And a video, a reading of one of my little books of the mountain:
I made some short videos today, of myself, making little books out of post-it notes. The work feels good and also not yet quite right, both at the same time… I’ll share the most succinct, a tiny, quick book about book-binding. This was work of thinking with my hands, feeling my way towards something important.
The videos go together with some other work in progress, which perhaps appropriately, is about unresolved and open pieces of work. For example these groupings which I laid out today :
Testing concertina and pamphlet book forms today. I wanted to see how the different forms work for these paintings that I’m making. The scrolls are still the most direct, but these have nice rhythm. I pasted card covers on a few concertina books. It changes them so much to cover them, even open like this, turns them into something altogether different.
Testing lots of combinations today – ending the day half way through…
Today some small experiments – making scroll forms from one of my prints.
By unrolling the taller one, you can read the writing: a paragraph from one of my letters to myself:
Yesterday you wrote about the strangeness, the unfamiliarity of the ordinary. This is a fundamental perception, that we don’t know reality until we go out of ourselves to meet it; we mustn’t assume or pretend knowledge. Reality is brutal, it has hard edges, and we want it tame or knowable, but this is a failure of courage. The roughness of rock, this is part of what the mountain is. These elemental conversations. The spin and orbit of the planet, the depth of time. The seen and the unseen, the ‘tidal conversation’ in us. There is no standing still.[NB, the idea of ‘tidal conversation’ in us refers to David Whyte’s writing, and is from his wonderful book, ‘Consolations’ ]
Working on the cyanotypes today, trying things out and making tests, enjoying a bit of sun on the face.
Here I will share a letter that I wrote to myself yesterday:
26 March 2021
Perhaps you are a overwhelmed with the tasks you’ve given yourself. You do not need to do all of these things, you need only to do some of these things. You do not need to resolve them, tied up tight, only to present what you have, loose and lovely.
On Wednesday, you remembered P for a moment. That one class he taught, the lesson where he stopped us all from rushing around in the college print studio, the whole big chaotic group, frantically making our work. Shouted “stop!”, shaky almost, upset. Called us over to make a circle. Told us “you need to remember what you are doing – what you are doing is making a poem”. All art is that, isn’t it? A song; a poem. That is the test of what I am doing, what I am working on : is it a poem?
And the mental state (the spiritual state) which you need for the job is a particular one – unhurried, not thinking about outcomes, schedules, deadlines, those things. You have to do other things – the schedule things, the stuff – but they are incidental to the real daily work, the important good work.
working on these gilded photos again…
(Thanks to Roz Moreton for showing me how to make this a few days ago).