Painting & Poetry: June

In their final month of their residency, our brilliant creatives Molly Lambourn and Jade Cuttle drew inspiration from four of Jane Austen's heroines and an ancient recipe for ink...

Jade: This poem was inspired by my research into Georgian recipes for iron gall ink, composed from the galls of an oak tree. Just such a recipe appears in Martha Lloyd’s Household Book, compiled over a number of years whilst she was living with the Austens, so it is possible that she made her own ink and used it to write her novels. Indeed, all her surviving manuscripts were written in iron gall ink, and have remained miraculously intact despite its corrosive properties.

Trawling through the pagan-sounding recipe, I was charmed by the closeness between writer and tool engineered by the act of creating one’s own ink — as opposed to the present disconnect between creative output and material source. I explored the idea of both ink and the writing process becoming more organic and directly rooted into the earth; growing punctuation like seeds in one’s pocket, ploughing the mind’s muddy fields for inspiration, setting the seeds into the page and desperately willing them to grow.

~

My pockets are filled with full stops…

.    they skittle around like tiny seeds

yet when I plant them into paper

.    nothing grows.

This field has pursed its pages shut.

.    I line each seed up and pray

that a little sense will sprout,

.    still, nothing grows.

I stab an exclamation mark to mark

.    my territory, mine! The pitchfork snaps;

I stab too deep; a spray of splinters;

.    then we’re falling through the folds.

The rustle of paper is the pleating

.    of ribs: parcelling me up so small

and white I can’t see where I start

.    or stop. Can ‘I’ appeal a life sentence

of silence? Ink spills freely

.    while the poem scuds into anchor;

before we’ve even had the chance

.    to charter.

Molly: This month, I have drawn four Jane Austen Heroines that I feel embody key aspects of Jane’s life and character..

Emma Woodhouse – human, imperfect and involved in the gossip and social life of those around her. Emma could be the life of the party, immensely popular and had an incredible relationship with her father. Just like Jane.

Marianne Dashwood – her view of the world is naïve yet beautiful, Marianne knows about love from what she has read in Shakespeare plays, idealised and sweet- Marianne represents what love and marriage should have been but never was in Austen’s life.

Elinor Dashwood – Sensible, headstrong and practical. Elinor represents the formidable elements of Jane’s character, she was down to earth and made her own ink, knew how to do all the household chores and was constantly putting others before herself and her own needs. Jane wrote a good amount in her short life, but could have done so much more if she hadn’t been such an amazing auntie, sister and friend to those around her.

Lizzy Bennet – Defiant, opinionated and individual – Lizzy Bennet is one of Austen’s best loved heroines and for good reason. Lizzy was intelligent, beautiful and like Emma, also has an incredible relationship with her father.

~

We have enjoyed Molly and Jade’s residency so much – they have been such exciting and inspiring creatives to work with and we have been so excited each month to see what they create!

Check back soon to see our next Creatives in Residence, who will join us from July – September!

X