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.
We went to see Sigur Ros at the Eden Project on Sunday night. One of my favorite bands in one of my favorite places. If you haven’t come across them they create epic soundscapes evoking the ice and fire of their Icelandic homeland. Beautiful, emotionally saturated grandeur. A huge dynamic range encompassing tinkly percussion and the sound of a guitar played with a bow and overdriven until its as big as a glacier. A searing mountainous backdrop to Jonsi’s ethereal falsetto.
Sigur Ros were brilliant, the setting was intimate and magnificent, and the lights were magical. But the audience diminished the experience for me. Maybe we stood in the wrong place, but there was a constant flow of people marching past us to get to the bar. And lots of chatter. We moved after a while when the irritation got too much, and escaped some of the traffic. I don’t get it though. Why go to the expense and effort of going to a live gig and become preoccupied with beer and conversation in the midst of such epic music? What is wrong with attentiveness? In this ultra-fast super-connected culture have we forgotten how to pay attention?
We Visited family on the north coast of Scotland for a long weekend. You feel like your at the edge of the world up there. The beaches are stunning, backdropped with mountains, and the landscape feels like the ice sheet retreated only yesterday, littering the views with morains. The Navy and Air Force use the little island in the photo for bombing practice, and Cape Wrath is aptly named, either battered by the North sea or the military. Some of the oldest rocks in the world live here, Lewisian Gneisses and Moines, the area is a Geo-park – a playground for geologists. When you work with stone you acquire a working interest in rocks, but these are not stones I come across in my carving life. My geology is pretty sketchy, but I enjoy dipping into the subject. The wilderness is not far away here. It is rich in wildlife and weather. It is hard to get to, but once your here It is a great place for taking pictures.