research

Instruction 5: Measurement and Line

Completion of Instruction 2 enabled first investigation of the locations from which Windham wrote his letters within Volume 1. Of the 49 letters he wrote, 25 included listed addresses from 10 different locations, 4 of which were from his home of Felbrigg Hall in Norwich. Taking the idea that Windham would have departed and returned from his home at Felbrigg Hall, I used this as the starting point, and began by listing the distance of each town recorded from the Hall. When only streets were listed, I used known information about the life of Windham to determine which town the street may be from the list of options provided on Google Maps! This resulted in addresses in Glasgow, where Windham was a student, the Netherlands, and a further 2 in London, including one of the oldest Gentleman clubs in London!

Utalising this system of distance, I constructed a network of lines radiating from and back to the library windows at Felbrigg Hall to catalogue additional places of writing. The original library stamp from Christ Church, Oxford provided an opportunity to present a key to each location and record the number of times that a letter was written from each address.

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Instruction 4: Similarities & Differences

Taking an idea from the given word connection, I began by exploring potential links with previous responses and reflected upon the similarities and differences within this instruction and the last. I considered how I might draw upon making practices employed within my response to instruction 3 to undertake instruction 4. The similarity of scale and placement of the portraits enabled a returning to the idea of the Oxford frame. Within this response I chose to remove the shape of the frame to amplify a lack of connection to Windham. I also returned to the idea of printing multiple initials to decorate the back of the portrait pages embellishing these with gold leaf to further illuminate the gaps in between the individual letters which I had previously filled with the initials of William Windham in instruction 3. With a further reference to the notion of illuminating, and historical illuminated letters, I made use of the paper removed from the book in cutting out the Oxford frame and embellished these with emerging connections with Windham’s life, loves and letters. These are placed decoratively within the original portrait and will be made use of again to embellish the list of illustrations at the front of Vol.1

Instruction 3: Decorative Ingredients

In response to the third instruction, I once again began by gathering a list of connected synonyms. Alongside this, I observed that each portrait is contained within a single page with blank paper surrounding it and considered constructing a frame around each recipient to decorate this empty space. Drawing upon the idea of decorating, adorning and adding ornament, taken from the given word illustrate, I explored the idea of what a frame could be and came upon a historical style called an Oxford frame in which the sides cross each other and project out at the corners. I noted that this was considered a popular style for framing prints and that it is similar to the Oxford corners used by printers in which a corner is formed by a ruled border which cross and extend slightly beyond each other. I had never heard of either term before this research and was drawn to the connection with Oxford, historical eras and printers!

Having already altered the book in response to instruction one and two, I have decided to employ techniques used within this earlier work to form the frames that I construct. This will enable relevant individual ingredients to be mixed together around each portrait. Colour will be taken from the inventory constructed in response to instruction two and I also plan to make use of paper cutting, letter stamps and repetitive mark making found within the work of Mira Schendel and Cy Twombly.

Windham Papers Rule No.1.

WWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW

In response to the first instruction I began by exploring the meaning of each given word and became drawn to the word deleted. Synonyms listed included: obliterate, erase, cross out and drawing a line through it. Further synonyms listed for cross out included: squash, stifle, suppress, rub out and shade. I began to consider the idea of erasing text perhaps through the use of an ink rubber or sandpaper to remove the printed text from the surface of the paper. I also became interested in the notion of crossing through text with a line and considered possible options open to Windham if he made a mistake in his original letter writing. This in turn led to some research around Windham himself and his family home.

I read about the gothic library of his family home, Felbrigg Hall, filled with books he had brought back from his Grand Tour and further claims that books were both his lifetime passion and the cause of his untimely death! Alongside stories of his fluency in French, Italian, Greek and Latin were stories of his sporting achievements, political inconsistency and his ghost! Allegedly his ghost has been seen seated in a chair by a roaring fire reading a favourite book! I began to think it would be interesting to make use of letter forms in some way and looked at the work of artists who use text in their work in particular the multiple letters, scribbles and scratched lines used within the arts practice of Mira Schendel and Cy Twombly. Schendel speaks of blurring the processes of drawing and writing and exploring the visual qualities of words so that sometimes only a single letter is used repeatedly within a piece of work. One article talked of multiple letter L’s repeatedly formed to look like legs marching across a page.

