Thoughts are returning to ‘The Museum of Object Research’ and my commitment to creating more assemblage pieces for the ‘Nana’s Colours’ body of work. I’m currently re-examining what’s already there, in the archive and making decisions about what stays/what goes, what can be improved, be better photographed, etc.
The two objects above are definite ‘keepers’, symbolic of the quieter, more subtle colour palette present in my late Nana’s life. They are also very clear indicators of a recurrent theme in my work around issues of value and worth. Both these objects are respectively worn out and broken – of little or no use and of no monetary value. It’s almost impossible however, to put a price on what they mean to me, emotionally.
This is what I wrote about the individual items and the memories they evoked in my original proposal to the Museum:
The knife: completely worn with use, a poignant reminder of the times I spent chatting to my Nana at the kitchen sink, as she peeled huge piles of vegetables in preparation for family dinners.
The broken comb: representing not just the incredibly strict ‘waste not, want not’ mantra by which my Nana lived her life, but a symbol of another aspect of her personality – snatched moments, away from relentless domesticity, focusing on herself. Vitapoint combed through her honey blonde hair, curls carefully caught up in a hairnet – in private, of course – for bedtime only; intimate, shared moments.
‘All that is left …’ is a recent piece of work which was inspired once again by my Nana’s ‘waste not, want not’ ethos. Slithers of soap would be crushed one on top of the other to create a ‘new’ more substantial. useable bar of soap.
Though I haven’t (by choice) been ‘keeping it going’ in terms of maintaining this blog in recent months, the sifting and sorting through one hundred plus boxes, stored away in a friend’s garage, continues to be a large part of my working process.
On the whole, it’s been an exciting few months – unearthing some great, forgotten finds amid the boxes. But it feels important to also acknowledge just how emotionally demanding it can be. Life, after all, isn’t (and by no means, has been) a bed of roses and there are plenty of reminders of that in the midst of the memorabilia – photos of huge sentimental value, letters from past loved ones, notifications of death – shattered dreams, broken promises, broken hearts.
I still have moments of feeling completely overwhelmed by the sheer volume of stuff; fret and feel guilty about just how much storage space is required, question why I even HAVE all this stuff – and so on and so on. But while my friend is happy to allow me the spare storage space and while I have the incentive to keep going back, digging & delving through a lifetime’s collection, I will continue with my commitment to keeping it going – sharing random images along the way and bearing in mind that it is after all, through the sorting process, that the work so often gets made.