June Jamboree!

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Bridge House Art

The Bridge House Art team will bring you a new weekly project, every Monday during the month of June (June 1st is very conveniently on a Monday). The weekly project will be published here with the BHA Weekly Word Facebook group and #bhaweeklyword on Instagram, will still be the place to share your work.

 

Each week will consist of:

  • Monday: we will kick start the week with one of us revealing the weekly word and the definition / meaning behind the word There may be a poem, a quote or an insight into what the word means to us. There will also be a practical video demonstration to get you started on the week’s creative journey.

  • Wednesday: we will upload a talk about artists that have used the idea of the new weekly word in their own practice. 

  • Friday @11am: we are having a Live Bridge House Art, Coffee Break Catch-up, where you can join us in person, albeit in a small box on the screen, to show and tell all the lovely work you have created and how you have responded to the word. (book your place here before 7pm Thursday each week)

How about that then! 

A jamboree is a party, celebration, or other gathering where there is a large number of people and a lot of excitement, fun and enjoyment. We would love you to join us to make June a month to remember. So keep your peepers peeled and keep this creative community going! 

Monday June 1st. Introduction: Christine Morrison

 

The new weekly word is 

Memento

 

Memento (noun) is sometimes spelled momento, perhaps by association with moment. The word is actually

related to remember. One of its earliest meanings was “something that serves to warn.”

- something that reminds someone of a person, place, event, etc.

- a postcard from a favourite trip to Paris

- a shell from the beach we walked on during our honeymoon'

 

The meaning “souvenir” is a recent development: '

For me, memento is such a powerful word. A word of life. My life is full of mementos, sometimes in a physical form as a cherished object, others, a single word or a piece of music, each one can transport me to a specific time, a specific place or bring to mind a particular person.

 

When I was a student at Edinburgh College of Art, I made a piece work in response to visiting the graveyard at Greyfriars Kirk and discovering the poets corner, where there were plaques installed onto a wall in memory of various Scottish poets, not all of them well known.

 

I installed a chair with a box placed on the seat, inside the box there was a re-appropriated poetry book from a second hand book shop. I painted out all of the pages. I wrote on the first page. I asked anyone finding the book to write in it a single word that brings someone to mind. I left the book, with a pen, in the box. Waiting to be found.

 

My word is Trombone. This word immediately brings my late father to mind. He played a trombone in a brass band. If I hear a trombone, or see a bandstand, it makes me think of him. His early parting made me go to art college as a mature student, some things you can't leave until you retire....

I'd like you to  think about a person who means a lot to you, are there objects in your house that symbolise that person? Gather some together and draw a ‘portrait’ from them. Or, is there a word that you associate with a person? Maybe write things about that person all over a sheet of paper, rub it back  and draw over the top. CEM

An Instance

Perhaps the accident of a bird

crossing the green window, a simultaneous phrase

of far singing, and a steeplejack

poised on the church spire, changing the gold clock,

set the moment alight. At any rate, a word

in that instant of realising catches fire,

ignites another, and soon the page is ablaze

with the wildfire of writing. The clock chimes in the square.

All afternoon, in a scrawl of time,

the mood still smoulders. Rhyme remembers rhyme,

and words summon the moment when amazement

ran through the senses like a flame.

Later, the song forgotten, the sudden bird

flown who-knows-where, the incendiary word

long since crossed out, the steeplejack gone home,

their moment burns again, restored

to its spontaneity. The poem stays.

      Alastair Reid

Practical Demonstration: Eleanor White

Wednesday 3rd June: Kittie Jones artist slide talk

Friday 5th June: Coffee Catch-up - 

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Bridge House Art

Monday June 8th. Introduction: Christine Morrison

 

The new weekly word is 

Vessel

/ˈvɛs(ə)l/

noun: vessel; plural noun: vessels

 

 a ship or large boat.
Similar: boat, sailing boat, ship, yacht, craft, watercraft, barque, keel
 
a hollow container, especially one used to hold liquid, such as a bowl or cask.
Similar: container, receptacle, repository, holder, carrier, basin, bowl, dish, pan, pot, can, tin, jar, jug, pitcher, carafe, flask, decanter, urn, tub, bin, tank, drum, canister, butt, vat, cask, barrel, box, case, chest, casket 

 

(chiefly in biblical use) a person regarded as having or embodying a particular quality."Lord, use this lowly vessel, let me serve You as You will"

a duct or canal holding or conveying blood or other fluid. h
Similar: tube, channel, passage, pipe, artery, vein, vas, trachea

any of the tubular structures in the vascular system of a plant, serving to conduct water and mineral nutrients from the root.

