We’re delighted to publish Benamon’s 25th article to his PictureBook column with us and once again, it is outstanding, gushing with creativity and imagery both in pictures and words, don’t miss this.
The concept behind the PictureBook column is not just about capturing stories but creating them, the journey behind and the image we present. PictureBook draws on Images selected from Benamon’s own story series and also looks at the work of the other story tellers within the community’.
Over to you Benamon (foreword by Joanne Carter)…
‘The tea cups scattered as a host of feet, wheels, hands and paws charged over the
carefully laid out tea service. The Sark slumped and waited for the toys to finish.
“Hunt the knock!” a small doll in a faded blue dress squealed as she hobbled up
and started turning over the upturned cups, looking for the elusive sound.
Disappointed by the empty teapot, devoid of both tea and knocks, she wandered off and
the Sark began to gather up the worn china.
Taking off the tea pot lid he climbed up and reversed into the space, wedging himself in
tight before kicking out his legs and flipping over on to his feet.
Like a strange tortoise he reached out to two tarnished silver spoon and using them as
support, raised himself up and started over to the nearest cup.
He reached out and ran his fingers over the worn china, checking it for cracks before
placing its on top of the teapot base and moving on to the next piece.
The last cup was gathered up and thrown up to balance on top of the strange tower that
rose up from his back, spoons and sugar tongs sounding out like servants bells.
His labour complete, the Sark moved off and in search of a new place to set down”
‘The Sark’ – ©Benamon Tame
The Sark struggled like many with his awakening, his last memory was playing tea with
one of the young Thorn girls and in particular being berated because he could not serve
himself and she had to do everything. Waking up to a life without them, the Sark blamed
himself for the children leaving. His last memory now consumes him and now like a record
stuck in a groove he tries to reply the moment and change it. At first The Sark believed
that if he could show the children that he could do it right they would return. But he has
been doing it so long now the ritual of tea has burned deep into his mind and the reasons
why and anything beyond fade like the patterns on the china.
Against the enormous challenge of a new life the Sark retreated into the past and clung
onto what he thought he knew, using it to build a life of sorts.
The Sark’s life is made harder by the other toys who soon grew bored of playing Tea with
him, they could not keep up with his need for precision and obsession with the ritual of tea
he had tied himself too.The other toys will now either ignore him, often playing through his
carefully laid cups or deliberately moving them or hiding them and watching as the Sark
searches frantically before gathering up everything and shuffling off to find a new spot.
The sark, despite his noticeable appearance, does not play a part in the wider flow of
events in the toy room apart from the occasional victim of the other toys mischievousness.
Caught up in his own neurosis, he drifts round the edges and open spaces. His tragic tale
made more so as his obsession has driven away those toys that might have joined him for
tea. Taking it all upon himself and fearing they might get it wrong he echoed the criticism
of the long gone children and pushed them away.
‘The Saddened Sark’ – ©Benamon Tame
The Sark is named after the famous Tea Clipper Cutty Sark.The Cutty Sark was a sailing
ship used to transport tea and was famous for being the fastest in its day. It also has
echoes of The Snark, which was a character in the poem The hunting of the Snark which
was written by Lewis Carroll ( Charles Dodgson) who also wrote of the adventures of Alice
‘The Sark. Typewriter’ – ©Benamon Tame
The Sark was created as a composite piece and was build up from several images. I
started with shots of the doll and the teapot followed by several shots of the cups and
saucers in badly balance piles.I wanted to give the tower a precarious look, as though it
could and should topple but never does.
‘Sark1’ – ©Benamon Tame
After I had taken the initial shots and started composing the piece I altered the pose and
decided to have him raised up on two spoons he used as sticks. This added to the feel of
eh weight of the pot and all the cups as well as increasing the visibility of the face so it did
not end up just a pot with legs.