I’ve been donated a pile of these beautiful choral & organ scores to work with, now they’re unfit for use. Really looking forward to starting off on them. First up, a set of jewellery using sheet music from Handel’s Messiah.
I’m still trying to decide what to do with the cover of this one, though – it’s such a gorgeous design in the beginning, and the years of wear from use look absolutely amazing. Any suggestions?
I & some friends recently spent a weekend acting some classic murder mysteries for our own entertainment. For various reasons, we needed to produce scripts for them – private use only, so this isn’t a copyright issue – and it would have been a shame not to do our own cover designs with original artwork. This is mine, for Dorothy L Sayers’ Gaudy Night (the radio version, adapted by Mary Cutler) and I wanted to share it. (Mine bar the face sketch; that was done by my partner, because I’m truly appalling at faces.)
The text is my own handwriting; the brick wall is local London Stock, a few doors down from me; the dress pattern & book cover were taken from Lost & Taken; everything else is done in acrylics & assembled in Inkscape.
Lleu Llaw Gyffes was cursed by his reluctant mother – he could never have weapons & armour, a bride, or even a name until she gave them to him. His foster-father, Gwydion ap Dôn, tricked her into bestowing the first and the last, but there’s nothing she could do about the second, and frankly that family was screwed up enough already.
So Gwydion and his uncle, Math ap Mathonwy, made a bride for him out of flowers. This branch of the Mabinogion is usually told as Gwydion’s story, and to an extent Lleu’s, but I’m not the only one with a lot of sympathy for Blodeuwedd. She didn’t ask to be made, or to be married to Lleu. When she falls in love with Gronw Bebyr, she tricks Lleu into revealing the arcane way he can be killed (it involves taking a bath with a goat) and then murdering him. It’s a bit extreme, but then so is everything else in that drama-laden family.
And she really didn’t ask to be turned into an owl by Gwydion.
I had a lot of fun making this. It started out by working out what kind of owl she was (I decided on the secretive and nocturnal long-eared owl, widely hated in the avian world) and as you’ll see took a lot of liberties with the design. The text panels are from the portions of the Fourth Branch that deal with her directly, in both English and modern Welsh. I’d originally intended them to show up more clearly, but this dense green works well with the brown – which I’d planned to be lighter, but the technique I’d been envisaging didn’t work out the way I’d thought it would! The rose is adapted from a jewellery design I’ve been playing with, using hand-assembled lasercut petals.
For the next six weeks, my work is on display at Slate in Leytonstone—you can walk along Leytonstone High Road and see it in the dedicated street-facing exhibition space on the corner with Church Lane. As usual, you can click through to Flickr for the full-sized versions – they’re not the best of photos, but for December light, street reflections, and (frankly) a hurry to get to the pub they’re not too bad.
This is my latest collage piece, made from a play script of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. There’s something dreadfully transgressive about ripping up books, but that adds to the artistry of it! (NB: No actual books were harmed in the production of this artwork, and I’m even thinking in adding some wood frames to it, that I can even build myself with the right wood tools that are easy to get, and anyone can learn more at woodworkingtoolkit.com. The play script had led a long and happy life, having been used in several productions, before dying naturally and being saved from the recycling bin. Which slightly undermines the transgressivity involved, but we have to start transgressing somewhere.)
This is a very personal response to the play, almost the ultimate expression of the auteur principle possible without a proper theatre. I can choose to foreground some issues, place characters in their proper place, and generally take absurd liberties with the text—in other words, just what any director would do given complete freedom. At the same time, the form imposes some interesting constraints. I didn’t allow myself to add anything to it, and everything placed on the canvas (the backing material is a standard 40x40cm gallery canvas) had to be cut from flat paper. And because rules are there to be broken, the detailing on the rose is drawn by hand in ink.
This is one of the first work-in-progress pictures I took, showing the final placement of text scraps without a frame. The sides of the canvas (30mm deep) I painted flat black, to evoke theatre flats, and the varnish on the face is deliberately matte—this play has had enough gloss put on it in the past without my adding any more!
This is the first Shakespeare collage I’ve done, so I’m not sure which features of this one are going to be general and which are play-specific. Dream is an intensely theatrical play, and not only because of the play-within-a-play performed by the mechanicals. Admittedly, there’s a certain amount of that always present in theatre, because actors sicken, pine, and get grumpy if they don’t get the opportunity to play someone who can’t act every so often. Writing about it, I’m already thinking of three different versions I could do, but I’d rather work on another play first.