Keats et al

books, etsy, poetry, poets, writers

Beauty is truth, truth beauty

John Keats ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’

What a week of loveliness – I have invested some time in finally getting around to researching, designing, printing and binding my homage to John Keats. It has been a splendid time of learning and remembering – I listened to the fabulous Jacke Wilson on The History of Literature podcast to deep me in the mood of ‘negative capability’ and was pretty pleased with the end result. Thanks have to go to my lovely customer who prodded me into creating it as I had forgotten that it was on my to do list. ( To do lists live in my head and rarely see the light of day). Years ago I was in Rome with my husband, enjoying the vibe and drinking in the sights and sounds that saturate, when we came across the tiny museum that houses Keats memorabilia, and which were the rooms where he had removed himself when his tuberculosis was at a stage he understood as life threatening. He spent some happy moments there before the disease totally incapacitated him, and spent the final days and weeks with his friend and companion Joseph Severn. One of the remarkable insights you get into Keats by reading his letters is the intensity of the connections that he made – his friends were incredible at giving him care and celebrating him. Whilst I was moving from room to room in that museum, I was struck by a very powerful sense of the poet – an almost uncanny sense. I was entranced really, and extremely moved by the experience. I later wrote a poem about it, and that has made it’s way into my homage too. It can’t be called poetry in the same sense that John Keats wrote poetry – but it does record my moment of transcendent delight and sadness that day.

The facts that surround Keat’s young life are themselves a fascinating insight into a young man of genius – his early life of losing a father at 8 years old, a mother at 14 , then going on to nurse and subsequently lose his beloved brother Tom to the same disease that killed him – form a character that goes on to dedicate himself to the power of the imagination . He trained as a medical practitioner, but changed his choice of career to become a writer – although financially he was always on a back foot, having been swindled out of his inheritance (another Dickensian sub plot.

And so he goes on to write some of the most memorable lines in English poetry ever written . Thank goodness. Please check out the podcast I mentioned if you are interested – it is such easy listening. http://historyofliterature.com/208-john-keats/

Homage to John Keats

If you want to see more from my book, you can find it at Etsy https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/891592042/john-keats-handmade-artist-book-of

…. and then there is that poem about finding Keats in Rome…. here it is!

Creative happy life…

Art, craft, daily living, etsy, illustration, Stationery

O.K. then…not always happy exactly, but that’s what you get when you have the temperament of Eeyore – the melancholic donkey in A.A Milnes Christopher Robin. One way to lift my spirits is to turn to my handmade endeavours – the cards, the prints and the handmade books. I have been doing this for a few years now, and the pace is probably just about right for me, I have enough orders to keep my interest, but not too many to make me anxious. The books are very time consuming as you can imagine, so if I get a spurt of orders on those then I have to extend my lead times. But so far it has worked for me. Recently my contact at a local gallery has taken my prints to display, and just before lockdown had asked me to do some cards to sell there. I generally do as I am asked, but before I could get them to him, the world had to shut down.

So I am sharing them here, in the hope that they may excite you enough to visit my store at Etsy, or if you like any of the artwork here and would like it as a print on A4 rather than printed as a card, which I have shown here, please message me!  All my cards at Etsy are available here   etsy.me/1PgIKTD  and can also include a printed greeting inside.anneannecardUntitled-1annecard3annecard4annecard5annecard6annecard7annecard8annecard9annecard10annecard11annecard12annecard13annecard14annecard15

Renewal

blogging, craft, daily living, etsy, Life

How has January started 2016 off for you then?  For myself, I am trying to spend some time collecting my thoughts, and uderstanding where I want to go during the next few months.  My weakness is planning – I very rarely do any – and consequently I am reactive as opposed to proactive.  Do I need to make myself more proactive by thrusting myself harder and deeper into the business platforms I sell on?  Or do I accept that the level of sales I make is adequate, and concentrate on the doing and creating, which is where I am happiest.  I think I just answered myself.  Sales are such a buzz – such an affirmation when they occur that the impulse to drive more sales is very strong.  The downside is that the business side of what I do is not where my heart lies.  I struggle to understand what is necessary on the different sites  to get seen, to get recognition.  I struggle to use social media – it feels too intrusive and I don’t have a smart phone so lack the benefits on Instagram.

I think I need to follow my heart – the promotion side will always come second to the process of making – although I am learning too that the process needs down time. It has taken me my whole life to understand some of the prerequisites to my contentment – and I keep learning- but walking in the cold air this morning was a boost to my morale. The air so still, the sky so generous – I was feeling renewal in the air. And it felt great.

I had started a renewal process in my ETsy store yesterday, painstakingly updating my photographs to show off my designs better.  I chose a neutral background which hopefully complements most colours and styles, then got to work on each card, each book.  If I get feedback to confirm it improves appearance, then I will continue with pages 2 – 9 in the shop!  It is such a tedious process, and I am so poor at applying myself, that I need the confirmation from my Etsy co workers, and from my staunch supporters to let me know I am doing the right thing!  Any advice gratefully received – can’t promise I will take it, but I can promise I will listen appreciatively.

