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Ashraf Hanna’s stunning collection of ceramics is well worth a visit to the gallery alone. It runs until 27 August. It is cool in the gallery with the fans and the air-flow in these old Georgian buildings….The sun throws interesting patterns across the grains of Ashraf’s contented vessels.
6. Yellow Vessel with Undulating Rim, Ashraf Hanna Clay, 45 x 19 x 19 cm. £2,800
What we want is never simple. We move among the things we thought we wanted: a face, a room, an open book and these things bear our names— now they want us. But what we want appears in dreams, wearing disguises. We fall past, holding out our arms and in the morning our arms ache. We don’t remember the dream, but the dream remembers us. It is there all day as an animal is there under the table, as the stars are there even in full sun.
Kate Sherman’s work has drawn praise from visitors. The landscape below hangs opposite my desk – I can smell the sap of the cypress and walk in the cool of the woods with the dog exploring the undergrowth for sensational smells. He is so easily enlivened, constantly snuffling… being in a woods with the dog can transport a person (all the way to Santiago)
The dog is asking me a question and I have no answer. He dashes through the countryside and asks me wordlessly, and his eyes are two moist question marks, two wet inquiring flames, but I do not answer because I haven’t got the answer. I have nothing to say. Dog and man: together we roam the open countryside. Leaves shine as if someone had kissed them one by one, orange trees rise up from the earth raising minute planetariums in trees that are as rounded and green as the night, while we roam together, dog and man sniffling everything, jostling clover in the countryside of Chile, cradled by the bright fingers of September The dog makes stops, chases bees, leaps over restless water, listens to far-off barking, pees on a rock, and presents me the tip of his snout as if it were a gift: it is the freshness of his love, his message of love. And he asks me with both eyes: why is it daytime? why does night always fall? why does spring bring nothing in its basket for wandering dogs but useless flowers, flowers and more flowers? This is how the dog asks questions and I do not reply. Together we roam, man and dog bound together again by the bright green morning, by the provocative empty solitude in which we alone, exist, this union of dog and dew or poet and woods, For these two companions, for these fellow-hunters, there is no lurking fowl or secret berry but only birdsong and sweet smells, a world moistened by night’s distillations, a green tunnel and then a meadow, a gust of orangey air, the murmurings of roots, life on the move, breathing and growing, and the ancient friendship, the joy of being dog or being man fused in a single beast that pads along on six feet, wagging its dew-wet tail.
– Pablo Neruda, ‘Ode to the Dog’
Meanwhile in a garden far away Anna Gillespie’s little ‘Strong Man’ has settled in to new surroundings….
Anna Gillespie Strong Man II Bronze Ht. 68 cm. x w 20 x D 17 cm. £12,950
And finally. A giant minotaur taking it easy in the back of the van, on the way to his new home. I had to confiscate his book for the journey- didn’t want him to feel queasy….
Beth Carter Giant Minotaur Reading Bronze Resin 147 x 55 x 45 cm.
It will soon be time for this….
Late August, given heavy rain and sun For a full week, the blackberries would ripen. At first, just one, a glossy purple clot Among others, red, green, hard as a knot. You ate that first one and its flesh was sweet Like thickened wine: summer’s blood was in it Leaving stains upon the tongue and lust for Picking. Then red ones inked up and that hunger Sent us out with milk cans, pea tins, jam-pots Where briars scratched and wet grass bleached our boots. Round hayfields, cornfields and potato-drills We trekked and picked until the cans were full, Until the tinkling bottom had been covered With green ones, and on top big dark blobs burned Like a plate of eyes. Our hands were peppered With thorn pricks, our palms sticky as Bluebeard’s.
We hoarded the fresh berries in the byre. But when the bath was filled we found a fur, A rat-grey fungus, glutting on our cache. The juice was stinking too. Once off the bush The fruit fermented, the sweet flesh would turn sour. I always felt like crying. It wasn’t fair That all the lovely canfuls smelt of rot. Each year I hoped they’d keep, knew they would not.
Seamus Heaney ‘Blackberry Picking’
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