Gradually I began to think about how I could use multiple letter W’s to obliterate and shade the letters he had received. I considered using black ink but felt this may create surfaces which couldn’t be worked into at a later date and so returned to the idea of erasing. I have now begun the process of responding to the first given instruction by using lines drawn in Tippex to represent the angular lines found in a letter W together with white printed letter stamps to delete sections of text.

+*=:/

Following our Facetime discussion two weeks ago, we have both divided and sent our
respective half books to each other, giving us an opportunity to examine and reflect on
potential directions for Intersect. Having identified that both books used colour keys, tonight’s discussion centered around the idea of applying a similar process to that of the Windham
Papers
, through the development of a key-based system.

The challenge with the cross-stitch books is that they are both largely image based, so we came to the conclusion that by using the text matter, which is more limited, we could allocate a typewriter symbol to the five vowels. We did this by a process of discussion and elimination resulting in the following key: a + e* i= o: u/

The key will enable us to interpret the text through the development of a series of patterns typed on top of the existing book. Due to the sometimes dense nature of the pages, each pattern will be typed in red in response to whatever space is available; to enable a greater sense of hierarchy, headings will be letterpress printed in a different colour using the same key. We’ll each attempt a sample page before we meet in a week’s time. A decision regarding the schedule and book structure will made once we are satisfied that the idea is feasible.

Idea Exchange

A pre-arranged FaceTime conversation enabled the exchange of first ideas gathered independently in response to our new projects.  We are keen to continue with the methods of making established in our last project which are rooted in Serial Art and talked around a range of possible starting points.

Inspired by the purchase of 2 cross stitch books, first research into this craft has revealed rules and conventions around restrictions with image placement which could be interesting to make use.  A potential colour palette is listed within one of the books with particular symbols linking to specific colours.  The symbols have some reference to the patterns we created using the typewriter in our previous project and the making of these links with the theme of Intersect.  The process of making a cross stitch also links Intersect and also offers further potential to divide pages into two parts,  cut across, overlap and criss cross.  Whilst these are interesting ideas, first examination of the two books presented challenges in how to connect them.  Eventually we have decided upon sending half of each book to each other for further examination.  This will involve taking the books apart and some independent decision making which may provide new ideas

We considered the idea of using text messages to instruct each other in the production of art work and both liked this idea initially although were unsure of how this would lead to an outcome.   P shared ideas making use of found books and experiences from the recent Artist Book Fair in Bristol (BABE) around working on editions and one-off books from the same starting point.  We discussed first ideas for the Windham papers and P will initiate this process by texting the first rule that we will undertake on our individual volumes of the book.

With many potential ideas to consider we have fixed a second Facetime conversation and a meeting within the next 3 weeks in order to move both projects forward.  Prior to these we have agreed to send each other half of our cross stitch books and share links to first reading.

Removing the papers from my cross stitch book to send to P has revealed 9 sections with each section having 3 double pages.  The remaining pages are glued onto the binding – perhaps these remaining pages can be the starting point for the the new book?

References:

https://www.thecrossstitchguild.com/cross-stitch-basics/cross-stitch-basics.aspx

https://broadmuseum.msu.edu/exhibitions/pattern-follow-rules

The Windham Papers

Several months ago we were approached by book artist Heather Hunter who invited us to be part of a project by Sparkartists called Illuminating the discarded library (working title). The aim of the project is to produce an altered book that will form part of an  exhibition in 2017/18.
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Our first task was to select a book from Christchurch College library’s withdrawn editions; we have chosen a pair of books called The Windham Papers Volumes 1 and 2 – as this will hopefully offer greater opportunities in how we chose to develop the project. Whilst the altered book is not a book-form that we would usually opt to work with, we are viewing this as a new challenge.

book-upside-down
I have spent the week with Angie Butler – artist and PhD researcher – we have been able to have informal discussions about a range of artist’s book practice including the altered book genre; she has made me realise that it is possible to use my own areas of interest and working practices to develop an altered book, rather than relying on my perception of what an altered book should be. I am now starting to consider several different approaches and will need to discuss with T how we progress the project.

