Tag Archives: galleries artist books

last blArt to BABE

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 thinker. 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)

Pete Kennedy is just an Idjet in a Jug who looks a bit like old Jung did but hasn’t got his pedigree!

mystic pete

So the fool called Kennegly set himself up to do a short ‘performance’ at BABE cos he thought it were a long time before it appened. BUT. It’s appening this weekend coming and he’s reading some poems what he wrote about the artist from Cleves called Beuys who was himself a bit of a Fool rushing ahead into ‘talks’ with his blackboard under his arm.

blakbord bee

So Kennegly is doing Beuy’s life-history in a poem or two or tree. The blog below gives a little bit o backcloth, or should I say a broad canvas.

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2014/09/25/inside-this-earthen-vessel-poem-6-shaman-beuys/

Hope to see you there.

a flyer back

psThere will be beautiful evocative music composed by Luke E Walker https://soundcloud.com/luke-e-walker/clay-jug-back-story behind the readings which adds atmosphere and an element of chance. Keifer said, ‘To be an artist you need to play & Dance’ or words to that effect. Chris Wilder (?) an assistant in the making of The Bigger Picture’ animation which came secondish in the Oscars said, ‘You go to these places to make dreams come true…’ That’s why am doing ma ting at BABE and hopefully later this year at The Baltic. I’ll bee dancing and prancing like Jagger did (altho am not as ancient as he is! tho nearly yam) with a wing and a prayer on the ledge with Mr G (urdzhiev)

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Sure ting

The only ting am sure about is I’m unsure. I was certainly uncertain in my notes what I wrote in the early 1970s and it’s not a lot clearer now. I have had moments of clarity which I hope to capture in my new version of my old manuscript working titled ‘The Shrewd Idiot’.

pete in a1

 

Since my last blArt, where I saw that it’s been 40 years since I ‘published’ Apul One and it’s darned time I produced Apul Two, I been searching for and thru my manuscrips, typescrips, editscrips and all. WOW whattalot I got. So much that it engulfed me awhile but am thru the rabid rapids now and am in clear water I know wattam gonna do. Put them away til after BABE cos they dragged me away from my prep for BABE. Blew me off course. Not a bad ting tho, I needed to step back. Now I have a strategy and a plan for the 2015 edition of the Idiot who was never very Shrewd. I am going to take the words as they exist and re-present them in a way that should garner interest from future ‘readers’, what may be you! So, my task would be to put the source material down on paper in stimulating ways that I have seen or learned in the intervening years. I found some incredible images and words. In the 70’s I didn’t know my ass from me heed. I didn’t have the insights of having lived 64 and a half years that comes to me now. I had experienced life, quite a lot really and, coming from ‘down in the boon docks’ I were poor, I’d been to college and had some doors opened allowing me to peep and then they shut and said go out and find some work poor man or ye starve etc. But the doors of my mind had opened and I was chasing something, I knew not what though…and the search continued and took me to some very strange places. I found some drawings which I did as preps for the images in Apul One, bloody weird stuff, even for my output. Now I look at them and wonder. Is these the work of a deranged mind? Maybe. But I was tapping into my sub-conscious looking for material to work with and boy was there some strange stuff down there. Think of Dali and go deeper and I was plummeting a bit deeper, partly cos he and his like, Wifredo Lam, Victor Brauner, Maxt Ernest, they had gotten deep but I were going to go deeper. See illusn.

swim 2 venus sm

Also I were lucky cos I carted my little old Nikon F everywhere I went and then processed my own B&W photos. I did some incredible shots at the roundhouse in Camden of French dancers and actors which I would shoot on slow exposures so the images came out ‘moving’. These would make incredible big pictures, prints or oils etc.

 bolero dancers

Watch this space. More images and artists books….

Now I’m Dancing with a wing and a prayer on the ledge with Mr G(urdzhievjeff) again, on the tip of a leaf with Rabindranoth Tagore. Practicing for BABE http://www.arnolfini.org.uk/whatson/babe-2015-bristol-artists-book-event Sees ja thur!

