Chapel Commission

At last, now the Wentworth Woodhouse Media wheels have started to turn, I can reveal that I am one of the lucky few artists to have received a commission to display my work in the chapel. You may (or may not) know that Wentworth Woodhouse, built in the 1700s near Rotherham, England, is the longest stately home in the country and is in the lengthy process of being renovated; something that will take many years. The chapel is in the main body of the house and is a particularly beautiful place to exhibit.

I decided to create an installation called, “Outside In” that recreated a stylised sacred woodland glade, as would have been used by ancient people, inside the chapel – thus bringing together not only the outside and the inside, but the old and the new – ancient symbols, including the Green Man and a Sheela-Na-Gig seen in a place decorated with images of Christian worship.

The 2 metre-high panels were all carved using a hand-held jigsaw. At the end of the chapel can be glimpsed an altar-like area, with a lighted box – revealed only after having passed through the panels.

The installation runs until the end of October.

New Print

Whilst it might seem to some that this print goes against my self-imposed remit of “Contrasts and Anomalies”, the very fact that it is not obviously in keeping with my other work is actually a contrast! However, I would maintain that a black cat easily falls in with my other work, in that it is often the subject of other-worldly superstition and legend, much like the Green Man figure. The picture is of our own cat, appropriately named Salem, and she does look in a somewhat sombre mood. The registration isn’t perfect and I am intending to hand paint the eyes next week, but I’m pretty pleased with how it’s turned out. It is printed on 7×5″ cards and on a limited run of A4 Hoshi paper. They are for sale, please get in touch – through my Instagram page (@grooveware_art) is probably the easiest way, as I haven’t got around to setting up a shop yet. I will soon.

Green Woman

In an effort to redress the balance somewhat, I have carved and printed my version of a Green Woman, or Mother Nature. The idea is that the face is seen in a tree branch, surrounded by foliage. I have printed this image on white A6 cards and on brown, recycled paper. I am planning on reprinting the image but with a background texture, printed from a highly grained piece of wood.

Print Days

At last, with schools starting again, I’m back in the studio with all my necessary equipment and have spent the past two days, happily getting inky fingers and printing. I had a few anxious minutes (well, about an hour really) where I didn’t think I could do it anymore – nothing was going right, smudged prints, blotchy prints, dirty fingerprints on the white card – but eventually, I got into the swing of things and managed to produce some prints I was happy with. These are both on cards – the Drummer Boy is on 7″ x 5″ card, whilst the ‘Union” print is on A5 cards in either green or black.

Cutting Frenzy!

Due to circumstances often beyond my control, I have been almost frantically cutting lino blocks ready to print. However, having no printing equipment currently to hand, I can only visualise what the finished products will look like when I eventually, hopefully, get back into my studio full-time next week.

Sacred Oak

I’m sure I’m not alone in saying this, but if there is a positive to come out of this current pandemic, it is the fact that so many of us have reunited with nature and begun to see what we perhaps had lost sight of. Whilst I live in the (once) Industrial North of England, in the run-down town of Rotherham, I am very fortunate to live in a part of town that is surrounded by woodlands, meadows and even a very beautiful golf course. Our daily walks took us to places we weren’t even aware existed so close to us, particularly through woodlands we have since found to be ancient. There are areas covered with oak trees and it has become so obvious why the ancient people worshipped and revered the mighty oak, and why there are so many stories and legends involving tree spirits. Oak trees in particular, abound with faces and apparently human body-parts; wildly inspirational to me as an artist spending much of my time interpreting myths, legends and the struggle of the natural world to breathe within the modern, city environment.

Sheffield Spring Heeled Jack

There is a pretty-much nationwide Victorian legend about a character called ‘Spring Heeled Jack’, who would appear, often to courting couples, frighten them out of their wits, then leap away, often over walls and fences. He acquired his name because of his ability to leap so high with apparent ease. For many years now, I have been aware of a specifically Sheffield version of this legend, the character also being known as The Park Ghost; he would appear around the Park Hill area, particularly near the Cholera Monument which marks the site of a mass grave for victims of the Sheffield Cholera Epidemic in the 1800s.

Taking the face from an adaptation of a gargoyle, I created my own version of what Spring Heeled Jack might have looked like – the silhouette in the background being the aforementioned Cholera Monument.

Green Man Lamp

Having made the Giant Green Man out of discarded tin cans, I wanted to do something useful with it, rather than having it laying on a shelf somewhere. Here is the result; a rather nice table lamp. I would love to be able to say, “and it’s for sale”, but I’m told it’s too good and it’s not leaving our house – sorry!

One of Many Time Again

The time has come around again for the #oneofmanypostcard initiative. Here is my contribution – a limited edition of 20 postcard-sized prints that are free to anyone wishing to have one, on the understanding that the receiver makes a donation to a charity of their choice. The prints are actually an abstraction from a Green Man face, but I have been told they look like either courgettes or melons so take it as you will. If you would like one of the cards, please email your address to: grooveware.art@gmail.com and I’ll get one in the post asap.

Shouting Again

This was mainly completed as an exercise in lino multi-block registration, but I am pretty pleased with the outcome. The registration isn’t perfect on all of the prints, but I managed to pull off enough copies to make it worthwhile!