30/11/13 Looking at memory through smell- I then began asking on Facebook did anyone have a certain smell they associated with a loved one who had died? I also questioned my nan and my parents for my great grandparents with smells associated with baking scents etc. These were rhubarb, apple, wimberry goodberry, blackberry, rice pudding, coal, burnt wood from the fire, caraway seed cake, thyme stuffing and lavender. My Grandfather was associated with cigars, cigarettes and a pipe alongside that musky tool smell and the smell from his ivory with his birds.
Other peoples comments:
James Burton-The smell of new books grandparents.
Daniel Wheeler-The smell of rose water and lavender reminds me of my aunty Eileen before she sadly passed away and relax muscle ointment reminds of my grandfather who passed away this year.
Rhiannon Price- cigarettes and channel perfume remind me of my mum who passed.
Emma Moody Morrris-Smell of parma violets
Megan Osborne- The smell of hot water bottles remind me of my grandma because her house was always freezing cold when I was younger!
Tiffany Howe- Wisky and cat food reminds me of my nan, she used to feed the dog cat food!
Ruth Jones-White musk perfume, used to be my Nan’s perfume. We still have a bottle which is years old but still kept in a cupboard.
Miller Elliot- My grandma used to make the sourest boiled fruit with nicest ice cream. Now the smell of basmati rice reminds me of the curries shed cook every second Saturday.
Brogan Knight-The smell of cigarettes and a really specific body spray reminds me of an ex that passed away a few years ago.
I began researching and finding these smells to put inside my boxes to then seal them up. Hopefully this will trigger memories in people who smell it as it was successful tested on my parents. Smell is scientifically proven to trigger memories and I think the strongest sentimental piece of information we have to remember loved ones alongside memory.
28/11/13 Tutorial with David and James-
To be honest I have had several tutorials with James which were very helpful as he has been with me since day one of this project, alongside Andre who even commented that my project with my poem was planned and structured. But my tutorial with David I thought it was very unhelpful and it upset me to be honest, he even admitted he did not know what to suggest. “He said my project was too personal and not universal enough.”
My projects are always personal that’s what drives me! Suggesting to make it universal has no meaning to me it’s too broad ,which is something I’m trying to avoid as Death as a subject can go down too many routes. Sure I can possibly look into a personal and universal route, but a week before my deadline is not helpful or suggestive it just panics the individual more, I even went to James saying I can’t please everyone and asked for another tutorial.
He suggested for me to take a break and think about my work after a walk, this helped to be honest and I decided my work was missing something like a few puzzle pieces I cannot figure out where they go and I felt with these reliquaries I was coming to a dead end.
I was more interested at this point of this project of finding out my great grandmother was illiterate as I too could not read or write until I was about 6, which I considered to be a disadvantage all my life and I’ve considered and my tutors that I’m dyslexic, which I am looking into just recently. I remember as a child when I was 4 or 5 that all I saw on this test paper was a white blur and when I think of my great nan I consider she felt like that, looking at book pages and words.
David even suggested why don’t I look as memories and place them inside these boxes. I did like that suggestion as I have said the most sentimental thing I have of my nan is the one memory I have at Christmas. So I began drawing that memory how I saw it, from my burgundy little dress that I wore walking down the drive to the old aged pensioner home, to the pink arm chairs of the old ladies who sat whilst knitting in their blue and green cardigans.
Even to the ginger cat I remember trying my hardest to catch to stroke, which ran into the nurses office out of reach.
These drawings I created in oil pastel and I like them in a way as I did not purposely draw them childish but from my memory, which was all blurred as I was 3 or 4 years old looking back. It’s weird looking at these as my mother saw them and said the drive did look like that with the glass door and the yellow light, which was amazing as I was correct and no way I could have imagined this or conjured it from anywhere.
From this I then accidently got some oil pastel on a bit of coal and I began filming it and experimenting, which was a happy creative accident as it all blurred. This mistake suddenly went back to my original intention of finding a subject that you could study and struggle to make out, without actually really understanding what it was such as a abstract piece of art etc.
27/11/13 Further experimentation with memory boxes
I began by using clay that I acquired from a person I knew in sculpture, which was fresh and not the off casts that go hard and mouldy from being outside. I then began covering my boxes in clay and deciding where to put the tools as I did not want to weigh down the box so it began to tilt, but also I did not want to overcrowd it either with objects.
I began experimenting and pushing myself further with this idea by using tools on the exterior, judging how they looked as Fred(my great grandfather) used to be hands on and I used some coal as he was a fireman in the pits. I loved the texture and the tactile quality but to me it feels like something is missing, I’m not sure what I’m going to put inside, as I originally intended using paper to stencil his shoes with charcoal. But the exterior of these could keep anyone entertained for a while as it’s so fragile.
As we can see I discovered that after spraying and allowing the clay to dry it began to crack, I quite liked this but it was even more fragile than before and some parts began to break off. I do feel like something is missing from this and it’s sitting in front of me but I don’t know what it is yet.
Digging up the past 25/11/13
I thought of interviewing my nan to find out more about my families past, as my parents hardly knew anything. My nanny (Ethyl May Price) was born in 1903 and died in 1998 making me five. I do wish I had longer to get to know her, as hearing about her she seemed caring and content, a true and loving individual who always put others first. I asked my nan about her life in general such as how she met my grampa Fred, which was at her local Methodist church and they didn’t marry until she was 25 but I found out he was five years younger than herself. I found this quite rare, as in couples it’s more common the other way around. She was illiterate which is a frightening thought as it was not too long ago compared to now, but I looked into this and I found out 1 in 5 adults in the U.K. are illiterate according to the BBC http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/811832.stm and that’s today so it’s going back the way it used to be.