To Celebrate 40 years of Apul One

To Celebrate 40 years of Apul One

I just realised it is almost exactly 40 years since I created my first artist’s book Apul One in 1975 so there must be cause for some celebration. I was talking to a late friend’s son on Friday and he said that he had taken Apul One to university had read it several times and it had been a bit of a cult ting there. Wish I had known at the time I would have gone there and done a talk etc. Strangely it’s not the first time the book has had ‘cult’ status. Lucien Nunes once told me he had done the same at the Haberdasher’s school. Those of you who know it will know it’s a bit of a strange book. It’s not at all like what a book should be. But it’s me, or it was me, then. I produced it as a kind of scream in the wilderness after working my balls off at college to gain my degree and then beginning to approach the galleries only to find a blanket total non-interest. I predicted accurately as it turned out that that would continue through my life. So I created my own gallery in the shape of a book, or buk as I called it. It could only have b&w images cos colour were too expensive and even then I spent all my savings on ‘publishing’ it. If you want one I shall be at BABE in April and maybe at Baltic in July and I am tinking of creating the long delayed publication of the follow up The Shrewd Idiot in time for the autumn, or Fall as you acrosst the Atlantic would say. I am going to chat with my printer today as to how he can print my plans for it. It’ll be an artist’s book and probably on semi-transparent paper so the pages show thru each other.

Here’s some images of the making and publicizing of Apul One in 1975-76.

The first cover

a1 orignl cova

The wrap around cover front

a1 wrap front

The wrap around cover back

a1 wrap back

The wrap around cover front & back original idea

a design fo A1 wrap cover

Sketch for the image of Apulhed on front cover.

apulpol

Write up for Apul One by Peter Andrews

a1 PA rite up

 

Underground poster for Apul One

a1 tube poster

Point of sale poster for Apul One

a1 is shop poster

John St Field aka Jackie Leven 1972

jacky leven 1972

Now funnily enough in one of the ‘comics’ in ApulOne there’s a sketch of Jackie Leven. It’s incredible to think that it was a song by Jackie Leven which triggered all of my recent books about ‘knowledge’ in pots in the last few years. Jackie sang ‘Inside This Clay Jug’ by Kabir

.

So now the book is in the British Library and the Bodleian along with the national libraries of Wales, Ireland and Scotland because it has an ISBN number, nevertheless if you can’t afford the extortionate price I charge feel free to aks for it there. And I could have represented all the home nations at sport IF I had been good enough at anyting! However it’s in the Tate Artist’s Book Archive on merit having been chosen by Maria White in 2008. My old mate DW did loads of searching yesterday and found all sorts of link to ‘apulone’ on the internet, ta Dunc. You can find Apul-one
Standin on the Bannista Contemplatin the Ways of the Werld & the Farting Donkey

at:

Word Power Books:

 

http://www.word-power.co.uk/books/apul-one-I9780950426709/

 

and

 

WorldCat:

 

http://www.worldcat.org/title/apulone/oclc/16287781athenk

and finally here’s the badge, you know the saying ‘got the badge’!

Anselm’s alchemy: Books of lead fly in the R.A.

keif bukbird merged

flying lead  books

If you glance upwards as you climb the stairs in the RA you’ll see books made of lead seeming to lift off under wings of lead. That, is, MAGIC! And it continues thru Keifer’s show in which he transforms lead into gold leaf, makes an horrific mantrap look like a spider.

 a trap

[editor’s note- Sorry, that’s the best I can do, I cannot find an image of the painting cos a little SS-Oberaufseherin, Miss ‘More then me job’s Worth’, came and stopped me taking photos and I cannot find it on the web. I detest the policy some galleries have, most in fact, of prohibiting photos, music & theatre do it too. It’s counter-productive. The more folk can see the stuff the more folk are invited to go see it ‘in the flesh’^ see foot o post.]

But she couldn’a prevent me from drawing the damned tings

a mantrap colord

L’Origine du monde, pencil sketch by PK after AK 19.11.14

  a Kiefer pyramid

 In ‘Sand from the Urns’ (from the net) he creates brick monuments from paint and sand on canvas which reminisce pyramidal monumental forms and pays tributes in them to Paul Celan* http://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poet/paul-celan  & his lover,  Ingeborg Bachman http://marjorieperloff.com/reviews/songs-in-flight/ . [* never heard of either, so I still have a lot to learn].

for celan + a jug

For Paul Celan by AK, the picture in the exhibition is a bit better than my sketch but now I have added color it looks more like the real ting (not!). aks me if I care, I don’t like Keifer’s art, I love it! And you may notice I have snuck a jug in too.

Whereas van Gogh drew in ink, Auerbach draws in paint but Keifer does both AND he draws in lead, shellac, latex, wire, sunflower as he transforms form like a magician. His translations of what makes a book are astounding to me.

