17. May 2017

Congratulations Norway on your National Day!

In every cloud there is a silver lining and that was also the case in the winter 2015/2016 when, I for once in many years, had to face the pleasures of a Danish winter instead of enjoying the climate of Southern California. In spite of all my trials and tribulations I never lost sight of what was happening in my garden and field and I was more than a little taken by what the blackbirds left behind when they raided the fallen fruit in the orchard. I was, maybe, also thinking of my dear Mother who died suddenly before she came to her 75th birthday. I had no fear just an awareness. So I took these eaten-out apple skins in and dried them over whole apples by the fire after which I gave them a few good coatings of PVA glue which is a technique that I use for lots of found bits and pieces that would otherwise crumble and disappear over time

The title was there as soon as I saw the skins but it has developed into a series after Inger suggested that I send into miniTEX17.  “The Remains of the Day” written by the British author Kazuo Ishiguro is a poignant book about a butler looking back on a career spent at the beck and call of his master later made into a film described by the makers; A butler who sacrificed body and soul to service in the years leading up to World War II realizes too late how misguided his loyalty was to his lordly employer.  Anthony Hopkins played the butler with Emma Thompson as the housekeeper. I am not one of those folks who can shed tears at the drop of a hat but I cried buckets when I saw that film! Anyway a while later we were doing a bit of renovating on a trunk out in the field, the stub of a redwood tree that we got to use as a sort of halfway seat when out walking. It had got infested by ants who had themselves a really fantastic upside down hill inside the trunk giving me another idea that led to what I call number one in the series.

I eco-dyed a bit of scrim drawing it unevenly together using embroidery floss copying the pattern the ants made in the wood, adding beads , seeds and french knots for the larva laying the whole on bark from a paper birch. This bark falls off every year and I collect and preserve it for many uses. It becomes almost leathery if properly done.

Again thinking of ants a thoroughly invasive insect that we fight with every spring as they march around the kitchen and our bathroom.  At first it was only the dining room but this year they have excelled themselves the little beggars. I keep telling myself that there would be no life on earth without the insects but these could find somewhere else to stay! This reminds me of our son who loved catching butterflies in Lebanon; he had caught a fantastic beauty and had killed it in order to start a collection I think (  40 something years ago so my memory is rusty ) He pinned it on a piece of cardboard to dry it and went to bed. Next morning there was a stream of ants coming in under the balcony door, across the floor, up the table leg and across to the remains…yes the remains for the butterfly was long gone!  The stream started from the ground two floors down and really the big question has to be; how did they know that there was something to eat up in our flat? 

This is in fact just a bit of rotten pine trunk using french knots to depict the march of the ants, number two in the series.

The encasing for all three is made from old floor planks from the old mill in Køge our local town and the backing in card reused from some old pictures Olav has bought to use the frames again with the idea that reuse is also relevant in looking at The Remains of the Day. I am well irritated by the fact that I have had lots of problems with the insertion of the images probably because I am not being active to keep me up to date with the development that is probably on-going in WordPress.

5 thoughts on “17. May 2017

  1. Oh, I am so happy to hear you took up the idea, Edith. I for my part did not have the energy. OCA work is a bit draining it that sense (but also great in other ways, as you know). But how exiting. I hope you will get in the show with these extraordinary pieces.

  2. This is looking great Edith. The frames do add an extra poignancy to the series. I do know the book and I think these pieces serve it and it serves them. Best of luck with the show entry!

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