Saturday, October 20, 2012

A last fish post

Just one more piece I’d like to tell you about for the fish exhibition – a concertina book. I showed the beginnings of it here a couple of months ago, at that point I didn’t really know what I was going to do with it. Then I remembered I had written a fish related poem years ago about fishing for the right word.

Word Angling

I’ve had my line out
over the water for days
shadows pass below

I should pack it in
this endless casting about
for something perfect

the supple rod bends
the line whirrs running away
‘careful as you go

reeling her in!’ See
such iridescent beauty!
Some words I will keep

pomegranate, brass,
some I’ll toss back with a kiss
until the next time.

This gave me the idea of looking for the striking words in some of my favourite poems. The concertina book is folded over at the bottom to create a row of pockets, there’s a luggage tag in each pocket. On the back of each luggage tag there’s a tiny envelope with a copy of one of my favourite poems, the fish on the front of the tag carry a word from the poem.

I spent a lovely week rummaging through all the poetry books on my shelf, trying to choose which poems to include. It was quite difficult – many favourites had to be left out because they were too long (big) to fit in the envelopes. These are the poems I used in the end.
Tony Harrison – Fire eater
Gwyneth Lewis – The Flaggy Shore
Andrew Motion – On the table
Nikki Giovanni – Seduction
Anne Stevenson – Poem to by daughter
Ted Hughes – Thistles

A concertina book is a simple structure – a good place to start for an inexperienced book binder! It’s good for an exhibition because you can display it open with the content visible, with a normal book you can show the cover or open at a particular page.

You can see some gorgeous tiny concertina books over onNat’s blog 'Smallest Forest', which she included in the miniatures show. She has a really great blog, always worth a look!

I've started getting ready for the xmas craft fair, which will be mid-November, so I'm as busy as ever! I can't believe we're thinking about xmas already, where does the year go? Hope you're having a great weekend!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Wild patience - some thoughts about fishwives

Now that crazy month is over I can get back to you with the 2nd fishwife painting as promised! It's called 'To Market'.

(not a great photo it's a bit glary.)

Here are some of the things I've been thinking about while I've been working on these paintings.

These days I suppose fishwife is used to describe a woman who is common, unsophisticated, with a loud raucous voice. If I've had a bad day of yelling at the kids I might note in my journal that I've been a bit of a fishwife!!

I grew up in the north of England, at school we learnt songs about fishermen battling the stormy seas - one that goes 'it was windy old weather...', and a hymn I think that goes 'the fishers watch when night comes down...' The women in these kind of songs - if mentionned at all - are passive, waiting. (I'm amazed I could track these songs down on the basis of one half remembered line!)

In reality they didn't sit around twiddling their thumbs, they would have helped mend the nets, take the fish to market, manage the money, make sure there was food on the table.

There's a great line in an Adrienne Rich poem - 'A wild patience has brought me this far' (Integrity)
I had always thought of this as a contradiction, wild and patience being opposites. Now I've started to think about how patience could be something fierce, full of determination. I think it says a lot about how women's lives have been.

While I was wandering around the web looking for images of fishwives and wondering what their market cries might be, I came across this blog by Kate Davies a crafter in Scotland who's doing lovely work inspired by fishwives!!

Here's the 3rd painting I managed to do for the Fish exhibition called the fishwife's cat.

If you're in Darwin, the fish exhibition is open at Tactile gallery (Territory Craft) until 20th October.
The minatures exhibition 'The goddesses of small things' is still on at DVAA until 13th October.

Best wishes to all, I hope to be around and about on the web a bit more this month!!