Now for some images what I took at the conversation he had last Thursday morning peppered with words from Imagine Keifer http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b04pzt6g/imagine-winter-2014-5-anselm-kiefer-remembering-the-future

 a scales

 The artists I admire most turn out to be ‘thinkers’ like Rauschenberg, Schwitters

keifa 11sm

and of course Keifer who said , ‘Nietzsche said, “You know the philosopher has to stand, we have to dance” The scale of (my work) is the product of the dance.’

 keifa 3sm

This image shows the scale of many of Keifer’s images.

 keifa 5 points sm

Look down there at what that bloke from Burnley (who Hamburg knocked out of the European competition at the quarter finals in the 60s ha ha) has done he’s made a pictorial pun of me balancing different selves, or is that shelves, or am I being a selfish fish?

He’s re-arranging realities, make him an Academicien like what I is.

 keifa 8 balances 2 selves + color sm

‘When you are an artist you know you have to connect things in a different way. This is what artists do, they create a new connection between things’.

{^ another ed’snote, not for you if yer not into football, the beautiful game- One massive example of prohibition going wildly counter to the intent of the prohibitor is my home town football club, Burnley and the reprehensible policy of the then chairman Bob Lord, who was also a big noise on the FA. He thought if he banned the TV cameras from Turf Moor more folk would visit the ground to see live matches on match days. He was wrong. At the time Burnley were one of the top two clubs with Spurs, a fact that remained the case for several years in the early 60’s Burnley were bigger than Man U and Liverpool then! Look what happened. TV cameras do the opposite to what Lord thought, they publicize a club and folk flock to see them. Burnley faded away after Lord, in another of his marvellous decisions, sold local hero Jimmy McIlroy, to lowly second division at that time Stoke. Burnley dropped to the foot of Division 4 and nearly shot out of the league altogether whilst close rivals Man U & The Bill Shankly Pool went on to be European Champs. So if & when you come to any of my shows etc bring yer cameras!}

It’s my Blart and I’ll try if I wanna.

BlArt & BATCH Explained?

It’s a New Dawn.

I have decided to re-blog this old blart cos it sort of explains some of my ideas, where they arose and all. I am lucky to have been given a 20 minute slot at BABE in Arnolfini Bristol next April http://www.arnolfini.org.uk/whatson/babe-2015-bristol-artists-book-event during which (4pm on the Sunday) I shall be doing one of my little ‘talks’, which are not talks at all but some form of performance. I have done that kind of thing since 1973 when I did the first Appleheadmasked-Event. I reserve the elephant of surprise so I don’t tell what am going to be doing to nobody but believe me I plan these tings well. I make it look like it just happened, but it didn’t, in fact I awoke planning the ‘talk’ fer nex April at 6am today, I don’t plan to plan it just appens. The lovely ting is, Chris Leonard, who was instrumental in getting me to do the 1973 ‘Apulhedmask-In’ has already expressed his intent to attend! Nice. I look forward to seeing you Chris.

chris leonard

However, this reblog, as there’s a lot more traffic on my blart nowadays I thought I would just let you see why it’s called my blArt. And why my book about spiritual tings is called a Batch, which in fact does no justice to the content and several people have arsked me to re-name it, which I may in a reprint.
G BATCH contains the initials of the men I call mystics inside the book, G is for Gurdjeff etc. I also like the reference to ‘batch’ which for me is a group and in digital spiel is also used for a group. Funny that. Oh and don’t worry about my ‘talk’ being too serious cos it will be, and it will be funny too, I call them seriously funny, or they’re just funny, seriously. Namaste.

apulhed tinking

I’m Bloggin, just Bloggin and I Know you like blogging it too! Thank you Bob Marley. (In about 1972 we stood and watched him at Rolle College Exmouth play about 3 hours before he became ‘famous’, there were about 30 of us. We were lucky, I just kept downing my pint and wiggerling to the sound, went to the bar, gorranutha pint, wiggled back to Bob and his wailing alongsters. I never thought to bring my camera nor invite him and his boys to play football in the afternoon. Talk about missed opportunities.

Now I am taking the blog line, I still take photos but I had to stop playing football about five years ago. Not before I had the chance to play with my veteran side against Jobserve at Upton Park, twas like playing on a billiard table. Lovely.

Now am changing the name of what I do in…

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When I went doon to Oxford toon

Just gate-crashing two ‘parties des chimpanzes’ doesn’t make me a member!

