amphitheatrum sapientiae aeternae

Friday, 30 July 2010

WOOLOO.ORG - TEG YW HEDHWCH by Jonathan Polkest

WOOLOO.ORG - TEG YW HEDHWCH by Jonathan Polkest

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Monday, 19 July 2010

Monday, 12 July 2010

How Indian Culture Colonized Western Thought - Jeffery Paine

How Indian Culture Colonized Western Thought / An examination of intellectuals who turned East for guidance

How Encounters With an Ancient Culture Transformed the Modern West By Jeffery Paine HarperCollins ; 324 pages; $25 Jeffery Paine's "Father India" is a groundbreaking work. It changes our understanding of India's role in the spiritual and intellectual rebuilding of a Europe shattered by the Great War.
All too often, Western scholarship has "orientalized" India's impact on "mainstream" Western values (confining it to philology and comparative myths). Popular literature, notably Katherine Mayo's influential 1927 indictment, "Mother India," demonized its civilization in trite images of widow burnings, untouchability and cow-worship.
Small wonder that the first wave of avid appreciators in Europe were thought of as an odd lot indeed: spiritualists such as Madame Blavatsky, Fabians such as George Bernard Shaw and poets such as Yeats. They lounged in Madame Blavatsky's London salon, holding forth on tantric sex rituals and metempsychosis. Easily caricatured as self-indulgent if harmless crackpots, for Paine they were serious- minded questers who felt liberated by a religion that substituted (in C.G. Jung's words) "both/and" for Christianity's "either/or."
Paine provides a corrective lens for viewing Blavatsky and Annie Besant as early saboteurs of what today's scholars call "the Enlightenment project." The undermining succeeded, Paine explains, because the West didn't recognize the potentially seditious consequences of a religion that replaced (or seemed to replace) rigid categories of right and wrong with guiltless tolerance and looser permissions. By collapsing the traditional European distinctions, revolutionaries such as Besant and nation-builders such as Mahatma Gandhi (whom Paine sees, perversely perhaps, as more a Westernized activist with a clear independence agenda than a miraculously sprouting son of the native soil) were able to couple spirituality with political action and social reform.
Paine's chapter on Gandhi's transformation by, and later transformation of, the West is subtle: "Gandhi redefined spiritual faith . . . to include even atheists who make Truth of their atheism, and so widened religion to include the whole secular realm, which challenged the British who claimed to rule through a disinterested, neutral logic." Paine's Gandhi comes off as a media-savvy politician in a whatever-sells loincloth, a pragmatist who shakes together Hindu and Christian concepts of salvation and comes up with a secular cocktail of nonviolent civil disobedience. He is simultaneously a harsh disciplinarian and supple guide, a worldly ascetic and secular saint.
Biographical sketches and historical vignettes are used to dramatize the personalities and events leading to India's intellectual undermining of Enlightenment imperatives (and with them, of course, the West's sense of virtuous mission). The biographies are of an extraordinarily varied group. They present with fresh clarity the spiritually restless, such as Christopher Isherwood, and the intellectually rebellious, such as Jung.
Scattered among such familiar figures as theosophist Besant, novelist E.M. Forster, viceroy Lord George Curzon, philosopher G.L. Dickinson and the peripatetic author V.S. Naipaul, one encounters portraits of little known but fascinating figures like Mirra Richard, the Egyptian-born, Sephardic Frenchwoman who reinvented herself as "The Mother" and co-founded, with Sri Aurobindo, a utopian community in the French enclave of Pondicherry. This community remains self- sustaining to this day, and its ashrams are visited by thousands of Western and Indian pilgrims annually.
Western readers with more than a casual interest in India will be surprised to learn the full story of Sri Aurobindo. (I knew from childhood that Sri Aurobindo had been a heroic Bengali freedom-fighter -- those are the things Bengali children learn -- but no one had told me, nor would I have believed, that his given name, thanks to an Anglophilic father, was Akroyd Ghose.)
Paine's spiritual vagabonds are described as "a new kind of traveler, who voyaged out not for profit or preaching but rather to spill his innards all over the map -- a voyage outward and inward simultaneously." Paine's "travelers" are people with European educations, brought up to think of the cultural incompatibility of the East and West in Kiplingesque terms. Somehow, through scholarship, meditation or some sort of psychosexual itch, they transcend Western cultural prohibitions.
They choose India -- the West's fantasy of the ultimate Other -- as a destination, because they are willing to risk the dissolution of all that their societies expect them to believe in. Paine likens their encounters with India to scientific experiments: "(P)ut the random ingredients of Western cultural history in a test tube, and over them pour a different catalyst, India, and see what change in coloration or chemical combination then occurs."
It would be misleading to leave the impression that "Father India" is merely a collection of biographical sketches. Indeed, it is the achievement of this book to funnel an encyclopedia of knowledge into the biographical format. Thus, what might appear as dry scholarship is always contextualized in scenes and human drama. In his knowledge, and in the passion he brings to the subject, Paine becomes the latest of the voyagers he describes.
Bharati Mukherjee shuttles between California and Calcutta. Her latest novel, ``Leave It to Me,'' has just appeared in paperback.

