or a blind alley … but I have been here before and I am not afraid of the dark anymore.

More drawing or more tea?

November 24, 2017

I have reached a bit of a hiatus; probably more to do with the time of year, it is time for hibernation.  Perhaps I should just baton down the hatches and watch back to back box sets? However, I have been a bit low (and high) for a few weeks so there is a bit of confusion too. It is wise for me to venture into the gloom and wait and see before taking drastic action.

Back to back TV would be a little too much!

So, while I can rule out serious issues; from a practical point of view, I have been working hard and just finished another sack; therefore, between tasks.  So, it seems like an opportune time to rest and gather strength.

However, that is easier said than done.

I have been thinking (and dreaming) I have always wanted to do daily sketches, and I have often attempted to do this but looking at the first page, so clean just puts me off and the book becomes something else often very beautiful; not wanted I wanted it to be!

I just want to do daily ‘doodles’ that might go on to be a bigger piece or a print a peaceful exercise; a jumble of thoughts.

Yesterday, decided to gesso the pages of two small drawing books, one portrait and the other landscape. So, I painted every page with various shades of gesso; and planned to have some fun.

This seemed like a good idea this morning now the paint is dry I can create; with a pot of tea and then more tea I still not got further than my same old images … pots of flowers and dead as well.

So, what do we do? More tea I am thinking?

A good read …

November 19, 2017

I enjoy reading and trust a book, to answer a question in my complicated life.  It may be merely a recipe book, spiritual guidance, a novel, for technical help, or just something to make me laugh.

While some muddy the waters, I try and stick with them hoping to find it the last chapter may just have the answer. The ones I enjoy the most are those where the protagonist or the author is a maverick or a bit strange not necessarily insane but someone I can relate to. They also may be upsetting but nonetheless vital.

So, my book cases are filled with books about all manner of subjects not all fulfilling their place; maybe just looking pretty that too is also a consideration, a good jacket, binding and illustrations can be pleasing.

The book I am reading at the moment does come up to standard … called Threads the delicate life of John Craske by Julia Blackburn … it is about a Norfolk fisherman born in 1881 who fell ill at 36 and while he never recovered he spent the rest of his life in bed doing embroidery.  His works were of the sea and his masterpiece was The evacuation of Dunkirk.

There are few facts about Craske and Blackburn’s account is far from a conventional biography. It is much about her journey as she explored the fisherman’s way of life in Sheringham and Cromer … it is a delight and I am looking forward to seeing some of his embroideries next year and to explore for me an unknown part of the UK.