As summer draws to a close and Autumn has firmly set in I've looking back at all the things I've done and woweee has it been busy. August was especially packed. I had the Happy Tat sale which was a delight and then a mammoth car boot sale, and I'm now entering the new season feeling a whole lot lighter and brighter.
I've also been knee deep in preparations for Ancient Scent which is coming up at the beginning of October (7th-10th). We've had so many wonderful and fortuitous things happen around the project. The launch evening will take place on October 8th and will include a full programme of discussion, readings and performances. We're very lucky to have Richard Shillitoe and Marcus Williamson (both Ithell Colquhoun experts and enthusiasts) lending us some real deal Ithell Colquhoun's for the evening and holding a short discussion alongside member of Ancient Scent, Steve Patterson.
About month ago my mum, Penny MacBeth, who is also a part of Ancient Scent, received a forwarded email through a curator and friend at Penlee House Gallery and Museum detailing that Peter Owen Press were soon to re-launch Ithell Colquhoun's two travelogues The Crying of the Wind and The Living Stones with a new foreword by Stewart Lee. Penlee held the first retrospective of Colquhoun's work last January but weren't looking for any further Colquhoun events. After many emails, a trip to the Peter Owen offices and a few calls we arranged to also host the launch of the two books at our launch of the exhibition. It's incredibly exciting that the books will be re-launched, and we feel very honoured to have them present at our evening. The Living Stones is how I first discovered Colquhoun, through a dusty old copy from the library. It had me gripped from beginning to end, it is beautifully evocative depiction of Cornwall in the early-mid fifties and indeed it has much that we could learn from today in it. I think I've quoted this passage here before but it's still my absolute favourite, Ithell Colquhoun on fox hunting:
If I can explain my feeling on the subject of 'blood sports' without priggishness, I would say that the human race can never enjoy the freedom of the cosmos until it ceases to exploit the other races with which it must share it's life. In other words, you cannot count on benevolence in your surroundings unless you practice harmlessness yourself. (The Living Stones, 1957, p.119)
My own work for Ancient Scent has been progressing very well. I've spent lots of time in the studio immersed in my alter ego, Hector Nit's, World. This foamy, cavernous landscape will provide the backdrop for the animals I've made to stand against.
I've been worrying a lot what I might wear for the evenings proceedings, I have grand plans for a watercoloured outfit. However, I did also just buy this magical Bella Freud suit from ebay and it might just be my favourite ensemble ever. It had its first outing to some old friends' wedding last weekend and it was a joy to wear.
As well as making the rocky landscape I've been busy making t-shirts to sell. I'll probably put most of them up in my shop, Happy Tat, afterwards so I'll let you all know!
The final, and extremely delightful, piece of fortune that was handed to us was this beautiful photograph of Ithell taken by Alastair Thain in 1985. We received an email from the same curator at Penlee stating they'd found it just after a phone call we'd made about the exhibition to them... We'll now have it on show for the duration of the exhibition!
If you'd like to visit Ancient Scent, details are below. Anyone wishing to attend the launch party or interested in more information about the project/launch please email me.
1990s pink velvet suit - Bella Freud via ebay
Cupie doll t-shirt - Meadham Kirchoff X Topshop
Brogues - Nicole Farhi via charity shop
1950s pink velvet turban hat - vintage shop