Monday, 26 May 2014

Another Sign

An altogether different sign. I pass this once or twice a week. It's tucked inside an 's' bend. Revealed and passed inside half a minute. Its fleetingness makes it all the most precious. It's the sign that attracts me particularly: how many information signs we read these days that use a serif font? The sign seems less informative for it, more chatty, perhaps. Its lay-out turns it into a poem. It could be a Thomas A Clarke poem. I love that white column on the right hand side. Somehow it turns the text into the caravan, next to... 

The shed. Which has its own shed. Who can turn their back on an outbuilding? Especially one as worn and loved as this. How far back does it go? What passions and fixations have occurred here? 

Everything is answered by reminiscence. As the corner passes I know everything: what the caravan looks like, its sea view, the field it's in (of course it's a field!), the books in the caravan, the caravan paraphernalia in the shed awaiting repair, the tools in the shed, the bare light bulb, the dog who used to sleep in the doghouse now buried behind the shed... It's a heady combination of a Tom Waits' song and a childhood holiday.  

Monday, 12 May 2014

In Good Weather the Sign Outside...

It's finished. I'm not quite sure when I started fiddling with the folds and design for this, but I wrote the first draft of the four pieces in December, originally for a hypertext story.

I'm pleased with it. Hypertext was a way to give the story multiple timeframes: present, past, imagined present and future. The folds that hide and reveal stories and semi-opaque end papers that add to the layering provide a similar presentation for the stories and their context in time.

The letterpress cover adds a weight. I don't mean gravitas, rather a physical weight superimposed to the text. Also on some of the covers the ink is slightly smudged or echoed from the rolling back of the printing press, added a send of movement and water. However the cover appears, each one makes a lovely contrast to the endpapers of semi-opaque photographs.

This is a limited edition of forty-eight. Fifty would have been cleaner, but that's the number of covers made and everything else follows the law of letterpress. There is variance within the forty-eight. I've used two different colours for the internal pages: teal and cobalt. So please if you have a preference, do state it.

I would call it a Puzzle Pamphlet if that didn't suggest you might find either crosswords or jigsaw pieces inside.

It will be available to buy here. If you're interested, and want to haggle, I've decided to work off a sliding scale of prices, email me to negotiate. They will also be on sale at the Rubber Band Benefit Gig on Thursday 22 May, 7.30pm start at the Gregson Centre, Moor Lane, Lancaster.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Getting Lost and Surviving

Last Saturday Hymas&Lewis performed a preview show of Sealegs to a small invited audience at the Maritime Museum in Lancaster for some catchy feedback to help us sharpen the marketing of it. I feel a bit too close to the piece to be in the best position for articulating clear handles. 'Getting lost' came up several times. Getting lost and it being okay to be lost...

I thought of this getting lost business again over the weekend when I was servicing the winches on the boat. The above picture is of just one winch : its 20 parts (not including the screws and cap that hold it all in) that needed to be dismantled, cleaned, greased and reassembled. There were moments when I was washed over by the cold fear of incomprehension - when I thought I'd lost one of those tiny springs on the left of the picture - when I tried to slide the washer over the shaft and it kept bending precariously - when I couldn't slot the wobbling plastic key into the shaft, nor hold it in place. The entire operation had to be performed with hands and fingers thick with waterproof grease. And, of course, on a boat on water, into which anything could fall and be lost forever.

As I was greased up and puzzling, memories of a recent interview kept surfacing. Or rather the gaps from the interview: the things I didn't say, that I'd wanted to say. The fluency and articulation of ideas and aspirations that slipped my mind in that room were, on the boat, sliding back into focus. A common-enough excruciating experience.

Of course I'm now at the point of not really remembering exactly what I did say, still it feels necessary to pinpoint my focus for the coming months, and declare it:
To deepen my communication and collaboration with fellow artists
To become more fluent in communicating ideas - from the micro to macro and how they connect - especially verbally
To create a broad range of alliances between artists/writers to develop work
To explore how I can consolidate all my 'parts' to become a cohesive motivating 'engine'
To maintain my enthusiasm for those parts, and honour both the more recent additions (celebrant) alongside the older (editor).
To finance myself equally as artist and producer.

Good luck to myself and all future collaborators (including those who sail with me!)