Thursday 20 March 2014

A Walk to Remember

SCIBase is a collaborative project between BasementArtsProject, Leeds and the SCI collective based in the Northwest of England. The collective includes members not just from Leeds and Merseyside, but also Sheffield, the Midlands, Sweden and the USA. I donated to their Kickstarter project and was able to send a piece to be included in the Colonized exhibition. 
You can find out more about the project by following the links below
The piece I made is called A Walk To Remember and is based on a walk taken between Knotting and Souldrop in Bedfordshire in 2013. It grew larger than the original size specified in the brief and is A6 rather than A5. 

This was a walk that has stuck in my memory, Souldrop and Knotting are such memorable names. We walked through a muddy woodland path deeply rutted by quad bikes, there were signs of bluebells to come, a bee hive in an oak tree, it was warm and the sky was dotted with small puffy clouds. Dead tree branches stretched dramatically between live trees. We came out into a field and walked down towards a farm. There was some sort of insect nest caught up in a weblike structure, there was a half devoured hare's leg in the middle of the path. 

There was a long walk on pavement through a village before we reached Knotting and our destination St Margarets Church. There was a war memorial, an impressive clock face, cobwebs capturing corners, ancient carvings, dusty light and old warm stones. There was a long walk back through another village which had the largest horse chestnut trees I've seen, all decked out with blowsy flower spikes, deep pink, speckled white. Open windows breathed in the drowsy air. 

We are sun soaked, tired, happy. We catch the Singer treadle gate, the power cable disks, the white doves, the yellow wagtail, the hunting birds, the ancient bomber in our cameras. Our nostrils and clothes saturated by oil seed rape pollen, my whippet picking his way through the sharp, dried bracts on the ground. 

The field seems endless, we pass another dog and walker, smiling, pollen painted. A golden afternoon. A walk to remember the past, wars, countryside, seasons, friends, family, sense of place, the mystery of the unexpected, the busy world of nature, the ground underfoot, the light, the passage of time. A memorable walk, for closeness, for love, for being part of and inside a quieter landscape.

This sense of an older community and quieter time influenced the way I made my subsequent piece of work. I wanted to use some donated woollen fabric, it made me think of tweed jackets, hunting ,  farming and weather. 

I printed the yellow wagtail in blue onto the fabric, added a spare Listen left over from the REFractal blindfolds to the reverse and created a gold silk lining with a frayed edge to the pocket.

On the front I added some saved charms and string,and pinned on a small copper medal embossed with the word Sigh. I recycled a free machine embroidered piece from Invisible Threads - an imagined portrait of a country woman from another time, and backed it with a page from Walks in the Wheat-fields by Richard Jefferies

I made two small books which have photographs from the walk applied to Zoffany wallpaper samples and are backed with a postcard stamp, words and phrases to conjure my imaginings from the day. All of the fabric and papers remind me of the people who donated they and the time they came into my possession. I imagine a young man in the American airforce uniform meeting a girl in one of these villages - our wide skies saw many planes flying overhead during WWII. I imagine him sending postcards to the woman, this piece is her pocket full of memories, an unfinished story, a life cut short perhaps, these words treasured and stored in a drawer in an old mahogany chest, in a bedroom where time paused and passed on. 

You see the contents of the books and read the postcards here

I have more pockets and I'm making a larger intervention to take back to the church later this year as part of a current Back To Books project which will involve a participatory walk.

remember |riˈmembər|verb [ trans. ]have in or be able to bring to one's mind an awareness of (someone or somethingthat one has seen, known, or experienced in the past) I remember the screech of the horn as the car came toward me no one remembered his name.• [with infinitive do something that one has undertaken to do or that is necessary or advisable did you remember to mail the letters?• [with clause used to emphasize the importance of what is asserted you must remember that this is a secret.• bear (someone) in mind by making them a gift or making provision for them :he has remembered the boy in a codicil to his will.• ( remember someone to) convey greetings from one person to (another) :remember me to Charlie.• pray for the success or well-being of the congress should be remembered in our prayers.• ( remember oneself) recover one's manners after a lapse.

