Walden

It certainly has been a very very busy few weeks. Nothing like a deadline is there? Today I finally managed to get a whole 9 hours of sleep, but in the final 3 days before the deadline I slept a total of 6 hours. I think the adrenaline of getting everything ready was keeping me awake... and very very busy.

Now everything is all set up and so I can finally catch up and tell you about all the things that I've been doing and seeing and smelling and all that exciting stuff.


First I will start with Walden, the last project that I completed for the degree show. Of course I did those travel posters as well, but it only made up a portion of what I submitted in the end, as I really wanted to show some printmaking as well. In retrospect I wish I'd done those posters as linocuts because I find printmaking so much more enjoyable. They would have been much simpler of course, but to be perfectly honest, the one I like the best is the Cairngorms poster and that is probably the simplest in terms of colours and things. It would probably have taken me a lot longer though, so I would have needed to drop all the other things I was working on since January and work on those exclusively. Never mind, it is something to consider for the future! If only my brain functioned in a way that I could look retrospectively on things I'm doing NOW, then I could achieve the perfection of what I want to do.

So about the print making... I did a series of prints to illustrate quotes from Walden: Life in the Woods, a book by Henry David Thoreau, an inspiring individual 'an American author, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, historian, and leading transcendentalist' (Wikipedia). From 1845 to 1846 Thoreau lived in a cabin that he built himself near the shores of Walden Pond, in Massachusetts. As a resident, he lived off the land, fishing, planting his own crops, living as frugally as possible and and generally removing himself as far from conventional society as he could. He was not completely remote, as the village was not far, but he chose to live on the border of civilisation, taking what he thought was best from each world. He was still an avid reader, visited with village members and integrated occasionally, however he did not approve of the expansion of trade and commerce and admonished every aspect of life that he did not deem necessary or did not agree with. In the summer of 1846 Thoreau ran into the local tax collector who asked him to pay 6 years of neglected taxes, but Thoreau refused leading him to be sent to prison. His refusal was based on his opposition to the Mexican-American War and slavery. After a night in jail, he was released as a relative had paid off his taxes against his will, but the experience set a lasting impression on him.


"Most of the luxuries and many of the so-called comforts of life are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind."
— Thoreau


 During his time in the woods Thoreau made many observations both on nature, and on society. He was a well learned man and writes about the evenings he spent reading as rain poured outside. He is known as a leading transcendentalist, a philosophy which protests certain aspects of society that corrupt the individual. The core belief of transcendentalism is that there is goodness in people and in nature, but that this purity is disrupted by society. Only when people are truly self-reliant and independent can they be the best they can be, and that is where a true community is formed.


So that is a bit of background information about Thoreau, now here are some images of my prints! These also feature in a little bound book with the images appearing next to the quotes.