Coales' Notes: Being crafty about a sensitive area: Gordon Coales, still in thrall to Ars Longa, attempts to sweep the world of arts and crafts off its feet

MONDAY. I rang Silver this morning, to confirm that he was serious about wanting me to think up an entirely new form of art, so we could offer a prize for it. I said I hoped he realised it was a bit tricky, this sort of thing only happened once or twice a century. He said I had his complete trust; next Tuesday would be fine.

TUESDAY. I shouldn't have gone into the office today. Di asked me, unless I was doing something absolutely vital, if I could go and check someone out. Not an artist as such - she thought it was time to be making overtures into the craft world, though of course this was a very delicate matter. I said surely it wasn't such a problem, because a lot of these craft things pratically were art.

Di became suddenly very serious. 'Gordon, whatever you do, never say that. Never call it art. It implies that craft is some sort of poor relation. It's the most terrible insult. You have to be so careful with craft.'

Rory added: 'In fact, to be absolutely safe, I wouldn't call it craft either. Slightly dodgy connotations.'

I said, presumably decorative art was not acceptable. Di said: 'No way. I think a few years ago it was alright to say designer-maker, but I'm not sure if that's on either now. It's just an incredibly sensitive area.' Rory said: 'Best not to say anything at all. Basically, it's a minefield.'

So anyway, I'm going to see someone called Bingy Hall, believed to be 'on the cutting edge of broom-making'. I'm not too worried. Unqualified flattery always works.

WEDNESDAY. Found Bingy Hall's workshop in Battersea. She opened the door and said: 'Oh hi] And welcome to the broom-cupboard]'

She went to make tea. It was then I realised that the crafts are actually a completely foreign country to me. The studio was chock full of brooms - but all looking, to my eye, exactly as one would expect brooms to look.

She said: 'Well, here it all is.' I examined the brooms closely. I said it was interesting to find someone working apparently very closely within the traditional parameters of the broom. She said: 'I think you have to, really.'

I said, yes - and then, the use of traditional materials, that was another thing. She said: 'I've always preferred wood. Of course recently people have been making everything from re-cycled rubbish. But to me, a broom made out of rubbish would be kind of a contradiction, if you see what I mean.' I nodded vigorously.

I said, I supposed there must be a language for talking about these things. She said 'I think really I'm instinctive. I think what I like is something that sweeps.'

I nodded more vigorously. I asked if I could do some sweeping. She said fine. I swept for a bit. Finally she said: 'Of course, if you're interested in brooms-about-brooms, and 'what is a broom?' brooms, then you'd have to talk to other broom-makers.'

I said: that was the word was it - broom-maker? She replied: 'Or sometimes artist-broom-maker.' I said, well, thanks awfully, be in touch, and made off.

What a mess. Nice phrase though, artist-broom-maker.

THURSDAY. Well, I think I have it. I faxed this to Silver this evening. I emphasised that we would of course need to drum up some very authoritative judges, and also some very large sums of money, but given those two things, the consequences would be nothing short of revolutionary: a new form of artist at least.

'The First Ars Longa Prize for Combined Creativity.

'To oppose the trend towards specialisation and the invidious demarcations between art, craft, design, etc, and to encourage breadth of accomplishment in the creative individual, in its first year the Ars Longa Prize for Combined Creativity will be awarded in the following three categories:

1) A short story (of no more that 7,500 words length) AND a nest of tables.

2) A composition for voice and piano (of roughly 20 minutes duration) AND a working model for a self- righting traffic cone.

3) A painting on canvas (of any dimensions) AND a man's hat.

Collaborative submissions will not be accepted; the judges will give equal weight to both elements in any category; any attempt to integrate or otherwise link the two elements will lead to instant disqualification.'

I hope this appeals.

Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film Ridley Scott reveals truth behind casting decisions of Exodus
Arts and Entertainment
An unseen image of Kurt Cobain at home featured in the film 'Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck'
filmThe singers widow and former bandmates have approved project
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden and Edwina Currie are joining the I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! camp
tv
Arts and Entertainment
George Mpanga has been shortlisted for the Critics’ Choice prize
music
Arts and Entertainment
Roisin, James and Sanjay in the boardroom
tvReview: This week's failing project manager had to go
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Hope Fletcher
booksFirst video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Arts and Entertainment
Damien Hirst
artCoalition's anti-culture policy and cuts in local authority spending to blame, says academic
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
A comedy show alumni who has gone on to be a big star, Jon Stewart
tvRival television sketch shows vie for influential alumni
Arts and Entertainment
Jason goes on a special mission for the queen
tvReview: Everyone loves a CGI Cyclops and the BBC's Saturday night charmer is getting epic
Arts and Entertainment
Image has been released by the BBC
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Will there ever be a Friends reunion?
TV
News
Harry Hill plays the Professor in the show and hopes it will help boost interest in science among young people
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
A Van Gogh sold at Sotheby’s earlier this month
art
Arts and Entertainment

MusicThe band accidentally called Londoners the C-word

Arts and Entertainment
It would 'mean a great deal' to Angelina Jolie if she won the best director Oscar for Unbroken

Film 'I've never been comfortable on-screen', she says

Arts and Entertainment
Winnie the Pooh has been branded 'inappropriate' in Poland
books
Arts and Entertainment
Lee Evans is quitting comedy to spend more time with his wife and daughter

comedy
Arts and Entertainment
American singer, acclaimed actor of stage and screen, political activist and civil rights campaigner Paul Robeson (1898 - 1976), rehearses in relaxed mood at the piano.
filmSinger, actor, activist, athlete: Paul Robeson was a cultural giant. But prejudice and intolerance drove him to a miserable death. Now his story is to be told in film...
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift is dominating album and singles charts worldwide

music
Arts and Entertainment
Kieron Richardson plays gay character Ste Hay in Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Midge Ure and Sir Bob Geldof outside the Notting Hill recording studios for Band Aid 30

music
Arts and Entertainment
Look out: Broad shoulders take Idris Elba’s DCI John Luther a long way
tvIdris Elba will appear in two special episodes for the BBC next year
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
    Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

    Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

    The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
    Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

    Sarkozy returns

    The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
    Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

    Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

    Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
    Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

    Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

    Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
    There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

    In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

    The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
    UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

    UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

    It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
    Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

    Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

    It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
    The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

    Staying connected: The King's School

    The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
    Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

    Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

    Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
    Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

    Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

    The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
    Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

    When two worlds collide

    Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
    Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

    Putin’s far-right ambition

    Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
    Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

    Escape to Moominland

    What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?