Well, not quite as dramatic as that, but it has been snowing for a couple of days, and the world is blanketed and muffled in deep snow. For a day such as this, the studio calls. All thoughts of budgets and taxes are cast aside for the cocoon-like embrace of my studio. I have a long list of tasks to work through and some new ideas cooking in the back of my mind since the Great Studio Clearout of last week.
I’m going through one of those periods that heralds a new series of work blossoming in the recesses of my brain. Several items of early 20th Century advertising and printwork have come to me over the last year. To my eye, they are perfection. I haven’t had the heart to alter them, and so I have kept them on display, musing and mulling over the right way to use them.
I find these materials so delicious. The ink colours are unlike any modern inks we use today. They have a softness to them, they absorb into the paper rather than laying on the surface, seem to become part of the paper in a way we don’t see today. The colours draw me over and over again: the soft turquoise blue, delicate mustard, that shade of green that isn’t mint and isn’t leaf but somewhere in between. Clear, gentle, natural looking colours. Colours I want to use and emulate.
This obsession began long ago, but the collecting started last year when a friend turned up a beautiful little linen-bound pocket book containing “Chichester’s Picture Map of London”, a gift to the purchaser of a new Vauxhall car for export. I can’t find a date anywhere, but it looks to be about 1950.
The other one is an Advertiser’s Pocketbook. A first edition dated 1913, it contains all an advertising salesman would need to agree content, font, layout and price with a customer. Full of wonderful vintage images, this is another that simply has to remain intact.
Taking good advice from my friends at Cloth Paper Scissors magazine, I will colour photocopy some of the images from the old materials. Copyright is no longer an issue for materials as old as this, so I can use these materials in my own work. I want to preserve the soft colours, so I am thinking I will create an image transfer using gel medium as a transparency. This will give the colours luminosity and softness, and the gel transparency will make the image float softly over the paper. Watch this space and I will post some images of what comes out of this in the next week or two. Happy creating!