Saturday Sound Waives Sociability, then the Sunday Sunrise of my Book(s)! unabridged version.

 This is the longer version for them what wants to see into my tiny mind and all.  The beautiful images of sunrise and reflected trails in water were taken by my old Burnley ex-pat  matey Duncan, Thanks DW

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q03E7oTc5qo Read All About It by Emily Sande sets the scene in this BlArt, listen to her beautiful words which resonate with my poems on the wall this weekend.

Grating And Gyrating Sound Waves Drown The Conversations.

The LA*BF weekend had planned hard to make it a good event but for many stallholders upstairs the Saturday ‘performances’ were a worry as the wave of sound was grating and gyrating the ears cos the harmonics in the hall left much to be desired stopping the needed conversations between the makers and potential purchasers. Twas a lovely idea to get poets to read aLOUD but in the words of a famous song from the 60’s, ‘Too LOUD man’.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kyn4KJzbL3c

And for many hours the punters seemed unaware that upstairs were the best of the solo artist-book-makers (ABMs). Where, there at the top of the stair something not doing clippity clik on the tills! So we spoke about signage to th’organisers and it slightly improved Saturday pm and by Sunday pm there were a deluge, which would av been well come on the first two days too. They need to sort it out from the start for next year.

(A*-means artbooks NOT artisbooks! I found out, oops)

I sacrificed my weekly Ashtanga Yoga practice for the joys of driving & parking in Londres. Driving up we missed a turn cos I were talking too much (as usual) and ended up in Kent (like the late Warren Zevon’s Werewolf of London we even ran into fog and I feared we were entering Jung’s Nekyia which I mention in my poem about Jung and here follows an extract from an article about an article by Jung  ‘When such a fate befalls a man who belongs to the neurotic, he usually encounters the unconscious in the form of the ‘Dark One,’ a Kundry of horribly grotesque, primeval ugliness or else of infernal beauty. In Faust’s metamorphosis, Gretchen, Helen, Mary, and the abstract ‘Eternal Feminine’ correspond to the four female figures of the Gnostic underworld, Eve, Helen, Mary, and Sophia. And just as Faust is embroiled in murderous happenings and reappears in changed form, so Picasso changes shape and reappears in the underworld form of the tragic Harlequin – a motif that runs through numerous paintings. It may be remarked in passing that Harlequin is an ancient chthonic god.

For the whole article go to: http://web.org.uk/picasso/jung_article.html

The descent into ancient times has been associated ever since Homer’s day with the Nekyia. Faust turns back to the crazy primitive world of the witches’ sabbath and to a chimerical vision of classical antiquity. Picasso conjures up crude, earthy shapes, grotesque and primitive, and resurrects the soullessness of ancient Pompeii in a cold, glittering light’)

Anyhow that meant I approached Mike Davies & Richard Roger’s millennium dome (http://www.theguardian.com/culture/1999/jul/26/artsfeatures.architectureweek1999) from the opposite side to my familiar Essex view. The speed cameras around London are a farce, one every hundred yards it seems/ ‘They make millions from the fines’ I were told. Parking in NCP next to the gallery (so we could carry our books) was extortionate but we ‘Engerlitscht’ seem to accept things like that instead of refusing to pay, (it’s like the students’ fees too, in ‘civilised’ countries like Scotland and Germany who take responsibilities for their people (not just those of them with financial clout) they made such a fuss that the governments stopped trying to steal the right to an ‘education for life’ and no longer charge the student mass, but here in this democratic land only the rich are entitled to the  top ‘education’… STOP there Don’t Start… Yer Flogging A Dead Donkey!)

I (Lard o’th’Tease) were a guest player with a presence on David Jury’s (the Lord of the Leafs) ‘Fox Ash’ table in the form of my new (little) version of Inside The Earthen Vessel to show the inspiration behind our collaboration on DJ’s beautiful (the big version) Inside The Earthen Vessel. Thursday’s opening, Friday & Saturday brought not a whiff of sales but it were good to be next to Mette Ambeck & Mike Nicholson and even better to find Mette’s little collaboration, UDKANT, with Nancy Campbell while the latter were still around to sign it along with Mette for me, thanks girls, made my first day. http://www.ambeckdesign.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/udkant.html Mette & Mike are experienced pilots flying the bookart trials regarding the straggling punters all spent up once they’d reached us. So I suggest that LABF reverse the orders of the tables, put the big boys upstairs out of the way so the public can enjoy the more individual handmade produce in the big room downstairs. IF they did I would apply early enough next time to be allocated my own table so I can show more of my work next time. I have decided to produce my new weird and wonderful ‘Squidgeratscrawlings’, which is my most original work from my subconscious-images, done over the last 40 years. Images which make Jean Cocteau’s Opium Sketches seem like Enid Blyton pixie illustrations! Influenced by the like of Klee, Ernst, Miro, Rick Griffin and other surreal maniacs.

Also, got to mention the lovely staff and food in the Exmouth café next door. http://www.exmouthcoffee.co.uk/gallery.html the staff work so hard non-stop, don’t know how they sustain it, I prefer to make books, paint, print write poems and do yoga!

I had several meals there over the weekend and I believe their Chai tea must be one of the best around. Kept my spirits high whilst I spoke with folks who couldn’t afford to buy but loved the work.

Most of them took my card and that’ll give access to this blArt, so you may be a new Merry Prancer Maybe A Dancer on my Digibuk Hi!Way, well come.

Then on the Sunday it seemed like the Sunrise of my Book(s), people had been interested and talking with us about their merits and suddenly scores of enthusiasts from every country under the sun arrived. The first big one went and it seemed everyone was after one, confirming DJ’s hunch that his letterpress prints were profoundly appealing. I had just organised a signing on the backs by us both when the first buyer decided to take one. We realised the only way to wrap them was in what Picabia had referred to as a band of copper, ( in ‘I Am a Beautiful Monster’ p146 ‘This poetry has no beginning or end; imagine that there’s no cover and that it’s bound with copper rings.’ Lausanne 1919.) altho in the absence of copper I had found some brass bangles but they worked a treat as I carefully rolled the ‘book’ into a ‘scroll’ and slotted two bangles over, one at each end. Then the firmness of the scrolled book made its own protection.

Image017DW wit his copy in brass bangles

So when I weren’t squawking to folks at David’s table I were looking at the ‘opposition’ (Freudian slip?).  I was particularly much impressed by the following practitioners in one way or another:

Then I met a couple, Guy & Rebecca who on reading the poems said with looks of delight on their faces, ‘We used to live near Hermann Hesse’s house in Gaienhofen 78343!’ wow. And Guy says to me, ‘It says in Paul Corinthians, “We have this treasure in clay jars” ‘ wow some more!

Gita Wolf for her eye for the typos and her Tara books etc.

Jane Hyslop for her wonderfully inspiring and different binding forms etc.

Jacqueline Thomas for her Srinivisa Ramanajun & Ten Abundant Elements altered books.

Manuel Mazzotti for his passion for quality binds.

Louisa Bailey for her choice of books to sell and her very empathic nature. And for having the Maxt Ernst with fungus on ‘book’.

ernst max title page sm

Whereas our book cost tens o pounds some came to hundreds Luminous Books had a wondrous Maxt Ernst ‘book’ which was found with purple fungus on scanned & printed and offered it at £650. Then three star books had one at 35,000 euros! even I can’t afford that! http://www.threestarbooks.com/MULLICAN.html but i were veri inspired by these two, both of whom use frottage altho only one of them invented it, purportedly Maxt, watch out for mine frottaged futurewerks! Well I did some already with my Bar Critters. The one below first came to me in 1974 in a tea stain on my sink, so it’s so good to see similar creatures in Maxt’s work! And that pertle is a color i luvs.

a squidgerat bar critterbarcrit good sm

My old mate Duncan Walker came to the fair and he (he’s a jolly good dancer!step dancer2here he is dancing down Eld Lane steps in Colchester)

said,

“What an astounding piece of work you and David have produced with your Inside the Earthen Vessel letterpressed bookart. I will treasure the ones that I bought. It is so professional and deserves to be put up on the blog, on a page of its own, all 6 poem sheets and cover, with the brilliant photos of the two pages set in the letterpress. The miniature  concertina card of the 6 poems is a delight, it is an art form in its own right. Because it is so small, you see the patterns of the large letters, their layout and shape on a background of smaller type. It is a wonder in its own right and deserves to be exhibited. I have it on my desk and glance over and pick up on a different word and recite ‘A Ring A Ding’….

