‘What matters to you matters to me’ begins

 

 

My commission for Derby County Council/Arts Derbyshire and Social Prescribing Link Workers got under way yesterday. Packs containing postcards, plastercine, a white hanky with ironed on badge, sweets, a still-life image, were posted last week for use during our zoom session. Over the 2 hours we shared stories, considered the pack and displayed our work on the unfolded white hankies. 

After the session I had 2 realisations. One that this approach born out of lockdown is now a great method showing how quick we acclimatise and adapt. Secondly how the items I sent in the post, that were meant to stand in for real objects are of course objects – in other words they became readymades rather than representations and this seems interesting and significant.

Home Gallery Archive

The Notice Board is one of the featured Home Gallery spaces that Rhiannon Edwards has celebrated her on this new website.  She writes: Home galleries are spaces in the homes of art lovers dedicated to the work of artists. This is an open-ended project that attempts to reach forward and backwards in time and right around the planet. Right now the galleries shown are overwhelmingly from the western world, however there are more locations to come and the intention is to show the global picture. To bring together the work of people all over the world who keep some of the most exciting ideas in art thriving – often with little or no external support.  Im glad my work is part of this great growing collection

Exhibition 14 at The Notice Board

 

 

 

 

Robert Johnstone UK/Turkey/Greece. Title: Lands of the Free?. 20 x A3 Digital Photographs. Double sided flag

The Notice Board brings international artists work to Uffington inviting you to consider their responses to an ongoing theme: The Lands of the Free? This month we feature a series of photographs taken by Robert Johnstone who since 2010 has lived outside of the UK. He is researching how recipes travel in the Mediterranean. Alongside this work he documents handmade interventions in the communities he visits. A selection is offered here; hung in pairs to create a conversation which you are invited to join.  @noticeboardunited

TNB: How have you understood the theme? 

RJ: The Land of the Free? wasn’t a theme when I took these photos, it has come as I thought about which images to show. Over time, during my travels, I’ve had the realisation there is no free place. Instead there are lots of boundaries, permitted spaces, prohibitions. People, all of us, limit things, we demark space, control how others view or navigate and those with ownership delineate to reveal their possession. This of course affects people moving freely. It’s about control. We can see it here in the white lines, the stones piled up, the walls, the grapevine trained to grow over the rock, the greenhouses on the Libyian Sea with vegetables from the Americas and workers from Bangladesh. 

TNB: Is place important to these handmade improvisations too?

RJ: Yes of course. I like that in most cases the responses are frugal and local; done with resources and skills at hand. People have responded to the place and their needs and used what they have – its grass roots creativity. The things I photo are not made by artisans, just regular people who have been clever, problem solved and provided often elegant responses.

TNB: Why the double sided flag?

RJ: All the photos are taken in either of those countries. It represents the commonality found rather than the division, these 2 countries have a complex and often troubled relationship, now and in the past, but they share The Aegean Sea, but define their differences with language and hide their similarities with the same. 

You can follow Robert here @insightofthesea blog & his website is coming soon.

@noticeboardunited 

Exhibition 13

 

 

Exhibition 13 is now open at The Notice Board in my Uffington front garden. More images can be found on instagram @noticeboardunited The show will feature a changing selection of drawings, posters & words from across the Consequences project. Developed and delivered with Sarah Haythornthwaite and Ruth Campbell at Metal Peterborough the project brought together 100’s of women from across the region to talk and draw and connect. Started before Covid it adpated to online and postal approaches as we went into lockdown. More work, how to get involved and ways to order resources can we found at http://whataretheconsequences.co.uk

Importantly Consequences fits with the Notice Boards themes: The Land of the Free? as the project enabled women to explore, learn and consider different cultures, religions, ideas and approaches to support them consider notions of equality and freedom.

Let it go/Daily life

My ongoing instagram based artwork: ‘Let it go’ at @foundballoons is featured in this online book created by Japanese artist Hidekazu Konishi. It features a collection of images taken across the world during the 7 weeks Japan was in Lockdown – one for each day. It’s a bittersweet catalogue intended to be positive statement as well as a reminder of this time.

Noticing The Now

My commission for Paul Hamlyn via the South Holland Centre and LOV1 Venues has seen me, amongst other things, collecting photos as I walk and talk in the village. All things I snap are pertinent to the post lockdown times and how this community are coping. An Instagram archive is HERE . However what they dont show is all the talking and hearing about the things people have noticed in themselves and their families and stuff they’ve seen, done or made since mid-March. This contemporary collecting via listening has proved to be joyful, fascinating, and moving. Many talk of the resourcefulness of the community and how with its small businesses this isolated village is ‘simply enough’. Kindness and support that’s been forthcoming across the community has also revealled to residents, and me, how care-full artfull living is alive and well in places many consider to be lacking.

