Jake Lever

‘Pigeon’ Cyanotype Collaboration

Inspired by origami, Pigeon, is a beautifully crafted combination of letter and envelope designed by John Morse-Brown, a graphic designer with an engineering background. This year I have been delighted to work with John to create a new Pigeon design using cyanotypes.  Pigeon is a carbon-negative company planting trees to neutralise carbon emissions via the John Muir Trust in Scotland. John is also going to great lengths to keep all traces of plastic out of Pigeon products and packaging. (The plastic looking sticker on the Pigeon packages are compostable and biodegradable, made from cellulose, in the UK). They are for sale directly from the Pigeon Shop

My Pigeon collaboration with John is called ‘Apothecary Pigeon’. For a while I have been making cyanotypes, a very satisfying 150-year-old process where objects are placed on paper that has been coated with a special light-sensitive chemical and then exposed to sunlight. After the paper has been washed in water, the area underneath the object retains the colour of the paper, while the area around it becomes a deep, rich blue.  For ‘Apothecary Pigeon’ John and I decided to use healing plants from my garden in Birmingham as the ‘objects’ in a series of cyanotype designs.

I included honesty, fern, witch hazel and oak. Sage, tomato, nasturtium, hop and fennel. Spring onion, lovage, geranium and lemon balm. All these plants have unique healing and medicinal properties - from Vitamin C to the treatment of indigestion and anxiety, reducing inflammation and bringing down fevers, lowering blood sugar and cholesterol levels. They were widely used for medicinal purposes in the past, and many of todays drugs and medicines are either derived from or inspired by natural substances found in plants. In a world that often seems unhealthy and unsteady ‘Apothecary Pigeon’ has felt to be a very welcome and grounding project. I have loved producing artwork and discovering more about plants that grow a mere stone’s throw from my backdoor. 

Gillian Lever

Commissions and Christmas Exhibition

In recent weeks I have been enjoying meeting with several people who commissioned oil canvases earlier in 2022. I enjoy hearing people’s reactions to the work and finding out about how the paintings ‘settle’ into their new homes. Please contact me if you are interested in commissioning a painting.

From Monday 28 November - Saturday 3 December Art First, London will be exhibiting some of my small paintings and mixed media works as part of a six day gallery artists Christmas Show at The Forge, 15 St Mary’s Walk, Lambeth, SE11 4UA. The exhibition will be open every day from Noon - 7.30pm. Call in or email Art First: to arrange a visit. Free parking after 6.30pm.

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