leopard spots in mottled shade

September 11, 2013

During the summer I was able to observe at close quarters a leopard sleeping in a magnolia tree. It was a lazy hot afternoon and as I stretched out on a nearby bench the leopard shifted around the low slung branches mottled by the shade of the magnolia. People came and went unaware that a creature was at repose above them as they ate their packed lunches and had their mobile communications, even when they saw me observing the tree.

leopard lying in a tree

The leopard, in turn, observed me.


What an amazing leopard you say, to be able to lie in a tree, hold a sketchbook and also draw at the same time…yes amazing indeed and most dedicated to their art. This leopard is so dedicated to art that they plan to lie in the tree for a whole 12 months, probably give or take a week or twos worth of roaming fields and stretching. For this leopard has a 12 month residency at Didsbury Parsonage Gardens and it is such a lovely tree. You can find out more and track their situation here.

Also at Didsbury Parsonage in September, an exhibition from two talented friends. Come see!

Inline images 1


September 2, 2013

A month in which I encountered a few things considered as such. Pictures only in words I’m afraid.

The John Jarrold Printing Museum

Is set in the old engineers room of the Jarrolds printing premises that was. A room full of type, setting, printing and  lining machines, a bindery and a group of people who worked their lives in the industry and now spend every Wednesday morning keeping the machines and themselves ‘work ready’ with commissions and demonstrations.

On the morning we visited they gave their time generously to walk and talk us through the history and processes contained within the various tools and machines. Illuminating and engrossing for both the letterpress-head and the ‘I’ll come along with you but I’m not expecting much’ alike.  They are in need of volunteers to whom they can  pass on their skills and multiple lifetimes of knowledge to keep the museum, it’s contents and what it stands for vital and relevant to future generations.

Why is the UK’s only working printing museum in Norwich?!

Jarrolds began printing in 1770 and continued up until the 1990s I believe and were apparently quite pioneering. The list below is taken from the museum website.

Use of 35mm transparencies in colour reproduction.
Installation of the largest 4-colour litho press in Europe.
Use of scanners in colour reproduction.
Largest web offset installation at one time in Europe.
Changeover from letterpress to litho.
Attendance of printers at the Frankfurt Book Fair.
Instigation of foreign language editions.


I’ve been wanting to visit this home since I saw it featuring in a Rowan wool journal, I was not disappointed. A butterfly style Arts and Crafts house that has a concrete internal structure with beautiful brick, flint and tiling work, rounded corners, polished concrete and mosaic floors. The rooms are  comfortable domestic sizes with lots of interesting spaces, nooks and crannies that seem to be ironed out of new builds today. Full of colour, texture, and pattern, lovely objects and teeming with art work -painting, prints, photos, textiles, murals, mosaics: it was like a more vibrant and lived in Kettles Yard. We visited on an ‘Invitation to View’ tour  and got shown round with quite a large group by Simon Finch the man who restored the building after 70 years of institutional life. I optimistically brought my sketchbook with me. Like with Kettles Yard, I could’ve spent an hour in each spot, sat on the stairs or perched on the edge of a bed contemplating the paintwork,the stitch detail in a hanging, the inking of an etching, but of course there was only really time to scurry from room to room trying to soak it all up with my bulging eyes. The paintwork was especially inspiring to me, here and there, some patterns so subtle and playful referencing the shift and shimmer of light through a room.

Acid Brass

Played in front of the Whitworth Gallery this weekend as part of the Whitworth Weekender, a party to mark the closing of the gallery as it shuts for a year to extend it’s reach and footprint. Acid Brass were excellent and seemed, as they played in their dapper band uniforms, on the steps and roof of the entrance foyer flanked by dramatically lit gallery wings, like they were taking the helm of a large space ship that was casting off into space.

Leonard Cohen

On the last day of the month I was very lucky to get into the arena, a place I never thought I would go (because large spaces full of people scare me a bit and I prefer smaller more intimate gigs) to see Leonard Cohen, a man I never thought I would see play live (because he is 78 now and those tickets are always so expensive). Leonard played and sang for 3 hours, from the first song he was down on his knees singing Dance me til the end of time, he continued throughout with style and self-effacing humour to hold his audience rapt (apart from those who had drunk too much over-priced booze and fallen asleep) singing his deep, meaningful and downright dirty lyrics.4 encores. What a man.