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Here is a copy of the first thing I successfully screenprinted in our new workshops; a flyer for our upcoming release ‘a plan and the means to complete’ (March 2007). It is for a screenprinted book investigating the purpose of the Henningham Family Press, while also telling the story of Eric Gill’s guild workshops and the Danielson Famile from New Jersey. We had to get the flyers done for the Danielson Family Movie screening, and only this week did I realise their significance; our first print run! 

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I’m quite happy with the way the workshops are shaping up, but we need more consistent detail in our prints, so I’m changing our UltraViolet developing unit. I face some tedious and costly experiments next week!

A review of the Rational Rec night we did a month ago stars Ping* and/or Naomi, though unnamed. It is from the ICA blog.

Russell Herron’s Blog

In answer to his question, the reason we got 24 was that my mother lives about five minutes from the hydrogen fuel cell refuelling plant that was the subject of one of the harder questions.

Last night I went to the launch of my friend’s project, the shytstem. The guys behind it are Ed and Wedgie; they have the smallest screenprinting studio ever known. It is a bit like an escape tunnel from a PoW camp or an underground press in the USSR. Mostly their work is about being able to work without the means to do so.

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It was a great evening, the project is a collection of artworks by people collected together in a box designed by Gary Woodley who is an artist treasured by everyone who knows him or has been under his tutelage. That is why it is not an insult to say that in my opinion the best thing about it is the box. Brain-pizza. It would be good if there was a bit more presence in some of the work, though. Eddie Peake’s (undergraduate list) contribution sums up what I was hoping for; haunting and energetic. For some reason the janitor in the chapel hall they rented was not a very good advert for the church, obsessed with punctuality. It isn’t essential to the faith; the second coming is on a fairly loose timetable, for example. 

Bunk Bed

December 5th, 2006 | Posted by David in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Feeling pretty good about myself today, I made a bed for our friend’s little girl. Now all the kids are holding a subtle competition to try and be the one to get the new bed. It is quite a major change to their little world.

Following up on Ping*s rant, I saw a vicar on the telly doing a show about the Lost Gospels. It was quite funny. He had a simple logic, if it was preferred by the early church, it is suspect, if it was rejected and buried or burned it must be good. He interviewed experts but they felt soundbitten; it was like watching Max Headroom (link provided for those under 20yrs). He described a top down decision by one man, Athanasius, to decide the canonical texts, where actually it was a more grassroots decision, and they didn’t ban the others, in fact they encouraged the reading of some of them as helpful books. The most tortured logic, though, was that the place of women in the church had been smothered by the suppression of these lost books. But the gospel of Thomas (114) was quoted to him by an expert as saying that women are imperfect beings that need to become male so they can become spiritual; apparently they don’t deserve life, but don’t worry! Gospel-of-Thomas-Jesus can make them blokes. I think I prefer the letters by Paul, which tell us that anybody, JewGreekSlaveFreeWomanMan can be saved without any merit of their own, he showed how his secret gnostic gospels tell us only the select intellectual few can be saved by their esoteric knowledge. I’ll pass, thanks.

On one level it is brain-comedy, but the missed opportunity is that the really interesting question here is what makes something orthodox. This is the time when Church wavered between being allied to the state at one extreme, and being primarily passed on by the teacher pupil relationship. On the one hand the corrupting influence of power and money, on the other the temptation to dedicate yourself to the intellect and conjour up heresy and exclusivity. BBC4 always seems to be slightly more dull, rather than in more depth.

…cos i only seem to blog when overwhelmed! one of these days i will remember where i wrote the password when everything is fine and y’all get a happy post. meanwhile..

So the house is coming through VERY SOON (we think) and the course is going ok (no-one has accused me of foolishness yet, though a few might suspect me of being heretically unsecular) and i’m all a muddle between packing, endless washing up (i’m sure we did less of this when we first got married: How?), and running between counters at the good ol’ BL (british library, aka birthing lounge).

Sigh it’s end of term and I for one am sick of all the God-bashing going on in academia. People are so horrifically arrogant. Honestly, I ask you, why are we the ones who always “deluded”? More and more, I can’t be bothered with this total bigotry. Sometimes I just wanna flip back their delusions using my middle finger.  Ha. Take that Mr So-Clever-I’ll-Take-God-On-In-A-Fight-Cos-I-don’t-Think-he-exists-anyway. Perhaps I dont believe you exist. Ha. Put that in your atheist pipe and smoke it.

