Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Lewes Photo Diary and Feasting on Scraps

It's January and that always has me humming There She Goes My Beautiful World by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. It's always in my head when it's cold. I think it's just bloody freezing all the time during this month, there’s usually snow, and the first words are about the wintergreen, and the chicory which is a forced crop, grown in the dark, and seasonal to January and about as bitter tasting.

The wintergreen, the juniper
The cornflower and the chicory
All the words you said to me
Still vibrating in the air
The elm, the ash and the linden tree
The dark and deep, enchanted sea
The trembling moon and the stars unfurled
There she goes, my beautiful world...

I don't know what them Bad Seeds are on about really, but it makes me feel that maybe even in the dead and dark there's things growing and green and trembling and unfurled. 
Pretty and magical? On Sunday I took the train and went for a little potter around the Sussex town of Lewes. In a way, it's too picturesque to be even tolerable. But with its castle and antique book dealers and jars of raw pigment, I was getting something pretty and magical out of it.

Windswept Winter Landscape with Bright Blue Sky
Whizzing along on the train.

Bright Red Church Door in Lewes
All the doors in Lewes have had effort invested. This church door knocked me out on the greyest of days.

Second Hand Book Shop in Lewes
I'm a Librarian and believe in the defence and maintenance of libraries, but the antique bookshops still had me squealing like a pig. Howgwarts eat ya heart out on a plastic tray.

March and Son Eco Pigment Paint Shop in Lewes
Chuffed I didn't smash the window for that jar of pink. There's a lot of unique, niche businesses in Lewes. March and Son make paint using ingredients from the South Downs including linseed oil, chalk and alabaster and offer paints that are nontoxic, not detrimental to the environment, and that outlast modern synthetic paints by a country mile. They even have a manifesto on their website, so check them out: http://www.makespeoplehappy.co.uk/ 

Castle Gate Lewes
Castle Gate. Oh, there's a castle. And an ancient Brewery. And a river. And a prison. And a huge bonfire ritual that draws thousands each November the 5th. See, magic. Told ya.

It was a daydreaming kind of day. I got back and started assembling my scraps and ephemera. I've started working in books again, I think it's something to do with hibernation season. I collect textures and prints I like from magazines, cutting them into strips and squares. This week I actually bought some wallpaper samples from https://www.wallpaperdirect.com/. I feel like this is a step further into "crafting" then I've been previously. You can get wallpaper samples free from certain places, even online, where you just pay for postage. But I was particularly taken with some dark designs by Clarke and Clarke that feature interesting and unusual naturalist designs, so I forked out the 70p for each A4 sheet. I wasn't disappointed. 

John Wilmot penned his poetry
Riddled with the pox
Nabokov wrote on index cards
At a lectern, in his socks
St. John of the Cross did his best stuff
Imprisoned in a box
And Johnny Thunders was half alive
When he wrote Chinese Rocks


Karl Marx squeezed his carbuncles

while writing Das Kapital
And Gaugin, he buggered off, man,
and went all tropical
While Philip Larkin stuck it out
in a library in Hull
And Dylan Thomas died drunk in
St. Vincent's hospital

When it's dark and gloomy, it's sometimes hard to see the purpose of making things. But as Mr. Cave sings, Johnny Thunders was half alive and producing his best work, and Philip Larkin stuck it out in a library in Hull of all Godforsaken places, and he kept making his things
 even in dark times. So why shouldn't we?

Ephemera and Collage Scraps
I travelled back in time and cut these up in the yellow 1970's. Shout out to my cheap Wilko lamp for giving me lomo grade grain in these snaps of scaps.

Clarke and Clarke Wallpaper Scraps
Imagine making a wallpaper design called "Extinct" and putting Dodo's and bones on it. Absolute genius. And those classical stars.

Scrapbooking and Collage
That candle FLOODED my desk with light and cured my SAD. 

Art Journal Paper Collage
Dark, retro florals, ribcage dress embroidery, and red and midnight blue velvet. And Nick Cave lyrics. And bone printed wallpaper. What is the theme?

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