Friday 1 March 2024

walking skirt

It is almost 6 months since I began to consider 'Care Collaborations', a strand of Ruth Singer's Arts Council Funded Cultures of Care project. Ruth states, "Over the next couple of years I will be looking at under-explored stories of care of people, places, objects. I'm interested in how artist activities and creative practice contributes to a culture of care".

I'm taking 10 walks in the handmade ric-rac and ribbon Walking Skirt, click on the link to learn about the inspiration for this process and timeline of the walks. 

The closing sentence of J B Firth's preface in the Highways and Byways in Derbyshire (London, February 1905) inspired the production of these cards. Firth wrote, "Nor would I forget to thank the many chance and momentary acquaintances whom I met on the roads and in the fields of Derbyshire and, perhaps, wearied by my questioning curiosity".

I'm hoping a momentary acquaintance will comment on my skirt on the roads and in the fields of Derbyshire, if/when they do, I'll give them this card. 

Friday 1 December 2023

summit of win hill - care collaboration commission

Walking to the summit of Win Hill in the footsteps of J. B. Firth and in honour of Hope, Paul and Penny Robinson of Ilkeston.

24th November 2023
Photographs by Clare Logan

gorse & walking skirt - care collaboration commission

On Friday 24th of November I traveled to Hope and walked to the summit of Win Hill with my sister, Clare. J. B. Firth writes on page 206 of The Highways & Byways in Derbyshire, There is no more restful scene on which the eye of man can rest than the Vale of Hope as seen from the summit of Win Hill.

This was the first journey and walk in the skirt inspired by Hope, Paul and Penny Robinson. It was a short but meaningful walk, discovering how the skirt felt, moved and functioned (and how I felt, moved and functioned in it). I was delighted that the yellow ric-rac mirrored gorse, furze or whin, and the blue ribbon matched the cloudless sky! I'd not expected to reflect nature with these gaudy colours. 

Monday 25 September 2023

hope, paul and penny - care collaboration commission

I'm making gentle progress with the Care Collaboration commission, a project within Ruth Singer's Cultures of Care ACE funded project. 

I've visited the Hope Robinson Letters Collection at the Erewash Museum a number of times now. The first visit was to see what resonated within the whole museum, and I was drawn to the room telling the story of Hope Robinson, her husband Paul and their daughter Penny. Paul was a POW in Thailand during WW2 (forced to build the Burma-Thailand Railway) and Hope wrote and published a pamphlet after interviewing two escaped soldiers - this pamphlet led to 5,000 letters arriving at Hope's home in Ilkeston. The letters were from desperate families living in painful limbo, having received only snippets of information and infrequent censored postcards from their loved ones.

What a story!

Within the exhibition are a couple of items that linger in my thoughts, a bamboo covered book: a 1923 edition of the Highways and Byways in Derbyshire that Paul memorised during his captivity, and a dancing skirt, made for Penny by Hope from blackout material decorated with rick-rack. These objects represent how Paul, Hope and Penny endured a horrendous time. How Paul stayed connected to Derbyshire, how Hope sat at her sewing machine transforming blackout fabric and Penny danced with abandon shaking a ribboned tambourine. 

The book/the skirt inspired an interest in stories of endurance, how people endure times of uncertainty and limbo. What strategies, rituals, routines do people practice to survive, possibly thrive during these times?

With this in mind I am making myself a walking skirt based on Penny's dancing skirt. I will read the Highways and Byways of Derbyshire and walk routes around Ilkeston in my ribbon and rick-rack skirt. I'm interested in what may emerge as I make and walk, what conversations and thoughts are sparked. I'll be reaching out for walking companions and stories of endurance too, but all in good time.  

The 1923 edition of Highways and byways in Derbyshire by John Benjamin Firth that Paul kept and memorised while a POW

Penny in her dancing skirt

Text from display in the Letters of Hope exhibition at the Erewash Museum: This skirt was made for Penny by Hope to play dress-up. It is sewn from blackout material.

Blackout material, rick-rack and machine stitch

Wednesday 26 July 2023

care collaboration commission

Thrilled to share that I'm working with Ruth Singer on one of three Care Collaboration commissions within Ruth's new Cultures of Care Arts Council England funded project.

My starting point is the Hope Robinson Letters Collection, on display at Erewash Museum, Ilkeston. I was very moved by particular items in the display and these have sparked ideas that I'm excited to develop.

Detail of Blossom & Thorn, installation by Ruth at the Timber Festival, July 2023

air arts workshops

In March I responded to a call out from air arts and was delighted to be selected to provide lunchtime workshops for staff at Royal Derby Hospital.

I was particularly interested as the brief asked artists to respond to the UHDB Medical Museum collection - a unique archive of over 1000 objects that provides an insight to the history of medicine and Derby and Burton hospitals. The brief also requested that an element of celebration and/or the colour blue be included to mark the 75th Birthday of the NHS on the 5th of July 2023. 

Below are the items I picked from the collection. I've developed a lunchtime mono-print drawing and block-printing activity that I really hope staff will enjoy.

Derbyshire General Infirmary
Birds eye view of the proposed new buildings - architectural blueprint
Bloomsbury & Young Architects 1891

Rubber stamps with wooden handles: Elastoplast, Hypertensive, Penicillin, Septrin, Diabetic, Asthmatic, Angina 
Lincoln Rubber Stamps 20th Century

Maddox Cheiroscope with picture cards
London Clemment Clarke Ltd 1960's

draw derby - april/may/june 🙂

My Draw Derby gatherings are simple and complex all at once. DD provides a time and space to meet and draw together and draw together: in friendship, gentle support and in building confidence.

We meet by the Waterfall Sculpture in the Market Place (shown in first image) at 10.30am on the last Saturday of each month and draw for two hours. Here's a link for the July gathering, please see eventbrite for all 2023 dates - all welcome, don't let believing you can't draw put you off.

April - Market Place Derby

Selection of April drawings

May - Derby Cathedral

Selection of May drawings

June - Bridge by the Museum of Making

Selection of June drawings