Rowany Festival Shirt 2014: The Festival Monstre
As with most of the festival shirts done over the years, there’s a story behind the shirt image. This year (2014), the Rowany Festival moved to a new site. There was also the theme of mystical beasts. From this I developed the idea of people travelling through new, uncharted regions to get to their destination, being hampered by a mysterious beast which collects and hoards all the interesting things that happen at Festival. At first, I was going to base the image on an illuminated bestiary, but this slowly emerged to become an image which could fit in with a verse from an imaginary poem based on Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, to look like the page of a book. The word ‘kraken’ was not used in the English language until around the 18th century, but Chaucer is credited with the first recorded use of the word ‘monstre’, and thus we have the Festival Monstre.
Given the size and intricacy of the drawing which followed, the decision was made to go with lino instead of wood. Around 11 pages of extant objects, and illuminated and printed images were used as documentation to develop the initial drawing, which was then transferred to lino, and cut using linocutting tools.
The block was then printed on an Albion relief press. Due to problems with the platen and bed having worn unevenly, this image has not yet been editioned, but will be later in the year.
Above: the image is revealed
The verse which accompanies the shirt was based on the prologue to the Canterbury Tales and was composed by my partner. It reads –
Whan that aprill with his shoures soote
The droghte of march hath perced to the roote
So priketh hem Nature in hir corages
Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimage
And specially from every shires ende
Of all Lochac to Rowany they wende
But folke must to an aweful warning harken
Tread soft lest they the beastly monstre waken
Materials: Printed on Stonehenge using modern black relief ink
Edition: Yet to be produced as an edition, projected to be 15-20
Press: Victorian ‘Albion’ relief press
Subject: Two merchants flee the Festival Monstre
Purpose: Image for the Rowany Festival t-shirt, 2014