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

An interesting link to Landscapes in the British Leeward Islands, 1713-1838

We Were Modern: ‘Material Improvements’: the Archaeology of Estate Landscapes in the British Leeward Islands, 1713-1838
On the subject of the Wordsworth poem The Solitary Reaper, a critical commentary about John Prynne's publication "The Solitary Reaper and Others" published 2007. From my own point of view I've had an increasingly difficult experience with romantic poetry,  contemporaniously I treat it all with the suspicion of an agnostic fatalist for the ill it inflicted on my fluffy-down peachskin youth, I admire the standpoint tremendously and this extends into romantic painting as well, particularly the German Romantics.
What is of interest in this commentary is the prospect of Wordworth's intended or supposed political awareness about the Highland Clearances. The writer ponders on this matter since the poem was written 1803 when Gaelic communities were fairly openly, one supposes, being obliterated from the Highlands.

He muses that Wordsworth would not have been ignorant of this fact, Dorothy's journals refer to the effects of the clearances. To be realistic for Wordsworth to have realigned his approach in a polemic or to have imbued his works with a didactic socialist vision would mean that The Solitary Reaper as we see the poem today, would simply have failed to be widely published. The poem discusses the song being sung by the solitary reaper as difficult to discern, not able to hear. But as I have alluded, maybe Wordsworth embeds this poem with polemic by asking the invisable question "Does the Solitary Reaper sing a Gaelic Song in Gaelic Scots?" One who does not understand the question is one who may refuse to answer.
The overgrown Kelp Pit

