First published:Summer 2007
Although generally a solitary man, Blagdon loved his extended family and made toys and bicycles for his nieces and nephews who often visited. His sisters regularly brought him goods, and the family was supportive of him even though his life was markedly different from their own. A life-long farmer, his father had been a role model for his children. Having no use for idle hands, on summer evenings and during the long winters he would practice the craft of tatting. With coarse thread looped and knotted with a hand-shuttle, he created various table or chair coverings, decorative but sturdy items to adorn the home or church. Blagdon's sisters took up crocheting, and Blagdon himself took to working with baling wire, making individual items he referred to as 'pretties'. With just his hands and a pair of needle-nose pliers, he bent and curved the metal strands into squares filled with circles or other web-like forms.
Blagdon also began drawing and painting. Sketching with pencil on cardboard or wood, he painted fields of colour in geometric or circular patterns. As he became more avidly involved in painting and in making his wire pretties, he also began to transform his house, painting abstract dotted patterns on the light bulbs and large concentric rings of colour on the kitchen ceiling. At yard sales he gathered anything from discarded cans of paint to rolls of wire or a cast-off television. The materials that captivated him had roots in the natural world: magnets, copper wire, glass, and even leaves, sand and butterfly wings. Described as kind, gentle and highly sensitive by family and friends alike, Blagdon was innately attuned to the world around him - a fact that would play an increasingly important role in the art he made.
This is an article extract; read the full article in Raw Vision #59