24 October, 2010

Excitement is mounting here . . .

. . . and this is a big hint for our many friends who have been around a bit!

The fact is that, in 2000, we published The Old Stile Press . . . in the twentieth century which gave the history of the Press and described all the books made up till that point. The cover of this book was taken from a specially commissioned pen and wash drawing by Clive Hicks-Jenkins which took the form of a fanciful and highly romantic vision of Catchmays Court, the home of the Press and of ourselves. Bang in the middle of the spine was a single sheep. The conceit at that time was that, if you put a line of copies on a shelf, then you got a line of single sheep!

To the astonishment of all concerned, ten years have passed and that time has seen the production of a respectable number of serious and major publications . . . which of course do not get a mention in the first Bibliography. So, for most of this year, I have been writing and photographing away towards the production of The Old Stile Press . . . the next ten years which (I am thrilled to say) has already been printed and is with the binder as I write. I am (relieved and) happy to be able to say that it has turned out rather well and we are very happy with it.

At the very last minute (because of pressure of work) Clive H-J managed to complete for us the long-ago asked-for painting for the cover. It is again a fanciful take on Catchmays Court but this time is in full colour (as is the entire book, incidentally) and, yes, on the spine there are TWO sheep.

This post is merely a slight over-boiling of excitement on our part about the imminent arrival of the book and we will be posting again soon with photographs, prices and full descriptions. Ordering can, therefore, wait until then BUT do email, if you would like, so as to get your name down on the reservation list . . .

. . . especially if you might be considering one of the 15 Special Copies (a number are bespoke already) for which Frances has been gathering together sample pages and whatnot of almost all the books made during this period together with many other items.

19 October, 2010

Editing the evening sky

Heartened by the fact that four or five people, quite separately, have said, during the last few days, that they are avid readers of this blog and that they like some of the photographs, I am encouraged to get some recent ones 'up'.

After posting on previous occasions my 'editing' of rocks and sand and one thing and another, I present this tiny exercise very modestly as it was all over in two or three minutes and I did not take many shots!

I should incidentally say a thankyou to Frances for drawing my attention to these sights in time for me to grab my camera before it was too late!

And, as a ps, here are some studies of a rose hedge in October.

The leaves are still full of green life but the hips . . .

those that were not eaten by the finches and whatnot when they were so invitingly scarlet . . .

have decayed into a state which I find distasteful and beautiful at the same time.

Où est 'le spectre de la rose'?

07 October, 2010

Candles and sunshine for Peter Reddick

Peter Reddick
1924 - 2010

Today, Frances and I were happy to be able to join many scores of his family and friends as Peter Reddick was laid to rest in the remarkably welcoming acres of the woodland burial site close to his home town of Bristol.

Of course, the weather smiled on the event. From morning, it was a scintillatingly beautiful day - with bright and warm sun and a cooling breeze that moved the leaves of the established trees at the margins and the young ones planted near individual plots. "Peter would have loved it", everyone said.

People greeted each other over coffee and then moved to a beautifully reappointed stone barn that was the chapel/meeting house. We opened our throats with some good singing (as Peter had done when he elected to join choirs very late in his life). We had readings of various sorts and long moments of deep silence during which individuals spoke of how much they had valued Peter's friendship. The variety of these, wood engravers, teachers, Quakers, as well as Peter's children and a sturdy crew of grandsons.

After this, we all made our way to the spot where Peter was to be laid. Crackly dry leaves were thrown into the grave and we returned to enjoy delicious plates of food and further conversations with friends.

This was the point when I took up my camera, to aid our memory later.

This is taken through the door of the chapel where, still burning strongly, are the candles which all who were there had moved forward to light.

This is the same scene from inside the building. I had taken the photograph at that moment because that is just how it happened. It was not until I was working on it a bit that I realized quite how remarkably fortunate and apt that moment had been. That is not a fixed light on the floor. Rather, the strong sunlight was simply shining through the window and, at that precise moment, was falling on the exact spot where Peter had been laid, in his gentle-looking basket made of twisted rushes.

Extraordinarily, a wonderful day. Peter's day.