Friday, 7 May 2010

Longitude - progress and nostalgia- The Solitary Reaper by Jonathan Polkest

The Solitary Reaper 

Many may be ignorant about the influence and breadth of the impact that Kelp Burning activities had on their forebears 200 years ago. From about the 1700's thousands were employed in the harvesting and processing of seaweeds up and down the Atlantic Maritime seaboards. 
Although no definitive record is available, an initial Kelp burning activity appears to have began in The Isles of Scilly, Cornwall in 1684 which precedes the Scottish Islanders of 1735 however, Scilly has remained a military naval stronghold for the English who have colonized them via the Royal Duchy of Cornwall, which means there is a much stronger likelihood of official records being made.  Brittany certainly preceded these activities and Ynnys Môn (Anglesey), Aurigney (Alderney) and Arran on the west of Ireland were probably undertaking such activities without cause for monitoring by official authorities. 
Much of the raw material would be thrown up by winter storms and there is little evidence that any cultivation or lasting industrial impact has been made on these coastal landscapes. In Ireland the industry still lives with small production of alginates. This continuous thread of alchemical involvement runs from the early 1700's when Kelp ash was processed for alkali, from 1820 to 1940 the search was for iodine which became more and more essential particularly in the production of photographic chemicals in photographys infancy.
A Scillonian Kelp pit The Solitary Reaper blue Carran D'ache sur cartride paper A4
 Where I was raised there are Islands, and have been for a long time, the islands sit upon the slightly larger second granite pluton of an increasing sized row of Bosses or Plutons placed roughly south-west to north-east and sit embedded in the earths crusty ocean ledge making their way North West from out in the Atlantic Ocean onto Dartmoors ancient domain. The Isles of Scilly are now a bit of a hit with the mature, well heeled British holiday maker prior to this they were known for the early growth of New Potatoes (better than Jersey Royals), early growth of Daffodils and spring flowers, plywood catamarran production, clinker built pilot gigs, square rigged wooden brigs, schooners and work-boats. Still acknowledged as the spiritual home of the Scillonian Pilot Gig a gracefull wooden longboat.
The earliest activities on Scilly are manifest Stone structures Kistveans and subterranean Burial Chambers and these formed elements I would "take for granted" or be ignorant of even though I had been richly and frequently but unreliably informed, among these antiquities there were stone lined pits to be found lurking beneath the bracken and furze, Kelp Pits we assumed were chronologically closer to the robust statements of the Bronze Age than the elegant marine engineering of wooden ships but they are the remnants of a coastal activity of industrial scale that stretched all along the Atlantic Maritime from Brittanny, Scilly, West and North West Ireland, Lleyn and Ynnys Môn, Scottish Outer Hebrides , Orkney and Norway's South Western coast. Burning Seaweed to produce Potash may be considered an example of Shakesperean Alchemy, certainly from my perspective the sheer scale of seaweed gathering required and the lengthy process of drying the weed in ricks above the foreshore followed by dense plumes of white smoke burning through the night creating a stench like no other stench - believe me - I know what burning seaweed smells like. Wordsworths romantic poem The Solitary Reaper, follows hard on the heels of Blakes The Echoing Green (my last big artwork). The Solitary Reaper is also a series of multiples about A4 size using Flax (a product of Ireland with a significant material connection with Land Conscious Alchemy, like Kelp it is a long and serried process of drying out and reduction carried out in the landscape thus defying the urban hold on the industrial landscape, wool is used also, so is Jute as it was in The Echoing Green. Wool Cloth, Lleyn Wool grown in Cornwall but its the human factor that draws me back to Kelp Pits and Kelp Burning,

The Solitary Reaper 310mm x 230mm
dyed linen, Pure Lleyn Shear Wool on panel.
(depicting a Scillonian Kelp Pit at Tolls Island Pelistry)

There have been several newsworthy moments when Scilly would be scrutinized without the influence of the Tourist Industry, but tourism is of equal interest to me since it is a contemporary phenomena in the realm of Land and Consciousness, tourism is the principal justification for media interest, and like the "media" it requires plenty of extraneous fuel or content to stimulate its various "industrial"activities in catering, bird-watching, souvenirs and cultural activities, often these anihilate the community by displacing the content with simulacra. The most famous of these have been the continuation of marine disasters and the most recent manifestation in the matter of the Kelp Pit has been Dava Sobel's wonderful book Longitude in which Sir Clowdisley-Shovell, Admiral of the Mediterranean fleet October 22 1707 was returning to Britain in very poor sea conditions, it's curious to note that along with Wordsworths Solitary Reaper - a lone woman singing an unintelligible song to herself (definitely not Opera then!) Gaellic, Welsh, Cornish), as she toils, reappears in Clowdisley-Shovells mythology, as he lay half dead on the shore his jewellery is bitten off his fingers by a lone woman appearing Caliban like to bite the hand that feeds..............................................


The Solitary Reaper

310mm w x 230mm h Grey Wool Cloth, Pure Lleyn Shearling Wool

Solitary Reaper multiples - wool, flax, jute


In the early 1700's Seaweed was a known source of Alkali the extraction via burning could have been executed well before this date but in keeping with the non beaurocratic culture in these regions and the displacement of the indigenous people, there is no record I know of to verify this. Leaching the potash from Kelp in water produces a solution used in soap, glass, alum - analine dyes, paper-making and bleaching. Ireland and Scotland were the most prolific producers of Kelp Ash, each location rendered various strengths and attributes such as iodine content, each ton of kelp ash required broadly twenty tons of Kelp Seaweed, with a seasonal activity schedule running from May to September.

