I always find January difficult! I want to make a positive start to a new year, but there’s such a gap in ‘normal’ life over Christmas that I lose touch with my practice, particularly if I’ve completed a project and need to get started on something new.
I did print the Merry Maidens woodcut before the break, but there were a few details to sort out and I worked on that again to get started this year. I like that image in black and white, but I also made a print of the Men an Tol image that I’d put in a blossom surround and I’m wondering whether to try that in colours now.
I had a project in mind that I was very unsure how to start, but the deadline is approaching and that always provides some impetus! The idea is that a group of people who are still in touch and who studied at Bath Academy of Art before the mid-1980s, should each make a small work that can be mounted to form a ‘Matchbox Museum’ to exhibit together. It’s a challenge, because the size is 47x35mm – which turned out to be tiny when I drew the rectangle. It’s supposed to be representative of our work now, but nothing I’ve made before is that small! I started trying to build up some ideas, but nothing seemed to fit. Then I tried cutting it out as a frame and holding it over some of my work to see if anything might work on that scale. First, I realised that the new line of figures I’d made was just the right sort of size in height – much too long, of course.
Then I was very surprised to find that fragments from older prints worked well together in colour and marks, so I chose tiny sections that hinted at woodland and seascapes. I found I could collage these with sections from the line of figures and suddenly these tiny scenes look very much like some of my recent work. Now I’ve made three and I think of them as ‘Winter Walks’.