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29/03/2011 / jenniferrobsonartist

Pablo Neruda, a Doll’s House and My Granda

What a beautiful blue sky with white cloud sunny day! It just makes me feel so hopeful and like anything is possible. Sunlight is streaming through my studio window alighting on my work, casting incredible shadows on my horses and hares in my little sets. I love how my new work interacts with its surroundings like this, that’s the beauty of sculpture! The whole feel of a piece can change when you literally – see it in a different light. The sunlight sparkles and twinkles little glitter spots all over my studio. Just fabulous! I worked on my Doll’s House yesterday and have made lots of headway as to where it is going and what it is all about. It came from an original sketchbook idea I had 3years ago, after I read in a symbolism book that the house is often used as a representative symbol of the psyche, with the levels representing depths of the consciousness. The roof is said to connect to a higher consciousness, like a transmitter as such. So immediately I thought about the house I shared with my beloved flatmates at Uni in Thomson street in Dundee. It’s a three-tiered old house with high ceilings, bay windows, cornices, and a twisting staircase. The attic rooms are fabulous with slanted ceilings and you could even sit out on the roof and enjoy sunny Dundee with a view of the Tay in the summer. And way down below there was a cupboard under the stairs, and a fireplace in my room and the living room, we even had an old piano that a neighbour was throwing out the day we moved in. These are all items that are making appearances in my work and in my Doll’s House. It was my first place away from home, and it became a haven for me and I loved it. This house and the feelings and memories attached to it, became the inspiration for lots of my new work. You can see the sketch original here. It was strange but even then, I knew this sketch was never going to work as a painting in the way I use to work. Its this house that I made my own, my first space, my first taste of adding to something and making it my own. I love the poet Pable Neruda, and I was given this beautiful book which has images of his houses, and I was moving into my current house at the time, (another bay-windowed old house where sunlight streams in throuhgout the day). Neruda had quite a few houses which he kept extending them, adding extra extensions and I loved this idea that a house could be organic, it was growing to fit him. He also had a houseful of collected things, he loved, that inspired him. One in particular was a saddled tin horse statue from a local shop, which he used to pass on his way to school every day as a child. He would stroke its nose every day and later in life the owner eventually sold it to him for a great price. He also used to collect the ladies from the front of ships, a houseful of them tied to and rigged to beams. Much of his poetry involved women and mermaids and he was obsessed with the Sea) and boats in bottles too. Even the functional things he owned like tables and chairs were all gorgeous wood, and thoughtfully chosen, all reflective of his personality. I’d never thought of a house this way before, not just a place to live, but a place to feel alive. Here is a poem Pablo wrote about ships in bottles and I think it is just genius. I know that tiny carpenters went in through your delicate throat, flew in on bees. I know that flies brought on their backs tools, nails, planks, tiny ropes, and so inside the bottle a perfect ship took shape: its hull the nub of its beauty, raising its pin-sized masts… It was after seeing this book, I though I wanted to surround myself with things I loved to look at and then I understood why people buy art, and want it around them. My studio is filled with collected things, some things make it into a piece of artwork, but others I keep as little tokens, talismans to remind me and inspire. I would never give up my favourite horse, which sits on my window beside a dried bunch of my favourite flowers (hydranga) picked from my Granda’s garden before he had to give up his plot and sell his house. These things are mine and more valuable to me than anything gold or bought new. My Granda died last week and I was given a locket that my Granny Robson, who has also passed away, used to wear. The locket I was comforted and surprised to find has a swallow on the front. It also has a photo of my Granda in it.

When you think about it, its just a photo, some gold and possibly just a coincidence that the swallow detail is on it, given I am obsessed with swallows and use them in my work. But all the same it is so precious now to me. I love this, that something so obvious, average,normal, everyday, unloved, or even just no longer of use, can become the most precious beautiful and enchanting thing of wonder and worship. Just by adding something to it or making a tiny change to it like a photo, an etched swallow, spray paint it blue, or draw it in blue pencil, when you add a story to it…

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One Comment

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  1. jenniferrobsonartist / May 25 2015 4:13 pm

    Reblogged this on Jennifer Robson – Artist and commented:

    So much in this, could’ve been six blogs! But I was just beginning.

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