Image010DW & DJ

I enjoyed meeting David, he is a Master at this letterpress and design and he emits  a quiet strength in closing down on a design, while you are a soaring opener-upper, a brilliant duo. I used to form creative teams that had to contain both types of people, for things to be created from nothing, and then to be advanced developed and built for a spiral iteration.

Your bookart of the original poems is also a real treasure.

What will the poetry library exhibit of your stuff? It could have a corner of their library with all of it displayed and your poems recited in a looped video clip displayed on a monitor,  with your posters of the letterpress as well. And as I suggested to David, it would be so interesting and an art work in itself to have a short video clip of David setting up the press with one of the pages and him whirling with his tweezers, to show how the craft is performed.

Well done both of you, you have made a real success, through a work of art, created from nothing, by applying some rigorous research, creative leaps and connections, applying and developing techniques in design and build, promoting and exhibiting and also through all of this you have spiralled together to a higher level for the next iteration.

Wow!  I am clapping, what a performance I have seen. Bravo!

Early yesterday morning, before I set off to see your work I snapped the rising sun and  plane vapours in the sky and river and knew it was a beautiful day and it was.”

Tanks lad!

And In the End Nobody’s Perfec!

I’d like to thank the folks below who found some typos that slipped our tiny-tweezer-hands which is slightly reminiscent of being told off by the teachrer, oops there I goes again (but what wonderful teachers). We spent hours perusing, checking, correcting and all too. Should we do a reprint then DJ will sort that out, however we know we’ll miss others next time too, that’s life, or is it typesetting & checking out typos? Maybe we should not have put one in as a deliberate mistake in the tradition of the Turkish rug maker?

Gita Wolf pointed one out

Ian Kirkpatrick pointed one out

Burkard Quessel pointed one out, we’ll let youse all find them yourselves.

BUT we’ll continue blazing the trail.

vapor snake

Hey, I see a new Squidgerat in there!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=StLU_q32TVs Hope by Emile Sande

Saturday Sound Waives Sociability, Sunday Sunrise of my Books (short edit)!

 The beautiful images of sunrise and reflected trails in water were taken by my old matey Duncan, Thanks DW

This is a shorter version of this week’s blog for those who can’t spend time with a long one. I shall post the longer blog in a sister posting.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q03E7oTc5qo Read All About It by Emily Sande sets the scene in this blog, listen to her beautiful words which resonate with my poems on the wall this weekend.

Grating And Gyrating Sound Waves Drown The Conversations.

The LA*BF weekend had planned hard to make it a good event but for many stallholders upstairs the Saturday ‘performances’ were a worry as the wave of sound was grating and gyrating the ears as the harmonics in the hall left much to be desired, stopping the needed conversations between the makers and potential purchasers. It was a lovely idea to get poets to read aLOUD but in the words of a famous song from the 60’s, ‘Too LOUD man’.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kyn4KJzbL3c

Also for many hours the punters seemed unaware that upstairs were the best of the solo artist-book-makers (ABMs). Where? There at the top of the stair, something not doing clippity clik on the tills! So we spoke about signage to the organisers and it slightly improved Saturday pm and by Sunday pm there were a deluge, which would have been welcome on the first two days too. They need to sort it out from the start for next year.

(A*-means artbooks NOT artisbooks! I found out, oops)

I sacrificed my weekly Ashtanga Yoga practice for the joys of driving & parking in Londres. Driving up we missed a turn cos I were talking too much (as usual) and ended up in Kent.

I, Lard o’th’Tease, was a guest player with a presence on David Jury’s, (Lord of the Leafs) ‘Fox Ash’ table in the form of my new (little) version of Inside The Earthen Vessel to show the inspiration behind our collaboration on DJ’s beautiful (the big version) Inside The Earthen Vessel. Thursday’s opening, Friday & Saturday brought not a whiff of sales, then, on the Sunday it seemed like the Sunrise of my Book(s), people had been interested and talking with us about their merits and suddenly the first one went and it seemed everyone was after one, confirming DJ’s hunch that his letterpress prints were profoundly appealing. I had just organised a signing on the backs by us both when the first buyer decided to take one. We realised the only way to wrap them was in what Picabia had referred to as a band of copper, although in the absence of copper I had found some brass bangles but they worked a treat as I carefully rolled the ‘book’ into a ‘scroll’ and slotted two bangles over, one at each end. Then the firmness of the scrolled book made its own protection.

Image017my ole mate DW wit a scrolled book

It was good to be next to Mette Ambeck & Mike Nicholson and even better to find Mette’s little collaboration, UDKANT, with Nancy Campbell while the latter were still around to sign it along with Mette for me, thanks girls, made my first day. Mette & Mike are experienced pilots flying the bookart trials regarding the straggling punters all spent up once they’d reached us. So I suggest that LABF reverse the orders of the tables, put the big boys upstairs out of the way so the public can enjoy the more individual handmade produce in the big room downstairs. IF they did I would apply early enough next time to be allocated my own table so I can show more of my work next time.

I have decided to produce my new weird and wonderful ‘SquidgeratScrawlings’.

 barcrit good sm

So when I weren’t squawking to folks at David’s table I was looking at the ‘opposition’ (Freudian slip?). I was particularly much impressed by the following practitioners in one way or another:

Gita Wolf

Jane Hyslop

Jacqueline Thomas

Manuel Mazzotti

Louisa Bailey.

Then I met a couple, Guy & Rebecca who on reading the poems said with looks of delight on their faces, ‘We used to live near Hermann Hesse’s house in Gaienhofen 78343!’ wow. And Guy says to me, ‘It says in Paul Corinthians, “We have this treasure in clay jars” ‘ wow some more!

Also, got to mention the lovely staff and food in the Exmouth café next door. http://www.exmouthcoffee.co.uk/gallery.html I had several meals there over the weekend and I believe their Chai tea must be one of the best around. Kept my spirits high whilst I spoke with folks who couldn’t afford to buy but loved the work.

Most of them took my card and that’ll give access to this blog, so you may be a new ‘Merry Prancer Maybe A Dancer?’ on my Digibuk Hi!Way, well come.

My old mate Duncan Walker came to the fair and this was his reaction (he’s a jolly good dancer!),

Image010DW and DJ dancing

“What an astounding piece of work you and David have produced with your Inside the Earthen Vessel letterpressed bookart. I will treasure the ones that I bought. It is so professional and deserves to be put up on the blog, on a page of its own, all 6 poem sheets and cover, with the brilliant photos of the two pages set in the letterpress. The miniature  concertina card of the 6 poems is a delight, it is an art form in its own right. Because it is so small, you see the patterns of the large letters, their layout and shape on a background of smaller type. It is a wonder in its own right and deserves to be exhibited. I have it on my desk and glance over and pick up on a different word and recite ‘A Ring A Ding’….

I enjoyed meeting David, he is a Master at this letterpress and design and he emits  a quiet strength in closing down on a design, while you are a soaring opener-upper, a brilliant duo. I used to form creative teams that had to contain both types of people, for things to be created from nothing, and then to be advanced developed and built for a spiral iteration.

Your bookart of the original poems is also a real treasure.

