Many of our folk traditions such as music, dance and story telling are alive and breathing and, indeed, flourishing all over the country. The growth of festivals and other events bears witness to the vigorous health of the folk arts community.
I have attended many such events over the years but have always felt somewhat disappointed at the limited visual celebration of this creativity. I began excavating the visual history of many of the traditions from books and other documents, and was drawn into a fascinating and esoteric world. I was particularly compelled by the simplicity and boldness of woodcuts. The impact was direct and arresting, and the diversity and creativity within a seemingly restrictive form dazzling. This was just one discovery among many, and the images seemed like the ideal way to express our collective traditions and culture. And so I started looking at ways to incorporate the images into designs for T shirts and cards.
Coupled with many of the images are selections of poetry and songs. I have returned to the world of poetry in the last few years after a long absence. I admire the compactness and the often eliptical expression, which seems to hint in an indirect way at the unfathomable. The compositions reflect the often confusing, unpredictable and painful experience of living in a more authentic way, where the literal and direct no longer suffice in the face of uncertainty. It was Mary Oliver who touchingly described poetry as "ropes let down for the lost", and I hope here to have lowered a few myself.
I also attempt to put the images, along with the poetry and songs, into historical and social context in the product descriptions. The intention is to make the experience informative and stimulating, and hopefully it will lead you down new and enchanted pathways of discovery.
The project is of course a work in progress and constantly evolving, so if you have any suggestions do get in touch. Details of my email address and telephone number are on the Contact Page.