August 30th, 2011 Doug
While I am working on researching and collecting my new projects, I spend a lot of time in the studio reading and drawing in my sketchbooks without producing any finished works to post on the website.
As part of my research work I regularly collect photographic reference material. But often when working on this, I will shoot some photographs just for the fun of creating a series of images on a theme.
Here are a collection of sculpture images collected in the beautiful surroundings of Winchester Cathedral.
Click on this link to see the full series on my Facebook artist’s page.
August 26th, 2011 Doug
Many thanks to Fiona Robyn and Kaspa Thompson for inviting me to take part in their Creativity Interviews series.
It was very enjoyable answering the questions, and in a world where you spend the majority of your time working alone and focused on creating your art, it is good to take stock of what it is that drives your creativity. Hope you enjoy reading the interview as much as I enjoyed taking part.
Follow the link to read the interview, and to find out more about Writing Our Way Home.
August 20th, 2011 Doug
As part of collecting and researching my work, I often have to get out and about to find and draw/photograph specific subject matter. For part of a current collaboration project I am working on. I visited the beautiful and inspiring venue of Kew Gardens in London.
Anyone wishing to use plants and flowers in any aspect of their work should at some point visit this fantastic resource. The wealth of material available here is mind-boggling, from the plant collections in the various houses, to the stunning botanical art on show at the Shirley Sherwood Collection. A real treat is a visit to the Marianne North Gallery, an incredible display of eight hundred and forty eight paintings produced by the Victorian botanical artist over a fourteen year period in the later half of the 19th century. The collection, housed in its own custom built gallery is a must for anyone who loves the mildly eccentric and elaborate world of the ever-curious Victorians.
As well as collecting materials for my art work, I can’t resist the opportunity to just enjoy working with the camera, especially in great venues such as Kew. I feel that as well as hopefully getting some interesting shots, it helps develop your ability to see more clearly what is around you, practicing the art of paying attention. I’ve posted a few of the photographs from Kew here, and I hope you enjoy them!
August 9th, 2011 Doug
This autumn will see the publication of a new collaboration of poems and photographs, ‘Weaving Songs’,
by my friends, poet Donald S.Murray and photographer Carol Ann Peacock.
The poems and photographs in this collection describe the working lives of the weaving community of the Western Isles of Scotland. Carol Ann has been documenting the work of Harris Tweed through her photographs since April 2010, and many of the superb images can be seen on her website at www.carolannpeacock.com
In the prelude to the poems, Donald tells of the memories of his father and the other crofter/weavers working in the area;
‘The presence of looms provided the village of my childhood with much of its energy and vitality.
Even as I walked along its road, their noises seemed to provide me with some kind of soundmap to the area. At the most southerly end, Aird Dell, there was Dòmhnall Barabal working on his machine. At the other, near the river, there were Murchadh Dhodu’s feet clicking on the pedals. And in between, there were others, men like Iain Mhurchaidh Bhig, Donaidh Timotaidh, my own father, Aonghas Dhòmhnaill Stufan. Each one of these men seemed to possess a Hattersley loom with its own unique set of sounds, its own beat, even its own hours when its clack and rattle were to be heard. Donaidh, for instance, was a man who worked late at night; my Dad preferred to be out and about in the early morning. The evening was set aside for Church, faith and family.
And so it was throughout the islands of Lewis and Harris at that time – the same rhythms and music echoed from Rodil in the far south to Port of Ness in the north. Working on the loom had more than its share of advantages for the crofter. It allowed him (or in rare cases, her) to work the land, look after sheep, cut peats, while at the same time obtain a relatively regular income from the tweeds which the mills delivered in their lorries to the crofthouses on the island. The fact that there were no regular hours to follow was an advantage to the weavers. It allowed them to take time off to attend sheep-fanks and cattle-sales, harvest a field of oats or spend an evening fishing. Such precious freedoms were possible in the sheds and outhouses in which the music of the loom could be heard.’
Donnie used to work his loom
on nights when moon was clear and full,
as if his shuttle was a sky-rocket
trailing in its slipstream a cloudy plume of wool
Till that tweed was completed.
Mission accomplished, then his feet
would step out on the planet
and he’d watch that broadcloth, God’s neat
Stitching above croftland,
a tight weave of constellations,
thread plied to form the Pleiades,
the tight belt of Orion,
A tapestry of comets, planets
more astonishing by far
than that pattern where he’d simply caught
pale flecks from the dying stars.
Donald and I are currently working on a collaboration, The Guga Stone, which will hopefully be appearing in print and as an exhibition in 2012/13.
The collection Weaving Songs will be published by Acair in the autumn.