ABCD (Artists’ Book Club Dove) meeting at the Dove today, to share work done on the topic of ‘Winged’. Ama Bolton usually records the work in her blog, but she is in Poland at the moment, so I’ll do it, using photos Jane Paterson took.

CD Tree Spring Book

Tree Spring Book, Clare Diprose

This is called a Spring book as it starts off folded in half like a book, and then quite literally springs into shape when you let go of it.  Look carefully and you see the birds. I’m collecting poems about trees at the moment, and this tree reminds me of lines from a lovely poem by Andrew Marvell, called ‘The Garden’ – “Casting the body’s vest aside/My soul into the boughs does glide;/There like a bird it sits and sings,/Then whets and combs its silver wings.” Lots of poets in this tree.

CD from above

Tree Spring book from above

CM Winged Altered Book

Winged Words, Caroline Mornement

Caroline found the right book by chance, fortuitously called ‘Winged Words’ and altered it to make this explosion of birds and words. I couldn’t remember the title of the book (see Jane Paterson’s book below about memory – or lack of it) so Caroline emailed me this:

Winged Words

KY Winged Book

Winged, Karen Young

A many winged book; an ingenious piece of paper engineering, with details and inserts that you don’t see here.

JW Insect Book

Insects, Judy Warbey

Judy painstakingly drew 100 insects or so onto handmade Korean paper, and constructed this delicate spiralling book.

JB from above

Winged, Janine Barchard

Upside down, but the best way to see all the pop ups in this book, and the nice details on the spine.

 

JP Not Winged

Memory, Jane Paterson

Last not least: having set us the topic of Winged, Jane had so many ideas she couldn’t settle on one, so made this book about memory and how it comes and goes as we get older. Ebb and Flow (more Flow and Ebb though).

Acoma Parrot dish

Acoma Parrot dish

This is a little dish I bought in Gallup on our trip to the American South West last summer. It set me off in a journey of discovery of Native American, and specifically, Pueblo pottery, from the area we had visited (sped by, actually, on Route 66). I found a great book called Talking with the Clay, by Stephen Trimble, who like me had been grabbed by this pottery after his first acquisition of a Pueblo pot. There is a picture on the flyleaf of the book of him cradling his pot:

stephen-trimble-with-acoma-potand before I ever saw that picture, I cradled my pot too:

acoma-parrot-dish-for-wp

This is work that is clearly to be handled, probably for ceremonial reasons – Stephen seems about to tip something out, and I seem to be offering something. The tactile quality is partly down to the fact that these pots were burnished, not glazed, so have a soft and sensual accessibility. So I set about making some, using my sketches and photos from the trip. Mine are not painted, like many of the pueblo pots, but incised (I’m an etcher, after all, and anyway I no longer have the extreme steadiness of hand required for painting these).

nm-monument-valley

Monument in the Valley

Here I had a go at the ‘corrugation’ technique used in my Parrot pot.

Thunderbird Mesa in the light of the Full Moon

Thunderbird Mesa in the light of the Full Moon

Seen as I emerged from our Hogan in Monument Valley for a pee. So glad I did! The huge cliff opposite us was bathed in moonlight and quite surreal. Unforgettable.

nm-snakeweed

Snakeweed

Snakeweed in Monument Valley. The desert floor was covered in this plant with its soft yet persistent yellow and glaucous green leaves (not here: the brown is the shadow from the fierce morning sun).

A Turkey Buzzard inspects us to

A Turkey Buzzard inspects us

At the house in Aztec we had a huge 2 storey high verandah roof, and each morning, after warming their feathers on a rock down the valley, a group of turkey buzzards flew up to say hello. This one nearly came under the roof, and this drawing was based on a still from a movie I grabbed on my phone. How else could I record this beautiful creature? Too quick for the hand/eye/brain!

Aztec Cliff in Moonshine

Aztec Cliff in Moonshine

Another night of moonshine. (And getting up in the night – I recommend it!) The night before the full moon, and I was looking out for the white foxes that come out at night here, and can sometimes be seen running along the arroyo (dry river bank, the white strip in the middle). Well camouflaged by the white rock in the moonlight, I think.

