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Once again  I am working on a large scale charcoal drawing (1.30 metre sq.) This time being a meditation on the influence upon my artistic life by maleness, Leonardo da Vinci, movement and touch. The ghosts of ancestral giants.

With a side dish of smaller drawings to complement the process.

Even bringing my work as a mask-maker into play:

All to be continued:

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In collaboration with Nottingham City Council (Libraries and Parks) and ‘Curious’ and a range of artists, yoga, musicians, storytellers and visual arts for children and families. Outdoor activities for the summer holidays in five sites across the city.  MI have facilitated masks-making sessions have been in my own local Park at Woodthorpe. It has been most gratifying to witness the diversity of families who have come along. This being the UK,  the weather always poses a risk but , so far, only on one day have we had to relocate into a poly-tunnel.

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Different stories have been used to lead each week , ‘Alice in Wonderland’ Wild Animals and ‘The Gruffalo ‘have been the themes of the 3 weeks I have been a part of the project. The library service have provided a selection of related books to suit a range of ages, so that there is something that families can access every day, even when there is no artist facilitating activities.

Well done Nottingham, showing imagination and co-ordination between different departments to give services where there is a need.

 

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The early summer has been dominated by this project in Leicestershire, working with Andy Barret, The 1620 House, a Primary School and Dragon’s Breath Theatre. I can’t believe I had never heard of this extraordinary person, Sir Kenelm Digby. Our Ken was a proto scientist, diplomat, privateer, man of letters and inventor. Such an inspiration to all of us involved.

The House and Garden are a delight. Visitors are encouraged to truly interact with the place as most ‘things’ in the house are replica’s and therefore handleable. This was the home of the sister of Sir Kenelm. She who modernised the medieval building with new windows in 1620. The garden is laid out as of the time with a maze, herbarium and roses.

In the House we told the story of Sir Kenelm  Digby and his world.  I, as Dr Jon (Phenomenologist,)  took  on the role of a scientist looking back at 17th Century through the five senses, smell, taste, sound, sight and touch. Andy in role as an Historian, told the story of Sir Kenelm, of 17th Century  world view and the rise of science out of superstition. Sir Kenelm was the son of one of the Bonfire Plot conspirators.

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Back at the school the children spent three days with us to make manifest their own story of the visit to the 1620 House and of Sir Kenelm Digby, his wife Venetia, through puppetry, scientific experiments, writing (prose and poetry), image making and performance.

A fascinating journey for us all, with history and science made alive.

Over several month I have been working on a new ‘Arlecchino mask, breaking away from traditional representations in a search for a  more mature, tricksterish and altogether joyous character. Initial drawings to find some sort of ‘Essence’.

Progression was made in the clay design with several changes of direction, which retained elements of tradition but with a greater emphasis on asymmetry and uplift.

Experimenting with a lighter paint scene in order better see the sculpture.

May 18th & 19th.  For these two day I had a table full of masks at The Poppy and Pint.

Lots of lovely conversations about masks and peoples experiences of them, some performers but mainly from the point of view of witnesses of transformative events. The Venice Carnival came up a lot. Each day at lunchtime I did a walkabout through the main streets enjoying the public reactions to The Old Lady with her Boy in her Basket.  Many people up for engaging with her and asking her questions she can answer by nodding yes or no. Some children had fun pretending to be frightened of her, but as they kept coming back for more they made their game clear.