Despite all the crazy gubbins, I still enjoy the fact the government is paying me to study (hooray). And I also enjoy… weekends! Sunday’s Danielson Gig continues to put a smile on my face. I made some pies on Sunday and in honour of the occasion, David made some brother daniel themed decorations. I got to eat the Danielson heart today! Yay! that sure warmed the cockles. (The second pie is a bird of paradise for our resident monk, brother Kerry, who is finishing his phd next week. Keep going McYong – you can do it!)

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Hooray for God who made Birds of Paradise and Pies!

Danielson Concert at the Luminaire

December 4th, 2006 | Posted by David in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Finally Daniel, Chris and I met face to face after a long time of knowing a bit about each other through his Dad. We went to the Danielson concert in Kilburn (sounds like it’s in Yorkshire, but as you know it’s NW London) last night, armed with little cakes ping* had made for them when she saw how gruelling their tour schedule is. One of the benefits for we visual artists when we go on our tours/working holidays is we bed down, get to know the local supermarket/tabacconists and forests/restaurants over several days. As we came in I saw John Ringhofer in the bar checking his email

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If you haven’t already heard of him, he has (or is) a band called half-handed cloud, and he, when playing solo, plays more instruments than most bands of four people do. Last night he was only playing one guitar for Danielson throughout, but I think he took comfort by reaching for his water bottle when other musicians may have been unable to coordinate themselves. He gets through about three individual melodies most musicians would die for in each song, and uses them for half the time they would. People with ecological/economical concerns will end up with placards outside “save the melodies”, “how many tunes can there be?” But guys, this is energy! He burns bright! Last night I was able to show him how to make personalised toast with a moistened finger. Great to catch up and get to know him better.

The concert was rather awesome. From now on I will play their albums that loud all the time. They wore their nautical uniforms:

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Several of their songs from other albums were given a great energy with the sound they had last night. As you may already know, we are putting out a book I wrote that is half about Danielson in March ’07 (register your interest by emailing david from main page), so it was good to subject my theory to the reality, and at least one of my ideas about the stage failed and will be replaced before printing. In the Danielson Family Movie you really don’t get to see how a stage performance works for Danielson. So much of it is teaching lines and clapping rhythms to an inanimate audience, who like us last night end up animated. All these guys, Sufjan included, always seem to put up their own equipment as well, no roadies. I know they can’t afford them, but their absence seems ideological as well. The music was tectonic, and it moved with great confidence, continuity and charisma. The only thing lacking was the presence of the women in the band. It is good to see men and women working together rather than with resentment. But there are a lot of young babies around at the moment, so travel is difficult. If you don’t already know this band shame on you!

My London!

December 1st, 2006 | Posted by David in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

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Stress is like asbestos

December 1st, 2006 | Posted by David in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

I’ve been experiencing a lot of stress lately. And like most people I always assumed that a good holiday shakes it off. I even had a rudimentary holiday maths equation I held to, without thinking it through, that one stressful period can be deleted by one holiday. But it isn’t working. The stuff is fireproof. What do I do about it? I’ve got a short fuse at the moment. My nose actually swelled up with stress. The tip, I mean, and now I have to sit at the table with the tip of my nose in soothing saline. What kind of turmoil must I be experiencing for my nose to actually swell?! It is all this getting life in order. But great news! Our completion date came through and we can move out of our public convenience for mice into a proper house with a garden!

The move reminds me. I’m reading a book on ‘the English’ by Jeremy Paxman off the telly (research for a book I’m writing in about a years time). It is so utterly pedestrian and cliched, I am very disappointed. He writes as if writing books is merely the putting of words onto pages to stand in for a face to face conversation. It basically boils down to the weather, having your own house, and WW2 for him. He called Hobbes a liberal! He’s the closest we had to a fascist! Well we’re not moving so we can have a castle of our own, it will be a hospitable hospital of the soul. We have a revolving door policy. Praise God for a house! We can do so much more with people!

