When was the last time . . .

. . . you saw tombstones on this scale made in recent years?

I am going to be looking around Cathays Cemetery in Cardiff this week. By that I mean I had a walk around the cemetery on Saturday (in the bitter cold!) and one of the the first things that struck me was the scale of these angels and some of the other tombstones from the past. Ahh! They don’t make them like that any more. ūüôā

All photos taken on my iPhone.

Angel

Angel

Angel

Angel

imperial

Less Angelic, more imperial

Exhibiting Light 3 – The Absorption of Black Holes

Light plays an important part in all art work and its display. Despite the display and this photograph revealing the shadows and surfaces of this piece of work by Duncan Ayscough, when seeing it last week at Craft in the Bay, Cardiff, it was difficult to describe just what the ceramic form was doing with the light in the gallery other than absorbing it – like a Black Hole.

The photo cannot do it justice – the matt black surface seemed to negate the existence of light and in other pieces (not those shown here), the form seemed to be a “normal” vessel but when taking a closer look, we realised that the black surface of the interior was deceiving us! If I had taken a closer look still, I fear I too would have been absorbed into that Black Hole.

Fascinating work and well worth a visit if you’re in the area – or even if you’re not! This work must be new as it does not appear on his website yet.

Duncan Ayscough

Duncan Ayscough

Duncan Ayscough

Duncan Ayscough

What is Art? What is an Artist?

Artes Mundi – I recently visited the exhibition Artes Mundi 5 at the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff and following our tour of the show, left the museum in a state of excitement, confusion, frustration and disappointment!

Despite my mixed emotions about the art works on display, I would still recommend going to see the show so that you can make up your own mind. I cannot show my own photos on line but works by¬†Sheela Gowda, Darius MikŇ°ys and Miriam B√§ckstr√∂m can be seen here.

My excitement was over the work of Teresa Margolles and Sheela Gowda. My confusion was over the so called tapestry of¬†Miriam B√§ckstr√∂m. My frustration was over the “curation” (!) of¬†Darius MikŇ°ys¬†and my disappointment was over the “documentary” (!) by Apolonija Sustersic. So I left with very mixed emotions.

I see curation as curation and documentary as documentary, not art as such. Tapestry I understand to be a weft faced weave made up of a discontinuous weft which covers the warp threads, hence weft faced (and no, I haven’t taken that from a dictionary). I am a tapestry weaver and know what tapestry weaving is and it is not this thing made/woven by a computer!

Time for a rant – Suffice it to say that, when we stood on the steps of the museum on our way out and I was asked what I thought, I was speechless and flabbergasted. The reason being, primarily, this “tapestry”. There was nothing wrong with the imagery – indeed, it was one of the most visually striking pieces in the exhibition and the development of the design for the piece, using mirrors, was fascinating. However, to then have this made into a woven tapestry by sending the design off to Belgium to allow a computer to spend a month interpreting the design and then 24 hours weaving it, suggests, no, shouts out to me, that the artist has no understanding of or sympathy for the medium. The image was interesting but the work of art could have been so much more.

Ending my rant Рas a tapestry weaver, I do not want the public being led to believe that this is tapestry weaving. It may be relatively cheap to weave a tapestry in this way, but doing it with understanding is invaluable!

Later that evening my wife read to me a section of the book she is currently reading – House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. The passage below (page 420 in the paperback edition from Transworld publishers) is not shown here in the context of the book and is not the full section either but I feel the statement pertinent to the context of our visit to the museum.

“There are seven incarnations (and six correlates) necessary to becoming an artist: 1. Explorer (Courage) ¬†2. Surveyor (Vision) ¬†3. Miner (Strength) ¬†4. Refiner (Patience) ¬†5. Designer (Intelligence) ¬†6. Maker (Experience) ¬†7. Artist. ¬†¬∂ First, you must leave the safety of your home and go into the dangers of the world, whether to an actual territory or some unexamined aspect of the psyche. This is what is meant by ‘Explorer’. ¬†¬∂ Next, you must have the vision to recognize your destination once you arrive there. Note that a destination may sometimes also be the journey. This is what is meant by ‘Surveyor’. ¬†¬†¬∂ Third, you must be strong enough to dig up facts, follow veins of history, unearth telling details. This is what is meant by ‘Miner’. ¬†¬∂ Fourth, you must have the patience to winnow and process your material into something rare. This may take months or even years. And this is what is meant by ‘Refiner’. ¬†¬∂ Fifth, you must use your intellect to conceive of your material as something meaning more than its origins. This is what is meant by ‘Designer’. ¬∂ ¬†Sixth, you must fashion a work independent of everything that has gone before it including yourself. This is accomplished through experience and is what is meant by ‘Maker’ . . .”

