I’m not getting into trouble again!

#Letter365 No147 goes through the Arts Centre letterbox
No147 goes through the Arts Centre letterbox

I am still not organised properly at my new studio. I have only part moved in so that I can do some much-needed work and photography that needed a bit more space, but my computer and printer are still at home. Earlier I had created the envelope but forgot to stick a stamp on while at home. Fortunately I noticed this fact and didn’t pop it in the box sans stamp, thus avoiding the embarrassment of a postage due. I worked hard on this piece to ensure that it was less than 5mm thick and as it turned out I didn’t need to worry as I walked past Bridport Arts Centre on my way home and popped it straight through their letter box. Must take some stamps to the studio.

I forgot to mention that yesterday we passed another milestone, I have completed 40% of the project – well that is to say that I have got through two fifths of the days, I suspect there will be more work involved in the second half what with marketing, selling and arranging the installation.

Back of #Letter365 No147
Back of No147

Been to Bath today and forgot the date stamp

#Letter365 No145 gets posted in Bath
No145 gets posted in Bath

I see now that I forgot to put a date stamp on the front of the envelope. I don’t usually take my stamp with me if I am creating away from home, but I did today. I stamped the back of the artwork but not this. Chaos rules.

Because we were out most of the day and then when I got home I had to remove yesterday’s image and explain that, it is now late. So I may not get the chance to write all my thoughts about Bath. I wanted to check out the art galleries in Bath (and also use up some petrol in the car as we are selling it on Friday!) but sadly got to thinking about how Bath was built for the obscenely rich to play. It was a place of inequality, a place of smelly people who bathed in other people’s bathwater; people who ran after the latest craze and allowed themselves to be led by the nose by celebrity party organisers. So nothing has changed in the higher echelons of society then!

But I created my piece there in Bath. I had planned what I wanted to do and prepared the envelope in the morning before we left. It was nice to do and I may do more things in this vein.  I’m  bit frustrated that I hadn’t the time to do more then and there or, indeed, any other art today. I really want to get stuck into some visual creative work, having lost quite a lot of time deciding on a new car!

Note there are no annotations on the back of the envelope and i used a tape and pen seal:

Back of #Letter365 No145
Back of No145

Why #Letter365 has been censored

I have removed the photograph I had posted yesterday at the request of the Postmaster. Apparently he was upset that I had taken pictures of his staff at work. I am told it is “a data protection issue for them as an organisation”. I did ask permission of the person concerned, but of course I do not wish to needlessly upset people, especially local people who are doing their best to provide services to the community, so I have complied with the request.

However it does open up questions about the whole nature of our society and how our attitudes have changed over the years towards the people who work within our communities. My guess is that this request has come from the “arse-covering” rules and regulations that have almost become a necessity because we are, as a society,  becoming increasingly litigious. I don’t really have any issue with the local manager but this is a great shame as it stops us all celebrating the people we share our communities with in a free and honest way. If we can only take pictures of people at work in our community under conditions controlled by a marketing department or a legal department then sincerity soon flies out the window. When I say how attitudes have changed, I used to work in a local newspaper advertising and managed the account of The Post Office at a regional level. This was a very long time ago when BT was still a division of the Post Office! In those days the marketing and advertising people were begging us to photograph their happy and industrious employees at work. Plus ça change!

Well here is the envelope that I had hand stamped yesterday:

The front of #Letter365 No144
The front of No144

Gross but not gross

#Letter365 No144 gets posted at the Post Office in Bridport
Abby takes charge of my first day cover

It’s all a bit exciting today. This was not only the first #Letter365 that I created at my new studio, but also the first artwork of any kind created there by me.

It was also the first day of issue of the new WW1 commemorative stamps so I wanted to get it hand-stamped if I was in time, which I was: not at my usual Post Office 3 doors away from home in Bradpole, but at the main Post Office in Bridport. So while local postmaster Peter is good in front of the camera I think you will agree that Abby here does a great job! It’s just a pity that her nail varnish clashes so much with the green on the envelope! Unlike Ann who used to work in the Bradpole Post Office shop who (as you may remember from an earlier post) had a flair for clothing that matched the shelving, Abby has not chosen to blend in with her environment. I think she is a bit of a rebel who thinks it would not be cool to have nail varnish that matched, say, her name badge or the posters. Quite right too Abby! Abby clearly thought I was raving mad but said she couldn’t wait for the next time. Clearly Abby is a master of ironic wit too. Thanks for playing, Abby.

Now of course Abby is right to question my sanity. Had she looked at the address she would have advised me, I am sure, that it would be more economical and better for my health to just walk round the corner to Bridport Arts Centre and pop the letter straight in their letterbox. I will have to think how I will manage the delivery of #Letter365 now that the Arts Centre is actually nearer to my studio than the Post Office and its post box.

Another exciting thing is that I seem to have captured, accidentally, a personal reflection in the photograph. Anyone who knows me or follows me will be aware of my Personal Reflections series of self portraits.

David Smith's reflection in the Post Office poster
Personal reflection in the Post Office poster

I was quite anxious about making this first piece in the new studio but it worked out just fine even though I had to improvise a bit as not all my stuff has made it to the new venue yet. Of course reaching No144 is only gross in number: there is no unpleasantness involved at all.

No music today but you of course want to see the back of the envelope:

Back of #Letter365 No144
Back of No144

Still summer but the sun didn’t shine much

#Letter365 No143 goes in the box
No143 goes in the box

The reference to Seamus Heaney is because I am reading Beowulf and you can hear him and his cadence in the text. I think I would know what he sounds like even if I hadn’t heard him.

The summer music thing has just got to have its way and my brain will spew out ideas and I will run with the first that makes a bit of sense (?)

I really like their backdrop and may make a piece based on it!

Back of #Letter365 No143
Back of No143

Strimming in the apiary in 25°C with confused bees is no fun

#Letter365 No139 goes in the box
A sunny posting for No139

It never really cooled down enough to make a visit to one of our apiaries bearable – especially since the strimmer needs some spares on the head and you have to wedge a piece of wood behind the accelerator cable to get it to rev high enough. It was hot and sweaty work and the bees don’t like the vibration and were disoriented by the change in aspect. So I got stung by bees and nettles.

Of course all this has nothing to do with today’s #Letter365 artwork. In fact it is pretty much the antithesis in action and object. This piece is clean, cool and was no sweat. It was principally cerebral in the making with a small amount of skilled physical work, whereas the strimming required little brainpower and more physical effort (the sort of effort my chiropractor warns me to only do small amounts of at any one time). The art is quiet and contemplative in comparison to strimming. The artwork has a lower environmental impact than the strimming only because of its size: if scaled up I think the chemicals and materials of the artwork and it’s production and delivery, might outweigh the damage caused by the small amount of fuel used, especially since I use Aspen environmentally-friendly fuel made from trees that doesn’t smoke and is free of many of the chemicals in petroleum-based fuels.

Back of #Letter365 No139
Back of No139

Oh and the summertime heatwave music is slipping on to the envelope. Here’s one that is mentioned