What will the poetry library exhibit of your stuff? It could have a corner of their library with all of it displayed and your poems recited in a looped video clip displayed on a monitor,  with your posters of the letterpress as well. And as I suggested to David, it would be so interesting and an art work in itself to have a short video clip of David setting up the press with one of the pages and him whirling with his tweezers, to show how the craft is performed.

 

Well done both of you, you have made a real success, through a work of art, created from nothing, by applying some rigorous research, creative leaps and connections, applying and developing techniques in design and build, promoting and exhibiting and also through all of this you have spiralled together to a higher level for the next iteration.

Wow!  I am clapping, what a performance I have seen. Bravo!

Early yesterday morning, before I set off to see your work I snapped the rising sun and  plane vapours in the sky and river and knew it was a beautiful day and it was.”

And In the End Nobody’s Perfec!

I’d like to thank the folks below who found some typos that slipped our tiny-tweezer-hands which is slightly reminiscent of being told off by the teachrer, oops there I goes again (but what wonderful teachers). We spent hours perusing, checking, correcting and all too. Should we do a reprint then DJ will sort that out, however we know we’ll miss others next time too, that’s life, or is it typesetting & checking out typos? Maybe we should not have put one in as a deliberate mistake in the tradition of the Turkish rug maker?

Gita Wolf pointed one out

Ian Kirkpatrick pointed one out

Burkard Quessel pointed one out, we’ll let youse all find them yourselves.

BUT we’ll continue blazing the trail. Hey, I see a new Squidgerat in there!

 vapor snake

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=StLU_q32TVs Hope by Emile

‘Inside This Earthen Vessel’ Poem 6 Shaman Beuys

The LABF at Whitechaple begins this evening. http://www.londonartbookfair.org/

For those of you who have been following my recent blArts I just had a realisation. In the page about the Dalai Lama David Jury in the subtext picked up on the parallel between my being an expat from Burnley and the DL having been exiled from Tibet a notion which reverberates thru that print. I now see most all of the six men in my poems had to run from something. We are all are just passing through.

 

  • Gurdzhiev was a Russian Orthodox Christian native of Kars which was caught up in a fight between Russia and the Ottoman Empire. His father, a peaceful story-teller, was murdered by Turks during the Armenian massacre which some call a genocide.
  • Hermann Hesse was exiled from his native Germany for standing up against the Prussian military swing to arms which manifested in world war 0ne. Hesse was already famous and the authorities did not like his stance, he felt obliged to shift over to the mountains of Italy.
  • Tenzin Gyatso is still exiled from Tibet after fleeing from Maoist force in 1959.
  • Scheffler was a monk from Silesia who switched from Catholicism to Protestantism and back to avoid the attentions of the Inquisition after he wrote his inspired poem called The Cherubinic Wanderer.
  • C G Jung spent most of his life investigating the nature of humankind in its dreams and distant past. He was an advocate of the i ching and a Gnostic.In some ways Jung was an exile from his contemporaries and his own daimon. ‘Since my contemporaries understandably could not perceive my vision, they only saw a fool rushing ahead. A creative person has little power over his own life. He is not free. He is captive and driven by his daimon.’ (Memories, Dreams & Reflections, p356) Jung + pipe
  • Pete Kennedy is just an Idjet in a Jug hiding from the ladies in Burnley what want to talk to him about all sorts of promises he made in his youth and did not no way never keep and who looks a bit like old Jung but hasn’t got his pedigree!). a odorkapul sans dork
  • Joseph Beuys, a Celtic son of Cleves, was running from his Luftwaffe past.

 

Poem 6 Shaman Beuys

‘Don’t mention the war’ said another satirist who, when he Cleese…d, his hair shot off. Joseph Beuys had a life before he became an artis. His first life, in the Luftwaffe, ended as he catapulted thru the glass between him and the outside. David deliberately paralleled Beuys bursting thru the screen with the pot bursting as it hit the ground in his final page of the poems. The subtext mentions no safety belt. A pot don’t wear a safety belt so the mention seems odd, but it refers to the fact that Beuys said had he been strapped in, according to orders, he would have been annihilated like his companion was. So once he recovered from a broken jaw and a burst skull with the help of (allegedly) some Siberian peasants who covered him in grease and wound him up in felt he forewent the Nazi cause and spent the rest of his days, not wearing any safety harness, attacking the powers that be and trying to establish a better world through the example of his outputs which, like dada after the WW1, totally rejected the maxims and mores of the previous ‘leaders’. (Phew that’s a gobful! Innit?)

Last but not least that Celt Showman what is called Jo Beuys. My mention of Halstatt & La Tene refers to large Celtic communities that dominated the landscape in Europe around 3000 years ago. He hails from near Cleves, where the Swan Castle (the Schwanenburg) still has a golden plated swan as a weather vane. http://celts.etrusia.co.uk/celtic_cultures.php I find their art & artefacts are a beautifully robust craft. http://www.pinterest.com/viziglar/hallstatt-and-la-tene-cultures/

 

Beuys refused to engage in painting onto canvas and other traditional methodologies preferring to make installations & personal appearances with demonstration and talk about his nutso crazy ideas. He used metaphor and analogy to convey his ideas which were often embodied in his materials.. he attracted attention by wearing a wardrobe which defined him and in which he could carry a lot of his artefacts, and chalk, for doing his blackboard talks.He used fat and felt as sculpture material breaking the codes of traditional materials like carved stone and moulded bronze tho he did use these materials too but more in juxtapositions of ‘found objects or objects totally out of their usual contexts. He often referred to vortexes, energy streams conducted by various materials like honey, messages carried by bees, he communicated with dead hares and live coyotes. He tried to make amends for Nazi atrocities by joining Eurasia up with his actions and outings and somehow over-riding the fact that he had been a Luftwaffe airman who survived an plane crash. DJ parallels Beuys bursting out of the plane with the Buddhist story of the broken pot which I mention in the sub-text when I said ‘I let go and this humble vase returns to dust’ ‘it bit the dust’, which is not all used in the text. This was a completion of the circle as the six poems begin with a title, ‘Destination Dust’ a reference to the fact that everything eventually returns to the original source, energy. So even the subtext move around, whereas in the first pages it is flippant and mundane by the final page it has grafted in to the main text and apart from the black humour of Beuys bursting thru the glass has become serious, considering human frailty and mortality.

ves 6 sm

The chant from the terraces which I heard as a young teenager brings the subtext into the main text inasmuch that my home town Burnley reached the quarter final of the European Cup and we did thrash the Germans, in the first leg, but Uwe Seeler and his bigger brother knocked us out in Hamburg. But McIlroy really was better than Eusebio, well nearly, he was part of the team from Northern Ireland which got to the quarter finals of the World Cup in 1958 and (not a lot of people know this) their manager Peter Doherty was my dad’s hero and I were named after him.

As manager in 1958 Doherty took Jimmy McIlroy and N. Ireland side to the quarter finals of the World Cup
As manager in 1958 Doherty took Jimmy McIlroy and N. Ireland side to the quarter finals of the World Cup

Here endeth the intro to our new books.

This was a meeting of two minds who have been ‘doing art’ for 90 odd years. Well, odd in my case, meticulous in DJ’s. For David is an ‘artist-dervish whirling around at the wayzgoose with his tweezers teasing new meanings from my words’ when it comes to working a press

For those newcomers to dis blArt the ‘poems’ in ‘Inside This Earthen Vessel’ were inspired by Kabir’s poem ‘Inside This Clay Jug’ sung by the late Jackie Leven https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BfiKUhS1cnI . Someone asked if my writing (in the book G Batch which underpins these new versions) deserves the title ‘poetry’? Well, it’s a beautiful question. A real poet would not have the temerity to call their words poetry, that is for history to decide. Catullus, Patchen, Angelou, Blake, Bukowski & Stevie Smith all deserve (in my book of tings) the nomenclature. No, I write, I set out some of my words as prose, some as attempts at ‘poems’ or as I used to differentiate them ‘poyms’. There is a debate about whether folks like Bob Zimmerman, Mark Knopfler or John Lennon’s words are ‘poems’? Ask Picabia or Jarry about what makes up a poem, don’t aks me.