 

Middle English: from Anglo-Norman French vessel(e ), from late Latin vascellum, diminutive of vas ‘vessel’.

To start the week we have a couple of videos for you. Firstly, I invited the artist Peter White to help me introduce the new weekly word by means of a recorded discussion about the word Vessel and how we relate to it as artists. During the conversation we discuss the range of possibilities of how others may respond to the word. Kittie Jones has recorded a short practical demonstration to get you thinking. Both videos will take just under 30 minutes to watch, so grab a coffee (or tea), sit comfortably and enjoy!

Practical Demonstration: Kittie Jones

Wednesday 10th June: Eleanor White artist slide talk

Friday 12th June: Coffee Catch-up - 

Monday June 15th. Introduction: Kittie Jones

 

The new weekly word is 

Fragment

Noun: a small part broken off or separated from something

Verb: break or cause to break into fragments

 

‘Then the end. Simultaneously ambition and disillusion. Even as in my mind’s eye I saw my drawing and the actual man coincide – so that, for a moment, he was no longer a man posing but an inhabitant of my half-created world, a unique expression of my experience, even as I saw this in my mind’s eye, I saw in fact how inadequate, fragmentary, clumsy my small drawing was.

I turned over the page and began another drawing, starting from where the last one had left off. A man standing, his weight rather more on one leg than the other ….

Excerpt from Berger on Drawing by John Berger, ed Jim Savage (Italics are mine - KJ)

I love this quote by John Berger – it belongs to a longer essay where he deconstructs the process of making a life drawing. There is so much in what he is saying here – I would recommend reading the quote a few times. An initial look might interpret this as a negative statement about the frustrations of the creative process. I, however, see it as a wholly positive observation, why? Because, as creatives, if we are satisfied with what we do we would not pick up our tools again for another go and it is only by keeping going that we move on, develop and innovate. In this way, each piece of art we make becomes a fragment of a greater whole – our lifetime’s project.

In my own work I often make drawings that are ‘fragments’ of a landscape – place caught in space and time. During lockdown I have had time to look through numerous half-finished pieces of my work – they are fragments of time and place which conjure up memory and sensations in me. I am so glad to have them in my life – they are serving their purpose beautifully during this time of limited movement – transporting me back to places I have known.

You could say that all artworks are fragments: snapshots of things seen or remembered; moments caught (on camera, on paper, on film); objects collected, collated, constructed; a series of unlinked ideas brought together. A fragment in this context becomes a precious object, perhaps taken out of its own time and place, and bringing meaning to our understanding of the world around us.

As I type I look at my mantelpiece where I keep things that mean something to me – a handmade card made from a torn down print, half a seal skull, a cluster of feathers, a silver pig pin cushion with a chipped ear, a pot plant whose pale green leaves cascade down towards the floor, a ceramic plate leaning against the wall. We can think of all of these things as fragments of a bigger thing – the pot plant is a piece of the forest brought into my house, the feathers are a small part of a bigger thing – a bird, the objects all serve to form part of the ‘whole’ that is my mantelpiece, which in turn is a ‘fragment’ of my living room, which in turn makes up part of my flat, and on we go!

Fragment is a complex word to get your head around – an initial pass might have you thinking the connotations are negative: if something is fragmented it is rendered useless; a fragment is a lesser part of a whole.

However, let’s think on it a bit more and perhaps a more nuanced response will arrive. After all, what are all art objects if not precious fragments? KJ

Practical Demonstration: Eleanor White

Wednesday 17th June: Rosanna Dyke artist slide talk

Friday 5th June: Coffee Catch-up - 

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Bridge House Art

Monday June 22nd. Introduction: Eleanor White

 

The new weekly word is 

Ritual

A ritual is a sequence of activities involving gestures, words, actions, or objects, performed in a sequestered place and according to a set sequence.  Any practice or pattern of behaviour regularly performed in a set manner.

Coffee and the newspaper are part of my morning ritual.

The birds were performing a complex mating ritual.

