Saturday 17 May 2014

Preparing to be Transported

Last year Phiona Richards and I went on a creative adventure together as engagement artists for Transported Phase 1. 

This June and July we are heading out to Lincolnshire once more as The Eloquent Fold and we'll be two of the artists working on the Transported Open Book strand.

Our mornings will be spent working with the public making "A Flock of Words", which will result in a piece of work made by participants for Spalding, Crowland and Long Sutton Libraries. 

There will be a break for Cake and Conversation where we hope library users will join us and share their stories of home and away. Then during the afternoon Phiona and I will work on a collaborative piece "Crumbs From the Word Table" for each Library.

Inspiration in anticipation found during a derive in Harpole.

We have been preparing and gathering materials

We are really looking forward to working in Lincolnshire again so if  you are near Spalding, Crowland or Long Sutton Library we really hope you'll join us! For more information see Upcoming Events

Friday 16 May 2014

Singing Ringing Installation Thing

I'm making a tree for one of the other Songs For Quiet Steps churches

People have told me what singing brings to their lives

and I'm hammering their words

onto copper plant tags to form the leaves.

I'm surprised at how many people mention their soul

and flight, as in singing gives emotion wings.

Lovely to be thinking about the words of others.

90 done, between 10 and 20 to go.

More about the Why of this piece later. Right now I'm going off to be inspired by Barb Jungr who is on tour with Simon Wallis performing Hard Rain, the songs of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen.

Saturday 10 May 2014

Fleeting Footfall - St Andrew's, Cranford

Fleeting Footfall - St Andrew's, Cranford site specific temporary installation created May 2014 and inspired by Back To Books project Marking Our Tracks - Further Afield - Songs For Quiet Steps - Empty Church Walks.

St Andrew's dates to the late 12th century. It was originally a parish church but was later made a chapel of ease to St John's, the other church in Cranford. To the 12th century core was later added a 13th century tower. 

The church is built of limestone rubble dressed with ironstone ashlar.The church stands in the grounds of Cranford Hall, and is reached by way of the drive to the Hall. Cranford Hall has been the home of the Robinson family for over 300 years.

textiles used in this installation are reworked tea towels from the Invisible Threads / Combe Abbey Installations with extra imagery added, working with distress and staining acquired during previous incarnations. The poppy motif seen in the window above has been incorporated in a different form and the use of overprinting and printing on both sides of the textile, hanging where light can travel through the material making both sides visible at the same time reference the patchwork effect of the glass in the main stained glass window above the altar.

The walk to the church from the main road takes the visitor through a field which has both trees and sheep grazing and the building seems both a public space and attached and owned by the main house. I imagined the many feet that came and went through the field, from the village and Cranford Hall making their way through time, history and varying social strata.


and the family armourials

influenced my choice of imagery.

There is a strong sense of memory and mortality

valour, combat

loss and remembrance

Momento mori

"Memento mori (Latin 'remember that you will die', or also memento mortis, “remember death”, is the Latin medieval designation of the theory and practice of the reflection on mortality, especially as a means of considering the vanity of earthly life and the transient nature of all earthly goods and pursuits." Wikipedia

The complete set of images from the installation can be viewed here

Monday 5 May 2014

Missing Village Intervention - St Peters, Wolfhampcote

Inspired by the Songs For Quiet Steps project for Back To Books I have been making creative responses to the churches chosen as walking / cycling/ visiting destinations. I made the responses to St Peters, Wolfhampcote without having visited, instead I based my interventions on what other walkers / visitors had told me. 

There is very full and thorough information about the village and why it's missing here with links to other useful sites. Part of its appeal lies in the way road, rail and canal have played and still play a part in its history. I did not realise until now that there is a connection to Barton Seagrave, close to my home. As we met back at the churchyard after returning the key we met this striking young woman on her bike. She lives in Braunston but came originally form Kettering, another curious unplanned connection. 

In a way this intervention is full of those same curious unplanned connections and allowing my instincts and imagination to guide me. I knew about the rail, road, canal situation and I was intrigued by the idea of the church remaining after the village itself had disappeared. Under the earth there are floor plans, rubble, artifacts, evidence of human life.

To quote James Thompson in his A Brief History "These form part of the well known deserted medieval village site, but do not be misled into assuming that all the mounds which can be seen are the result of the destruction of the village some time late in the 14th century. Some are disused canal workings, dating from the earlier part of the last century, and made when Braunston was an important focal point for water-borne traffic"

Above the ground sheep graze, people walk their dogs, someone mows a lawn, tends pigs and a vintage car rally passes through. A blackbird sits on a fence post and treats us to a magnificent burst of song.

Artifacts for the Intervention:-

Artifact (archaeology), an object formed by humans, particularly one of interest to archaeologists
  • I wanted some ghost house structures so my Dad made me two almost portable towers / buildings with ledges to hold other artefacts. Once inside the church I was delighted to see how well these towers reflected the ceiling beams as well as referencing the missing village.
  • As I am trying to re-purpose things the towers were to hold two mosaics one made by me, one made by Andrew Rushton during a workshop by Emma Biggs. The panels are made from pottery shards as well as more conventional materials and both have elements of trees, travel, bridge, railway in them, so they had a satisfying connection to both the domestic and industrial histories that are woven through this location.
  • I had found a box of toy Crusaders in a Charity Shop and somehow felt sure that over it's long history this site would have soldiers of some kind present. I had also heard from one visitor that the atmosphere in the church on her visit had been chilling, unnerving and had left her with a very bad feeling. I thought I might need a little symbolic protection just in case. 
  • Because of this report I had imagined a very dark interior so I took some large glass pebbles to give reflection and a sense of water, but on the day we visited the church was flooded with light.

I didn't know how large the space would be or what the interior space was like, turning the key in the lock and letting myself into the unknown was part of the intervention. I stayed and interacted with the space for an hour and left the church as I had found it when I left. In a way this activity was like making and recording three dimensional sketches. You can see the full set of images here and other images of the area here