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.

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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.

Catching up with the Drawings after a couple of weeks of inertia and poor health.

Good to be back in the studio. Although I did very little, what was done was significant   and made for progress. I have used direct mark making, random accidents and finding something which I find awkward, giving both discomfiture and disruption of habits.

 

2019 has been the year of working with Andy Barret on a transitions project based upon the 1620 House in Hugglescote, Leicestershire. We were a part of a larger project, looking at ways in which this wonderful Medieval House (which was modernised in 1620 with New Windows) can be utilised to enhance children’s learning experience. The great discovery has been of Sir Kenelm Digby (who’s sister lived in the house). Why had I never heard of him before? A Man of his times, a child of one of the Gun Powder conspirators, he grew to become a proto-scientist, diarist, glass technologists, foodie, art collector and privateer. The whole project has b een a delight and the 120 children we have worked with have been great companions on this journey of discovery.

I played the part of a ‘phenomenologist’ looking back at how the structure of experienced might have been perceived at the time. Through the senses, Smell, Taste, Sound, Sight and Touch we relived the 17th century experience and made many experiments and created art works and writings to see how these have impacted upon modern empirical science. Sounds dry but in fact was lots of fun. Sad that part is all over. Next step, to write it all up with recommendations as to how the activities might be used in the future.

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Last week I went to the Museum of Anthropology and Archeology in Cambridge.
I went specifically to see the Star Carr exhibition as they are the oldest mask like objects to have been found in the UK.
This has set me off on a new series of drawings.I wanted to share these with you as a part of my own thinking process.
I have been making drawings for the past year or so and spending several months on each series.  A series being one large work 150cm square plus a variable number of subsidiary images (A2).
The Star Carr masks  (and there are several of them, maybe 20?) are mesolithic objects made of Red Dear Skulls  which were adapted to be worn. Possibly on the top of a persons head. What I find most intriguing is that the antlers have been cut down to remove the points and then hollowed out. Literally an attempt to getting inside the animal. Many flint tools were found with them.
The first image is the start of a  new large drawing to which I shall be adding layers of images as they occur. Day one of  a process that  I expect to last for  several months.
The second image is the current source material  I am playing with right now. The third photo is of a memory of a shamanic ritual concerning fire and larch trees, a portal into another world. The first of who knows how many subsidiary drawings.