Archive for the ‘Art’ category

Talking and Walking….

February 16, 2015


It helps that people are asking me to speak as I assemble my thoughts for the 10th anniversary of the Press. The CBBAG folks seemed amused last Wednesday when I spoke about origins, and my rather hazy ideas on how I came to print books by letterpress. I’m looking forward to this coming Wednesday: I’m in Carp, Ontario talking the talk, only this time I’ll be focusing less on how I started and more on how I validate what I do as art. It’ll be interesting to see how I do that!

I’ll be bringing out some treasures from the private collection, some blocks and some type, so plenty to see and hear about.

Larry Thompson Greyweathers Press



Art, Books & Wine – Eagle Point Winery Show

October 21, 2013

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Yes, it is show season here at Greyweathers Press, so the next several posts will be about shows, doing them and, yes, promoting them. Just warning you.

The next one up is a new one for me. It takes place at a winery near Mallorytown, Ontario – Eagle Point Winery on November 2 & 3, 2013. The venue is terrific, located in the scenic countryside, rolling hills, and, of course, wine. Here’s the goods:

Before the Rush – an art show at Eagle Point Winery

Eagle Point Winery in partnership with organizers; John Sorensen and Betty Matthew is proud to present an exciting new art show, “Before the Rush”.  View local and selected guest artists in the intimate and unique setting of Eagle Point Winery, Nov. 2nd and 3rd. Take a break “before the rush” of the Christmas season to enjoy the camaraderie of fellow art and wine lovers at Eagle Point Winery.

Local artists; Terry Schaub (stone sculptor), Sue Hale-Ladouceur (fabric folk artist), Ingrid Schmidt (painter, sculptor), John Shea (water colour artist),  Lea Hamblett  (wearable art jewellery), Winona Elliott-Schep (encaustic wax artist),  John Sorensen (oil painter, “found art”), Betty Matthews (water colours and acrylic painter) and special guest artists; Linda Hynes (potter, Smith’s Falls), Larry Thompson (book builder and wood block prints, Merrickville), Herman Ruhland (sculptor of found objects, North Gower), and Kirei Samuel, (glass artist, Prince Edward Cy.) combine to make a unique event in a special setting at our local Eagle Point Winery.

WHEN:    November 2nd and 3rd, 2013 from 11 am to 6 pm
WHERE:    Eagle Point Winery, 337 Escott/Rockport Road

Gallery Profile: Perivale Gallery, Manitoulin Island

August 18, 2013

I’ve been taking on more shows and galleries recently, so it makes sense to feature them in the blog, and revisit them on occasion. I’m not doing these in any particular order, but perhaps the furthest afield is the Perivale Gallery on Manitoulin Island (located at the northern end of Lake Huron). The photos show a stunning venue and there’s a list of artists on the website, which is rather impressive collection of Canadian artists. No wonder this venerable gallery is such an attraction. It is an honour to have my work included in their collection!





The Idle Fool / Is Whipp’d at School

September 16, 2012

When my friend and letterpress printing colleague Jason (of Three Bats’ Press) announced a couple years ago that he was seeking artists to illustrate an upcoming project, naturally I took interest. He had taken the text from an early New England primer designed to teach children their letters by infusing the little tykes with a healthy fear of God, or in other words, scaring the holy snot out of them. Artists could choose a letter and with the associated rhyme for the letter. For example: A = “In Adam’s Fall / We sinned all.” Or this for J: “Job feels the Rod / Yet blesses God.” Or Y: “Youth forward slips / Death soonest nips.”

Cheery, is it not! Jason was clear in saying that he wanted a “re-interpretation” of these poems, and by handing off to a bunch of recalcitrant artists, I’m thinking he’ll get his way.

I chose F: “The idle Fool / Is Whip’d at School” out of a sense of personal irony (as a student I was neither devout nor studious) and envisaged a period engraving showing the enraged schoolmaster, a la Dickens, taking his fury out on some hapless kid.  But as I thought more, the extreme violence and fear overtly suggested in the statement and insinuated in the other quotes, and the religious extremism implied in the the whole primer, I conjured the impersonal image of great big meat-hook hands clenching a heavy barbed-studded leather strap, with all the menace of impending violence that seems to go hand in hand with extremist ideals. I may go that route, or I may throw it back in the puritans’ faces and do something associated with that odd cast of kink enthusiasts who have an entirely different attitude toward the whole question of whipping. With all the popular fervour for Fifty Shades of Gray and similar works, called “accessible erotica” or less generously, “mommy-porn”, that might be the right choice.