.The Solitary Reaper (multiples) A4 size in Lleyn Shearling Wool on Flax, on wool.
(Kelp alkali was used in the indigenous production of Irish Flax)

Whole familys and itinerant workers were involved in this activity, the price gradually decreased as chemists found new methods to convert salt, coal and limestone into sodium carbonate more cheaply. In a very readable extract Seaweed and Kelp; Irelands Forgotten Industry Peter Childs of the University of Limerick, the subject is closely described bringing the sociological concerns in to question, overbearing landlords imposing seaweed taxes which brought about real hardship to an industry that was very hard work in the fluctuating weather and the foul stench of the burning "tangles" or dried seaweed. The need for a source of Iodine certainly seemed to extend the life of Kelp Burning practices since Bernard Courtois a french gunpowder producer (Potassium Nitrate from Kelp) turned to the iodine found in kelp and recently (1810) used medicinally for preventing deficiency deseases like goitre. Then came photography in 1840.

The Solitary Reaper. 
Dava Sobell Longitude 
Dirty weather, Admiral Sir Clowdisley Shovell called the fog that had dogged him twelve days at sea. Returning home victorious from Gibraltar after skirmishes with the French Meditereranean forces, Sir Clowdisley could not beat the heavy autumn overcast. Fearing the ships might founder on coastal rocks, the admiral summoned up all his navigators to put their heads together.
The consensus opinion placed the English flett safely west of Ile d'Ouessant, an island outpost of the Brittany peninsula. But as the sailors continued north,they discovered to their horror that they had misguaged their longitude near the Isles of Scilly. These tiny Islands, about twenty eight miles from the southwest tip of Cornwall, U.K.,point to Lands End like a path of stepping stones. And on that foggy night of October 22nd 1707 The Scillies became unmarked tombstones for two thousand of Sir Clowdisleys troops.
The flagship, the Association struck first.She sank within minutes, drowning all hands, before the rest of the vessels could react to the obvious danger, two more ships , the Eagle and the Romney pricked themselves on the rocks and went down like stones, in all four of the five warships were lost.
Only two men washed ashore alive, one of them was reputed to be Sir Clowdisley himself, who may have watched the fiftey-seven years of his life flash before his eyes as the waves carried him home. Certainly he had time to reflect on the events of the previous twenty-four hours, when he made what must have been the worst mistake in judgement of his naval career. He had been approached by a sailor, a member of the Association's crew who claimed to have kept his own reckoning of the fleet's location during the whole cloudy passage. Such subversive navigation by an inferior was forbidden in the Royal Navy, as the unnamed seaman well knew. However, the dangewr appeared so enormous, by his calculations, that he risked his neck to make his concern be known to the officers. Admiral Shovell had [reputedly, v.unlikely] the man hanged for mutiny on the spot. No one was around to spit "I told you so" into Sir Clowdisley's face as he nearly drowned. But as soon as the admiral collapsed on dry land, a [reputedly] local woman combing the beach purportedly found his body and fell in love with the emerald ring on his finger. Between her desire and his depletion, she handily murdered him for it. (and yet two thousand fighting fit soldiers had drowned?) Three decades later a delirious woman on her deathbed reputadly produced the ring whilst confessing her guilt. The demise of Sir Clowdisley Shovell's fleet capped a long saga of seafaring in the days before sailors could  find their longitude. Page after page from this miserable history relates quintessential horror stories of death by scurvy and thirst, of ghosts in the rigging, and of landfalls in the form of shipwrecks, with hulls dashed on rocks and heaps of drowned corpses fouling the beaches. In literally hundreds of instances, a vessels ignorance of her longitude led swiftly to her destruction.

I'm using this reference to Dava Sobells rewarding story because there exists another thread about the sailor who kept his own reckoning log in The Shipwreck of Sir Cloudesley Shovell reprinted as Admiral Shovells Treasure by McBride and Larn. This sailor could have been Scillonian born or at anyrate, he may well have been familiar enough with the stink of burning Kelp Pits to know that their approximate position lay on the threshold of the Scillies thus the proliferation and commonality of Kelp Burning is illustrated to us.
It is of note to see that Cornish born individuals such as myself absorb sufficient quantities of radon and radio activity from metamorphic sources to render a certain degree of immunization from unspecified levels of radio-active fallout, added to which the arsenic released through the burning of kelp by subsequent generations of local families and the incidence of high levels of cyanide released through Bracken and Tin Mining Adit...

