Ruskins Cage

Ruskins Cage

Day 3 in the cage below the public domain of the Museum going through four enormous leather bound books of exquisite water colour drawings by Edward Donovan.  The Ruskin collection continuous to amaze and excite. Donovan's renditions of the weirdest and most wonderful creatures that crawled and creeped in the undergrowth around the world are unbelievably detailed and colourful.  I can't begin to imagine the time it took him to draw and paint these and yet, they are only a tiny tip of his expansive oeuvre.  

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Work has started on the panels that will hang inside the structure that Henk is creating.  Today I showed one of the curators of the Ruskin and Craftmanship exhibition the sample panels I have been working on to give her a better idea of what I'm doing and planning. The actual panels I'm making are larger and rougher, the bark will still be visible as will the different colours within the wood.  

My collaborator Henk Littlewood presented me with his design for the structure that will contain these panels.  He wants to push his skills into new directions and learn the craft of steam bending the planks of oak from Ruskin Land.  It will be interesting to see how we two come together in this project.  I really love being back at work, using my brushes again and using my brain again.  

I'm now half way through a book that my partner told me to read 3 years ago: The spirit level by Kate Picket and Richard Wilkinson. It was name checked last week by Natalie Bennett, leader of the Green Party and Labour party leader Ed Milliband referred to it once as a book that influenced him deeply.  Although I share a lot of what is said I am not sure if it goes far or deep enough.  So far (but I haven't finished yet) it feels a bit too simplistic and western world centric but the book is five years old now and the debates around inequality have progressed.  So much so that whenever I talk about it with friends or colleagues (not all liberal, left leaning and middle class) it feels that the sense of injustice around inequality is more and more accepted as an issue that damages social cohesion and makes our world a worse place for everyone, not just those who are poor. My worry still is that it could all just be a fad, it is talked about now because of the looming elections, but will we still talk about it and change things when a new government is in place? 

The Tory Ruskin

The Tory Ruskin

A Grammar of Ornament

A Grammar of Ornament