So there are my pots. Nowhere near the extreme skill and beauty of the Pueblo pots, but I’ve so enjoyed making them. There are more on the way. I’ll post.

Grand Canyon

Etching

850 x 600 mm

It was only just over 4 months ago that I sat on the edge of the Grand Canyon and made the sketch for this etching; more a process of attempting to make sense of what I was looking at than creating an instant artwork.

grand-canyon-drawing-for-blog

And now here is the (very much not instant!) artwork, half of which I published on Facebook a few weeks ago. Since my trip to the US, the main instigator of our road trip, my dear friend Jaki Whitren, who INSISTED I came along when I almost baled out, has died, as has her partner, or rather, soul mate, John Cartwright, another of my dearest friends.

grand-canyon-patchwork-1-for-blog

So I dedicate this etching to the memory of John and Jaki with much love. And as, since my trip to the South West, America has been plunged into crisis and I want to express my support for the struggle ahead, I also dedicate this work to my American friends and friends in America; to all the people who smoothed our way for us on the road trip, both indigenous and immigrant (that’s all the rest); and to the Parks Department people, who protect this extraordinary canyon and who were the first to stand up to tyranny. I just hope we can all follow their lead.

song-6This is Jaki’s song which she started to teach us on the road. Lots more work to be done, but here are the words. It’s a waltz, so ONE two three TWO two three –

 

Up on the high plains it’s dry and it’s hot, and the wind it don’t stop for no one,

As the miles they roll by, see the earth touch the sky,

Up on the wide high Lonesome.

 

There’s a feelin’ of freedom that no man can reason,

A longin’ to reach for the sky

Where your spirit can wander way out over yonder

And wave to your troubles goodbye.

 

Well I do declare it’s a real fine affair, we’re floatin’ on air on the high plains,

My buddies and me, we’re footloose fancy free, and we’re feelin’ as high as the mountains.

 

Well there’s good ol’ Fiona and good ol’ Diana,

There’s good ol’ Di good ol’ Bron,

Good ol’ Freddie is here and we’re full of good cheer,

‘cos we’re sure glad that she came along.

And as we smoke our tobacci well there’s good ol’ Jaki

Who’s willing to lead us in song.

 

While the stars fill the night, such a beautiful sight,

And your heart it feels light as a feather,

Way up here all alone, all you want is to roam

For ever and ever and ever,

song-2

For ever and ever and ever.

gallup-3

Up in the morning early, packed and into town for breakfast and pawn shops. May sound alarming, but these shops are regarded as the Navajo ‘banks’ where they hand over their possessions in exchange for money, and if not collected within the year or whatever the agreement is, the goods are put on sale, far cheaper than anywhere else. All run by the Navajo themselves in this extraordinary town. So we did our Indian shopping and went on the road again, with a last stop in Nature at Church Rock just outside Gallup.

Gallup 6.jpg

Freddie, Di and I walked up the arroyo (dry river bed) till we reached the head of the river (a large, damp, red rock) and came slowly back, loving every minute of this mini trek with its side canyons and caves and aromatic flowers and bushes,

gallup-14

then back down to join the others

gallup-9

and back on the road again, the mountains and mesas of the Indian tribal lands on every side. A very last stop off road for fry bread at this little shack, which turned out to be closed. So we left our camping chairs there for the next visitors

gallup-11

and with the setting sun in the West at our backs, drove down into Albuquerque for our last stop. For the keen eyed, here is Betsy reflected in a shiny truck (well, you can just about make out her headlights..

gallup-10

So now I’ve come to that part of the gig where we say our thank yous: to you, our friends and relations, whose interest and appreciation has been wonderful for us; to all the friendly, helpful and courteous people we met on the way who smoothed the way for us so well, and to my fellow travellers of course – extraordinary artists all. Jaki – visionary and, well, reason for us all being here; Diana – driver, organiser and all round expert on this area; Di – organiser, photographer and enthusiast; Fiona – kitchen boss and healer with ever ready first aid bag; Freddie – naturalist, explorer, general fixer and co-driver; and me – documenter and diarist. What a team! Off to the airport in a couple of hours. See you all soon.

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