Tag Archives: G Batch

Inside This Earthen Book-Box Part 2


Now I’d like to reveal my new ‘book-box’ with various parts of the Inside This Clay Jug project on display in it.

[I do not expect it to sell in fact on the contrary  it is my own personal gallery space in which I can house an important show about a vital phase in my output.

I have had many ‘shows’ of my output since leaving college in Exeter in July 1973. The leaving of college, like the leaving of school is an important juncture. Leaving school was for me as being born (again) when I dropped the manacles which had gripped me since first entering school aged 4.

The first hint or ‘show’ of my output was my buk Apul-One which said (to my school) “You no longer manacle me, I’m free as can be. I no longer had to acquiesce to the norm”, I could do it my way and I did, for example with the personalised phonetic (fonetic) spellins. As it happened in 1975 I couldn’t exhibit (in my ‘gallery’, which Apul-One was) the beautiful use of colour which my ‘art’ employed as that was too costly but I was able to use my B&W works. Those colours are now available in my ‘Shrewd Idiot Series’ of books recently self-published (2017).

The Inside This Clay Jug project is vastly different to the content of Apul-One & the ‘Shrewd Idiot Series’ which both appear to reflect my own journey through the early 1970s. Inside This Clay Jug exhibits and reflects upon my acquisition of knowledge in, what may be best referred to as, the realm of spiritual contemplation, my thoughts on the deeper aspects of my existence and my investigations into ideas and concepts a little deeper than the surface level at which most of us conduct our daily journey.]

1 isev buk box closed sm

The book-box is circa A2 in size & about 25mm in depth.

It is a ‘unique object’ which has the same cover design & material as the bound book version of ISEV, see ITEB1 in https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2017/07/09/inside-this-earthen-book-box-1/ .

1 isev buk box with open contents sm

Inside my ‘book box’ are lots of goodies.

There’s a copy of each of the books; G BATCH, Inside This Great Pot, Inside This Earthen Vessel (PK version), Inside This Earthen Vessel (DJ letterpress version) and the full set of 6 etchings from the G Batch master drawings plus the original poems printed on Japanese paper AND the tiny version of DJ’s ISEV.

1 isev buk box + 2 etchings sm

Here you can see the Jung & the Silesi etchings which are printed in sepia colour and have a tilted diamond shape.

1 isev buk box +sm isev sm

here is the PK version of ISEV resting on the DJ one, with a colour photo of one of his chases.

1 isev buk box sma closer view of David’s chase for the Silesi letterpress print

1 isev buk box +sm isev smthe other photo (we only recorded two) of the Beuys’ print chase. All six chases were dissed on completion of the set of prints.

1 isev buk box just open smAll wrapped in ribbon with DJ’s folder full of letterpress prints at the back

2 'Leaf Books' in isev buk box smFinally.

Possibly most beautiful of all?

A simulation of my two Leaf Books inside the book-box!

This juxtaposition may never occur, or I may make a book-box specifically to hold them together altho’ of course they must be sold separately because they are very expensive.

The 2 leaf books each contain six etchings from the G BATCH master series along with the six early poems about the ‘wise men*’ on Japanese paper.


Giorgi Ivanovitch Gurdzhiev

Beuys Joseph

Angeli Silesii

Tenzin Gyatso

Carl Gustav Jung

Hermann Hesse.

g batch vase sm

Inside This Earthen Book-Box 1

This is only part one of a blArt about my new Inside This Earthen Book-Box ITEB

Part 2 will follow in a few days with more images of the Book-Box

pot wit scrolls sm
6 scrolls surround my pot on a hexagonal table, notice the Beuys’ scroll has felt over it!

A while ago I wrote a series of poems to be printed as scrolls which I placed inside a big pot.

I called the project Inside This Clay Jug after a poem Robert Bly had recited after the original translation by Rabindranath Tagore of a 14th century poem by Kabir. I first heard the recital on the late a Jackie Leven cd. I loved it and was lucky to have known Jackie when he used another pen name, John St Fields. I loved his rendition of Inside This Clay Jug for years and was fortunate to get together with Jackie shortly before he died. The project was as much in memorium to him as it was a celebration of knowledge passed down in ancient times by communities who hid their precious writings in pots in caves or underground like the Nag Hamadi library and Buddhist pots found in Kandahar.

the jug sm
Pot + Scrolls stand on sand base. There are words from Kabir’s poem on the pot. Each scroll has a leather thong with the name of the subject or his associative domain created on a clay tab.

I don’t expect anyone to go to this link BUT it has an account of how Buddha’s pot for alms was found in Kandahar, it’s an incredibly complex story but the kind I find quite fascinating if & when I find the time to explore. For me this kind of exploration is the closest I’ll ever get to actually setting foot in Kandahar cos am a lazy old tyke. https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=umZEfH1n0X4C&pg=PA281&lpg=PA281&dq=Buddhist+pots+found+in+Kandahar&source=bl&ots=XcgKUd5QC8&sig=qX35SJ3d_ZAJ9w4c_sG7PDX6YGQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiqmNzu2_zUAhUNY1AKHV-ADl8Q6AEIRTAJ#v=onepage&q=Buddhist%20pots%20found%20in%20Kandahar&f=false

Recently I bound a copy of David Jury’s beautiful letterpress version of my poems in pots into a codex book.