There’s more but I’ll leave it at that. You can always buy the book!

Feeling Felt

Last week’s fair at The National Botanic Garden of Wales was a bit of a wash out for StillWalks as was the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations. On a sunny Monday, however, we were in Cardiff at the Welsh Makers Guild Gallery, Craft in the Bay, in Cardiff Bay where there was an exhibition by the International Feltmakers Association. The exhibition was called “The Climate is Changing” and, along with all the other exhibits in the Makers Guild shop, was fascinating and enjoyable to see. Now back to the rain!

99 Pieces of Driftwood by Marianne Sogaard Sorensen of Denmark

99 Pieces of Driftwood by Marianne Sogaard Sorensen of Denmark

Medusa by Annette Block of Germany

Medusa by Annette Block of Germany

Ultimo Salto - The Last Jump by Katia Volpe

Ultimo Salto – The Last Jump by Katia Volpe

Sunny Sunday and Week 5 Marsh Wood Birds

At last – sunshine in amongst all the drizzle and mist in South Wales. It’s a couple of days ago now and, of course, we were straight back to the drizzle on Monday but the memory remains.

Saturday was at least dry and allowed me to get out to record week 5 of the birds down at the marsh woods. Listen to the clip below. This is a 2 minute clip but I could have sat and listened through the cans for a lot more than the 7 minutes of the full clip. Remember, if you’re reading this in an email, you’ll have to click the title above or the http link at the bottom to see the full blog entry with sound clips . . . or you could click the comment button.

And then in the woods the birds were arguing over territory again – or was it food? The two things guaranteed to make birds or humans argue. Listen below.

Marshes

Marshes

Robin

This Robin's keeping an eye on me

Old Railway Track

Old railway track through the woods

Sunday AM

At last, a bright day. At least for today there would be no SAD. I took a walk down to the old St Teilo’s Churchyard and had to take my coat off in the warmth – I love this place and have done a StillWalks there, a Summer sample of which you can see here – Old Churchyard Walk. Here are a few pics from Sunday AM.

Marsh Grasses

Marsh Grasses

St Teilo's Churchyard

St Teilo's Churchyard

St Teilo's Churchyard

St Teilo's Churchyard

River loughor

River Loughor - Down on the Marshes

Sunday PM

With the sun still shining, a trip to Cardiff was called for to take Ellen back to Uni – she had come down to Swansea to go and see the National Dance Company of Wales (NDCWales) at the Taliesin Arts Centre with us. They were awesome ūüôā Anyway, not wanting to waste the sunshine, we had a walk in Roath Park and got a cuppa in the cafe there. We were reminded what a popular place it is . . . with birds and people alike. Whoops! How did I manage to miss both people and birds off these shots – I wouldn’t have thought it possible lol. The sound clips at the bottom prove they were there though.

Roath Park

Roath Park

Roath Park Crocuses

Roath Park Crocuses

Roath Park

Roath Park

Remember, if you’re reading this in an email, you’ll have to click the title above or the http link below to see the full blog entry with sound clips . . . or you could click the comment button.

Missing Marsh Music

Weeks 1 – 3 of my marsh wood birds sound clips went smoothly and it was great to hear different “music” (bird song) on each occasion. I’m afraid there will be no “music” this week as I’m off to York for a British Tapestry Group meeting (another, parallel life) – they have an excellent new website.

The week has been very busy with the launch of the new StillWalks website and various other things including a trip to Cardiff where we visited the library¬†and the Chapter Arts Centre. The main exhibition there was¬†Lothar G√∂tz and was much more interesting than I was led to believe from what I saw on their website. We also went to see The Artist and really enjoyed it – the best film I’ve seen for a while . . . and silent!

Anyway, in place of a sound clip, there are a couple of pics from Cardiff and the Chapter here or you can see them and others on Flickr.

from Cardiff Library

from Cardiff Library

There is one other shot on Flickr of the interior of the library – I would have taken more ¬†as it is a great building but Vertigo is not a good thing to suffer from there ūüôĀ

Lothar Götz

Lothar Götz

Hope to do a recce walk for StillWalks in York while I’m there and maybe get back in the Spring for a production day.