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.


  1. This is visually quite, quite stunning. I like the idea that it's a church noticeboard, as it has quite an Eastern shrine-like appearance with lots of bright colours, lights and photos. I don't mean that in a morbid way at all: more like a family album that charts important events over a period of time. It's nice that it gets added to, rather than edited, so there are layers of memories on top of each other.
    Interesting that I have a place for my nephew's artworks too (secured with magnets to the side of my fridge). When he visits, he always takes a peek there to see that I have the latest drawing that he has sent me on show!

  2. I was trying to remember and compare how my grandparents would display mementos and photographs in their homes, and I suppose this is the equivalent of a china cabinet, a family album and a mantelpiece all rolled into one. I am convinced my maternal Grandmother’s mantelpiece did not change in all the years she was alive; she wasn’t one for clutter and ornaments, so most photographs were hidden away in albums, and mementos were probably more practical affairs – things she could use like the Devonware pottery (seen in a previous post); I think she would find the idea of displaying a cigarette packet and chilli seeds quite odd!!

  3. It was also very usual for the older generation to have some kind of souvenir, or a couple of ornaments on top of the television - which acted as an extension to the mantlepiece.
    You are right, there didn't seem to be the constant updating or editing of possessions as there is today. Sometimes I get a little overwhelmed by just how much choice there is out there ... there's something I find comforting in the idea of less availability in times gone by, but that in turn, could also be frustrating at times.
    Function and practicality with a small dose of frivolity seemed to be the norm. It reminds me of the quote" A place for everything, and everything in it's place," which I aspire to, but never quite manage.
    Also, I think we have both acquired items in our homes that are inspirational/attractive in terms of typography, colour, shape, language etc., etc., for our artistic practice - so therefore have an 'otherness' to their purpose and function, a different emphasis to more traditional values beheld within an object. (Well, that's my excuse anyway!)

  4. Yes, good point about the fact that we gather and display objects as part of what we do, I suppose this also relates to the fact that it is now common practice for people to have a space in which to work at home. My Grandfather had a bureau in the front room, but that was as far as it went.
    I hadn’t realised that the TV was an extension of the mantelpiece… unfortunately I don’t have a mantelpiece' although I am still quite happy to conform to certain traditions; we have just returned from several (damp) hours at a local antiques fair where the sole purpose was to find a mirror for the chimney breast wall, a tradition that all my grandparents followed.

  5. Yes, definitely P. Amalgamating a workplace/studio etc. with a living environment has changed the way we use the rooms in our houses, and also added another psychological element in terms of being able (or not sometimes) to disassociate ourselves from what is 'work' and what isn't, given the sharing of this space. Although as creative people I think our lives r.e work/life balance are intertwined as one constantly informs the other.
    The bureau. Thanks for reminding me of that. My parents had one (which was also part bookcase). I remember all the important documents, paperwork, and household admin being kept in there. My father used to work at it (when pulled down) as a desk. Then it would be folded up when work was finished, and everything would disappear. Bit like laptops I guess!
    Going on from your mirror hunt at the Antiques Fair (successful I hope?) redarding the chimney breast wall, see my next post ...


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