Alchemy is a celebration of the power of chaos. It’s created in honour of instinct liberated and boundaries dissolved. In short - it’s a salute to the creative alchemical power of cutting loose.

The words on Alchemy are by the hugely influential, horrendously misrepresented philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, from his cryptic philosophical novel Thus Spoke Zarathustra. They are an expression of his thinking presented in a much earlier work, The Birth Of Tragedy, on the vital ingredients that are needed to make truly great, transcendent art.

He states that the fusion of Dionysian (disorder, intoxication, emotion, and ecstasy) and Apollonian (harmony, progress, clarity, and logic) artistic impulses (as expressed in Greek Tragedy) allows the art to impart a sense of underlying essence, ‘the Primordial Unity’. This is a state which revives Dionysian nature, bestowing strength, fullness and the power to transform things towards perfection - to create true art.

Lucy Farley’s Figure In The Studio is a beautiful expression of Nietzsche’s thinking. The Figure and the exterior of the studio are almost pure white (harmony, clarity). The Figure is made up of geometric shapes (logic, harmony, progress). The Figure’s hand is consumed in the studio's fertile 'Dionysian' explosion of colour, chaos and energy.

The subject matter of Farley’s painting isn’t the only expression of Nietzsche’s Dionysian/Apollonian concept, it relates also to its specific process of creation and Farley’s own way of delivering ‘Primordial Unity’. 

Farley uses multiple mediums to create her work (often painting, etching, printmaking and collage). This process allows her to ‘progress, evolve and a new abstract language to form’. Distortion - chaos - enters the work as it transfers between mediums. This prompts new approaches as Farley reorganizes memory and perception, maintaining the speed and spontaneity of original in situ drawings.

So, for all us Alchemists working to make precious things, carrying this wallet reminds us that a dollop of chaos shouldn’t be feared or regretted - it’s what we need to make gold.

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The Words

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As a hugely profound and pertinent philosopher of humankind and our modern times, quotable words from Nietzsche feel almost endless. Here are a selection of our favourites.

“Without music, life would be a mistake.” 
― Twilight of the Idols

“It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.” 

"He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you." Beyond Good and Evil, Aphorism 146

"The man of knowledge must be able not only to love his enemies, but also to hate his friends." Thus Spoke Zarathustra

"Let each day be a loss to us on which we did not dance once! And let each truth be false to us which was not greeted by one laugh!" Thus Spoke Zarathustra

"No one can construct for you the bridge upon which precisely you must cross the stream of life, no one but you yourself alone" Untimely Meditations, Schopenhauer As Educator

“In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.” Beyond Good and Evil 1886

“The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently.” The Dawn, Sec. 297

“I am a forest, and a night of dark trees: but he who is not afraid of my darkness, will find banks full of roses under my cypresses.” 
―  Thus Spoke Zarathustra

“We have art in order not to die of the truth."

“Art is the proper task of life. "

“They muddy the water, to make it seem deep.” 

“A thought, even a possibility, can shatter and transform us.” 

“Become who you are!” 
Thus Spake Zarathustra: A Book for All and None

“God is dead." Thus Spoke  Zarathustra

“God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?” The Gay Science