Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Saints Alive

Hello! Today I had to take some photographs of myself dressed as an angel for a workshop my mum and I are holding at Truro Arts Festival in two weeks. We'll be giving each participant a kit which will include a cut-out angel and lots of other fun elements to make a Mexican retablo style shrine. Retablo paintings and shrines traditionally tell stories of divine intervention. They are often very gory tales; look at Frida Kahlo's depicting the tragic collision that left her in a brace for the rest of her life, an incredibly emotive painting!

Frida Kahlo retablo

After snapping the angel photographs I took a few still dressed in my saint outfit. I mused on what a saint/angel might do in day to day life: recline on the sofa perhaps? Certainly not any housework, that's for sure! 

My ensemble was inspired by this wonderful picture of a Mexican angel

Source: 1

and these amazing retablo shrines.

Source: 2

 Source: 3

I've never worn this top with the skirt before; the skirt has a matching waistcoat (see it here) so I usually wear the two together however, I really like this combination so I think it might become a new favourite. 

Anyway I'm sure you're all dying to see me as an angel? Do feel free to print it, cut it out and make your own retablo shrine (if you do I'd love to see the results!)

I hope you are all having very productive weeks, mine has been pretty jam-packed so far. We're about to start doing Airbnb from April so I've been busy tidying the house and taking pictures for the listing. I'm so excited as I've heard many good things about people's experiences, both letting and visiting! I'd be really interested to hear any of your experiences, and any advice you might have. The listing will be up soon so I'll post it incase any of you fancy a break in Cornwall!

Outfit Details

1970s floral cotton skirt - vintage stall

Silk rebozo scarf - gift from my mum

Floral top - charity shop

Bangles - made by Penny MacBeth

Necklace with eye brooch attached - made by Penny MacBeth

Vintage beaded necklace - Oxfam

Felt flower headdress - Mrs MacBeth's Department Store

Pattern t-shirt - Uniqlo


Saturday, 14 March 2015

In Bloom

Spring is here; the first blooms have arrived in my garden, several little Primroses and a Hyacinth. My favourite of all the spring flowers is the Tulip, especially the wonderfully frilly Parrot Tulips. My tulips are yet to flower though so I'm making do with Lidl's finest for the moment.

I took these photographs yesterday. The light was wonderful, the bright fresh kind you only get in early Spring. It was, hopefully, the first of many more sunshine filled days. My ma snapped these  for me whilst we were taking some others for a project that will be revealed in a few months. Although you can't see all that much of it I'm wearing one of my most treasured dresses; a 1930s soft pink lace number handed down to me from my mum. She bought it in the 80s along with 4 others from an ex-dancer. I spent so many years staring at it when I was a child dreaming of the day that I'd be big enough to fit it! That day came and I wore it dancing, to tea parties, to go shopping in and to lounge at home in! Sadly it has very nearly reached the end of it's journey so it will have to be rejuvenated into a new garment soon. 
Here it is in happier days.. (taken by an v.old friend when I was about 18 in the window seat of my old bedroom)

These photographs were very much inspired by the beautiful seed packets of the 30s. I love the saturated colours and the collaging of hundreds of different kinds of flowers onto one packet. I think if seed packets looked like this now I'd have a garden stuffed with flowers!
Sources: 1, 2, 3
In other news I have a new exhibition alongside my mum at The Courtyard Deli in Falmouth, a lovely place for coffee if you are in Falmouth. We'll also be at Truro Arts Festival on March 30th hosting a workshop from 1-3 on shrine making. For £2 you'll get everything to make your own which you can take home. If making isn't your thing you can just come hang out and watch us make in our yurt from 10.30 that morning. Have a look at my events page for more information!

Finally you can see some pictures from my Virgin of Guadalupe series alongside a host of other talented gals work on Amelia's Magazine today. 