So, if I were aksed to put what the six ‘poems’ are all about I’d say first and foremost they are an appeal for humanity to live harmoniously in peace. They show six men who represent the cultures of most of the prominent human groups. They are against dogma. The poems all represent human beings who had the balls to look at the human situation and to be brave enough to stand up and say their piece almost always standing up for the individual and their right to think and make up their own mind. The poems are my personal insight into mystical knowledge as represented in six different thinkers whose lives and work had impact on a fair number of others to this day. My poems say that, contrary to the widely held view, mystical insight is an expansive subject open to everyone. Also inside the pot (earthen vessel) is Joy & Humour, Music & Dance. Mysticism runs like veins of gold (Blake’s golden thread) through human cultures and can bring many people together when they understand we are all striving for the same thing, which is to understand why we are here and to appreciate the beauty which surrounds us on planet Earth. ‘Stop The Killing, Stop The Killing NOW’ said John Lennon before some tramp shot him. Imagine that, where is John now? He’s out there following his vision of ultimate reality and laughing his cosmic chuckle just like the Dalai Lama does. Namaste.

Let’s waltz again with Lenny:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-E53gmeO-8&index=5&list=RDye6JssTdnvw

Peace Be With You.

My Next Blog, how the 2  ‘vessels’ buks (mi littul one and DJ’s Big Y’in) and paraphernalia were received along with several other David Jury gems at the Whitechapel, 26 thru 29th September? Maybe see yez thur?

International Peace Day today, Gurdzhiev on ‘mutual-self-destruction’.

Post on Monday 22.9.14

As you can see I have brought my post a day forward, that is because a lady sent me a blog today, http://paperponderings.blogspot.co.uk/ and it reminded me that it is Peace Day today. The media what I watch Auntie Beeb Beeb See has failed to mention that! But peace is a wonderful ting, has a nice ring about it, so it should be encouraged even if it is unfashionable in some quarters. Below is the first of my runupto LABF  later this week. It happens to be, this one, about Gurdzhief who spent his life promoting harmonious living and furtherance of humanity’s level o consciousness, so I thought maybe post it today, Day of Peace and Hope that Peace will come; to Syria, to Palestine, to Iraq, to Ukraine and most of all to the people of what was once Tibet but is now called China.

So the LABF at Whitechapel Gallery opens in a few days. I am posting these last two introductions to the poems in Pete Kennedy & David Jury’s newly launched artist’s books in two lots because there’s a lot to take in in each of these last two. Like Kate Bush sang these are heavy people; Gurdzhiev and Beuys, who had a lot to tell us through their activities and books. Gurdzhiev brought a whole new cosmology from his extensive anthropological studies of ancient cultures. Beuys brought a new pair of optical lenses to view the world of Eurasia through. Both men may be considered mad as hatters (idiots indeed) but in fact I believe both had incredible wisdom and insight.

Poem 5, Gurdzhiev.

G closeme pretending to be Gurdzhiev

  1. (Gurdzhiev’s ‘followers’ knew him as ‘G’, long before social media gave us all lots of ‘follows’!) talks about his father as an ‘ashokh’ a storyteller from the tradition which goes back before the Flood mentioned in the Hebrew script. Ashokhs learned stories verbatim and the stories were passed down for thousands of years unchanged. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=pseoAwAAQBAJ&pg=PA431&lpg=PA431&dq=armenian+ashokh&source=bl&ots=Ds2uEVSb-O&sig=77MItQA_WmDwlbNUtzMmEbultn8&hl=en&sa=X&ei=w04TVIDDHondaLmdgeAE&ved=0CCMQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=armenian%20ashokh&f=false The Epic of Gilgamesh tells of a flood which historically is written about in cuneiform tablets from Ancient Assyria. Story-telling, like this, (cos that is what this blArt is abArt really), relaying stories from me unto ye, was part of the way of life in the Armenian community G. was born into. They still called Macedonian Alexander (in the west ‘Great’ but in Asia Minor) ‘The Arch-Vainglorious’! G.’s ethnic background hails from the descendants of people who fought under Xerxes against Alexander, so it is understandable they were not his fans. As a result of his observations of Humankind G. saw that we (yes that’s we) all too often go blindly into war thinking maybe this time it’ll be the one to end all wars that hasn’t happened yet. His phrase for war was ‘mutual self-destruction’.

Many people have found G. fascinating because of his world view and his personal cosmology which he said was based in objective everlasting laws. He looked at human history with eyes from the east and had visited many obscure communities in his search for ‘knowledge’. He then decided to fetch his findings to Europe & America. He set up centres of learning where ‘pupils’ were encouraged to learn ancient dances to music G. wrote based in lessons learned from disappearing cultures. He may have visited the pyramids but it is certain he spent time in the secret recesses of communities across several differing esoteric groups from a wide range of what is commonly called ‘religious’ backdrops. G was initiated into the use of a mysterious nine sided star called The Enneagram

enea sign

 

which he used to organise his choreography in the group dances he did and to assist in analysing your personality. He saw similarities in the aspirations and beliefs of all the popularly followed religions. He studied faiths from the Sufi (Muslim), Orthodox (Russian Christian), Early Christianity (before the Nicene Creed), Zoroastrianism (Asia Minor), and Buddhism in Tibet, plus some.

He learnt dance movements from societies which used dance as coded messages which were disappearing with the onslaught of the modern world. He wrote mesmerising music in the company of Hartmann based on what he called eternal law. His appellation for the term ‘god’ was the Common Endless One or The Absolute, which he said was actually three in one. As well a an interest in hypnotism he studied numbers. The Absolute was the Number three, the triangle in the Enneagram. David was pleased to be able to use the other six numbers from the Enneagram in his prints because, being a dedicated letter press master numbers just have to included somewhere.

Then he put together his thoughts on the way humans could move forward in 3 main books the last of which was ‘Life is real only then when I am’, which is the last sentence in David’s letterpress version of my poem about G. and means real appreciation of life happens to you only when you are truly awake. He says humanity is in a deep slumber, a state of forgetfulness or somnambulance from which it is necessary to WAKE UP. Kate Bush even mentions his name in a song about heavy people because her parents would discuss G. at home. http://www.metrolyrics.com/them-heavy-people-lyrics-kate-bush.html

Kate is a perfec example of someone who has taken on the Gurdzhievian ting about awakening from slumber thru self-work and contribution to the creative ways of the world.

len sings in yelo&purpl

As is my ole matey Len The Master Cohen, let’s dance https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2sZzJAxfD-4&index=3&list=RDye6JssTdnvw

Tom Phillips, his wurds, my werds, your word.

