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.
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.
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!
Having no other place to exhibit my work during lockdown (apart from online, but that doesn’t really count) I have been displaying cards showing my Green Man design, on trees and gate-posts at various places, whilst out on our daily walks. Despite being in Rotherham, we’re very fortunate to live near fields and woodlands in Wickersley, Rotherham, so the environment is, I feel, fitting for these cards. Although there is the opportunity for feedback (I put my email address on the back) no-one has been in touch – I didn’t really think they would – but at least two of them have been taken, so they are being seen. I’ll never know whether they were taken by people wanting to own the card, or by kids trashing them but either way, they are being interacted with!
For my next image in the ‘Shouting at The World’ series, I have combined two of the gargoyles/grotesques I found on the churches in Lincolnshire, with a Sheela-na-gig found on The Church of St Mary and St David, in Kilpeck, Herefordshire. Having spent quite a lot of time working with various images of the Green Man, I felt it was time to redress the balance somewhat and feature this ancient, scared female form which can be found, in various forms, throughout the world.
This is the second image in the “Shouting At The World” series, inspired by the gargoyles and grotesques found on many medieval churches around Britain. This particular gargoyle is from a church in Lincolnshire. I have intentionally designed the image to have a similar look to the picture cards in a deck of cards.
Still not able to get into my studio (‘Essential travel’ only rule still applies) I decided to set myself the challenge of drawing, cutting and printing an image in one day. Not only that, but decided to try my hand at a self-portrait. Having never attempted a portrait of any kind, self or otherwise, the fact that the resulting image looks vaguely human is a bonus to me! I’m told I look tired – oh well, so be it. I have gone for the negative rather than positive lines simply because of the time constraints and the difficulties of working at a small scale (15cm x 8cm) – I only have a small printing press available at home.
A project conceived some time ago, I finally got around to printing this image as a greeting card, complete with hand-cut type. The design is a lino-cut based as closely as possible on the patterns created by inking up an origami face – seen in an earlier post. I have been asked if anyone would want a card that says ‘Shout!’ but I think it is appropriate for any occasion: shout “Hurray it’s your birthday!”, shout “Congratulations on your new job”, shout “It’s a Boy!” and so on – the possibilities are endless, it just depends what message you choose to write inside.
In an effort to get involved in the exciting charity project #oneofmanypostcard which was dreamed up by @johnapedder I produced twenty of these postcard-sized prints featuring my modernised Green Man design, placed in the centre of a more traditional foliage border. The idea is that anyone wanting one of these limited edition prints, sends me their name and address, whereupon they will receive one completely free of charge. All that is asked is that the recipient then donates whatever they think the print may be worth, to the charity of their choice. These will be sent out on February 14th.
If you would like to take part by ordering a print, please send me your details to: email@example.com and I’ll get on with it. First come, first served – they are limited!
In an idle moment (tea break) during the cutting of the grotesques design, I was toying with the idea of representing various gargoyles and church figures using Origami. Having made the form for a basic face, I decided to see how it would print if I just ran a roller over it before pressing it onto paper. I was really quite taken with the resulting image but it needed a mouth! This was added afterwards using a piece of lino with teeth and lips carved into it. When I get another idle moment, I’m sure I will pursue this idea further! Watch this space…