Saturday 31 January 2015

Size Matters

I had the great pleasure of taking part in the Sculpture Network NYB ’15 International Celebration of Sculpture in the Artspace Studios, January 25th 2015, 10.00-2.00pm. 17 countries and 44 venues around Europe and beyond participated. Participants were invited to contribute to an exhibition Size Matters? for the event and joined the celebration with picture conferencing and networking opportunities. Homemade soup, cake and a glass of wine were on offer for from our wonderful host Susan Williams MRBS. There were a wide variety of works on display and it was a lovely opportunity to meet both new and more familiar artists. You can see more by following the link

For the exhibition I remade Disappeared #43

in a new configuration

 and showed Singing Ringing

  Jo Dacombe and I created "The Measure of Things" 

and showed Half Beech

created  during our Light Walks Further Afield Residential. Jo Dacombe and I had 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

Tuesday 13 January 2015

Disappeared #43

Disappeared #43 has now been installed and can be seen until January 19th, here is some background information about the piece.

"Mexico: Students killed and others missing in Guerrero
On 26 September 2014, students were intercepted by Mexican police patrols firing shots and then later attacked by unknown individuals in Iguala, Guerrero state. At least six people were killed, 20 were injured and the whereabouts of 38 remain unknown.

Fear and fury in Mexico as mass graves hint at fate of missing students
They were young people for whom teaching was the only way out of poverty. But when they demonstrated over hiring practices, the drug cartels and police showed no mercy
Jo Tuckman, Iguala, Mexico
The Observer, Sunday 12 October 2014"

The students names also lie inside the greenhouse under the gloves 

The box has been filled with bay leave, dry rose thorns, other branches and rosemary, sadly I no longer have a sense of smell but the installation soon began to fill the corridor with fragrance, even if you didn't see it you would be able to smell it. 

The gloves suggest the way in which those left behind also remain buried, they have no body they are stuck between hope and fear for their loved ones, as are all who have missing friends or family. 

A laurel wreath

Names in suspension

From below

A basin for washing - hands, bodies, bones.
A dead Bay branch.
The gloves are for the family. 
The copper tags name each missing student.

Many thanks to Sharon M Read to Gallery 202 for inviting me to make this piece for The Box Gallery in Walgrave building at the University of Northampton. You can see further images here

There are packets of bay leaves dried from my own bay tree, one packet for each missing student. Why bay leaves?

Bay (Laurus nobilis)
From Legend and Lore to Fragrance and Flavor

“A crown of bay good fortune brings

to poets, cooks, scholars, kings.
--Carolyn Dille & Susan Belsinger

Bay was first an herb of poets, but also of oracles, warriors, statesmen, and doctors. The leaves were made into wreaths for illustrious poets and the ancients used them to crown heroes.
Bay laurel was the symbol of wisdom, both acquired and intuitive. This herb seems a good fit with all those that strive to study, their thoughts and deeds and flavour to the world.
I hope viewers will take a packet and in using them will spare a thought for the missing, not just the #43 but all those who have been lost or disappeared.

Friday 9 January 2015

Gallery 202 - Box Gallery - Preparation

Throughout my life there have been news bulletins, news paper articles, television reports about people who have been disappeared, tortured, kept in captivity, killed. The missing 300 Nigerian girls prey on my mind, as do the more recently missing boys and I feel helpless to effect any change. A friend involved with Amnesty International put out a call just before Christmas.

“I'm sure many of you will have heard about the 43 students from a rural teacher training college in Mexico who were forcibly "disappeared" in September. We are planning a simple symbolic action to maintain awareness of the 43 students. If you could take some ribbon, write the name of one of the students on it along with #43 and then tie the ribbon to a pencil in a simple bow (do as many as you like!) and get the pencils to me by the 17 December (inbox me for address), I'll deliver them to the Mexican Embassy. Thanks!” Sheila Royce
I decided to go along and take part in the #43 intervention, I wrote and tied ribbons around 22 pencils but I knew very little of the missing students’ story. Sheila sent me some further information, which you can read by following the links below.

Over the Christmas period the missing, now possibly dead students stayed in my mind. 

I have been making a piece for Gallery 202, The Box Gallery, in a University, a place full of students. I had been collecting materials, thorny rose branches, bay leaves, kid gloves, a mini greenhouse, copper plant tags. I am using found objects and simple, discarded materials to make something that expresses the claustrophobic nature of imprisonment, burial, entanglement and the terrible grief and long term uncertainty that remains for the families an friends left to continue searching for answers.

Some time last year I bought a collection of Victorian / Edwardian kid gloves, which had belonged to women or girls with tiny hands and thin, thin wrists. The feel of the material was very skin-like especially after the gloves had been stuffed with wadding. Some of them were slightly grubby, hands digging in earth sprang to mind. Looking, worrying, waiting, searching, grieving.

I decided to use copper plant tags again to hammer in the names of the missing students, this piece had a very different feel to Singing Ringing and the metal was much harder, each letter needed about three hammer strikes and gave me a lot of time for contemplation. 

As my studio is damp and dark at this time of year I had to invade the dining room. I only had the measurements of the box, so there was no way of putting the piece together until the actual day of the installation.  I didn't make plans or sketches but I did see what might be possible in my mind but what I am learning is that there is a thrill about introducing collected items to a space and making in situ. A leap of faith.


My entries are variations on a theme, more apples falling, more running whippets more, ripening bellies. I decided to use the templates left over from printing my Print Swap edition and stitched them onto watercolour paper and added a few pen or pencil marks. You can find out more about the exhibition and get an invitation to the Private View here. It promises to be a wonderful show with many delights!

  • Surface Gallery16 Southwell RoadNottingham
  • NG1 1DL 
This year during the exhibition, postcards will be for sale, all priced at £15, presenting a fantastic opportunity to snap up an original work of art at an affordable price.

    Thursday 1 January 2015

    Forward Footing

    I began the year recovering from flu but was determined to start as I mean to go on so began making drawings to create screen prints to add to Jo's Solar Prints on the fabric for the Miles and Dacombe Forward Footing Landscape kits.

    all the images were made from things seen on walks we have taken together and combine our love of urban / rural exploration

    However as this image shows. my hands were wiling I still had a head full of flue so it took 4 attempts to get the points of the compass in the tight place.

    During Late summer and autumn 2015 we conducted test walks with groups in different parts of the county and In February we will be walking out with completed kits and our first group on Monday 2nd February, 10am-12. walking from  at King Edward Park, Sneinton. For more information and to read about the project so far follow the links