The Uncanny

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This is a true story and it happened on Rosslyn Hill in Belsize Park, one evening a few years ago, though the pictures you see are not from there, no. These haunted trees are from the rookeries of the notebook, this winter’s trees signalling to each other through the pages. Continue reading “The Uncanny”

Frames of reference

Palettes

Walton palette A

Andrew Walton kicked it off: Dear Chris, I thought you might like this palette. I came across it in my shed. I had half cleaned it some time ago and left it as it looked so nice. I have always liked the working stuff which artists use. Turner’s paint box etc. I might think of a blog posting on this, what do you think? Each of your Rowley artists could send in a photo of their paint boxes and palettes! Continue reading “Palettes”

Frames of reference

Molloy On The Shore

sucking stones

I don’t know if Samuel Beckett ever visited Orford, but when we were there – I took advantage of being at the seaside to lay in a store of sucking stones. Click on the play button below for an excerpt from Molloy spoken by Jack MacGowran. It’s one of my favourite pieces of Beckett tomfoolery.

Frames of reference

Tree Of Life

brain tree

I’ve been reading Lawrence Weschler’s Everything That Rises: A Book Of Convergences. The title comes from Flannery O’Connor’s collection of short stories, Everything That Rises Must Converge. She took her title from Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s Omega Point which contains the lines: Remain true to yourself, but move ever upward toward greater consciousness and greater love! At the summit you will find yourselves united with all those who, from every direction, have made the same ascent. For everything that rises must converge. Continue reading “Tree Of Life”

Frames of reference

A Wonderful Web

spider 1

There’s a spider at the window in the centre of its web waiting for aphids. It has constructed the web in the perfect place, stretched like a cloche to protect the lettuce growing on the kitchen windowsill. Maybe it thinks it’s Webbs Wonderful. In fact it’s actually Red Dazzle from a Psychedelic Salad Kit. Those are Rainbow Radish growing alongside. Continue reading “A Wonderful Web”

Frames of reference

The River & The Sea

The river & the sea

Our featured display of the work of Jonathan Gibbs continues at The Rowley Gallery. There is a good selection of his wood engravings, many of which have been used as illustrations and book jacket designs, notably by Faber & Faber and the Folio Society. An often recurring formal theme is the playful combination of ripples and grids, like a game of snakes and ladders. Continue reading “The River & The Sea”

Frames of reference

A Book By Its Cover

book

There is something about books of a certain period that I find special. This book cover is for a novel from my grandmother’s youth though not owned by her. I bought it in a junk shop some twenty years ago. It is from that time when a book was special. All books. Before paperbacks. I have a collection of books that belonged to my grandmother. Often given to her by her father, inscribed on the flyleaf with a message and expressions of affection. Dated from the 1890s. These books were made to be cherished. Read and re-read and kept for a life time. Passed on from generation to generation. Therefore the covers are an expression of the reverence held for these containers of our imaginings. The paper though yellows and becomes brittle. Spines crack, pages loosen. And there is the smell. Old paper and dust. It sets off memories of secondhand bookshops and the marvelous experience of browsing. Writing this I am nostalgic for Hay-on-Wye and the strange pleasure of more books than it is possible to understand gathered in one small town. So. One old book, a trigger for thoughts streaming off to all points of the compass.

Andrew Walton / The Rowley Gallery

Editor’s note: Mention of inscriptions and expressions of affection reminds me of a blog devoted to Book Dedications.

Frames of reference

Boyz In The Wood

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I was just reading Melissa Harrison on the lifelong benefits of outdoor play and it seemed the appropriate moment to dig out this scruffy old photo. There seems to be a lot of concern about nature defecit disorder, a term coined by Richard Louv in his book Last Child in the Woods. The National Trust commissioned a Natural Childhood Report which showed how a generation of children are losing touch with the natural world. It seems we were the lucky ones, this merry band; I’m on the left, alongside Stephen, Stephen, Stephen, Stephen and Michael. We would dam streams to make pools for bathing, with wagtails and dippers and once a kingfisher; we knew perfect climbing trees with branches in all the right places, and often puddles of water in the crevices; we’d forage for blackberries and wimberries and sorrel and others too sour to swallow; we found water boatmen, pond skaters, caddisfly cases, tadpoles, newts, eggs in birdsnests, foxgloves, horsetails, sheep skulls, and a blade of grass stretched between thumbs for a birdcall. All without fluorescent yellow tabards.

Frames of reference