LIMINAL lim·i·nal adjective 1. between two different places, states, etc. 2. occupying a position at, or on both sides of, a boundary or threshold.
LIMINAL is a continuing personal project, exploring the realm that exists between imagination and nature. As a child, the landscape and natural world seemed full of mystery and wild magic. It was easy to come and go across the threshold between the real and the imagined. It was a way of being in the world; of bridging the gap between nature and the conscious self. LIMINAL is my attempt to rekindle that deep, instinctive, mysterious bond with the non-human world, in an age when we are increasingly distracted and disconnected from it.
I’m fascinated by the idea of the ‘Rural Eerie’ - the eldritch feeling of the dark forest or the desolate hillside; the uncanny sense that the world is powerful and present, with intent and meaning far beyond our own. I was deeply attuned to this sense when I was young, influenced by writers such as Susan Cooper and Alan Garner. I still catch frequent glimpses of it. In this article on the subject, Robert Macfarlane cites musician Richard Skelton’s view that, “engaging with ‘the eerie’ is fundamentally an acknowledgement of life beyond our own species … about probing that complex, troubling relationship between humans and others.”
Process: SKETCHBOOK PAGES
Most days, I walk in the country. Usually a short ramble through the woods and fields behind my home; sometimes longer day-hikes or camping trips. I try to pay attention: fostering a way of responding to nature with heightened awareness and wonder. Later, without thinking too much, I channel this into my sketchbook, combining recollection with imagination. In a kind of archaeology of the psyche this process digs up fragments of symbolism which, when pieced together, start to reveal a personal mythology that strengthens my connection to the non-human world.
As humans, we exist in a state of duality: we are a part of the natural world but we have also set ourselves apart from it. We often feel the need to ‘get back to nature’, yet we see ourselves as somehow exceptional. I’m interested in the space between those two states; the liminal area where the conscious self begins to fray into a more primal essence of being: a place where we might begin to bridge the gulf between the human and non-human worlds.
This book is a limited edition of 100 copies, with an introduction by John Vernon Lord. Signed and numbered, 32 pages, printed on 120gsm uncoated paper, 120mm x 120mm.
Based on my drawings for House of Illustration's 'Drawing a Day' project, each 1-inch drawing is paired with an evocative word, so that the book forms a kind of graphic poem. The reader is invited to form connections and narratives between picture and text; both on each spread, and as a sequence through the book.
'The drawings have a compelling magic about them. They conjure up enigmatic symbols that we feel we must try to decipher and seek out connections with the accompanying words. Like all interesting images they are 'threshold' windows that invite constant viewing.' - John Vernon Lord
These LIMINAL drawings were completed in response to the ‘Drawing a Day’ project, set by London gallery, House of Illustration. In September 2018 they invited artists to do a drawing every day, but with a twist: each piece had to be just one inch big. The challenge arose from their exhibition of work by revered illustrator, John Vernon Lord, who did a one inch drawing every day during 2016. I took this opportunity to develop the 'liminal' themes emerging in my sketchbook - the intense focus of working at this small scale seeming suited to the enigmatic symbolism of the images.