I have embarked on a series of monoprints as part of my work for the residency at Boldshaves.
On arriving I couldn’t help but be drawn to the stunning camellias, which reminded me of my year in Japan, about 30 years ago. At the time, I was planning to do a PhD in 7th Century Chinese literature and was learning Japanese so I could read the secondary sources …. I tried it for a year but instead of studying, spent most of my time at the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford, drawing!
Anyhow, I quickly got on my weatherproof gear and was greeted by Laura, who unsurprisingly simply handed over the key to the barn and went off to somewhere warm.
I had decided that I’d get some footage, whatever the weather; projects are good like that, you end up doing stuff you wouldn’t otherwise do. Cold wet days for me are generally when I only meet other dog walkers.
I did about an hour’s filming and was rescued by Peregrine Massey, who along with his wife, Dee, owns the house, and treated to hot black coffee, chocolate digestives and wonderful conversation, by a warming fire, covering the history of the house and the garden and touching ever so gently on politics – establishing some points of reference. It turns out we have geography and friends in common: he grew up in Liss, near my old school and was also at Cambridge, though down the road from me! I have also just found out that he was Kent’s High Sheriff in 2010/2011
The footage I have is an interesting start and I’ll be doing more filming over the next few weeks as the garden changes. I am also starting to think about how to show or rather install it and this is taking me to thinking about Japanese/Chinese dividing screens.
I have started doing some research and thanks Richard Taylor for the link to his video “Put your arm right down into it” .
On gardens, I am collecting some key words and concepts, of which the below is a start:
- under threat – (the Boldshaves garden is huge but many either don’t have a garden or have only a tiny space that counts as a garden)
- illicit love
- Post lapsarian Eden
- female body
- marked off space
- another time (Jarman)
On my first visit to Boldshaves, I just took a look around the garden, met my main contact for the Festival and got a feel for the place. I came away excited but quite daunted and have spent the last two weeks thinking about what site-specific piece of work to make. I am veering towards making a film and my next bit of research will be to watch Derek Jarman’s The Garden again.