It was just over two years ago, following a conversation we had with Jim about the beauty and endurance of the written word in all its various forms, that we decided to showcase his work in our shop window.
At that time he had just started a project to engrave the whole of Ivor Gurney's poem 'Brimscombe' using two lines for each stone.
Here's the full poem:
One lucky hour in middle of my tiredness
I came under the pines of the sheer steep
And saw the stars like steady candles gleam
Above and through; Brimscombe wrapped (past life) in sleep!
Such body weariness and ugliness
Had gone before, such tiredness to come on me -
This perfect moment had such pure clemency
That it my memory has all coloured since,
Forgetting the blackness and pain so driven hence.
And the naked uplands even from bramble free.
That ringed-in hour of pines, stars, and dark eminence.
(The thing we looked for in our fear of France).
There are two lines from the poem in St Laurence's Church in Stroud:
And he worked to complete the poem earlier this year in the churchyard there:
His inspiration for the work was the restoration of the canal at Brimscombe, and you can find some more of his work along the canalside from Wallbridge to Daneway in the form of hand-lettered haiku poems in slate. You can read about this here
Jim can often be seen in the window putting the finishing touches to his work and he likes to make sure they are in the best positions to catch the light.
His hand carved stones reflect his interest in the relationships between art & language, and landscape & place. Here are some more examples of his work that we have displayed over the past two years.