Welford, Elkington and Winwick

The return trip from a making day in the North provided the opportunity to re-visit the last villages on my section of the Jurassic Way to search out possible starting points for the final stories.

The first visit to Welford with P some months before had led to The Wharf Inn and a notice board listing local walks.  Having read about The Welford Arm of the Grand Union Canal I was interested to find a story to represent this.  The notice boards and village website provided information about boatmen, business men and their lives.  I was drawn to the story of Mary Gilbert who ran the Inn and continued to expand the business her husband began after his death.

In Elkington I found the village notice board but little else!  Surrounded by fields and sheep only one or two farm buildings seemed to make up this tiny settlement.  After taking the photographs, I discovered farmers listed in Kelly’s directories and eventually happened upon a report examining large scale sheep grazing in the sixteenth century.  Apparently many flocks were pastured on deserted village sites such as Elkington and an individual called Sir John Spencer emerged as the most renowned at this time!

The tiny village of Winwick on the other hand was home to a church on a hill, a hall and a manor.  The village website and additional local history sites provided a wealth of information about owners of the manor, rectors and their families.  I became drawn to the story about Juliana Poole who started the Winwick Orphanage for boys in 1877.  Further detail about the orphanage, the school master and Juliana was found through online census listings.

 

Charwellton: Royal Connections & Bridge 491

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First research led to searching out and recording the village notice board.  This time the board was situated just outside the village hall.  Originally a cottage,  the village website claims that the hall was donated by The Knightley’s of Fawsley to the residents of Charwelton in 1922 as a place to meet and socialise.  Lady Knightly of Fawsley was  lady-in-waiting to The Duchess of Albany who died in 1922 which may have initiated the  donation?

The Duchess, originally Helena Princess of Waldeck-Pyrmont, married Queen Victoria’s youngest son in 1881.  Tragically Leopold died in 1884 and left Helena a widow at the age of 23.  Reading about Helena I have come to understand that The Duchess had a strong sense of duty and a genuine love for her charity work which led her to work closely with hospitals, sponsor auctions and raise funds, until her death.  In 1894 she established The Deptford Fund to assist in finding alternate employment for women who worked in the cattle slaughtering trade which at the time was a dangerous occupation.  Allegedly Queen Victoria grew to respect her daughter-in-law after the death of Prince Leopold as she had the courage to stand up to her!  One example of this was The Duchess disagreeing with the Queen’s original choice of lady-in-waiting and imploring with her face-to-face to choose her own attendants which Queen Victoria relented to!

The Duchess travelled by rail to Charwelton station to visit Lady Knightley, her lady-in-waiting, in 1905.  Children of Charwelton assembled on the platform of the station in their best clothes with flags and flowers to welcome her.

L2526 Charwelton_Railway_Station

The station at Charwelton  opened in 1899 and closed in 1963!  It is no longer visible and has been completely demolished apart from Bridge 491 – a small metal bridge which once carried  a minor road across the railway line.  The station was part of the Great Central Railway and included a goods yard and extensive sidings to cater for the ironstone quarries.  At it’s peak there were often more than 200 wagons stabled in the goods yard!

L2767 charwelton(1903)old3 charwelton(tony_harden1.1951)old1charwelton(hcc7.1946)old6

 

The village hall website provided further information to the origins of Charwelton including reference to the village name being derived from the river Cherwell which used to rise from the arched cellar of an old farm house in the village!  British History online provided references to prehistoric, medieval and more recent times alongside a series of beautiful maps which seem to echo the decorative patterning of the railway lines and may provide the style of visual imagery to represent the village.