My shed is my studio, but it also a sort of grown-up playroom, especially when I’m giving it a sort out, which is often when I’m also trying to give my head a sort out! The day has been very grey and wet again which makes me crave lightness and colour, which is why I put some of my Penguin books together like this today…they’re usually on a top shelf but I just wanted them closer today…
But it is also the collection of them which I like and when I migrated to the shed today, I realised that I love looking at little collections of mine and the shed is often the place where they end up… This is a little collection over the door: one of my favorite pictures of my son, my great Aunt’s thimbles, my Granny’s pastry cutter and my other Grandma’s bobbins… A tin from an original trip to Ikea, a cigarette in an ‘emergency’ glass tube which my brother and I gave to my chain-smoking Grandpa when he gave up, my Grandpa’s playing cards, a tin I was given during a dreadful job, a chipped ceramic posy gift, a Pepsi pencil sharpener I bought with my own money one summer holiday, the ceramic dice I remember liking as a child ( all the numbers have a different colour ) but can’t remember where it came from, glue given to me by Una Stubbs (!), a headless horseman from a car boot ( I’ve always felt sorry for him ) and a tin of ’Star’s’ Dominos from another great Aunt’s house via my Granny…. The kitchen clock from my granparent’s house ( it’s still really nicoteen-stained! ), a clock given to me by a dubious student at college, ( the other clocks were car boot, ebay and ikea for a project a couple of years ago ), my Grandpa’s old Perrier bottle he kept under the sink ( he was teetotal and very proud that he drank Perrier…it was about the only bottled water back then ), Granny’s books, a little chest of drawers I found in my parent’s barn, and just peeping, a pink tin of tea I bought on a first trip to London when I was about 13…it may have been from Liberty… A bottle pourer from my ex-father in law ( the liquid pours from under his nose!! ), Granny’s musical alpine house, head of a cheap ornament which broke and I just felt weird about throwing away a head, a ceramic clown head gift from a friend and a Star’s ash tray ( to match the domino tin! )…my recovering geraniums
My Great Grandmother; Mabel, my Grandfather; Granville, a little figure I desperately wanted my Granny to give me when I was little ( she wrote my name underneath so no-one else would take it when she died! the hand has come off and the skipping rope has parted company…but I will fix it this year if I can ), a white bobbin I pinched from my mum ( it was different from the others and I was always fascinated by it…it has tougher thread than normal cotton and once, when I had a wobbly tooth, my mum attached some of this thread to the tooth; the other end to a door handle which my brother then slammed and the tooth came out amidst many tears! ), and a Portmeirion 1960’s cup ( the Cypher design…one of my favourites )…So as you can see collections are quite a big thing for me…objects always have a story which is why I keep so many and also why I love to include them in my still life shots.
As a child I loved to watch Bagpuss; a programme where old mislaid objects were re-juvinated and put to use ( the mice used to sing “we will find it, we will bi-i-iind it, we will stick it with bits of glue”; you can listen here; I love it even now! )…and then they would put the object in the window of the shop at the end of the programme to wait for their owner.
The fact that old objects weren’t just chucked away without thought appealed to me even then!
I have to say I think Bagpuss has a lot to answer for in my life…if you have 15 minutes to watch this first episode, do…I only have to hear the music and I weep for my childhood!