Lettering Arts Trust Announces ‘On A Knife’s Edge’ Exhibition

28 of the UK’s foremost lettering artists present their personal responses to the 2018 ‘State of Nature’ report. The Exhibition highlights the plight of some of the UK’s endangered species, flora, fauna and habitats. The title of the exhibition is also a nod to the precious heritage craft of hand letter cutting – a declining art form for which the Lettering Arts Trust, as a charity, is dedicated to sustain. 

28 artists present works depicting endangered animals, plants and natural habitats, which as a compelling collection serves to illustrate and highlight the need to conserve and protect our precious environment.

This mixed-media exhibition features stone carving, calligraphy, etching and woodcarving. Each work demands closer investigation into its topic. 

‘Empty Nests’ Curlew Nest.  Artist Jo Sweeting
‘Empty Nests’ Sparrow Nest;

Artist Jo Sweeting, has created ‘Empty Nests’ as an indictment of disappearing birdlife. She explains: “On the ‘Red List’ we see, sparrows, swallows, thrushes, starlings, curlews, hawfinch to name but a few. Their names acting as an incantation. I have carved the ‘Empty Nests’ as a celebration of our birds. I hope they will not be needed as memorials.”

A beautiful, fully illustrated catalogue, featuring the artists’ personal views and details of their creative approaches, alongside essays and comments from world-renowned naturalists such as Sir David Attenborough will accompany the exhibition.  

Lynne Alexander, the curator for “On A Knife Edge” comments:

“The Lettering Arts Trust is presenting the “On A Knife Edge” exhibition as a ‘call to action’ using art as the vehicle to bring it home to visitors and the wider population that it’s not too late to change our habits and live in synergy with nature, whilst helping to highlight the devasting consequences of doing nothing. It is clear that lettering artists, as a community, feel strongly about this topic and are using their craft to voice their concerns.  I have been particularly heartened by their responses; the subjects they have chosen – and of course the skill displayed in executing their ideas.”

‘Fratercula Arctica’ or Atlantic or Common Puffin
Artist: Bernard Johnson
(LEFT) ‘Lampyris Noctiluca’ or Common Glow Worm
Artist: Charlotte Howarth

Suffolk Poetry Society collaboration

Inspired by the theme of “On A Knife Edge”, members of the Suffolk Poetry Society composed a number of poignant poems. These will be published in a booklet which will be available to purchase from the Lettering Arts Centre from June 2021. 

Journeyman carving

As part of its ambition to sustain the craft of hand letter cutting, the Lettering Arts Trust supports the training of the next generation of artists with journeyman opportunities.  As part of his sojourn training with a Master letter cutting, current Journeyman, George Edwards has selected ‘Honey on a Knife Edge’, by Valerie Denton from the Suffolk Poetry Society’s poems, which he will carve in stone.  This will be displayed within the exhibition.

Sales and Commissions

All of the works presented for ‘On A Knife Edge’ are for sale, and further commissions can also be undertaken by these artists.

Wild flower meadow by Louise Tiplady (carved slate)
Pink sea fan coral by Harry Brockway

East Suffolk Council Greenforum

The Lettering Arts Trust is grateful for the support of East Suffolk Council through its Greenforum initiative which will be supporting ‘Wild Little Letter’ workshops for some East Suffolk primary schools.  These cross-curricular sessions combine nature studies with literacy and, in association with Suffolk Wildlife Trust, help to give local children a greater awareness of their natural surroundings.

“I am delighted East Suffolk is able to support this exhibition which highlights important concerns in our natural world. It is clear inaction is no longer an option and we must make sure we start to be proactive in supporting and champion our varied biodiversity. Reaching back into our history to our varied lettering skills provides a strong narrative to illustrate our threatened wildlife. I hope very much this exhibition will provide a catalyst to start that conversation to a change in better environment behaviour.” said Cllr James Mallinder Cabinet member for the Environment

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