Sunday, 19 October 2008


Quiddity 19/10/08

My Grandad took up ceramic painting during his retirement. He used to go to classes at a local school where he would decorate plates and tiles. He used a back bedroom in my Grandma and Grandad's house as his studio and me and my sisters and cousins would learn how to paint onto the ceramics, then he would take them to his class and get them fired for us.
He used all sorts of imagery as inspiration, we bought him a book about Mabel Lucy Atwell for one Christmas which I think is where he has taken the image of the boy with the icecream above.

My favourite of his creations is the terracotta head that he sculpted at a class. I think this may have been informed by his travels as a nurse during the second world war.

I recently found a piece of writing about his retirement that he had penned for either me or one of my sisters to help us with a homework task.

Monday, 6 October 2008

Quiddity - Book Review from 'Taking Things Seriously.'

Two significant points from Joshua Glen's text, firstly quiddity and secondly collecting:

Quiddity = The Essence of a Thing (In the text 'Taking Things Seriously,' by Joshua Glen he describes quiddity as a scholastic term meaning the essence of a thing. " that which differentiates a thing from other things." p16

"As for Heideggerians, existentialists, and phenomenologists, although they may talk excitedly of the 'thingness of things,' they always seem less interested in particular things than in exposing some supposedly concealed truth about being, by making a study of 'the thing.' " p16

"Walter Benjamin once claimed, in his essay 'Unpacking My Library,' that the act of collecting is one of conferring upon an object a value that derives not from the marketplace but from its place within the collection. The downside of collecting, however, is that it doesn't confer unique value on any one object. p12 (Taking Things Seriously by Joshua Glen and Carol Hayes - Princeton Architectural Press 2007).


...I even found teeth! Unfolding before my eyes was a macabre hoard of sad, lonely things. Sads. They no longer had a function but had a very specific resting place and I was the archaeologist.


Findings (Thursday 14/08/08)

Three F's: Figurines, Fossils, Fetish.

This drive to collect is a family trait.

Owls, teaspoons, buses, badges...

Was I disappointed? Having set myself a day to rediscover objects and stuck to it, I was left feeling quite disturbed. Uprooting items that have been tucked away for years left me with an uneasy feeling.
Everything was ugly.
A Steiff hedgehog coverered in mould, a forlorn teddy bear whose last scraps of fur were held together by netting that left it naked and vulnerable. A faded porcelain caterpilar hand painted by me c. 1995. If only I could find the life size porcelain Pug dog whose gritty grey paint still looked tacky. I even found teeth! Unfolding before my eyes was a macabre hoard of sad, lonely things. Sads. They
no longer had a function but had a very specific resting place and I was the archaeologist.
The task had become a mammoth tidying my room session in a room that has not been used as my bedroom for years. Some items had devalued emotionally whilst others gained talisman status.

I didn't want to be brutal with my memories.

Did I think there would be more?

Having drawn upon my own collections of inanimates and the recent urge I have had to purge old belongings to make a pychological space for the future I am left wondering what attracts me to certain objects and why have I hung on for so long? What drove me to give these ugly things refuge?

In my simplifying and breaking down of these objects into line drawings, narrative and illustration began to emerge. I was reminded of Flat Stanley, Alice In Wonderland and other childhood texts. Meaning, memory,narrative...or just a collection?

Creating work and continuing a personal practice within the confines of work and other commitments('In The Margins') I have found that a computer, a spare room and a blogspot became my 'head space' for the exhibition preparation.