Watch this space … This site contains a blog to introduce my new book :
LIGHTHOUSE IN KETTLES YARD
This is a book which fishes for gold and feelings – a ‘pandora box’ of paintings, sketches, poetry, prose and philosophy. It may be read from cover to cover or dipped into, like visiting pictures in a gallery. It opens with a child’s drawing at Kettles Yard in Cambridge, and leads the viewer into the story behind that drawing, which is autobiographical: the artist’s childhood in Cornwall and on the Yorkshire Moors, and with her grandparents Jim and Helen Ede, the creators of Kettle’s Yard.
The book’s centre-piece is a collection of Jim Ede’s unpublished letters, interwoven with the comments of those who knew him. There follows an intimate portrayal of his wife Helen Schlapp Ede, the woman behind his vision. The thematic material then expands through the author’s creative imagination, bridging a sequence of letters from the painter Lionel Miskin, to C.G.Jung’s vision in early childhood of an underground phallic ‘lighthouse’.
The child went into the lighthouse which an old man keeps, and saw him; Providence withholds till the final chapters, what the Alfred Wallis painting is, which was propped below the two little girls in Kettles Yard.
My book is a feast for all ages, blending family archives, mythology, paradox and fairytale with the recent renovation process of Kettles Yard. It looks towards a holistic rebirth of education in the arts. It concludes with a visit to Jim and Helen Ede in Edinburgh in 1974, and a taster of Jim’s unpublished autobiography ‘Between Two Memories’.
Other corners of the veil are lifted also: the inner child with the maternal power within a creative process, and touching on themes of life and death. The story is told not ‘about’, but ‘from within’.
I was born in 1949, and I have a daughter. I have since an early age combined drawing, creative writing and music in a prolific way. I was encouraged in this, by my grandparents Jim and Helen Ede, and by my parents, and their love of nature.
When I grew up I made my living drawing and painting portraits, including royalty. I served my apprenticeship by drawing many hundreds of children at school for the National Portraiture Foundation. Frequently a ‘soul’ connection awoke between myself and the sitter, and the work entered a subtly different dimension.
Needing to investigate an unexpressed inner world, I became deeply interested in the creative process itself. I wrote about and with it for many years, and drew free style with both hands, inspired by my childhood exposure to Picasso, Gaudier, Ben Nicholson and Botticelli. I also drew a series of “Musicians in Rehearsal” at the Wigmore Hall. Later I collaborated with Rohit Arya in The Sacred India Tarot (Yogi Impressions, 2011) for which I did 82 paintings – a gallery bridging Eastern and Western archetypes and philosophy. My collection of short stories “The Dreamer within the Dream” was published at about the same time, by 0 Books.
I am occupied nowadays with creative writing, and I illustrated the Wisdom Goddesses in Kavitha Chinnaiyam’s Shakti Rising, published in October 2017. I collaborate with other literary, artistic and human-rights projects and I maintain a family archive. I still play the piano sometimes, but not very well, and enjoy long walks and indoor rock-climbing.
My other weblog is http://janeadamsart.wordpress.com
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Hello Jane … I would love to see this in print. I had no idea of your connection to Helen Ede, but thought you might like this mention of her involvement in the Edinburgh masque of 1908 and her portrait by John Duncan: “Geddes’s son Alasdair and his daughter Norah both took part in the ‘Celtic Races’ part of the masque, which was organised by John Duncan. It shared many features with the Celtic part of the Masque of Learning as developed in 1912 and 1913. Others involved included the young Helen Schlapp as an attendant of St Bride; Duncan painted her on the island of Iona the same year. She was the daughter of Otto Schlapp, at that time lecturer (subsequently professor) in the department of German at the University of Edinburgh. She would later marry H. S. (Jim) Ede who founded Kettle’s Yard gallery in Cambridge” …. it’s from my new book, Patrick Geddes’s Intellectual Origins. Here is some context:
with best wishes, and thanks for your ever fascinating blog.
This is fascinating, Macdonald, and so good to hear from you again! I will follow up your link presently. I know the Duncan portrait of Helen well, and it features in my book, which includes my memoir of her. Her father Otto was known to us as The Rip – I’m not quite sure why, but he was very popular with his female students. He arranged chamber music meetings which helped to keep people sane during WW1. Some years ago I made a book of pencil sketches of the Schlapps. If you are interested, I can send you some. Warm greetings!
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Thanks Jane, I’d be most interested. email is firstname.lastname@example.org
I also mention Otto as an artist. Geddes published some of his work in ‘The Blue Blanket’. all best
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You aught to really put it on kick-starter and other crowdfunding websites simply because i saw something very similar who asked for $20,000 and the kind woman got $36,000 and still counting. Its a wonderful platform. Do check it out and give it a try 🙂
An example –