Sunday, 27 May 2012

Pin-up. Memento

I am being a bit greedy with this choice, and have selected to show the object that holds lots of mementos – a church notice board. The wood carving at the top, which is partly obscured by lights, reads St. John the Evangelist Notices.

The contents of the board are rarely edited, but simply added to as time goes by. Printed ephemera and other objects accompany personal photographs and small mementos from holidays, trips and events. The American flag was from NY; I was there the day Obama was inaugurated as President and this was handed to me as I watched the event on a large outside screen. Other items include chilli seeds from Goa, a cardboard deer (gift from a friend) wearing 3d glasses, a sheriff’s badge found in Rome, cigarettes from Goa – bought purely for the packaging (I don’t smoke), a red rosette, theatre tickets, and an assortment of drawings and cards from my young nephew that chart his artistic progress.

I like the fact that the board enables things to be on view, where I can see them, rather than hidden away in a drawer or album.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Wooden Floor, Feet Pointing Snugward ...

So here I am (well my feet, anyway) standing in the studio, facing the double doors that open into the 'snug' (as we call it), which traditionally would have been the dining room. We had to re-lay some of the floorboards, as a few has perished and also a couple had been replaced with pieces of heavy skirting board (Albert?)!
I really like the fact that the gaps between the wooden floorboards are not equal, and some gaps are rather large. You find all sorts of things that have fallen in between the boards. Though, sometimes I have to unscrew one to retrieve a lost earring!
The snug is when Audrey's inherited objects live.

Sunday, 20 May 2012


The viewing. We had booked 7 house viewings in one day, and were running behind schedule. 'Our house' was our second to last viewing. We had about 5 minutes for a quick look round before our next booking, which was kind of ok, as it was just around the corner. As we entered the house, it was like going back in time - to an era before we were born, but one we were too familiar with, when visiting the houses of elderly Aunts, or Grandparents. The atmosphere of calm and security was gently enveloping, as the tour progressed, we navigated ourselves around the rooms, upstairs, downstairs and outside. The house had only come on the market the day before, so we were the first prospective house-buying visitors. We liked it very much, although it needed rather a lot of renovation.

It was as though the owner had just stepped out for a moment to give us some privacy to view their property without hindrance. I thought, "how kind."
A nightie was hung behind the door in the master bedroom  upstairs. There were three packets of cough sweets placed on the kitchen side. Everything was in it's place.
The truth was very different. Audrey, who had lived here for over 45 years, had suddenly been taken poorly, was admitted to hospital and died after a few days. Although this was such a sad fact to know, this place felt like one that had been loved.
We bought the house that evening.
When I entered the house for the first time after our purchase, there was someone already busying in the kitchen. Margret. She explained that she held a key for Audrey's house - they had been best friends for over 40 years, and Margaret lived next door. She was trying to pack up all the glassware into newspaper, to be given to charity, and she hadn't quite finished before I had arrived. She had packed up all of Audrey's clothes the week before, and tried to clear the house as much as she could. Audrey had a brother who was visiting later in the day (to collect a dining table, a couple of chairs and a fan), but most of the organising of the disposal of personal items and furniture had been left to Margaret, as far as I know.
I said that I would help pack up the glass ware and take it to the charity shop. We chatted for a while made a drink, and looked out of the kitchen window together. Margaret told me that all the daffodils in the back garden had been planted to give Audrey 'a nice show' in the Spring ... it was such a shame that she never got to see them. I immediately warmed to Margaret, and felt so sorry for her loss of a dear friend. It was in my mind that over time, we may become friends, too.
In clearing the rest of the glassware from the kitchen cupboards, I came across a Homemaker plate, and a Staffordshire jug, and also a small deer ornament that was left alone in the dining room. I decided to keep them as an inheritance from Audrey, a small mark of respect, that she, and her late husband Albert's memory, would dwell within these objects, as long as we lived here.

Margaret and I are now great friends, and she still holds a key to this house. We talk about Audrey and Albert from time to time. The stories she has told me ...

Monday, 14 May 2012

Wooden. Duo

Finally, within the hall, in a narrow space between the door architraves nestles another inherited piece – the barometer from my grand parents house. This was positioned in a similar place in their house, although it wasn't a conscious decision to imitate its placement.
In contrast on the opposite wall is a pinball table; I’m particularly partial to the cowgirl-themed design; we weren’t responsible for dismantling an entire pinball machine, there were a pile of these being sold in a junkyard, and regrettably we only bought one. The painted woodwork is in really good condition, considering they were in a shed, although the metal casing is a little rusty.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

The Other Side (Of The Room)

Ok P - I've just got home, dumped my bags and a box on the table and took this pic (it was very hard to resist the urge to tidy up first, so had to act quickly!) This is what you would see if you turned around from the computer. As you can see - it's very much a working studio - I have it separated out into working 'zones' of, Digital (as seen before in previous post) Book-Binding/Making, (shelves on the left), and Letterpress Printing, (shelves on the right). With a table for working on anything, in the middle of the room.

Features of note: the coving that wraps all the way around the room (there is a ceiling rose as well, but just a plain double circular one) and on the right hand side of the fireplace there is a feint trace in the plasterwork of where the old gas light used to be fixed.

Here's the same room before we moved in. This photo is taken from a different angle of course - you can just see the recess on the right hand side of this pic, where the built in cupboard and bookcase now stands, featured on the left hand side on the previous photo. Plus the gas fire is just seen in the right corner, where we now have a fireplace (above pic, in the middle).

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Collection. Plate Wall–Disco-Ball

To make up for the lack of architectural detailing in the hall, a mirror ball hangs ceiling; this is an object that was purchased for a previous house, so it is always interesting when you move home to see how, or if, furniture and possessions fit into the new environment. 
On the wall is a collection that began when I rescued a plate from a box destined for the charity shop, following my grandmother’s death and subsequent house clearance (image below). The plate collection is predominantly from the 50s/60s and in most instances cost very little, unfortunately they are getting harder to find, and sometimes I have to resort to just a saucer. On other occasions I am forced to buy an entire set, so it means we have an eclectic mix of odd numbered side plates! 

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