On my table today, originally uploaded by gilfling.


– noun

1. place or source of origin

This week, I haven’t spent as much time in the studio as I would have liked but when I have been there, I have loved every second. I wanted to give myself a new challenge this year in terms of creativity and I am feeling increasingly drawn to the idea of working with lino prints and wood-cuts. This is a challenge as my artwork and drawings can be quite sketchy and often depend on soft graduations in tone and texture as well as loosely drawn lines. In my mind, lino prints are defined by quite bold and graphic shapes whilst wood-cuts can involve more texture and graduations in tone. I am only beginning to research other artists work, inspirations and techniques so have alot to learn. (More on that in my next blog post)

So where does the word ‘provenance’ come into all of this? Last week I showed this photo of The Victory which my great-grandfather made before I was born. He carved and made many model ships, some in glass cases, many more in bottles, every detail created with his own hands.

A few years ago when I was teaching myself how to carve with leather, my dad gave me my great-grandfathers carving tools which you can see in the photo above. The wooden handles are worn so smooth with years of use, the blades a little rusty and in need of sharpening, the edges worn down. They have been sitting in a box, unused for around 4 years but I often look at them and think of my great-grandfathers hands working away on one ship or another as he did in his shed at the bottom of the garden. My father has a photo of him somewhere that was used in an article in the local newspaper many years ago. Next time I am home I shall have to make a copy to show you.

My family has an interesting story, possibly not one to be told here but my great-grandfather was an incredibly talented craftsman. His son (adopted) was also a talented artisan, moulding and remaking ships badges as a hobby. His son (my father) is also an incredibly talented artist and craftsman who has over the years in his spare time worked on leather carvings, wood carvings and paintings. My father retires next year and I am really hoping that he will get back to creating with all the skills that he has. So with these carving tools that have been handed down to me through 3 generations of men in my family, I have also been gifted with a passion for art and craft and the skills and desire to create every day for all the rest of my days. The source of that passion lies with the gifts and talents of my great-grandfather and the crafting of those ships; the worn down handles and blades of these tools; and perhaps even further back in my family than I know. I will always be grateful for the origin of my creativity.


3 thoughts on “Provenance….

  1. So it is in your blood… I think you should grab these tools and try them out sooner than later! I know I would.

    I think that lino cuts are fun to make, I’ve done some when I was at school and I must admit I keep remembering that expierence. I’m sure that one day I will invest into a set of carving tools and everything else and have a go once again.

    Anyway, I wish you lots of inspiration and, of course, enough time spent in your studio.


  2. I agree 😉 definitely in the blood! Beautiful tools too – what beautiful memories of your ancestors!

    Was talking about you at the weekend (at the book-binding workshop) with Fiona of Holmfirth Arts Fair fame! 😉 I was also interviewed as part of the workshop and I mentioned your name on video!

    Enjoyed myself thoroughly, will be blogging about it very soon! 😉

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