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

Linking up with Share-in-Style

Outfit Details

Pink 1930s lace dress, bolero & neck tie - Gift from my mum

Pink 1930s embroidered shawl- Gift from my mum

Various assortment of flowers- H&M


Saturday, 7 March 2015

The Lost Archive

My Great-Great Auntie Enid Baker

Hello! Today I have a slight detour from my normal posts, no pictures of me but instead photographs of my family unearthed from the deep. Let me explain last weekend my family descended on Worcester to host a tea party for my Granddad's 80th birthday. We stayed for a few days and whilst there I decided to delve into his shed. It's a fairly terrifying place; there are thousands of spiders and moths and a strange dank smell that hangs over it all.

I had a very good reason to brave this all though, some years ago Granddad moved all the family photographs and papers in to this dank environment. Being the former archivist that I am, I was horrified when I discovered this recently, so the mission to save them began! I co-opted my Mum, Auntie and Cousin into the process, as I knew it would be a long one. What none of us really knew was how many delights would meet us when we prized open the boxes. My Great Auntie, Barbara (or Bar as she was known) was a librarian, we knew she had kept some pictures of the family but was unbeknown to us was that she had spent most of her life compiling an amazingly complete record of our entire family and its many fractions. Many of the pictures are labeled in her neat handwriting, and she spent much of her time writing to people to get photographs of distant relatives.  We found, alongside the enormous spiders, piles and piles of photographs dating right back to the 19th Century, correspondence from Great-Great Aunts, drawings from my Grandma's and Great-Auntie's childhood, receipts from the 1920s  etc etc! The sadness in it all was how many pictures had got wet and stuck together (luckily I've read up on how to save them!) and that many of the documents had seen better days. However, the great joy was finding photographs of people who we hadn't met but looked a bit like us. There is still an enormous quantity of things to sift through (and there are still things we've yet to save from the shed because we ran out of time). On their own, and out of context of the rest of the archive, these objects seem meaningless but altogether they build a wonderfully clear picture of a period of history and the people that inhabited it.

There are so many things to sort and arrange properly that I've decided to start The Museum of Family a project that will label and digitise the entire collection and offer tips to others looking to preserve their own family's history. Before moving to London I worked in a Museum/Archive so I've had to delve into plenty of jumbled boxes and try and make sense of seemingly inconsequently pieces of paper. I hope to build an exhibition out of it all: exploring the need to archive, the meaning of family and the hierarchy of objects.

These scanned images are just the very beginning, they are just a few of my favourites so far.  I haven't yet begun to scan the very old pictures yet but I will post some when I do. Then comes the mountain of correspondence (including beautiful 1920s & 30s Christmas cards), the photo albums (including one from a trip to India in the 1930s), developing negatives and miscellaneous bits left over!

I hope you enjoy this very small snippet. I hope that the project will make people think about the way we preserve history. It is so apparent to me sorting through all these photographs how important it is to PRINT photographs, to label them, to care for them and to celebrate them. Don't leave them festering away in a shed or in folders hidden in the depths of your computer; someone, by clicking the shutter, thought those moments were worth saving.

My Great-Great Grandma Elsie's (or Karnie as she was known) garden

My Mum (on Dobbin the horse), My Grandma Di, My Great-Great Grandma Elsie & My Great-Great Aunts Winnie & Enid
My Great-Great Grandma Elsie

My Great-Great Uncle Harvey Baker with some children from the school he taught at
My Great-Great-Auntie Enid, My Great-Great Uncle Leslie & My Great-Great Auntie Winnie

My Great-Great Auntie Enid at high school
My Great-Great Auntie Enid

My Great-Great Auntie Enid
My Auntie Bar, My Great-Great Grandpa Ted Ronchetti & My Granny Di
My Great-Great Grandfather Albert Baker & My Great-Great Grandma Mary (Elsie, Winnie & Enid's parents)
My Great-Great Aunt Winnie Baker
My Great Auntie Bar Ronchetti
My Great-Great-Great Grandma Elizabeth