Thursday, April 28, 2016

Thursday Thoughts...

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper” 

W.B. Yeats

The truth well spoken.

Perhaps magical things are also waiting for us to pay attention, to slow down long enough to see them. Perhaps that is the same as heightening or sharpening our senses in a way, but it seems as much to me to be about honouring things by giving them attention as i s  about enhancing our skills.

I think one of the ways artists go through the world is by looking and seeing differently. By seeing beauty in the light, in the shadow, in the old, in the small, in the hidden. Those moments one experiences when a gorgeous trio of birds gather on a wire - two pure black, one pure white.

Taking nothing for granted is another way of discovering magical things isn't it?

I'm not sure what these watch faces are waiting for, something Barry will make with them; but I just thought they looked beautiful sitting there on their stands of sticky tac waiting.  The world is full of beauty and wonder when we stop to look.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Catching up

I have mentioned before how fortunate I have been to meet some blog friends face to face.  It always seems to me that I am meeting friends, even tho we've never really met and I sometimes have no idea of what they look like.

And so it was last week in Pembrokeshire Wales.  Barry and I headed south to catch up with Lesley from the blog Printed Material (apologies once more for the inability to link, but her blog should be in my sidebar).

We had the most fabulous of times, chatting and nattering as if we were long lost friends who hadn't seen each other in a while. It was special.

The weather was magnificent and we visited lots of delightful places together. You know somebody gets you when every suggestion for a visit is pitch perfect, and it was!

We visited St David's together - the cathedral is stunning - and Lesley knew where to find the age old graffiti which of course appealed!

As we wandered Lesley was patient as we stopped to photograph those things that artist folk stop and photograph - like the vapour trails that end up looking like abstract calligraphy or asemic writing of sorts.

The geographically named Goat St Gallery in St David's is one of those spaces you walk into and just melt like warm caramel when you look around you. Every piece speaks to you quietly and gently and you can imagine them all heading home with you one way or another. It was a real treat.

We headed off to lunch at Porthgain and the tide was well and truly out.

We carried on further to Nevern Church which had some Ogham script along the window sill, and we then enjoyed a wander through the church graveyard. 

I found more lettering of interest and exclaimed in wonder at much of it.

I loved the variant of "w"

And again how the carver had to squeeze a letter in to finish the line. Vault I think...

and then I loved the dot above the capital I and was thrilled to see the faintest of score marks for the guidelines across the stone. Somehow makes the links to the work I still do today.

Outside the church was this fabulous set of mounting steps, used to allow the ladies to enter their horse-drawn coach without having to do a big inelegant scramble!

And we finished our day together at the Neolithic burial chamber Pentre Ifan. An amazing structure and like every other time I wondered how on earth they got those massive stones up there and could work out how to balance them so perfectly.

A full and beautiful day with time spent with a kindred spirit. Until next time!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Libraries and little libraries...

As we have wandered thru Scotland and a tiny part of Wales I have loved the words. The words, the books and the libraries.  Words are cherished here and books, writing and letters are honoured in ways large and small.

Very early on in our trip we drove through Bunessan on the Isle of Mull and at the back of a charity shop we saw the sign

I love it - a 24 hour bookshops in a village of a few hundred folk, where the honesty system works perfectly according to the woman in the charity shop. Fancy finishing a book at night, then popping down the road to exchange it or buy another one for a pound, brilliant.

Simple, sensible instructions seem to make to work.

Back in Edinburgh there are grander libraries of course, and we visited the Scottish Poetry Library, fell in love with many books of poetry and found a couple more book sculptures.

Whilst we were in Wales, we drove through the village of Trecastle and stopped because it had a sign "Kingdom of Rust" so what choice did we have? On our way to visit said Kingdom, we came upon this excellent re-use of a telephone box.  Not the Tardis, but close!

More books to share and exchange!

And in Cardiff, their Central Library is a fabulous bold building rising high above the city centre, allowing us to know where we were by keeping a lookout for it. It also had great sculpture in the forecourt.

I collected library memberships on my way it seemed, so I am now a member in both Edinburgh and Cardiff - very happy about that.

But to finish the telephone thing off, we really and truly did see the Tardis in Cardiff! As my brother put it...Tardiff.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Thursday Thoughts...

“We have to create, it is the only thing louder than destruction.” 

Andrea Gibson

It seems to me that as artists we need to be creating in amongst the difficulty and madness that seems to be all around. I think more than ever artists are needed to show the world beauty and serenity; collaboration and wonder.

I can't bear the thought of living in these days without the beauty of art to lift me, to elevate me, to evoke a feeling of hope and connection. It does me so much good to know that there are people out there making art and people out there viewing art and buying art.