“Whether we're conscious of it or not, our work and personal lives are made up of daily rituals, including when we eat our meals, how we shower or groom, or how we approach our daily descent into the digital world of email communication” Chip Conley

We all have daily rituals that are to do with mealtimes, on waking a cup of tea or coffee whichever is your preference, breakfast, lunch, dinner. Sometimes there are family rituals that accompany these homely events, reading the paper, checking your emails, doing a crossword. Having a conversation about the day ahead. Maybe over lockdown the ritual of walking has been important to you. There is the ritual of the seasons and with that comes sowing, planting, tending, harvesting, these can be seen in a big scale or in the tiniest back garden or in a flowerpot on your window sill.

 

Ritual can give us a sense of security, identity and belonging:  though the placing of an object, meeting at a regular time and place with a friend, or wearing a particular article of clothing that makes us feel good, confident. 

Rituals often help us focus when we are anxious or apprehensive of a situation; say you are going to give a speech at a friend’s wedding, maybe you have a ritual of breathing or saying a word over to keep you on track or a talisman in your pocket for good luck, or like the tennis player Rafael Nadal who has a particular ritual on the court 

"I put the two bottles down at my feet, in front of my chair to my left, one neatly behind the other, diagonally aimed at the court. Some call it superstition, but it’s not. If it were superstition, why would I keep doing the same thing over and over whether I win or lose? It’s a way of placing myself in a match, ordering my surroundings to match the order I seek in my head.” Nadal.

Our coffee breaks here at Bridge House Art whether it is part of the summer school, or the full time portfolio course, is an important ritual of the day. It's when we tend to relax a little, let go of any anxiety, make conversation, laugh as we wipe  the charcoal marks of our faces, make plans to meet after studio time, share a baked cake. We have a washing up rota/ritual  on the portfolio course where two students will clear away and make the room good again and by doing so bonds are made and friendship flourishes, rituals often make for community however small.

 

This quote by Muriel Barbery gives an insight to the significance of this:

“When tea becomes ritual, it takes its place at the heart of our ability to see greatness in small things. Where is beauty to be found? In great things that, like everything else, are doomed to die, or in small things that aspire to nothing, yet know how to set a jewel of infinity in a single moment?” 

In my studio before painting, I have a procrastination ritual of tidying up everything in sight then starting to break it all down again as I paint and create, not caring where and what lands on the floor or what stuff I leave out in the wake of my working. There is a certain rhythm to the activity that lets me know am ready to begin, it’s the thinking space and the anticipation it creates that aids motivation.

What rituals do you have in your day or in the year, that have importance no matter how small that could be explored though making, drawing or painting?

 

Here are some suggestions, you will come up, I'm sure, with some others that will delight and surprise us:

  • On a walk perhaps, stop and sketch or photograph at certain points to bring together visual memories of that ritual walk

  • Draw the weeding of the garden or the watering the pot plants 

  • Maybe draw from memory the ritual that you miss that lockdown has prevented, perhaps it’s the table you sit at in a particular café with your friend or lover. 

  • Or your table each morning as you drink that first cup of coffee and plan your day. 

  • Or perhaps like Rafael Nadal, you’re ordered (or not) table top studio space with all your equipment set out ready to begin the work…

 

Let’s see how and what are important rituals for us all and how we may depict them visually. EKW

Practical Demonstration: Kittie Jones

Wednesday 24th June: Christine Morrison - artist slide talk. It's a long one, but the last one for this month!

Friday 26th June: Coffee Catch-up 

Thank you for supporting

Bridge House Art

Over the last few weeks, many of you have been getting in touch to ask if there was a way to contribute or make a donation towards the work we are doing. We thank those of you that have already generously donated independently; some have likened it to buying us a virtual cup of coffee, some included a cake, others have alluded treating us to dinner!  Overall, your comments and feedback have affirmed how important it is for us to safeguard the future of Bridge House Art.

After much consideration we have added a donation button to our page. It is entirely by voluntary contribution and only if you feel inclined to support us. We hope you do as we want to be here for you in the future and above all want to see you in person at Bridge House Art in a safer future. 

At Bridge House Art, we aim to continue to bring you content, regardless of any donation, during this uncertain time. We have listened to your comments and feedback over the last two projects - On this Day was a huge success, but some found the daily task a bit overwhelming and were anxious if they missed a day. Weekly Word has enjoyed another creative following, but the daily connection with the group was missed by quite a few. So, we're hoping that June Jamboree is the perfect solution!

Remember: If you would like to share your work, the BHA Weekly Word Facebook group and #bhaweeklyword on Instagram, is still the place.

© 2019 Bridge House Art, Ullapool.

Tel: +44 (0)1854 612281

email: enquiries@bridgehouseart.co.uk