It's been a week of tidying and sorting - hence my finding that photograph and some others also featuring me in St Marks Churchyard. I lived in Woodhouse when I was a student and used to cut through the churchyard to get to lectures and loved it as a space but purely on an aesthetic level then. I had no idea or appreciation of the wider history or practice of Victorian mourning culture then. I don't think the graveyard space is accessible anymore though, the last couple of times I've been there it has been cordoned off with metal fencing and signs saying it isn't safe.
Back in the nineteenth century there was great rivalry between the respective reverends of St Marks and St George's Field, they disagreed with regard as to who provided the best burial services as well as on religious grounds. St Marks was a Church of England site and the people who were behind St George's Field were Non Conformists.
It's also been a week of rummaging about in libraries - namely the collection of maps and trade directories from the nineteenth century held in the Local and Family History section of Leeds Central Library. I know have a better idea of the size and location of the Leylands, exactly where Ann Carr lived and worked (I thought it was at the back of the Reliance but it was actually nearer down towards Regent Street) and it was a thrill to see her name and address and Martha Williams (her partner in Christ) in the trade directories along with the times of the services at the Female Revivalists Chapel. 10.30am, 2.30pm and 6.30pm on a Sunday and 7pm on a Monday evening apparently. Sadly though I am no wiser as to the age of the cobbles aka setts on Lower Brunswick Street and whether or not they were contemporaneous to Ann but I've still learnt a lot more about where she and Martha lived so I'm happy about that.
Along with rummaging about in libraries and breathing in that delicious smell of old musty books (which apparently is actually the smell of the paper decaying) I also attended a very excellent talk on the history of Central Library, a performance of Frankenstein at Leeds Library which was great - and unusual in that you as the audience followed a silent but expressive Viktor around the library whilst listening to an excellent adaptation on headphones and I went back to St George's Field after not having been for a while in the rain yesterday and took some pictures using my Instax mini 70 and a colour film disposable camera I got a long time ago. I'm not one hundred percent certain where it came from but I think it might have been from a seaside tat shop in Cleethorpes and it has a 'develop before 03-2014' stamped on the bottom. It has flash as well and amazingly that bit of it still worked - I used it because I wanted to take pictures in the rain and for the flash to reflect off the raindrops. I still have 9 pictures to take before I get it developed. I don't know what film speed it is as it is just labelled 'high speed'.
I also collected some leaves whilst I was there, some of the yellow ones I left as offerings on Ann Carr's grave and some I brought home and experimented with/on using black printers ink and this was the result. I'm quite pleased with it and husband really likes it. Part of the reasoning behind this kind of experimentation is I'm trying to capture something of the actual physical essence of the place, something a little bit more than site specific. Think I have a lot more experimentation to do before I find a way I'm happy with. I might try watered down acrylic paint next time instead.
I've also been doing some experimenting with kinetic drawing/mark making (where you line a tube with paper and enclose it with chalk or soft pastel) and I have made some progress with that as I've got a new container to put the paper in and thanks to doing more sorting and tidying workroom wise I've found some thin paper it will work better on. It's a pad of Daler A3 layout paper which is 45gsm and some 20gsm lighter than the 75gsm printer paper I had been using. I plan to do different walks around St George's Field with the paper and pastel in their tube at the bottom of my bag.
One of the things I've been thinking about this week and especially after catching five minutes of Coronation Street (a programme I have been conscious of since being in my mothers womb as she has been a fan and avid watcher since it started) is memorialisation. The character Jim McDonald was looking at an old photo album looking wistful and Liz McDonald pointed out to him that it's only the good memories that get put in albums. Leaving aside that this is a soap family and so had more than their fair share of traumatic events I think the point still stands.
So as ever - lots to think about, lots still to do. Maybe I need to be more like my beloved John Waters who in an interview I saw this week writes everything he need to do in a day on an index card and crosses it off as he does it. Referenced in his artwork '308 Days' currently on show in his retrospective Indecent Exposure at Baltimore Museum of Art. My to do lists remain frustratingly mostly uncrossed off....but I did write and get the slides ready for the talk I'm giving about my work on Friday 19th October at 6pm upstairs at Kapow and I also did quite a bit of reading.
various promotional interviews with John Waters for his retrospective Indecent Exposure.
see previous entry
Lenz H (director) 2018 Kusama Infinity UK Magnolia Pictures
Utterly gorgeous, uplifting and thought provoking film about the life and work of Yayoi Kusama. Featuring a mix of footage of her works,exhibitions and happenings, interviews with her and gallery owners, friends and critics. Also interesting in terms of the relationship between mental health and creativity and how being creative stops her from killing herself and the obstacles she battles with in terms of being a Japanese woman in the western art world.