Sunday 5 May 2019

EDAM Term 3 : First thoughts on 'Meanwhile...'

 The morning of the  first session of EDAM   this term was  devoted to  discussing progress  on   our 'homework' over the Easter  break of researching ideas through drawing  on the subject of "Meanwhile..."  to be interpreted  any way  we decide. This is working towards a show of work on paper at the RK Burt Gallery in July.
We were given some references/ starting points : "The Last London"  by psychogeographer Iain Sinclair; "Milkman" -novel  by Anna Burns   and link to  Layers of London  mapping

Given my current interests  in mapping, and sense of place , the latter is what interested me most.  Several   people had read the articles and novel ( I  read summaries/ extracts  and decided  they weren't for me )  and the diversity  of approaches  was fascinating. Some people had done a lot of preparation and drawings  already , others ( like me)  had  some ( too many?) ideas  but hadn't yet  decided  what to pursue . 
The tutors emphasised   at this point  the use of drawing to investigate and explore possibilities, the process being more important than the result, to open up  rather than  refine or close down choice .

I had the disadvantage of presenting  my ideas first  when  people were more reserved and polite .By the time we'd gone round the room ( with a coffee break in between) , there was lots of interjects of artists that might be of interest, resources  to look up, linkages and common areas of interest. What a great group.  

  My initial  thoughts on 'meanwhile'   was travelling on the Javelin line trains between Faversham and St Pancras International. A  'space out of time'  with no distractions ( apart from looking out the window!) , it's where  lately I've been  most productive creatively , able to think, plan, stitch.   " Wind Me The Sea" was mainly   stitched on the train ( in an airline seat  with a small basic sewing kit) and the artists  statement references  the continual loop of the train line ( from St Pancras , after Faversham it continues round the coast and then back to St Pancras  via Ashford International). 
The train is what made it possible to move from London to Faversham, be mortgage free  and yet still  be able to commute to work.  We still remember  our train journey on the day we moved house , technically homeless, communications with the solicitor on the phone being interrupted  when in 'Tunnel Land' with no signal.      

I'm interested in the schematic representation/diagram    of  the train route in comparison to  on a map ( and have bought different scale maps  from OS  to trace  from ) In February , one of my daily drawings ( top)   was of some of the things I notice  from the train: rolling fields and orchards :oast  houses; Rochester cathedral, castle and bridge; Gravesend Sikh temple ; the emptiness of the Hoo Peninsula; Rainham Marshes ( my favourite section ) 

 With my interest also in  archeology and old bits of pot  I did some research  on the excavations made when digging  the HS1  route , what lies beneath  (like the elegant map above  of finds  when excavating Crossrail ) . Which is how I discovered about the 'Ebbsfleet Elephant' - fascinating! 
I've also been looking at  repeating the  mapping processes on cloth  applied to the walk from my house to the station (  based on maps of directions I drew  for friends)  

It's a long  time since I used my camera and even longer since I used  it to take blurred photos   from the train  ( even in 2008  I was talking about revisiting  previous work! ) . That included the Journal Quilt I made  after 7/7  and the piece I eventually  made based on Shinkansen journey in Japan. 
This was influenced by the series  'Separate Landscape' by Atsuhide Ito    about 'non-places' and it's  been interesting to catch  up with what he's working on now 

Taking these photos  from my seat between  Ebbsfleet International and Stratford International ( the high speed section)  I was  very aware  of the sudden switch from views out of the window speeding by , to tunnel walls  and fencing as descended and then the reflections of the interior of the train in the windows . I get so absorbed in writing/ stitching, doing the Metro crossword , in my own little world, it is only in the tunnels , when cut off from signals to the outer world that I become aware of other people , even if it is just their reflections. 

 Now I need to think further on the aspects of this  theme that I wish to explore further and what drawing techniques I might use 

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