inscriptions as inspiration

stone archInspiration for new work sneaks up on me sometimes. Amy Christie, who used to sell at Covent Garden’s Apple market has opened a new gallery in Stockbridge in Edinburgh, with carefully chosen ceramics as well as her own fabulous glass jewellery.
 
 
book with drawingsporcelain vase ceramic pot I’ve made her a pot inspired by her photos of Stockbridge – and it’s got me inspired to do more work based on inscriptions in stone.
 
Inscriptions on stone are an archaeologist’s dream, of course. I spent a summer digging at Vindolanda, where any text found got you champagne. There must have been rivers of the stuff when they found the amazing wooden tablets, now in the British Museum. You can browse the contents online. They include the first known writing in Latin by a woman – Claudia Severa.
 
headstonetext from headstoneMost modern lettering on stone uses Roman fonts – they cut well – and it’s quite hard to find non-Roman letter shapes that look right. I serendipitously found Welsh headstones in the Beersheba WWI cemetery online. There are hundreds of these, documented online by the efforts of a Lieut-General of the Old Sweats.
 
It’s one of the crazy things about the internet – there’s a flood of information and images available online, posted by thousands of enthusiasts, each one ‘curating’ their own content. Yet I’m still looking for architectural inscriptions, in my own Pinterest text board, losing hours of time refining searches. And the EU have only just funded a project to bring ancient inscriptions to the world. The more material, and the more access to material, the more curating needed, I suppose. It’s one of the more surprising things Chris Anderson describes in his book The Long Tail: the more obscure stuff you can find, the more interested you get, and the more you search. And with music, books or films, the more you buy, too…

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One response to “inscriptions as inspiration

  1. Thank you Carys for the characteristic lateral slant – I have just spent a fascinating 30 mins looking at the Welsh WW1 headstone site. Sir T Berners-Lee had no idea what he started – maybe it is fitting on the 25th anniversary of his invention of the www (as well as the centenary of the start of the Great War) to celebrate the opportunity it has given to share arcane information – like this moving collection of inscriptions which has inspired such care in the collecting. Ah well, back to the ordinary and everyday…. Ruth

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