 I give up. No, that does not mean I am giving up but I am stopping chasing & struggling to get ‘noticed’, the forlorn hope of breaking thru into the in crowd (who wants to rub shoulder with the likes of Blokeney, Ermine, Buerst and all?) in the ‘gallery’.

In 1975 when my assault on the walls began I could maybe have been called an angry young man cos they wouldn’t give my work the light of day even tho many folks loved my product. Then, over the tears you realise ‘they’ don’t know more than nor even as much as you, they just (maybe, probably) went to the right school, just like the politicians who run the show. And talking about the right schools. I have a bone to pick with the Bodleian. (Ian Watmore on leaving his post of CEO at the ‘dysfunctional’ F A is reported to have referred to it as a chimpanzees’ tea party, which is similar to what I saw in the two Oxford places I visited this weekend. Only chimps are invited to tea, not chumps like me!)

The wayzegoose book fair was a pretty useless flop for me and Wendy, except for an opportunity for me learning what i need to do to improve etc, no sales.  Overall Oxford trip wer a good experience really, with some downs. Had to fight toot & tail to get into Bodleian on a reader’s card. And altho there are Kafkaesque aspecs to the Bod set up, once inside the Bod I was treated really well by the librarians who ran around showing me how to find things. I also have to thank Alan Brown for all his help getting me information about the collections and the way in! I LOVED seeing some of the Rot then Keifer buks, I now KNOW where my main thrust must be in future. Collaboration with DJ will no doubt bring more out of me in that ‘ancient’ vein if he can stand the strain of working with this idiot, but my next few buks are a return to my theme of original, surreal and unsettling subversive stuff. I see myself as an under-miner, a sapper really, but do those I sap see me as a sop? That’s good cos i can catch them unawares. Funnily i got 4 ‘likes’ overnight (6 now, thanks to all of yez that ‘liked’ this blArt!) for a pretty wingey blog, plus one ‘follow*’, all of which adds to the circle I am creating of interested parties. Thanks Maureen for saying this is humourous & informative too!

* You know if you press ‘follow’ you’ll get notified (not certified) of all my future blArty bits. Tread carefully won’t you. It appears 34 folks out there follow this  heap o’ thorts. Tank yez all, makes me feel good too. Makes me feel that all the effort what goes into doing this weekly blarting is getting thru, at least to 34 folks in this wide wonderous werld.

http://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whatson/the-material-word-the-6th-poe-86763

The Poetry Library at Southbank will be displaying the collaboration book in November. Altho there is a question flying around, can you see it? Is it a book? Is it a Blogger? Is he a Flybyniter? Or is he just a Fly Writer or a Flawed Bloke Flying by the Seat O’ his Pants? Well, the question whether my book of poems done with DJ is a book or not is surely already answered in the article I did for The Blue Notebook Vol 8 No 2, April 2014 Lucy Lippard’s Activism and Artists’ Books Activate Me. ‘To codex or not to codex’ that is the question Lucy Lippard’s loose leaf catalogues helped me solve. The article considers the need or no need to bind sheets to make a book. It comprises a brief summary of Lippard’s talk Exhibition Histories on 11.04.13, a consideration of B. S. Johnson’s book The Unfortunates, the work of Don Celender in the BABE show in Bristol’s Arnolfini in April 2013. Also, an introduction to some of my own artist’s books some of which incorporate loose leaves.’

My boxed artist’s book called Apul-Gold Metamorphosis with careful attention to font size as well as considering paper, dimension and feel. It has alternate card and semi-transparent pages. The box is black with gold around the edges resembling an old bible but when opened it is more like a jewellery box with felt surrounds and gold ribbons.You can turn the loose pages which are, ironically, sequential because the holes in each page grow gradually to reveal a golden (moulded plastic) page with words on sculpted from twigs making the ‘word’ material or ‘real’. Behind this sheet is the final surprise, a sculpture of Apulhed.

jo 080Left- concave sculpted face, right- word as material object, on penultimate page.

Also my most recent book adorned with castor oil leaves on front and back which opens like a ‘normal’ book but inside houses seven prints in a pouch which are ‘bound’ in place by two strips of leather. All of the materials used were carefully considered to show textures and colours which resonate with the subject matter inside- the story of six mystics and their words (which is a precursor to the new books ‘Inside This Earthen Vessel’) kept in a pot like the Nag Hammadi scrolls .

bukartobjet 002

Both of my bookartobjects were made with the clear belief that books do not have to be bound nor sequential which Lucy’s catalogue laid the foundations for with Johnson’s book adding more weight to the idea being published as a book in 1969.

