Susan, Sonia

Susan Bosence. "STRIPE and SPOT. (a) Combination of double wax resist twice brush dyed in Soledon blue and brown. Wax removed and paste resisted then brush dyed in dark blue on calico. (b) Wax resist spots, brush dyed in brown, paste resisted and brush dyed in blue. N.B. very labour intensive processes. 1960s."

Sonia Delaunay. "Project de tapis. Encre de Chine. 35 x 22,5cm."

S.B. "UNNAMED. Half grains of rice tied and dyed in indigo on silk. N.B. Susan sat sewing this length under a tree near Quir Bajou, her small house in France, one Summer. 1970s."

S.D. "Les Flèches. Encre de Chine. 1923. 27 x 21cm".

S.B. "STRIPE. Double paste resist, twice brush dyed in Soledon green and blue. 1960s."
S.D. "Abstraction. Encre de Chine. 1929."

S.B. "SPOT. Twice wax resisted spot, twice dyed in indigo and Caledon brown on fine cotton . (Alan Powers). 1980s."

S.D. "Projet pour une des premières publicité au Néon".

S.B. "UNNAMED. (a) Pin block wax resist dyed in Caledon red on poplin. (WSCAD 1983)."

Here, Susan Bosence and Sonia Delaunay, spliced. One offsetting the other, because this best represents how it is that a working clue can be taken on board — to do with the way treatment, animate hand, careful-careless touch can carry elementary (quite obvious) compositional forms — underneath simply regarding the influence of both.

The Sonia Delaunay drawings are taken from a curious 1978 book subtited 'Dessins: noirs et blancs' and pubished by Jacques Damase and 'Artcurial' of Paris.

The Susan Bosence samples were photographed during a visit to the Crafts Study Centre in Farnham, with a group of eleven friends squeezed in. I emailed (the generous and welcoming) curator Jean Vacher ahead of the day, to ask for a viewing of elements of the collection, such as Barron & Larchers' sample books and Lucie Rie pots.

It was wonderful of course, to feel the hand-weight of Rie's (and Hans Coper's) vessels, as well as to leaf through the aptly named 'elephant' volumes of B & L's samples. 

But the revelation was Susan Bosence's sample catalogue. Difficult here to represent the bleeds against the pin-sharp edges but the technical descriptions give some idea of the painstaking skill required to arrive at such acuteness, nuance. I had been reading 'Hand Block Printing and Resist Dyeing' (1985) but not had the sense outside of the mentorship of Phyliss Barron, of what she was achieving discreetly.

A footnote. We also saw the exhibition downstairs of Robin Tanner's collection. He has been discussed, with relation to Marion Richardson, in a previous post. A small quote in the space: "As a boy I had two great longings — to be a teacher and an artist — and I have never wavered".


A late C19th model to demonstrate how waves move; made by the Elliott Brothers, to a design by Baden Powell ((1796-1860) – the father of Robert, founder of the scout movement). An interactive animation here.

This — and other explanatory scientific models — can be seen at the seemingly wonderful University of Cambridge Whipple Collection. Here — with a linking thought on the 'sculpting' or 'choreography' of sound waves — an unattributed pair of parabolic sound mirrors, again late C19th.

The principles apply through a history of use, from these almost Neolithic, pre-radar wartime sound mirrors (via Web Urbanist) to today's satellite dishes.

Some lovely examples collected by Web Urbanist, for example this Czech 'acoustic detector', c. 1920.

Studies for Reeves Corner, Croydon



Albrecht Dürer – Melencolia (1514).

"Cosmonaut Alexander Y. Kaleri, Expedition 8 flight engineer, practises docking procedures with the manual TORU rendezvous system in the Zvezda Service Module on the International Space Station" (via).

Antonello da Messina – Saint Jerome in his Study (c. 1475) (via).


Limner: the stick that moved on its own

A work just published in the third issue of Limner – a critical journal of illustration by Studio Operative, designed by Traven T. Croves. More on the issue's theme below. This pieces reprises a title 'the stick that moved on its own' (used in a previous work) because I'm not yet done with its connotations.

The phrase is excerpted from 'Woodland Animals', a book for young children published by Golden Pleasure Books in 1967. The copy I have was found in a cupboard in a cottage on the coast of County Down, Northern Ireland. The tales of a young hare, beautifully illustrated by Paul Durand, are suffused with account of the substance of the wood from a small mammal's perspective.

The negotiation of damp moss, scaffolded twigs at close quarters gives a claustrophobic, thingly aspect to the narrative and it is this I wanted as a spur. A point at which a topological mumbling and stammering (hence the twice-attempted spread compositions) supercedes the linear text. Didn't the Faraway Tree 'wisha-wisha' something similar?

The other core ingredient has been to account for an adolescent life spent on the belt of pastoral and municipal. So the object-palette is out-of-town retail – prodded, lashed to satisfy a shaky, tender, herbarial urge. Service scree.

Loathe to offer a viewpoint on critical illustration, so proximate to contributing a piece of work. 

I will say, though, that an altered or developed discourse can only occur if the form is altered – not by talking in a new way about the same thing. This includes the form of the writing, which after all orbits a discipline whose kinship to text is rooted more in the fictional, the speculative. 

The slotting, lamination, splicing, superimposition, counterpoint of written and imaged in a one-plus-one-equals-good-one complicity asks the words to muck in on a renewal of form. So it good, for example, to see Dr. Malte Oppermann and Rosie Eveleighs' piece on the imaging of electrons.

Alice Lindsay, Peter Willis and Miriam Elgon are on their third issue and each one is edging further towards a reflexive form and argument.


One on One

Stefan Klos' 'keeper jersey, Borussia Dortmund 1992-3, via.

C&A Rodeo cycling jersey, I guess also circa early 1990s, via.


Engrailed, Invected, Embattled, Indented

Imi Knoebel's Messerschnitte silkscreen print series (1977-93). I'm beginning work on a second collaboration with James Langdon (news on the first — Eastside Projects Manual Draft #6 — to come). Not too much detail at the moment but the context is a performance of sorts; and the work, a costume which part-transforms into an architectural model. At the moment, it feels productive to interleave and loop references, this time in a cycle of five.

Partition line variants with shield fields, from A Complete Guide to Heraldry (1909) by Arthur Charles Fox-Davies, with illustrations by Graham Johnston. The performed building of the 'model' may be considered a stratification. There is a correspondence here, between a geological-sequential and a municipal-hierarchical stack.

Untitled, undated (c. 1970) Běla Kolářová make-up drawing, as seen at Raven Row earlier this year. A gestural inventory, with some dialectic between angst and whimsy brought about by the use of make-up as medium.

The palette will (I think) pull on royal blue and yellows that argue between themselves – from hazard fluos to just something just shy of ochre. Black as line and punctuation point. This arrives out of melting in the pot Leipzig's civic colours (more explanation another time), a Scandinavian retailer, the notion of an 'away kit', hi-viz bib 'n' brace, yellow jersey,...

Nomograph for the prediction of a four-hour sweat loss, from cabin thermal environment studies by NASA. Performance, within constrained spatial, gravitational conditions and durations. Interested by the intimacy of this data, for something of a slow spectacle.

Imi Knoebel, again.

Monochromatic print process solution for heraldic tinctures – "the system of hatching used by Marcus Vulson de la Colombière, 1639", again from A Complete Guide to Heraldry.

Běla Kolářová
The plastercasty redoubling of surface expression that comes with a one-colour anything product. 

"Anatomical dimensions for the design of body waste management facilities", again from NASA.