the importance of touch

view of exhibition

Antje and Wapke from Myvillage.org at the Architecture Forum exhibition

I’m so glad I volunteered to help at Good news from nowhere. It’s really making me think!

In my art training at Harrow School of Art, the catchphrase was reflection through action, and this is I think what makes myvillages‘ work truly art. An example:

linen grown in Germany

Linen & other products on display in Timmer’s Pub in Ohne

At Ohne, in Northern Germany, they work with the whole village to find the ‘product’ that they can produce that will somehow encapsulate and reclaim the identity of the village. The choice: linen. 100 people from the village help sow, grow and reap the flax, all by hand, then with help, process, spin and weave it: producing the most beautiful linen-covered book, on sale both in the show here, and in Timmer’s Pub in Ohne, where you can see the linen and other products they made.

On opening night, Wapke said how eating the cheese of Friesland made you remember her homeland better than just words: and the feel, the colours of that little linen book is now filled, for me, with the noise, dust and weariness of a flax harvest.

Objects can really hold stories and memory: I think even more than images can, especially now that we are so drowned by 2-D through broadcast and digital media that we can hardly distinguish them. This is why I make pots, of course, especially vessels (a literal holding place!).

Trolley with home-made products

International Village Shop – some of the products available.

MyVillages do this, but more too: they link rural communities internationally; they have long term projects like Antje’s farm painting series (more on this later) which gives them a framework for engaging both communities and funders. I’m looking forward to finding out more while invigilating today – and making food for visitors. Reflection through action again!

Food for the opening

Food for the opening

I made a pear cake (on the left) for the opening: no time to make another, so I’m hoping to take local bread from either the BlackBird Bakery near my workshop, or bread bread, in Brixton, to go with the smoked ham from Kathrin’s uncle in Germany and the clove cheese from Wapke’s Friesland!

Do say hello if you come, and any suggestions for local food would also be gratefully received!

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5 responses to “the importance of touch

  1. Sounds interesting. Is it at Grizedale – or somewhere nearer?

    In terms of local foods, lots of things are now made here, but the the only traditional london dish I’ve discovered recently (thanks to GBBO) is Tottenham Cake. The version sold in Percy Ingles doesnt look very exciting as cake goes, but I like it’s egalitarian origins and suspect that a proper homemade version could be pretty good…

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    • Sorry, yes – the exhibition is near London Bridge at the Architecture Foundation! I’d suggest coming the day of an event, then you can talk to the artists & seakers too.
      If Tottenham Cake’s made with mulberries it will be delicious – my sister has a tree, the fruit is amazing

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  2. I’m going to be a Jamaican here and say, “free food!” Not that I can actually eat bread, but still, it’s the thought that counts. Love your pots, by the way.

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