It’s words, we love to play wit them. The constructing and de-constructing. There’s so much to do wit werds. I create werds mi wey. Tom does too, his way. Together, with whey, we make HEY!

tom swiping smkba page

So I saw (see I saw) Tom Phillips (TP) last night at the South Bank Poetry Library. Good show. He talked about his new ‘thrupenny’ opera based on an old Victorian book he paid thruppence for back in 1966 whilst in the company of the late great R B Kitaj at a flea market. The book was ‘The Human Document’ (W. H. Mallock) TP was intent on doing some altered book werk treat-ment on that Victorian forgotten document, told RBK he’d spend the rest of his life on it, and up to now he did, 50 years. His version he called ‘Humumenthttp://humument.com/ and it’s a play with the text,

a play full of art which he has turned into an opera now. So this book, one of Britain’s early artist’s books, has had a life and is now in its 5th version. TP’s work on the pages is exquisite as some examples show in the Poetry Library. Tom talks with the closeness of an artisbloke but the distance of someone who knew he had ‘made it’ years ago. He is very confident, very self-effacing, if you can do both at once. Very kind too, let me take some photos, and signed a little pamphlet I got about his other big work, Dante’s Inferno which he translated himself then illustrated impeccably. I hold my hand up to Tom, he is no doubt a wonderful artist and he has the bravery to delve deep into the possibilities of ‘social media’ like his tweets show. His creativity to me seems to be how he manipulates media. Now he’s manipulating Opera with similar adventures which he described fleetintly last night, talking of what ingrediates a good opera; music, dance, foreign tongue etc. So below I am going to amalgamate his spoken word with my own thoughts and observations and variations, don’t worry if you can’t understand a werd of it, it’s a new form of ‘writing-collaboration’, werds and images I gleanmachinated into a combination of his werds and mine and those they trigger in your mind too, here goes:

‘November 1966 in company with Ronald Kitaj I found A Human Document on a flea market it cost thruppence. So the opera can legitimately be called the thruppenny opera? I know the purple questions you stir the violent notes. The opera could be a palindrome cos , ‘One man in the dust is so much like another’ opens and closes it.we got dancing in this show, Gavin Bryars = did the music (?) music is the ultimate art we all aspire to…all other stumblingscribblings in art tried to match…music.

Wild strawberries captured, mentions rosebud too, hints of bergman & orson wells. My instructions to dancers are really ‘challenges & provocations’. A white shadow, white nocturnal dream. Couldn’t leev Billy Toje out of the opera now could I? I made him rather a grand figure. The inarticulate language? Why not call mine ‘mando’? reads some mando gibberish. Talks of ‘words picked from inside words’ in the wonderful words of the English language. I love the tweet & twitter world for the new words…

Mallock (W H) was a prig, a prick, anti-semitic, very snobbish.

I thought I’d make a parade. In the Rimbaud (not Rambo?) manner. Lord Ruin & the Sausages. The Velvet Subterranean Band. Aaron’s Extended Sprouting Stalk. Humument, I hope to have it done by its 50th birthday.’Then Tom stopped hard. It wer dun.

nancy campbell sm kb

Nancy said she was impressed with the man’s work. Chris McCabe said he was a poet too much published over the years in Poets Review (?).

chris mcabe

Tom doing this reminded me I already did a Nonogon Dance ting where 15 kids from Maldon danced (in masks watti dun and costumes too) to music by Mick West & Mark Newby-Robson whilst I read the story of the Nonogon Nomads. Goff Merrijeff projected video clips. Bin thur dun that, Colchester Library, Jan 5th 2000. I’d do it again only more betterer if I got the opening. And there’s a dance Inside The Clay Pot too. C’mon where are the sponsors? Until they arrive I shall continue to dance alone.

Next night I danced my way to fistite in Colchester again to listen and watch 4 ex-Bruce McLean students strut their poses. And werry gut twer too.

It’s wonderful to see that fistite have extended the McLean show til end November. Sad to see nobody seems to av seen my little article in Venue, well at least nobody said something like, hey, I saw that really positive mention, nevertheless…that sketch of Bruce I did in the Tate back in 1994:

 a venue piece  alone smkb

Bruce continues to blow a wind of fresh airs through the (so far) much (undeservedly) maligned gallery. Let’s hope that this excellent exhibition really turns the tide in favour of the place in, at least, the eyes of the local community who still do not seem to have adopted it as their favourite place to be seen etc. It’s a case of the prophet in his own land not being appreciated and I know all about that, cos for the first 44 yearns of my ‘career’ I wernt either, but as youse all know that’s abArt to change. Is it now? Anyway, there was humour from the start as the master of ceremonies Klaas Hoek appeared on his knees pretending to be Lautrec after a quote by Bruce said he had a peculiar view.

corrinacorrina

Corrina Till gave a lovely illustrated talk about the influence of McLean and of the book Tender Buttons by Gertrude Stein on her. Synchronistically she talked of Stein’s early 20th century opera based in the book which itself really plays with words, juxtaposing them. Bruce also has a reputation for just a poses. And plays with werds.

a stein werds

Seems I am not a lone pose…r on the play which operates from our incredible language with all its history and future potentials. With ‘suppose you pose your own placebose’ Stein seemed to be premonition-ing McLean’s big ‘pose’ ting here. I took some images on me camra but missed a wonderful quote Corrina put up about ‘a receptacle & a symbol’ by which Stein could have been talking about my new project but she wernt cos she rote that 100 yearns ago.

eddie farrell

Then Eddie Farrell talked about his mag called Shytsummat (I can’t remember it’s name) which he did a video for where he had the words up like karaoke and said loads of stuff denigrating the world of ‘art’. Bruce and Co seem to love the use of film. I loved the way he was fumbling thru his notes and when finished with one page just dropped it on the floor, I thought it was like a ‘sculpture’ in process. Then he got heavy, my zone, and talked about how the see-aye-aeegh manipulate the world and create new realities by the day. Mentioned Noam Chomsky and other subversive stuff. OK by me, the more folk who see thru the veil the better. Said there’s no poets and writers nowadays doing stuff which rails against the incursive power of the State, (but I think I do. If it’s called a state it’s in a state, innit? No matter which state yer talkin abart. Usually the waste product floats to the top. Lunatics. The lunatics get to run the state. Don’t they? Nixoff, Raygan, Push, Blinkton, and Push again son it smells like bombs?*)

And thruout his talk he balanced the serious with the humorous. At one point in the evening Bruce was shown in a film where he was being questioned how he felt about a gallery in Holland which was being subjected to series of vandalouts’ attacks and he couldn’t help laughing at the list of some pretty serious attacks which he called a catalogue of disasters. Bruce added at the close, “If you can’t laugh you don’t learn” and I shall drink to that. Mine’s a dandelion and burdock.

* I heard a joke or was it true? Man goes into the Asylum, see a bloke hanging from the ceiling. What’s he doing there? He thinks he’s a light bulb. OK, then why don’t you bring him down? Don’t be silly. Then we’d not be able to see in the dark.

brucie laffin sm kbbrucie laffin2 sm kb

Bruce tinks it’s funny!

 My next blArty pete’s will be about the last two pages of the new collaborative book by me and David Jury. That should have been this blog but my two gallery visits butted in. It’ll be the last one I do before the London Artist book fair.

 

David Jury has completed the letterpress version of ‘Inside This Earthen Vessel’

They tell me that ‘social media is most popular tween Mon-Wednesday? That’s not what hits on my blog tell me, Saturn & Sunday were by far the best shots this past week. And anyway, am on a mission. Am preparing folk to see the books at the London bookfair. Now Last time I covered the first 3 poems in letterpress versions by David Jury. I have now written on the next three, but I got busy and there’s a lot o stuff so am gonna spread it over tree blogs. That’s anutha ting they say, folk don’t want/go to blogs etc what have loads o stuff on em. And I am not finding that true. Folk seem to like the stuff watti rite.

OK sunday 14th, BANG GOES the idea that social media is most visited Mon thru Thors-Day!! This post which was put up yesterday, note a Saturn-day notta M-Thday,was ‘visited’ 44 times before sunadae began, with hits about even frae the USA and Britland. plus one or twa frum India and Aussidownthur. In my stats, it’s sat thru Tuesday what gets most visits. wed an thurs were lowest with 1 and 6 respectively. (Used to buy 10 woodbine with one and six (pence) forgive me young folk you don’t remember the old coinage, forgive me god fer smoking, luckily I givved it up when i wer 18, it slowed me doon on th’pitch!

