The Dorset Coast: from Chesil Beach to the Isle of Purbeck.
Living in south west Wiltshire I am frequently drawn to neighbouring Dorset to walk some of the paths along its geologically varied coastline. I like to draw or paint on location, and I subsequently develop a number of my observations into wood engravings or linocuts. Both are methods of making relief prints, the former being a very English art form developed by Thomas Bewick in the 18th Century, where the engraving is made on highly polished end grain boxwood, which on completion is inked with a roller and printed by hand, in my case using an Albion Press made in 1862. Continue reading “The Dorset Coast”
We’ve got a new window display for October – Open Country: Wood Engravings of the Wessex Downs and Coast by Howard Phipps. It’s a display that celebrates Howard’s love of the West Country and Dorset in particular. These are patiently wrought images, slow-grown evocations carved in wood and printed in exquisite detail, they always seem to capture the essential timeless spirit of each particular place depicted. Continue reading “Open Country”
Win Green From Berwick Down
We asked Howard Phipps to fill our window with a display of his wood engravings and linocuts. So it seemed like a good idea to go down and collect them, and take a walk around some of the places that had inspired them. We followed a circuit up to Win Green, a prominent landmark and the highest point in Cranborne Chase, crowned by a clump of beech trees on a Bronze Age bowl barrow. Continue reading “To Win Green”
This richly textured puzzle-picture wood engraving is not much bigger than a large postage stamp but it is crammed full of intriguing detail. A stepped path winds through a grove of trees amid a cultivated chaos of cross-hatched herring-bone earth. How is it possible to get so much into so little? This tiny concentrated memento is a leitmotif for our July window display – To The Jade Emperor’s Mountain and other works by Jonathan Gibbs. Continue reading “To The Jade Emperor’s Mountain”
I’d been looking forward to this for years. Ever since we first had his wood engravings I’d been curious about where they came from. We usually get Howard’s prints in the post or occasionally he might bring us a few, but this time I was invited to go and collect some myself. It was an opportunity to visit his studio, to see how his wood engravings are made and also to discover the landscape that informs them. I left the A303 and followed the A30 down a dead straight Roman road to Stockbridge then along the old drover’s road towards Salisbury. I began to recognise the distinctive local features, the gentle rolling hills, the trees silhouetted against the sky, and I knew I was entering Phipps country. Continue reading “A Short Walk With Howard Phipps”