Wednesday, 30 October 2013

New Woodcut

The latest woodcut 'Together', is finally finished. I ended up with an edition of 9 prints. The four colours are all different mixes of French Ultramarine, Poppy Red, Golden Yellow and Opaque White.

The text emerging from the colour fields was originally intended as an expression of impotent rage against a government that is imposing savage spending cuts in the name of austerity which impact disproportionately on women and on the poorest people in our (UK) society. The infamous claim by millionaire Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, was that 'we are all in this together'. He didn't say 'this is going to hurt you more than it hurts me' but he could have done! 

However there is another, deeper, meaning in the text, away from cheap political point-scoring and thinking more holistically about us as a species on the planet: as the human race. There is a real sense in which recognising our shared responsibilities toward each other, our common humanity and interdependence is a prerequisite for a politics that might see human beings survive, in freedom, in the long term. My view of human beings is a high one, and my life and politics are informed by the conviction that all people are important, that human rights are universal, and that we really are 'all in this together'.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013


Public Works Collective includes: 
Lydia Heath
Andy Reaney
Elise Darlow
Letitia Northcott
Michael Davies
Clarisse Wisser
Helen Northcott
and me.

On Saturday 26 October, Public Works conducted a one-day project on the buses (bus conductors?). We selected the longest circular routes around Winchester and, in pairs, spent the day on one route, asking the passengers to take part in making a record of the bus journey, through drawing, stories, writing or other responses. We had a fantastic response. Two stories stand out for me:
This is Alan:

He boarded the bus in the City Centre in full Tiger onesie and face paint. He had been raising money for Southampton General Hospital to help build a hostel for parents to stay in when their children are in hospital.

Like so many of the passengers, he was a pensioner and happy to chat. Many of the people on the bus said they use it almost every day using their bus-pass and it enables them to get to the shops, to see friends and family.

This is Gluikchien:
She is a life-saving dog who took a mugger's knife to save her owner. She told us how two men had come towards her with a knife and the dog went for the man and was stabbed through the chest. The man ran off and two passers-by helped get the dog to a vet where they saved its life with multiple stitches. Her owner was on the way to buy her a little raincoat to protect her 11-year old frame from the coming winter.
We gathered together at our favourite independent cafe 'Nibble' in Stockbridge Road and put together all the drawings and other contributions. We had a wonderful few hours exchanging experiences and compiling the zines. 
The resulting zines were then placed on the tables in the Bus Station Cafe, and two copies were donated to 'Nibble'. 

The project was undertaken as part of '10days' a biennial festival of arts in Winchester. We felt it had been successful and were pleased with the outcomes, which included the zines, brightening up many peoples' bus-rides on a rainy Saturday, and strengthening our working relationships as a creative collective.