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A Surprise Visitor from London’s Art Workers Guild

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The phone rang the other morning and it was Monica Grose-Hodge from the Art Workers Guild in London.  She wasn’t in London, though; she was here in Granada doing three days of interviews with local artists and craftspeople. She found me through my Granada Studio Visits display at her hotel, and wanted to know if she could come out for a visit and an interview.  Yes, of course.

Monica is endowed with the hybrid vigor inherited from a British father and a Spanish mother, and exudes the attractiveness of a person on a mission. She has a grant from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust to spend three weeks traveling around Spain interviewing and  photographing artists and master craftsmen.

When she gets home to London she’ll convert her material into an exhibition at the Art Workers Guild, and perhaps at the Anglo-Spanish Society. In addition, she’ll be giving lectures at the Guild and at art schools around the U.K. And, of course, she’ll have material left over to publish on the Guild‘s website, currently being renovated.

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It turns out that Monica is a printmaker herself, with a degree from the London College of Printing, though since then she has done a lot of other things: a publisher’s assistant in New York; an archivist in Chiswick, U.K.; and a fund raiser for the Guild, among other things.  She got her job there through Marthe Armitage, the doyenne of Britain’s craft wallpaper designers (the originals are lino cuts) and past master of the Art Workers Guild.

According to Monica, the Guild is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year. The photographs on their website show a wonderfully genteel and evocative 19th-century British ambience.

After the interview we took Monica to our favorite local taverna for fried fish, chilled white wine from Rueda, and a wonderful hot-fudge dessert fantasy which she baptized “Pecado de chocolate,” “Chocolate Sin.” We left her traipsing cheerfully down the Cuesta de los Chinos, the shady cobblestone path which descends alongside a babbling irrigation channel along the back side of Granada’s Alhambra Moorish castle, down to the Paseo de los Tristes (Melancholy Walk) en route to her next studio visit.

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