I think she would be proud that all our family can read and write, especially her children, grandchildren and her 12 great grandchildren and 9 of those are girls. As all 7 of her brothers, could read and write and they all played a musical instrument and as far as I know I’m the only grandchild who can play any instrument , which is guitar and I plan to learn how to play the keyboard in the near future. Her hobbies contained baking, cooking and sewing(which she hated) but made dolls clothes for my nan.
As I stated I only have one memory of her but in her later years she suffered with dementia which is awful and I am told she cradled a doll always crying saying “stop that baby crying.” It is known she had two previous children both named Christine the first was still born, but the second it’s a bit ambiguous as it’s believed in the family the baby had some sort of disability and in those days they were left in another room to just…die.
Sadly disability was dealt in a different way back then but I truly believe this is the memory she went back to as it was the most traumatic, it’s awful thinking she had to give up a baby if that was the case, I’m sure it would mentally scar any individual. I began finding out about her life as I wanted a more detailed idea of how to make the exterior of my box and perhaps place a object inside.
But honestly the only thing I truly cherish is the one memory I have of her , which I may work with but I will continue experimenting first.
Fredrick Daniel Price 1908-1977 Fred seemed a lovely man as well, he worked in the pits most of his life but as a fireman not a miner, which is different being a valley boy and I also found out he worked on a farm as a young boy until he was 12. His hobbies included carving as he made two wooden lion sculptures for the front gate, fiddling with mechanics such as making toy steam rollers. He also decorated the house with painting etc and I found out he decorated my nan’s cakes, such as at Christmas.
He used a mirror and placed it on the surface of the cake, to give the impression of a ice rink and then made little figures to skate above the surface.
My nan said creativity runs in the family as my dad can draw and frequently drew comics as a young adult and myself I paint and draw and my great, great uncles played musical instruments ranging from the piano to banjo.
I am going to keep digging history out of my own curiosity but to keep me motivated as this is quite personal as I am only now learning more about my family as I could never get past my great grandparents in our family history, it’s not talked about anymore which is a shame. I like the idea of memory and I’m continuing with my boxes, so I will be searching for tools my gramps would have used and buttons etc for my nan.
21/11/13 Formative Feedback-
This was a interesting session, it was supposed to be a group session but only me and Ruth showed up alongside our tutor James and then Vanessa, a observer. We listened to each others work, then with a feedback sheet we had to mark accordingly how we thought of the others work and our own, which could have either been very helpful or it would just paniced the individual.
I found me and Ruth ended up debating, as I thought she was being too harsh on her work regarding context even though she had loads, especially from Venice. To be honest after this I felt a little worried that my skills were letting me down regarding feedback as I could not show my videos I had been working on and Vanessa felt I didn’t have much work to show, which was the point I grabbed my sketchbooks for her to look at. I began thinking then if a outsider is viewing my work like this then others would also, which worried me as Ruth and James have been following my work from the beginning.
So I decided to go back to my boxes and research MORE artists who make memory jugs and start looking at objects to place on mine as they all loved my context of how I have researched a effective, emotive subject I could work with from death. But not in the sense of bodies rotting like I originally queried, but in the sense of memory and reflecting their lives on a box. This is my next task!! I am going to find out more about my great grand parents such as their hobbies etc and make my own memory boxes.
05/11/13 Making my Reliquaries-
I began by searching charity shops on Albany Road which I found some little goodies, such as a old jewellery box. I then went to rainbow bargains, which is amazing for students it sold everything from china mugs to paint, this shop is actually in a church up the top end of the street.
I managed to find little cheap cardboard boxes to work with to experiment with paper mache, such as shown in my previous experimetnations and mod rock which I bought from the pen and paper. I then sprayed them with gold paint spray to see if it was a good experiment or that it looked unprofessional, as most of the relics I researched were of gold exterior or some sort of metal substance.
I then experimented with clay for a while which I found did not work as effectively as I hoped, it looked unprofessional and it was too fragile. I plan to continue with my boxes.
01-11-2013 Sentimental objects
I began researching reliquaries such as the exterior and interior and the history. I wanted to link memory by using sentimental objects like the relics for my project. This was very difficult as I could not use human bones like the Saints, whose bones were within these boxes and gold encrusted objects or animal bones or meat as it had no relevance. I began experimenting with bottles with paper mache and mod rock as I like the idea of a box you could not open but only see. I find many people are more curious of the boxes content than the box itself, I began using flour, water and newspaper to create a very thick glue in a sense and expdrimented the thickness and hardness. I did plan to make a cast of my arm but I only manged to create a arm braclet in a sense, but that had also no relevance but I used gold and silver paint to experiment with also as most relics are of gold etc. So I then began asking questions again on my Facebook page such as “did anyone have anything of sentimental value a object of a loved one?” People even sent in images which was amazing!
Lucy Harris – Mine would be the big bunch of keys I carry around with me. All except the driving key and fob belonged to my dad, he died in march 2009. He had Cancer of the oesophagus and only lived 6 months after his diagnosis. He was an engineer of sorts and had a business of which some of the keys are for some for other things like the shed garage and house – back and front door key. The front door key is my favourite key out of all, I remember him using this key when I was a kid so at least 20 years old, it has now become rounded and very smooth and worn. I am now living the house, well since he died, And I still use it today – it still works! These Keys are very special to me, they remind me of my dad, Memories are also linked to the keys and in some way it keeps him alive to me – I would be absolutely devastated if I ever lost them. Forgot to message you about your near death etc post – I was there when my dad died, it was very sad but also a relief as he was not suffering anymore. – Welling up now so anyways there you go, hope this helps in some way.
Christian Voldstad 8/11/13