So am trying to say the codex ‘bind’ was a late entry, there were other forms of bind long before it; potis, copper rings (we used brass rings to ‘bind’ the new one at Whitechapel), scrolls, metal amulets, steles just to name a phew!

bod wow cloud

The Bodleian is an amazing ‘national’ collection not open to hardly anyone, not even scholars like myself unless they can prove they cannot access the stuff they wish to see anywhere else. Now there’s a ting. If you have an ISBN on a book you have to send a copy (free) to the Bodleian (and several other libraries), but we (plebs) cannot gain entry to the Bodleian yet it houses an uncanny stock of mint condition books, as you can imagine, cos if you have an ISBN on a book you have to send a copy (free) to the Bodleian! So the Bodleian houses several books of mine yet under normal conditions I cannot access that library. I did after several phone calls and lots of bits of paper manage to gain entry for two days which was the saving grace of my weekend in Oxford. So after all I am pleased I left a donation for their collection of my new book, Inside This Earthen Vessel, although I really wanted to show it to Alan Brown first before the woman who allowed me a 2 day pass whipped it away rather hastily before telling me that I had to pay for the privilege of entering the collection. Now my book sells at £15 and I tink she was after £6, and I pointed out that there is a hardship clause in the rules and I am hard-shipped (I have no wage, no income source, that’s not a weep it’s a fact). “Do you have evidence of your benefits, entitlements & allowances?” No cos I don’t claim any but all I have is a small pension, which in fact obviates any entitlement i may have. I wouldn’t wish to have a state handout any how, I prefer my freedom to be poor yet not have to look over my shoulder to see if any ‘benefits spies are watching me. As it appens, Citizens Advice worked out that because i have a small pension I would only  be able to get £12 a week from the state even though I was eased out of my 10 year job cos my body had contracted RA, no not the other chimp’s party at the Woyal Acawemy, no I got Rheumatoid Arthritis and after its worst stage was over and a series of heinous drugs had given me ‘remission’ I would not be able to hold a teaching job with all its stresses and strains and i wouldn’t get one anyway cos am too old and am nearly 64 which made me not old enough to gain a reader’s pass free umph, am not bitter I stopped drinking 3 yearns agonow am back on dandelion & burdock. “Doesn’t count cos here its 65 and I can see from your d o b yer under age you’re only 63”. Well am 64 in a couple of weeks. “Doesn’t count”. So I said maybe I should charge yer fer me buk? “But you just gave it to us”.

pk selfizeebugthe bug in me

However, I spent several hours perusing books which very few had looked upon, so I s’pose I should be happy. For example, a 1966 copy of Dieter Roth’s Mundunculum, numbered 1 of an edition of 122, seems like it has never been opened. Intriguingly this copy has been given a dark blue traditional hard back cover, so totally unlike anyting Rot did, so far out from his way of working that it’s actually good! It’s a bit like be-knighting Michael Jaggerd. You see, Rot is his name and Rotit is his nature. Rot the lot of it seems to me to have been his modus. He undermined everything, even his own work. Picasso did the same. Only Rot’s Progress was unchecked. His earliest work was exquisite, much like Vasarely, with words as concrete poems thrown in. Not a lot of people know that, or care, cos as time went by Rot’s own denigration thru his work of his work stuck and others, those who decide the canon, couldn’t ‘get’ him so they ignore him, so you don’t tend to see Rot next to Appolinaire and Picabia in the annals of concrete poetry(?). And anyway that’s the way he would have wanted it, I tink. He undermined, he dug the dirt, he pretended to be ‘logical’ like Wittgenstein but in fact he was being anarchic like fluxus.

ox logic

mind Rot don’t trip yu up doon Logic Lane

His Mundunculum says it has a correlation tween sign & letter, but does it? And when it does he undermines that too by giving it extra layers. I think I know what drives an artist tinker to be so unhelpful, I do it myself, we don’t wish to be understood I think I know what drives an artist tinker to be so unhelpful, I do it myself, we don’t wish to be understood and if in a moment we feel some are understanding it we shift. I know it’s stupid but I can’t help it. It is part of my personal insecurity which is part of my inbuilt nature acquired from my infanthood when tings were not so good I know Freud would have a field day but there it is. So in a way the artist is getting his own back, saying, well you made it damned hard fer me so I shall do the same fer thee. The role of art-Is is to question, but where the physicist and the mathematician will question with logic the artis can question with illogic. There is a history here, as with all things, nothing comes from nothing. I suggest Tom Phillips wer influenced by Rot and I see now, looking at Schwitter’s Merz werx, Rot wer influenced by Schwitters.