One lady walked past me yesterday and she said, ‘I really enjoyed your blog this week.’ Somewhat taken aback, I didn’t realise she read it, I was able to show her DJ’s wonderful work, and she loved that too. Sorry I cannot shew it to you in the real form, only digital, but then you don’t feel the feel which is so vital. How can a digipic give the feel, the scent, the breeze of satisfaction as you look at something so tactile? Difficult one that. And tactility is a big part of an artist’s book book, innit? It’s a big part of what makes an artisbuk DIFFERENT from an normal book, even a normal book on a artis. I mean, some normal books are lovely. I am a book addict, book is my ‘habit’, I buy book everyday, mostly from charity shops as I cannot afford to pay shopnew prices. I have hundreds nay thoosands of books. Somebody suggested this week I should even be a ‘social media slut’ (slut, an interesting word) but am already a bookslut, I have a glut o buks. Many of them my own what avent sold (yet). I done this drawing a while back of an artisbloke wat looked like me pushing a barrow of remaindered books. Wonder if I can find that to show yez?

a idjet pushin books smkban idjet at large

Soon after i posted this blArty bit an ole fren sent me a little poem, notice how it takes the shape of a pot. Is everyting gon potty? :

Wheeliebarroh Man
D Walker

Wheeling and whirling

round an around,
the wheelie boy
with house on his hed
moves slowly and serenely
across our mind,
so smooth and silent
that we wonder if
he was ever there.

Anyway, different or not you still need to sell/promote yer output, no matter how good it is cos it won’t shift from yer shelves iffen yez don’t. So bear with me on this prolonged sales pitch.

DJ has now completed his letterpress version of my book Inside This Earthen Vessel which shows his exquisite use of what he calls in his most recent commercial book ‘the visual language of graphic design’. http://www.davidjury.com/various-publishers/before-graphic-designers.html  and we have series of postcards, poster and all ready for Whitechapel nex week, 26 – 28 September 2014. http://www.whitechapelgallery.org/book-fair/the-london-art-book-fair/the-london-art-book-fair-2014

 

It would be a good idea if you read my previous blArt first before this. https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2014/09/08/the-letterpress-version-of-inside-this-earthen-vessel/

 

In it I mention ‘spirit’ and I need to start this blArt with a little (?) question about existence and spirit, don’t I? Some may tink this has nowt to do with DJ’s beautiful letterpressed book, well in fact my original (little, not letterpressed) book of the same name is all about spirit really. It’s a metaphor for what is inside the jug which is a metaphor for the human body, or is it? I think it is.

*Spirit- there is a debate about ‘spirit’, whether it exists? Could exist? etc Of course in a material way it is impossible (for spirit to exist) without a body or some physical ‘system’/substance. There has to be some material sunstance for proof of ‘being there’. The human has blood, heart, eyes etc. A mountain has physicality too, some say it has spirit, like the spirit of Apu in the mountains of the Quero peoples of Peru, Mount Fuji and many other examples of the local folk attributing ‘spirit’ to a mountain. And then there is the Question about existence before the Big Bang? Was there a Mind? Is there a Mind? Is Everything a Mind? Mind you, I’m not so sure. Yet I think therefore Am I? And inside this body, this jug-headed entity I call me, there seems to be a mind, a thinking entity, which will undoubtedly, without exception, stop operating in the physical world when I die. The big Question is, will it continue elsewhere, to somewhere else? To Spirit on, that is the Question?

 

Poem 4, The Silesian Angel, Johann Scheffler.

Like William Blake and C G Jung after him Scheffler seems to have had access to the hidden knowledge sometimes known as Gnosticism. http://ancienthistory.about.com/od/heresies/a/Gnosticism.htm

These had become, ‘secret’ or underground when the Christian church was changed in the 4th century AD and organised like the Roman army under Emperor Constantine who had been converted to it. Men previously competing in the groundswell of ideas which milled around the Middle East in 300-400 AD found their ideas had become ‘heretical’ after the Romanised church declared that they had selected (only) 4 of the many extant gospels, the rest were ‘binned’ so to speak. In the case of Pachomius who lived in a community of hermit monks (sic) their ideas came in the form of books collected from the then known world including places as far away as India. Like all pogroms* this new (Nicene) Creed outlawed thinkers whose idea did not toe the party line. So  Pachomius and his mates felt forced to hide their ‘library’ in a place called Nag Hammadi in Egypt where it lay, in earthen pots, for near 2000 years until re-discovered in 1947. http://gnosis.org/naghamm/nhl.html

(*the word pogrom comes from a russian word meaning like thunder, pity, if you subject a group to a force like thunder it’ll backfire, natural law)

David Jury has enlarged words like Nag Hammadi, and Logos to emphasise their importance in my text. He also makes the songline ‘Are We Humans Or Are We Dancers’ big. To do this he was real pleased to be able to utilise wood font which he had collected but never printed with over the years. David’s eye for composing the page is marvellous and we have done a full colour ‘poster’ with the layout so folk can see the masterly way DJ wields the letterpress tweezers.

The words Scheffler uses in his epic poem The Cherubinic Wanderer certainly have a Gnostic ring to them flagging up his ecstatic direct link with his god. This god he sees as the source of all things which is lodged in the centre of the human and the human is lodged in the centre of the god, the two Sheffler says are inseparable, they are One.

ves 3 sm

The letterpress version of Inside This Earthen Vessel.

A Collaboration between Pete Kennedy & David Jury.

This is a meeting of two minds. Between us we’ve been ‘doing’ art for 90 odd years. Well, odd in my case, meticulous in DJ’s. For David is an artist whirler when it comes to working a press with his tweezers teasing new meanings from my words.

So to begin, David loved the words in my Inside This Earthen Vessel which I brought to him after I had laid them out in the shape of typographic pots. Mine was a series of six concrete poems in which I had put the typo into the shape of a pot in an edition of 50. Some ‘important’ words I had enlarged. My version is basically ‘unaltered text’ typo speak, and can be read as a ‘book’. So, David thought the words were ‘spine-tingling’, the typo form was of interest to his present investigations into words typed/laid out in the shape of things and he obviously had a hunch that he could do something substantial with them in letterpress. It became his summer obsession.

David saw possible developments out of the idea and wanted to go much larger, with an edition of about 30. The collaboration is ‘altered text’ and with a sub-text in a smaller font can be read in at least two ways, and more. The ‘sub-text’ came about because I had left gaps between words in order to create the pot shape. DJ saw that as a waste of valuable space which letters could fill.

David also edited some of my original words out in order to fit the pot shape, he asked me to produce a second text of a totally different nature to the main text for the sub-text and we would arrange and agree which words to include or exclude.

 

Poem One, featuring Hermann Hesse.

The first poem is about Nobel Prize winning writer Hermann Hesse in a magical (impossible in real time) meeting with a monk named in early Buddhist scripts called Dhona who is reported to have lived during the time of Buddha and to have made his acquaintance. Why not add a ‘sub-text’, one that works as a foil or counterpoint for the main mostly ‘serious’ original text. Add mainly more mundane words maybe with some humour? I threw some of my ‘everyday’ poems at David and he would select words  which added to the other text in a smaller and differing font. They can be read separately but also alongside and within the main text thus giving a third series of potential readings. To gain a fourth series (like Gurdzhiev?) DJ began to use wood types he had collected long time but never been able to use, these BIG letters add more readings especially as he began to cut words in two and eventually even saw letters in half! But I move too fast. In poem one he was fairly close to my original, just using larger letters at the foot of the poem.

