Wednesday, January 18

The White Lady

She stood on a Morroccan pokerwork table in the porch.
She was always there as I was growing up.
When the house was cleared all those years ago...I got to keep her.
So I put her on a hall table in the large front cloakroom...reminding me of home and family in Ireland.
But all things come to naught eventually ...and it was always a certainty... what with children and then grand children racing around the house ...that one day she would be toppled off her table and smashed.
I put her up in the top studio and kept all the pieces hoping for a time to glue the bits together.
Days, weeks and years went by, and always something more important filled the time.
But....this new year... the potter got her down, gathered the pieces and took her to his studio.
And once again she graces the table. Children grown up....grandchildren with more important things to do on computers etc.

The story was that she came from the Glasgow Festival Exhibition of 1888. She is made of Parian ware and has the stamp...Copeland. The title of the sculpture is .."The stepping stones" by Edward W. Wyon and it was distributed by Art Union of London.

Now sadly it's clear that she has seen better days...and the latest fall was certainly not the first as there are scraps of parian missing from toes and arms.
But I'm thrilled to see her amongst the roses and amazed that she has survived at least four generations on my mother's scottish side of the family!

Tuesday, January 17


This morning I took the no.6 bus into Liverpool to visit the Tate Gallery... by the Albert Docks.
The Alice in Wonderland Exhibition finishes by the end of January and I still hadn't seen it.

 "which bottle shall I drink from?"

There was a time when the potter worked for a small company making "Alice" ceramics... between teaching and the studio here at The Potters House.

Anyway, Rev. Charles Dodgson was born in the south of Warrington in a village called Daresbury.
So it would have been a shame not to see it and as the bus is far!.....
..and I'm a member of was a good day out and not much to spend.
So much to see and so much information as the whole of the 4th floor was taken over by the books and the people that the stories influenced.
That was quite a surprise!
 This is a list of some of the artists, writers and film makers influenced.
The Preraphaelite Brothers and in particular, Holman Hunt and Rossetti, Mervyn Peake, Marie Laurencin, Ralph Steadman, Sir John Tenniel, Arthur Rackman, Nabokov, Voysey, Millais, Dorothea Tanning, Max Ernst, Leonora Carrington, Kokoschka, Roland Penrose, S. Dali, Paul Nash, F.E.McWilliams, Peter Blake,  Kiki Smith, Allen Roppersberg, Nalini Malani, Magritte oh and perhaps...weirdest of all...Walt Disney!
He had such a strong influence on the Parisian Surrealists who made him their own and encouraged the English artists, such as Nash, to recognize what this fellow Englishman had produced.
Disney went into partnership with Salvador Dali, and together they produced , what for me was the most surreal work in the whole show. The music of Disney and the ever evolving surreal movements of Dali...including his love of insects et al.
The books have been illustrated by so many artists in so many different countries, and so many different styles.
Sir JohnTenniel of course...but to see the earliest drawings by Dodgson himself in the small, original hand written book presented to Alice Liddell, gave me an insight into what he was thinking of as the story unfolded.
Of the others, Arthur Rackman had to be one of my favourites and Ralph Steadman would come a close second.
But the influence goes on in the 21st c. A work by the American artist, Kiki Smith takes from the story of Alice through the Looking Glass....."swimming in a pool of her own tears". (that's the card at the bottom of the photo).  And most interesting... an installation called,"The Neverending Book 2007" by Allen Roppersberg inviting people to take 5 pages out of boxes containing print-outs from pages in books in his own library, and from these either make a story or write a poem. I'll have a go and if I think there is any good in it I'll put it up one day!
This is a piece by  Max Ernst using the meaninglessness of Alice and Dodgson's writing ....
"At the junction of two signs
One for a school of herrings
And the other for a school of crystals
33 little girls set out for the
White butterfly hunt
The blind dance in the night
Princes sleep badly
And the black crow is to speak"

Well I can't make sense of it...but I like it!
Not much different I suppose from..."Will you walk a little faster...."

The white rabbit in the middle is Charles Dodgson's own drawing!

Sunday, January 15

New ceramics...hares

For quite a while now, galleries have been asking the potter to produce hares.
So they are just starting to arrive hot out of the kiln in the last few days..
Well hot is good... as we had a bit of a disaster just the week before christmas when a foreign substance...
...pheasant blood...!
dripped into the electronics and that was the end of that until the part was sent back to Germany...
...they of the" forsprung durch technik" infamy....
anyway, all better now..thankyou Germany!
I have been given the prototype..
and I love him!