Wednesday, 1 September 2021
Progress report ( for want of a better title); or sending foxes across the world.
It will soon be time for Alison to work on the design for Feather, Leaf, Bark & Stone. In advance of this I wanted her to see and hold actual pieces from the book, and also to have in her hands an accordion book. I owe her hugely for all the design work she has been doing on various projects. I know she is paid for these things, but always feel that it is never enough. So, I wanted to make her pieces, just for her.
All of my projects seem to be braiding together at the moment, so, I made her an Accordion Fox book of her own, using the same old paint box. I wrote in it, using paint and an old ( about 150 year old) dip pen and paint. I gilded a line through it and then used the fragment left from that leaf to write about her. Hard to read here, so this is what it says:
I feel that it is hugely important in the design process for the designer to see, hold, touch the real artwork, IF there is such a thing these days. Many work solely in the realm of the digital, so an 'original' exists in a very different way. The problem, beauty, of this is that I live in Wales and Alison is in Australia. So, I made an original Accordion Fox book and sent it with the gold leaf out across the world. I was going to add a feather, but at the last minute remembered that this is not possible. Lucky, for the parcel, which wended its was across the world, landed, and had been inspected by the border patrol. I wonder what they made of it.
With the Accordion book I wanted Alison to see how the paint sits on the paper and how the book 'feels' as you turn it, the weight of the card, etc. I'm not sure I want words among the images, but we shall see.
We talked via whatsapp, about scans v photography, about how to get the light into the word images, about design, legibility, page turning etc. And cover designs for both projects. Next week we have a production meeting for Feather Leaf and I have tasks ahead prior to that meeting, and tripod and light tent coming today.
Meanwhile I went to Shrewsbury and performed with my wonderful friends ( who have now elevated me to 'Band Leader', after another unfortunate introduction. Rob now has the status of 'Band Mascot', which he seems quite happy with. It was glorious at Shrewsbury, and the band, happy to be together again and doing their job infront of a live audience for the first time as Spellsongs since The Albert Hall, ( The Natural History Museum gig was really special, but was a livestream event, performed during lockdown). During the soundcheck Kris Drever sang an Ivor Cutler song, which reminded me of I Am A Yellow Fly, which Hannah ( daughter) used to recite. Turns out there is a version by Drever himself. Now I think al sound checks should be Ivor Cutler tribute moments. I need to learn one myself.
I painted two foxes on stage while the band played. These are now going to live with Jim Molyneaux, who made the music for the Accordion Books film.
During rehearsal I played with my newest old tiny tin of paints, so small and it fits on the finger like a ring. These small pieces will be sent to Seven Fables soon. I guess I have been seeking the shape of a fox for over two years now, having begun to try to find the way for the Lost Words Prom. I love these old, old paints, how they take a while to wake, how they sit on the paper. There won't be many foxes from this box. The paints themselves are so small. I should have kept a count really.
While I was playing with tiny paints Elly Lucas was playing with her polaroid camera, as well as taking photos of the band at work rehearsing. It is the cutest bit of retro kit.
And I can't remember if last time I wrote I was reading Wild Lone, but I have finished reading the book now, and I can't remember the last time I really enjoyed reading a book in the way I enjoyed this one for a long time. It carries in its pages the abundance of hedgerows in times gone by, the dark of the woods at night, the beauty of flowers, the naming of trees. And I love the life o fthe fox who runs wild and not always alone through the landscape of the pages. In a way it is a perfect companion novel to The Lost Words.
Home now and I have another tooth absess, which is utterly painful. I'm going to take a few days off, as I have painkillers that dull the brain and antibiotics that make one miserable, and the imminent possibility of another tooth extraction, which doesn't fill me with joy. But I also have a new umbrella. So now, I just need some rain.