Nature ⸰ Rejuvenation ⸰ Darkness ⸰ Light
⦁ Handcrafted in England
⦁ Unique triple bonded shower proof twill - incredibly strong
Fire Wood is about firing and feeding your soul through nature. It's about communing with the outside world in order to express, explore and develop your inner world.
Comes in a stunning reusable 'Bags Of Ethics' cotton shoulder sling dust bag incorporating the ART WRD Welcome Poem.
Léon Spilliaert "Trees" 1929
Spilliaert is a startling Belgian painter whose genius has often been overlooked. His work is simultaneously oppressive and transcendent, filled with elegiac, alien atmosphere. With an affinity for writers such Edgar Allen Poe and Friedrich Nietzsche, Spilliaert forged a highly distinctive artistic identity. Naturalistic elements were removed or simplified to create stylization and abstraction. He expressed the interior of mind and emotion through a haunting, screaming and silent, sculpted reality.
His paintings often include a lone figure or are entirely deserted - but even then they retain the feeling of a vanished presence. Angles skew violently, perspectives plunge, a towering ship's hull becomes almost unrecognizable, framed front on it is transformed into a faceless monster emerged from the deep, looming up in the dock. Hallucinatory faces stare directly out of of a painting or in the opposite direction, water is painted in strange colours, broils and weaves in psychedelic patterns and this is before we even get to his weird, wild and remarkably modern self portraits. These have been described deliciously as depicting ‘a wraith in a box of shadows’.
He paints his familiar hometown of Ostend over and over but creates an exhilarating sense of estrangement - the inner mind is expressed in his personal and highly original depictions of the outer world. His marriage of the symbolic and the expressive in this way expresses his true genius.
In his later years Spilliaert took to painting trees. It has been suggested that on becoming happier, his work deteriorated. We couldn’t disagree more and in his tree paintings we see an extension, distillation and ‘naturalization’ of what he has done throughout his career. They display a more subtle power than his arresting earlier work, but are still filled with the same strength of imagination and atmosphere, bringing the inner psyche to the outside world and vice versa.
In relation to Fire Wood's words, we could call Ostend Spilliaert's forest. Through his long walks, often late at night, and his prolific painting of the town, he would ‘lose his mind and find his soul’ - he turned Ostend into a liminal space between the outside and his inner world.
In Spilliaert’s tree paintings we can see the forest replacing Ostend. The trees may need less sculpting than the town - perhaps his inner was at that point more closely intertwined with the wooded landscapes. But a subtle, often delicate, yet powerful sense of the inner surges quietly through these paintings.
The reaching fingers of the mostly bare branches have a mesmeric, haunting quality. They are often silhouetted against a coloured sky, conveying a sense of transcendence - the beautifully twisted, gnarled shapes contrasting and brought into relief with the glowing expanse beyond. Spilliaert still uses perspectives and framing to create emotion, beginning to abstract forest shapes and sky colours from their earthly form.
These tree spectres are like writing on the universe or like man. They are beautiful, either in their dramatic jagged-branched frenzy or rising in stately circular columns. Their Symbolism and expression, though less overt than his earlier work, is just as arresting, just as profound. Through the woods Spilliaert fires the imagination and the soul.
Attributed to John Muir / Unknown
Though we cannot be entirely sure these words are John Muir’s, we can say they are of or from John Muir in terms of his way of life, his world view and his impact on our relationship with nature.
Even a mistaken attribution tells a story. It connects with its given parent, shaping their influence in some small way. A gravitational pull can exist between a figure and a quote - they chime with each other, inhabit each other’s essence.
John Muir is also known as "John of the Mountains" and "Father of the National Parks". He was an influential Scottish-American naturalist, author, environmental philosopher, botanist, zoologist, glaciologist, and early advocate for the preservation of wilderness in the United States of America.
His letters, essays, and books describing his adventures in nature, especially in the Sierra Nevada, have been read by millions. His activism helped to preserve the Yosemite Valley and Sequoia National Park, and his example has served as an inspiration for the preservation of many other wilderness areas.
Muir's biographer, Steven J. Holmes, believes that Muir has become "one of the patron saints of twentieth-century American environmental activity".
"Muir has profoundly shaped the very categories through which Americans understand and envision their relationships with the natural world"
Muir’s writing and philosophy sprang from his belief that human beings and nature are profoundly connected - and that the human spirit needs nature in order to develop and achieve wholeness. He saw that too often we were neglecting, avoiding and fighting nature - whereas for own sakes we need to be embracing it.
Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.
For Muir it’s a human necessity to go into the forest, lose your civilized mind and find your natural soul there.
He also wrote:
I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.
This brings us back round to Spilliaert’s connection of inner and outer worlds. This quote could easily describe Spilliaert walking out into Ostend and deep into his psyche. The self cast into the world around us and that in turn creating us.
Perfect for city days and country aways our Everywhere Tote bag is made for many lives.
Dimensions: 34 x 43 x 9cm
Handle drop: 30cm
People & planet positive
We will only ever make products that are positive for people and our planet.
Our pioneering printing lasts a lifetime
In Nottingham, England we work with printing pioneers. Utilizing their specialist procedures, they are able to recreate artworks on novel materials with unparalleled colour vibrancy, image quality and colour durability.
Our bags are crafted by highly skilled, passionate people
Just across the Nottinghamshire Wolds in Melton Mowbray, our tote bags are handcrafted in small batches using traditional methods. This, along with the natural variation in these artisan products, means each one is unique.
Each bag is triple-stitched at pressure points. Combine this with our triple-bonded shower proof twill and high-quality webbing handles and the result is a bag that, as well as looking remarkable, is immensely strong and durable.
In short, ART WRD bags are made to inspire you and be loved for a lifetime.