Saturday, 2 November 2019

Haarlem winter exhibition

All welcome!

workhouse graffiti

There is one spot in The Workhouse, Southwell with graffiti. It's in the outside space for men, a design flaw that was noted at the time and led to a redesign of layout for subsequent workhouses. In this tiny space hidden from the masters window, men have scored lines that could be a record of days passing, what looks like a game and two sundials. In this tiny space these men have left their mark, a record of their lives and presence. They took a great risk in doing this but the lines are not rushed and care is obvious.

Friday, 1 November 2019

the workshouse, southwell

Last Sunday I visited The Workhouse, Southwell, a National Trust property in Nottinghamshire. This particular workhouse, though harsh from the vantage point of today was well organised & considerate towards those under its roof, providing hot meals, medical care, immunisation & an education for its children.  

Much time & money has been invested in the visitor experience on the 1st & 2nd floors but I found myself drawn to the upper floor, encountering breathing space after information overload. Each layer of paint held a story, sunlight traced time across walls, the floors revealed rows of bed sized shadows: the past in the present, ripe with my projections and romanticism. I thought about the people who slept in these rooms but they are were impossible to conjure from the safety of today.  

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

clean slate

As I walked through St Pancras and Islington Cemetery my eye was caught by the erosion and resulting texture of these now blank headstones. Running left to right across the surface, harder strands of rock gave the effect of fluttering draped organza. 

Over a century of weathering has done to these gravestones what I achieve with knitting in Close Knit: A body of work. The interred are concealed, any clues withheld. What remains is a shaped slab of memorial stone, a presence, a solid from.      

This natural effect reminded me of Victorian carved drapery and I marvel at the trick of transforming stone to gauze. Gauze led me to think about Halloween drawing near, when the veil between the worlds becomes thin.


I have a soft spot for these aged floral tributes, showing their guts in some cases, fading, becoming brittle. As I walked to mum's grave to give her a birthday spruce up I searched for MUM on others graves. Plastic font, plastic flowers endure, real, live flowers die, their stems cast in pierced green oasis - showing that once their were flowers, once upon a time their were flowers.  

row upon row

These paths invite, eyes led to their vanishing point. The last people to visit these graves are long gone, they, their interred anonymous. What lush green, what growth! Years marked by ivy, bramble and branch.