Thursday, 8 October 2009

Bawden at Bedford

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 .....


AeFondKis said...

Chrissie I really like the look of his designs!
There is something quite Scandanavian about them.
The foot shuffling impressed me. Art is produced in some pretty unconventional ways!!

Gigibird said...

I am a fan of EB.
I recently saw some very late work of his at the City museum in Portsmouth - very simple but wonderful.

(I didn't buy any of the fruit and veg I photographed)

Anonymous said...

The exhibition sounds great - I may look in on it when I'm in Bedford on Tuesday after the lunchtime concert in St.Paul's (piano trio). Sorry I missed the lunchtime talk - will definitely go to the next one. Your photos of Spain are wonderful - what colours! I could be jealous but I'm much too enamoured of our autumn colours here just now.