Lost Words Refound

The Lost Words - forget-me-not is an exhibition showing until 26 May at The Lettering Arts Trust in Snape, Suffolk. Curated by Lynne Alexander, the exhibition is inspired by The Lost Words: A Spell Book, by Robert Macfarlane and artist Jackie Morris. The Oxford Junior Dictionary has dropped about fifty words from nature such as acorn, bluebell and otter. They have been usurped by words like blog, broadband, cut-and-paste.

The Lost Words: A Spell Book brings twenty lost words back to life in word and paint. The book is a huge success and is finding its way into schools. At Snape, The Lost Words - forget-me-not is a response to the book by artists who carve stone, wood and glass, recording forever, in these materials derived from the natural world, the words regarded as redundant by the Oxford Junior Dictionary, a reflection of how childhood is changing.

Human beings have become disconnected from the natural world, with apparently little awareness of our part in the ecosystem. Every day, we hear shocking accounts of how we destroy and trample all over the planet, whether through deforestation, pollution, plastic in the oceans, the disagreeable ways in which food is produced, and much else. Wildlife is in free fall, and human beings are responsible. At last these issues are coming to the fore and the new report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) with ominous warnings and calls for change has been widely publicised.

Keeping old skills alive is as important as cherishing old words. The Garden Gallery is an enthusiastic supporter of the work of the Lettering Arts Trust, and the artists who carve beauty and meaning into stone, wood and glass. The Trust’s Journeyman Scheme provides advanced training for letter carvers to continue developing their practice, perpetuating and growing the craft of lettering. In The Garden Gallery’s summer exhibition this year a number of letter carvers will be exhibiting their beautiful work. Come and see it, and support this essential skill.

Click on Exhibitions for more about the gallery’s 25th anniversary exhibition.
Contact the Lettering Arts Trust for a catalogue of The Lost Words - forget-me-not

Image: Tread Softly by Eric Marland (Egyptian limestone, available at The Garden Gallery)



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On a recent visit to Italy I was captivated by Piero della Francesca's Madonna di Senigallia in the Ducal Palace in Urbino. The painting is suffused with soft yet brilliant light, and exudes the stillness and serenity to be found in much of Piero's work. It is a mystical moment in time and called to mind a book I read a few years ago, The Unattended Moment by Michael Paffard, the title of which is taken from Dry Salvages in T. S. Eliot's Four Quartets. 

Paffard's book is largely an anthology of writings by people who have had what he describes as “...brief flashes of experience...so out of the ordinary as to seem to belong to a dimension other than the quotidian, to be epiphanies of another order of reality: unattended moments in the sense that they do not seem to fit into our ordinary pattern of experience...”. 

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Footprints on the Sands of Time

2016 marks the tercentenary of the birth of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, a man so influential that he is regarded as the ‘father’ of landscape architecture. 

In partnership with The Capability Brown Festival, VisitEngland is promoting ‘Year of the English Garden’ as a key theme for 2016, in celebration of England’s many beautiful gardens.
Lancelot Brown was a man who left deep “footprints on the sands of time” (A Psalm of Life by H. W. Longfellow). In the spirit of this year’s festival of Brown’s achievements and legacy, and the art and design of gardens, The Garden Gallery will celebrate and promote the role of contemporary sculpture and ceramics as key elements in the creation of beautiful gardens, a tradition reaching back centuries and now an integral part of garden design.

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Blown Away by Sioban Coppinger FRBS

The Power of Art

Recently, I visited Ai Weiwei’s exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts in London. The galleries were full, with visitors of all ages and many nationalities engaging with the profound and thought-provoking displays. It was heartening to find the RA confronting the issues raised by Ai Weiwei through his work in a measured, sensitive and deeply thoughtful way. Visitors are encouraged to take photographs and share them through social media.  Ai Weiwei’s work speaks for itself and testifies to the power of art to make us think about other people’s lives, the problems they face when they do not live in a democratic society where freedom of expression is taken for granted, and what we can do to help bring about change for the better. 

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The Pietrasanta Connection

A group of sculptors from Pietrasanta, Tuscany, are represented in Truth to Material, the latest exhibition at The Garden Gallery. A creative hub for marble carvers, close to the mountains of Carrara where Michelangelo sourced his stone, the historic centre of Pietrasanta is now largely given over to chic shops and galleries. The sound of sculptors at work and the marble dust are to be found at the edge of town.

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