With individual postcards constructed and the project almost complete, the first making day in the south started with a review of each others work . This provided the opportunity to view the full sequence of 36 selected individuals and their stories to represent each of the towns and villages along the Jurassic Way. We began work by drafting and then typing the introduction page and role call. Consideration was given to ordering names and identifying individuals from the north and south of the route.
Throughout the day post cards were stitched together with a colour chosen separately to represent the wooden Jurassic Way markers. Individual stamp sized portraits were stuck on postcards where we had been able to find the actual individual.
Having visited, read about, written, designed, edited and constructed each postcard over eight months we finally met in the middle by joining the north and south sections with a red stitch to represent the colour used to identify walks on Ordnance Survey maps.
This weekend gave us lots of opportunity to share research and ideas, examine our individual approach to the project so far and decide upon the direction of the project.
We used a series of questions as the starting point for our discussions:
Should the outcome of this project be a book?
P: This project is about exploring a different working practice to our usual collaborative process, a practice where research plays a more significant role in determining the outcome; therefore it was important to ask this question rather than make assumptions. After some discussion we decided that a book was still the most appropriate vehicle for the project, it would enable us to reach a wider audience and there was a known forum for it to sit within. We would be working to a new formula where the focus would be on the process of making (the journey) and sharing skills rather than the end result. We reasoned that this was a good enough rationale to work within, what could be considered our comfort zone of ‘artists’ book’
T: The opportunity to meet over a weekend and address an outcome for this project was really interesting. Sharing visual and written starting points enabled a detailed discussion debating alternatives for and against a new book work. We spent some time talking through a potential second outcome which will include making work in response to the range of village notice boards observed during our individual site visits. It may be that we return to each village and photograph the notice board and catalogue its contents in some was or that we consider exhibiting artwork within these notice boards.
If a book, should it be an edition?
P. We decided on an edition of 8. A manageable number and as the walk is a total of 88 miles, we will both be producing 8 books, so we could also rationalise the decision.
T: Whilst discussing the format of a final outcome we exchanged individual aims and areas of interest within this project. We share an interest in both the meaning and making processes and agreed that producing an edition will enable the achievement of both these areas of interest.
Should we work independently and share ideas and practice or work in isolation?
P. We looked at the collaborative project organised by Design Factory called Synchronise, which puts together two practicing craftspeople to exchange a material skill to further practice. Although we both perhaps have some reservations about working separately, rather than adopting our usual collaborative process – i.e T as the image-maker and P as typographer and book maker… it’s important to find a way forward that enables us both to work independently to an agreed format, so finding techniques that we are both happy to work with in terms of type, format and binding became important to this process.
T: The idea of working independently seems to ‘fit’ this project – in that our separate practices will ‘meet in the middle’. Whilst this will be a new challenge we have established a format of exchanging, sharing and refining ideas within previous work which will ease this.
Should there be a common theme/ ‘hook’ ?
P. We had both arrived independently at the thought that there could be a women-related theme throughout. However as we talked through this idea, we realised that it would be too restrictive and we both had interesting research that would have to be discarded. We looked at the definition of social history and the phrase ‘the experiences of ordinary people in the past’ seemed to resonate, therefore we’ll aim to highlight and tell the story of an individual within each location – this’ll mean reviewing and consolidating current findings and undertaking further, ongoing research. We began to realise that having to do further research needn’t stop us from starting to produce actual artwork, the two could and should work in tandem.
T: We spent some time considering how artists use photographs in their work and in reading around history and geology. The definitions of social history and compendium really seemed to fit with our first observations. Both of us have discovered eclectic collections of facts about villagers within our section of the walk which we would like to present in some way.