Past works.

Close 2018

A posthumous exploration of intimate everyday objects.

Made in England, Sheffield Steel.

A Retrospective of Quality assured.

Rite of passage

Necessity, chore.

A daily ritual, twice for occasion.

Lifetime commitment.

A mark of adulthood to be neatened and curbed

Taming the beastly, too animal, too revealing.

Coarsening and stripping.

To be toned and tightened with scent.

Alcohol sharp.

Packaged.

Neat, slippery soft, tinted, scented.

The sting softened by design.

Dressed as desire

Need sold as want

Personal care imitating luxury

Must as indulgence.

Drifting

 

What are we become?

An island and a half

Cut away, set adrift,

Manufacturers no longer making

A nation of shopkeepers.

With little left to sell  

And few going to buy.

Virtual sales,

Not on the high street.

Goods and needs set adrift.

Quality assured now origin unknown

Loss of nation

 

National pride

An identity cherry picked for happier times.

Turning bad, masquerading as honesty.

Vulgarity and bigotry are being dressed as patriotism.

It’s out in the open, we haven’t moved on.

Our stiff upper lips and past strengths are falling away,

Flaking like rust.

The reality and hardships have been forgotten.

Advancements are taken for granted. “Those were the days”

“Great Britain” But what made Britain Great?

Industry, manufacturing, pulling together.

Steely determination.

The promise of rights, equality and a better future and an understanding of what we had to lose.

Of strength in numbers, of unity.

Of having pride in being resourceful enough and having the resources needed to do a good job.

Now pointing fingers and corroded by frustration, a disjointed nation is left brittle and angry, unheard or unaware of what they have to lose.

Flaked 2016-17

Threshold

 

The back door always stands open in the morning.

I barely remember it being shut, although I am sure it was, of having to open it, although I am sure I did.

The door stands open with my Grandad peeling spuds, just inside ready for the midday dinner.

A feeling of warmth, safety, happiness….family.

In my mind it is always a sunny day, every day, the sun pouring in over the threshold, and me, running in and out. Up and down the deep concrete step, white grey warm, and live with tiny, legged, blood red specks.

Rows of cabbages up the path, heaped potatoes inside and out.

Sunny mornings, and Grampy in the door way, knife in hand, peeling

Into the bowl with the mended handle.

 

A feeling of warmth, safety, happiness….family

No news

 

“He will come back alive, I can see him walking up the path”

 

I believe her name was Mrs Prichard, the Rectors wife at North Wraxal, around the time of the Second World War.

She was also known to have some psychic ability, saw things it was said.

 

My Uncle was missing at the time, as it turned out a prisoner of war.

But nobody knew….

When all feared the arrival of a telegram….

Time was going by

No news.

 

“He will come back, I can see him walking up the path”.

Words of reassurance applied like a salve.

To the rawness of not knowing.

 

Years later it was often referred to by my Mum,

but I never asked if it helped to ease, I wish I had, or if anyone even believed.

This was a very different faith.

Layers caused by time, obscuring the detail, the image, spread like fat, smears of butter,

Buttered greaseproof.

Raw

I have been looking at old portrait photographs.

The colours are pared back, simplified by age and process.

Not black and white, definitely coloured. Warm, bleached, honeyed, buttered. Creamed cake mix, honey and fresh butter on white bread, warm baked.

The details too are simplified in places. What remains is….enough. Maybe it was never there. Just what needs to be. What needs to be seen is seen.

The edge of nicety. The basics, with soft frills, sweetened without excess. Slab cake.

Honey was always Gales. Set. Pale, creamy, with a soothing colour.

Soft mat and rich, with a bloom like cotton velvet. Smooth sticky. Nature's plenty. Humble abundance.

Brasso

 

I remember sitting on the carpet with Mum.

Worn, red woollen with white sprigs.

Threads are starting to show through from the backing,

Another afternoon we will colour these with a felt pen.

 

This is a holiday job, along with polishing the parquet in the hall.

 

All of the brass is spread over the floor on sheets of newspaper

ready for cleaning,

 

Pungent liquid is poured carefully from the can.

A pile of old dusters

One wipes the Brasso on and then rubs it off,

Another will be for the polishing after. My job.

 

It’s done and old lustre sits on smudged newsprint.

Our fingers coated, drying and uncomfortable.

A metallic tang and tarnish blackened cloths.

 "Shabby metal, grey green dull with a sheen of bloomed tarnish, individual with use, time etched. Touched.

Hard plastics, bright, Bakelite crust edges, pie lidded, ivory and black.

Paint flaked".

 

Iced Gems 2014-15

 

Some years back I found a tiny arm on a beach, another time a leg, the best a tiny torso, perfect, statue like, a miniature Elgin but perfect in scale for tiny hands.

 

I was amazed that what had always seemed a fragile and inappropriate material for a children’s toy could also be so resilient to the natural wear and tumble of the waves, a remnant of childhood lingering. Biscuit baked fragility turned to strength, vulnerability to solid. Commonplace now curio.

 

 

Found

 

I had never really thought much about dolls before, I had bought a couple of Frozen Charlottes at an Antique fair some years ago, a unexpected purchase, but they looked so out of context.

This year I bought lead battleships.

 

I have always been a beach comber, not for natural finds but traces of past, the detritus of the every day, of history, and every year coming back from my holiday with an assortment of oddments, mainly old china shards, beautiful decorative pieces, now made object in their own right.

Pork pie and Dumpling
Pork pie and Dumpling
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WP_20150612_032
WP_20150612_032
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WP_20150315_012
WP_20150315_012
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WP_20150614_015
WP_20150614_015
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WP_20150614_018
WP_20150614_018
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Pair bisque legs
Pair bisque legs
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gem legs 1
gem legs 1
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big leg 1
big leg 1
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Biscuit, sweet potato and Marg.
Biscuit, sweet potato and Marg.
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The Babbers 2013-14

I have always had an interest in old photograph

 

I started looking at the crisp white bleached fabrics in the tiny photos.

 

I saw “Sunday Best” fresh-faced children.

Could I learn anything more by looking into the faces, staring into the details? Due to age and the softening effect of old photographic process the images already appeared edited, pared back. Would I just see an old photo of a child, innocent?

 

I drew them large, so I could really look into the faces, enveloped, almost shrouded, in bleach white cloth.

I found room for growth, a plumpness with dents and dimples, a softness, an excess in flesh.

I saw traces around the eyes of previous tears, the hollowness and rings of a broken nights sleep.

 

I also saw an unexpected hardness of expression.

The raised eyebrows and tight lips seem more than just the questioning hard stare of the innocent.

The helplessness of youth but with the eyes of an adult waiting to form.

Waiting.

With unease and apprehension.

The remnants of a long past emotion.

The Babbers on display in Ilfracombe

Babbers 001
Babbers 001
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Babbers at the Church 012
Babbers at the Church 012
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Babbers 007
Babbers 007
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Mum paddling
Mum paddling
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Mum in a tin bath
Mum in a tin bath
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Babber tins mum and dad
Babber tins mum and dad
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Babbers 015
Babbers 015
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Babber poster scan
Babber poster scan
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Dad from studio shot
Dad from studio shot
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