We had a wonderful opportunity yesterday at the Bedford Gallery to see close-up the work of Edward Bawden and, in the walking tour, to hear about the life of this brilliant and influential artist and designer.
As a 'snapper-up of unconsidered trifles', for me it is always the commonplace detail, the mundane, the quotidian, which illuminate and delight and allow access to the seemingly out-of-reach.
For instance, I discovered that Bawden had to print his outsize linocuts on the floor, transferring the ink to the paper by standing on them and shuffling over them inch-by inch, hour after hour. As a result, an edition which was intended to be, perhaps, 200, turned out to be just 50 because Edward got fed up with the foot shuffling! He might sometimes have returned to them later, but often the ink colours would give the game away, being slightly different shades in the later shuffling sessions.
And I was touched and impressed too by his pragmatism and practical approach. When starting out with his linocuts, he first went to the Curwen Press to learn about printing methods, to get to grips with the technicalities of the process. Only then did he start on his designs.
Do click on this blog link to see details of all the events associated with the exhibition of Bawden's archive and, if you're close enough to visit, do try and come. I'll be the one crawling around the floor trying to find my treasured Pamela Angus earring I lost yesterday .....