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1. How To survive A Deadly Global Virus, Max Siedentopf

- and how to express yourself without your lower face?

2. On long walks around London, I have gathered plants from outside empty offices and closed businesses. In varying states of dry to dead, I find it impossible to leave a sad looking plant left out for the bin men. One large banana palm, wet and rotted at the root and topped with brown leaves, made its way back to the flat. Typically admired for their lush and verdant qualities, the dried palm leaves twist and curl in on themselves, their supple, life-giving qualities swapped for more papery, brittle forms. 

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3.  " A form of perpetual relation, not so much a substance but a thing whose identity is based on its relation to other things. Most of what you’re looking at when you look at water is light reflection. " Roni Horn

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4. A singular vision and highly tuned sense of colour, composition, abstraction and figuration is the important point-of-difference between a quilt and the work of Rosie Lee Tompkins.

 

The serendipity of finding particular fabrics, tones and textures - the gathering of pre-existing materials - is both a limiting factor and proof of brilliance. Having an overall sense of what is good, how something makes you feel, how strongly you connect with a material or object keeps the whole project on track. By its very nature, a quilt is more likely headed towards a disastrous finish than an elegant ending, but not for Tompkins. 

Intuition, skill and experience combine to create the best works of art; works that have a lightness of touch, an ambiguity and a purpose. 

Transforming swatches of fabric into something far more decadent - Tompkins quilts are more than the sum of their parts. Movement, energy and personality are at the core of her work, where imperfections and character are celebrated. 

In Catholicism they admonish those who are too serious, too detail-oriented - those suffering from too great a degree of perfectionism. 'The Sin of Scrupulousness' describes the evil of following the rules to such a degree that you forget about the overall picture -  the general idea, the actual meaning. Micro and macro are interchangeable, zooming in and out, these works - and Tompkins body of work as a whole - can be seen as many things to many people. I see Gustav Klimt and Marcia Kure; rags and riches; couture and craft.

5.  Never begin a story with a quote.

Never use anything but 'said'.

Never put anything you really care about in the last paragraph.

          - Fred McMorrow, Copy Editor

6.​ As a writer, journalist or editor, you have to be aware of - and responsible for - the words that you ascribe; the connotations and subtext of your descriptions; and the prejudices and lazy stereotypes that you choose to recycle. 

"When is it a protest, and when is it a riot?

What comes first, and what is the secondary story?"

          - Roula Khalaf, Editor of the FT in conversation with Eleanor Mills

Reading list:

Waterlog, Roger Deakin /

The Swimmer, John Cheever /

Swimming to Antarctica, Lynne Cox /

Haunts of the Black Masseur, Charles Sprawson

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N.B. Irma Blank: The beauty of calligraphy without a direct communicative function.

 

N.B. Marcel Broodthaers: Writing as a visual language that focuses on rhythm and pace rather than content and meaning.

7. When we were little my mum taught my sister and I how to make paper. We would make large batches, picking up and dropping this hobby sporadically over the years. 

 

We would sit in front of the television at night shredding old newspapers, soaking and boiling the material down to its most elemental form. The pulp is pressed into a mould, forming sheets that we would peg onto airing racks dotted about the house.

In 1978, Hockney made a series of 'Paper Pools' using coloured paper pulp that he would ladle into metal moulds, pressing and drying into a finished piece. 

The gently frayed edges of hand-made paper ripple and curl. It is this detail that distinguishes it from machine made paper. Paper is paper is paper - until you see a sheet that is beautiful enough to convince you otherwise.

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8. The multi-layered quality of London - the strata of individual stories, grand histories, dirt and potential - are quietly and beautifully captured by photographer Sylvie GoyHer work is inquiring, asking who writes history and whose lives are documented?

The huge glut of digital imagery that is created in our culture feels both prosaic and poetic. "Without graffiti and occasional inscriptions we would know very little of the common man and his thoughts" notes John Davie (Idler, Issue 73, p.63).