Yesterday I visited the best Zoological Museum I have ever been to, in Tring. They let the animals do the work. An amazing collection of domestic dogs, like the greyhound Mick the Miller who changed hands for £2000 in the 1930s; wolfhounds, deerhounds, puffinhounds, and dachshunds {badgerhounds}, who all hounded their namesakes. An increduble Okapi, a Tapir as high as my chest, and the BIRDS!!! Superb bird of paradise, Magnificent bird of paradise, a manucode, a twelve-wired BOP, and the wonderful King of Saxony’s Bird of Paradise. GO GO GO!!!

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Famile get together: a review

November 29th, 2006 | Posted by David in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Well that was a success! We had around 130 people at the screening of JL Aronson’s ‘Danielson: A Family Movie’, and the crowd seemed to be very attentive. Thank you JL Aronson for letting us put on your film! Ping* worked very hard on it, so it was great to see a good turnout. The picture on the right shows us setting up, when the film was rolling it was too dark to take a picture, but it gives an idea of the interior.

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Immediately after the screening the audience were descended upon by a team of biscuit-givers, they were gingerbread nurses, of both genders {and including children}, made by some ladies at the church. One person, upon being offered one, remarked: “How cool!”, which was my feeling exactly. 

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Most of the audience were people we’d never met before, music fans keen to learn a bit more about the Danielson Famile and Sufjan Stevens. The film also raised a lot of interesting questions for the artists and musicians there to think about, especially those of us who are Christians. What difference does the religious belief of our audience make to how we percieve their approval of our work? What role does the Holy Spirit play in our daily making of things, or prayer? It showed the importance of doing something, not just talking about what might be possible. I probably spent too much time working on how our present myself in the past; on image rather than content or sincerity.

Quite a lot of people in the film said they liked the music and what inspired it was not important to them. That it was ok for people to be moved by drugs or Jesus, the audience could respond how they liked, so it is okay. I understand where they were coming from, but in a later conversation my friend Mike and I tried substituting the name Jesus in those sentences for the name Hitler, which made it an alarming point of view. “Yeah, we love the uniforms guys, and your music is so organised.” As an artist I’m sure the result depends on where it comes from. The Nazis disfigured Europe because their inspiration was rotten at the core.

Danielson Family Movie, Sun 26th Nov!

November 12th, 2006 | Posted by David in Uncategorized - (1 Comments)

There is a band from New Jersey called the Danielson Famile, who have been a formative influence on the press. We came across them as part of my research for my MA thesis, which we will be printing and releasing next March. Also in the course of the research we met and shared beer with the director of the below film, JL Aronson:

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He’s a great bloke, and his multi award winning film is excellent. It is a five year doc following the Danielson Famile, and exploring their bizarre mixture of music and visual art, family and friendship, Christianity and popular culture… They are a very respected mainstream indie band in the States, making it over here at the moment, with ten years of experience behind them. They are a formative influence on Sufjan Stevens, whose rise to fame is inadvertantly captured by the doc. Steve Albini is in it. Occasionally Daniel Smith dresses as a tree. What more convincing do you need, except to know that this is a rare chance to see the film? It doesn’t come out on DVD until March next year! 

Danielson: a Family Movie {or make a joyful noise HERE}

At grace church hackney {Shoreditch Church}

Shoreditch High St.

Sunday 26th November

8pm {doors 7.30}

FREE ENTRY {donations welcome} 

http://www.gracechurchhackney.org.uk/culture/danielson.html

A great time had by all!

November 8th, 2006 | Posted by David in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

I think we can safely say Rational Rec was a roaring success. I was really pleased with how aptly our sculptures went side by side. Mine is the cabinet on a table, and his the ladder thing with a motorised belt in it. Perfect in terms of scale.

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James Capper turns out to be studying at Chelsea on his BA, which is where I did mine. We had a good chance to discuss tutors and the institution. The quiz was a good way of showing the work to a lot of people. The sculptures were a separate visual round from the main quiz. The question “What does this do?” was chosen for the round by the rational reccers, a deliberately unanswerable question to provoke imaginative responses. In the end I chose the answer that seemed most physically possible for mine, “making pizza”. My second favourite was “for moving fingers/fingernails”. I have no idea what that means. This winner was also chosen because James liked this guy’s answer for his work; “cleaning your car windscreen”. The winner received a CD of a Wagner opera, you can see James and myself calling up the winner below. Against the odds our team, the “Ezra Sound”, won the main working men’s art quiz, and recieved a party at our table as a reward, also shown below.