6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Holloway. A collaborative gem., 10 Jan. 2014
This book is a gem, to be placed on your favourite bookshelf. By its nature, a gem should be difficult to extract, unaware of its presence by many but when noticed, it will brightly gleam from within its new and appropriately placed surroundings. It should be kept safe in its chosen spot but returned to countless times so as to induce reverie, to transport and absorb -Shown only to those who understand its value.
Personally, I have placed 'Holloway' in a favourite spot, hidden slightly in a lamplit corner, atop a thick timber bookshelf. A snug 'cwtch' (an appropriate Welshism) amongst the other works of its authors and related books: (Rogue Male) and the works of Macfarlane's departed friend (Mr R. Deakin to name but a few).
However, I felt it also needed to be alongside 'Poetics of Space' by Gaston Bachalard. They certainly inhabit a place under a similar sky and I think the relation between these two books mean they sit happily on the same shelf. The theory of Phenomenology is present throughout Holloway.
The decision not to directly identify each author for some parts of the written content only add to its sense of wondering and discovery. Only by actually locating, delving into and inhabiting a holloway will one truly grasp the similarity that the images created by its writing and artwork accurately reflect. Such is the nature of these ensorcelling spaces. The appeal of this book relates directly to subjective experience of both my childhood and adulthood, but the connotations of this book are universal. Whether it be through play and imagination born from innocent adventures as a child and in subsequent years spent walking, hiking and working in the outdoors. The resonance this book has with me is palpable. A passion for art, nature, prose/poetry and the beauty of this familiar landscape, would seem helpful in aiding ones enjoyment of Holloway. That it hits every one of these elements with subtlety and beauty is just a lucky break for me I suppose. My knowledge of this little gem came from a chapter of another of R. Macfarlane's books and in that respect it has inspired a fervour of investigation into similar avenues of reading, image making and resources.
( such as:
Dan Richards. The Beechwood Airship Interviews
Valerie Belsey. Hooper & Pollards' hedge dating theory.
Moments of silence by Lucy waddington.
Alan Garner - The Weirdstone of Brisingamen: A Tale of Alderley.
[...] [...] )
Holloway and the nature of the space it so eloquently describes, has directly informed my own artwork and rekindled my desire to seek out the wild places that are present just beyond our 'cellars and garret's'. To find wild corners to explore outside our abodes but nestled close, far from the mountains and moors beyond.
I have always been interested how collaborations work and envy the camaraderie involved in a collective creative environment. As an example, my favourite music albums are mostly the product of bands rather than solo artists. Often they were friends before they decided to start a band and such collaborations are more often than not, intriguing insights into the individual artists thoughts and instincts. That they have decided to pool their ideas, methods and expressions together at all is always a noteworthy endeavour. The dynamic within a collaboration of talented individuals is inevitably a difficult process. But when it works, the result can be a gem.
This book is a gem and it will also give bearing in other directions to explore or revisit. In the case of Holloway, one has struck gold in the composite parts of the sum. The previous works both individually and of previous collaborations by Robert Macfarlane, Stanley Donwood & Dan Richards offer a huge wealth of fantastic creative results. I suggest returning to the 'Holloway', delving deep within and exploring between the shade and shards of light as there is much more to be found.