One of the ideas to structure the work we do on the allotment residency is Art School. I took a blackboard and chaiks to the preparation day on Monday. After changing into my mortar board and gown I wrote the date and the weather – handwriting practice. Both of us are very organised people and working to a timetable, however loose, suits us. Judith noted that we have both used childhood themes in our art. I hated school when I was there. Now it seems quite attractive. A place to learn, to experiment, to make things
Roz & I have timetabled in three preparation days at the allotment to enable us to plan our residency. Today was the first of those days.
It’s been difficult to decide how to approach the residency – whether to arrive with completely open minds, or to have a firm plan. The point of the residency is to “explore the possibility of producing a body of new work together, based upon existing common ground and interests” and we are keen to make a space where anything could happen, but think we will need a structure which will help us to focus.
We have begun to develop a few ideas on which we can build and today we earmarked sites on the allotment where some of our activities can take place. We talked about what we think we are physically and practically capable of (…constructing a residence/shelter/shed – it seems essential if we are to work here for two weeks, but can we do it?)
The first time I visited the allotment, I took compost from my garden as a gift and the allotment gave me spinach. Today I took a bouquet of long-stemmed chive flowers packed with seeds and the allotment gave me fresh lettuce for my lunch.
Raspberries had two weeks of being top fruit and filled, along with strawberries and redcurrants, three delicious Summer Puddings. They have been HIGHLY COMMENDED. The last few berries have been rotting on the canes or devoured by snails.
Strawberries and redcurrants did well and are over too until next Summer. One goes with the seasons on the allotment.
AWARD FOR GOOSEBERRY
Mr. Worthy, my primary school headmaster, loved initiative. He used to make us spell the word. This is the spirit in which the Allotment Residency has been developed. I have taken the initiative again to create an Award Scheme for Vegetables and Fruit on the allotment.
Gooseberries did extremely well this year. Many have gone into pies and fool. This gooseberry stands in for the others. It has been awarded Second Prize.
First Prize went to the onions which were early, fat and juicy.
We will be spending a preparation day on the allotment this week.
Judith Alder – Finding Her Way
Revealing the inside on the outside is a theme Judith began during her early art training when she started to investigate the human body. In Body Texts she wrote people’s inner thoughts on the outer skin of a body; she made paper casts of body parts onto which inner juices appeared to seep out. She made books in which she displayed collected secrets and ‘things not said’. The Spectacular Bodies exhibition at Hayward Gallery, London 2000 was of great interest and influence. In the catalogue from this show I look at the raw emotion shown in Bernini’s Anima Dannata (Condemned Soul) 17th Century and in Marc Quinn’s Emotional Detox from the Seven Deadly Sins 1994/5 and although Judith’s work is less openly emotional, I sense her search for the source of feelings via her body explorations and her experiments.
After completing her Honours Degree in 2003 Judith set up Blue Monkey Studio with 3 other graduates. Her first project ‘Short Lives’ was intensely personal. Both her parents had died in the previous two years. She chose to continue to experiment with and to document the growing of beans and peas in petrie dishes. She told me she wishes to give time to make sense of the death of her parents and to mark their loss. The opportunity to display this work at Stroud House Gallery, Gloucestershire brought this work to a successful conclusion.
Judith is continuing her investigation of outer and inner spaces and she has been reading the journal of Christopher Columbus. She sees herself as an explorer, walking unknown lands. She makes fictional journeys through real and created landscapes in order to explore the territory both outside and inside our worlds. I wonder what she will discover.
My own investigation of Judith’s work, a journey through her years as an artist, shows me that Judith is well on her way, walking purposefully down the roads she chooses. She opens to what she sees around her, sometimes decides to branch out and try a new path. Clearly she finds plenty to interest herself and us on her way.
The complete article can be downloaded from: www.roz2.co.uk/news.html