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:
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!).
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!
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!