Archive

storytelling

Embarking upon a new line of enquiry.     This continues my meditations on the human impulse to create, to make, to alter and adapt materials. To imbue material objects with meaning beyond their practical usage.

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The starting point this time comes from this Jade Axe , found near Canterbury, U.K.    Now a part of the British Museum collection.                                                                            See Chapter 14, in ‘The History of the World in 100 Objects’ by Neil MacGregor.
What I am intrigued by is the fact that this was never a practical axe. Its purpose was inherent in its beauty, its meaning, its geographies and its biography. Add to that mix now, it’s antiquity  (Between 4000 – 200 BC).
The stone has been identified as coming from a specific boulder in the Italian Alps, then was probably fashioned in Southern Brittany before  travelling though to the British Islands. Extraordinarily, there is another  axe, found in Dorset, which comes from the same boulder but maybe made at a different time. The two art objects made centuries apart,  evidence of the longevity of a tradition.
Is this an indication of a trade being a way of  maintaining relationships between distant peoples, of cementing obligations, ideas and culture?

I shall be drawing, and carving wood.   The wooden versions will have to be beautiful to touch as well as to look at.  To engage all the senses.

I am thinking already about the planned exhibition at The Willoughby Trust Gallery in 2021.

          Making a mask / head-dress for ‘Hart of the Wood’ .                                                                                                    This is to be a stags head with intimations of Green Man.

Film making in collaboration with ‘Artdocs’.

All will be revealed in due course.

2019 has been the year of working with Andy Barret on a transitions project based upon the 1620 House in Hugglescote, Leicestershire. We were a part of a larger project, looking at ways in which this wonderful Medieval House (which was modernised in 1620 with New Windows) can be utilised to enhance children’s learning experience. The great discovery has been of Sir Kenelm Digby (who’s sister lived in the house). Why had I never heard of him before? A Man of his times, a child of one of the Gun Powder conspirators, he grew to become a proto-scientist, diarist, glass technologists, foodie, art collector and privateer. The whole project has b een a delight and the 120 children we have worked with have been great companions on this journey of discovery.

I played the part of a ‘phenomenologist’ looking back at how the structure of experienced might have been perceived at the time. Through the senses, Smell, Taste, Sound, Sight and Touch we relived the 17th century experience and made many experiments and created art works and writings to see how these have impacted upon modern empirical science. Sounds dry but in fact was lots of fun. Sad that part is all over. Next step, to write it all up with recommendations as to how the activities might be used in the future.

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In collaboration with Nottingham City Council (Libraries and Parks) and ‘Curious’ and a range of artists, yoga, musicians, storytellers and visual arts for children and families. Outdoor activities for the summer holidays in five sites across the city.  MI have facilitated masks-making sessions have been in my own local Park at Woodthorpe. It has been most gratifying to witness the diversity of families who have come along. This being the UK,  the weather always poses a risk but , so far, only on one day have we had to relocate into a poly-tunnel.

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Different stories have been used to lead each week , ‘Alice in Wonderland’ Wild Animals and ‘The Gruffalo ‘have been the themes of the 3 weeks I have been a part of the project. The library service have provided a selection of related books to suit a range of ages, so that there is something that families can access every day, even when there is no artist facilitating activities.

Well done Nottingham, showing imagination and co-ordination between different departments to give services where there is a need.