A sequence of 6 monotypes, printed from two MDF woodcuts, to illustrate the A E Housman poem. There are also 12 other prints that were considered for the sequence, along with some video notes on the printmaking process. Most are 20cm x 20cm, some are 20cm x variable to allow for signature and notes.

Michael Bell, John McWade, David Bell

additional print 03

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additional print 04

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The Print Making Process

A short video on tips and techniques. View it on YouTube

Housman11.jpg

How the project began

Participants

I began a joint project with John McWade and Michael Bell (not a relative, alas). John is an internationally known typographer/print designer and Michael comes from that very musical Methodist family, the Thornleys. 

It's now finished. It was a delight to work with John who brings such wisdom and expertise. The project arose out of a cryptic challenge where I decided that in this instance it be would be very special if the typographer could match the fall of the voice on the ear, to the fall of the text on the page. Mr McWade -we barely know each other - rose to the challenge, and I thank him very much indeed. Michael, whom I've known since he was a teen and who played occasionally at Trinity-at-Waiake, my old stomping ground, had  exactly the right musical instance for the occasion.

Origin of the woodcuts

Now I've chosen to share not only the video but its context/origin in terms of the MDF woodcuts also.

I had been working last year on the sequence, originally illustrating the Cross in Central Otago. They were based on a photograph by Micah Marty twenty plus years ago. He and his famous theologian brother Martin Marty wrote The Promise of Winter based on the experience of that season in the small American shaker/quaker communities, their land and buildings and arts and crafts. As Micah noted, winter clarifies, reveals, covers and strengthens. My woodcuts were based on that sequence. 

Our Christian task in the days ahead

In this Covid-19 crisis it's essential that our faith and our theological activity does exactly the same. We must

  • Clarify
  • Reveal
  • Cover
  • Strengthen

How we express our Christianity can't be in terms of the same-old same-old. 

A deeper reflection

The Housman poem is the work of a young atheist, not an amiable Christian. Yet I feel it is a far better crafting of life's realities, life's truths, than many prayers, liturgies and sermons. What do you think? Here, then, a starting point for a deeper reflection on who we are and what we are to make of our lives, lived under the relentless rhythms of natures days and nights, delights, dangers and deaths. 

Proofs 01

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Proofs 02

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Proofs 03

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Proofs 04

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Proofs 05

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Proofs 06

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Proofs 07

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Proofs 08

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Proofs 09

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Proofs 10

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Proofs 11

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Proofs 12

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The 2 MDF plates, cleaned up

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More prints

More prints and printmaking on David Bell's profile page here.