I took a road trip way out East last week to deliver some sculptures to the Lettering Arts Centre at Snape Maltings near the Suffolk coast. The Lettering Arts Centre is run by the Lettering and Commemorative Arts Trust which also operates Memorials by Artists. It’s a bit of a trek to get over there from Bath but I wanted to see the space and meet the staff who I have exchanged emails and telephone conversations with. It’s nice to put faces to names. I put a couple of word sculptures in for their Christmas showcase exhibition which opened on Friday and runs until 22nd November. Us and Q are carved from some off-cuts of Hartham Park Bathstone I had lying around the workshop for many years, and continue my interest in words as sculpture.
I had a lovely lunch with Harriet Frazer who founded Memorials by Artists and who is one of the key people to have shaped my career as a lettering artist. She recently retired from running MbA after 27 years. There is a good article telling her story here.
Afterwards I made my way to the sea at Aldburgh, and sat on the shingle beach as the last light faded.
Aldeburgh beach in the falling dark
I spent the night in Cambridge and had a little wander round the next day before I went to visit a cycling friend from the Amos Roadclub, Kip Gresham, who runs The Print Studio. Kip works with all sorts of artists, some with international reputations, on their print making projects. The studio is a wonderful clean and well ordered space. It made me want to do some printmaking.
Then back home, enjoying the charms of the M4 along the way.
There is still time to see this exhibition which I have contributed to at the Street Road Project Space, USA, which closes on the 31st October. I worked on a project earlier in the year with the Japanese artist Kaori Homma called the Meridian Stone Project, which is being shown as part of “Sailing Stones”.
Kaori Says about the project:
“This project is an extension of Homma Meridian Projects an ongoing work which re-sites the Greenwich Prime Meridian in different locations around the globe, invoking the power-centered nature of demarcated boundaries and space. Homma’s Meridian Stone Project is an ongoing collaborative work: a stone taken from Street Road, and carved with the longitudinal coordinates 0º0’0’’ is mailed from artist to artist.
The result of artists’ contemplation will be seen as an installation as a part of inaugural exhibition at the Annex Barn at Street Road Project Space, USA.”
The Meridian Stones have traveled to Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Hungary, Ivory Coast, UK, USA, Taiwan and New Zealand, and are still going to places handed from artists to artists around the world.
To find out more check out: http://www.streetroad.org/sailing-stones.html
My contribution was to carve the longitude coordinates 0º 0’ 0’’on the stone and to take a photograph and write a text to accompany my image.
I was thinking about scale and placement. Where is this stone’s prime meridian? What are the right coordinates for these zero’s? How big should their footprint be? I was thinking about ellipses within ellipses, and figure/ground relationships, and little upside down right angled triangles connecting time and space. I was thinking about the clockwise and counter clockwise orbits of 3 mm of sharp tungsten. The rhythm of hammer on chisel. Breathing and being precise. I was thinking about hours, minutes and seconds. Not thinking about the time but remembering to count it. Carving time from my other deadline.
Spring is springing and the Easter holiday is nearly here – It is the season when people’s thoughts turn to their gardens. I am having a little publicity push on Garden sculpture commissions. I have been working on headstones all winter and although I like making memorials, as the sun begins to warm the earth, I feel the need to make some celebratory work. As we approach Good Friday, I reflect that my work through the winter has been focused on the theme of death. Easter Sunday is nearly here and I am looking forward to making some work which celebrates life.
If you would like to commission a sculpture or inscriptional art work for you garden please get in touch.
I am taking part in the Cam Valley Arts Trail this weekend. It is a really well organised event with twelve studios and shared exhibition spaces, and a program of workshops and demonstrations. The venues are located in the villages spread along the Cam Valley, south of Bath. Check out the website for further information. My studio will be open for visitors from 11.00am to 5.00pm on Saturday and Sunday. I have had a good tidy up and assembled an exhibition of sculpture and lettering pieces. I shall be working on carving an alphabet too during the weekend.
This week’s progress report has seen me painting the letters, and inlaying the brass acorns. Why paint those beautiful letters I hear you ask?
Well, when the sunlight falls across v inscribed letters they stand out really nicely, but this is England and on a dull day in November the contrast can be a little too low to reveal the letters at their best. So I have painted them the same colour as the stone, but a tone darker than the stone when it is dry and a tone lighter than the stone when it’s wet, adding just enough contrast to help with legibility when the light is rubbish. The paint is made by the German manufacturer Keim, and it is micro-porous, very hard wearing and has a sympathetic mat finish. This sensitive choice of colour should weather sympathetically as the marker ages too. A big thank you to Theresa Llewellyn who helped me paint 3 coats into 409 letters, thus keeping me sane!
Finally finished and ready to go.
The Marker is finished and ready for installation on Thursday. I don’t feel like I can fully relax until it is safely installed. I am looking forward to seeing it in position in its wonderful site in front of the historic Market Hall in Chipping Campden. It really is a lovely intimate space..
I am envigilating this afternoon at the Bath Society of Artist members exhibition. I am showing “Road 2” a small sculpture in Irish Blue Limestone. If your in Bath call in and see. There are 56 paintings, prints and sculptures. Lots of great work. It is at BRLSI in Queens Square, until 18th October, from 10 to 4, Monday to Saturday.