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Saturday, 28 November 2020
|Ice Melting, Jo Dacombe, 2020|
In producing IMMINENT, my zine of contemporary art and poetry in response to environment, I feel that I am in collaboration with other artists and poets. The work that they submit I then curate in a way that creates a flow between each item, a forwards and backwards flow, with one item feeding another. I also create my own work, which is often a direct response to theirs.
In Issue 1 I wrote about the material, and I often think about the meaning of material, the stuff in the world that we make things out of and that we touch with our hands. The images published in Issue 2 were important in their use of material, either in the way that the images were made through material processes, or through their reference to water, which then further inspired my own thinking and the work that I produced to tie the collection together.
Mary Hayes’ work, Ice Cold, was created using a solar plate printing method from an image of the surface of a rusty iron sculpture by Richard Serra. This image reminded Mary of ice floes that she had seen in Iceland, and the rising sea levels due to global warming melting the ice. I loved the idea that the image had been created from an iron surface degraded by water which then became an image redolent of ice melting, thus turning back to water.
Mita Solanky’s work, we all breathe the same sky, is a chemigram, made using household chemicals on photographic paper. Through this process she felt that the work referenced the crises we are facing in having polluted our environment for so long.
Helen Goodwin's image is a photograph entitled Shadowed Edge - Skipsea, East Riding of Yorkshire, where I once owned a small wooden chalet now lost to the sea. The photographed shadow on the shore tells the tale of that which was once there but disappeared with the movement of water.
I have been making microscopic photographs for a while now, in an exploration of material but also of things we cannot see with the naked eye. In response to Helens' image, I photographed watercolour paint on textured paper through a microscope, with a result that reminded me of a coastline, and referenced back to something I had written about in my book Imagining Woodlands about what happens when coastlines are viewed at different scales. A sense of scale, as well as time (time is also referenced in Helen's image) are both themes that are significant in climate change.
|Ice Melting, Jo Dacombe, 2020|
My own image, Ice Melting, (I'm showing two of the original images in this post) was made in response to the collection of poems and images represented in the zine, with those emergent ideas of water moving and transforming. I froze a block of ice and then photographed it as it gently melted over a day. Close-up again, the images are like landscapes or glaciers. My chosen image was then transformed again by the blue riso print process for the zine, which softened the image and gave it back the glow of blue that I wrote about in the glacier piece.
I have found the making of the zine a wonderful process, exploring my own ideas but also responding to the ideas of others. I haven't reproduced the work of the other artists here (to do so would not respect their copyright), but you can see the images I've written about in the current issue of the zine.
Sunday, 15 November 2020
Issue 2 of Imminent is now available - my little zine of contemporary art and poetry.
Lockdown 2 caused Imminent 2 to be delayed - just like Imminent 1 - but only by a couple of weeks this time, rather than months! This was a relief as the recent sense of seasonable change is the perfect time to launch the new issue.
As the first frosts appeared and the wind strengthened, throwing rain at my window and flipping my letterbox flap, I grew impatient about the delay, knowing that the November Imminent heralded the coming of winter - beautiful poetry by Penelope Shuttle, Jim Caruth, Peter Dent and Rupert M Loydell, speaking of rain, snow, time and blue - I felt that this issue needed to be read within this span. Inspired by the poetry, and fluid images by Helen Goodwin, Mita Solanky and Mary Hayes, I wrote a piece about ice and water moving across the world. Water and ice is changing our planet and it's something I've been making work about recently, with my ongoing series of Future drawings - perhaps some of this will appear in a future issue.
How fitting too that the first issue opens with a poem by the wonderful Debroah Tyler-Bennett, A Charm for a Lockdown. This issue is timely and, I hope, will bring a little beauty to help you get through the darker months.
Issue 2 can be ordered below. Includes contributions from Jim Caruth, Jo Dacombe, Peter Dent, Helen Goodwin, Mary Hayes, Rupert M Loydell, Penelope Shuttle, Mita Solanky, Deborah Tyler-Bennett.
Issue 2 November 2020
A5 12 pages
£2 + p&p
Riso printed with plant based inks on recycled paper
(p&p is for UK only, if you are outside of the UK please contact me)
A few copies of Issue 1 are still available.
Friday, 11 September 2020
I am delighted to announce that the long awaited Imagining Woodlands book is now available.
Imagining Woodlands is a collection of short essays as a culmination of a 2 year project exploring human perceptions of woodlands.
In 2019, I created an exhibition of pages from my sketchbook of experimental images I had been making for the project. Once up on the wall, I realised that the images needed to be seen in a different way. They needed a more intimate experience, perhaps to be held in the hand by its audience. I also felt I had stories to tell, and so a book format seemed the best way to make this happen.
And so I have created this book. The book reflects on my work with palynologist and archaeologist Dr Suzi Richer and literature researcher Dr Freya Sierhuis to discover cross disciplinary perceptions of woods and forests. The text also reflects on my thoughts and memories of woodlands, and includes my re-telling of two folk tales and images of the woodland experiments from my sketchbook. It also includes a generously contributed essay by Dr Sierhuis.
23cm x 15cm
92 pages including 26 full colour images
Tuesday, 16 June 2020
Imminent is a collection of words and images by contemporary creative writers and artists around the UK. I invited creative people who I know and who I know are wonderful to contribute to this new venture with me, to create a small periodical of responses to our current environmental context.
