Then I wandered across the road into the city library to see if they had the book of the Percy exhibition. It's called 'A Micronaut in the Wide World'.
"A micronaut" says Gregory O'Brien in his introduction to the book, "is someone who dwells on or is moved by small things; he or she is a student of miniature objects or a traveller across minute spaces. Seated at his work table in his South London town-house, Graham Percy was a micronaut par excellence. His eyes would scan the objects, works of art, postcards and books in the room. He began with these, the smallest, most unassuming of things."
"As well as being an astute observer, Graham was scholarly in his attentions. If he were to sit down with the present book, I imagine one of the first things he would do is look up the word micronaut in his dictionary - to find it derived from naut (Greek), 'a sailor'. Micro- is easily sorted. If he searched further he would find the term was used by an American [toy] distributor in the 1970s for a range of science-fictional tin figurines..."
"Continuing to research the word 'micronaut', he might arrive at Friedrich Froebel, an nineteenth-century German educationalist best known as the inventor of the kindergarten. Froebel described the child as the archetypal micronaut - an explorer who should be left to make his or her own discoveries. Since Froebel's time, much has been written about the affinities that exist between the modern artist and child. Graham Percy's approach was very much that of the wonder-struck child... Weaving together imagined and observed realities, and inspired by intellectual as well as material accumulations - the books and bric-a-brac with which he surrounded himself - his 'micronautical' art embraced the wide world beyond the personal and private.'
Percy's love for his little world was so complete that, when he died, his ashes were placed for safe-keeping inside a scale model of the Le Corbusier-inspired house in which he and his wife lived for 26 years. The model is kept within the real house. It is made of tin, wood and frosted glass. You can put a candle in the front section of the model house so that it lights up - to remind you of Percy working on his drawings late at night. O'Brien describes the model as the "last residence of a micronaut".
I'd never heard of a 'micronaut' before, but I want that title! For this micronaut, there is too much to get excited about when I connect all this with Safe Little World.