A photograph of an overgrown pit on Scilly.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Echoing Green and the Incredible Shrinking Man

Echoing Green is formed from Woolen Yarns(various), Jute Threads, Cotton Brocade and Gesso Paint on Hardwood Panel. Echoing Green is a poem by Blake whose fearless amateurism I  admire, reminding me of Johnsons slightly more opinionated guile, also.... The television documentaries by Bryan Cox about the universe and the Earths connection to each planet in the solar system has given rise to some astonishingly lucid dreams, if a hell exists apart from existing in "other people" it must surely exist on the surface of those barren - beautifully scary places. On the subject of Landscape & Consciousness, Spatial Alchemy - I don't go out of my way to sound pretentious but since it is to the Romantic Poets that I've turned, I'm lingering on poem The Echoing Green for its reference to cyclic chronological consciousness, The Village green where countless generations seemed to gravitate - obviously such lines were conceived before the time of the CCTV camera or for that matter, television. I do find it a bit odd that the inhabitants, particularly the children living in tenemented communities are considered anti-social for assembling on the street corners and sitting along walls etc. Contrary to our dangerous"Street Life" the Echoing Green was the amen corner of its day, hopefully the Echoing Green possesses a wider context rather than the "centered" contemplary detail, matters linked with the wider interests of human consciousness of the landscape, how the landscape may fulfill certain ambitions, how such ambitions impact upon the land and the influence that the very stuff of Landscape brings to bear upon the inhabitants of that land.
In particular the notion that we people named things, either gradually or perhaps occasionally or immedietly, we named them with our consciousness, our forefingers, our eyes and our voices and these facilities were in part informed by the very landscape we were "naming" at that time and now.

That is why the loss of any language is the loss of a whole dimension, there is - in my present opinion - no clear evidence that one language is accurately translated from another, general translation is obviously attainable but if you were to suggest a meaning of a word in a language that is "not your own" you can only describe the meaning in a shallow dimension, "it looks like". "it sounds like" etc in some languages, for example the name of a colour is the same for a particular term of endearment, you could argue that such minutae is nonsensical hair splitting although I believe the reverse effects can be sampled when, for example particular Irish writers write in English because they might imbue the language with a playful spirit, as a child might play with ryhmes and repetition, Beckett seemed to savour words so ultra sensitively in their radiating impact upon the receptivity of a narratives montage; the effect upon the reader comprehension . It would be interesting and improbable to know if the success of the English Language is because it has no "core" to the words, no shadow or twin and if the abandonment of our  Brythonic Languages, the P-Celtic and Gallic languages which stem from the majority of Britain's landmass was given up relatively passively for the attractive qualities of "shallow speech", a language with which one could excel in insincerity. English at its best required a broad vocabulary or the sort of treatment previously alluded to in Beckett.
 I point at a hill and say the word for hill in the language that came through that hill.
The film The Incredible Shrinking Man ends with the protaganist reassuring himself as he stares up into the starry heavens after surviving a mauling from the domestic cat and then a battle royale with a spider, he stares up from the deep grass blades of his jungle lawn and muses....I still exist.....just as I looked down onto the Thistle as it caught my full attention, the microcosm.

Drawings taken from Echoing Green, these are graphite on machine paper, like a very fine Newsprint but much nicer grade

Jonathan Polkest | National Association for the Visual Arts Ltd

Jathan Polkest | National Association for the Visual Arts Ltdon

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

ECHOING GREEN. Jonathan Polkest

Nefyn, Porth Dinlleyn, last Saturday17th of April 2021 an incredibly gem-like meteorite shower from the beach at Porth DinLleyn, a place almost entirely formed from Greenstone - Horneblende Schist's as the local name implies "Carreg Dhe".Although Nefyn is a very interesting location, geologically. It is the location for the life and times of St. Beuno, the large church at Clynnog Vaur and the little church at Pystll, both impressive structures although Pystll's humble scale and cliffside location lend a spiritual dimension reminiscent of the little church at Old Town, St.Mary's, Isles of Scilly, Cornwall, Pystll is by comparison deserted added to which the aisle is strewn with aromatic herbs which react as the "pilgrim" makes their way towards the altar.

