Arabic Calligraphy Workshop in St John’s Hall Gallery, Barmouth


Artist/teacher Hakim Bassass from Morrocco will guide the workshops, introducing:

  1. Making the pen
  2. Making the ink
  3. Practical work, drawing the script

Hakim will introduce us to a cursive and decorative style of Arabic lettering like the examples above.

Wednesdays in August in St Johns Hall Gallery, 2-4pm, £5 per session. All materials provided. Children and adults. For more details ring 07767862382.


Seeking Volunteers to Help with Puppet Making for Carnival in Gallery on 26th August


During August St John’s Hall Gallery will be busy preparing for the Large Puppet Carnival that will walk through Barmouth on August 26th.

Volunteers are needed during August to help build the large puppets.

Last year’s carnival procession can be seen on YouTube.

We will return to the hall for a day and evening of interesting events – performances and entertainment.

We encourage groups to form and create their own puppet for this event. Let’s get together and make something hum. Come and see what we are doing. Make suggestions. A sort of Madi Gras of large puppets would liven the procession up a bit.

Barmouth Puppet Theatre Project

At the same time we will be running puppet workshops where you or your child may like to help build a puppet theatre, which will perform its play during the carnival. We will make puppets, scenery and the theatre itself. Think of a simple play, write the words, and make the music. The more children and parents come the more puppets we will have to use in the theatre.

Puppet workshops will take place on Thursday and Saturday between 2pm and 4pm.

Cost per person £5

Bring old clothes. We supply all the materials.

Maybe this will become a puppet festival.

Please call in to the gallery for more information or ring 07767862382.

The Sleeping Rabbi

This detail from the first of 3 panels concerned with the Semitic Myths. This first one is concerned with the founding myth of the Jews, the description in Hebrew of the creation, the story of the delivery from Egypt, the burning bush and the tablets of law, etc.

The old Rabbi sleeps, dreaming his foundation myths, clinging to the scroll on which the Pentateuch is written.

There is much to be done yet, but the idea seems to have been established. It needs working out in a series of developments.sleeping-rabbi-1

The two subsequent panels will depict a sleeping Christian, maybe an iconic type figure, and a Dreaming Mullah (maybe Rumi). Each will share the same scroll as the three religions do, written in three languages.

Panel 2. The Semitic Myth


This is the first board of three, the other two depicting a sleeping Christian and a sleeping Mullah. The scroll that covers them will be lettered, in 3 columns, with Hebrew Greek and Arabic. The text on all three will be the same, the commonly held story of the creation all derived from the first book of the Jewish Pentateuch.

I wish to illustrate the commonality of beliefs and of doctrine of these three great religions, belonging to a single family.

This panel may not be sequentially correct. The Semites come early, but not that early.

Here are a few succinct extracts from Wikipedia:

“A large number of Non-Semitic speaking peoples inhabited the same general regions as the Semites: Sumerians, Elamites, Hattians, Hurrians, Lullubi, Gutians, Urartians and Kassites. Indo-European language speakers included; Hittites, Greeks, Luwians, Mitanni, Kaskians, Phrygians, Lydians,Philistines, Persians, Medes, Scythians, Cimmerians, Parthians, Cilicians and Armenians, and Kartvelian speakers included Colchians, Tabalites and Georgians.

The earliest positively proven historical attestation of any Semitic people comes from 30th century BC Mesopotamia, with the East Semitic Akkadian speaking peoples of the Kish civilization,[6][7] entering the region originally dominated by the non-SemiticSumerians (who spoke a language isolate). The earliest known Akkadian inscription was found on a bowl at Ur, addressed to the very early pre-Sargonic king Meskiang-nuna of Ur by his queen Gan-saman, who is thought to have been from Akkad. However, some of the names appearing on the Sumerian king list as prehistoric rulers of Kish have been held to indicate a Semitic presence even before this, as early as the 30th or 29th century BC.[8] By the mid 3rd millennium BC,[9] many states and cities in Mesopotamia had come to be ruled or dominated by Akkadian speaking Semites, including Assyria, Eshnunna, Akkad, Kish, Isin, Ur, Uruk, Adab, Nippur, Ekallatum, Nuzi, Akshak, Eridu and Larsa.

All early Semites across the entire Near East appear to have originally been Polytheist.

The influence of Mesopotamian religion can also be found in Armenian, Persian and Graeco-Roman religion and to some degree upon the later Semitic Monotheistic religions of Judaism, Christianity, Mandaeism, Gnosticism and Islam.[13][14]”

It is therefore appropriate to place the Semitic panel at third place in the chronology. Our modern experience of Semitic culture and the Semitic ‘worldview’ is through the Semitic cultures now in existence in our modern world, dominated by Judaism, Christianity and Islam. In all of these cases the culture has spread to other peoples than the racial Semites, because each the religions have passes, or are engaged in proselitization.

In a sense, Semitic culture is part of my own. In my early days as a Christian, the Semitic world view, and specifically that of the Jewish sect we call Christian, was the world in which I was nurtured. For some time I toyed with the idea of becoming a minister of religion, and for two years was a ‘local preacher’ on the Methodist ‘plan’ for the Flint, Holywell, Halkyn region of chapels. I can no longer recall any sermon I preached, but I imagine they followed the formula of quotation from somewhere in the bible then elaboration and commentary. In principal the religion I followed was formulaic and doctrinaire, with a system of belief to which everyone adhered. My preaching, I have no doubt, enforced the stories with repetition and example from personal experience, it was called ‘giving testimony’. I am still very interested in the nature and history of the Christian religion, its connections, its antecedents and its influence, and wish to take the opportunity of these paintings to widen my knowledge and reading.

In addition to the calligraphy around the head and feet of the sleeping figure I intend to arrange images from the particular versions of the myths appropriate to the sleeping figures.

However I have begun to develop some ideas for this panel, which I will outline here in this series of blogs.

Ambient Awareness

Just come across this phrase from the internet, a clever company that garners packets of unseen information about us as we visit their site. Here is their own description of the service they offer:

Want to know who my friends are? Connect to my Facebook. Want to know who I work with? Use my email domain. The money I spend? Connect to my bank. My revenue numbers? Just connect my Stripe account. The trips I’ve booked? You’ll find the receipts in my email, same for most things I’ve bought. With products like Gmaillaunching powerful APIs, the opportunities become endless.

Sometimes the data your product needs isn’t readily available. In those cases create the simplest integration possible (for your customer) to get it going forward. ForIntercom that means we offer a tiny snippet of code that is installed once, and removes the burden of data entry from that point onwards. There is no “New user” form, they’re automatically gathered now.”

Whats creepy about this is the concept, Ambiant awareness, conjuring up in my mind a picture of a vast sleepless mind, constantly building little neural complexes, little ganglia, modelling the real world, night and day throughout the world.