Updated: Jul 8, 2021
You’re probably thinking why I have been rather quiet and inACTive since July last year. Well, there were a number of reasons but mainly it was a period of stepping back and reassessment...and a transition of creative discovery. I hit a summer hiatus of ACT funding and financial difficulties so I had to rein in my spending, prioritise my own health/well-being and re-think...and that takes time and reflection for someone of my age (I will be 68 in March) to allow for vital regeneration of mind, body and spirit. My writing and communicating took its toll and that included all business and social media so I practically stopped it all. And I’m not going to repeat my high energy-led six months of 2019 January to end of June. It was a successful active first half year for myself and our ACT team and much was achieved - with Caron Lyon of PCM creative, and interns Inna Schutts and Dawn Lindson together with four Nottingham Trent University student interns January - April. Roberto Alborghetti’s visit from Italy in June for ACT’s “In Conversation with…” & Ghost Bus 2019 event ended with a flourish at Barton Bros/The Garage venue. I decided to cancel our September, October & November ‘Cultures Crossing’ events in Sandiacre, Nottingham and Beeston and stopped all media appearances, and replaced them instead with inside and outside physical exercise - tending my garden, walking in our wonderful local nature side and surrounds with my canine friends who came to stay - plus inhaling deeply and listening. I stopped all intake of alcohol (very little at the time anyway) and that’s continuing. Mainly I just 'slovenly' rested at home watching Netflix, watching YouTube tutorials and reading light matter, together with, and this is important, occasional art exhibition and museum visiting. Art, culture and tourism I always breathe in. So I continued to listen to my body, and when it was ready, it ‘directed’ me what to allow in... ...and that was my own creativity and enlightenment stepping in last October. I discovered the art of lino cutting - that printmaking medium and craft that many of us attempted at school age...but not me. I had for years wished to take this craft up, so I attended several local art workshops in the summer to decide which medium to turn to and focus on.
In early November, I had purchased my first lino cutting kit and away I gingerly cut with my tools into the blue lino pieces on my kitchen table! Beforehand though, researching, designing and outlining my images onto drawing sheets, then using tracing paper to transfer them onto blank lino pieces in order to create inverted relief work. You can see my efforts so far here and on my Facebook page. I’m now seriously considering selling my prints, researching local printers (as I cannot afford my own art studio and printing press), local art/tourism retail outlets and costs, plus promoting/selling them via my website. What a turnaround you say, but my own artistic juices have always been there (like they are all in YOU); they were just waiting for the right time to be realised and reveal themselves on paper!
Lino cutting printmakers Angela Harding, Angie Lewin, Laura Boswell, Linda Cote, James Green, Karin Rytter, and of course Edward Bowden and Eric Ravilious, I have studied over recent years. There are so many talented lino cutting printmakers out there and many give YouTube tutorials which I avidly watch. I also wish to give credit to our Beeston-based artist/illustrator and printmaker, Jacquie Hughes, who gave me that all important 3 hour introductory workshop training in mid-October at Cafe Roya one Sunday afternoon - thank you so much Jacquie! Instagram / Pinterest / LinkedIn jacquie hughes & new website link to be posted this week here
I’ve always been an advocate and follower of William Morris (1834-1896), his philosophies, socialism and practice, the Arts & Craft Movement which he initiated, and medievalism. I have many books on him, his designs, the Pre-Raphaelites and Arts & Crafts which I regularly glance through and am inspired by. Let us remember what he said..
Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful. The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life. I do not want art for a few any more than education for a few, or freedom for a few. The past is not dead, it is living in us, and will be alive in the future which we are now helping to make. Not on one strand are all life's jewels strung. If you cannot learn to love real art at least learn to hate sham art. History has remembered the kings and warriors, because they destroyed; art has remembered the people, because they created. https://williammorrissociety.org/
I will reveal very soon in my next blog what ACT plans will transpire for 2020 and about our podcasting. But consider this fact - Craft making is very much back with us and trending within our communities, growing and THRIVING. The Art world is embracing Craft. You were always true to your words and Arts & Crafts William Morris - thank you for your continuing inspiration! "We have ebbs and flows just like Nature. Being gentle and loving to ourselves during the off times is so needed."- Pamela Hope Deluca-Price, New Jersey, USA. See my Beeston garden below from June 2019. Marysia Zipser 20.1.20