Page Under Construction as of 11/7/19
It has been over fourteen years since I had a major exhibition; in 2005 it was Ancient Dynasties – the Evolution of the Cat at the Hancock Museum (now Great North Museum Hancock) in Newcastle. Self-publishing is a thankless and often soul-destroying process if, like me, you are poor and haven't got a huge slush fund to pay for extortionate marketing fees.
Fortunately, I am an illustrator by trade so have that particular ace to play which enables me to access realms of advertising not available to other authors. While Dance of the Fire Cat was not thought of until September 16th 2005 (the day before the Ancient Dynasties preview and the fire cat’s official birthday), I have created a substantial body of work in the meantime – Dance of the Fire Cat, The Ocean Lord, The Dark Portal, Imeldra Moonpaw’s Most Ancient and Magical Clowder of Grimalhame, The Old Grimalkin Book of Hours, the Autumn and Winter Almanac and Strange and Unusual Creatures. I figured it was about time that body of work was brought to the public’s attention by the only way I know how – exhibition.
The idea was to bring the Clowder of Grimalhame and the world of the fire cat to the public by creating an exhibition around the theme of a home for all, which Grimalhame is. I was inspired by a previous exhibition at Durham – it was a display of Lindisfarne Gospels-themed embroidery. It prompted me to create some of my own; I started with the Longwhisker and Moonpaw family mottos, and then bigger pieces like the Eight Acts of Mercy and the Four Foundation Stones of Society.
It tied in nicely with Durham Cathedral’s status as a sanctuary (the sanctuary knocker features in The Ocean Lord as Winnowyn Longwhisker’s door knocker). Grimalhame and the clowders were always inspired by the cathedrals, monasteries, and places where people could go to live and feel safe and feel a sense of belonging, where no-one went without. The art and architecture feature heavily in the books and illustrations, and the idea of a clowder based around faith, kin, family and community always lies at the heart of every Grimalkin community. And so, I thought it was appropriate to start with Durham as inspiration although this would not be my only creative influence. Both people and places have found homes within my work in the shape of clowders, sacred places and characters.
The exhibition is a flexible one, one which can grow and shrink as space allows – the three paintings of the three Founders of Grimalhame are the centrepiece, then there are the medieval/Lindisfarne Gospels inspired embroidery and, of course, the costumes, which will be a mix of fantasy and historical. Together they will form the introduction to the Clowder of Grimalhame.
I am excited as it now gives me something to work towards after years of working in obscurity, not that any of it has been wasted; world-building is as important as writing in my opinion. I’ve been procrastinating about being the next George RR Martin for years so maybe it’s time to put my non-existent money where my mouth is and prove I can do it. It will be a slog. It will be scary. But I did say I wanted it. I’ve done it before but now things are different. I know who and what I am. I know my world better. I am confident in talking about it. I want people to know about the Fire Cat and the Most Ancient and Magical Clowder of Grimalhame and how they came to be.
All Artwork Is Subject To Copyright And May Not Be Used Without Permission.
I will be adding more images to the Works In Progress Gallery as I go along.
The Three Founders of Grimalhame
Works in Progress