http://www.moma.org/interactives/exhibitions/2013/dieter_roth/works/mundunculum/

 drot mun numbd

But it was a revelation to me. Roth was working on this form of book in the 1950s and it seems significant that tom phillips called his book humument http://www.tomphillips.co.uk/works/artists-books/item/5286-a-humument

Then it got worse. I had booked a table at the Wayzegoose book fair in the ill-conceived idea that my collaboration with David Jury over the summer and the wonderful book he produced would steal the show. But no.

ox table corn sm

They stuck us up in the furthest corner of the event to which very few punters came (it doesn’t seem to have been advertised) and only a tiny percentage got as far into the bowels of Oxford Brookes to even realise our table was there hidden behind a big advert for another stall which was better placed anyway. I sold two postcards. My colleague, Wendy Allen, who made two tiny but beautiful letterpress books sold didderly squat (not a lot).

ox 010

So I learned a lot, mostly, that you got to be selective, very. Just don’t go to a place thinking you can change the scene. If they specialise in old school then they don’t want to see new stuff, do they, well at least they didn’t there.

 bzb light sm

Talking about new stuff, I have been producing what I call ‘original’ stuff since 1969, stuff what is new to most of the known world out there cos most of it only ever reached a radius of about 10 miles from wherever I lived. From now on in this bollogart artis blArt am going to be presenting, or re-presenting, my endeavours from the past 45 years. I shall upload images and ‘stories’ and views of others so you can at least see my work.i gave up pursuing ‘publishers’ years ago and did my first self-published book in 1975, a practice I intend to step up now. But don’t expect me to do beautiful books like Chris Rushton at Hadleigh books does. http://www.chrisruston.com/ No am not able to be so meditative in my production. My next few books will be bringing the backlog of book ideas I bin developing now since 1972; Apulhed, Squidgerats, Nonogons, Venus Stares, and all. Altho I do have one clever hexagonal ‘shaped book’ in mind as a development from the Inside the Jug series.

All images in this blog are mine except the copy of the book by Dieter Roth, I hope that his foundation do not mind me putting it in as it is flagging up the wonderful work he did.

 

Meeting with David Jury, the secret work is out.

