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I have spent from April till October on this drawing. Perhaps because of the Covid Effect, I have not been able to make sense of the drawing. It feels confused and muddled and lacking in meaning. A turning point for me perhaps. I shall just wait to see what happens next.

By the by, I don’t like the way that this blog site has changed. Finding it much harder to manipulate. Therefore, I am using this platform far less than I used to.

Started as ‘Shelter’ then became ‘Stone’ Charcoal on paper. 150 x 170 c.m.

The elements all fall into place in my mind but not on the paper. I therefore looked at the more formal aspects, shape, balance and composition in order to find some sort of resolution.

These last few weeks I have been working on a new mask/rondo of the face of Robin Goodfellow,  also know as Puck  (by Shakespeare in The Midsummers Nights Dream).   He is the Classic British Hobgoblin. I played him as a small boy and have felt a connection ever since. The design for this happened all very quickly, woke up one morning and sjust started, as if I was waiting for this moment for the sculpt to come. Not a lot of thought though aware that some sort of thinking has been smouldering away for decades. A few drawings and a mini version happened in a few days. BBD6EE5D-D5BA-4FCA-BA50-8D6F0C05D1B9

This is a Green Man version.                       I shall try out a nut brown version.                                             I don’t want him to be of our world, he has to be not quite human.              But I don’t want him to be a variant on Shrek, even though that character does have a strong connection with European Medieval Gargoyles. Robin is not to be found in Churches but out in the green Wood.

From drawing through miniature (12cm x12cm) to slightly over ice (rondo is 50 cm in diameter).                         Most unusually for me, I used grey clay instead of red clay, for the sculpt.    No idea why, just felt right.                     The whole process has been very intuitive.

I feel that I have known this character all my life and that it has                                                                                                        taken these six decades for him to have emerged fully formed.

I have been in working in collaboration with Richard T.Frost to make three wooden replicas of ‘The Canterbury Jade Axe’ (British Museum). These have been made to be handling objects, to be shown together with a large charcoal drawing, which may be included in an exhibition planned for 2021. IMG_3868

Elm from Tim , White Walnut from Rosie & Black Walnut from Tim

Many hours in the making. Several days for Richard to carve then two weeks for me to sand and polish, using  boiled linseed oil, seven coats of oil based varnish, polished with rotten stone, raw linseed oil and red earth to finish.

These artefacts are yet again a manifestation of my meditations on the human impulse to make stuff, the creative urge.  Many years ago I was horrified to see  in an exhibition, some ‘Sculptures for the Blind’ by Brancusi, displayed inside a prospect box!  These three pieces are designed to be handled, to be not just something to look at but also to be something beautiful to touch.  Hand and Eye in collaboration.

Yes, they have metaphoric resonances but my continuing rumination’s are taking me  somewhere else.  As I develop the drawing , started but expected to develop over the next few months, I hope to find that ‘where’.

 

 

Embarking upon a new line of enquiry.     This continues my meditations on the human impulse to create, to make, to alter and adapt materials. To imbue material objects with meaning beyond their practical usage.

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The starting point this time comes from this Jade Axe , found near Canterbury, U.K.    Now a part of the British Museum collection.                                                                            See Chapter 14, in ‘The History of the World in 100 Objects’ by Neil MacGregor.
What I am intrigued by is the fact that this was never a practical axe. Its purpose was inherent in its beauty, its meaning, its geographies and its biography. Add to that mix now, it’s antiquity  (Between 4000 – 200 BC).
The stone has been identified as coming from a specific boulder in the Italian Alps, then was probably fashioned in Southern Brittany before  travelling though to the British Islands. Extraordinarily, there is another  axe, found in Dorset, which comes from the same boulder but maybe made at a different time. The two art objects made centuries apart,  evidence of the longevity of a tradition.
Is this an indication of a trade being a way of  maintaining relationships between distant peoples, of cementing obligations, ideas and culture?

I shall be drawing, and carving wood.   The wooden versions will have to be beautiful to touch as well as to look at.  To engage all the senses.

I am thinking already about the planned exhibition at The Willoughby Trust Gallery in 2021.

For domestic use, not medical.

IMG_3495IMG_3485Scan 8

Two layers, one cotton and one poly cotton.                                                                                  If using Elastic  two loops at 5 inches (13cm).                                                                                If cotton tape’s, four lengths at 18 inches (46cm).                                                                         It is possible to add  a third layer of some non woven fabric inside. This could be baby wipes (washed) , vacuum cleaner bag fabric has been recommended, vilene or even paper towel.                                                                                                                                           They can be used when shopping, when finding oneself in a place where social distancing is difficult, on public transport. Make two for yourself, one to wear and one to wash.

Next stage of the ‘Hart of the Woods’ Red Deer Headdress.                                                    Clay design complete, now mould making.

 

Many thanks to Richard Frost for documentary photographs and filming in the morning and then to Amira, Diane and Manuela from Nottingham Trent University for filming and interviewing in the afternoon.   An excellent way to spend a Saturday.

I have just found this tiny pot which I made in about 1976 as a student. Probably the best thing I created at that time as it holds much of what still concerns me in current drawing projects. The Square, The Circle and a playful response to the world I live in.

What I like most of all is its ‘pot-ness’ whilst at the same time its ‘bird-ness’.  I remember that I had seen an image of some ancient clay toys, which inspired the painting scheme. Hand-built porcelain at just 6 c.m tall, with brushwork in iron oxide.                                            This bird with four legs still makes me chuckle.

My current work still has the same archeological connections as I continue to ponder on the ancient impulse to ‘make’.        I am still obsessing with geometry in conjunction with natural forms.             My choice of materials is still governed by a perception of ancestral  connections.  Clay, minerals, charcoal. The sense of touch is still as important in 2D work.

          Making a mask / head-dress for ‘Hart of the Wood’ .                                                                                                    This is to be a stags head with intimations of Green Man.

Film making in collaboration with ‘Artdocs’.

All will be revealed in due course.