The Church at Pystll, near Clynnog Vaur, near Nefyn on the Lleyn Peninsular, North Wales.

  Lines & Strata Exhibition Photographs from Denbigh, North Wales U.K.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Lines and Strata Exhibition dates

March 6th 2010 Lines & Strata Drawing exhibition in Denbigh Library Gallery until April 17th 2010; Denbigh Library Art Gallery, Hall Square, Denbigh LL16 3NU Phone 01745 816313.

Lines and Strata August 21st to September 30th 2010; Oriel Mwldan, Bath House Road, Cardigan SA43 1JY Phone 01239 621200.

Lines and Strata November 1st until November 27th 2010; Art Matters Gallery, White Lion Street, Tenby, Pembrokeshire, SA70 7ES email Phone 01834 843375.

Lines and Strata January 22nd until March 5th 2011; Gwynedd Museum & Art Gallery, Bangor. Ffordd Gwynedd, Bangor LL 57 1DT Phone 01248 353368 email:

Lines and Strata represents a good sectional sample of arts practice, focusing on linear execution, mark making as well as an applied technique; an inspirational resource with a broad agenda.

Cwm Bychan - Nant Mor. This piece is executed on Flax, Acrylic Gesso and black wool yarns. The original source of this idea is near Beddgelart, where a dry stone building used as an animal pen (perhaps) has begun to disintergrate but this erosion of the original form is being elevated by the onslaught of spring foliage rising up around the old stones. The version above the original is rendered on paper using charcoal and a frottaging technique that is simple to do and a lot less arduous than the Suture Stitching of my original work. Anytime you feel like setting up an opportunity to workshop the frottaging just contact me at

Cear Gybbi - Holy Mountain. (Gauze,Muslin, Wool Yarn on panel with Gesso)

Cear Gybbi Scraffitto/Frottage on paper.

wooloo widget

Monday, 5 April 2010

Thistles, Thorns and Briers

Thistles Thorns & Briers began to form after a moment of illogical hiatus, walking across a meadow in West Cornwall near Porthennals on my way to the shop where I noticed and for want of something more to digress the chore in hand, I photographed the Thistle as a Mandala would be viewed, directly above the top with radiant foliage and the looping cyclic pattern in each leaf, a layer of miniscule thornlets arranged as the hairs on a pigskin resisting the remaining dew droplets. The flower of this plant is a pink to blue colour and looking up I saw many in various stages of development.
The idea of a trap laid close to the ground for the unwary pedestrian crossed my mind as the common story of the Scots Thistle is retold, eulogized into an identifiable icon as an emblem of national pride because a nocturnal marauding viking trod into the spiny heart of a thistle as he stole upon the slumbering would-be-victims who sat bolt upright at the nordic scream of agony, it is too too Beano/Dandy for my sceptical reasoning but I am prepared to leave the matter unchallenged until I learn more about the Thistle.
They are beneficial to the Liver and the Kidney, both the antithesis of the stereotypical whiskey infused inter-clan relationship.

I have more Jute to suture, hard work as this is a plant based fibre, eaten as a glutonous vegetable in parts of Africa although grown more commonly in South Asia and in particular India where it formed the basis of a textile industry for clothing as well as more domestic and industrial purposes. This connection with a robust plant based textile infused some curiosity about the Thistles original purpose in earlier society, it is very fibreous and we seem to have lost so many of our original reasons for doing things. We tend to get all contemporary activities that have a long history within human society presented as "early forms of trading", "early forms of technology", just by comparing the modern reason with the early technique and for me , that cannot stack up.
I have seen Flint Tool workings in Sussex described as "Flint Tool Factory", or Greenstone deposits in West Cornwall described as "Greenstone Axe-Head Factories" implying that money changed hands as it might in eastern green B&Q, you simply cannot compare the early activities of a developing society with the monetarized systems of modern if somewhat flawed, society. 