1 isev bk SoB comp sm
Inside This Earthen Vessel (ISEV)

Letterpress print version bound as a codex book 

I only made two copies so far, one for me and one for DJ. And I have added a lovely little purple tassle to mine and sent it up to an international competition to see if they like it.

Whilst making the book I made a couple of extra cover and thought one day I’d make a book-box with one of em and put into it every incarnation of my poems for the Clay Jug Project about which I also published a book called G BATCH.

a cover of gbatch
Front cover of G BATCH

Now I know G BATCH is not the best name for the book, it’d be better named something like Inside This Clay Jug an Introduction. I preferred at the time to take letters from the names of the six men that my poems are about and as a group is also a batch called it a batch, G BATCH. The book is handmade in an edition of 50. It explains my ideas behind the project.

a orignl carl jung design
In my collage of Carl Jung I include a mandala I invented for Jung with pots and fishes plus a Buddhist Wheel of life. He is wearing his Gnostic ring.

It also has the master drawing that I used for the etchings of the six men.

isev at corsham court 2 sm
ISEV displayed at the Bath Spa ‘Concrete Poetry’ Symposium

I re-wrote the poems and published about 3 versions of them, Inside This Earthen Vessel (ISEV) was one version wherein I did the layout of the poems in the shape of pots and when DJ saw them he suggested we collaborate on the letterpress version which he would print. Those prints of the poems are now quite famous. Back in 2014 The Poetry Library at Southbank exhibited their copy in the Open Show of that year. They were recently (June 2017) exhibited at Bath Spa uni as part of their symposium on Concrete Poetry.

I did do a ‘concrete poem’ with the names of the G BATCH, actually more a log poem:

a gbatch concrete poem sm
Look carefully and you’ll see the names carved onto the logs.

Nowadays the bark is dropping off so I am going to recut the names a little deeper into the trunks to add to the poem’s lifespan along with some clarity.

Here’s some images of the Tenzin Gyatso (Dalai Lama) one when it was first cut.

a gyatso log stands
In my log poem I put his name where the T is in Batch. I s’pose I can recut the name as Tenzin?


a gyatso log cut
Tenzin Gyatso is the Dalai Lama’s name.






New portraits for BABE

New portraits for BABE #BABE2015

I’d like to thank all of youse what has been and ‘viewed’ my blArts in the past 2 years and we have now racked up 6,060 ‘views’ as we speak. That’s a goodly number despite my making it difficult sometimes with the ‘altered spellins’ and ‘the wingeings’ (which is not an age ting, not a grumpy old fella ting, no cos I always been a grumpy clod. Then I go out and do tai chi or ashtanga or swim or gym and then am too knackered to be an old curmudgeon am just little old me-myself-I. The next phew blArts are going to be in prep fer BABE www.arnolfini.org.uk/whatson/babe-2015-bristol-artists-book-event the book fest at Bristol run by UWE which is such an exciting prospec and I must tank Sarah Bodman and the team for giving me the opportunity to make a bigger fool of myself than I already do in this blArt! It’s funny really, I don’t like bigging misen up, I like to come in over the horizon quietly and take the place by storm before anyone realises it’s happened. However, I realise there is a need to flag certain intentions of mine up, to give folk a chance to decide for themselves if they’d like to see and hear what I am up to. Little do the visitors know that the doors will be locked (not really) at 4pm on the Sunday and everyone will be led into the meeting room to see me do my ting! Well no not really, I get scared in crowds, I get agrippafobia, so I have akesd that the meeting be curtailed at several hundred guests, well in fact not hundreds just tens, actually to be truthful (to tell the tooth) up to ten, well I do know there’ll be at least 4 people there cos they told me, that is unless of course they get ill or have an important dental appoinkment.

 a dobbo

 Now am going to go back, right back to a time when I sat drawing Mr Dobson a bit of a strange old English teacher in 1966. I was about 15 and just starting to be a artisbloke and ‘doing portraits’ was my ting.