Wednesday 19 March 2014


After the success of collaborating during Walking North and Navigational Tools Old Law Beacons Jo Dacombe, Kate Dyer and I were commissioned to stage a MIC Creative People and Place art walk REFractal in the Kings wood Corby. Old Law Beacons believe that reflections, refractions and artistic interventions offer new ways of experiencing the woodlands. 

We devised a  participative ramble with site speciffic, temporary interventions / installations which aimed to enhance or alter the experience of the ancient woodland. The walk was designed to take one hour but actually took over two as the participants were fully engaged with the interventions and related activities. 

Kings Wood Corby March 15th 20014

Many thanks to Chamberlain Plastics, Stevie Way Art Group, Amy Dee, Niamh Dove, Corby Borough Council, Friends of Kings Wood, John Haughton and Mick Tiffany for help making and installing the artworks. Thank you also to those who joined us and made this such a rich and pleasurable experience.

Tuesday 18 March 2014

Bedford Happy Postcard

Bedford Happy is a town-wide artwork by Dan Thompson, in Bedford, December 2013-March 2014

I had the pleasure of meeting Dan briefly in the Transported Art Pop-up Shop in Boston and as I have been Artist in Residence at Priory Lower School, Bedford for about 8 years now, love mail art and postcard projects I thought this would be another mini project I could contribute to! It made me happy!

The postcards will be on display in the Bedford Happy research lab during Coffee With Art at Bedford Creative Arts on Saturday 29th March.

Here are some other events you can participate in via Bedford happy

"There is a chance to nab some Free fudge! Will you find a yellow ticket, hidden around Bedford town centre on Saturday 29th March?

Bring a book, take a book, stop for a coffee. The Bedford Happy pop up library is at Coffee With Art for one day, Saturday 29th March.

Music makes people happy. Dancing makes people happy. Eating makes people happy. So to end Bedford Happy, we're borrowing the West Indian Social & Cultural Society. Bring down your favourite record, and we'll play it on the club's sound system. We'll provide traditional West Indian fried chicken and dumplings too. See you there, with your 7"s."

You can find out all the things that makes Bedford Happy on their Facebook Page - looks like it's going to be a fabulous day!

Sunday 16 March 2014

Visible Mending

Artist Carol Parker last year during the Transported Art ACE Creative People and Place Engagement Phase. 

I later spent a happy morning with Carol and Amy Lee at their self funded Pop-Up Shop Art on the High Street in Spalding which had no connection with Transported Art. 

Carol also has a shed (more than one I believe!) on an allotment and put out a call for artists / craftivists to visibly mend a postcard to be included in an exhibition in one of the sheds. With all those intersections I couldn't resist!

There is still time to add your work to the mix! Find out more here and there is a fab Pinterest board with all the postcards on display for your delight! This was another great project which was a joy to take part in - inclusive and embracing! It also got me back into my garden workspace which feels so good! Roll on Spring!

Friday 14 March 2014

AirSpace Walking Encyclopaedia Exhibition

During our scoping day before the Light Walks Further Afield Residential Jo Dacombe and I discovered a ghost hotel. The gates were closed, the car park was empty and the grass in the hotel garden reached up over the seats, peeping through the tables. After the residential ended, we returned to create a temporary intervention - Half Beech. A magnificent copper beech tree beckoned to us and we wrapped her with orange ribbon you can see the photo set here

We submitted two stills as one piece - Half Beech to the AirSpace Gallery Walking Encyclopaedia Exhibition, along with our Light Walks For Dark Days film and other walking artifacts. The ever resourceful Jo Dacome delivered the work and her work in walking arts practice with Sidelong and Miles and Dacombe was highlighted by exhibition curator Glen Stoker when she was selected as one of their Walking Artists of the Day

My travelling wings have been a bit clipped recently but I was very keen to see the exhibition and the concurrent exhibition Paths of Variable Resistance by Tim Knowles. I got there the Saturday before the exhibition closed and here is a sample of what I saw:-

There was such a wealth of documentation about artists engaged in inspirational walking practice it felt good to be part of the creative footfall.