They needed to be isolated, removed from source.
……from outside and from within. Next to: compass, rulers, measures, plumb line and a tall, lidded wooden box of drawing instruments. Shapes and forms that had made a sound and been given room, which now could not easily be undone without further understanding. Like predicting weather or charting seas.
(a group of instruments indexes the unknown).
At the time and at times looking back, I have wondered whether I should have documented the date I made or found them, and where they came from, and what they were. But this never felt important. It’s not about where they came from but the persistence of their voice(s).
what were they telling
the message in the bottle. It wasn’t the message, or its container, but the event of it
Travelling, cast in and carried on the waves, guided by magnetic energy to arrive on another shore, and into the hands of someone who could spot it, curiously bend to pick it up, open, read and send a return letter by mail. Its voyage, arrival, retrieval and it's taking in, the product of coincidence. Listener needed.
Describe the map, the chart as you would in speech.
You would have to open your mouth for the words to come. Your part in moulding to make the message. The source? to isolate from the source? Lay enough things out and they will speak.
What some of them were
and Where they were.
On the landing, a temporary work space had been set up in adjustment, protection keeping us in. (From what?)
Describe the landing exposed, two staircases, window, a room but no door. Two long walls.
Write to the passage of a lulling beat, fluid blooms, a whirring device. Returns, returning. The regularity of circular sound, in revolutions pacing, brings me ( ).
Ears now bare to the sounds of the house. My hair has grown almost back to the beginning.
Outside it is snowing. Whips around, slow dragging, and from a window in half, the top view outside falls upon the compact flour mounded beneath the obscured centre panel, where the glass has been covered in clear mottled vinyl. I am making what I see now talk to what surrounds me. Bringing the objects into the present. (Things that knew from a time before. Objects for seeing and hearing).
This landing has become a collecting place for collected items - collected, selected, formed, found. They are not props, but seers, knowers which have felt tremors and gathered dust over years of this writing, this image making. This listening, walking; interior and embodying. A transferral of witness, the might of recalling and redrawing. Boundaries and tensions, separation. To inanimate grains and particles. Seeped, moulded, viscosities halted. Natural detritus, contorted and brittle. Things of the sea and the woods transferring, lodged in assemblages of mine and the maternal kitchen, recreated models and memories of melted milk-ice. Weight lines dropping, things made by Others, all talking with the same meaning. In circles, upwards / downwards drag, in gravitational balance and stacked precarity.
It feels like there will come a time when this is all cleared.
I’ve been moving towards withdrawing; ahead. To know and it be part of you (imparted / importer / in:parted).
I have guarded and gathered these things, moved them to other places with me, but their pull has signalled at its most strong already, and now there’s a climbdown which I identify as being on the cusp of, although this may be a conceit.
Either they collapse or they stop speaking - either I grow or they cease. which?
(Before the objects stop ringing entirely), I want to describe them, list the things swirling and emitting from them, hovering in a mist at waist or chest height, before they close. I think that as I start to do this and in deciding which things are there intentionally and not, I may or may not find out more.
They are things I have listened to since I brought them home or gave them form. Do they have anything more to tell me now? Do they stay until gravity, frailty, tremors or others cause them to collapse?
Or do I decide, before this happens, to package and preserve them, cataloguing them like artefacts behind glass or cardboard, to know that they are still there, are accessible and could repeat the telling in future if needed, or remind me of what they stood in for, remind me that I’d even assembled them, or that this process meant something, was entirely intuitive, horderly, (hoard?) experiential and uncertain, even at a time when that feels lacking or dull?
I sense that I am looking around at those I will soon be leaving. My pencil has gone blunt, letters broaden, blurring, but all three sharpeners on my desk are so loaded and stuck with leads wedged in between the blades, that I can't tap or slide out. I will need to look for something different soon, an alternative.
Under my desk is a box of on-the-way-out-things. When the desk was in the attic, these things were out on surfaces, whole open trays of them, and arranged in the recesses of aligned spines and on temporary shelves propped like children building homes without skill or resource. It feels likely that at some near point they will be taken outside. The garden is the next place in a cycle, having been brought in. To take them out is to rescind ownership or responsibility for them, but allow them to still exist within the boundaries of my home. To see them becoming weatherworn over years and every returning winter. Growing smoother, crevices lapsing, bodies swell or shrink back, discolouring. Growing slimy but in correspondence with the surroundings.
It is as though they have been returned to water, to sea, to their aqueous state. Brought back from the desiccation of their time emitting (margin notes) and now part of the beginning again, but without end.
On the chest of drawers and along a makeshift pew, shelf propped on stools with a radiator for a back and throw to draw the angles, would all the dried forms be taken? Taken and transplanted out. When the water filtered through them, season after season, would they alter with different degrees of material willing.
- Might we need to consider these in groups of how they would respond to this re-entry? To water?
- Or according to what might be taken out next and which might remain? The ringing things?
- How about things there is a plan for and things not?
(Compared to things that are here because I need them).
ON THE LANDING
1. A tray lined with a sheet of greaseproof paper, a kitchen tile with a mound of flour on it.
2. Beside it, a boulder like aggregate made of play dough and cornflour.
3. A cereal bowl with a crystal experiment
4. Two bookends of slate cut like jagged cliff edges arranged in a perpendicular layout. Resting on top, a white plastic tray.
5. Tray contains: A jar containing flour with the black lid screwed on
6. Sea plants dried into umbilical cord shapes
7. A cereal bowl with a crystal experiment
8. An oyster shell riddled with holes
9. Loose flour on the tray
10. Between them the seeped wax from a candle mould, skin coloured and layered.
11. A cereal bowl with a crystal experiment.
12. A tea tray with a dried flower forest. Fifteen dried stems standing in marbled coloured plasticine, all leaning sideways.
13. A round kitchen tray with an easter garden. Soil and moss, and a cave of bark. Inside a sea shell cupped upwards.
OTHER THINGS AROUND THE HOUSE (an incomplete list)
14. Painted wooden spinning tops
15. Thermometer from Kate’s house
16. Two silver plastic bells
17. A jagged wooden forest
18. Basque coiled candle
19. Candles made of layered wax in cardboard moulds
20. Clay candle mound
21. Miniature clay busts
22. Clay pocket forms (precursor to ellipses)
23. Tiny wooden dice
24. Child’s coil pot
25. Coral and shells collection
26. Magnetic play board
27. Wooden book ends with spheres
28. A red, square box of worn roisin
29. A crystal paper weight with a box and its papers from 1988
30. A pointed rock like a snow capped mountain
31. Two horn birds, one parent, one child, looking upwards
32. Two rocks from a precipice
33. A clay model of a pyramid
34. A clay model of a mountain in the Pyrenees
35. A clay model of a red mound
36. A blue card mountain, a crystal growing kit
37. A smooth white garlic stem (connector) shaped like a mushroom
38. A compass from my Grandparents house
39. A glass sphere
40. A stone island with seaweed leaning sideways
41. Twelve toilet rolls joined together with cellotape in two rows. Tufts of hill grass in the spaces.
42. The stem from a tomato vine.
43. A white square kitchen tile with a puffball mushroom.
44. A stone with two halves of a puffball mushroom each shaped like a corresponding ear
45. A tea tray with three bracket fungi each powdering to a skeletal fan.
46. A wooden fruit bowl with dried play dough shells and sea forms
47. Pieces of aggregate
48. A jam jar filled with stones, shells and crabs legs, black lid screwed on. It has not been opened since the beach and the side appears salty.
49. On it, a small sample of a brown bathroom tile.
50. On it an oak leaf with an oak apple forming, and three pea pods, and one fallen.