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.
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 opens tomorrow at The Ropewalk gallery in Barton upon Humber. I’m braving the snow we have forecast and hoping to be there tomorrow, even if no one else comes! I delivered the work on Tuesday and had time with Richard, Exhibitions Officer, deciding how to hang the work. It is such a different space from the lighthouse! I found the space quite daunting at first and was concerned that the work wasn’t going to have the impact it had in the previous setting. By the time I left (in the snow – North Lincolnshire was looking gorgeous) I was really pleased with how it was coming together and I’m excited about seeing it all complete tomorrow.
If you don’t have far to travel and the snow allows then do come along – it’ll be warm in the gallery! The exhibition is on until 24th February.
I went to Spurn last week to collect the rest of my work from the lighthouse. I also had various meetings to fit in that day but I felt it was important to allow myself a little time on the beach. The light was absolutely glorious.
I felt that I was going back to say goodbye, but actually I was saying ‘thank you’ and ‘see you again soon’. I now understand how Spurn is firmly under my skin.
There were various interesting items haning about on the beach. I’d seen this lump of metal on previous occassions and wondered about trying to collect it to use for printing. I tried picking it up… surely it was too heavy… could I bring the car closer? Not really… in the end I decided to carry it (struggle with it) the few hundred metres along the beach to my car. It now sits in my front garden waiting to be played with…
My head is full of lists and logistics for the coming week. There is just a week to go now before my residency exhibition in the lighthouse at Spurn. Most of the work is finished: I’ve spent the week stitching into Spurn Cloth #1; prints are back from the framers; cards and postcards are made; the book is with the printer; my interpretation film is complete and equipment arrived…
There is still a whole list of things to do but I can’t wait now to get over there on Monday and spend time putting my work in the space it was made for and about.