Saturday, 13 August 2011

Lighthouse Stories 2

Last time, collage and modelmaking were popular (see Lighthouse Stories 1, 16 July). This time, there was more text and drawing was clearly ahead of collage until right at the end. Attendance at the Pavilion was different to July, many more of the very young and those with much longer memories. People in the gap between childhood and maturity were largely elsewhere unless they had kids to entertain which is where we came in handy. The Red Arrows flew a long loop from the Eastbourne Air Show. Bob only gave them a glance as he was stationed in Cyprus for three years and used to see them six times a day.

Thanks again to volunteer Penny Hobson ( for a good collaboration and even transcribing.


"In 1967, I worked as a ‘temp’ for Trinity House – in the beautiful Trinity Square near Waterloo. I was working on a database of lighthouse keepers’ addresses, which necessitated me signing the Act. I still have my faded copy…"

"In around 1991, I went to the Trinity Buoy Wharf in East London where Matts Gallery [then in Bethnal Green] were holding an event. Poet Brian Catling, unshaven and dishevelled, sat muttering in a corner. The light still had its mirrors then. It is London’s only lighthouse where they used to train lighthouse keepers. I was told that before that, the site was where those transported to Australia were embarked."

Shout, but no one hears you
What a sad existence

Anger in the cities
Seemed a good idea at the time

Trendy living
Fancy house
now I’m not so sure

stability…. not loneliness
calm …. cwll ok …. quiet
whisper or shout, I don’t mind
what an existence!

Let everyone live in the lighthouse
it may teach us how to live with each other ♥

Linda Gill [Guildford, Surrey]

"The old Sovereign Light Ship is now in St Katherine’s Dock in Wapping, London. It is surprisingly small. People remember its light, every 15 seconds, as a comfort."

"A bit like a fairground ride it gave me vertigo. I felt a bit ‘giddy’, had to steady myself on back wall."

Commonwealth War Graves Commission
"I think if Trinity House personnel died during WWII*, they are considered to be casualties and are therefore commemorated by them [WGC] see If you go to that website you will be able to contact them and get further information.
* it might be that they had to had to have died “as a result of enemy action” e.g. on a ship which sank."

"I visited the Royal Sovereign Lighthouse in the early eighties with the local Eastbourne MP, Ian Gow (later murdered by the IRA). I worked for the Eastbourne Herald as a snapper and he was delivering Christmas cheer to the lighthouse keeper. We all got seasick [it was December!] and were hoisted onto the platform in a balloon basket with a Christmas Tree."

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

lift the lid

A buzzy Sunday at the dlwp and the Lift the Lid session was pretty busy all afternoon. Grandparents happily spent time constructing and helping their granchildren realise improbable ideas and fantastic forms inspired by Yass's Soveriegn Lighthouse photographs and other images of lighthouses. The lure of cardboard boxes and masking tape was strong and the desire to design, cut, build, stick and colour the lighthouses was experienced by all ages.

Watercolour painting which allowed a range of brushes to create watery shapes and patterns was also popular with parents and children - all sloshing filmy blues and greens across the paper, seeing the sea as something dreamy and insubstantial.

A productive session with many keen and able participants all inspired by the Catherine Yass exhibition to make marks, shapes and forms which refelcted her unique view of the sea and man made structures.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Dreaming Landscapes II

Flying through the stars by Madeleine
Red crab at large by Rhiannon

A wealth of dreams intertwined and came to 'technicolourful' life in this second interaction exploring the connection of creating personal dreams with the landscapes and surreal images of Catherine Yass. A steady flow of contributors from small children to adults, invoked strange, distorted realities which form unconscious journeys of dreaming.

The first to take part was Olivia, accompanied by her mother Kate, and aunt Ann, revealed the lovely fact that they are a 'dream sharing family', often discussing the content and meaning of their dreams. We all agreed that we were great fans of the Platypus, (see below) largely because it seems to be assembled like a living animal collage.

Listening to the key details of the wide range of conscious dreams which unrolled throughout the afternoon, I decided take a little artistic licence to use the way in which the individual art works were collaged together to create one magnificent and dramatic dream of rescue, thull-duggery with a happy ending....

Under a big red sun in a tunnel of trees, a platypus flies past over tropical trees and looks down on a fire engine driving fast through the trees to the rescue of a naughty woman stuck in a tree, narrowly avoiding a car driving fast, which is about to knock down those trees...The sun becomes yellow as it lights up the beach at Bexhill, the sky fills with birds and a big red crab running through seaweed. A rocket waits at some steps for a lady and her dog, who was lost, but rescued and returned by a ladybird and two bees.

The rocket will take them to see if any birds need rescuing. They may be lucky enough to see Madeleine (top left) by on a little ship, being shown around the stars. The sun turns red as it sets in the forest, where a monster tries to take some gold but is beaten by a knight who gets there first......

Megan's gold

Maya's red rocket taking off.

Sarah's cityscape in surreal reflection

The last two people to leave were Sarah, a scientist from Stoke Newington and Vanessa an artist based in Finsbury Park, who had both very much engaged with the exhibition. A meandering exchange which ranged from taking almost identical shots of Brighton beach, to the way in which a reflection in water can appear like an entrance to another world, integrated itself into each artwork as can be seen above and below.

Their responses concluded the strange and imaginative spaces which were conjured into new surreal realities in dialogue with the exhibition by each thoughtful and generous participant: Joe and brother Sam, Rhiannon and her companions uncle Wayne and auntie Becky, Maya, Olivia, Madeleine, Megan, Yasmin, Kasia, and several families who worked so fast that there was no time to catch their names. A big thank you to Calum and Anne for their sensitive support.
Vanessa's inside out reversed seascape

Bees and ladybirds to the rescue by Yasmin