Collagraph Day

Seven gathered around the tables at Cardiff Print Workshop for a day of creating and printing. In the morning, collages were created from recycled materials, selected for the effect they would produce when inked and printed. From out of the gluing and layering, etching and sharing, scenes and shapes gradually emerged. A hare running through a forest, a sassy pineapple, boats in the mist and a lighthouse, a spider in a web. Blank white boards and shiny silver squares were transformed and transformed again as they were inked and run through the press.

Sian’s tetrapak plate and resulting prints, using parcel tape for lighter tones, sandpaper for textured bird and fence, and added plant material.

Witnessing other people’s creative work from conception to completion is as satisfying as doing my own work. Time dissolves as all are absorbed in the flow that comes with focusing on common creative goals.

A selection of prints from the day: Stevo’s bird, Sian’s pineapple, Jane’s flower, Mary’s spider and Karen’s hare.

Through the Paper Window

Lea Sautin, who is also a member of Cardiff Print Workshop, has an upcoming exhibition at Theatre Mwldan in Aberteifi, Ceredigion. Lea’s work explores the themes of language, translation and perpetual transformation within the storytelling tradition of Wales. She is fascinated by the evolution of the ancient tales of the Mabinogion, from their fluid oral and performative origins to a fixed written manuscript, eventually leading to illustrations of the tales told in their own unique visual language. Lea uses a chain of processes (print to sculpture to photography) to reflect the evolution and alteration of the stories themselves.

I’m looking forward to seeing Lea’s exhibition, which opens 29th April until 18th June.

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Lea Sautin’s sculptures

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The Language of Birds

The Green Language is a term used among Renaissance alchemists and mystics to refer to the Language of Birds, which was thought to be a divine and mystical tongue in which all true knowledge could be articulated.

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In Old English, the word for poet is scop, connected to the Old Norse skald, with the implication of both seership and also the verb scapan, which also means to shape, to create, to form.

“In writing a poem, as in building a boat or fixing an engine or mapping a river or treating a broken heart, we give ourselves to something else, which is not us. To do so helps to make us whole.”  Robert Bringhurst, The Silence That is Not Poetry

This is somehow true of all heartfelt creative accomplishments. Anyone who has been deeply immersed in creating knows how the rest of world fades away and reality blurs at the edges. Time becomes irrelevant and the process leads us on a journey that is almost beyond our will.

Sylvia Linsteadt speaks of how, although poetry is beyond language, it uses words to “allow the embers of being to kindle through us, that we might gather them in our pockets and warm ourselves with the remembrance that all things are in us, and we are in all things.”

Winter Botanical – Tribute to Anna

This piece was created from plant material gathered from one of the lovely parks here in Cardiff. I plan to make a series of four – one for each season using local flora and fauna.

They will be a tribute to Anna Atkins, who, in 1843 first made cyanotype photograms by placing algae and seaweed directly on the cyanotype paper. She is also considered the first person to publish a book illustrated with photographic images.

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Winter Botanical – Cyanotype on Canvas