Monday, 13 August 2018

Poetry scarf - Ithaka

Earlier this year I found myself thinking about the possibility of printing the poem 'Ithaka' by Greek poet Constantine Cavafy onto a scarf. Ithaka is a wonderful poem which has inspired me since I was given a book of Cavafy's collected poems as a gift in 1984. Before starting an MA in 2005 I made a number of scarves with poetry on and this year it felt like the right time to make just one more.

I discovered that although Cavafy died in 1933, the copyright resided with one of the two surviving translators, Professor Edmund Keeley and so I wrote to him via Princeton University. At the time it felt like a shot in the dark, but to my great surprise and pleasure, Professor Keeley and Princeton University Press Permissions Department granted me a licence to print the poem onto a limited edition of up to twenty cashmere scarves.

The design and colours of the scarves are inspired by the poem and also the North Devon coastline where I live and work. I used an ink bottle pipette to write the poem so that it wasn't too even, and mono-printed a wavy sea slowly leading to a level horizon to underline the words of the poem.

I decided that although the scarf uses three screens, in this digital age of saturated colour overload, I would simply print each scarf in a single and unique shade of either blue or grey.

The condition of the licence is to give one scarf to Professor Keeley, and therefore I gave him first choice of the eleven scarves I've printed before posting them for sale on my website yesterday, (he chose number 9).

The copyright restrictions prevent me from publishing the poem here, but you can read it in full as well as an insightful description into the meaning of Ithaka written by Maria Gonzales De Leon by following the link below.

To see the scarves and for more price, size, colour details, please visit my website at

from my seasonal colour sample notebook.