In writing Siddhartha HH brought the story of the young prince Shakyamuni to the West in a masterwork. Remember when he wrote it there was no internet, ideas were slow to travel. When I wrote the poem I enlarged the size of some ‘important’ words. DJ was to take this on and develop it. His first attempt took many ‘takes’ before he managed to set the type in the shape of the pot and work out the rhythm of the words. He stuck closely to my original. He liked the idea that the pot was not drawn, so it was only there in the shape of the words which seemed to set on the bottom as sediment. This settling was assisted by some words being bigger which not only added more weight to the page but also to the meaning. In doing the poem I had realised that Buddha, the first Buddhist, was saying to a monk from an earlier faith (Vedan?) which believed it impossible to leave the wheel of rebirth, that he had discovered how to get off the wheel (of ‘Samsara). This, in its day, was revolutionary! I assume that Dhona became a follower as he is quoted in early Buddhist texts as an advocate of Buddha’s ideas.

 

Poem Two, featuring The Dalai Lama.

The Dalai Lama fled his homeland when it seemed Maoist Chinese wanted to ‘disappear’ him, like they did over a million Tibetans since his departure. I know there are millions of good folk in China, it’s just that the ones who rose to the ‘top’ were not that benevolent towards others who did not agree to their hegemony. Reports of the way China has stripped Tibet of so many things are horrendous although I have no (dare not, I am natural born a chicken) like Lennon sang been there to ‘See for Myself’. Incredibly, the Chinese rebuilt many of the temples their predecessors destroyed in the 1950’s and use Tibet’s old religion as a tourist attraction now despite it being a crime to carry pictures of the Dalai Lama, it is said.

I was lucky to be able to attend, along with Sting, Richard Gere And Jimmy Nail, the grand opening by the Dalai Lama of the Tibetan Peace Garden in the Imperial War Museum (sic) grounds in London.

dalama peace gdn small

Sadly, when I re-visited it for the first time recently it was devoid of visitors. Does that show how much interest there is in peace in the world? I mean, the museum was so packed to the rafters with visitors to the new memory of the First World  War I couldn’t buy a ticket to get in that day, yet nobody was with me in the Peace Garden! No actually, I prefer to think it’s because everyone is too busy and has no time left in their day for contemplation, that includes me. I only touched base then scurried off after a few minutes scooting round the beautiful garden.

Poem Three featuring C G Jung (hey, A Jung in a jug!)

Jung was a Gnostic and he wore a ring with a G on to prove it. In my poem I have him ‘Dancing with Sophia’.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ye6JssTdnvw

Sophia the Gnostics believe is the partner of the entity that created ‘gods’ like the one in the Jewish testaments. That entity did not want a material world created, it was satisfied with the existence of non-being (spirit?) or Void. The Void being the ‘real’ world with ‘materiality’ (our form of existence), becoming a digression, an interruption, a problem. My analogy of Jung dancing with Sophia indicates his interest in Gnostic ideas which were around at the time of the Nicene Creed when the new canon of the Christian church was decided in the rule of Constantine the Roman Emperor. My reference to Pachomius is about a monk whose community had collected books from all of the known world, including India, and had to bury them to avoid the persecutions of one Athanasius who wanted to kill all heretics. Heretics had not been heretics until the Nicene Creed decided that their ideas were now outside the canon!

Metanoia and Nekzia are terms which Jung used to describe the dark part of the world where humans are sent to experience a rebirth of ideas. It is an old idea that the darkest hour comes before the dawning. Orpheus went into the underworld to find his love etc. before Enlightenment comes the dark abyss must be reconciled.

 

That is an insight into my thinking in the first three poems. Next blogart ting will be the poems 4-6, here is a taster of the new DJ poems:

a sunniside o jo bo 2 sm kb

words & image (c) pete kennedy 2014/print (c)David Jury 2014

See yez…on the Light side?

 

The Jug Talks

I am about to do a seires of blArts about the ‘Earthen Jug Project’ I have been working through for the past couple of years. This first one is from old writings about how the project began and some early outcomes. The next couple of blArts I have planned a revelation of the new ‘artist’s books’ which have come out this month, September. So, watch this space man.

A mock interview on my Earthen Vessels Project.

You made an incredible discovery?

During semester three of my MA in Art & the Book I made an incredible discovery – a book about the Karoshi scripts in pots at Ghandara. It introduced me to the pots which inspired the final look painted onto this one. And increased my knowledge manifold. Toward the end of semester four I made another astounding discovery which I shall share with you at the end of this film. Finding it beggars my belief.

How did you come about making your clay pot?

So to begin, I had had a long time interest in the Dead Sea scrolls which were found at Qumran. This was re-ignited by my hearing about a library found at Nag Hammadi in Egypt in 1945, the existence of which is not often mentioned, and I wished to know why.

A close friend of mine (DW) sent me a copy of an album by someone I remembered meeting at college in Exeter in the early 70’s. John St. Field. He had since changed his name to Jackie Leven and the song I liked best was called Inside This Clay Jug after a poem written  by Kabir an Indian poet in 1450, 500 years before my birth. The poem as read by Robert Bly struck a chord within me. Recite from memory the clay jug and maybe Tagore’s version. (I could add his worm thinks it a bit odd that humans don’t eat books)

The words flagged up my interest in the way ancient cultures would store treasured documents in pots and hide them away. I saw potential there for a project around which to hang my work for the second year of my MA. I did not realise how much wonder I was about to enter.

The writing was to be gleaned from the work of 6 men who had pushed the boundaries in human thinking; Gurdzhiev, Beuys, Angeli Scheffler, Tenzin Gyatso, C. G. Jung and Hesse. I took the title G BATCH from their names

What is the significance of the number ‘six’?

I decided to base my project around the idea of a six sided shape, the hexagon. You can see my pot has a hexagonal base. And two of my ‘heroes’, Gurdzhiev and Beuys, had bees in their personal cosmologies. Gurdzhiev’s bee was from ancient Armenian legend as the carrier of ‘knowledge’ from one generation to the next, Beuys often used analogies about honey and the spread of ideas. For these reasons I had built in the hexagon as a motif. Martin Bridges, my advisor on the pottery side, told me it is the strongest building block in the universe.

How did you choose the form of your pot?

I began to look at pots. I found myself in Vienna where I met hundreds of pots from many old cultures and new ones too. My favourite was one which was a little lob-sided and dark coloured with images inscribed in it. It turned out to be an Etruscan urn. I found more about the Etruscans who indeed were a mysterious bunch who had a big influence on Roman culture. They introduced the alphabet to Rome and their sages were much respected in Rome, in fact the most famous soothsayer ever was Etruscan, he warned Julius Caesar of the Ides of March. Also, their script remains un-deciphered. In fact a lot of things from the Mediterranean and the Middle East are still a mystery, or at least not widely known in the west. But I digress.

Did you discover anything new about the cultures you looked at?

The urn invited me into their culture and I became fascinated and familiar with more scripts like Linear A which is also un-deciphered. In fact I began to look into how writing began. I must thank Joanna Drucker for that book on the alphabet, it’s a tour de force. http://marjorieperloff.com/reviews/druckwerks/

The Phoenicians were a group of people, called Caananites in the bible, who moved around the Med as influential traders. In fact they built Carthage. They hailed from modern day Syria and it was they who created the first alphabet at Ugarit. They would have helped the spread of the written word because of their movement around the Med. They would have come in contact with two islands which held the most power, known to us as Crete and Thera.  Thera was destroyed in a massive eruption and the tsunami from it would have been more powerful than that at Pompeii. It destroyed the power base of the Minoans and gave rise to the advance of Mycaenan Greece. This is of great importance for many reasons because yet another script remains un-deciphered, Linear A, from the Minoans. I believe that is more important than even the destruction of Pompeii because if we can ever decipher it it would tell us a mass about the ancient world which remains hidden.

So what did you decide to use as a ground for your words and images?

At first it was my intention to put the scrolls inside the pot inside a hexagonal box. I investigated the way scrolls were made, from Torahs to Kerouac’s On The Road in the British Library. On my way to see if there were any Buddhist scrolls that had been found in pots I became aware of the pothi form of book, which I saw on ‘Buddha Of Suburbia’ documentary on a monk who lived in England but went to search for missing potis in Mongolia. I saw stacks of shelved potis wrapped in cloth. I did find evidence of scrolls in pots in the Dunhuang project with thousands of them having been found in caves in China but I never pursued that link yet.

