The Journey Of Things

At the Sainsbury Centre in Norwich to see Magdalene Odundo’s exhibition The Journey of Things, a celebration of 45 years of her amazing hand-built pots, featuring many of her iconic vessel sculptures, and accompanied by a history, or rather a herstory, of inspirational encounters along the way – touchstones first seen at the British Museum, the Commonwealth Institute, the Museum of Mankind, the Pitt Rivers Museum, Kettle’s Yard and the Sainsbury Centre itself, to name but a few. Continue reading “The Journey Of Things”

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On Bell Street

The Lisson Gallery at 27 Bell Street in London is presently home to a fascinating and wonderful collection of sculptures by Ai Weiwei, cast iron facsimiles of tree roots grubbed up from the Amazon rainforest even before the latest round of Bolsonaro inspired deforestation wildfires. Melancholy mementos of ancient trees untimely ripped and castaway via traditional Chinese craftsmanship. Continue reading “On Bell Street”

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One Last Day In Ortigia

This time last year we’d recently returned from Sicily, and two sultry weeks in Ortigia, where the balcony of our apartment looked out over the sea. We watched through our crystal ball, waiting each day for a breeze, but the sailing boats passed by inverted, the air was still and we were becalmed. Continue reading “One Last Day In Ortigia”

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Avebury

This was a few weeks ago, driving back to London down the A4. It was so much more interesting than the slow procession along the M4 to Bristol the day before. Reduced to two lanes, it was being rewired as a smart new motorway. We stopped off at Avebury for old times’ sake. This lovely beech tree was beside the path from the car park to the village, on the edge of the cricket pitch. Continue reading “Avebury”

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Epping Forest x 3

Three walks in Epping Forest, all within the past few weeks. This time of year I can’t get enough of its green light to escape the city. I never lived in a forest but this place always feels like home. Maybe I did in a previous life, maybe we all did, maybe this is the nearest thing to a prelapsarian London. Continue reading “Epping Forest x 3”

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Comfrey & Coggeshall Grange Barn

The plan was to take a circular walk from Kelvedon to Coggeshall and back again via Feering through gentle Essex farming countryside. That was the promise of the guidebook, Walks In The Country Near London, but it had slept on our bookshelf since 2003 and it needed waking up. Or perhaps it’s fairer to say we needed waking up, because it seemed like we stumbled and fell at the first hurdle. Continue reading “Comfrey & Coggeshall Grange Barn”

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Delicious Solitude

This little booklet is no bigger than a postcard. It’s a pocket book. It was published in 1989 for a joint exhibition of drawings by John Hubbard and photographs by Paul Joyce at the Royal Festival Hall. The exhibition toured to other venues, including Warwick Arts Centre. I didn’t see the exhibition but fortunately I found this book, another discovery in the treasure house that was Notting Hill Books. For many years its tiny reproductions were my only knowledge of John Hubbard’s charcoal drawings, until I saw his exhibition at Kew Gardens in 2006, Spirit of Trees, which included some of the drawings reproduced here. I found this book again today and felt moved to share its pages. Continue reading “Delicious Solitude”

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Primavera

We’ve got a whole host of springtime in our window for May, paintings made earlier this year by Annabel Keatley in Andalucia where she lives, soaking up the light and the colours and the heat of southern Spain, absorbing, extracting, expressing it all in her joyful pictures. “There are two Springs here, one in January and February when the almond blossom is in flower, and now, when most of the wildflowers are out… So it was the first Spring when I painted most of this series…” Continue reading “Primavera”

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Ben Nicholson

Hare Hill, 1928

There’s a lovely little exhibition of pictures by Ben Nicholson at the Crane Kalman Gallery until the 11th of May, a roomful of his paintings and drawings and collages, and downstairs works by some of his close contemporaries, including Winifred Nicholson, Barbara Hepworth, Alfred Wallis, Joan Miró, Christopher Wood and Alexander Calder. Here are just a few of my favourite Ben Nicholsons. Continue reading “Ben Nicholson”

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Fast Cars & Ukuleles

A is for Apple. B is for Bike. C is for Cat. All three of these are in my new ABC book, ‘Fast Cars & Ukuleles’, but not where you’d expect them. The apple is under F. For the bike, look at V. And the cat is on an endpaper. I’ve always loved alphabet books. Continue reading “Fast Cars & Ukuleles”

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