Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Cardozo Kindersley Workshop

Quotation from John Donne- letter-cutting is literary as well as visual

There is nothing like discovering discovering that something exciting and useful has been right under your nose all this time, unnoticed. I was making a passing comment to somebody about how perfect a location Cambridge was for my dissertation; there is Kettle's Yard, David Jones's letters to Jim Ede, a Divinity Fellow with a secret stash of relics from Ditchling and then the resources of the UL. She agreed, but didn't mention any of these things, just the Kindersley workshop.

In 1934 David Kindersley was apprenticed as a stone-cutter to Eric Gill at Pigotts. Eventually, frustrated by the religious strictures of Gill's working practices, he left to start his own workshop. Now located in Cambridge (a five minute walk from me, who knew?) the workshop is passed between generations as it takes on dedicated new apprentices who have fallen in love with letters. The Kindersley workshop produces headstones, memorial plaques, street signs and a whole range of commissioned work which at times moves towards being (although 'Art' is a dangerous word for Lida) lyrical, inscribed sculptures of immense poetry.

A quotation from Salvador Dali, which comes with a story Lida is keeping alive. 'Making is breaking' she says, this is what their work is all about. In order to make an inscription they break the surface of a stone that has existed for thousands of years. The minutest of errors destroys the work.

I have just returned from my visit to the workshop, gifted with books and postcards and thoughts and ideas, which my head is brimming and swimming with. I have a love and respect for Lida Cardozo Kindersley (David's widow) who currently the runs the workshop with passion and precision but also with the spirituality of alphabets; of lines, forms and characters which have a relationship amongst themselves, with stone and with the environment they are eventually placed within. She takes me to see a headstone which will be laid out on the ground, with a sweeping gesture and the reflection of sunlight in her eyes she explains how the light of the day will change letter and stone surface, bring everything to life.

The surface of the rock already has the sea, the beach, the sky and its birds written on it.

The whole workshop is a visual palimpsest (photos will have to follow) of tablets, sculptures, rubbings, words which are pure poetry or those that become doctrines for work, postcards, drawings and a whole collage of materials collected to form a part of the workshop's atmosphere, its creatively focussed energy. I sit at a great wooden table in the centre of the workshop as coffe break begins, biscuits are passed around, everyone is reading newspapers or books, there is light chatter. Then the break is over and the whole workshop is filled with the chippings of chisel on stone, the hum of deep concentration. Lettering is a language, Lida asserts, each letter has its own character, and she goes on to talk about the joy of the letter 'Y'.

1 comment:

  1. This workshop sounds like heaven to me. That "Walk Cheerfully" tablet is absolutely beautiful. Since I finished my Signwriting Course I am obsessed with letters and different scripts. How lucky you are to live so close to this wonderful place Frangipan!