It’s only a few days now before the Autumn Country Market At Easton this Sunday, where we will be showing our completed “Salute the Pig” book.
I have spent the last few months getting just 10 of the 25 books bound, prints made, some accompanying ceramics prepared and all the bits of faffing around that go along with having a stall.
It has been very, very time consuming.. But we will be ready for Sunday!!!
I am not a bookbinder as such, so the most nerve racking aspect of all this has been trying to bind the main letterpress printed books. There are only so many beautifully printed sheets to work with, and I cannot afford to make any serious mistakes.
Covers and endpapers were handprinted. Books sewn and glued then all assembled and the original lino print plates tipped in and stamped. Phew..It’s adhering the endpapers to the covers that I have found most difficult… but it is good to try and get things right. All I can say is, I have made them the very best I can at this stage of my bookbinding ability!
Chris’s accompanying recipe booklet was digitally printed and so we designed it in InDesign echoing the type style of the main book. I converted my piggy sketches to monchrome red and dropped them into the text. The books are finished with a binding of … what else but… stripy butcher’s string!
The Well Fed Pig:
We are selling a few prints from the book seperately and I worked on a large two colour combined lino/woodcut of the Well Fed Pig. I had already explored this theme of the pig tattooed with its favourite food in some earlier experimental ceramics and it has developed nicely into the print. The original image is A3 and I am selling these, plus a smaller digital A3 version.
Three Little Pigs
I liked some of the sketches from the recipe book so much that I decided to have some cards printed of the piglets. More may follow!
I like to make ceramics occasionally but I could never say I am a ceramicist. However over the last year I have played with some ideas which I thought might work for the pigs. My ceramics are a bit like my bookbinding.. rather experimental, so sometimes ideas worked, but very often not, due to my own inexperience and/or firing issues, which rather dampened my initial enthusiasm.
But eventually I have enough good ones to be able to add them to the Pig Box and offer a small number for sale….and for me to consider continuing….many thanks to Gay and Julie for dragging me out of the slough of despond!
I am making a page on the blog about this project… I wonder if it will ever be finished 🙂
There is so much going on right now, but in between the prints and drawings and learning a bit more bookbinding, I am working on the pigs. More 3D ceramics ones this time. I had experimented with some 3D shapes over a year ago and have been wondering how to decorate them. On my recent trips to the Fitzwilliam Museum I had looked at the wonderful old English decorated and sprigged saltware, which at last sparked some ideas.
My skills don’t quite run to sprigging yet, so my first pigs ( of what will hopefully be a series, called “The Well-Fed Pigs”) are just black and white scraffito. I thought it would be rather nice to pattern them with all their favourite foods, “well fed”, in both quality and volume. More, many more perhaps, to come!
Sketches and notes for “The Well Fed Pigs” and a couple of trial pieces. I like them!
This autumn I decided to try to bring more ideas and experiments to some sort of resolution. I find it impossible to say “finished” but at least something other than files and folders of random sheets.So I made a small folder (good bookbinding practise) for the Florence prints and mounted them on folded sheets. It is a much nicer way of storing these colour woodcut experiments and they looked much improved for a bit of care and attention
I have arrived at lovely West Dean College in West Sussex, for a short course on Botany for Artists with Liz Leech, followed by a Botanical Painting course with Sandrine Maugy.
How to describe West Dean? Well here is their own description ..
“West Dean College is a unique community, a creative and rich mixture of artists and craftspeople, conservators and restorers, working alongside gardeners, farmers, foresters and builders. Managed by The Edward James Foundation, a charitable trust, West Dean is located in an area of outstanding natural beauty in south-east England “
It’s all true, at least in my opinion.
It is a wonderful place to stay and learn and create. Once home of the eccentric Edward James, supporter of the Surrealist movement and creator of the strange Las Pozas garden in Mexico recently featured on Monty Don’s, Around the World in 80 Gardens. This will be my second visit and I feel very lucky to be able to spend a whole week here. It will rush by and I must try to concentrate on the work rather than wander about the beautiful gardens and parkland which is a great temptation.
The rooms are all different and this time I have a very pretty room with an old leaded glass window, looking out onto the little church at the back of the main house.
Go to their website here for more information on courses, Edward James and the house and grounds.
I arrived early, so after a walk around I went to visit the Sussex Barn Gallery which is currently hosting a very interesting ceramics exhibition of Felicity Aylieff’s huge porcelain structures, which are experimental, vital, and bold. Up to three metres in height they are also very impressive. Felicity Aylieff took a residency from August to December 2006 at the Pottery Workshop Experimental Factory in Jingdezhen working with a family business of ceramicists specialising in making ‘Big Ware’, enormous traditionally-formed and decorated porcelain vases. The large cylindrical pots are worked with traditional pigments in expressive surface painting, carved surfaces and transfers sometimes over-painting using Chinese calligraphy brushes. They are quite beautiful and sympathetic to the rural setting here at West Dean.
I particularly liked the surface of this one with both carved and drawn motifs.