It feels so positive.

To create is to have faith in the future; to have hope and to believe that there is a future. To make and to create.  Creating and making matter and we need more of it.

It doesn't have to big art, or clever art or special art - we just have to create.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Edinburgh Echoes...

I wrote a post a while ago, about re-working some embossing plates I had made from images from Edinburgh. Blog post here... ( sorry I can't seem to link using the blogger app).

Back in Edinburgh for a day I really wanted to revisit the new Parliamnet House building and see if I could photograph the wall again with the idea of creating more embossing plates and maybe another or larger work.

Luckily it was as gorgeous as I remembered, and I got lots more food for thought.

Being in this beautiful city of books and writers and words, we also visited the National Libray where they had on display some of the magical book sculptures that appeared around Edinburgh a few years ago...

And across the road at the Central Libray we found some of the original mystery book sculptures on display - such a delight to actually see them for ourselves after following the stories on line.

Hopefully there will be time to visit the National Poetry Libray and the Scottish Storytelling Centre too!
Edinburgh echoes, I love this city of literature.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Words and Letters

It's funny how when you travel you visit things and see things through your usual eyes in a way, and for me that means I continue to seek out and discover words and letters and books.

We have been to some great churchyards, cemeteries and cathedrals and I have really enjoyed looking at the carved words and letters.

A couple have caught my eye - sometimes because they show errors, which I kind of like. It is good to know folk were human, made mistakes and tried to fix them. Just like I do.

This one I found in Edinburgh, and was lucky enough to get a rainbow as well. A simple error, lower case a instead of A, but repaired.

I'm also not sure if it should be the 22nd or the 22th?

At Rondel on Harris at St Clement's church I loved the way the lichen had covered the words and yet let them be read.

In Kirkwall on Orkney we visited the truly magnificent St Magnus Cathedral, which had so much beautiful stonework and so many carved memorials. Most dated around 1660s.

With these I was fascinated by the ligatures, and the odd error as well.

Here, the beautiful WA ligature in Kirkwall, a couple of TH ligatures, the HI ligature in children and the lovely WI one in betwixt. Two different Ws too!

I loved the ligatures in daughters... AU and HTE, and then in Patric, the TR. These are things that make me sigh with delight.

One line in particular tickled me here, "had with her 8 children" so many ligatures at play and in the line above I loved how the i was tucked into "with".


I found this error at the end of the memorial - such a beautiful sentiment. She lived regarded and died regretted. Not quite sure what happened to the final ED, but I know that feeling of getting to the end and then making a mistake. I am glad they kept the piece, error and all.

And then at the Orkney Museum, lovely runes by the Vikings 

And lovely Ogham script by the Picts.

So many beautiful, words, letters and scripts carved and scratched into stone...

And so funny to realise how I spend my travel time - looking for letters...

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Thursday Thoughts...

“The main effort of arranging your life should be to progressively reduce the amount of time required to decently maintain yourself so that you can have all the time you want for reading.” 

Norman Rush

Oh  what a goal to have in life! How wonderful that the entire purpose of life could be to have more time to read books!

I often wish for more time to read books; I am yet to be the person who can sit down in the middle of the day or even the afternoon and read a book. My reading is always built around travel time - in the train, on a plane; or bed-time - always always I make time to read before sleeping.

I am not yet able to read at other times without guilt. I wonder what that says.

Perhaps this is just another reminder to try and get the balance of life right; to be more aware of the things you love and to make time for them.

Three pristine books on beauty - yet to be read, waiting patiently.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Outdoor sculpture

As we continue to wander and wend our way through Scotland, we have seen some fabulous art. In galleries, in coffee shops, in studios and in the outdoors.

We came across this beautiful work in John O'Groats this afternoon.  Inspired by the massive under sea boulders that move through the Pentland Firth, the waters off the coast here.

And what a beautiful blue sky.

Before we left the island of Harris and Lewis, we found these beautiful images built into a dry stone wall at St Clement's church in Rodal, right at the very bottom of Harris.

The front wall of the churchyard had been re-built and someone with imagination and care, had designed these two elements into it. I'm not sure if one is the sun or a daisy - but either option makes me smile!

And prior to that, we visited Calgary Art in Nature, at Calgary on the Isle of Mull. There was a wonderful woodland sculpture walk, and we came across some beautiful pieces...

Sadly I have lost the brochure which says whose is whose, but here they are, beautiful but unattributed.

A woven willow arch - with new shoots abounding!

Rusty steel and pebbles, what more could I want?

Looking back at the series of rusty pieces.

And a carved oak tree.

So we head further north again tomorrow - to the Orkney Islands, may the magic continue.