A Month's Art Retreat
Originally launched in June 2020 as June Jamboree, this Artist's Retreat provides you with a new weekly project, we suggest you commence on every Monday during whichever month you are completing it. The weekly projects are delivered by Bridge House Art tutors with an introduction to a word, an artists' talk and a demonstration. If you wish to share your work, the BHA Weekly Word Facebook group and #bhaweeklyword on Instagram, is the place to share it. (There may be some references to a coffee catch-up session, these are no longer available as they were a social extra during the long lockdown months)
Week one: Introduction: Christine Morrison
The weekly word is
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
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.
Practical Demonstration: Eleanor White
June Jamboree. Memento: Little birds from Africa
Kittie Jones artist slide talk