Having given up my beloved Studio 7b (soon to be demolished), I was ever so lucky to secure a new studio – Studio 2 – at Arts at the Old Fire Station, Oxford. This is exceptionally exciting and although I had hoped for a studio in Oxford, this opportunity came up much sooner than expected. I have moved my essentials into the studio, reinstalled my revised wall of inspiration and begun to make some small scale work. It feels very clean and bright – a new page – and brimming with possibilities.
More animal stories are beginning to emerge and have shifted my focus of making for the time being. As I wrote previously, these are stories which have been told, but are not written. The viewer may encounter these and create their own story. They function as single ‘pages’ and potential stories. They have also begun to gather in collections with nominal titles; I Came from the Sea; Underwater Forests; Dreams in Hibernation; Storytellers.
They come under the future library – a concept coincidentally aligned with the awe inspiring Katie Paterson’s https://www.futurelibrary.no/
Paterson says… “There is a magical, contemplative feeling in the forest. We encourage people to visit, to take this journey, and over the decades, watch the forest grow and change. Year by year, the writers’ words forming invisible chapters in the trees whose narratives will be reconstituted a century later.” This has such dignified beauty – the invisible chapters – the unknown future.
The potential of a story and energy of the encounter with the storyteller at any time are powerful. And in the words of Sal…
‘It’s not just what I say, it’s how you listen’ (A Story is in the Telling)
I was thinking back to Marina Warner’s discussion at the Story Museum about the way that stories travel and the role of children, language and women in the passing on of stories. Children have often been a feature of my work and I will be exploring their capacity as storytellers in the near future. Also, of course, the wonderful Robert MacFarlane’s Lost Words are still in my mind. Fragments and partiality are important in offering an ambiguous narrative and I am pondering the relationship between the language and the visual.