Figurehead

Despite being possibly the absolute epitome of a ‘landlubber’ (I feel seasick when I’m on a peddlo!) and being born and bred in as land-locked a place as you can imagine (Sheffield, England), there is something about the figureheads found on the front of old ships, that fascinates me. There seems to be a certain mythology associated with them, and apparently the ship’s crew used to take extremely good care of them, feeling that they embodied the spirit of a ship. The image that I came up with, actually started life as a figure that I ‘saw’ being made by the branches of an oak tree, that I knew I wanted to do something with. The recent visit to Whitby gave me the idea to do something more in keeping with maritime mythology than a woodland figure, and the position of the ‘figure’ in the tree lent itself to being placed as a ship’s figurehead. I wanted to keep it simple to keep me sane whilst planning and working on a multi-block, multi-colour print at the same time.

Whitby

Over the years, I have taken children to Whitby many times and have always considered it to be a very special place, with a charm all its own. We have often tramped up and down (and sometimes up and down again!) the 199 Steps to the Abbey and St Mary’s Church. The image I will forever hold in my mind, is of the terracotta-coloured roof tiles on the higgledy-piggledy rooftops pictured here. I intentionally left out the harbour and the rest of the town that can be seen in the distance from this view point on the aforementioned steps. It is worth mentioning that at the top of the steps, in the graveyard of St Mary’s, is Caedmon’s Cross, a memorial to the so-called ‘Father of English Sacred Song’ and with Cadman being my surname, I’ve always had a certain affinity with the area.

This is a simple one colour print from a photograph that I took two weeks ago, standing on Tate Hill Pier, looking up towards St Mary’s Church.

Orkney 2 – The Stones of Stennes

This is the second image from our trip to Orkney – the magnificent Stones of Stennes. As with at The Ring of Brodgar, we were completely on our own whenever we visited the stones, again, even at the Solstice. They are in such a beautiful setting, which I’m not sure I’ve managed to capture here, but it acts as a vivid reminder to me.

Hard Man, Lover

Sometimes I know where the inspiration for an image comes from, and sometimes I have absolutely no idea. This is one of the ones that I have no idea about. It could be something I heard someone say, something I’ve read, something I’ve seen – I just don’t know. I did once write a song called “Fifteen Feet” (to be found on the ‘Music’ page of this site) that has a chorus with the lines, “Well it’s knuckles that say Love, and a heart that’s full of hate” so perhaps it was remembering that which sparked off the idea. Either way, I quite like it. It’s a nice change to do a simple, one colour print. It’s also available in my Etsy shop.

Sheffield – My Home Town

Back when I was at university studying art, I based a series of prints on Park Hill Flats, in my hometown of Sheffield. Many considered them to be an eye-sore but I always loved the lines and angles and especially how the new mixed with the old – quite a common feature of the architecture in the city at the time. I took many photographs, this being one that I never actually used at the time. The current government has an obvious disdain for the North of Britain, and clearly don’t care or really know anything about the region in which I live, the pandemic heightening this utter disregard. I have always been a reasonably proud Yorkshireman but never quite as much as I am now – angered and saddened by the aforementioned lack of thought about anywhere north of Watford. I am made in Sheffield.

These were the background layer but I think I actually prefer them in some ways to the finished image with all the detail.

Skater Girl

A one-off print for a very special little girl’s third birthday. She is already skating and loves being on the ice. The colour has been chosen specifically as it has a link to her name – other colours are available!

Castlerigg Stone Circle

I’ve been wanting to make a print of this for some time now. It is taken from an original photograph of mine, which was taken early one morning at the site, high up on the hills near Keswick in the Lake District. It is a very beautiful place and can often be quite busy, but get there early and you can have the place all to yourself, as we did on this occasion. I tried to keep the print simple, focusing on the actual stones rather than the surrounding hills. The colours are nothing like representative of what is there, but I’m pretty happy with the result.

Busy, Busy, Busy

I have been neglecting my blogging duties lately, mainly because I have been desperately trying to get various ideas out of my head and onto paper! The first two images shown were inspired by a visit to St Peter’s Church in Conisbrough; one of the oldest buildings in South Yorkshire. This visit had been inspired by reading the book “South Yorkshire Folk Tales” which mentions what is thought to be either a Viking or Saxon tomb cover that can be seen inside the church. The stone is carved with what appears to be a figure, possibly St George, defending a cowering Bishop from a dragon. I took the theme and researched examples of knights, bishops and dragons depicted in Medieval art to make a composite image. The smaller “face” print is a two dimensional representation of a carving to be found on one end of the same tomb cover.

We spent some of the Summer holidays in Northumberland and on the East coast of Yorkshire. I took photographs of images I already had prepared in my head (from previous visits to these places) to produce the prints of Lindisfarne Castle and a couple of small fishing boats in the harbour at Staithes near Whitby. I also have a couple more prints ready to go when I get a lull (haha!) You see, I can’t even switch my mind off when I go on holiday! I am currently working on three images, one at the carving stage, one at the inking stage and one at the initial drawing stage.

Wistman’s Wood

Another two block, reduction print, but this time using Ternes Burton registration pins – a world of difference and how on earth I managed before, I really don’t know! This is the first time ever that I have started on a print run of ten and ended up with ten good prints – hurray! The image is of Wistman’s Wood, a particularly twisted and tangled woodland in Dartmoor, in places so dense that it is almost impossible to get through. Everything there seems to be green – the mossy stones, the leaves, the tree trunks – hence the overall green colour of the print.

A Stranger Raven

This is the latest image from my series inspired by the children’s novel, “A Stranger Came Ashore” by Mollie Hunter. In this, the finale, Robbie is standing on the edge of a ‘voe’ (a bay or inlet in the Shetlands) about to be beaten by The Great Selkie when, as promised, his school teacher Yarl Corbie appears in his ‘other’ magical form as a gigantic Raven, and attacks the Selkie, gouging out his eyes and sending him off into the ocean, never to entice the young girls into his underwater palace again.

This was quite a tricky reduction print, using two blocks and a lot of fingers-crossed guesswork! I did also cut a larger (A4) version of the raven to be printed independently.