David Jury and me used to meet about once a month to chat over coffee. I showed him my new artist book preparation where I was putting my six ‘mystics poems’ onto the page each laid out in the shape of a pot. DJ was just completing an article about writers who did shaped typography and he was intrigued when he saw my new work. On reading them he liked the words and my form of presentation. Being a cheeky fella I asked him if he might write a small crit so that I could place it on the back of my book so that potential buyers may get a gist of what my words were about and he wrote:
“Pete Kennedy’s words are contained in six ‘Earthen Vessels’. But none of these vessels is whole, their bases, by varying degrees, are missing. In fact, it quickly becomes clear that all knowable laws are absent. So what is it that holds the words together?
The more you look the more you read, the more you read the more you look. Their occasional dramatic change of scale: ‘Namaste’ and ‘I Am a Buddha Now’ rightly dominate whilst their additional ‘weight’ causes them to slowly fall, like sediment, towards the bottom of the jar… that does not exist. These vessels are spine-tingling.” Follow that Pete I thought.
Shortly afterwards he suggested that maybe he could do a letterpress version of the poems as pots for his summer project, would I be interested?
Interested, I had been wondering how I could do a simple letterpress version myself to take to the Wayzegoose book fair in Oxford this October and I would be chomping at the bit to see the wayshegoes with DJ’s version and we immediately embarked. My offer to help with the mucky jobs was politely declined as DJ see the process as essentially a contemplative and private one. Miles Wigfield, chairman of the Oxford Guild of Printers, observes that this is not unusual amongst letterpress enthusiasts who like to work on their own. So he began.
The first print took several weeks to complete as DJ had to work out how to get the pot shape I had accomplished using Quark. He asked for one of my drawings of a nice shaped pot and said he’d use it as a kind of template to outline his layout. He was fascinated with the notion that the pot itself although hinted at didn’t ‘exist’. This was in keeping with his own readings of Buddhist books where everything is in fact an illusion. He liked the way the words seemed to accumulate like sediment in a vessel. Vessel is a word I had adopted partly because it denotes jug, jar, pot or any other container which the ancients may have used to protect their precious objects in. Going even further back earthen vessels would have been amongst humankind’s earliest ever artefacts. That age old play between what is attractive to the eye and useful as an object which peaked with the design of Concorde and began with the design of a bowl to drink or eat from, that mix of meeting the designer’s needs in terms of available or newly invented technologies and the users requirements was probably solved earlier in pots than in the drawings of woolly mammoths on cave walls. My interest in pots, triggered initially by my curiosty about the Dead Sea Scrolls opened out to discover that many communities from India to Afghanistan and later into China had incarcerated valuable objects and/or sacred documents in pots then either buried them or secreted them in caves. The first writings were cuneiform on clay too. This led to my desire to create words in the shape of pots because of its deep ancient resonance.
Take a look at a previous blArt I did for more info about my pots: https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2014/01/26/a-change-in-my-habits-i-am-giving-good-notice-of-an-event-for-your-diary/
DJ has a long time fascination with letterpress and has collected some old wood fonts which he had not previously been able to use. Now, with the change of fonts and their size in my work, he is able to blow the dust off and use them. This all benefits my writings for the pots which are always in flux anyway and now have been re-written, almost weekly, to fit the new needs of the collaboration. Working with DJ has been invigorating. Initially I had faced my own challenge to shape the words into pots now DJ took on the mantle for his versions and where I had merely increased the size of the Bodoni bold font to denote important words and phrases DJ began to use very differing fonts to his main Bodoni. I had used full stops repeated to make up some spaces in order that I did not have to re-write or add too much to my original ‘poems’. DJ pointed out that every space is potential for making a mark or statement, every space is valuable. He began to introduce strings of shapes to substitute my dots. He soon saw that the knots or strings were not adequate, didn’t look good. So, he said it’s a shame not to use letters in those spaces, maybe in a smaller font? To begin with he had tried using words like ah and om but that wasn’t enough. Maybe we can put in a ‘sub-text’, do you have any other poems we can use. Well yes, as it happened I was typing up and re-doing some other poems, poems I sometimes write about everyday things, thoughts and observations on the way my life is going or went or should have gone. Much simpler than the mystic poems which were the result of hundreds of hours of study and contemplation, writing and re-writing, reading to a ‘public’ re-appraising starting again and so on. Yes, that sounds great, send some to me and I shall see how they fit. And fit they did. So the first print now has a sub-text too which adds several layers of meaning which ever way you read them. The page as a whole now becomes a fascinating mix of visual and contextual meanings. You can read the poem in its original then the subtext or read the whole of it as one or don’t read it at all just enjoy the visual effect.
Soon enough DJ was wanting the words to break out of the sedimentary base of the pots which don’t exist. Another compositional device creating more interest, more possibilities to ‘play’ and arrive at more exciting results. By print 3 DJ started to turn some of the words upside down or reverse them, now they become multi-dimensional.

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Poem one is inspired by the writings of Herman Hesse. Poem 2 by the life of the present Dalai Lama. Poem 3 is about the deep mythological interests of C G Jung.
Although I was unsure when to reveal to the eagerly awaiting world or artist book and letterpress enthusiasts news of our collaboration David had no such qualms and on Wednesday 30.7.14 he gave a talk to a small gathering of letterpress enthusiasts at The Waiting Room in Colchester (which I could not attend cos of my weekly commitment to Ballroom Dancing. One day I am hoping to replace Lewis Smith at the top of the podium, although I am not as athletic, young nor handsome as he I am determined to topple him. You know me, I never let a small challenge overawe my dreams). The talk was well received and I thank Clare Marsh for sending me these two images, one of DJ flying and one of two of the prints we have made already.

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I haven’t asked DJ what it’s like working with me but the smile on his face speaks volumes.

Now, on 25th Aug 2014 DJ is nearly finished with his letterpress edition of six of my poems. Each one has gotten more adventurous and it seems he has had a wonderful time pushing the boat out and using wood type he has bought but never used over a number of years. we should be ready to show the world the outcome in September sometime. Each print has it seems come up better than the one before so much so that it seems the first one is almost conservative, almost staid. but not quiet, i mean quiet not quite!

watch out book fairs here we come; whitechapel-DJ’s table 1st