The Lost Room at The Beaney House of Art and Knowledge.
By Nicola Flower and participants from Porchlight.
The Lost Room is a collaborative project with The Beaney House of Art and Knowledge and the homeless charity Porchlight. Visual artist Nicola will explore the relationship people have to belongings, those personal items that people carry or keep and what they represent in relation to collections in a museum context.
The Beaney is a special building to visit, to look at significant things, brought together as collections, the space allows us to contemplate our existence through looking at the objects on display. These objects reassure us and hold memories, they give us an understanding of the modern world and contemporary objects. They can be dirty, worn, damaged, decaying, we read value and the human condition into them, this is a very important part of what we find interesting.
Artist Nicola will take on the role of ‘ The Lost Room Girl,’ an interpreter and user of objects. Every Friday participants from Porchlight will work with Nicola using everyday objects and embroidery to elevate these objects to a new status.
Nicola is interested in the process of making and how the maker becomes immersed in a purpose. Using the technique of embroidery with it’s meditative, unassuming yet sensitive response, the maker taps into the subconscious spirit and time is lost.
The everyday objects that are embroidered are carriers of ideas and stories, the pieces are then integrated into Nicola’s installation of figurines, twigs and net, caring, holding and guarding the objects. The figures are small, the scale of the objects in comparison is large, the figures stand knowingly with the object in quiet recognition illustrating their significance and importance.
Objects in the Beaney collection hold the same potency, they also were crafted by humans with similar concerns to those making the Lost Room installations.
Every week I go to the Beaney with the intention of exploring objects and collections. I sit with participants from Porchlight and talk, exploring the materials and the possibilities their objects might offer. Together we stitch and embellish these significant objects we have 'known'. There is no correct way of doing it, the process is meditative and reflective.
For me the Beaney is like a big 'galleon', separate from Canterbury High St, other worldly with varied interiors and collections of objects. I have enjoyed that moment when people have turned up to work with me, a meeting takes place and through our activity a connection is made.
The outcome has never been the focus, however small installations integrating the embroidered objects within a framework of twigs, netting and found objects have developed. These pieces are now on display in cabinets amongst the museum collections.
Last Friday there was embroidery and conversation in the Drawing Room.
There was talk of 'buddahs in pockets',' music being everything',' hairstyles and eyeliner'.
J discovered his canvas stitch had perfect tension in the flower he was embroidering ( his phone rang constantly while he was stitching, with friends enquiring where he was and what he was doing) and the Porchlight office Monkey became a carefully embellished object in the Lost Room display cabinets.
And from L the comment of the moment ' I like it here, it's the least stressy part of my life'.
Good bye to the Drawing Room.
Stopping something you like doing isn't easy. Thats what Friday 11th October brought to the Lost Room at the Beaney. My intention with the project had always been to try and convey that feeling of immersing oneself in doing something that keeps you in the moment; lost to time and your usual world, but today was our last day and we had to stop the Drawing Room activity.
For weeks now I have enjoyed the conversation; the chaos; the relaxed unknown; people bothering to turn up; trying there hand; using new materials; taking time and pride in our tiny endeavours and supporting me as the Lost Room girl.
Stepping into the Lost Room was a gift that went way beyond my expectations and I enjoyed enormously. Here's to the potent combination of people and stitch.