John Clare’s poems for the Autumn months in his Shepherds Calendar are among the most beautiful of the year, as well as the most entertaining – his accounts of nutting and other active pleasures balance the customary melancholy of the season, and this year particularly the Autumn weather has been so ravishing that it’s been hard to feel gloomy. And now that we’re on the very edge of winter, with the first frosts and foggy mornings, our thoughts turn to the snowy delights to come.
This year I’ve been thinking even more than usual about the passing of time, the turn of the year and the dance of the seasons. In August I delivered some artist’s books to the National Library of Scotland, and had the great pleasure of unfolding the four great ‘carpet books’ that make up Love & Freedom: Burns’ Year for the curators to experience.
The four books are each made from a huge sheet of handmade paper (Khadi’s great white – at 2m x 80cm among the largest handmade paper sheets in the world), painted, lettered, torn and folded into a sequence of pages to form a book, but possible to unfold and reform to the single huge sheet.
One of my aims for these books is that they should work both in terms of a single image composition on the whole sheet, as well as through the sequence of individual pages:
I’ll be featuring these books in detail throughout the year in 2012, season by season.
Meanwhile we’ve been preparing for our winter exhibition, which this year is in the gallery at the award-winning Woolfson & Tay bookshop in Bermondsey Square in London, close to the south foot of Tower Bridge. River songs in winter is a collection of my new work in clay, handmade paper and driftwood from the Thames, including artist’s books, wall-hung banners in clay and driftwood, and some lovely pots. For more details, have a look at the page about the exhibition on Woolfson & Tay’s website, and I’ll be writing about it here in December. It’s a selling show (so you can buy off the wall to take away), and it’s on from 29th November right through December until 8th January 2012, changing throughout the month.