The Lovers of Beauty

 
 

Gilding I declared this week ‘an evil mistress’. Each part of the process is delicate concentrated work that requires skill, a steady hand and nerve. The priming, sizing and then leafing are equally elusive and addictive – all done to bask in golden awe. Working on carved letters up a scaffold on a noisy London Covid struck corner, with wind and sun made the job even more difficult. Evaporation, drying times, distruptions and wobble keep you super alert and physicaly taught. The concentrated silent closeness of another, their breathing marking the gap between brushstrokes and their movements guiding your own is good and revealing.

The inscription on the side of the Old Vic reads: Emma Cons, Founder of ‘The Vic’, Alderman of the First London County Council. Born 1837. Died 1912. Lover of beauty, and pupil of Ruskin, she yet gave up the life of an artist for social work, so deeply did she sympathise with those who lack many of the good things of life. To improve housing for working men and women, to provide wholesome and joyous recreation at a low price, to promote education, to protect infant life, and to bring a human touch to th e children in the industrial schools of her day. To such beneficent ends she gave her very self. Large-hearted and clear-sighted, courageous, tenacious of purpose and of great personal modesty, her selfless appeal drew out the best in others and was a constant inspiration for service to all with whom she was associated.

Our efforts at The Old Vic were made more potent by the fantastic carving – the shape and skill of each letter, the words themselves – a beautfiul text and the woman they celebrated – Emma Cons. Pride and priveledge to be up close and personal with all these elements made the fact we couldnt finish due to external forces even more difficult. We’ve had to leave, the elusive awe unwon. In compensation Sue and I decided to add a Mahl stick and phrase from the Emma Cons plaque on nearby Leake St tunnels. How great to prime, size and gild this tool onto a wall that permits and celebrates skill, creativity and signwiriting ways. Like us, the Graf guys, are drawn to words, shaped letters and gorgeous colours and so it seemed right to bring Emma and oursleves to this – a broad gang: The Lovers of Beauty.

Exhibition 12: Nisha Keshav.

 

 

 

 

 

 

15 July – 15 Aug 2020. Nisha Keshav: Born: Livingstone. Zambia. Lives: Stamford. Title: The Song of Increase. Digital Photograph

The Notice Board brings international artists work to Uffington inviting you to consider their different responses to its ongoing theme: The Lands of the Free? This month we feature a work by Stamford based photographer and bee keeper Nisha Keshav. Her image of a heart shaped swarm of bees and statement are, The Notice Board proposes, both a love letter and a call to attention. They implore us to consider who and what is actually free?

Nisha said: The title for this work has been inspired by Jacqueline Freeman a biodynamic farmer and beekeeper. Jacqueline describes in her book how “The Song of Increase signals the most delightful time in the life of the hive – a times when everything in the hive is blossoming…the bees revel in fulfilling their directive to bear increase into the world.”

Unfortunately, despite the bees evolving on earth for over 12 million years they are now dying at an alarming rate. Bees are recognised as the most important living beings on the planet, they pollinate more than 90% of our crops, most of what we consume is thanks to the pollinators; from apples, to coffee to almonds. They are vital for a healthy ecosystem and a healthy economy and yet we humans are having a detrimental effect on the survival of the bees and ultimately our own survival. The decline is being caused by the use of pesticides, loss of habitat, effects of climate change, mobile phone masts, pests; the varroa mites etc.

The health of the bee is compromised for example by beekeepers feeding sugar syrup in exchange for their honey or intensively farming them; making them more vulnerable to pests and diseases. Mono-cultural planting is also a challenge so we can make a difference and help by planting nectar rich flowers, wild flower meadows, flowers that start early in the season and go right through to late autumn, not using pesticides or weed killers and letting weeds like dandelions grow. Leaving water helps them too.

The flag flown alongside this work has been made by Kate Genever and features an image of a Queen Bee.

www.nishakeshav.com

What can yoo see?

 

I’m happy the activity pack developed with help of Liz Dorton, Orts sewing group and Chiltern Primary School is now out with young people across HU3 Hull. Using Pareidolia as a cataylst the pack uses little language or instruction and instead offers space and freedom to imagine, improvise and carefully look. Produced to support vulnerable residents during theses Covid/ home-schooling times it aims to offer an artful respite. A hundred 96 page books were gifted in a handmade bag that also containing lots of drawing and making materials too. Downloadble versions are also available on the Chiltern Primary School website and extend this work across the city.

Coached and Supported

 

I received an ACE Covid Support Award based on an application that talked of taking stock and ready-ing myself for what’s next. This taking stock is proving to be frutiful. I have reflected hard on my practice, its current position, purpose and successes. Some of this has been with support from Mark at Metal Peterborough and another brillant friend Kev. I have also entered into coaching with Bryony Rowntree an artful practioner based in Leeds. Her work has been fascinating and generous. Her visioning and embodied approaches reveal new ways of thinking and working and offer insights into meeting people half way. Our sessions provide a held professional space which, given the heavy emotional work I do with people and groups, now seems essential. It also draws attention to the often questionable duty of care for freelancers, as we work increasingly in the void where services are lacking.. mental health to name the obvious one. Perhaps as we move forward into times where ‘health and wellbeing support’ will become even more urgent we should consider and ask how budgets can be arranged to support us to keep ourselves well too?

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