I’ve been back to Spurn for the first time since my residency ended 3 1/2 years ago. It felt so good walking the whole peninsula again, some parts very familiar and some bits significantly changed by the elements since my last visit. Some great wildlife encounters made the day really special too: a dolphin (sadly dead, but fascinating to see), a short-eared owl, a lizard, curlew, deer, butterflies…
The lighthouse is now spick and span in its newly re-furbished state, with a new coat of paint inside and out. It is now open to the public regularly and there is some sensitive interpretation inside to help the visitor understand the history of this wonderful heritage building and the unique location it overlooks.
Luckily it was a beautiful day, although with a cold wind, so the views were long-ranging and at their very best. As ever there was all sorts of weird and wonderful (and not so wonderful) stuff washed up on the beach, including various balls of fishing line caught up into bundles with other debris attached, like un-natural tumble-weeds.
I took along some of the work I made during my residency and have donated a piece to The Wildlife Trust, who manage Spurn. This will go up either in the lighthouse or in one of the other visitor spaces. The other pieces I took with me are now on display in the Bluebell Cafe in Kilnsea. It’s lovely to have some of my work back there, where it came from and where it belongs.
I took down my installation at The Bowery last weekend (with the help of my small assistant). It was potentially a rather sad day as the paper pieces that I’d collaged directly onto the wall were going to have to be scraped off. I didn’t know whether they would come off in salvageable pieces or if the whole thing would break up. I had resolved myself to this site specific piece (the paper extension to my linen Spurn Cloth #2) being an ephemeral work and likened it to the erosion and change that is happening constantly at Spurn, where the pieces were based on.
Someone suggested I should have filmed the process of putting the installation up, building up the collage on the wall – great idea, but I’d already put it up when they suggested it! So I decided to record the taking down instead. Here is the result, although the quality isn’t great it gives an idea of how the pieces surrounded you in the gallery (the first half is shots taken from the middle of the room looking round the walls and then it goes back the other way tracking the removal of the work and leaving an empty gallery again.
The Gifts from the Pavement book is now available to buy on my online shop.
By the way, this is the last week to see Industrial Abstract at the Beetroot Tree in Derbyshire. Textures of Spurn continues at The Bowery in Leeds and if you’re around that area next Saturday I’ll have a stall at the Leeds Festival Chorus Plant and Produce sale at St Chads Parish Centre, Otley Road, Headingley, Leeds from 11.30 – 2.30. This is a fundraising event for the wonderful choir, which I sing in. There will be lots of plants, food, craft stalls and general loveliness.
This week I’ve been creating an installation at The Bowery in Leeds. This is based on my long Spurn Cloth #2 but sees it displayed in a very different way to the previous venues it has visited. Rather than hanging vertically the cloth is hung horizontally round half of the gallery room. I have extended it using collaged rusted and printed paper so that the band of texture and marks forms a complete circle around the space.
The paper is collaged directly onto the wall, something that I was quite nervous about doing. Having completed it, I’m really excited about how it has worked. There is a kind of freedom to this sort of site-specific work. I don’t have to worry about pricing or whether anyone might want to buy it. It can just be.
At the end of the exhibition the paper extension will then be scraped off the wall and will be no longer. Just as Spurn itself is constantly changing shape, bits being eroded in one area and deposited in another, this installation has seen the original cloth extended, added to, enhanced. And then, as if by the action of an exceptionally high tide, it will be taken away again.
My work is showing alongside a beautiful exhibition by Hannah. The preview is this evening from 6-8pm (all welcome) and the exhibitions run until 5th July.
I took the opportunity to have some time by the sea, both at Bridlington and a little further up the coast at Filey. Despite the persistent cold weather we’re having there was some beautiful sunshine and it was quite a wrench to tear myself away from the beach. There were all sorts of intriguing marks in the bright white stones, some almost like stitches.
Textures of Spurn goes to its next venue this weekend, opening on Saturday at Gallery 49 in Bridlington. I’ll be there during the afternoon (12-4pm). I’m really looking forward to it, and to meeting Stef Mitchell, who is exhibiting at the same time.
Despite severe weather warnings (the likes of which I’m sure must amuse those readers in countries that regularly have properly severe weather!) my exhibition opened last weekend at The Ropewalk in Barton. It is a very different prospect hanging this work in a gallery space after the spectacular but challenging building that it was originally conceived for.
For the first time you can see the whole of Spurn Cloth #1 (all 4.7 metres of it) hung on a wall rather than in the curved format it had in the lamp room of Spurn Lighthouse. Conversely, Spurn Cloth #2, which hung (all 10 metres of it) in a very tall space half way up the lighthouse, hangs now as a two sided piece.
The gallery put together a lovely little six-sided fold out brochure for the exhibition with a few images of my work and a bit of blurb. I have some spare copies of this so if anyone would like one sending I’d be happy to post one to you. Send me an email with your address or leave a comment.
Textures of Spurn is now hung in the Meeting Room Gallery at South Square ready for the preview tonight and including the three new Spurn Cloths that were in my last posting.
The preview is tonight from 7 – 9pm (do come if you’re local) and then the exhibition is on until 28th October. Opening hours are 12 – 3pm Tuesday – Sunday. There are three gallery spaces at South Square as well as artists’ studios and the most amazing veggie cafe.