Thursday, March 08, 2007


Leaf print.

Nature imitating art? or art imitating nature?

Nature frequently does things effortlessly so much better than our attempts.

Not that I'd want to suggest that we are not part of nature - its so hard not to drop into that kind of thinking. We're part of nature so our art is part of nature. But we still make these distinctions between whats 'natural' and whats 'artificial'.

Is art artificial?
Is nature also art?

One of my favourite weaving colour-schemes was based on a little bit of twiggy branch covered with amazing lychens. I brought it back from a holiday in France for a weaving project for the course I was on.

While we're on the subject of art, and as I'm not sure what else to say about it at the moment, art is a subject very entertainingly discussed by 2 characters in a Terry Pratchett book which I'm reading - Thud.

Fred Colon and Nobby Nobbs, policemen (and not the brightest of the bunch) have been sent to investigate the burlary of a priceless mural. Or, as the curator of Fine Art says, "burglareah" - on account of he's so posh that what he says is "not so much speech as modulated yawning".

A conversation develops as to the nature of art:

Nobby says that his girlfriend, Tawneee, a pole dancer "says what she does is Art, sarge. And she wears more clothes than a lot of the women on the walls around here, so why be sniffy about it?"
"Yeah, but..." Fred Colon hesitated here. He knew in his heart that spinning around upside down around a pole wearing a costume you could floss with definitely was not Art, and being painted lying on a bed wearing nothing but a smile and a small bunch of grapes was good solid Art, but putting your finger on why this was the case was a bit tricky.
"No urns," he said at last.
"What urns?" said Nobby.
"Nude women are only Art if there's an urn in it," said Fred Colon. This sounded a bit weak even to him, so he added, "or a plinth. Both is best, o'course. It's a secret sign, see, that they put in to say that it is Art and okay to look at."
"What about a potted plant?"
"That's okay if it's in an urn."
"What about if it's not got an urn or a plinth or a potted plant?" said Nobby.
"Have you one in mind, Nobby?" said Colon, suspiciously.
"Yes, The Goddess Anoia* arising from the Cutlery," said Nobby. "They've got it here. It was painted by a bloke with three i's in his name, which sounds pretty artistic to me."
"The number of i's is important, Nobby," said Sergeant Colon gravely, "but in these situations you have to ask yourself: where's the cherub? If there's a little fat pink kid holding a mirror or a fan or similar, then it's still okay. Even if he's grinning. Obviously you can't get urns everywhere."

*Anoia is the Ankh-Morpock Goddess of Things That Get Stuck in Drawers.**
** I was v. happy to find further reference*** to Anoia in this book.

***See my "Spong" post, Feb. 28th below, for more.

(source of the above: Thud, by Terry Pratchett, Corgi 2005 p. 55-56)

In view of which, I don't suppose I would be able to sell this to the Tate as Art, would I?


Steve said...

I think that is absolutely art. Look at the orderliness! And it's so...heavy. I think that's it's underlying message, don't you? :)

Reya Mellicker said...

If you were Andy Goldsworthy, you could DEFINITELY sell it to the Tate!!

Ex-Shammickite said...

I think your pile of beautifully coloured bricks are definitely art... if rotting meat can be art, I'd rather look at bricks.

Wendz said...

Of course your bricks are art - you just need to think of an appropriate title before flogging it to the Tate.

You could add that to your blog - ask people to come with a title that gives that piece of art some deeper meaning...;)

Thanks for the Terry Pratchett extract - now I am even keener to read his stuff - that bit of text grabbed me.

Dizzy said...

Lost my response again... Hope it doesn't duplicate.

Is nature art, of course, but who is the artist?

With the extract from Thud, I was putting accents to the words, such as pretty become pri-ee. Like Wendz, I will have to try one of Terry Pratchetts books, as I have never read any of his. On my list for the next car boot sale – I haven’t been to any recently.

The bricks, besides being art, think of the historical aspect. And where will they be in 100 years time....

natural attrill said...

The colours are beautiful, there are so many!

ramblingwoman said...


Cream said...

Now I know why poll dancers urn a lot of money!

Clarissa said...

I have to comment on the entry below, how cool was that!? It's London Bridge, right? I was on that very platform both Tuesday & Wednesday night (well, I was waiting on platform 5, going back to Brighton).

I feel like a bit of a stalker now cuz I'm also in Charlton quite a lot and you wrote about that a while back. But I'm not out to get you I swear! :P

Jay said...

Art is all about the spin, isn't it? Any material can be spun given the right hands.

lettuce said...

orderliness Steve? oh dear... my anality coming out again?!

hmmm if I were Andy Goldworthy Reya. I think I'm glad I'm not. ;o)

ex-shammi - and Penny - glad you like them. I LOVE the colours and textures in bricks.

Wendz - Pratchett on its way to you! and what would your title be?

Yes Dizzy! I do that too, esp. with Pratchett sometimes. I can lend you some, when yu're over. - (soon! :o))

RW - ah! eh??

Cream. hahahahaha. she said weakly. Not bad. hee hee.

Clarissa - yeah! synchronicity! its actually Platform 5 I am waiting for, trains to Tunbridge Wells/Crowborough - same line as Brighton sometimes! Let me know if you ever fancy a coffee in Charlton.....

Jay - you're right. I have a friend who's spun rabbit, cat, dog - even her own hair.

Nabeel said...

these are beautiful pictures .. i love the leaf print .. how often does one see that? and the bricks .. there were so many bricks on construction sights when I lived in Pakistan .. red bricks stacked together.

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