A first attempt at turning the quote on its head, so to speak, played with the curve of a back to create a lower case ‘f’ from a whip and a belt for the cross-stroke. It had the uncomfortable look and feel of something out spiny out of Predator. Another quick effort incorporated a similar stylized letter ‘f’.  I’m really not entirely sure about pursuing this route.

Perhaps my discomfort comes from a certain reserved nature, but it also has to do with the violence implied for the woman in the picture. Making it a male back, or elongating the drawing to show the woman holding the whip would certainly change the dynamic.

No matter what, there will be a stylized letter “F” formed from the coils of a whip.

Jason tells me that he is expecting some very extreme submissions for some of these puritanical aphorisms, so perhaps I’m worrying needlessly.

Remembering Tintern Abbey

May 5, 2012

Tintern Abbey from inside the nave.

It all started with our trip to England, back in October 2008. Holly and I took a rambling jaunt around the English countryside that took us from Land’s End to Yorkshire. Along the way we dipped into Wales while following the Wye River, stayed in a village called Llandago and visited with Nicolas and Frances McDowall of Old Stile Press who live just up the road from the ruins of Tintern Abbey. About 10 years go they created a simply lovely book of the poem. All their books are stunning – hand printed sometimes on paper made on site. They have an image rich website worth exploring!

The lane way to Old Stile Press, mer-person sculpture at the hairpin.

I liked Nicholas’ idea of being a ‘book builder’,  of using letterpress, fine papers and bindings as an elegantly designed platform for presenting art – both in the design of the book, and in the overt and integral use of art as illustration. I think it would be over-wrought to say that the visit changed my life, but it greatly influenced the direction I intended to take Greyweathers Press. The trip to England came at a time when I was doing some heavy thinking about printing, books, writing, art and, not to be ignored, making a living! Not that I was planning to pack it in, but there are many applications for letterpress and I believe it helps to focus. The visit to Old Stile, and three or four other likewise inspirational destinations including Eagle Press, Strawberry Press and St. Bride Library in London, provided the needed inspiration to carry on printing books.

Contemplating books, printing and art amongst the ruins. The scenic Wye River Valley that inspired Wordsworth can be seen beyond the windows.

Unlike Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy, Holly and I didn’t walk “the sportive wood run wild.” Rather we stuck mostly to A466, and wandered leisurely through the roofless splendor of Tintern Abbey. The ruins of the Abbey served only to act as part of the title of Wordsworth’s poem, simply to locate him in context for his reader. However, for me they connected influential literary aspects of my distant past with present passions, forming a sort of conduit resulting ultimately in our take on Wordsworth’s Tintern Abbey, making it, I suppose, the press’ legacy of our England tour.

The smallest room in Tintern Abbey was the library, about the size of a walk-in closet.

Marketing Art

November 26, 2011

As part of our on-going plan to ramp up our respective art businesses, we escaped from the studio this past Wednesday to attend a business marketing symposium geared for artists, namely Art Works. The venue was the amazing Shenkman Arts Centre  in Orleans, which features a massive auditorium at its center, as well as many galleries, studio spaces and bright foyers.

We’re both pretty savvy about promotion, and Holly (more so than me) has already put a lot of the ideas bandied about into practice, particularly regarding on-line promotion.

After the keynote, we split up for the break-out sessions. She registered for the sales and on-line marketing workshops, while I covered other bases with a session on applying for loans and grants, and in the afternoon, a reminder on the importance of marketing generally.

Some artists are contemptuous of marketing, or would prefer to be in their studios creating. Unless those artists have someone else handling their marketing, they are going to have a struggle before them. So I heard about niches, branding, positioning, rational benefits etc. It struck me, after listening again to all the discussions and the Q&A, just how oddly art and artists fit in with traditional or standard business models and yet, if artists want to make money at their art, they must abandon romantic notions about their work and render it as a commodity. So a successful artist must almost be split in their approach, having one attitude to the work when creating it, and another when selling it. All this, or course, in a time when galleries and representation for artists is a very exclusive matter indeed. In the end, the marketing speaker replied to questions generally that “we are creative people; come up with creative solutions for marketing.” True enough.

Overall, we liked the event and enjoyed the talks and speeches, reacquainted with some artists we know, and came away with some very interesting bits to add to our own collected wisdom.

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