OK so I am a portraitist. It began in earnest, (actually it was in Brunlea), back in 1968 when I was learning how to paint by going to night classes with David Wild (DWi), Slade Prix de Rome winner. He was brought up on the William Coldstream technique at Slade and became influenced big time by Cezanne whose technique is like a natural progression from Coldstream (even tho he pre-dates Sir William!). Also when Alan Aldridge invited every artist on the planet to illustrate the Beatles lyrics and gave each a page he gave David  5 pages for his drawings of the men who made up the group. Sadly (for David but luckily for moi)  DWi returned to live his days in the northern town thru which the River Brun runs (where I wuz dragged up). So off the beaten track that his career in ‘art’ was effectively curtailed but he became my most important teacher who gave me the method and the confidence to get started and never prevented me going off an experimenting with the techniques I found in big shows I had hitchhiked to visit down in London by Matisse, and later de Kooning. I used to suck in the influences voraciously.

self portrait as an artist

Self Portrait c. 1968

David never said ‘no, stick with Cezanne’ he just encouraged me to experiment. After ten years playing with my techniques I did one painting of my wife which opened the floodgates for me onto a wilder style of work.

 pol roses

[Actually this portrait was done in 1989 cos i can’t find an image of the 1979 one but there’s still that ‘Kennedy’ touch. I entered this for an RA summer show rejection, one of many. Even when my work sneaked thru the first phase of judges in 2005 and  TWO portraits of Ken Campbell  were ‘accepted not hung’ apparently an accolade, but not for me, nobody saw the works! I stopped entering after that, got better tings to expend on. In a way it was good to stop wasting energy adding money to the established gallerys’ coffers and moving over to the artist’s books world where there seems to be a much more open attitude. So, when you keep coming up against a brick wall what do you do? Change tack, come at it from a different direction. If your work is good and contains that special someting, you’ll get round the wall somehow. I realise now that I had been doing lots of work in the ‘book’ zone but I had not realised my book was art! Idjet.]

RA doubtful status.

My ‘style’ had opened up and I was now happy with what I produced. It was me and it held the qualities of all my influences which after I had devoured (Soutine soon became Munch and the German Expressionists I first discovered in an art history book by Werner Haftmann).

By the 1980’s I was producing work which the keeper of the modern collection at Tate referred to as ‘Very German’. I have always done portraits, probably cos am interested in ‘character’. In the late 60’s many were self portraits. Then I did loads of my wife which usually ended up making her look like a scary witch with blackened eyes. I always had a go at doing ‘famous folks’ and when I met DWi in the 1980s he only encouraged this saying keep doing them. I once bumped into Richard Harris outside the Nat Port Gal (which has several photos of my portraits in their archive collection, I’m in lots of archives, is that cos folk like to hide my work?) and gave him my card and said if he ever needed a portrait artist to get in touch but he was too busy rehearsing MacArthur’s Park to contact me. Here’s a ‘live’ version- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=amzJDSsC2IA and the studio version- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w2po8Iw2iMA which has loads of images of the great Oirish man who called me ‘Pete’.

I painted Feliks Topolski several times. Also Lord Bath and Josef Herman. BUT I gave up trying to gain a living or reputation as a portraitist as none of my work ever sold. Lord Bath said he liked one of my portraits of him but could not be seen buying it as then folk would maybe perceive him as ‘vain’ (sic). There’s only so long you can pee into the wind before you get sick of it. However I did continue drawing people and when I did my MA and wanted to do etchings of my six featured artists & writers I already had working drawings of most of them. Their faces are all full of character and my penchant for creating unique takes on faces enabled me to produce a series of etchings for my artist’s books on the Clay Jug theme. I wrote about it in G Batch. Then I created Inside This Earthen Vessel which only has one picture in it at the back of all six men with the writings about them being set in typography which takes up the shape of a pot. The pot shaped typo becomes the portraits.

a mask beuy pencil

Joseph Beuys, one of the six men mentioned below.

Now I have produced a new concertina book, Inside This Great Jug for BABE 2015 at Arnolfini with 6 illustrations in of the six men in fabulous colour because nowadays I can do that. With modern printing technology it’s possible to produce full colour images at prices which can be afforded. That was not the case in the first 20 -30 years of my output so much of my work was never seen in print.

At BABE I have been allotted the final spot on the Sunday afternoon to do a ‘talk’ about my recent work which is in ‘books’ of various forms. When I told a friend that I was to be the final speaker he said, ‘They saved the best til last then’. A nice idea but it’s not a competition, just a talk, well not just a talk actually. It’ll be a reading of and a couple of recitations of some poems plus one or two surprises. I never do ‘normal’, do I? There was just going to be one recitation of a poem by Kabir until my mate Dave said, ‘I think you shouldn’t read your poem, you should learn it and recite it’. With friends like that who needs enemies? On top of that I will be ‘just reading’ one of my poems from the collaboration I did with David Jury last summer, well I say ‘just reading’, because it is two poems morphed together so a ‘reading’ becomes someting else. Like I say I never do normal.

My old friend Ian Woollard sent this comment today, ‘that it is a lovely portrait of your wife’. This was further commented on by Sonia Palaver who said “I love the portrait of your wife, masterly!”

Their appreciations are much appreciated. So are the 54 ‘views’ today done by 30 visitors. I picked up my new book today and it’s really tiny and gently understated.

Babe buk

new book in foreground with a photo of my wife at the time I did the portrait featured at the top o this blArt.