Here some examples of the new background and a screen shot of the first page – any coments?anemonegottex34567treeshop2

Men of the Porch

Life, philosophy

Sadly I cannot make this event  http://blogs.exeter.ac.uk/stoicismtoday/2014/10/20/stoic-week-2014-everything-you-need-to-know/ but we live in a virtual world for which I am grateful.  Nevertheless, it may be worth consideration if you are in London this week.  If not there is always the possibility of downloading the book free until the end of this week, just go to the site with the link above.

book3dcover

I have been drawn to Marcus Aurelius and Seneca amongst other classical authors and they have informed my life since I was a teenager.  The interest in Stoicism will be timeless, and the blog is an interesting read.  I am not sure how faithfully I would follow any formal approach to practice as I have been averse to that mode of instruction since forever. I am more likely to dip into a broad spectrum of source material and reflect as and when my mind thinks fit. But I would have been a frequent visitor to the porch in the central market of Athens when Zeno was hanging around.

If you click on the image below, there are a few treasures worth collecting.

stoicism

A kelson of the creation is love,

Life, LOVE, music, poetry

Finding love is your life’s endeavour. Wherever it lies, in work, in relationships, in a cause, in religion.  Wherever you find it, nurture it. Mine has been in the ordinary – the making of a family.  I look to the stars, and I bow to those who create a greater mystery than I can ever dream of – those artists and dreamers who translate the experience of being human and bring to it a touch of the divine.  I hold no dogma of religion close, but admire the conscientiousness of those truly religious people who bring the lessons from prophets to life in order that we live lives of compassion. If God is anything to me, it is the spirit of life that exists and connects all living things, a shared common understanding of sorrow and joy, pain and pleasure.  I didn’t know what I had to say today, but when I heard Mozarts clarinet concerto, I began to write. Live well.

”I mind how once we lay such a transparent summer morning,
How you settled your head athwart my hips and gently turn’d over upon me,
And parted the shirt from my bosom-bone, and plunged your tongue to my bare-stript heart,
And reach’d till you felt my beard, and reach’d till you held my feet.

Swiftly arose and spread around me the peace and knowledge that pass all the argument of the earth,
And I know that the hand of God is the promise of my own,
And I know that the spirit of God is the brother of my own,
And that all the men ever born are also my brothers, and the women my sisters and lovers,
And that a kelson of the creation is love,
And limitless are leaves stiff or drooping in the fields,
And brown ants in the little wells beneath them,
And mossy scabs of the worm fence, heap’d stones, elder, mullein and poke-weed.’

From Song of Myself  Walt Whitman

There have been moments like this for me, when I have felt the connection with every part of creation. How lovely that it is. How glorious that there are creative geniuses who take me there, and I am thinking of Mozart, and Radiohead in the same breath.  Let me know who your inspirations are, give me a chance of being blown away by something new and unexpected.  Here is Mozarts Clarinet Concerto slow movement, which sends me every time I hear it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BxgmorK61YQ

Beetles, botany and a man for all seasons.

Art, books, illustration, poetry

Alexander Marshalls watercolours 17th century

Alexander Marshalls watercolours 17th century

I have just finished another miniature book, and one that has given me immense pleasure researching and adapting into a further sample for my collection of collectables.

It is based on the engaging watercolour illustrations that Alexander Marshal created over thirty years during the 1600’s.  I am always drawn to the endeavours of creative people from the past, connecting me to a shared experience , a common humanity.  This was a man of private means, and fortunate enough to occupy himself fully in his chosen preoccupation.  Fortunate for him and for us, since the consequent 159 plates were eventually passed from his descendants to the Royal Collection, and rightly so.  A modest man, he refused to sell them to anyone during his lifetime, preferring to share them only with friends.  That highlights for me how the passion he held was for the joy it gave him, and for no other reason, like making a living.  He didn’t produce these exquisite drawings to catalogue , some he barely referred to , he just wanted to see the treasures of nature and record them in his own masterly way. A keen gardener  he collected new species of horticulture and was instrumental in helping to import some from the newly discovered Americas and supplying them to the great gardens across Britain.

I like gardeners in general, they seem to me to have the virtues of patience and consideration,  often combined with a poetic sensibility.  One of my favourite poets was a gardener, Stanley Kunitz.  I think he  would have approved on Marshals lifetime endeavour.  In tribute to both Marshal and Kunitz , here is one of his poems about an insect!

Hornworm: Autumn Lamentation by Stanley Kunitz
Since that first morning when I crawled
into the world, a naked grubby thing,
and found the world unkind,
my dearest faith has been that this
is but a trial: I shall be changed.
In my imaginings I have already spent
my brooding winter underground,
unfolded silky powdered wings, and climbed
into the air, free as a puff of cloud
to sail over the steaming fields,
alighting anywhere I pleased,
thrusting into deep tubular flowers.It is not so: there may be nectar
in those cups, but not for me.
All day, all night, I carry on my back
embedded in my flesh, two rows
of little white cocoons,
so neatly stacked
they look like eggs in a crate.
And I am eaten half away.

If I can gather strength enough
I’ll try to burrow under a stone
and spin myself a purse
in which to sleep away the cold;
though when the sun kisses the earth
again, I know I won’t be there.
Instead, out of my chrysalis
will break, like robbers from a tomb,
a swarm of parasitic flies,
leaving my wasted husk behind.

Sir, you with the red snippers
in your hand, hovering over me,
casting your shadow, I greet you,
whether you come as an angel of death
or of mercy. But tell me,
before you choose to slice me in two:
Who can understand the ways
of the Great Worm in the Sky?

If you are curious to see the resultant book that I have compiled, then you can see it from my Etsy page.  You can even buy it.