D is for …
disaster, dragon, dissertation, dysphasia, diamorphine (I’ve just finished reading Blitzed: Drugs in Nazi Germany by Norman Ohler – excellent book), dynamite, dachsund, drizzle, dribble, details and design. Let’s go with the last two.
It’s the attention to details in any work of art that distinguishes it from the run of the mill. What I look for in other people’s work is care and attention to the chosen medium. It’s the details which can make a work stand out. Often it is the little things that move the viewer, reader or listener – or cheer them up, as the feature image does. It shows part of a cupboard door in the recreation room at Julia’s House, the new children’s hospice in Devizes, designed by Hannah Kate Sackett, in collaboration with Karen from Hill Design.
Of course we strive for perfection in life and, as artists, writers or any creative person, we like to get it right. Nothing out of place – no jarring words, a hiccup in a line of poetry, misplaced apostrophe, smear on the canvas. Sometimes we can become obsessed with the minutiae, the small details and forget the big picture. But when it all comes together through planning or happenstance or a combination, then the viewer really can experience something special.
Sometimes we’re told ‘You can’t see the wood for the trees’. It’s the big picture that matters. And of course, it is the final work that counts. I look at the new library that’s been commissioned, its function and general appearance – yes, it’s a place I would like to visit and I notice the colour and grain of beech shelving and run my fingers along the smooth shiny surfaces. How satisfying! What craftsmanship! I put on a designer dress and feel the fit and see what it looks like, while my eyes focus on embroidered buttons on the sleeves, and delicate lace decorations on the hem. Miniature works of art. In the gallery I stand back to admire a painting, moving closer to look at the brush work and notice a tiny figure in the corner – mysterious and thought-provoking. Stand back. Come close. Let your imagination make sense of it all.
If you ever visit the Assembly Rooms in the Town Hall in Devizes, look up and take in the beauty of the Adam-style ceiling, its colours and the attention to detail in the design of the plaster work.
And if you’re ever in Trowbridge, have a look at the regilded corbels above your head in St James’s Church. Truly heavenly, as you look up at the restored angel ceiling of the nave.
D is for Divine.