In editing Issue 1, I discovered thematic groupings emerging from the generous contributions from artists and writers. Their interests have developed my own, so I have written an introductory piece that sets the scene for the first issue, on the physicality of material.
The zine will not exist online, because it needs to be a material thing. I believe that the experience of holding something in your hand that is tangible and has been produced from the world, and considering how that thing came to be, as well as our relationship with it, is part of the environmental connection that we need to renew in our current times.
Imminent has been produced in the most environmentally way that I could, using recycled paper and plant based inks, printed through a riso printer running on sustainable energy sources.
I hope you will enjoy this new zine, which I aim to produce twice per year. The proceeds from the zine will go back to covering the cost of the next issue, so please consider supporting this and the wonderful artists and writers who have contributed.
If you would like the first issue, you can buy it through PayPal using the Buy Now button below (you do not have to have a PayPal account).
If you would like to join the mailing list to be alerted when subsequent issues become available, please sign up here.
Issue 1 includes contributions from Linzi Bright, Jim Caruth, Jo Dacombe, Mark Goodwin, Mary Hayes and Andy Postlethwaite.
Issue 1 June 2020
A5 12 pages
£2 + p&p
(p&p is for UK only, if you are outside of the UK please contact me)
You can also pre-order Issue 2 (November) below.
Thursday, 7 November 2019
|Enchanted 1, Jo Dacombe 2019|
The piece draws on many of the themes I have been writing about for the forthcoming book Imagining Woodlands. It reflects on the way that we use language and mapmaking to describe our relationship with the natural world, specifically woodlands, and the effect this has on our perceptions.
You can read the post here: Othering - on Woodlands, Maps and Language
I am indebted to editor Mark Goldthorpe for working with me on this piece. As a result of his suggestions, I have started to think about new ways of using words to describe landscapes. I have also been inspired by some poetry that I have been writing, as part of a Twenga group - writing Renga poetry as a collaboration on Twitter. Run by artists Paul Conneally and Gavin Wade, Twenga is inspiring new ways for me to think about writing. It's also just a lot of fun! Anybody can join in - read the current Twenga by searching for #twenga on Twitter.
Meanwhile, work on Imagining Woodlands continues, for which I am currently developing ideas for images to accompany a chapter written by Dr Freya Sierhuis. I'm very excited to bring all these ideas to fruition and I hope to make the book available in 2020.
Thanks for following.
Sunday, 2 June 2019
This week I will visit the University of York once more, as part of the Imagining Woodlands module, when students will present their own work inspired by the series of lectures and workshops that they have attended over the previous months.
In April I ran a workshop as part of the module for the second year running. The workshop takes place in St Nick's Nature Reserve, a 20 minute walk from the University. Having run this for the second time, it became clear to me that there was something inherent in some of the spaces that were influencing the students' responses.
In my workshops, I lead the students through a few exercises that aim to bring them into a quiet state of mind and begin to connect with their sensory responses to the woodland space. We walk in various meditative ways and begin to make modest creative responses. This, I hope, warms them into responding directly to the woodland environment in an instinctive and physical way. Having done this, I then ask them to go off and find a space to create something of their own inspired only by what they can find in the woods.
Their responses to two spaces in particular caught my attention. The first was a densely wooded area with a narrow, worn path which takes you through a cool and dark space, so thick with growth that, even on a bright day, it is shaded and has an air of mystery about it. Last year and this year, both groups of students who created work in this area seemed to respond similarly: they both created smaller, almost hidden works that you had to scramble into small spaces to see. They were secretive sculptures, modest in scale, and created for only one or two people to find, and not viewable by a large group. They both had an element of magic about them too, with a feeling of fairy or folk lore about them, responding to the spirits in the woods or the miniature creatures that might live there but we never see.
The second space, by contrast, was a clearing in the middle of another densely wooded area, but which had large structural trees with low down, strong branches or multiple trunks. Again, both years the group of students who ended up in this space responded to those structures by building into them with other loose sticks that they found around the space. The results were abstract but also huge in scale, quite possibly requiring some climbing to achieve their outcome!
It was fascinating to me that both these spaces had inspired in both groups of students responses with such strong similarities, even though the students themselves were quite different in character from one year to the next. They were both picking up the same strong feelings from those spaces and working with the environment itself, listening to its suggestions and responding physically in really appropriate ways.
The other creation that I enjoyed was by a group of students who found a large stick. How many of us have picked up a stick, one that is pleasing to hold, that is just the right size to be held by a human comfortably. Again, responding instinctively, the students used rudimentary tools around the woods to make a split in the wood, attach a flatter piece at its head, and wind it with weed. They used tools to create a tool. When they spoke about the piece, they said it was an axe, made from the wood itself, but possibly something that could be used to cut the wood too. It was a symbol of both construction and destruction, as it also had the potential to become a violent weapon. They spoke of the dual ideas of humans as builders but also destroyers, and how our relationship with nature can be either. Humans, the tool makers, building but in doing so, taking from nature's own constructions.
Again, I loved how these ideas had come from something as simple as picking up a stick, and how the instinct to create tools had led to this philosophising. I can't wait to see what they have been thinking about since and what they will present this week.
Thanks to the University of York for inviting me, to St Nick's for being generous hosts and to Suzi Richer for the photos in this post.