It’s the ending of the year and, amongst other things, I’ve been making some prints. Pretty soon (perhaps by the time you read this?) I’ll have opened the ZMAS BOUTIQUE, wherein they are for sale to the discerning. Or, at least, those with a bit of spare cash. This season’s colours are rather sombre on the whole, with a preponderance of grey and black, although there’s a lovely Farrow & Ball colour – ‘Middleton Pink #245’, which which I’ve reprised a piece you may have seen before in both ‘Mouse’s Back # 40’ and ‘Arsenic # 214’. I should explain, really, particularly for those overseas who would (quite reasonably) fail to appreciate the significance of Farrow & Ball paint.

Farrow & Ball manufacture household paint which somehow has become synonymous with the upper and upper middle classes of England. Personally I feel that we have a sort of Farrow & Ball government, a government of surface appearance. There’s all kinds of unpleasantness (damp? dry-rot? mould? evil?) underneath the faux-nostalgic, futility-heritage, ‘conservative’ façade. But then, we don’t really have a government – we have a gang of robber-barons determined to fleece the place for whatever they can get, utilising a sort of cultural and economic scorched-earth policy. The gap between rich and poor grows wider every day. Hey, though; never mind, eh? House prices have never been higher.

Farrow & Ball colours are ‘classic’, ‘elegant’, ‘timeless’ and, to my mind, subtly reinforce the notion that ‘things are as they should be’. These are the colours of an Enid Blyton, Ladybird book version of a 1950s England that never existed but serves as a useful psychic shorthand for the sort of people I have very little time for. This, I should say, is not the fault of the paint manufacturers, who have been around since the 1930s, and whose products are used for all kinds of historic restorations. It is, of course, entirely inappropriate that I should use their paint to create such dreadful things as this:

middleton pink

But there it is. ‘Middleton Pink # 245’. I like to think that this series of prints will continue, until I’ve used every shade and tone in the entire range, but it’s much more likely that I’ll get bored of it and do something else.

And now for something completely different: here are three prints made using hot-foiling, which is a technique that uses a heated engraved stamp to fix silver foil to paper. The pictures are called, from left to right, Nin, Fuinseog and Unjin. These are all old names for the ash tree.

nin_fuinseog_unjinThe ash tree is one of the most common trees in Europe, the old Norse tree of knowledge – Yggdrasil – and the names of these prints are, respectively, Old Irish, Scots Gaelic and Manx names for the tree. Unfortunately these trees are under an ecological threat from both ‘ash die-back’ and some dreadful beetle. Certain people are discussing whether or not some kind of genetically modified solution could help. That, however, is an entirely other can of worms.

Anyway. These and several more are/will be/have been available to you, the public, at the ZMAS BOUTIQUE. Do pop in and have a browse. I’ll be in the back room having a cup of tea.



6th November 2015