What did you learn from the project about making?

Ok so back to the pot. I asked Martin Bridges how I could best make it with my limited experience as a potter? He said Pete, it’ll have to be a coil pot.  So it is. It took weeks to make it as I could only do about 10cms a day owing to the weight and downward pressure of wet clay over a wide span, it would mis-shape if I loaded too much on. I used letter tools from Martin’s alphabet sets to impress the words from Kabir’s poem around the neck of my pot. So the word became ‘real’ if only in a negative form. I wanted the lovely colours and burnt look created in a raku firing but Martin advised against it, one firing at 1000 degrees was risk enough. Now I had my monster pot on which I left the ‘scratch’ marks used to bind the clay surface, which I had intended to smooth off but folk kept saying they loved it and some said it resembled a bee-hive and that suited my incorporation of the bee as a motif.

pot &2 scrols

Why did you decide to make clay tablets?

I was aware that the Sumerians had written early texts in cuneiform on clay tablets so I decided to create a poti in clay thus amalgamating two early forms of recording words. I condensed words for each ‘mystic’ from hundreds of pages of notes from my readings on them down to about 40 words on each. I based the layout on a Tibetan woodblock I possess. I used the same letter tools as on the pot. Once they had been fired I painted them in a colour code for each mystic. I made a wooden top and base on a band saw with Richard’s help. I wrapped it in a cloth Buddhist style. These I handed in with my pot onto which I had painted several hexagons but that was not well received by the markers at the half way stage so I would have to re-consider my design. By chance, which Jung calls synchronicity, I discovered the book about the Buddhist community at Ghandara who hid pots in caves with Karoshti scripts in them, in which there are several astounding, and so well rounded, pots with delicate shades of yellow ochre and pink on them which I decided to use as my pot re-decoration. Some debate had opened up about whether my first hand in constituted a ‘book’. Did it have ‘bookness’? This caused me to investigate how bookness is being defined in the present artist’s bookworld. My ideas had been fed by Joanna Drucker’s formidable work in the USA but now I began to look at what is happening in the UK. I had visited the Oxford book fair during year  one and seen wonderful books like the Barbarian Press. Since 1973 I was aware of the work of Dieter Roth as I had visited his subversive seminal show at the newly opened Hayward Gallery. A major exhibition of his collections of rubbish and films made during the final days of his life showing him sitting making books and prints was on at Edinburgh so I made sure I went up there to take part in the symposium about him attended by curators from big British galleries and some university scholars. This is all documented in my ‘notes’ for semester 3. Roth created ‘books’ on authors who offended him by boiling their books to a pulp and squeezing them into sausage skins as an obvious metaphor for waste products. I wrote an article which is to be published in the September 2013 ABYB putting my case forward that my pot and poti constitute a book. Sarah Bodman liked it and it has joined the debate raging around what Les Bicknell refers to as ‘bookness’.It seems that books take on as many forms as paintings do.

I see you went to the biggest artist’s book fair in the country, did you go for any specific reason?

At BABE Nancy Campbell had advised me on the layout for my scroll pages; an etching set to the left from which your eye could drift across right and find the words. Much better than an etching at the top and writing under it. I decided to do my drawings as brown etchings to signify old ink and the words would be chine colle of elephant font to match those words impressed on the pot in style, only this time I would be able to add lower case letters. These would be printed black with some key words picked out in red. The paper I used for the words was fine Japanese which gave problems when it came to trying to do them under the press with the etchings and I abandoned that idea as impossible. I then blind embossed a space in which I would later stick the words down with bookmaker’s glue. There are two copies of each scroll but every print has a different feel. I also did one set on half width Somerset paper which was to form the basis of the display book which visitors would be able to peruse on a lectern.  This ‘book’ I have bound inside a cover with leaves on it. I kept the pages unstitched as a set of prints but in a set sequence for purposes of telling the story.

So you decided to write a poem to relate their ideas?

I dug into my knowledge base about the six mystics when I went to the BABE show at Bristol’s Arnolfini organised by Sarah Bodman and began to write a poem which was supposed to have the same beat as the clay jug poem. Altho I moved off that beat I did come up with a typical Kennedy ‘poym’.Typing them up was the first stage of editing. I sent the ‘poem’ off to 4 friends who all found it too dense so I knew I had to re-gig it so that folk had roads into my thinking and ideas. Karen Harrison liked the reference to dance and said it reminded her of Keats’ ‘Ode to a Grecean Urn.’ Which must be good as it is about a pot. She talked of my interesting use of repetition. So I did a big re-write. Sent it back and this time it was deemed much better. I had my printer print off some words on Somerset paper with a Hesse illustration but it proved inadequate on his inkjet. I showed the result to Jayne Knowles who liked the width of it and likened it to holding a broadsheet newspaper. I liked her idea of placing something on each side for you to hold and experimented using bay twigs but decided there is a tremendous beauty in simply leaving the scrolls as rolled loose self-standing simple curled papers.

And how do you intend to exhibit all this stuff?

Returning to the focal point of my final show I had Lyn Clarke make me two hexagonal table bases on which I would place the clay tablets emanating from the pot like the spokes on a Buddhist wheel of life. These would be placed between the ‘spokes’ around the pot and would be echoed in the garden by six logs carved with the names of the visionaries. A symbolic light source would be suspended above the pot made into an Archimedean shape, I hope, that is a combination of hexagons and squares.

Do you intend to produce any outcomes which may be saleable?

Hey , did you know i have just published a new book?
Hey , did you know i have just published a new book?

I asked my printer to produce four new ‘publications’ from the work In my project: a cardboard facsimile of the clay poti which doubles up as a concertina book. An introductory book called G. BATCH telling newcomers to the project about some of the ideas that drove it. A Dieter Roth style ‘copy book’ called Enbuk in tribute to the first recorded story in history about Enlil in the Epic of Gilgamesh. A series of banners using the words of each mystic in large capitals in clashing colours similar to the thesaurus paintings by Mel Bochner. My article in ABYB follows in the footsteps of other artists like Smithson and Weiner who also wrote in periodicals like ‘October’ as part of their contribution both as artworks and critique. Originally I intended to make the banners in a pseudo Japanese style but then thought it would be good to have some really modern images. I did a talk in which I used masks and music to create a performance in which the audience will be sculptural parts and the whole will be filmed as another art statement.

When did that happen?

On Saturday August 3rd 2013 at 4pm in the Minories. And your questions will also be art.

You started by mentioning the incredible discovery you made last weekend?

And I have not forgotten. What was it? I was perusing ‘Scribes, Scripts & Books’ by Leila Avrin where I saw an hexagonal prism named after Sennacherib as it was made in his reign in Nineveh about 3000 years ago. It has cuneiform writing on each of its six sides. I could not believe it. This discovery had come to me BEFORE hand in. So I journeyed up to see if I could find it in room 55 of the British Museum. And there it was.

sens prism sm

About 45 cms tall. Now I know what I am going to make next, but AFTER my course is completed. I also saw a small section from a clay tablet ‘Epic of Gilgamesh’ story in cuneiform. I shall do six more mystics on Peter’s Hexagonal Prism next. In fact it may be simpler to make an hexagonal prism ‘lamp’ to hang above the pot? I found heaven, whereabouts ARE known, here at home. Inside this old mug.

Since that talk I have done two ‘readings’ from new simpler versions of the poems. Then I simplified them some more and did a book called Inside this earthen vessel, launch date September 2014. Also David Jury and I have collaborated on a letterpress version where DJ prints the poems with an extra sub-text from my other poems. More about that in a blArt soon.