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Thistles and Briers

 The Thorny ground is fallow, insects and goats favour the thistle, vikings adjust their mythical sandals when visiting Alba lest their shrieks unmask their whereabouts and marauding intentions. Why is the thistle an emblem for Scotland?

Work Ongoing

Pendeen Hedge, still being composed after finding a new source of woolen yarns.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Back to the The Old House

On the one side of the road leading to Zennor is the former home of Patrick Heron, artist and print-maker based in Cornwall until his death in 1999, like Deryck Jarmans house at Dungeness, you still see curious pilgrims seeking the artists places of inspiration. checking out any remnant of the stimulation that Heron found there and in St,Ives in the heady days of the "artist colony".
On the other side of that same road the footpath leads up onto the moors to Zennor Carn, the terrain turns into heather and bracken with drainage gulleys and vorrs which double up as footpaths when not used as gulleys for rainwater.
At the summit of this gentle rise theres a great view and it is'nt uncommon to meet the hardened walkers or photography bitten wildlife enthusiast, I mention this to illustrate the wilderness credentials of this otherwise lonely place, down behind an unfinished summer residence commonly referred to as an artists abandoned cottage there lies a ruin amidst the bracken and walled moorland granite perimeters, a hearth is just discernable and in the summer the bracken totally conceals this eroding monument to someones life.

Back To The Old House

Detail of Back To The Old House, showing stitched details and paint surface.

Back To The Old House
detail of stitching and paint surface

Back To The Old House
detail of hearth and bracken.

Back To The Old House

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Sunspot Activity

multiple frottaged image in Caran D'Ache on machine paper

Discobohm ll

Discobohm lll
Yarns and Acrylic Gesso on calico panel.

Fresh sunspot activity after a decade of calm - whats about to occour? Meanwhile, the Discobohm continues to orbit the blogisphere, this one rendered in Blue Caran D'Ache on machine paper.

Sunday, 31 January 2010

Back to the Old House

The Ripple

detail from

Rerequiem Drawing Multiple
red Caran D'Ache
1220mm x 660mm
machine paper

Cott Valley Carn
660mm x 900mm
(Gotland DK natural pure wool - farmed and spun in Cornwall)


I would rather not go.....

In this work, ten years after which switching attention from Figurative Drawing, Pinhole Photography, printing techniques and installation I have combined painting, drawing and embroidery, based pretty much on drawing but all tangled up in the time honoured chaos of ritual - my ritual as well as those commonly considered to be public displays of amelioration.
This use of the stitched line extends the execution time considerably, the amount of work depends upon the degree of detail and the guage of the yarn. Using organically produced woolen yarns sourced within Cornwall creates an additional hurdle, not just the cost and the sourcing complications but actually crewelling the yarns through the panel, much easier with acrylic yarns or even the Oakum, jute like yarn for caulking wooden boats, I used Oakum for the Ripple Lugger, an image of the Cornish Lugger.

Tarred Marlin is purchasable from London firm;
The difference between this medium and painting is not that different except that the stitching seems to go on and on forever, the paint is acrylic gesso, like traditional gesso but with higher quality pigments and easier to use layering or lake effects - a technique I adapted from experience working with scenic artists. This extensive process is time sapping but it effectively allows far more of a "layering" effect, which is why I mention the use of Lake colours or transparent watercolour. Techniques with paint tend to over complicate the vital schism that combining quite polarized "crafts" create. Oil paint is often associated with high art whereas embroidery is a craft - low art , decoration. Oil painting never really imposed itself into many of the regional cultures of the United Kingdom, the English were not exactly regarded for their oil painting rather more was made of watercolour .

watching stuff fly into the artbin

There was a strong feeling of anxiety which might have been eminating from the many recognisable artists and curators at the South London Gallery opening of Michael Landy's ArtBin, a Matt Collishaw photograph had smashed down ontop of Pete's Horse, Peter Blake was looking concerned, a Damien Hirst skull painting remained recognisable, other work landed face down annoyingly, perhaps this was a positive aspect, yet another obscure element that amalgamated creating a feeling of excitement, loss, regret, optimism, anarchy, carnival and weightlessness.

The Artbin is a very odd experience, it's difficult to just let something go if your unacustomed to keeping complete artwork to yourself.