Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Selvedge Spring Fair

This Saturday, 2nd April, is the Selvedge Spring Fair. We're not at it this time. The Selvedge team, I think wisely, have opted to stay at the delightful, small venue of St Augustine's Church Hall, right near the shop, rather than take somewhere larger. This means they can only have around 30 exhibitors at a fair, but will hold the fairs more frequently (maybe four times a year) and rotate the stall holders. This gives everyone a chance to be there, and keeps the fair fresh for visitors.

Our stall at the Summer Fair 2010
Good luck to all the Selvedge team and exhibitors for Saturday.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Artists at Home 2011

Jonathan is being an Artist at Home again this year. Our home will be open on Friday 17th June 6 - 9pm,  Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th June, 11am - 6pm. Prints, ceramics, textiles and the very popular demonstrations of the 'press in the shed'.

Spring Pinks

Blossom in Ravenscourt Park
My first camellia this year
Beautiful magnolia just up the road
OK not pink - but very lovely - the first auricula to come out

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

B for Beautiful

Just finished an edition of this lovely B for Boxwood print. It's an enlargement of Jonathan's wood engraving, originally an initial capital used to illustrate a little booklet about wood engraving. This is a silkscreen print in two colours, a rich bluey black and rust red.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Ravilious in Pictures

Eric Ravilious - Village Street (1936)
The third book in the Mainstone Press trilogy, Ravilious in Pictures: A Country Life, is out in April along with an exhibition at the Fry Art Gallery, 24th April - 14th August, of Ravilious's watercolours done in and around his home in Essex.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Go Gentle babe!

Perhaps the most moving exhibition I've been to for a long time - in fact I'm welling up a bit now, Threads of Feeling at the Foundling Museum. There was a lovely article in Selvedge and this month it is featured in World Of Interiors.

Although it's been on since October, Jonathan and I finally got there on Saturday, the day before it closed. The exhibition shows the identifying tokens put into ledgers of all the children left at the Foundling Hospital during the mid-eighteenth century. It is moving and fascinating on many levels.

Each entry represents the sad story of a small baby abandoned by its mother, or sometimes already orphaned. The babies were so tiny, a fortnight old, a week old, a day old, and often didn't survive for long. Many were given a better chance in life and a few were reclaimed, identified by the tokens.

On each page was a list of standard clothing items, presumably to speed up the checking-in process. Many of the items are reasonably incomprehensible now. Even sleeves are a separate item. Happily the word 'clout' is on the list. In this context it means a nappy, but is, I think, in general a term for a piece of fabric or clothing. I just googled an expression I have resonating in my mind 'Ne're cast a clout 'til April's out'. The meaning has always been clear to me, don't wear too few clothes until it's really summer, but the traditional saying seems to be May not April. And indeed the May referred to may be Hawthorne blossom rather than the month.

One thing we both noticed about the printed list was the heavy letterpress impression it made, which you could see on the back of the previous page. It's tangible signs of human endeavour like that that add to the poignancy of the whole experience.

A small piece of fabric has been reconstructed by the London Printworks Trust. The fabric is named Florella after the baby whose token it was.

One of the most moving parts of the entries was where the mothers had left messages. One had left a poem that started with, "Go Gentle Babe!" and included the optimistic words, "And all thy life be Happiness and Love."

The exhibition also has a Facebook page and has inspired many blogs. It has also inspired more creative work, like this delightful bird. Although the exhibition is over, there is a lovely online exhibition to view.

Friday, 4 March 2011

A Sense of Cultural Belonging

Tall Tree and the Eye, Anish Kapoor,  2009

I quote Anish Kapoor from today's Guardian:

"I despair of this government, they just don't get it, they just don't understand that citizenship, community spirit, all the things they're talking about, can come from art, can come from a sense of cultural belonging."

However the Tate have announced a lively programme for next year - passing swiftly over the Damien Hirst retrospective, I particularly like the sound of Picasso and Britain at Tate Britain and Turner Monet Twombly at Tate Liverpool.

I hope we can continue to nurture our sense of cultural belonging, despite the tough times yet to come.