Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Catching Up: Ludlow and The Woman In Black

Back in September, after an extremely busy summer, we enjoyed a short break in Ludlow, a charming market town in Shropshire. We rented a small mews cottage that combined quietness with close proximity to the town centre. We had all the comforts we needed, including a well equipped kitchen and a 'fridge already stocked with local produce, which we augmented with a box of goodies from our own vegetable garden.

Although the castle was on the far side of town from us, it was no more than a ten minute walk to enjoy its ancient walls:

It is a short stroll from the Castle to the river and The Green Cafe. Ludlow is an important centre for the Slow Food Movement and a haven for "foodies" with great restaurants and many shops selling fine local produce.

We enjoyed a lovely Sunday lunch; Gnocchi with Italian style pork sausage and fennel ragu with a green salad and pan fried mackerel with Puy lentils and a salsa verde, all washed down with local cider.

Ludlow is a great place to eat.

While in the town, I also indulged my interested in studio pottery by visiting The Marches Pottery, run by Andrew Crouch since 1982.

Among many purchases were a generous cup and bowl. I love the faceted sides and the green glaze.

There were also some pots by Mark Griffiths for sale and I couldn't resist this wonderful teabowl:

Being a small town, nothing is too far to walk to. The market place was only six minutes from the cottage and there was a substantial flea market on Sunday.

This yielded a large Bavarian wall clock, now established at home - it just chimed the hour as I am writing this.

Ludlow Church is a delight. Being very interested in lettercutting, I particularly enjoyed the carved inscriptions:

My favourite part of the church is definitely the choir stalls with superb fifteenth century carved misericords, including green men and a mermaid:

It was a real treat to enjoy the quietness of the comfortable cottage and the opportunity to enjoy good food and do a little shopping. We were both very much taken with Ludlow and I would recommend it to anyone who wanted to slow down the pace of their lives for a few days.


Back home, I took down my exhibition. It had been a great success. I have started to frame copies of the engravings sold so that I have a complete show available. I am always interested in showing my work and am always happy to talk to suitable venues about touring my exhibition.

The exhibition of prints at Michaelhouse in Cambridge also ended. I was pleased with my sales and very pleased to see that many of Pam Hughes' works had sold to raise money for the Arthur Rank Hospice.

Our purchase awaits its frame. It is an etching of hens and is great fun:

With "Christmas Carol" completed, I started work on a set of twelve engraved illustrations for "The Woman In Black" by Susan Hill. It was time to unpack the woodblocks and reach for the sketchbook.

In my usual fashion, I designed the illustration in ink and then transferred the design , in reverse, onto the slightly darkened woodblocks:

The blocks were then engraved to the point that they were nearly finished when I took a proof which I used to make final adjustments to the block:

This work is now done and the blocks are on their way to the US, where they will be printed with the text by David Esslemont at the Solmentes Press.

This will be a fine limited edition. I will post more details as they become available.
Much as I enjoyed the challenge of illustrating two books "back-to-back", I am pleased to move one to a number of smaller projects, including images of my own.


Ellen Shipley said...

Fantastic! Your work is so fine. And your surroundings are amazing.

Annie B said...

Wow! Great post and wonderful photos. I've added Ludlow, Shropshire to my list of must-see places when I finally get myself to Europe!

Seeing the pictures of the fresh blocks all laid out and then the same blocks carved and ready was really fun. Congratulations on completing the two books -- what a huge amount of work -- and congrats too on your successful shows. You've had a good year from what I can tell :)

d. moll, l.ac. said...

So much to comment on......the green tea bowls are too gorgeous and congrats on the good show and the new book!!

Marilynn said...

Wonderful post. I enjoyed it all and congrats on a good show. Especially loved your new pottery, I am one to buy pots as well!

Magic Cochin said...

That was a lovely read Andy. Those wood blocks are beautiful before and after carving.

I must frame the Pam Hughes woodcut I bought at that exhibition in the summer - a scarecrow on a windy winter day, just like today!

Gosh, you've had such a busy year!

Tony Drehfal said...

Thanks for sharing the start to finish coverage of your latest effort. I love seeing the blank blocks lined up (mmmmm, smooth blocks) and the engraved and inked blocks later. Awesome.